GRANDMA'S DIARIES • April 30, 1953–Low 28, High 85

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April was always baby chick month, one of my favorite times at the farm. The little red brooder house which had big windows and a peaked roof sat next to the garden on the east side of the house. When there were no babies in residence, it was my playhouse. Before the chicks arrived, Grandma would have already spread cedar shavings across the floor, so when I walked in to see the babies, the pungent cedar aroma filled the air. The tiny balls of yellow fluff peeked out from the shavings and immediately began a loud chorus of squeaky peeps. I spent hours watching them and picking them up for a cuddle. I'm sure that would not interest children nowadays, but I wouldn't have missed that experience for the world.  In the April 14 entry Grandma writes about "moving the hover up close." I puzzled on that phrase for a bit. I think "the hover" was the small fenced area she created right near the door of the brooder house where the babies could get some fresh air. I have such wonderful memories of being her "Chick Assistant."

Wednesday, April 1, 1953–We went to see Carole. She was uncomfortable, sweating, gas pains. Mrs. Keith came at night while he (John Keith) went to ATA. John brought two cookies which had cotton inside–an April fool joke. I washed for Merle’s too; hung theirs in their basement. Truckers declared a two-day holiday in protest against high license fees.

Friday, April 3, 1953–Raining at 7 a.m. Nice in p.m. Mary and I went quilting. I took Mabel Cooper 15 eggs to set. Margaret, Connie, Carl and I went to see Carole. She is doing fine. We went to church at night. Communion service. Rev. Johnson had beautiful lighting effects, also pots of Easter lilies for decoration.

Sunday, April 5, 1953–Easter Sunday. Showered at 4 p.m. Went to Sunday School and church. Merle, Margaret, Jimmy and Connie ate fried chicken dinner with us. At three we went to see Carole who is doing nicely. Then we went to Tarran’s nursery north of Hillsboro. We need a shade tree. Connie Lou was baptized. Also Janice Rhoads, and Wilma Wilhelm's baby.

Monday, April 6, 1953–Rained after midnight. I washed. Scrubbed the brooder house and washed the windows. Carl, Charlie Campbell, Merle and Larry Norvell cut down the elm tree south of the house. Some mess. I got some of my house plants transplanted. Moved snapdragons out of the garden.

Tuesday, April 7, 1953–Clear. 34 degrees at 6 a.m. Election day. Ray Raines against Tony Held for supervisor. Volmer against Ernest McCammon for accessor. Carl and Campbell cleaned up the limbs from the tree. We went to vote at one. Carl stayed for town meeting at 2 p.m. Mary Nimmons is thoroughly disgusted with knots showing and long stitches on her quilt just finished.

Wednesday, April 8, 1953–Rained in the morning, .3 inches. Very dark for some time. I ironed all but a few starched pieces. Merle took our car to bring Carole home. Still walks to favor her side. I went to Litchfield to price chicks at Kresege hatchery. Higher than Merle Hayes. Gave Ida Brown the half of the Easter service money, $8+. Ordered four sacks of ground cobs at elevator. 

Thursday, April 9, 1953–45 degrees and foggy. Cress brothers cattle sale. Oakland PTA serving lunch.

Saturday, April 11, 1953–Rained. Mrs. Keith and I went to Bill Wetter's funeral. I paid for a bottle of gas, $8.16. Carl went to Hillsboro with us. Bob Nimmons rode with us. He wanted to bring his old Dodge home. Jim Garmon had a kidney removed at St. John’s.

Sunday, April 12, 1953–Rained. I went to church and Sunday School. Raye Ragen preached. Carl didn't go. Wayne came, and he and Carl worked on the electric brooder. It wouldn't make any heat. We went to see Keith's cellar. Charles Engelman finished the removal of most of the dirt. Bob and Mary (Nimmons) came, and we ate cookies and drank coffee.

Monday, April 13, 1953–Mr. Charles Campbell, 78 today. We went to Litchfield after Moorman nitrate, 100 pounds. Shelled 100 pounds corn, and Carl took it to Barnstables to be ground. I went to Raymond after 150 white rock baby pullets, $34.35 and 50 cockerels, $6.45.

