Mothers Diary
Christmas shopping – whoo! Not that I've done enough to exhaust the stores or me yet. Magazine subscriptions are all – so far.
But I've thought enough and worried enough about it in the past few days to wear me out. I've started and lost a dozen lists. And interrupted my husband just on the verge of slumber with "What do you think about this for Rosamond?" or "Do you think Mother would like that?" He is definitely not cooperative on these matters, at any time and when he's practically asleep it drives him to the point of apoplexy. After all these years he simply cannot understand why my thinking and conversational powers are at their highest point after the lights are out and I'm supposed to be fast asleep!
I don't have a lot of difficulty buying things for the mothers and my married sister. There are so many things that housewives need. And I don't really have too much trouble thinking of something for the men of the family. It's these career girls that drive me crazy. These unmarried sisters and sisters-in-law, with pretty good jobs and the air of having everything they need already. These trim, business- like women who make me feel just like an out of date wife and mother, which I am, and remind me that I haven't had a new slip for three years, and wear the same pair of shoes with every dress.
And there are four of them in our immediate family. One steps from the ranks soon to be married so I can buy her Pyrex and dishtowels from now on – but what do I get these other girls? Especially this year, when, if I found a pair of hose, I'd buy them for myself!
Well, it's my problem. I'll think of something probably. Wonder if they could use a powder puff apiece?

Pancakes and waffles are wonderful things. About once a week I mix up a huge batter, get out the griddle and the waffle iron, and we all pitch in and enjoy ourselves.
Monday night when our daughter wanted to ask Nancy Harrison to stay for supper, I said, "But all we're having is pancakes." And they just beamed. I've found that that happens lots of times when I have company though, so I don't apologize for a supper like that anymore. I just heat up the syrup and hope the batter holds out.
One of our most treasured wedding gifts was a waffle iron, and my husband swears to this day that waffles is all I fed him and guests too, for three months. So that’s why he's the least enthusiastic member of the family when he calls up to ask me what I want from the store, and I reply, "Milk is all. We're having pancakes and waffles tonight."

I don't think my brother Bill has changed a lot after five years in the army. Last wash morning I came up from the basement to find Bruce alone in the living room.
"Why, where's Uncle Bill?" I asked.
"Oh," replied Bruce, disgusted, "He's upstairs playing with our toys."
And there he was, too, trying to patch and put together the youngsters wooden trains.

There was great turmoil in our household one morning last week (as when isn't there!) as the children were tearing out of the house for school – unusually late in getting started. And we couldn't find Steve's cap. Then we remembered it was left in the car and the car was already up town. So I told Steve he'd just have to go to school without it.
"I'll stop for it!" he informed me breathlessly and he started on high for the door.
"You haven't time," I shouted after him, "You'll be late if you stop."
"But I have to," he wailed back at me, "I have to have it so I can take it off before I go into the schoolhouse!"

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Mothers Diary
My Christmas list – or lack of one – still has me all of a doodah. The situation has been relieved somewhat by a letter from a career sister-in-law including an informative list of gifts dear to a girl's heart. Bet she was worried about that powder puff idea of mine!

I have sometimes mused on the traitorous thought that one could enjoy Christmas more without the hurry and scurry of frantic gift buying, the rehearsing of special music, the exhausting hours practicing children for programs, the decorating in the homes and elsewhere, the oftimes disheartening task of separating in children's minds, Santa Claus and the true meaning of Christmas, and the mighty and repeated problem of finding the tired bulb among all the lights on the Christmas tree. In fact – get rid of all the expense and work that goes with Christmas!
I've never said this out loud though. I can just hear people yelling, "Scrooge" at me! I just think it, when I contemplate the extra chores and wonder if I'll be finished by Christmas Eve.
Besides, I've tried it once – before our children were born. I was ill and didn't do any shopping – hardly even got down town. We had just moved and knew no one. We didn't go to church and for the first time since I could remember, I wasn't involved in choir and Sunday school programs. A college friend, who was going to be cheated out of decorating a tree, brought up a tree and decorations and spent a glorious afternoon fixing it up by herself. So our Christmas consisted of addressing a few Christmas cards, opening boxes from home and sleeping very late on Christmas morning.
I never had such an uninteresting Christmas in my life! So I'll take everything that goes with it – the tired muscles and the weary brain – but I'll have the spangle and glitter, too, and the choked tears in my throat as the children sing "Away in the Manager," in the candle lit church.
It all makes sense.

