Thursday, January 29, 2015

July 30, 1966 The Grade, The Golf, The Spice Rack and The Tomatoes

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I just finished a letter to Bob. He called us Sunday evening from Washington, DC. He had been studying for exams and had gone home with his roommate for the weekend so he hadn't written. We had told him to call sometime but were surprised.

Then we had a letter mid-week and he'd made an A for his first 5 weeks of Biology. That first grade is so very important, so we are relieved and overjoyed.

Is Daddy all right now? I hope so. Don't you try to walk with Maxine while she plays golf. The rough walking would kill you. I'm still playing and enjoying it. I sure feel better after the exercise.

I'll be happy to have a spice rack--never had one in my life and never had 24 bottles of spices, either. Just wait till we come home and I'll get it then and I will paint it to match my kitchen. The little chair is all together and is in the living room but it isn't done. It looks nice though and is smooth as a dollar. The inlay came and was the right width but it wasn't flexible enough to use. It went in fine until I got to the center back piece and it had to bend in a slim figure 8. It just wouldn't do it even after soaking in hot water. It would seem to be all right at first but the piece was so thin it would break. I worked all one morning & broke the stuff all to pieces. The piece that came out is celluloid and has shrunk. I tried warming it and stretching it but it started breaking too. I'm going to a hobby shop & see if I can find a strip of some kind. If not, I may try painting in the lines. I don't know whether my hands are steady enough or not.

Bonnie's kitchen wall and half of the spice rack, 1966

The weather is cooler now so Ann doesn't mind school. It will soon be over and I guess they'll finish the air conditioner there.

We can't understand why everyone has had to be so miserable over there this summer.

Wish we had some of your tomatoes."



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

July 23, 1966 The Truck, The Little Chair, The Exhibit and The 3 Suitcases

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"The air conditioner was finally started yesterday but we really don't need it much. The weather has cooled off a great deal but the sun is trying to shine and it's warming up fast. The morning was cloudy and we hoped against hope that it would rain.

Our yard is terrible. B has been watering the front to keep it alive but the ground is like a rock. I let the truck come into the yard with the air conditioning unit because it is so heavy and you couldn't even see the tire tracks. The unit is on the patio. We spent last Saturday getting the bricks relayed. I've never had such sore muscles in my life from the all the squatting. We had planned to go to an open house at the new Winston Churchill College in Pontiac but I could hardly climb steps or stand up after I sat down so we didn't even go church. I'm fine now and am glad the patio is fixed. It was one of my projects planned for this summer.

I finally got the little chair all sanded and we glued it together last night. The inlay hasn't come yet but it's ordered. The chair looks pretty nice but I'm anxious to get it stained walnut now. Then I'll Deft it several times and steel wool it down.

B's work doesn't seem quite so pressing right now. There have been several conferences on campus this week so the place has been jumping with strangers. The annual exhibit of teaching materials was held this week in the big gym and that's a big thing--hundreds of books. I went twice and bought Bob some paint brushes. They sell things the last day so they don't have to haul them back to the companies.  B didn't have much to do with the conferences except to show up for lunches and greet some of the groups. A children's writer spoke one night and I enjoyed that. B greeted that group (welcome to campus) and then we went to a reception for her afterwards. Both of us also went to a small dinner for another speaker.

Dot finally moved yesterday. She has been in Normal over a week getting things finished up and the movers loaded yesterday morning.  Her little convertible was loaded to the hilt. She had 3 suitcases full of valuable coins in the trunk of the car but she didn't seem to worry about them. Ted had collected coins for years and had a very valuable collection. Now they are her security.

She had lunch with us and left from here. She seemed happy and excited about the move and much like her old carefree self, but she left crying.

This was exam week for Bob so we haven't had our usual letter. He is half through the summer. We can hardly wait to see what he makes for the first five weeks.  It is terrible that grades have to play such an important part in a kid's school life but they do and there isn't anything to do about it.

I finally got a new permanent and I think it is a better one than the last. At least, it looks better now.

I haven't done anything in the house today so I'd better pick up the papers, at least.

Hope both of you are fine and stay out of the sun."

                 Lots of love,


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

July 16, 1966 The Hot Spell, The Air Conditioning, The Mimosa and The Bricks

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Thank goodness, the hot spell has let up.  None of us hardly did anything except sit in the basement rec room. We're going to have the house air conditioned though, and the men are supposed to put it in next Tuesday. The unit will be put on the patio so I've been re-setting some of the bricks. I ran out of sand so B has gone to get some. I don't have to redo all of it but it has settled low next to the house and the water settle there. This is a project I've been off a long time but today is nice and I want to do it before the men set that big unit on it.

We had a letter from Bob today. He is fine but busy and his letters are awfully short. He had been skin-diving a time or two. His roommate's father is running for Representative in Va.--name is Scott.

It was hot in Chicago but we were in air-conditioned places most of the time so we enjoyed it. We spent our time mostly looking and the kids enjoyed that. B & I just sat down & let them look. Ann took a friend with her.

