Mothers Diary
I love the Bandmothers and I think they are doing a worthy work in this world, but they sure aren't very careful about whom they ask for an angel food cakes. I got this card from them last Friday asking me to bring an angel food cake to the school house by 5:30 p. m. Monday for the Commercial Club dinner.
"They're dreamers," I shrieked. "Don't they know that I don't bake angel food cakes anymore? I even buy cakes for birthdays at our house."

"Well," Helen Bleam suggested sensibly, "why don't you just buy one and take it?" But this did not seem quite fair. If the band mothers had wanted "boughten" cakes, I imagine they could have gone to the store themselves.
And they might just as well have asked me for cherry pie – which they did last year, and you may remember what a fiasco that was. Mabel got sick and couldn't make them and I had to bake them myself with resulting tears and tragedy.

So rather then risk Mabel's health, I gloomily took myself to the kitchen Sunday afternoon and proceeded to mix an angel food cake. I set the temperature at 375 degrees as directed, put the panful of luscious dough on the bottom rack as directed and set the timer for 25 minutes, ten minutes less time that directed, since I am always suspicious of baking times in recipes.
I went back to the living room and very shortly I thought something smelled very warm – and then very brown.
But I didn't actually connect it with the cake until I began to wonder if I hadn't heard the timer buzz, so I went to the kitchen.
I still had five minutes, but the cake had overflowed and was a crisp black.

What did I do? I peeled the black crust off and set it aside for the family and simply ignored them when they asked, "What is that?" when they came trooping in for supper.
"You're just not a very good cook," said my husband.
"Stupid cake," I said.
And I mixed up another one and put it in the oven – carefully setting the timer for 15 minutes and reducing the oven temperature to under 350 degrees. Before the 15 minutes were up, that cake was a very dark brown on top.
How long does it take to bake an angel food cake, anyway?

"You're just not a very good cook," said my husband.
"Stupid cake," I said.
And I took it to the band mothers.
Next time, dear ladies, will you just ask me to come and wash dishes?

No one can guess where I was last Saturday. I was judging debates at Spirit Lake, with one interesting difference.
Judging debates is usually a lonely job – going from room to room, a single judge in company with a timer and the debaters.
But at Spirit Lake, a room was set aside for judges and coaches to drink coffee and relax and talk to each other. This has been my first opportunity to talk to other judges – who are usually the coaches as well.
Do you realize how well our Manson debaters are regarded? One coach, introduced to Mr. Welch and myself, looked at us with disfavor.
"Well, there it goes," he said in despair. "You got here, so there goes the debate."
And the other coaches and judges also gazed at us with respect. We basked in reflected glory as they praised the Manson debaters and their coach, Mrs. Vetter, who was not there that day. And I realized more than ever, how proud we should be of our high school students and their instructors.

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Mothers Diary
I had an adventure Friday with the vacuum cleaner – and this was rather nice because for me vacuuming is only boredom and exertion. There are some people who use this cleaning instrument as their right hand, but I will do most anything to avoid using it.
I will employ a broom, a dust mop, a dust cloth, my hands, and knees and a chair to stretch up to corners before I will be driven to the pantry for the vacuum. And for all the tubes and brushed and swivels and cords and hose that come with it.

And sometimes I am driven to it, as I was Friday, with cobwebs in the corners and the venetian blinds heavy with dust. I dislike the venetian blinds even more than the vacuum cleaner, so I figured as long as I had to clean the blinds, I might as well be real miserable.
What the blinds really needed – and still do – was a real old fashioned sudsing, but I simply didn't have time for that. I didn't have time to do a good job of dusting them either, but there comes a time when it is necessary to at least make a gesture toward something extra in the way of cleaning. And last weekend was the time for it – with two meetings scheduled at our house for this week.

