Sunday, April 20, 2014

December 17, 1961 The Christmas Tree, The Ice, The Snow and A Few Cookies


Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I wish you could see our Christmas tree.  It is the thickest and prettiest one we have ever had.  We got it last Sunday & the kids decorated it after lunch.  We divided the couch and put it right in front of the window.

We still have ice and snow but most walks are clear now and the middle of the street is clear.  It stays real cold.

The man finally came with our bookcases and mantle.  They really look nice & we're real happy with them.  Of course, they aren't painted yet and won't be for awhile.  Maybe I can do it after Christmas.  B has to drill some holes & run some wires before we can put the speakers on the shelves so they are still on the floor.  He hasn't had time for anything like that.

We have been to Larsen's three times this week to help with their Christmas coffees.  They didn't have as many this year as they usually do.  I'm going to a luncheon tomorrow, then to a tea, then to a dormitory party.  Ann has a piano class party, Bob has a basketball game & B is going to a dedication of a new foreign language laboratory.  Do you think we'll last all day?


Bob has gone to a school party tonight.  He really slicked up before he went.

Ladies Home Journal, Dec. 1961
Ann has been home the last two days with a sore throat but is pretty gay tonight so she's better.  We made a few cookies this morning and I'll make some more next week.

If the office closes at noon Friday we'll be home about 9:00 that night but if it doesn't close till Friday evening then we'll have to come Saturday.  I can't be anymore definite but if we find out in time I'll write a card.

We have our church Christmas supper on Sunday night.  I have to plan something to take for that & will have to find time tomorrow to do some grocery shopping.

I guess I'd better make a grocery list or I won't get what I have to have.

Hope you are both fine & hope to see you soon."

                               Lots of love,

                                      Bonnie


NOTE:  This is the last letter of 1961.  Merry Christmas!  Thanks for reading another year and I hope to see you back in 1962 after a break of a few days.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

December 10, 1961 On the Run, A Wintry Day, Gifts for the Forgotten and The Hartford Hospital Fire

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I've been on the run all day.  We've had supper & the kids want to go to a ballgame but I've talked them out of it, I think.

We've had a real wintry day.  It was snowing when we got up & the streets are slushy and slick now.  It rained & sleeted too & the walks are glazed.

I worked at the Mental Health Society office from 9:00 to 1:00 today.  They are collecting gifts for the forgotten mental patients in the state hospitals and each gift has to be labeled as to what it is & whether it's for man, woman, boy or girl.  Some gifts were nice--others were poor.  Christmas is the saddest as well as the happiest time of the year.

B went to Chicago yesterday and will be home tonight sometime.  Several men went to a meeting in a school car.  The roads are so bad I'll be glad when they get home.

The kids & I went to a church supper last night.  I showed our Bahama pictures.  We had a good time but missed B.

I've about got my cards addressed & a good bit of my shopping done.  The kids want to get the tree tomorrow and maybe we can.  B and I have to help Larsens with a coffee most of the afternoon.

I guess you read about the terrible Hartford Hospital fire.  That is where Bob was born so it made me feel bad.

There isn't much to write and I'd better study my Sunday School lesson.  Hope you both are fine.

Bob was real happy with the stamps.  He doesn't have many China stamps."

                             Lots of love,

                                   Bonnie

NOTE:  16 lives were lost in the fire at Hartford Hospital, believed to have been caused by cigarette ashes tossed down a trash chute.  The incident led to significant changes in hospital building codes nationwide.   For a brief video with news footage, use this link:  http://www.harthosp.org/Portals/1/Images/6/Fire_Anniversary.htm

In 2012, Connecticut Public Television released a documentary on the fire.  Watch below.

 




Friday, April 18, 2014

December 2, 1961 Ham and Hamburgers, Teas and Dinners and Keeping Fingers Crossed



Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It doesn't seem possible that you were here a week ago.  We sure did enjoy having all of you and wish you could have stayed longer.  I've thought of a dozen things I meant to show you or talk about & forgot them all.

