Mothers Diary
Shirley Onnen Shirley Ann Onnen, our baby of the week, daughter of Pvt. (f.c.) and Mrs. Everett Onnen, is one of our local babies who has never seen her father.
Shirley Ann is five months old, born June 27, just after Pvt. Onnen went overseas. She has dark auburn hair and I was told that her eyes are dark blue, but I did not see them; she slept blissfully throughout our interview, even while I held her. She had just come from church where she had stayed awake all during the services, busily examining the church bulletin, so she was pretty tired and I forgave her.
She looks like her mother and, according to Mrs. Onnen, is just what her daddy ordered – a girl, named Shirley Ann. He's going to be pretty proud of his rosy, chubby baby, when he finally gets to see her.

I'm beginning to wonder if we'll ever be all moved and settled. I am in a state now bordering on complete hopelessness. No matter how many things get put away there always seem to be just as many boxes of stuff sitting around in the way. And after living for some time with some boxes untouched, I am beginning to have a dark suspicion that I have been carting things around for years that we have absolutely no use for; but don't we all!

The children are enchanted with all the fuss and flurry. They have been up-rooted so many times in their short lives that they can take any new move in their stride.
But Steve sat in the new living room Monday morning and looked about pensively, "My," he sighed, "This is pretty wallpaper. I wish we could just stay here for a long time."
Bruce, however, likes to be transported from one place to the other. He's going to be pretty annoyed when he is definitely confined to one.

Anyway we have the gas stove hooked up now, so cooking is not the problem that it was last week. But I have boiled water and heated soup, and cooked some dried peaches on the range. My chief difficulty with the range is keeping fire in it. I forget that it doesn't go merrily on forever without adding coal or wood. So I haven't had the courage to do any baking in it yet.

I can remember when Mother had a range, and what a blessed comfort it was with the oven door down on chilly mornings. I can remember simmering onion soup on the back of the stove and biscuits kept warm in the compartment above, and bread rising on top; and I can remember filling the reservoir with water, and toasting bread and marshmallows over the open fire. And I can remember my brother Bill sitting in front with his feet in the oven while his snow-soaked socks dried. That was a long time ago and here I am with a range again, but my memories tell me that I’m probably going to enjoy it – when I get acquainted with this one.

Mrs. Tiernan left three small tin whistles in a cupboard drawer, much to the delight of my three small children. Bruce was playing with them one evening while I was waxing floors. Suddenly, he began to gag and choke and swallow hard. I yelled for Ruby and grabbed Bruce. "Do you suppose he's swallowed a whistle?"
Ruby explored his pockets. "Only two here," she said.
I picked Bruce up in my arms and pounded his back experimentally. Just as I started for the other house and my husband and the telephone, Ruby called from the kitchen, "Here's the other one on the shelf."
Bruce dropped from my suddenly nerveless arms and my legs folded up. When I recovered he was standing calmly in front of me taking another lick of the wax jar cover. Then he began to choke and gag again!

The other day Steve was standing beside me as I was combing my hair and moaning over all the white hairs.
"Steve, I'm getting old," I told him.
He looked startled, "Are you really?"
"Yes, sir, your mother is definitely getting old."
For a moment he reflected my dejection, then brightened, "But we'll still know you, won’t we, Mother?"

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Mothers Diary
Paul Walker The baby of the week is Paul Dean Walker son of Yeoman First Class and Mrs. Oswald Walker of Knierim. He is also waiting until after the war to make the acquaintance of his Daddy, who is helping Uncle Sam's navy make the world safe for little ones.
Paul is sixteen months old and has blond hair and blue eyes. He is a busy little fellow and every wide-awake hour finds him occupied with the many diversions which wee folks find so amusing.
He is rapidly learning to talk and his favorite word is "There," and one chubby finger points out the object which strikes his fancy. On the few occasions Paul has been to call on us, he merely waved "Bye-Bye" when we talked to him, as if to say, "You don't rate very highly with me and I'm anxious to be on my way." This casual salutation was accompanied by a sweet smile though and played a happy tune on my heartstrings as only a little child's smile can do.
Paul and his mother are visiting his Grandma and Grandpa Walker at present, but usually make their home with his other grandparents at Gilmore City.
--Lulamae Imhoff

It snowed – and my husband has shoveled one final path between the two houses and brought the last few boxes of odds and ends over. So now all our possessions lay under one roof at least, though the back and front porches and basement are in somewhat of a helter-skelter state. If I should follow my own inclinations at present, they could just stay that way until spring. But somewhere nestled down in one of those boxes is an extensions cord that we need when we put up the Christmas tree next week. So as long as I must delve, I may as well straighten and sort as I go. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the cord was in the last box in the farthest corner.
I had and aunt who used to ejaculate with a twinkle, "Seems funny to me that something you're hunting for is always in the last place you look!"
And I, in my childish innocence, used to wonder mightily about such a phenomenon, and secretly test it out. And sure enough, it always was so – right there in the last place I looked!