So I fought with the vacuum cleaner getting it assembled and then fought with the blinds at the hall window, getting them up so as to dust the woodwork and windows behind and around them, and then getting them down. This is a real trick, as they always come alive and fight back, no matter how carefully I handle them.
My arms were aching and I was halfway down the window and gloomily counting the number of blinds and windows ahead of me, when it occurred to me that the vacuum cleaner did not seem to be putting out much effort.
It was roaring as usual, but there was an empty howl to it. Suspiciously, I put my hand over the brush and could feel no suction. I removed the brush and put my hand over the nozzle. No suction.

Well! I sat down amid the brushes and cord and hose and I eyed the cleaner. Then I remembered that I could disconnect the hose, so this I did, feeling quite mechanical, and peered down that end but nothing could I see but a pencil. I poked, but the pencil wasn't about to come around the curve of the hose.

So I sat down again and I felt vaguely cheered. If I couldn't vacuum, I couldn't. That was all. So I would just slant the blinds upward a bit so as to hide the dust when company came, and no one would be the wiser.
Then I remembered something else. There was supposed to be a place on most cleaners to blow air out instead of sucking it in, and there was a hole at the side of this cleaner that air came out of.
Now I really felt like a mechanic. The nozzle of the hose fit in the hole and I was pretty excited until I began to worry about what might blow out of the hose besides the pencil – if it did.

But I had gone this far, and I was not going to be stopped. I dragged the cleaner to the front door and pushed the hose out the door. Then I took a deep breath and pushed the switch.
And whoosh!
A great big wad of dust and lint and dirt blew clear across the porch to the top of the steps, and the pencil clattered noisily after it.
Hastily, I reeled the hose back inside and reassembled the vacuum cleaner, turned it on and the suction was terrific. I was so proud that I was almost happy as I finished the hall blinds and went on to the living room.

When I told my husband about it at noon, he looked thoughtful.
"It would have been interesting," he said, almost wistfully, "If someone had been coming up the steps just as you turned the vacuum on. Surprise, huh?!!"

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Mothers Diary
I dislike, very much, to postpone meetings of any kind. So I never do unless I am talked into it by someone who can argue me down.
So we did not postpone the circle meeting at my house last Thursday afternoon and we were proud of the eight women who braved the snowdrifts to get there.
"Though we wouldn't have come," said Lorraine, "if we had known we would have to eat raw egg!"

The dessert was not that bad and I noticed that there wasn't a crumb left on any plate, though its possible they were just being polite.
As a matter of fact, the dessert was very good and no one would ever have known there was raw egg in it if they had just sat quietly and eaten it without getting curious.
It was Lorraine who had started it.
"This is good," she said, "But what are we eating?"
So one thing led to another and I got out the recipe and that's how they discovered there was raw egg in it.
And then, Mabel Thomas confessed that her daughter had insisted the mixture should be cooked when she caught her mother making a panful for the meeting. But Mabel was brave. She had made the recipe according to the instructions I had given her.

I was somewhat surprised. I had supposed this bakeless cake recipe was fairly common property around here.
I had eaten it first at a club meeting several years ago and asked for the recipe from Marian Rankin – and the next day a card came in the mail with the recipe written down, and I have used it fairly often to this very day – still from that same card.
It would have been the recipe I would have entered in the Karnival contest had I been allowed to enter. (Yes, of course, I would have shared the $5 dollar prize with Mrs. Rankin.)

A meeting did get postponed last week – the County Woman's Club meeting set for last Friday afternoon here – and several Manson women had cookies already in the oven when they were notified.
I had protested when the county president called from Lohrville, but I couldn't argue with drifting driveways and snow packed roads.

It is much harder to postpone a meeting than it is to have it. There are all the phone calls informing all concerned of the decision. And then there are all the phone calls setting up a new date that had no conflicts for officers, speakers, directors and the place.
If there is a blizzard next Monday, I may start screaming and it may be hard to stop me.

Becky was a bit cross as she started out Monday morning in the face of a new storm. She thought school should have been postponed.
But Dale was serene. He set off happily, figuring that surely they would be dismissed about noon.
Dale is never quite as thrilled with schools closing as the girls are. Martha and Becky spent most of last Wednesday morning cozily reading in bed, but Dale had to get out and shovel snow.

