December 1951: A Lot Of Time Washing


I am always amazed at the time Grandma spent doing her washing. Compared to how we now wash and dry our laundry in such a small amount of time, she often had to spend an entire day washing, starching, and ironing. Anyone remember curtain stretchers? Now that operation required a lot of time and patience. Her misadventure with feeding baby Connie caused some consternation. I'm sure Grandma was concerned that Mom would return and not be happy to find her baby swaddled in rags. We grandchildren all loved spending time with her.  Grandma was an early proponent of interactive learning. She played with us. We read to each other. She played games with us and taught us to play simple tunes on the piano or sing along when she played. The year ends with lots of family time spent with aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. Good memories.

Saturday, Dec. 1, 1951–Oliver Ware is having a closing out sale of his general store. We took 30 dozen eggs to Litchfield. Grade A is .58, a drop of eight cents in a week. Weather looked like rain or snow, but cleared up without either.

Sunday, Dec. 2, 1951–Nice day. We are having vegetable soup for dinner. I asked Henry Eckhoff home with us. Irene used to make soup for us. I took him home at four.

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 1951–Expect a McCall dun for four bucks soon. I washed, and it was a very nice day. George and Fern got here at 11:30. I hadn't started dinner as I had just finished two of my living room curtains in the stretcher.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1951–Raining again, though not much. I ironed all but the starched clothes. Margaret brought Connie to stay while she went with Geraldine, Dorothy Ward and Dorothy Harris. When I fed Connie, her bottle leaked. Before I noticed, her dress and shirt were soaked. I had to strip her almost, dress her in rags until I could rinse out her clothes and dry them on the stove. She got good and mad before everything calmed down. We took her home to sleep. Carl took cream to Litchfield. Price–.72. Gary Knodle went home from the hospital. He had pneumonia.

Thursday, Dec. 6, 1951–Weather changeable like March. Carl cleaned the chicken house. I helped a little then he cleaned out the hog house. I took Mary Nimmons as far as Hillsboro where she did her Christmas shopping. I drove to Wayne Knodle's and called on Jesse (Newport). Today is his 74th birthday. Had my shoes half soled and heels capped. Two dollars for it.

Saturday, Dec. 8, 1951–Rained and sleeted some. We took the eggs, 30 dozen, to Litchfield before noon. Eggs, 50 cents for grade A, a drop of 16 cents in two weeks. Had rain most of the day. I made Mary Nimmons a one-year-old dress for a grand-niece of hers. She gave me enough material of same for a dress for Connie. Made most of an apron also for Mary.

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1951–Geraldine and I left for Taylorville at 9:30. She sure knows how to shop. I got Carole a pair pajamas, Larry two sweatshirts.

Friday, Dec. 14, 1951–When we got up, we had had four inches of snow. It is cold, and fine snow fell most of the day. I didn't go to quilt as the weather is too threatening. I finished a dress and slip for Linda's doll. Gerry Sammons came for four dozen eggs, $2. Even he says it is bad.

Sunday, Dec. 16, 1951–Didn't go to Sunday School as it is so cold. Connie Lou, Lindy's (Anderson) boy (Tom Anderson) and Thelma's girl (probably Mary Beth Frkovich) were supposed to be christened, but they gave it up.

Monday, Dec. 17, 1951–I didn't wash, but we took the eggs to Litchfield. They were 47 cents. Just looks like rain would begin at any time, so we didn't stay long.

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 1951–Sloppy. I just got to buy some more presents. I must get Linda a present. Mrs. Mutchler and I went to Hillsboro with Wayne's. We ate dinner in Mayme's Cafe. Think I have my presents all ready now. Wayne, house sox; Geraldine, nice bath set; Larry, sweatshirts; Merle, shirt; Margie, tablecloth; Carole, pajamas; Jim, sweatshirt and Junior Canasta; Connie, bell wheel toy; Carl, package of Camel cigarettes.

Saturday, Dec. 22, 1951–Merle's and Wayne's came for supper. We had bar-b-cue, potato chips, pickles, cookies, coffee. We opened our presents. Alberta sent me a very nice sweater, Wayne's gave me a set for the side board of two candle holders and fruit dish. Merle's gave me a fancy cookie press. Dorothy Ward, a check for $3. Carl got a billfold from Alberta, a plaid shirt and sox from Wayne's and a necktie rack from Merle's. We didn't talk to Alberta. The soldier boys are making so many phone calls.

Sunday, Dec. 23, 1951–I went to Sunday School. Carl didn't go. There were 68 there. We just rested the rest of the day.

Monday, Dec. 24, 1951–About 32 degrees. The roads are clear, so I washed. Then we took the eggs to Litchfield. 36 dozen, A grade, 47 cents. Also took a can of cream, but they weren't testing cream. T'was raining a bit by dark, so we didn't go to the church program. Christmas sales are marked down, but what a wild scramble in the stores.

Thursday, Dec. 27, 1951–Cold. Ice wherever there was packed snow. Wayne brought Linda to stay while her mother helped cook for the fox hunters. The hunters got one fox, but saw others. Linda said she liked baked potatoes, so we did. We also had a lesson in fractions.

Saturday, Dec. 29, 1951–Warmer and thawing. Merle, Margie, Carole, Ralph and Ada Belle, Jim and Janice Keith went to Springfield. Jimmy Best came to stay with us. They got our new auto license, #207064. Jim wanted fried potatoes, so we had them.

Monday, Dec. 31, 1951–I didn't wash as the weather didn't look too good. It sure is muddy on top. Merle and Jim came at noon, and Merle helped Carl ring the shoats. I took 21 dozen eggs to Litchfield. Grade A eggs are 45 cents. Merle's went out for the New Year's Eve party at Solanders.

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. Carole may be reached at


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