Mothers Diary
Map of Australia My brother Bill, who has been overseas since before Pearl Harbor, is engaged to an Australian girl and plans to marry her as soon as a furlough and government authorities permit. The Red Cross informed them that on his furlough, Bill would be permitted to come only as far as Sydney so Ruth had to leave her home in Melbourne to await his coming. SoldierPart of her last letter relates her adventures concerning this trip.
"I am so sorry I didn't answer your letter right away, but I was very busy packing and trying to get a permit to travel interstate which is a very hard thing to get. They won't give you a priority, not even to get married, so my girl friend who is going to be my bridesmaid and I traveled in a round about way through Victoria and "borderhopped" as we call it in Aussie.
We were held up for two days in Rombala, a small country town in the out-backs of New South Wales, because of the coal strikes which meant no trains for a while. On the direct line from Melbourne to Sydney, it usually takes a day and a half train traveling, but the way we went took us five days. Although it was a long trip, it was very interesting and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Part of our journey was by service car and the scenery was really beautiful, around winding mountain roads and glorious lakes. Nighttime was rather beautiful too. Although we couldn't see much of the surrounding country, here and there we could see campfires burning in the distance form the Aborigine settlements. The forest commission had been burning off parts of the forest for the prevention of brush fires and occasionally along the roadside we could see the tops of the trees burning. They seemed to ignite and shoo off sparks as though they were a fireworks display. At times it was almost uncanny.

Once on the trip, it was rather funny. The car pulled up suddenly, and we found that two kangaroos had parked in the center of the road and refused to move, until someone stepped out of the car. Then they hopped off into the bushes as fast as they could.
We arrived in Sydney on the 16th of September at about 5:15 a.m. and we were lost as soon as we stepped off the train, because neither of us had been in Sydney before. I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t even find the exit out of the Central Station, so I don't know what I will be like when I come to America."

Our daughter simply bubbles over with ingenious little schemes while she's doing the dishes. "You know, Mother," she says dreamily making a path in the soapsuds with her finger, "wouldn't it be a good idea if everyone did their own dishes?"
"His own," I correct automatically. "How do you mean?"
"Well," she begins, pouring water out of a milk bottle, then watching water flow back in, "we'd get the dishwater ready and then when everybody gets through eating they bring--"
"He brings," I murmur.
Washing Dishes "What?" she turns her attention to the silver, lifting it out in bunches into the sink.
"They bring their own dishes--"
"Better wash the silver," I interrupt mildly, "just putting it in and out doesn't really get the dirt off, you know."
"See, I made a bubble! Mother, don't you think it would be a good idea?"
"Look, my friend, I said wash the silver!"
"Oh – but wouldn't it be a good idea? Everybody washes their own dishes and wipes them. Then I don't have so much to do. Wouldn't it, Mother?"
I am practical. "But what about the pots and pans?"
"Oh," she said airily, "Everybody takes a pot or a pan to wash too?" She sighs wearily as she gazes at the current stack soaking at her right. "There'd be enough for everybody. Then we'd be done. Wouldn't it be a good idea, Mother?"
"You didn't get the egg off this plate!" I return the plate. But she doesn't hear me. The water dripping through the colander is fascinating to watch.

My husband has always asserted that I talk too much and he has discovered it anew as he sends me out on assignments like a real live reporter, and then has to call me on the phone to get me back to the office with the story.

I wondered at first about the absence of a Chamber of Commerce in this town. But I don't any more. Each Manson resident is apparently a self-appointed booster of Manson's assets. From all sides we hear abut the water, the churches, the school, and above all the fine people who make up the town. It's a joy to hear long-time residents proudly boasting of their years in Manson and – if they've tried other places – how they "always come back" as Mr. Fitz told us.

One of the things a newcomer always gets asked anywhere is "Well, how do you like the town by now?" In Manson, they do the same but there's a special earnestness and anxiety about the query – a certain defiance in the question that would make you hesitate over your answer if you wanted to say honestly that you didn't like it at all.
Happily I could answer in the affirmative quite truthfully. Of course, at first I had my moments of homesickness but I understand that I'm lucky in that this period lasted only two or three weeks. One lady said to me, "You are fortunate – some are homesick and unhappy for a year or more." I gradually became acquainted and busy and absorbed, but my response to "How do you like Manson?" was still a perfunctory, "Oh, I like it."

Then I went back to Waterloo for a weekend. I had a wonderful time, but when the late train pulled into Manson Sunday afternoon, I felt a sudden, special glow that wasn't all caused by the slanting rays of the sun. I was so glad to get back. I was a little surprised at my intense feeling and if anyone had said, as I stepped from the train, "Well, how do you like Manson by now?" he might have been a little overwhelmed by a fervent answer.

