January of 1946 is cold and snowy. The usual chores of laundry and taking care of the animals is made harder by the winter weather. The country roads are nearly impossible to navigate. Can you imagine trying to get to the "hard" road without four-wheel drive? Alberta and Albert's visit ends, and we know the Best and Johnston families will miss them. California is a long way away. Grandma and Alberta packed 14 quarts of canned chicken and a ham for the trip. It will be sometime before the whole family is together again.
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1946: Not so cold and some sunshine. Albert went to Merle's, and they put on a gadget that is supposed to make his heater work better. Alberta and I went to Mrs. Busby's to a quilting. Mrs. Addie Johnston's quilt. We all went to Gus Sammons for supper. Had turkey pie.
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 1946: Carl is trying to get someone to haul a load of corn. Alberta and I went to Litchfield. Both Carl's and my house slippers were too tight.
Thursday, Jan. 3, 1946: Not so cold. Partly cloudy. Carl got a truck load of corn from Welsh at Raymond. Mervin Johnson hauled it. I went to a Household Science Club at Lelia Masters. Albert and Alberta went to Waynes at Piper City about 9:30. Carl and Lency Ward on eats committee for ATA meeting. Carl and Mervin went after the wood saw at Alva Cranfields.
Sunday, Jan. 6, 1946: So muddy we didn't get out to Sunday School and church. John and Mrs. Keith ate dinner with us. Jerry Sammons brought Jimmie and Carole to stay at night while Merle's went out with Jerry and Lorene.
Monday, Jan. 7, 1946: Roads are getting bad. John and the Mrs. (Keith) drove Gus' mules to the wagon to Gus Sammon's. Clarence (Keith) met them, and they went to Hillsboro for a meeting. John made it back over there at night.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 1946: This is Home Bureau at Lelia Masters. Carl says he can put the chains on and take me. Mary Burris says I can ride with her by walking to the hard road. Started a slow rain, so I stayed home and made a red apron.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 1946: We went to Hillsboro about 10:30, and I laid in a good supply of staple groceries. The truck drivers have struck, and Mrs. Hunt at A&P store told me they were not getting any groceries delivered at all. Track open, so we didn't get stuck.
Sunday, Jan. 13, 1946: Went to Merle's and spent the day. Cold and not so sunshiny. Road is passable only. Carole came home with us. Lang's tavern at Butler burned after noon.
Monday, Jan. 14, 1946: Carole Sue here, but she played with her dolls. They had scarlet fever and mumps. Alberta and I dressed and canned six hens-14 quarts. Came out about even. Albert got a hair cut and he and Carl sawed a jag of wood. Merle's came for supper and Carole went home. Walter Grotts critically injured in auto wreck on Route 16 east of railway crossing east of Litchfield.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1946: Cold and windy. Alberta and I washed, and the clothesline broke three times. We sure got cold. Finally hung most of them in the house. Carl went to meet the income tax man at 8 a.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1946: Sunshine. Helping Hand at Vera Cory's at Hillsboro, but I didn't go. Went to Mary Mundhenk's after dinner. Albert and Alberta went to Perry Rogers for supper. Bought rope for a new clothes line 100 feet, 58 cents. Gertrude Johnston married in Granite City.
Thursday, Jan. 17, 1946: Sunshine. Just about put in all day cleaning and cooking. Alma and Kenneth Baird here for supper. Had fried chicken and trimmings. Shirley Garrett Trammel has a new girl-Ramona Dawn.
Friday, Jan. 18, 1946: Road thawed until it is muddy. Carl dragged one side of it.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 1946: Had chicken feed ground. Albert and Alberta went to town and visited at Homers (Johnston). They came back about 8 for the roads are doubtful. Albert packed their boxes. They took 14 quarts canned hens and a ham.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 1946: Merle's came out and we had dinner with Albert and Alberta for the last time. Snowed. We wonder if the snow will drift.
Monday, Jan. 21, 1946: Albert and Alberta left 8:05 am for fear it may be worse tomorrow. We took 22 dozen hatching eggs to Hillsboro. Carl got a shoe patched. I got more thread. Sure have a lot of sewing to do. Started working on a quilt for John Eckhoff. Clear mostly all day. They (Albert and Alberta) got to Newport, Ark., about 6 p.m. Snow into Missouri. Icy to Carlyle. $1 to cross bridge at Cairo.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1946: So cold I didn't do anything but sew. Our thermometer said 10 below zero, others said the same thing. Carl shipped 22 hogs. Mrs. Hayes got word her sister Maud Stubbles had died in Springfield. They (Albert and Alberta) arrived in Texarkana 2 p.m. Sunshine and not very cold.
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1946: About 14 degrees above but wind is in south, and it is impossible to keep the living room comfortable. Merle is doing overhauling of cars and tractors because of truck drivers' strike. George Ward loaded our tractor at W. Harris' at noon. I went after Carl. Bought three and a half yards of outing later at Joe's at Litchfield, 49 cents per yard. Wow! Got Merle two pairs sox for this birthday. Snow blows some.
Thursday, Jan. 24, 1946: Carl got his hog check, $674.76. Got a quarter of beef (front) from Hamilton.
Friday, Jan. 25, 1946: Carl went to Raymond with his hog check. I washed and hung all but towels in the house. Sun came out about eleven. Howy Ward wanted Carl to go help tear Charles Westcott's house down. Too chilly.
Saturday, Jan. 26, 1946: Cold weather. We took Mr., Mrs., and Jeannie Hamilton to Hillsboro. Jeannie has eczema. Mr. went to the doctor because of an enormous appetite. Got 27 cents for eggs.
Monday, Jan. 28, 1946: Such a nice day. Neighbors claimed their clothes dried by noon. I made Jimmie two pairs overalls. Merle's came after supper. Jimmie was hungry, so Carl fed him peaches, then Carole Sue and Merle ate too. Jimmie weighs 20 pounds. Arthur and Howard Hodges delivered a male hog here.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 1946: Mary Burris went with me to the exposition at the Hillsboro High School. Labor saving gadgets, the latest in machinery also moving pictures of soil conservation and a comic, "Pop Goes the Weasel"..What baling wire can not do. Snowed a little, also a little rain. Carl took us. We rode out with Wilma Turner. Carl has a cold. Levi Bethard's sale.
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 1946: Sun shone some. Wet when we got up. Damp and a hard wind. Carl stayed in most all day. I made three more overalls. Tried to stamp pictures. Not very successful. Frank Keith sent a telegram for his folks to send him money so he can come home for a few days.
Thursday, Jan. 31, 1946: Received for October, November, and December for payment: Dairy Production Program. We sold 36–26 for above payment which was 78 pounds of butter fat sold for three months. Carl's cold is about the same. Wayne's got to Ward's in afternoon. They were tired. Strong wind all day.
Carole (Best) Brown of Golconda provides Journal-News readers with this glimpse of the past from her grandmother, Mary Edith (Newport) Best, Butler farm wife and author of Grandma's Diaries. Carole may be reached at email@example.com.