Summer school has been pretty hard on everyone at the high school. The building was made for air-conditioning but it isn't in yet--was promised before summer school began. Some of the rooms have sky lights but no windows so you can imagine how hot it has been. Some classes sit in the halls or have made-shift fans set up. Ann said it was a different place yesterday when it cooled off.

The mimosa tree isn't going to survive. I left it in the bucket and have kept it in the shade but it is just drying up. Send me some seeds one of these days in your letter & I'll try them.

B is back so Id better get busy with the bricks while he can help me.

We're all fine and hope you both are. Don't do much while the heat is high."

                    Lots of love,


NOTE:  After the release of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, there was a lot of outrage expressed by those who thought it was obscene.  Our mom thought Liz Taylor was a fabulous actress and defended her right to take on a very different type of role. We had lots of discussion about the film and Mom fielded a lot of jokes about Liz's role as the wife of a New England college professor.

Here's a brief scene:

Monday, January 26, 2015

July 9, 1966 The Beans, The 100 Rolls and The Little Chair

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"There isn't much news but we were glad to have your letter today. We are still eating vegetables out of your garden and enjoying them. I cooked the beans the afternoon we got home and that was most of our supper.

I haven't bought much at the grocery store this week--except toilet paper. That sounds funny but it was sort of a joke on me. They advertised Scott on sale for 10¢ and that is as cheap as we ever buy it. I told B I was going to buy a case and he said we'd probably get 48 rolls but that was fine. When I started to pay for it I learned there were 100 rolls in the case but I took it anyway.

It has been so hot this week but is a little better now. We really need rain.

B has been swamped with work this week and didn't even get home at lunch time two days.

Tomorrow we are going to take Ann & a friend to Chicago for the day. We'll just window shop and let them look at whatever they want to see.

I've been sanding on the little chair but there is still a lot to do. The legs are all done and part of the back and seat. I haven't had time to figure up and order the inlay but think it is going to take the narrowest strip in the catalog.

I have to clean some shoes so I'd better say bye and do it."

                    Lots of love,


NOTE:  Thanks to for sharing the great postcard of State Street in Chicago!

NOTE:  There was never a written recipe for the green beans, but they were slow cooked with a barbeque-like sauce of brown sugar, red wine vinegar, catsup, bacon, large chunks of smoked ham and onions.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

June 25, 1966 The Lovely Breeze, The Extra Things, The Colonial Style and The Long List

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"There is a lovely breeze but the weather has been hot all week. I played golf Wednesday morning and the breeze was wonderful but I almost got sunburned.

I have been trying to get at a few extra things but so far, I haven't done a thing extra. Bob's room is about cleaned out but that has to be done early in the morning since it has been so hot.

We had a letter from him yesterday and he sounded real happy. His roommate is a senior so he'll be a lot of help to him.

The campus is small and everything is close. It is very beautiful and built around a large sunken mall covered with grass. The main building is the Christopher Wren building. He designed the church that is being moved from England to the Westminster campus in Fulton, isn't it? The college began in 1695. Imagine? It is soft red brick and all of the other buildings of brick are this same kind--even the business building. The modern business district is colonial style too and it's like being in another country.

I don't seem to be able to get anywhere with this letter & it's almost noon. I will just quit trying and wait until next weekend and tell you about Williamsburg. If things go as planned we'll be home Saturday afternoon & come back Monday. It isn't long but we want to come when we can. It will be mid-afternoon.

I'm so glad Daddy liked the Bible. I bought the biggest print I could find so it would be easy to read.

B is ready for lunch & he always has a long list of Saturday jobs to do so I'll say bye now & we'll see you Saturday."

                   Lots of love,


Friday, January 23, 2015

June 12, 1966 The Activities, The Capsules, The Clothes and The Hollow Feeling

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Well, school is out and the town is quiet but B has worked in the office all day. He's trying to get things in order so we can take Bob to school. This is always a real busy time but we are planning to leave Tuesday noon. Bob can't get into the dorm until next Sunday so we'll have to leave him in a motel like we did last summer. I hate to do it but B says he has to be at work Monday morning for registration. I think Williamsburg is about 1000 miles from here. Ann is going to stay with Polly. I'd rather she would go with us but she hates to ride and says she'd be tired out for summer school.

We haven't had much time for anything but school activities this week. The kids had class night Thursday night and graduation was Friday night. The college graduation was yesterday morning but I didn't go to that. Bob was in the upper 10% of his class so had a gold cord to wear on his robe to show that.

The graduation was outdoors. It was real cool but a beautiful evening and a nice ceremony. I wish some of you could have come. Horace had said they might but they didn't.

I'm still fighting that sore throat. It is better today so maybe it's going away. I had my annual physical exam Friday and Dr. Ball gave me some capsules to take for the throat so I hope they are working. I've just had to push myself around to get anything done. Other than that, I'm fine.

Tomorrow we must get Bob's clothes ready. It is hard for me to believe that he is really going to be in college. Of course, I want him to go but it leaves a hollow feeling when I think of it.

Hope both of you are fine."

                Lots of love,

January 18, 1948 Time flies!