I know you were anxious to get home but I'm so glad Buddy took you thru Springfield.  I knew he would even if he hadn't mentioned it.  He always stops there & I'm so glad Beulah could come.

We still have ham.  I haven't done much cooking since you were here.  B said he'd sure be glad when we could have hamburgers again.  We haven't cracked any of the nuts yet but I haven't done anything much except run around and type.

There have been a lot of things I had to go to.  I visited Bob's room, went to a PTA Board meeting, a tea, a dinner last night & go to another one tonight & tomorrow night.  Then I had to get a letter written about our church Xmas party & get that to the church secretary.  Tomorrow we'll have to address them to all church members.


Every chance I had, I typed and finally mailed my manuscripts on Thursday.  Now the editor has them and I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes she keeps one of them.  I wrote two.  She is very slow so I probably won't hear from her in months and months but I'll keep hoping.

B is at school but is coming home soon so we can go after some shoes for Bob.  He has to go back to a meeting after lunch so I must get ready to go.

Hope you are all rested by now."

               Lots of love,

                     Bonnie


Thursday, April 17, 2014

November 19, 1961 The Last Flute Lesson, The Real Cold Weather, The Whole Weekend Off and Nothing to Write


Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I will write my letter while I dry my hair.  I am going to a luncheon today & didn't get my hair washed yesterday.

B was glad he got to see all of you and I really wanted to come too.  He has gone to the lake to get Bob.  The Scouts camped again last night but Bob wanted to come in early today so he could go to the football game after lunch. 

Ann has gone to a piano workshop.  I told her she had to stop the flute lessons because she won't practice & it's a waste of money.  She has a lesson today & I don't know what she'll tell her teacher.

The weather is real cold but the sun is nice.  Everything was white with frost this morning.

All of us are excited about your coming next week.  I'm so glad Beulah is coming & wish they all could.  B probably told you he will have the whole weekend off.  They are doing some electrical work at school so his office will be closed from Wed. noon.

There isn't anything to write so stay well & we'll see you soon."

                    Lots of love,

                          Bonnie

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

November 11, 1961 Making A Day of It, Wondering About Thanksgiving, Kind of A Busy Week, Coke & Doughnuts and Better Dead Than Red?


Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It feels like spring outside but is cloudy & rain is predicted so that will start the cold all over again.  We never did get the holes filled in the yard and need to do more raking but I don't know when it will get done.

Today is visiting day at school.  All the high school seniors come in to look over the college & make a day of it.  I don't know how many they expect but B will be there most of the day.

Ann stayed with a friend last night & probably won't be home till noon.  Bob is never very noisy so it is quiet around here.

I have been wondering if there would be any way all of Beulah's family could come Thanksgiving?  It would be so nice if all of us could be together.  I don't know whether or how they would manage their cows & I wouldn't beg them but I wish they could come.

I haven't heard any more from Buddy but I wrote to them & I know they'll come.  Did you write and tell them when you're coming or have you decided?

Bob was just invited to go to a ball game so I will be alone.  Today won't seem like Saturday.

I think B's mother & Horace are going to meet B in Springfield & have supper with him.  That will be the only free time he'll have.

Ann likes her hair short because she can comb it herself.  The girl didn't cut it as short as we wanted & that was disappointing but we'll have it cut again one of these days.


This has been kind of a busy week.  We had a group of students Wed. night so I had to get ready for them.  The Y.W.C.A. sponsors conversation groups in faculty homes twice a semester.  They select a topic to discuss & anyone can come.  You never know how many will come.  They talked about this question of "Better Dead Than Red?" this time.  I had coke & doughnuts for them.  Then most of them wanted coffee so we'll still have cokes when you get here.

Hope you both are fine."

                      Lots of love,

                               Bonnie

NOTE:  Both phrases, "Better dead than red" and "Better red than dead" were common in Cold War era discussions of anti-communist sentiment and nuclear disarmament.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

November 5, 1961 Tornado Warnings, Trick or Treaters, Tomatoes, Teachers and Top Cat

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We've been having a lot of rain but we did have one real warm day.  The wind blew like March & there were tornado warnings out but none developed.  I cut off the peonies & worked in the yard part of the day.  There is still a lot that needs to be done but it is real cold now so I doubt if I get to do anymore.

