Mothers Diary
A few weeks ago JoDene Moline stopped me on the street and announced, "Oh, Mrs. Jones, I had a bad day yesterday!"
"Why, what happened to you?" I asked, all concerned.
"I had my tonsils out yesterday morning." She told me dolefully.
Well – Steve and I know just what she meant by a "bad day" now.
Steve had his tonsils out Friday morning and we're all done with hospitals for a while. Not that the Lutheran Hospital in Fort Dodge isn't a nice place to be if you absolutely have to be there! But we'd rather be home, after all.
In the first place, Steve wasn't entirely convinced that it was very manly to be arrayed in those slipcovers that they call nightgowns in the hospitals. But he bore up bravely until he was carried away on the pushcart out of my sight down the hall. I don't know just what happened after that, but he insists that he didn't cry, and he liked the doctor because he held his hands while he "went to sleep."
I'm afraid I didn't do so well. I was perfectly all right until Steve turned around, loosened his firm hold on the trundle buggy (what do they call those things anyway?) and grinned and waved goodbye to me. I stumbled back into his room with the wild conviction that I had delivered my child into a den of wolves that might do practically anything to him, and who knew if I'd ever see him again. They were all strangers to me, even the doctor, and if he cried or struggled would they be patient with him? I felt very peculiar – to put it mildly. So I grabbed my purse and walked very stiffly down to the lobby where Helen Egli was sitting. I mumbled something about coffee, and she took one look at me and started talking very fast about nothing at all – so eventually I pulled through.
Helen was with me by courtesy of a frantic telephone call late the night before, when I was in search of transportation to the hospital. It isn't everyone who would sacrifice morning sleep – not to mention gas – to drive someone to Fort Dodge in the early hours of the day!

Young Terry McDowell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lon McDowell, had his first ride in an airplane last week – and his second one too, I might add. They rode from Sioux City to Watertown, South Dakota by plane and also the return trip. Terry was really thrilled when they boarded the big plane for the return trip and after they were on their way confided to his father, "Oh, I think this is the best plane I ever rode one!"
"You do?" asked his father, "Why do you think so?"
"This lady gave me two sticks of gum, and the other just gave me one." Replied Terry enthusiastically.

Bem Baum hounders
Hoat ob Naby boo
He luz her haidor
An’ he luz her hoo.

That – I keep reminding myself when he sings it – is Bruce's own inimitable translation of the opening bars of the chorus of "Bell Bottomed Trousers."

Does anyone know the year of the first Memorial Day celebrated in Manson?

(back to top)

Mothers Diary
Last Friday I had a can of salmon and made salmon loaf for supper, accompanied by a menu lifted right out of a magazine. I had meant to use the menu ever since I clipped it some years ago, as the picture of it was really enticing. My supper was pretty good and just like the picture except for a few minor substitutions.
I didn't have any grapefruit or avocado, and I don't bother with firsts courses except for Christmas or Thanksgiving anyway, so I just skipped that. And by the time I had sliced the potatoes, I didn't have time to scallop them, so we had fried potatoes. The salad of tomatoes, green pepper, cauliflower and mixed greens, and the vegetable dish of peas, mushrooms, onions and pimento, had me worried for awhile as I had none of those ingredients, but a fresh cabbage in the ice box solved the problem, and what's better than good cabbage slaw? Instead of glazed whole apricots, I had watermelon preserves and they didn't take syrup and brown sugar and butter to prepare! The salmon loaf in the picture was served with creamed eggs, but we had just had eggs for lunch so I abandoned them and served my salmon loaf plain. The dessert was a gorgeous chocolate layer cake sprinkled with coconut, so I had peach shortcake. When I got my supper on the table and compared it with the picture, I was just a little surprised. But anyway I had the salmon loaf!

Looking up that menu from my pile of food pages torn from magazines back in 1938 and '39, got me intrigued though, and here I am carefully looking them over to see what I have. I always meant to put them in a scrapbook – but somehow they are still loose.
First to meet my eye is pictured a page of luscious roast beef, French Fries and apple pie. I hastily go on to an article on "Dinner in Half an Hour." These menus always amuse me to no end, for upon inquiring into them I usually find that most of the work has to be done the night before or most of the morning in order to prepare it from 5:30 to 6:00. Also it says, "If you are a business housekeeper, let your husband help you prepare dinner. Watch how he enjoys doing it!" HA!
Well, a page of cakes – lemon layer cake, only ¾ cup shortening and 2 cups of sugar, (this was in 1939 remember); spice cake too, with 1 ½ cups white sugar plus ½ cup of brown in the icing. Sounds delicious.
I always did mean to try this –Peas a La Esquire, it says here. Simply buttered peas with a dash of boiled egg and pimento in buttered bread cups. I'll save it some more as I may get around to it someday.
Oh – here's a thick slice of ham surrounded with broiled pineapple slices. I have done this many times in the past and can almost remember what it tastes like.
This page is really elegant, broiled chicken breasts on toast, with asparagus and parsley potatoes. The dessert is ice cream in a huge meringue mold garnished with halved strawberries. I can't remember ever doing that menu, but it looks succulent.
What on earth is this – a page of hats – and elegantly attired torsos? One caption reads, "Your figure will be outlined like a dressmaker's dummy in this tube like tunic." I may never have been too particular about my appearance, but I'm positive that I never aspired to resembling a dressmaker's dummy. So I can't imagine why I saved that. The reverse side is a piece of an article entitled "Old Time Christmas in Maine." This is no help.
The next page is a little better, full of a week's low cost meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just to be different, I have often resolved to follow a week's menu exactly to see what happens. And what usually happens is that the first day I meet up with more breakfast than we ordinarily would eat in a whole week, shoulder lamb chops, peanut butter banc-mange, and cheese strata. And though the article informs me that I'll be most enthusiastic about the cheese strata, I shudder away from the whole idea and have hamburgers instead.
This is really an idea now – a picnic picture, with a huge steak, and a kettle full of corn on the cob over an open fire, and olives, and tomatoes and hot rolls and apple pie cozily waiting on a nearby table.
I am convulsed as I look further – at a very flossy array of desserts. Something green with chocolate sauce, a mixture of white and red in a muffin basket (I guess), something white surrounded with whole strawberries and ripe olives – no that can't be olives – must be cherries, and something all pale green and yellow piled up on a tall glass. There is more, but I give up. I must have saved it for looks anyway, as I find no accompanying explanation.
Here's some more ham with pineapple and ham with eggs (I'm still very fond of ham) and of all things, a cherry pie, I'd forgotten there was such a thing. And a pineapple upside down cake. That used to be one of my specialties.
Here's 23 mouth-watering ways to serve hash. Here's another whole week's meal – and I knew it – the first thing that meets my eye is Onion Corn Bread and Caraway Horns. Can you imagine!
Next comes "Pies – Quick and Easy." That does it. I'm through. In the first place no matter what the recipe, pie is the hardest thing I've ever tried to make and besides I'm hungry. There's some left over pork and beans in the icebox that just might make a pretty good sandwich!

