Mothers Diary
Train The children have chairs strung through three rooms playing train. Bruce and Steve have altercations over who is to be engineer and with Ruby's help finally arrange two chairs as the engine, for one engineer and one for the fireman.
"Clang, clang," shouts Steve and the train is off – rattlety bang.
Our daughter stands to one side, complete with old hat, coat, gloves, and high-heeled shoes, dolls and suitcases.
With the harassed air of a tired mother, she glances impatiently up and down.
"I wonder when the train will come. I wish it would come. Don’t cry baby."
Finally Steve shouts back, "Clang, clang – now you must say 'what a nice set of cars! Aren’t they pretty?' Here we come! Clang, clang"
Our daughter obliges and follows up with, "Why don't you stop some time? You have to stop so I can get on."
She is just settled when a suggestion from Ruby in the kitchen results in Steve calling out, "Fort Dodge – 15 minutes for lunch!" And the whole crew and passenger list troops into the kitchen.
"Peanut butter sandwiches, please."
Ruby tries to convince them that her lunch room isn't open and they had better try somewhere else, but she is presently fixing peanut butter sandwiches and wishing she hadn't mentioned Fort Dodge.
When they are back on the train, Steve starts them off with a violent, "Whoo hoo, and a deafening, "Clang, clang." The passenger has trouble with her baby and Steve calls back helpfully, "Why don't you just pretend she died?" The passenger is horrified, but the whole affair breaks up with the arrival of Mr. Oyer and for the next 15 minutes they are plumbers assistants.

We think at least one of our children may emerge as a printer. Two weeks ago we had to have both boys in the shop while we were printing the paper; and Steve's delight and enthusiasm as he watched the machinery in operation was a joy to behold. He simply quivered with excitement when he was allowed to pick up piles of papers fresh from the folder and put them where needed. With a sigh, when it was all over, he announced that he was going to help get out the paper every Thursday. Bruce was bored!

The weather Tuesday was a distinct shock to my system. Tuesday is my wash day and it was a bit unsettling to have to hang clothes in the basement again and have the boys underfoot. When I discovered them stirring up ashes close to some freshly hung clothes, I chased them upstairs to play while I finished the washing. Then when I got upstairs to get lunch, I regretted it. In their flight they had taken along a couple ears of popcorn and had shelled them all over three rooms.

Goodbye Curtis! We hate to see you leave us and expect to miss you like everything. We only hope that the army appreciates you as much as we do. Please do get the war over with in a hurry, so you and all the rest can come back home soon!

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Mothers Diary
I envy Dr. Braley and Mabel up in the dentist office. Their house cleaning and spring painting is all done. The offices look so bright and cheerful. Very nice!

The Amos Martins had a stranger in their basement last Thursday using their washing machine – me to be exact. Neighbors are wonderful – especially when you're in a spot.
On Tuesday when I went down to do my huge weekly washing, the middle doohinkus in the machine tub wouldn't budge. Helplessly, I peered underneath where the engine (pardon me, Mr. Carter and Mr. Garrels – I mean motor) – where the motor was making queer noises and sort of smoking. I gave up right then, turned off the electricity and hurried upstairs to make telephone calls.
Mr. Heimbruch came out early Wednesday morning, examined it and expressed himself as helpless in the emergency; it being something only the Montgomery Ward people could handle. It was their machine to begin with. He assured me that he might be going to Fort Dodge soon and would take it over for me. And that very noon, he stopped for it and took it away. People are really very good!
So that's why the Martins machine was pretty busy for a while Thursday morning.

The motor had been sounding a bit ominous for several weeks and I rather suspected it might need oiling or something. I couldn't seem to get my husband interested in the matter, however. I guess I should have taken Mrs. Carl Ricklefs advice long before this. When she wants some like matter taken care of, she tips off her older son that it would be nice if he and his Daddy would see to it as soon as possible. Immediately, Mr. Ricklefs is in for a relentless bombardment, every evening and all day Sunday – "Don't you think we better oil the machine? Let's go down and do it right now. Mother's going to wash pretty soon" and so on and so on. Until finally in sheer self defense – and also because he's run out of alibis, Mr. Ricklefs with this small son, goes down to oil the washing machine.

