Mothers Diary
Ooh!!! Two teeth gone! Up in the dentist's office they bolster my morale by reassuring me about how much better I'm going to feel when they are all out. Mabel insisted that not only would I get up more briskly in the mornings, but that I would be getting my husband up! My husband thinks that's putting just a little too much faith in the miracles of dentistry.

A temporary diet of soup and custard doesn't really appeal to me, but will no doubt be good for me. A gradually increasing bulge fore and aft, which has been sneaking up on me this winter, needs be attended to by spring anyway. I have clothes in my closet that I could wear if I reduced a little. I used to go on three day liquid diets when my mid-afternoon and midnight lunches became too obvious. But that was before I had three children, and two washings a week, and a big house to care for.

I used to have periodic spasms of exercising, too. You know "lie flat on your back – arms folded under your head – raise and lower your legs slowly ten times. Stand erect – swing your arms down and touch the floor with finger tips without bending the knees." After 20 minutes of that, I'd be so worn out and ravenous, any good results would be rendered nil by a half hour on the davenport with a healthy peanut butter sandwich, and a good book! Exercising Then the next day I would be so sore, it was creaking agony to move about my ordinary activities without getting down on my hands and toes and trying to heave my middle up and down. The next two or three days would be too busy for such foolishness and possibly a week or so later, I'd discover that my pretty yellow shirt was still inadequate for my curves, and with fresh enthusiasm, I'd start exercising again – for a day or two.

I can stick to a diet much better, but I slip up on that, too. And when I read that a piece of pumpkin pie can undo all the good results of a week of dieting, I get very discouraged, because, I firmly believe that a piece of any kind of pie is worth what you have to pay for it.
Actually, the only way I've ever lost weight was to work hard while I was half ill and had no appetite and add a little worrying on the side. The pounds simply melt away, but I'm not sure that the resulting haggard appearance is worth it.

Typical conversation with Steve as we sweep the dining room:
"Mother, don’t you wish we didn’t live in Manson?"
"Why no. I like Manson," I answer. "Don't you?"
Well, that's settled and there is a brief pause while I decide the floor should really be washed and waxed.
Then he attacks again. "But I like Easter eggs."
"Oh," I have learned to be strictly non-committal when I'm out of my territory.
He graciously explains. "In Waterloo, we had Easter eggs."
"Oh," I say again, but intelligently this time. "You can have Easter eggs here, too."
He looks slightly cheered. "Oh, goody! When?"
"At Easter."
Easter Egg "When is Easter?"
"Oh, a long time away – about two months."
"Why," he asks.
"Why, what," I've lost track.
"Why will we have Easter eggs?"
"Because – well, don't you want some?"
"Sure," he replies, "will they be colored?"
"Of course, red, yellow, blue, any color you want."
"Why will they be colored?"
"They're prettier that way," I tell him.
"Where will we get the colors?"
"Oh, at the drug store, I guess."
"Does the Easter bunny bring eggs?"
"I've heard tell he does." I am evasive on this one.
"Well, why doesn't he bring the colors too, so we don't have to buy colors?"
This is a little deep for me so I pretend I don't hear.
There is a pensive silence, and then –
"Mother – what do Easter eggs do?"
This has gone far enough.
"Steve, would you and Bruce like a piece of bread and butter and peanut butter?"
So the discussion ends there and Steve still doesn't know what Easter eggs do. But then – neither do I!!!

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Mothers Diary
I'm not really complaining but I'm getting a bit weary of snow and overshoes and cold winds and shoveling coal. By November first I'm usually ready for spring, but when February arrives, I begin to wonder if balmy breezes and green lawns are just a dream or something I once imagined.
Mr. Peer must feel about as I do on the subject. He stood in the office last Thursday afternoon gloomily observing the heavily falling snow outside. "Weather forecast was occasional snow flurries," he muttered. "Doesn’t look very 'occasional' to me!"

In our house recently if Bruce comes to one of us with his hands carefully cupped around absolutely nothing and places it in our hands, we don't even act surprised, but just hold it carefully until he relieves us of it and goes about his business. We don't know what he thinks he's doing but we hesitate to inquire.
Our daughter used to play that game with a little friend of hers when they were both curly headed tots of a year and a half. We mothers would sit by in baffled amusement and Toni's mother would say helplessly. "It doesn't look so bad when Nancy hands Toni nothing, but it's downright simple of Toni to look so pleased with it."