Tuesday, April 14, 1953–Wayne and Geraldine's anniversary. Rained at night. Little chicks collected away from the brooder. At midnight I went to see them. I had to move the fence around the hover up close. I took Carole at three for a check up. She can go back to school next week. Merle took Margie, Carole and I to see “Pa and Ma Kettle on Vacation.” Good. Charles Campbell here. Carl watched TV at Merle's. Jim stayed with him.

Wednesday, April 15, 1953–Fierce wind, 48 degrees at noon, 35 degrees at dark. Snow flurries and dashes of rain. Men quit work about 3 p.m.

Friday, April 17, 1953–Cold, snowed, sleet, rain in p.m. Carl went to Raymond for the front seat cover which Herman Motor Co. was to sew. They didn't have it. Mary and I went quilting. They finished Mary's second quilt. Had to wipe sleet off back window to drive safely. Report says Lee Wilhelm and Nancy Cummings married.

Saturday, April 18, 1953–32 degrees, cloudy. Sleet and snow about enough to cover the ground. Peach trees are full bloom. Wonder what will happen. Cleared off somewhat by noon, so we went to Harley's. He looks better. He had planted a peck of potatoes, and they had made some garden. George Best stopped an attempted jail break. Prisoners built fire in the bull pen. He calmly put out the fire.

Sunday, April 19, 1953–So unseasonably cold. We just didn't push out and go to church. We went to Homer Johnston's. Went by Henry Martins’ coming home. Ran into a heavy snow storm. Passed quickly. Radio reported names of U.S. prisoners in exchange in Korea

Monday, April 20, 1953–Clear. Warmed up a little. I washed. Carl felt bad all morning. After dinner we went to Eliza Turner's and got my Christmas cactus. It was blooming when I took it to her prior to Dec. 13 and still had one bloom on it. We drove to Roy Kessinger's farm to see if he had shoats to sell. He had eight, but Carl thought they were too high. Men started laying concrete blocks in Keith's basement.

Tuesday, April 21, 1953–Clear, 38 degrees. I have a hurting in my coupling. May have to go to the chiropractor. I ironed, and my back feels better. Margie and I took Carole to the doctor. She cried with a pain where her incision was.

Wednesday, April 22, 1953–Clear. Got up to 80 degrees, so warm I could turn the brooder heat off. We got the trash cleared off the garden. I moved chrysanthemum plants. Mrs. McCammon visited most of the afternoon with me. Carl disked west of the house. Top on hogs, $23.50; top on cattle, $22.25.

Thursday, April 23, 1953–Thundering when we got up. Didn't rain. Merle’s came after noon. Merle found the John Deere needed a new sediment bulb. He and Carl went after it. The girls, Margie an I, went mushroom hunting. Got a few. Carole came home with me. We went to George Ware's for a poinsettia. Margie gave me some flower seed.

Friday, April 24, 1953–Rained most of the night. Cooler. Wind in east. Strong wind later. Carl made a runway for the chicks. I cleaned our bed thoroughly of dust. I trimmed the honeysuckle. Wayne’s came at night. He wanted to help Carl plow tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 1953–Carl called Wayne Knodle about some feeder heifers. We went there early. Too nice for turning on pasture.

Wednesday, April 29, 1953–Rained again. Mary and I went to Litchfield. I took a treatment. Carl plowed until rain drove him in. Terrible wind at night. Much minor damage to trees, etc. Lights went out for an hour and 10 minutes. Top on hogs $23.50, cattle $23.

Thursday, April 30, 1953–Two showers. Temperature low 28 degrees; high 85 degrees. Telephone out all day. Baked a Graham cracker pie for Carl's birthday. Campbell and Carl are making fence on the north side of the lot around the barn. Wayne’s came at night, and we had ice cream. Played Touring to keep Larry awake. 2.57 inches rain for April. Normal 3.31 inches. 12 clear days. 13 cloudy.

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 rosebudbooks@gmail.com.

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