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Mothers Diary
I cherished Mrs. Stewart's table cloth for over two weeks with a motherly solicitude that was half panic and half pride; but it was all worth it when it appeared at the County Woman's Club meeting Monday in all its glory.
It was a pity that Mrs. Stewart wasn't there to hear the comments and compliments.

When she told me early in the winter that she would like to send her tablecloth for our use at the tea for the county meeting, I blithely accepted responsibility for it. Then it arrived and I opened the package and looked at it and flew into a panic.
That tablecloth was a handmade gorgeous creation of nylon net and sequins and where it belonged was in a bank vault, not in my house.
But I have been guarding it well, hardly daring to breathe when I am in the same room with it – even if it is wrapped in tissue paper, secure in a sturdy box. And I can assure Mrs. Stewart that in case of fire, I will grab it first!
But I hope she hurries home now.

Play books are just flying around our house now – with my husband rehearsing in Arsenic and Old Lace for the Hawkeye Theater – and me working on the play for our club guest night.
When Mary Thomas came to the house for play practice several days ago, she brought her granddaughter with her.
I established little Linda on the lounge chair with books and colors and proceeded to tell my cast about my husband's part in his play – that of the brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and bounds up and down stairs shouting, "Charge!"

That evening, Mary reported later, she was sitting in the bedroom waiting for Linda to finish up in the bathroom and come in to be put to bed. And suddenly through the door came Linda in a fine rush and arm extended.
"Charge!" she yelled in a fine battle cry. Mary was completely astonished.
"I didn't even think she was listening to us that afternoon!" she admitted.

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Mothers Diary
It was my very first time inside the doors of the Wash-All Laundry – or of any other Laundromat to tell the truth. I closed the door behind me and stood there with my basket heaped with dirty clothes, and surveyed the rows of machines and tables, and the giant dryers in the wall at the rear, and the handles and knobs and push buttons. And if Geraldine Egli had not been in there too, looking casual and nonchalant, I would have turned and run.

Any machine can intimidate me, and a room full of them is just about more than I can manage. But with Gerry there, I did not have to face them alone. She showed me which knobs to push and pull and turn and what to do with my dimes, and I got two loads of clothes started.
It was almost worse than doing them myself by hand.

I have said happily to anyone who would listen, that the Wash-All was one of the finest things that had ever happened to Manson housewives. It has given us all a feeling of confidence to know that in case of home breakdowns, the machines at the Wash-All are ready and waiting for such emergencies.
But I never expected that I would have to use them, or that it would be such a nerve-wracking experience when I did.
However, I got two loads of clothes washed and dried and for this I am grateful. So I still say a public laundry is a boon to womankind!

The heady excitement of spring was in the air Saturday and all the little children erupted from all the houses – and how they have grown since last fall.
This is always another of the miracles of spring – that the toddlers and pre-schoolers blossom in the yards along with the tulips and apple blossoms.

We tried an experiment. Becky brought in a branch of flowering crab and put it in a milk bottle full of water – and that is where the extra bottle was when I was searching for one to put on the porch for the milk man!
We've heard of branches bearing leaves and blossoms early when brought inside so now we're waiting to see if it's true. It will be just our luck if the tree outside flowers before the branch inside does.

I didn't touch the branch, though, letting Becky do the honors in the forlorn hope that her thumb is greener than mine.
However, Nancy set out the plants last fall that I have been cherishing all winter and her touch didn't make any difference.
The Joseph's coat has not grown one inch and the other plants all died. And the sweet potato plant! Well!
The last time Nancy was home, she eyed the weird looking growth and said flatly, "If your sweet potato plant could see my sweet potato plant at school, it would hang it's head in shame!"

I have foiled them all, though. I had Mrs. Campbell make me a beautiful blooming geranium plant!

Anyway, Becky hung colored egg shells all over the flowering crab branch just in case nothing ever happens to it.

And in Iowa, if a lovely spring day comes along, can snow be far behind!

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