(back to top)

Mothers Diary
Birthdays are so important especially to Steve. He will be five this week and there's a birthday cake and five candles in the offing. His birthday always seems to be the most exciting one of the whole year, perhaps because he looks forward to it for so long. On our daughter's birthday in January, he starts getting excited about his own. His interest mounts with each succeeding celebration – another in January, one in March and one in June. So by August when his is due, he's practically hysterical.
Steve does so enjoy having a fuss made over him, and he likes presents, but the climax of the birthday for him, the entire reason for having a birthday, is the cake and the candles! He doesn't care to be surprised, either. He is right there at my right hand from the moment I take the flour sifter out of the table. He has spooned in the sugar, supervised the baking, licked the frosting bowl and carefully arranged the candles.
We still laugh whenever we recall his third birthday – how he beamed when the candles were lit, and no amount of pressure could persuade him to blow out the candles. He sat there in utter bliss until the last candle had burned clear down to the frosting. Then his interest was gone. He ate a little frosting from his piece, but as far as I can remember never did eat a bite of the cake. And I have threatened ever since to skip cake entirely on both boys' birthdays – just whip up a bowl of frosting – since that's all they eat anyway. But the cake isn't just cake to Steve. It's a symbol. The cake is his birthday.
So this week five candles will be lighted on a cake with a pink frosting and we'll sing Happy Birthday, while he capers wildly and grins his heartfelt pleasure.
How I wish he could stay five for a long, long time.

Whenever you see a glistening red nose and a peeling forehead, treat them with respect, for there's probably a detasseler behind them. Those kids deserve a lot of credit and here's to 'em.
From all accounts they have a lot of fun, but I wouldn't let the frivolous accounts fool me. It's really hard work especially for those who stick it out day in and day out. One girl reported, "Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is miles upon miles of corn rows!"
I'm never up in time to see the bus leave town, but I enjoy hearing it come back. It's somehow exciting and encouraging to hear their undaunting young voices flinging their song to the world. "I've been working in the cornfield all the livelong day."

(back to top)

Mothers Diary
Steve’s birthday went off as scheduled. Aside from the cake and candles, the high spots were a pair of long trousers and a "super" raincoat and cap. When he held the trousers against him, his face glowed as he shouted, "Boy, I'm almost a man."
The raincoat was carefully hung in his room, and he has occupied his time scanning the skies for signs of rain. Tuesday, it was done raining by the time he went out, and in the afternoon he walked up town without the coat and was caught in the rain coming back. So, nothing daunted, he donned his cap and gravely went out in it to feed the chickens!

Recently, after reading an article in a magazine assailing all salespeople during wartime, I was fired with ambition to write a combative reply. I never got around to it, of course, but I still wonder just what kind of places the author ran into on his exhaustive survey. I have met with a few salespeople myself, and have had from them, nothing but the utmost courtesy and consideration. And this in spite of the irritations and headaches, that stores and restaurants have fallen heir to during this exasperating era of shortages and rationing. Maybe there are waitresses and clerks, who are rude, arrogant and neglectful of their duties, but I haven't encountered any.
It's too bad that author didn't stop in Manson on his travels!

And apropos of stores, there's another little matter they are contending with, now that the war is over. I can't believe that there are really people who think that the war's end automatically puts all the scarce articles back on the shelves in prewar quantity and quality.
"But what can they be thinking of when they expect that?" I asked one clerk in perplexity.
"I don’t believe they are thinking," she replied.

But just the same, how wonderful it will be to have everything back to normal as far as supplies are concerned. Think of using the last bit of sugar in the sugar can with no other thought than "I must remember to order sugar tomorrow." And to plan a meal and order the makings and get everything you planned on!

This week's Tuesday of rain and cold gave me a shuddering foretaste of closed-in winter days to come. The scatter rugs in a heap in the middle of the floor – the davenport and chair covers all of a doodah – a heap of toys on the boy's bed – mud on the porch – and children playing tag under foot during ironing and cooking.

Prayer at War’s End:
God, we are immeasurably happy and thankful that the war is done. Give us grace to adjust ourselves now with dignity and purpose. May we work for peace with as much wisdom, enthusiasm and courage as we worked for victory. Amen.

(back to top)