Mothers Diary
I have gone back to my Sunday school class and to my desk at the office, but so far I am none too good at either. Not that I was ever a ball of fire at either job, but somehow or other my brain, as well as my muscles, has slowed up and occasionally back fires. I can't even keep track of pitchers and outs and hits in a World Series game unless I concentrate all my energies.

If I had been planning this retreat from the world, I would have arranged it for October instead of September, so I could have watched all the ball games without interruption. As it is, I have to make coffee, wash clothes, prepare sandwiches, and empty the garbage during the commercials. This is all right, though, since I'm not interested in new cars or specials on razors!

I have two new recipes as a result of my confinement. One is a luscious spicy cake with cocoa-nut topping that arrived at our house, gift of Mrs. Herman Dahlke, on a day when I needed it most because we had company. She said it had oatmeal in it and this intrigued me so, I had to have the recipe. As a matter of fact, she calls it 'Oatmeal Cake.'
The other recipe is from Mrs. Elmer Rankin who brought us a very good apple cake with cream to use over it. She said she got the recipe from Mrs. Dowty, and guess what she calls it – Apple Pan 'Dowty'!

Becky and Martha will be grateful to the school if it doesn't have any more holidays like Monday. I kept both of them busy. Well, it was really my husband who outlined their day. He told Becky to clean the venetian blinds and this scared both Becky and me.
I wasn't sure she could do it and neither was she. But by mid-morning, she was elbow deep in rags and soap and water and window cleaner, and had the whole dining room in an uproar.

I knew the project was going to be as hard on me as it was on her and it was. Because the dining room corner by the big window is my special nook and I had to move everything so she could operate. While I was at it, I thought I might as well houseclean my book stand, magazine rack, file case, and stacks of magazines, paper, stationery, pamphlets, notes and books, which I have to have at hand.
When I got through, the corner was in an unnatural state of tidiness, which would please Nancy if she could be here, but I expect it to be back to normal in a day or two. And I was so busy supervising Becky and getting lunch that I didn't get to see the home run that cleared the bases for the Giants and won the game for them.

October is my favorite month, but so far it hasn't been living up to its normal beauty as far as weather is concerned. Becky has gone out hunting for pretty leaves and brought some home, but she needn't have bothered because we have plenty of leaves. Every time the door opens, somebody tracks some in that have to be swept up. I am hoping, though, that we will have some of "October's bright blue weather" as forecast, for the rest of the month. Time enough in November for this gloomy slushy bit – or even February, when we expect it!

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Mothers Diary
"Well, it takes a special kind of a cook to do that!" said Mary Thomas firmly.
"To do what?" I asked, nosing in on the tail end of a conversation. Mary turned toward me.
"It was this pecan pie, see," she explained. "When it was done baking, there were all the pecans on top, then the crust; and all the filling was underneath the crust in the bottom of the pie plate."
I stared. "How on earth did you do that?"
"A lot of people ask me that," replied Mary thoughtfully. "But, of course, a special cook doesn't tell all her secrets," she added solemnly.
"I'll bet you don't even know," said Clara Scoles across the table. "You give Mary a recipe," she said to the world, "and it never turns out the way its supposed to. You'd never recognize it as the same recipe."
"Well," said Mary, sadly, "as I said – it takes a special kind of cook – a good cook…"
"Never mind," I told her comfortingly, "perhaps women who give you recipes just leave out a secret ingredient."
"Or the optional," she said.
"The optional?" I said, baffled.
"Yes," said Mary, "There was this woman who gave someone a recipe but said just not to worry about the 'optional.' She never used it because she never had any in the house!"

I have one of Clara Scoles recipes now and if it doesn't turn out like her coffee cake, she'll never know from me! She brought the coffee cake just before noon last Thursday, and as it turned out, it couldn't have come at a better time because my husband brought Bill Halligan home to lunch, a surprise guest.
Those two wretched men sat there and ate coffee cake until half of it was gone.
"Well," said my husband finally, "I could eat another piece but just to show my will power – " and he got up from the table.
"I've got will power too," said Bill, "just enough to lift another piece from the pan to my plate."

Bill is one who brought his little daughter Holly over to our house the Saturday evening that Jan (Nancy's roommate) was here. Holly stayed with us while her father and Lloyd went up to the office awhile, and amused herself by drawing pictures while Becky was finishing her dishes. Anyway, Holly thought she was just having a good time drawing, but she was really doing Jan's homework!
"What's going on here?" I asked as I came into the dining room to find Holly flat on her stomach, carefully doing a picture of her Daddy, while Jan sat by, clutching a sheaf of similar sheets of paper.
"Sssh," said Jan, "Don't disturb her. I have to have some drawings by pre-school children for my art course."
Jan is one who spent a hectic week end with us, and when she tottered out the door Sunday evening, we told her to come again.
"I will," she promised, "When I feel up to it!"

