Mothers Diary
Colorful October is here – and we are looking forward to long golden days and crisp cool nights, leaves crackling underfoot, and the fragrance of smoke drifting down-wind from dozens of bonfires.
We shall enjoy all the magic of autumn in October, and completely ignore any gloomy forecasts of wet soggy days ahead. After all we have left the snows of September behind us!

Weather plays strange quirks. All Friday evening I was cozily warm and dry at home and filled with vast concern for the football team slugging it out on a wet field and wondering how the members of my family were faring in the rain and wind and cold.
They had, of course, sallied forth into the evening well equipped with overcoats, raincoats and jackets, overshoes, rubbers and caps.
Even my husband had a cap!
My husband has two caps – or so he says. I had found only one that evening – and that after an agonized, organized search all over the house. I looked in all the drawers and closets and shelves where I had put away any kind of winter clothing, and there were no caps.
He sat in injured silence on the davenport, and I asked him if he were sure they weren't up at the office. I found Becky's Brownie cap and Dale's baseball cap, and an old tennis ball, and a sweater that Dale had forgotten he had.
But I didn't find the caps.
They weren't stored inside his hat, or in the drawer with the ribbon and wrapping paper, or with my scarves and handkerchiefs.

He didn't want his football trousers, of course. These disreputable old trousers I had dug out two weeks before and I knew where they were. These, he always has wanted on sudden cold, rainy football nights and I was prepared with them.
I had not remembered that he might want a cap.
Then, I found one, on the floor of the closet where it had fallen from a hook where I had presumably placed it last winter.

Peace restored, they all bundled themselves to the ears and ventured out into the night. And for a while, I was glad. It was not until I had rested up from the search, that I decided they'd all catch pneumonia in the rain.
I made coffee and hot chocolate and turned up the heat and journeyed to the basement for an extra rug for the hall and cleared a place for all the wet clothing. I prepared a cozy, warm welcome and settled back to worry and wait.

They got home finally. All dry as a bone and warm as toast. It had not been raining in Laurens. They had spent a good share of their time there shedding overshoes and raincoats and jackets, they told me.
I forgot to ask my husband if he had worn his cap throughout the game. I don't remember seeing it when he came in.
I don't even know where it is right now.

But the snow Saturday afternoon was fun. Becky was so excited that she got out her winter coat and her overshoes and dashed in and out like a puppy in the spring.
And I walked from window to window, giving a thought or two to Steve at the football game in Iowa City. I had no idea what sort of outer clothing he had taken with him as he had left about five a. m. and I see very few people off at that hour.

I went upstairs and listened to the game on the radio for a few minutes, but no one was screaming 'snow' or acting excited, so I relaxed. It could, of course, be a lovely sunny day in Iowa City, I thought, remembering Friday evenings experience.
When Steve got home Sunday afternoon, he said it hadn't snowed but there was plenty of rain. Not all during the game, however. It stopped soon after he bought a raincoat – naturally!

I figured that a snow in September was rather unusual. I couldn't remember any that early so I asked around and Mrs. Stewart said the last she remembered was Sept. 26, 1942.
Anyway, weather out of season is interesting – like warm picnic weather on Thanksgiving Day, a thunderstorm in December, a cold 4th of July, or snow in September! Iowa always has something up her sleeve for surprises any time of the year!

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Mothers Diary
I don't know just what it is about a World Series. I watch baseball games every week end, from the time the president throws out the first ball in the spring until the last "out" in the fall.
I keep track of the score board and I know who is leading in each league every day, and I suffer when it isn't the Dodgers in the National or when it is the Yankees in the American League. I like baseball all the time, but the Series games are still special.
The Series lend an air of excitement to a blue and gold October day, and somehow, committee meetings and office work and dusting lose their sense of urgency and importance. For a few suspenseful days, the condition of the kitchen floor is not nearly as important as sitting in front of the television set rooting for the Reds – or for whosoever is playing against the Yankees.
If it can't be the Dodgers – I stand gallantly behind anyone else in the National League who plays in the Series.