Mr. Pletcher insists that it was no gag – he really intended to give me 13 eggs. So either he miscounted, or I did. Anyway, I've just received by special messenger, a perfectly huge goose egg, lovingly inscribed, "The little egg you didn't get."

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Mothers Diary
Our possessions didn't all break down at once like the "one hoss shay," but I feel as bereft as if they had. The electric toaster, my diamond ring, my indispensable suit, my watch, the washing machine and our recently repaired radio – all are useless to me at the moment. The watch and the washing machine are repaired and waiting, but they are in Fort Dodge – and I am here. I am taking care of my iron – such tender care, in fact, that I"m just finishing up the ironing that I prepared last Friday.

I read a book by Alice Colver a few days ago which had its scene laid in Concord at the time of Emerson, Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Alcotts and many others of that period. They were all woven into the story, so many famous names, some for just a page or two, that it left me as breathless as when I view a movie which incorporates a multitude of well known stars. Anyway the scenes played by Louisa Alcott aroused so many memories that I reread Little Women and Little Men this week. It my sound a little silly, but I enjoyed them profoundly and I'm wondering what Miss Elliot will think when I take out Jo's Boys. I read it, too, long ago, but I can't recall what happened to Daisy, Demi, Teddy and Nan, and all the rest of them.

I spent a goodly share of Sunday night with Steve and his cough. You know – you just get settled under the covers and a wail from the next room. You hastily tear in and administer water and a few soothing words until everything is quiet, retire to bed, you're just about to drop off when "Mother" is heard and you're up again.
Sometimes I think I'm just not the "Mother" type. I love my children and I take good care of them, but I can be casual about them too. Until they're sick, that is, and then I'm the worst old clucking mother hen you ever saw – but – I'd rather do my clucking in the daytime. Not for me the midnight vigils and warm milk and crooning lullabies at two o'clock in the morning. I feel like no ministering angel at that time of night. I'm just irritated and very sleepy. I feel that after a long day, I should be getting my sleep, and so should the children.
I have them, though – midnight vigils, I mean. I've popped in and out of bed from 11 o'clock until dawn for four consecutive nights with three measly, itchy children (perhaps I didn't do it with special grace – but I did it). First one, then the other until I wished that they'd all call at once for a change and get it over with. So they did and served me right, too. It was quite a feat to get a drink of water for one, the itching ointment for another, and get the other one to the bathroom simultaneously.
I remember one night when Bruce had a cold and couldn't sleep comfortably. After two hours of getting up with him every 15 minutes, I gathered him up in a blanket, went downstairs and prepared warm milk and coffee. We settled ourselves on the davenport and he stayed happily awake until 6:30 in the morning. (I stayed awake, too, though not happily.) Fortunately it was Sunday morning, so I prepared oatmeal, coffee and orange juice and left a note beside the toaster leaving instructions that Bruce and I were not to be disturbed until we woke up.
Our daughter used to have the occasional habit of waking blithely at one o'clock in the morning demanding food. She did it once when we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Mother woke up while I was trying to discourage her, and I can still hear Mother's indignant outcries as she clattered down to the kitchen, "No grandchild of mine is going to starve in this house!"

My husband, along with Dagwood and a lot of other husbands, seems to feel that Sundays and evenings at home are especially created for the purpose of sleep or "davenport work" as he calls it. After all these years of married life, I still rage futilely at this propensity to sleep peacefully in preference to my scintillating company. So it was with great glee and considerable ceremony, that he found and read this item to me in the current Ladies Home Journal:
  • "A man reserves his greatest and deepest love,
  • not for the woman in whose company he finds himself
  • electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose
  • company he feels tenderly drowsy."

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