Bill Halligan is the editor of the Northwest Iowa Bowler, that sterling newspaper about bowling and bowlers, which is quite a service to bowling and bowlers. He is always bringing one to me for my perusal, and I always take it very meekly and try to read it intelligently; but I have never had the courage to confess to him that I can't understand a word of it. It might just as well be printed in the language of Outer Mongolia for all the good it does me to read about strikes, spares and splits.
A strike is a pitched ball right over home plate. A spare is the extra tire in the trunk of the car. A split is an exercise that I'm too old and stiff to do. The only thing I know about bowling is that a gutter ball is a ball that goes down the gutter and does not knock down any of those – what-do-you-call-ems – at the end of the lane.
This may be a blow to Bill, who believes that the grandest sport known to man (and woman and child) is bowling.

My family can sympathize with him though, because I am also the same way about football. And golf, too, for that matter.
I saw my first football game of the season last week, the reserves on Monday evening, and sat in the car on the side lines, comfortable and befuddled, as the boys scrambled back and forth across the field.
They have half backs and quarter backs and full backs and I can't tell one from the other, and I'm not even sure which kind Dale is. But I kept my eye on him and noted something very disturbing.
Nearly every time, after he larruped across the field back of the line during signals, a penalty would be called on Manson for backfield in motion. He was the only one I could see in motion, so I sat there feeling terribly guilty, and wishing there was some way I could warn him of the trouble he was causing.
Finally, though, I drummed up courage to ask my husband about it, and it was all right. It seems that whatever Dale is – he can sprint around back there, legally. And that's how much I know about football.

If it was baseball now – but the less said about baseball, the better, I guess. That sport has been frustrating lately. It's tough to know what a hit is, and home run and a fly, and a foul when you don't see any because of rain!!

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Mothers Diary
I can remember writing a complaint in this space, once, to the effect that my husband was always dropping in on me at home unexpectedly to find me at my ease instead of working. I am still having the same embarrassing trouble – except the situation has reversed a bit. Now days when I hear the car in the driveway, I fly to my lounge chair and stretch out and try to look as if that's what I've been doing ever since he left me an hour or so before.

Sometimes I can fool him – and then I wonder how he thinks the kitchen floor got scrubbed, or the clothes washed, or how the roast got in the oven, or the newspapers picked up and out of the way. There are times, of course, when I don't hear him and then I'm in trouble.
He bellows up the stairs, "What are you doing up there?" and I don't dare tell him I'm picking up dirty clothes and throwing them down the laundry chute, because the obvious answer to that is "Why didn't you have the children do it?"
And the answer to that is – which I never dare use, "Whoever heard of a youngster who looked under the bed for socks, or under the bathtub for wash clothes?"

But downstairs, I'm pretty safe because I can scurry around dusting and mopping and straightening, and still get on the lounge chair in time to be resting like he told me to when he pops in.
Saturday, though, was bad. I had told Becky that if she dusted all the furniture well, I would do the dust mopping, because she has a tendency to mop wildly without getting in corners or under chairs. And before I got to it, my husband came home and I didn't dare do it, so the dust mopping didn't get done at all!

But at the office is where I appreciate him. He is equipped with some kind of sensitive radar that lets him know when I have about had it. Then he just bundles me up and takes me home to rest – and it's then that it's really dangerous if I decide to catch up on household chores. He is liable to be back in half an hour or so to check up.
Resting is the kind of thing I do best, of course, and I don't know why, exactly, it's so hard to do. It's just that if you're out of washcloths, it's easier to go down and put them in the washing machine than it is to lie and worry about it or ask someone else to do it, I guess.

Becky finally finished the venetian blinds to accompanying wails and minor cries of lamentation. They were all to the effect that she was mighty glad there weren't any blinds upstairs or in the kitchen and it was going to be a mighty long time before she washed blinds again!
Then Dale got busy with storm windows and was mighty indignant when I went huffing and puffing out to him with instructions to wash the outside of the house windows before he installed them. That's what he intended to do, or so he told me.
So now, our windows shine and the venetian blinds shine, and we will thank visitors to confine their inspections to these areas – not to the cobwebby corners and smudged walls.