More exciting than the Series this season, of course, was watching the Dodgers play in the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Dale and I were quite beside ourselves when we reached Neil and Margaret's house in Los Angeles, to discover that we were but 8 blocks from the ball park – (well, it isn't a ball park, actually, but that's what they played in).
"Just think," Dale had breathed in my ear the night before, "we are in the same town with the Dodgers."
This is what we had been waiting for since Lloyd had first said the magic word, "Los Angeles," earlier in the summer.
And we hit Ladies night again just as we did in Chicago, so I guess, they save them especially for me.

We didn't find any baseball fans among all our relatives in that area. They even seemed to be puzzled by our eager interest.
"How come you're a Dodger fan?" somebody asked Dale curiously.
Dale shrugged, "I dunno. Because my mom was before I was born, I guess."
So much for pre-natal influence!

Anyway, the World Series on television shatters my schedule usually. But this year, my schedules have interfered with my Series watching. I missed the first half of the first game while working up at the office, and the last half of the second one because of a committee meeting. But I saw Chacon get home right under the Yankees' noses – and that's enough excitement for one afternoon anyway.

The committee meeting was important, too. I sat and listened to Mrs. Bleam and Mrs. Stevens and Mrs. Howie work out a telephone survey to find out how many people are interested in night classes. And if we find enough people who want night classes after the first of the year, we could have some pretty good ones.
Personally, I hope we can have a current affairs discussion class. I'd attend it faithfully. Wouldn't it be fun to have a good rousing discussion on bomb shelters, or federal aid to education?

I wonder why no one ever told me about the television program, 'Sing along with Mitch.' I caught it by accident the other evening and had more fun than I've had in a long time.
In the first place, it was men singing, and this I can listen to without tiring, and in the second place, they sang and sang and sang – with very short commercials, and with no chit chat or clever jokes or long introductions in between.
And, in the third place, they sang music I know, including three songs I hadn't heard for years – Springtime in the Rockies, Harbor Lights and Roamin' in the Gloamin'.

I sang along, too – the alto part, of course. Alto on all the old songs and hymns, I know better than the melody, because that was what I sang in high school choruses and every church choir I was ever in. so I had a lovely time harmonizing with the good singers on the show and really letting my voice out.
Which, is something I don't do much anymore because my voice isn't too trustworthy and is apt to crack any minute. This doesn't bother me, but it's a little embarrassing to Becky if she happens to be standing beside me in church.

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Mothers Diary
I have not had a moment lately or in the past several years as a matter of fact – to worry about my retirement or my husband's either. In the first place, I have had grave doubts about a regulation retiring age for newspaper people. I don't believe that the age 65 means very much to them, judging from the vigorous, elderly editors and reporters and columnists whom I have seen circulating at newspaper conventions.

And even if I did know firmly and positively, that I would be retired at the age of 65, it would never occur to me that it would be a problem. Or that I should be planning for it right now.
But Mrs. Dowty made me aware in her report at Woman's Club last week, that retirement years were a period of life that needed thoughtful planning as well as any other period, if they were to be happy and productive.

We hear plans from everyone in a desultory fashion, of course. There are big plans for fishing, traveling, working in the garden and just plain "sittin' and rockin'," from everyone. And I suppose that all these activities are to be adequately financed by a pre-retirement plan also.
But apparently there are a lot of people who come up to retirement age with a shock and no preparations made for decreased income or long days full of nothing, according to the report.

I kept thinking about my father, while Mrs. Dowty talked. He solved his problem in a hurry by taking another full time job for a few years after he retired from the railroad. My mother never did retire as she often reminded him when he got in her way in his leisure hours when he finally got around to abandoning all jobs except the house and garden. They have a daughter and a granddaughter living with them, too, which helps to keep things lively around their household.

I thought of my husband's father who lives alone and keeps busy with his reading, television, caring for the house and cooking for himself. He confesses that he likes living alone; and enjoys himself visiting with friends uptown and entertaining relatives when he wants company, because he is one of the friendliest souls alive.

And I thought of Mrs. Brennan who lived in a tiny house next door to us when we lived on Howard Street. She lived alone, too, and loved it.
"They keep wanting me to live with them," she said to me once, speaking of her many children, "but I intend to live here and do for myself until they have to carry me out!" And she did, too!