I am listening to a radio! That may not seem so wonderful to most people – but it's pretty exciting to us. We haven't had a radio in the house – one that worked, I mean – since we moved here the 19th of August. So it really is an experience getting acquainted with all our favorite programs and personalities again. It's extra-ordinary to find that they haven't changed a bit, as somehow I'd expected a revolution to take place – especially in the commercials. But I find that it still takes 12 days for your hands to get the Ivory look. Folger's coffee is still a friend of every family and "Colonial is good bread." Those honeyed voices even still have the nerve to urge you to buy cigarettes!
The soap operas – I've always gotten a kick out of some of them – aren't any different. I made a little bet with myself that some of the characters hadn't gotten themselves out of the messes I left them in last August. But as yet I'm not sure about all of them since half the time, I go dreaming about my various household activities and forget to pay attention to them. But anyway, I apologized to them – the ones I heard are in new messes now.

It's a used radio – the one we have at present and has one exasperating fault. Just any time it cuts off our program entirely and there's a blank pause of two or three minutes before it comes blaring back at us. It's just a bit disconcerting to hear a comedian start off, "That reminds me of a story--" then a sudden awful silence and abruptly a roar of laughter and applause while we wonder forever what he could have said that was that funny.

I've been so busy moving and working and gadding that I haven't done a thing toward Christmas except haul out "White Christmas" and play it a few times.

Even little girls at 3 ฝ years soon learn the importance of sleep periods of little brothers or sisters, as benefiting both mother and baby.
Little Cynthia Henn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Henn, shows this influence in her version of "Away in the Manager" which goes like this:

"Away in the manger,
No crib for his bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down his wee head--
And we hope he sleeps a long time, don’t we Mother?"

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Mothers Diary
Merry Christmas to you! May your Christmas be blessed with all that goes with the season – music and star shine – children's laughter and giddy excitement – candlelight and a quiet hour with the story of that first Christmas.

If I had a nickel for every time I've answered the question, "How long is it now 'til Christmas?" I'd be a rich woman. For Steve's benefit, I have the time broken down into hours and minutes. This is a period of intolerable waiting for him. And further questions such as "How will Santa Claus know we've moved?" and "Hadn't we better leave the porch light on for him?" and "But, Mother, how does he know where to come?" have nearly driven me crazy.

Bruce is still a bit young and his excitement is limited to a profound bewilderment as to why incoming packages should be left around unopened and a passionate delight in pasting seals all over outgoing packages. The gifts the boys have fixed up for the grandmas and grandpas are a marvel to behold!

We have been pretty cautious this year about allowing Steve to share any Christmas secrets. Last year, he told all he knew with blithe candor. On Christmas eve, he and his father retired to the bedroom to wrap gifts, and as each one was finished, Steve trotted down stairs to the tree with it. The first time down he said clearly, "Mother will be surprised when she sees this music." The next time, evidently having received instructions, he appeared waving another package, "Mother doesn’t know what this is, but it's some more music." When his aunt helped him with another package, she must have been pretty forceful about necessary secrecy because he appeared in the kitchen doorway and beamed at me, "I'm not going to tell you what this is, but you can scoop sugar with it."

Christmas eve is my favorite time of the whole season. I always plan to have everything done so the evening will be a quiet interlude, a suspended state between anticipation and realization. But 11 o'clock and midnight usually finds me still rushing madly around. In the first place it takes positively forever to get children in bed and asleep (as any mother knows), then last minute package wrapping, a frantic hunt for the last seal in the house, the stocking ritual, preparations for Christmas dinner and checking to make sure all the gifts are around the tree.
But when the last thing is done and I'm at last ready for bed, then comes my moment – my real Christmas. I curl up in the big chair alone in the living room with no lights but those on the tree and listen to "Silent Night," or "Cantique Noel," on the radio. That is my time for dreams and memories.