It is good to see the vari-colored lights of the business district these nights – makes a special bright spot in our town. But the other evening as I left the lights behind me and stumbled blindly up a dark side street, I thought it would be nice if a fraction of that concentrated brightness could be distributed about the whole place. It wasn't my own sidewalk, but someday there I'm going to fall flat on my face between streetlights over a root of a tree or a broken brick – and I'm going to feel none too charitable about the lighting system. There are a few people in town who still must walk home before and after twelve o'clock. Of course we might get flashlights!

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Mothers Diary
I just received a Christmas card from a high a school friend in South Dakota which queried plaintively, "Hey, How come no one hears from you from one end of the year to the other?" and then goes on in her own writing to announce the birth of a daughter last September – first I had heard about it!
Anyway, that card upheld my theory as to why Christmas cards endure. It's about the only way we have of catching up on the news from long distance friends from way back. There are a good many names of my list that never get written to or heard from except at Christmas time. And surely, I'm not the only one.
There's one difficulty. It takes so long to finish my Christmas. By the time I've written questions and news on every available white space of two or three cards – the evening is gone, and I am appalled at all I have left to do. I should start earlier but I guess it simply isn't in me to get things neatly out of the way ahead of time. Sometimes I wonder about me!!

I've basking in the smug knowledge that I bought two Christmas presents the first week in December. I had such an early start. And I am suddenly jolted to the sky because it is a week until Christmas and I haven't done another solitary thing since then. And where has the time gone in between? I could swear that day before yesterday was Thanksgiving. Anyway, I am now on the last frenzied lap of the race between me and Christmas. And I wouldn't be surprised if it gets here before I do.

I haven't anything for my husband yet – and I'm not sure that I ever will. He is such help. When I ask him what he wants, he says, "A thousand dollars" or "Nothing." And when I asked Mr. Thomas what he responded as a husband and father to such appeals, he said, "Nothing." And personally, I think it would serve 'em right if that's what they got!
Besides that I have a discouraging background of buying things for my husband. Once I bought him a pair of house slippers and they didn't quite fit so he accompanied me to the shoe store, and it cost me $1.50 more before he was satisfied. Once I bought him an extremely good cigarette lighter and it has rested in a dresser drawer practically ever since. He immediately broke a watch chain I gave him, so it's with the lighter. Last Christmas I gave him gloves and he started wearing them less than a month ago. I have accused him of wearing them simply to appease me into buying him a gift this year.
I've heard lots of stories about men who never use what they receive. In one family in this community, a wife and son have solemnly wrapped up the same box of assorted ties three Christmases in a row for the man of the house
. For all I know he hasn't worn the ties to this day.
My husband shouldn't be surprised if he gets his cigarette lighter again this year.

Breathes there a man with soul so dead.
Who never to himself hath said
"And we'll have a 10 cent gift exchange,"
Or .25 or .50 or a dollar as the case maybe.
I don't really mind when the youngsters come tearing home from school with "I got Johnny's name and we have to spend only 15 cents.
I don't mind when the next Sunday they come home from Sunday school with a name apiece for gift exchange.
I don't mind when all the plans for club parties and organizational meetings include "and bring a gift for the grab bag."
I don't even mind – too much when I add everything up and wonder if there is enough money in my purse or enough 10-cent gifts in town to provide.
But I do mind when our daughter insists on drawing names at home! So we did. However, we did persuade her that it would be more fun to save the exchange presents for New Years breakfast so as to give us something to look forward to after Christmas.
"We just spend 10-cents for the gifts," she announced after the solemn occasion of drawing the names out of Stephen's cap. "Of course, if Daddy and Mommy want to spend more, that's all right."

Our first Christmas card received this year was addressed to Taffy from Grandpa Jones. And he hasn't even chewed it up yet!