Bob went to the dentist again yesterday & then B took him out to the Scout camp.  A few of the boys were trying out some plans for a big camp-out this next weekend.  They had a cabin & B said it was cozy warm.  They will come home this afternoon.

Ann had a friend stay overnight with her.  They are watching T.V. 

Did I tell you B will be in Springfield on the 14th?  I can't remember whether I mentioned it or not.  He is going to represent I.S.N.U. at the inauguration of the new S.M.S.U. president.  We wish the kids & I could come to Richland while he's there but we would have to take them out of school.  B will fly so it will be a quick trip.

I wish we had some of your tomatoes too.  They are 19¢ a lb. in the store so we haven't had many in a long time.   I can't see why they stayed so high in the stores.

We certainly had lots of trick or treaters but they were all real well behaved.  We had lots of little ones & I get a kick out of them.  Some of Bob's friends came too & a lot of kids I never saw before.  Ann didn't go out.  Her room had a roller skating party that day & she had blisters on her feet.  Bob dressed up & had fun but said it would probably be his last time.  He thinks he's getting a little big & so do I.  

I have a rough manuscript written now.  It is for a real little book but it's hard to say much that is important in such a short one.  I have worked on it some almost every day between other things.  I'm not about to give up my church work to write but I'd like to go to a Sunday School class again to hear someone else teach a lesson.  Teachers get in such a rut & I never get to church.  I look & feel so messy when I finish my class & church has always started by the time I get the paste & crayons put away & the children have all been taken care of.

I must stop & wash my hair.  That's a big job & I want to get done before noon.

Have you talked to Dorsey?  Better get it done."

                  Lots of love,

                       Bonnie

NOTES:  Marilyn, a reader from Springfield writes:  After reading your post today, I just had to look in my book on the history of MSU (in 1961,  known as Southwest Missouri State University). In 1961, Dr. Leland Traywick became the 4th President of the University. I see that he earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois, so perhaps that is why your Dad came for his inauguration. The parliamentary room in the student union is named after him. That room is where the Board of Governors and Student Government meet, as well as various other meetings. However, he wasn't the President for very long, he was fired in 1964--a fact I didn't know about until just now. Your blog encourages curiosity!  Thank you, Marilyn, for the interesting information and for reading!

Watching T.V. on Saturday mornings would have meant cartoons...mainly creating background noise except for a few newer premiers, including Top Cat.


Monday, April 14, 2014

October 28, 1961 Homecoming, Holidays and Hamburgers


Dear Mother & Daddy,

"My hands are so cold I can hardly write.  We have been to the parade & it is cold & rainy today.  This is homecoming & we had hoped for a nice day.

Last night we drove around to see the houses decorated & the parade was this morning.  The floats were real nice & I guess they had all been parked inside all night or they would have been ruined.  It rained quite a bit last night.


We have had some frost & the dahlias are ruined.

Images from The Index, ISNU Yearbook

I wish Beulah could come Thanksgiving too.  I keep intending to write to her.  I know how she'd feel about leaving Nobel & Jerry--especially over a holiday.  Ask her anyway & see what she says.  I don't suppose they could get anyone to do their work so they could all come.

We have had several meetings this week & B went to Eureka College to give a talk in Chapel.  I teased him about preaching the sermon & sure enough, his talk was listed on the program as the sermon.

I am on a writing binge again & have spent every spare minute writing this week.  I got a letter from an editor saying she was interested in a little book on Japan.  She sent me one on Alaskan Eskimos to show me the kind of book she wanted.  So that is what I'm doing.  It will take a long time to do a manuscript so I'm working on it.

This isn't much letter but I have to fix lunch for company & then we're going to a football game.  Tonight we go to Potluck.  I'd better get my hamburgers started."

      Lots of love,

            Bonnie