There are reasons, of course. First of all we have what we wanted – a weekly newspaper in a town just the right size. We are engrossed and happy in the subsequent activities and contacts. And people have been actively kind and considerate to us and our children. An apt illustration of this is the time our daughter stopped in at the B & B service station full of curiosity concerning the car elevated above the grease pit. She was received with extreme courtesy and had all her questions satisfactorily explained.

When Gene Gerth discovered that the youngsters had never seen a cow milked, he was really shocked, and with the assertion that their education had been neglected; he took them to the barn the next evening to remedy the situation.

These are only samples. It is heartening to be greeted by friend and stranger alike on Main Street; to go into a restaurant or store, not as another face or customer, but as a person; to have neighbors drop over for a minute to talk or to bring something; and to have a wide awake interest shown in our business.

It has been said, "Home is where the heart is," so that must be why, when I rode in on the train the other afternoon I thought to myself, "Why Waterloo isn't home anymore! This is!" Because here is where our heart is... in the town, in the newspaper, in our home.

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Mothers Diary

South Manson is going to miss the Tom Tiernans, who are going to Chicago to live with their son sometime this month. Mrs. Tiernan has a friendly habit of dropping in on neighbors, particularly those who live alone, to chat or help when needed. I talked to them both the other day and I'm pretty sure, after their long time residence in and near Manson, they'll probably miss their friends too.

Wagon Train

Mr. Tiernan came here in 1879. His father, Tom Tiernan of Janesville, WI., bought an 80 acre farm, sight unseen, southwest of Manson, and started out in a covered wagon with his wife and five children for unknown land.

"It was pretty exciting for us children," chuckled Mr. Tiernan, "but when we got here, Dad wasn’t very much excited. The country was swampy; there was no house on the land and there were no roads, just muddy trails." It was pretty discouraging, but they settled down on the Toge Nelson farm, while they built a house, 10 x 20 feet. (Imagine that – and I think we're roughing it if we don't have a house with four bedrooms!) Then they broke up the land and planted it to sod corn, and they had started their new life in Iowa.

Mr. Tiernan said that he came into Manson as a carpenter when he was 22. During some visits in Chicago, he met Mrs. Tiernan and they were married in Chicago in 1914. He built what is now known as the Elmer Rasmussen house in south Manson and they lived there until they moved to a farm south of Palmer in 1920. They farmed until 1943 when their son, Lawrence, was inducted in the army.
"I couldn’t do the work alone," Mr. Tiernan said. "So we moved back in to town."
"And then," continued Mrs. Tiernan, "Laurie was given a medical discharge and went to work in the Douglas Aircraft Co. in Chicago. So, we’re going there now, to be closer to him and his wife."
The ties made in 30 years of married life in one community are hard to break, but as Mrs. Tiernan said, "We’ll be coming back to visit often because we have so many friends and relatives here."

I voted Tuesday. I carefully listened to all the instructions, then entered the booth, closed the curtain and was immediately panic stricken.Vote I couldn't remember a thing and had to poke my head outside the curtain to humbly ask which levers were which. But I felt pretty smart and very patriotic when I was through. The first time I ever voted, I was handed a mile long ballot and marched to a little enclosed table and chair with a pencil attached to a string. I sat down and cheerfully made little "X’s" all over the paper. That was easy. But machines upset me.

Which reminds me of the first time I ran the washing machine alone, years ago, when all I knew was school teaching.
Mother demonstrated how to turn it on, how to operate the wringer with its go and stop and reverse action and where to start and stop the motor, etc. It was most bewildering, so when she started back to her own work, I wailed, "Don't leave me alone with this thing! I'll certainly do something wrong."
Mother fixed me with her sternest now you behave yourself stare. "You know how to drive a car, don't you? Get busy and operate that machine!" And I did.

I wish, though, that there was something mechanical to empty the ice pan. When I remember the plagued thing, emptying it is just a bothersome chore. Usually I don't remember and the floor about the ice box is scrubbed often and long.

Helmet It was on the way home from Rockwell City Friday night that Mr. Macklin broke the huddled, gloomy silence. "Well," he said, consolingly, "Even Notre Dame loses sometimes." So they do – so they do.

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Mothers Diary
The children broke a mirror a few weeks ago, and bad luck and the assorted fates have been cursing me and dogging my footsteps ever since. To begin with I lost 35 pounds worth of sugar coupons and though I have fine-tooth-combed this household, they have not turned up. Then I lost the diamond out of my ring. It was found a few hours later, but I aged ten years that afternoon. The ring is now tucked away for the duration, I guess, as all my pin money (and I mean PIN money) is going to buy me a war bond. That same evening I mounted the stool at the big press to catch papers, and discovered later that, to quote Miss Weimer, I looked as if I'd just come off the press myself. I was decidedly inky.
"I meant to tell you." Said Curtis, "that Anna always wipes off that stool before she sits on it." Ah me!