I think of all my favorite Christmases in the past. The first Christmas I had money to buy gifts – 87 cents it was – and I provided out of that fund for all five members of the family. The Christmas eve that Dad brought home an electric train for Bill and in spite of our remonstrance's, insisted on setting it up and running it while I played loudly on the piano to cover up the clatter in case Bill should hear and get curious. I remember the wild times we had, herding Dad down town to buy Mother's gift. And I recall how stern we always had to be with Mother to keep her from opening her packages ahead of time. And the fun we had hiding presents, and giving hints – initials and colors, etc. just enough to drive each other wild. I remember the time I bought a hassock for the house and placed it half wrapped beside the tree and Bill would sit on it and say, "I wonder what this is? I can't imagine!" And the time nearly everybody in the family gave each of the other members a photograph of himself. That was the Christmas I offered Bill as his Christmas gift, money to get his picture taken as his presents to the rest of the family. We tied them all up on one large package – with his name on it and hilariously rehearsed how amazed he must look when he opened the pictures. When he was out of the way I reopened the package, carefully laid a new white shirt as a covering over the contents and tied it up again. When he opened it Christmas morning all ready to pretend great surprise, and saw nothing but the shirt, the look on his face was far more genuine than the rehearsal. One Christmas Dad had just had his favorite "Post Toastie" bowl broken and was inconsolable. He knew just how much that bowl held and now when he ate his breakfast with other dishes, how was he to know how many bowlfuls to eat? So we matched the size of the broken bowl as nearly as possible and Christmas morning we solemnly presented him with six of them, one at a time spaced at intervals throughout the gift ceremony. I believe that was the same time we had wrapped several packages of Dad's favorite store of tobacco and gave them back to him. "He ought to like them," Lloyd said as he tied them in gay ribbons, "he bought them himself!"
And I remember my first Christmas away from my family and all that fun. I was so utterly desolate that my husband insisted that I unwrap all my packages from home on Christmas eve to cheer me up. Since then, of course, we've had the children and each season grows more enchanted.

My quiet period in front of the radio and the lighted tree doesn't last so long. For one thing, no one trusts me alone with unopened packages. I like to pinch and shake them. And besides, morning comes early on Christmas. My husband always sighs and insists that the children will be up before dawn. And they are too – but he is always up first. I wouldn't exactly accuse him of poking them awake. All I know is, that they come bouncing out all agog, after he has prowled through their bedrooms a time or two. As for me – I could sleep – even on Christmas morning.

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Mothers Diary
My New Years wish comes to you from my heart. May the gathering days of 1945 bring to each of you renewed hope for better times, a new determination to fight for your special dreams, and high hearted courage to meet whatever the year brings of joy and sorrow.

The long awaited day has come and gone. The children hung up their stockings and awoke to find them all lumpy and bulging, full to overflowing with fascinating things.
We always plan an orderly distribution of the wrapped gifts under the tree, a dignified process whereby each may see what the others received and from whom it came. (This is especially necessary for me as I must write the post Christmas letters describing reactions to gifts and thank yous to the Grandpas and Grandmas.) Our daughter always insists on handing out the presents and always ends up somewhere about half way through, sitting in the middle of the floor, examining her own possessions. This year, Bruce received a push toy first of all and abandoned us for a cleared room where he amused himself until we were all through. We then coaxed him back to his other presents. Steve invariably holds up proceedings by donning every article of wearing apparel as he unwraps it. This year he presented a fine appearance in green overalls, brown sweater, blue helmet, red mittens and gay red and blue socks, with his pajamas still underneath.

I am desperately trying to keep some kind of order in the household but everyone has a tendency to keep presents laying about on display all over the furniture. And toys are strewn from one end of the place to the other. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only woman who has trouble keeping house from Christmas to New Years.

When I was attending school and teaching school, that week between the two big days was always a glorious holiday – a brief interlude of leisure and fun, and sleeping late every morning. So I still feel a faint resentment when the day after Christmas finds me back at routine duties, no different from other days.

Soon comes New Year's Eve. Years ago in my home, it was almost always strictly a family affair. We might stray for an hour or so but were home long before twelve o'clock. Dad and Bill used to be annoyed because there wasn't more noise or sounds of celebration about our little town when they threw open the front door to the frosty midnight air. Once, my sister and some of her friends tried to oblige by ringing the church bells, but almost got caught and had to hastily retire from the scene.
We spent the evening playing rummy, eating candy and popcorn and following the New Year across the nation via the radio. We became nostalgic and dreamed over our eleven o'clock lunch of sandwiches, fruitcake and coffee, as we listened to all our favorite music of the year just past and recalled the most important things that had happened to us the last 365 days. Then Mother sternly called us to order just before midnight, Central Standard Time, and we announced what we most hoped for in the New Year, and made a resolution. As I recall it my resolution was invariably the same – and still is – not to procrastinate, not to be so slow, and always be on time for things. As year after year went by, the members of my family began to look at me askance as I made my resolution. I still fondly hope that some day there will be a revolutionary change in my makeup and that I will become a most efficient, energetic person!

I do anticipate a brisk upswing in my correspondence habits. For Christmas I received a beautiful box of initialed stationery. I had begun to feel like the cobbler's child who had no shoes – here we had been in the printing business five months and I was still writing letters on any scrap of paper that was handiest.

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