And I thought of so many of the ladies in this town right now, whom I have watched with almost envy, as they call to each other after church, pooling their dinners at one meeting spot, and plan afternoons and evening together in homes and backyards with not a care or responsibility – or so it seems. They seem to have such a good time. They entertain, go on trips, work in their respective churches, and are very active and happy.

But not every retired person or couple is so lucky. Those years can be lonely and bitter, especially if there is not much money or if there is a physical handicap or illness in the picture and they have not made any preparation for these things.
These are the ones with whom we should be concerned as individuals and as communities.

Mrs. Dowty had many suggestions – some of which are already in operation in Manson and some that could be done very handily. Some of her listeners were intrigued with the idea of reading to those who had failing eyesight or for whom reading was a chore for any other reason. This would be such a simple service to perform.
I wonder if there is anyone in Manson who would be happier for being read to occasionally. One wonders in this age of radio and television, if anyone wants reading anymore.

Well, anyway, here are some of the helps mentioned that individuals or a community could do. Perhaps you know of someone who would appreciate one of these services.
Among them were free counseling service, a Golden Age club for social activities, adult education classes and hobby groups, providing a place with an adviser for daytime companionship and care. She mentioned free taxi service (which the VFW is already experimenting with), neighborly care in which neighbors would be responsible for small chores, a daily hot meal, etc. and a reading program whereby a few interested people could read to those with failing eyesight. Part time employment could also be made available to the retired, active citizens.
Mrs. Dowty suggested activities for the retired as follows, greeting together for weekly free travel films, making tray favors, lap robes and other needed articles for hospitals, and forming a PTA group – that is, Part Time Angels, who would visit in the hospitals and nursing homes. The foster grandpa or grandma plan also works. A lonely elderly person can be a grandparent to neighbor children who have none close. Or a family can "adopt an elderly person" to be a grandparent in their home. The possibilities for fruitful living after 65 are endless.

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Mothers Diary
"Your living room can be a mission outpost," says a current youth magazine, "if you entertain foreign students in your home." Well, I'm sure we won't feel that profound at Thanksgiving when we hope to have a foreign student or two in our home. We hope to have fun, but I suppose it's true that the impression they receive will help form their ideas of this country.

This thought is enough to make me want to cancel the whole idea right now. What exactly is a foreign student going to think of America if Becky is playing the piano (loudly, of course, she doesn't know any other way to play) and Martha is sitting in the doorway practicing the clarinet, and I am clattering pans in the kitchen and their father and Steve and Dale are trying to hear football scores on television about the uproar?
And what would their opinion of this rich land of opportunity when they view our davenport with the sagging springs, our frayed washcloths, our desk with the broken drawer, and our unpainted stairway?
Will they be convinced that we believe in world order and harmony if they should chance to see what happens when Martha catches Becky wearing her blouse, or if they witness the struggle that goes on at our house getting everyone to a meal at the same moment?

Well – I think we'll take a chance and have some foreign students anyway. Some have been coming to Manson for the past two years at Thanksgiving time, but up to now I have never had the courage to offer our hospitality.
Some of the reasons have been the hazards already mentioned. Some have been just a natural inclination, I suppose, to save the traditional holiday for "family" and relaxation, and the qualms one had in inviting strangers, particularly strangers from another country, into the family living room.
Why, I remember how frightened I was to meet the Australian girl that my brother Bill had married!

But this year, I thought of all the times I have said that international relations begin with just plain, ordinary people on a plain, ordinary, friendly level – and that to know is to understand – and I decided I could no longer let everyone else do what I should be doing.

My family is enthusiastic about the plan. And when Becky heard that last year one of the foreign guests was a baby, her eyes danced and she couldn't help hoping! Anyone in the Manson community can have a foreign guest over Thanksgiving – for a meal or for overnight. If you're interested just call Mrs. Paul Dowty who is making the arrangements with the Ames University.
Who knows – maybe the Manson living rooms will truly be "Mission Outposts" and great things will be accomplished.
Besides, think how lonely we would be stranded in a dormitory or room in a foreign land, with everyone else go on a holiday.

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