When I wrote up the Congregational Women's association last Wednesday night, I completely forgot to add the hostesses, Mrs. Schlatter, Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Rosenquist. And how I could forget it, I don't know, as the cake and whipped cream they provided at four o'clock was all that sustained me through a busy supperless evening.

The fire alarm and engines Sunday evening rudely awakened little Richard Howie and Marcella, who was looking after him, answered his wailing by running up to him. She was a bit nonplused when he fixed her with an accusing eye and said, "What did you wake my up for?" It was only after her apologies and promises not to do it again, that he went back to sleep.

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Mothers Diary
The old year is an old book – its cover tattered and soiled – and its pages dog-eared and worn. We've laughed over it, wept some, disapproved and lauded; but as we gently close the book and place it among its fellows in the attic, we realized that two of its pages will ever remain bright in our hearts – the Victory Days.
The New Year is a new book, crisp and tantalizing as an unopened gift, all colorful binding and uncut pages. Some of us open it with wonder and foreboding, and some can’t wait to start reading, with insatiable curiosity to see what each fresh day brings. But we can’t skim through to see if we like it and find out it ends happily. Good or bad, exciting or dull, happy or sad, the new year is ours to peruse to the conclusion – whether we like it or not.

For 1946 I resolve:
That my husband shall remember to roll up his sleeves before diving into the back shop machinery up to his waist – and thus not ruin all his clothes with ink.
That our 13-year-old shall gradually substitute something else for "Jeepers" and "But definitely."
That our 7-soon-to-be 8 year old daughter will stop acquiring junk in her room as fast as I clear it out!
That our sons will grow a bit more civilized as the year unfolds.
That Taffy will learn to be a gentleman and not jump on every one who comes to the house.
That there will be no more weddings in our family unless I can attend. (I missed two this past year.)
That by the time I get everyone in perfect order I shall be good enough myself to deserve them.
And I really, truly, hereby resolve to do my Christmas shopping EARLY next year!

I believe that Christmas day exceeded the children's expectations and that's a lot to say for any day. They have a profusion of gifts including all the things they wanted most. There are so many, in fact, that I am still confused as to who sent what! When our first was a baby, I made the mistake of listing all her gifts and donors, and sending a list for the edification and enjoyment of the grandparents. With Steve's arrival and an extra list to make I began to find this practice a task, The addition of Bruce confused me no end, and this Christmas, I'm not even sure I can write proper thank you notes unless I just say, "Thank you for the presents, (was it you who sent the farm set to Steve?)"

It was too bad that the weather prevented many from attending the Christmas Eve services at the churches. It seems to me there is something left out of Christmas if it does not include singing "O Come All Ye Faithful," with all your friends, and watching the beginners clambering on and off the platform.

Barbara Braley informed her parents that she was singing in a "Three-O" at the program. Trio was never as expressive a term as that.

They are doing something rather exciting over at the Lake City library. They’re having a Gift Book week, either donations of books for the library or money for the purchase of new books (wish someone would contribute the Rogue Herries series by Walpole to our library, or Margaret Oglivie so I might read them again.) Anyway, it sounds like a sound idea for any library to adopt.

I just heard, much to my distress, of the death of Professor C. A. Fullerton over two weeks ago. He used to be superintendent of schools in Manson, and had been head of the music department of Iowa State Teachers College at Cedar Falls for many years.
I suppose his Fullerton songbook is in practically every rural school in Iowa, and many other states as well. I first learned of it, and his method of teaching music in rural schools, when I was in one of his classes at college back in 1929. He sent his books and phonographs and records into the rural schools, so that pupils without pianos and with teachers who couldn't sing a note, might learn songs and join with other children in the county and all over the state, in a grand chorus that was a marvel and joy to all who heard.
It is strange to think of him as dead. He was one of the "alivest" men I have ever known, and so full of music and enthusiasm that he bounced when he walked.
But he will live again wherever a teacher opens a bright, red Fullerton Song Book and whenever a rural school sings the rollicking "Fiddle-dee-dee" and the lovely "Slumber Boat."

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