Then on Thursday, I couldn't get down to the office to help with the paper and they missed me less than I missed them. They managed very well, while I prowled about at home, like the proverbial fire horse during the best blaze of the season.
When I washed my hair the other day, I got too close to the mirror and discovered to my dismay that my front left wave had a definitely silvery cast. Gray hair!! On top of everything else. And then again – my goodness – why not?

Zero day has arrived again. Washing the children's heads is practically the worst job I have and why I do it all in the same day, I don't know. The ordeal leaves me all limp and fit for nothing but a week's rest in a sanatorium.
I get the boys in the bathtub – all unsuspecting of course, and then try to sneak up behind with the shampoo bottle, but Bruce sees it and opens his mouth and lungs in an indignant, protesting roar. As I clap a towel over his face with one hand and suds vigorously with the other, Steve, with the startled air of one who has just remembered immediate business elsewhere, lifts one leg over the edge of the bathtub. Upon my sharp command, he subsides in the churning water, and his whimpers and entreaties mingle with the strangled cries of his vanquished brother's.
bath "Are you going to wash my hair too, Mother? It doesn’t need it. You aren't going to wash my hair, are you? Let's wash it tomorrow instead. I mean, day after tomorrow. Are you, Mother?"

Then as I turn on the faucet and hold the struggling and screaming Bruce under, Steve's cries develop onto unrestrained weeping. I lift Bruce from the tub, towel him briskly and turn to Steve. While I'm administering unto him, Bruce stands by the tub, blubbering in sympathy until the ordeal is over.
As the combined yelling subsides, and they gaze in the mirror with self-conscious grins at their shining reflections, I look about for the eldest. But she has quietly disappeared, presumably to sit on the front doorstep to reassure neighbors and passersby that a massacre is not going on inside. However, her turn is next – and she knows it.

tomatoes They are still eating fresh, ripe, sliced tomatoes at Sam Lynn's house. Early in the fall, reluctant to let all those green tomatoes go to waste, Mr. Lynn pulled up all the vines by the roots and put them in the basement. There they hang on a cement ledge, ripening away as if it were still the proper season, and when Lynn's want tomatoes for a salad, all they have to do is go down to the basement and pick a few.

In a Manson household, the other day, the young son of the family greeted the early morning with gay warbling.
"Don't do that," called his mother, "Don't you know it's Sunday morning?"
The young lad defended himself quickly. "Oh, I was just practicing to see if I can sing like Frank Sinatra."

Mr. Haven of Rockwell City reports that one of the officials in the telephone company has had an SOS from his brother in Arkansas. "You've been in Iowa now long enough to smell out a Republican," he wrote, "so come on down here and help us. Nine Republicans voted here last week."

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Mothers Diary
Steve Zehr This is Steven Robert Zehr , son of Staff Sergeant and Mrs. Elbert Zehr, one of the vast army of wartime babies who haven't as yet met their fathers.
I visited with Steve the other afternoon, though his share of the conversation was confined to an uncompromising stare, and an occasional fleeting, deep-dimpled smile. At four and a half months, people and bright colored objects are pretty exciting to him, but rattles and such are still irritatingly uncooperative in getting picked up. So he settles the situation by mostly watching his mother even when visitors are around.
Stevie looks just like his Daddy, I am told, which seems very satisfactory to all concerned. Besides having shiny brown wavy hair, blue eyes, a dimple and a new high chair, Stevie's the possessor of an unusual pair of buttoned clogs, sent to him by some English friends of Mr. Zehr. They were especially made for him after the word of his birth reached England, complete with red stitching and an intricate pattern of rubber on the soles.

They were really terrific – those cheerleaders at the grade school program at the carnival Friday night, I mean. Their style, volume and facility were extraordinary and it also goes to show that age is no handicap in the field of sports!
They were Dennis Holdridge and Gerald Fandel from the kindergarten room; and their companions in the cheering, and the audience were strictly enthusiastic about the whole thing. Their teacher, Mrs. Stewart, reports that this cheer leading is one of their main interests in life.

Dewayne Holdridge, small two-year-old brother of Dennis, has quite naturally, become infected with the spirit of the thing and goes all out for some cheering of his own. He gets down on one knee in imitation of his brother and yells with a will – Purple, Gold, Purple, Gold, Dynamide, Dynamide
Yea team – fight, fight, fight.