No. 35 sugar coupons are good now and I'm baking again. Since I've gained some confidence in my abilities as a cook, I enjoy baking tremendously, even if the results don't last very long.
When I was first married, I knew nothing about cooking, and had to depend very heavily on recipes. I was surprised to discover the number of things that weren't in recipe books at all – Mother's fruit pudding for instance. So once when I was visiting at home I asked Mother for the recipe and her suggestion was that I trot out to the kitchen and make one under her supervision while she finished some sewing in the dining room. I assembled utensils and card and pencil to take down the recipe as I want along.
  • "Ready," she asked. "All right, take about three-fourths cup of sugar---"
  • "About three fourths?" I asked. "Do you mean three-fourths or not?"
  • Mother looked a bit impatient, "I mean if you haven't got quite that much, it's all right, or if you want to bother pouring it back, it's all right. Don't be fussy," she finished grandly.
  • I carefully noted this on the card and measured out a helter-skelter three- fourths cup of sugar.
  • "Now what?" I inquired.
  • "Butter now. Let's see – wasn't there some butter on the dish in the cupboard? Yes, that's all right," as I showed it to her. "Use that."
  • I was baffled, "But how much is it?"
  • Eggs for baking
  • "Oh, never mind – it's enough. Now cream it. And don't ask how long – just cream it."
  • So I creamed it until I felt it was enough.
  • "Now, an egg," Mother prompted.
  • "You're sure about that?" I asked with a trace of asperity.
  • Mother was adjusting a sleeve and didn't seem to notice.
  • "Beat the egg in and then add some milk."
  • "Now look here!" I said firmly, "Just how much milk?"
  • "Enough so it looks right," then noting my expression, added hastily. "Oh, very well – about half a cup and if the batter isn't thin enough, add a little more after the flour is in."
  • "And how much flour?" I queried patiently.
  • "One cup," she replied firmly, "sifted with two teaspoons of baking powder. And take that dish of peaches out of the refrigerator, and put them in the pan, pour the batter over the peaches and put it in the oven. You light the oven first," she told me with some unnecessary emphasis.
The fruit pudding was delicious, but Mother was pretty indignant when I showed her the recipe card where I had written down her directions. I still have it and it reads as follows:
  • 3/4 cup of sugar (more or less if you wish)
  • Dish of melted butter left over from dinner. Cream well- according to inclinations.
  • 1 egg – no mistake about this.
  • 1/2 cup of milk – use own judgment.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder in 1 cup of flour.
  • Pour batter over whatever fruit you have available.

However, to this day, I insist on following directions in recipes, exactly. If I have to vary in so much as a half a teaspoon of anything I have palpitations until I find out if I've ruined the product. About the only thing I really take liberties with is dressing and that is more or less a direct result from Mother. Before I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner I wrote her for her delicious dressing recipe. And this is what I got:
"It's hard to give a dressing recipe, but I take dry bread and pour milk over it (or broth if I have it). I usually use two or three eggs for a large batch, salt and pepper and sage to taste. Add onion if you like it. Don't have it too wet with whatever liquid you use."
Now that doesn't look nearly as bad now as it did to me then – an experienced cook. Now the amount of bread and liquid and condiments doesn't worry me in the least. And I recklessly throw into a dressing anything I happen to have. Last week it was a bowlful of left over vegetable soup and a couple stalks of celery – and it didn't hurt the dressing a bit.

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Mothers Diary
"There is a beautiful." A frequent phrase in "How Green was my Valley" by Richard Llewellyn, described the book itself in its entirety. No matter if it was published in 1940 and there's been a movie made from it, and critics and lesser people have been raving about it for years. I just discovered it for myself. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a book so much – reading avidly with such sheer joy in style and beauty of expression.
For example -- when Ivor was directing his choir singing, "God save the Queen," here's how Mr. Llewellyn describes it.
"Now Ivor gathered himself and took all our voices into his fingers and drew them tight and the clarion note was struck in the slow, strong marching tempo and the grandeur came to frighten as the voices mounted in mighty majesty."

Perhaps I imagined it, but there was a reminiscent flavor of James Barrie, in parts of the book. Any way, Llewellyn's characterization of Beth, the Mother, reminded me of James Barrie's mothers in his books. I hastened to the library to read "Margaret Ogilvie," again. I couldn't find it, so I took "The Little Minister," as second choice.
Then as I always have done, I sat and chortled aloud, all by myself, as I helped Waster Lunny find the eighth chapter of Ezra after is was announced in church as the text. For as Water Lunny said, "Ezra is an unca ill book to find; ay, and so is Ruth – and there was a kind o' a competition among the congregation who would lay hand on it first."

My husband thinks it very strange that hard as it is for me to get up in the mornings, it should be so very difficult for me to go to bed at night. I don't like to go to bed, either. I like to make a pot of coffee and curl up in a corner of the davenport by the lamp, and just sit there in peace and contentment with a book or magazine. It takes all my will power to leave this pleasure, for bed. And "You know how you'll be in the morning," he berates me and finally one evening, "I don't understand you. Why don't you go to bed earlier?" He stood there completely baffled and somewhat helplessly amused at my serene answer, "But if I go to bed, the next thing I know, it will be morning!"
Woman Reading But other mothers would have understood. Any woman who has put children to bed after a long noisy day, and relaxes in her living room (orderly and quiet for the first time since morning) with the washing done and the ironing scheduled for the next day – any mother who settles down in her chair then, with a magazine and is reasonably sure she won't be at the beck and call of countless demands – she would have known what I meant.

I had a wonderful weekend. I made a very unexpected trip to Des Moines to attend, as guest, the annual birthday luncheon of the Iowa Presswomen on Saturday and spent the remainder of the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Breazeale. And to be a guest of the Breazeales is a truly relaxing experience for a housewife and mother. They had things planned in advance and all I had to do was to follow their lead and have a beautiful time without a thought or a care.

At the entrance to the luncheon room in Younkers, I was introduced to a trim, nice looking girl from KXEL in Waterloo.
"Oh," I cried, feeling that friendly glow that comes from a shared experience, "I used to live in Waterloo."
"Wonderful," she said, "And I used to live in Manson."
She was Isabel Loar, niece of Mrs. Ida Williams and sends greetings to her relatives and friends here.

It's getting to be a habit with my husband – missing trains, I mean. Only this time it was the seven o'clock interurban out of Fort Dodge, Saturday morning. However, he would have me hasten to explain, that had we had correct directions for reaching the station, I would have been on it in time.
On the other hand, had I been on it, I wouldn't have been on the 8:20 bus, a little later, and would never have met the returned soldier who was with my brother's outfit in the South Pacific. To talk to someone who had recently seen Bill, and to be assured that it wouldn't be too long before Bill would be home, was the biggest thrill of the trip.
Sometimes I have to believe that "there is a destiny that shapes our ends."

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