It was an otherwise peaceful evening, until I discovered Bruce in my bedroom. There smeared from head to foot, including ears and elbows, with the entire contents of my cream rouge jar. My first reaction was a sort of wonder that he could smooth it on all over so evenly with such a rich red effect, and then as I investigated further, I began to get a bit red myself. It was all over my dressing table and floor and cedar chest, and the contents of the drawer from whence came the fatal jar. But it was the beautiful complacent grin which he proudly indicated his accomplishments, that broke me. Never has he ascended the stairs so quickly or so loudly as he did then. It took half of a jar of my precious cleansing cream, two damp towels and a scouring bath to make him presentable again – and a house-cleaning job in the bedroom before we could move without encountering rouge.
That was Saturday, and I'm out of rouge, but there is still a faint pink lingering about Bruce's eyebrows and fingernails.
Reminds me of the woeful time that our daughter at three years of age, gloriously mixed cleansing cream and face powder all over her Auntie Min's bedroom.

After being barred from a room that is being scrubbed and waxed, there is no wilder joy and satisfaction exhibited by a child than when he is once again allowed to prance unrestrained on the shining surface of the floor.

doll Over heard when our daughter discovered that her one-legged doll had been further deprived of the other leg, both arms and the head.
"Oh, my precious baby. Oh, those naughty boys. They've ruined you! Oh my poor doll." Then, gathering the headless and limbless torso into her arms, she crooned tenderly, "Well, I love you anyway and I'll just have to pretend you're a little sick and have to stay in bed."

Once again comes the problem of "to be or not to be" patriotic and considerate by sending Christmas gifts and cards early. Last year in my wartime fervor, I got my packages off to Seattle and Houston in November. They arrived by Thanksgiving and those uninhibited sisters of mine had the gifts all used up by Christmas. Is it worth it? This year – shall I – or shan’t I?

I meant to embark on a learned and stately discussion of this, our third wartime Thanksgiving. But, in his sermon last Sunday, Rev. Paul Jackson went straight to the heart of the matter in a few simple words, so I'll just repeat his statement as I remember it, for he said it all.
"This Thanksgiving," he said, "There are many things not pleasing to you and me. This Thanksgiving, let us be glad for the things we have and can enjoy, instead of wishing for things we want and can't have."

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Mothers Diary
Lynn Ballstadt Our baby to take a bow this week is Lynn Charles Ballstadt, son of Pvt.(f.c.) and Mrs. Charles Ballstadt of Knerim. Lynn is another little lad who hasn't had the privilege of becoming acquainted with his daddy yet.
His greatest interest in life at 15 months is exploring! He never walks, but instead trots from one room to another in an effort to discover something he hadn't noticed his previous excursions.
Lynn is a husky youngster with big blue eyes, dark brown hair and a shy smile. Everyone agrees that he is the image of his daddy.
The Ballstadt family has discarded their alarm clock since Lynn's arrival because he arouses the household promptly at six o'clock every morning.
Lynn has been to visit us several times and although he makes friends readily, he is rather shy with girls and quite frankly shows his preference for his own sex. His vocabulary isn’t very extensive yet, but he adds a new word or two every day.
His Grandpa Ballstadt is a hog buyer and Lynn displays tendencies to follow in his footsteps because even now when he sees picture of a pig, he says, "Pooey, pooey!" Lulamae Inhoff

We were standing around Sunday wondering how we were going to carry the mattresses over to house number two – and the Macklins stopped in. So we got a lot more things carried over with some very efficient help.

My husband and I must have presented a pretty picture Sunday night, rolling the top of the dining room table from one dwelling to the other by the light of the street lamp.

I was confronted with unforeseen difficulties while getting ready to go down town Monday afternoon. I took a bath, creamed my face, brushed my hair and dressed in house number one, then trailed over to house number two where my cosmetic drawer was, to put on my face.

I found five mittens, all assorted sizes and colors, in one house while cleaning up. I hope the mates turn up in the other one. The same hope prevails for some socks and hair ribbons.

One of my favorite waitresses is Helen Egli at the Rubendall Hotel. She brings me my coffee first and hovers about with the coffee pot until I put my coat on to leave!

We are in the deep, dark throes of moving. I thought it was all going to be pretty simple just moving next door, but I find it has its complications and problems in direst proportion to moving 150 miles. True, we had a chance to clean and wax and plot arrangements of curtains and furniture before the actual transferring on household goods began, but it is a slow process and necessitates keeping two fires going constantly. Right now we are eating in house number one where the gas is on, and sleeping in house number two. There is a range in house number two but I am barely on speaking terms with a range, and so far, I have but circled it with a wary eye. I am much more certain of my boiling water and frying eggs on my gas stove, though I understand that the range will do both. Anyway we eat next to the gas stove.

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