Grandma's Diaries: July 1950: A Trip To The New Drive-In


July brings more news about the fate of Cherry Grove School. Grandma and Grandpa attend some new attractions in the community, a drive-in movie theatre and stock car races. Even though she is eager to try new things, Grandma still gardens by moon signs and does a lot of canning of beans and blackberries. I wonder if there are any readers who remember the 22 Club. It was the major social activity in the 1950s for rural Montgomery County families. I would love to hear from anyone who has memories of the group. It was great fun for the whole family. On a more serious note, a farm accident injures a Wares Grove neighbor, while rumors of war begin to stoke fears of another far away battle. Sad that nearly 70 years later we are still dealing with the unintended consequences of the Korean Conflict.

Saturday, July 1, 1950: Rain. We went to the sale of Cherry Grove school house. Tony Held got it for $750. I got a bunch of primary story books. Billiter was auctioneer. Carl bought the better of the two toilets for Wayne for $11. He wants it for grease buckets, etc. Came a storm when we got home-wind and rain. We later took feed to have ground for chickens. Wayne's took us to the new drive-in theater at Litchfield, "Northwest Stampede." We enjoyed it very much.

Sunday, July 2, 1950:  Rain. We went to church and Sunday School. Went to Bob Nimmons' awhile. Mary and I have an idea we might make Irene Eckhoff a quilt. Went to Eckhoff's at night. Irene about the same. The 22 Club had a picnic at the Taylorville Park. Rained more up there earlier.

Monday, July 3, 1950: 3/10 of an inch of rain fell early. Came from north. Cleared off and laundry got dry–those who washed. I didn't get anything done-lazy or restless or both. Carl had new motor put on windshield wipers. Larry came after noon to stay all night. He helped me get supper. We played Touring and Pit. Jim Sammons brought me a flower box. Bruce Rhoads made it. Wayne's lambs they bought are dying. Dr. Strattmier says worms in the head. They have lost nine. Larry is so good to help me.

Tuesday, July 4, 1950:  No rain. Oat lice awful. Carl plowed beans. Merle's came for dinner. He put a new muffler on our car. Tightened up the fan belt, did something so it wouldn't die every time we started it. They took the single bed home for Jim. Margaret invited us down there for their fireworks. Carl was tired, and they had company for a scrambled supper. We didn't go.

Wednesday, July 5, 1950: I painted the rest of the woodwork. First coat in the living room.

Thursday, July 6, 1950: Clear. Geraldine and Dorothy Ward invited about 25 little folks to a roller skating party this afternoon at Litchfield. I went and looked on a while.

Friday, July 7, 1950: Clear. I put on a second coat of paint in the living room. Window frames are certainly tedious to paint. Mary and I went quilting.

Saturday, July 8, 1950: Clear. Scraped paint off the windows. Washed the inside of the windows and put up three pairs of lace curtains. Took our last cream to Litchfield–last until the little black jersey is fresh again.

Sunday, July 9, 1950: Clear and warm. Had a meeting of the officers of both churches. The Methodist people want to pay $900 to the ministers and then they pay their other expenses after this year or when the present ministers' time is up. No, this isn't right, it is for the year 1951 and 1958. Now we each pay $360 each. We ate dinner and then drove north. We went past where Grandma Newport lived about 1890 east of Farmersville. Through Pawnee, Kinkead, Bulpitt, Morrisonville and home. Wheat was practically all cut; oats will be this week. Most corn is ready to tassel in another week. Went to Wayne's in evening to play croquet and eat watermelon.

Tuesday, July 11, 1950: Clear, rather warm. Home Bureau at Marian's. Marian (Sammons) is our new chairman. Marie Henry, vice chairman. I canned 14 quarts green beans in a.m. Carl went after seed wheat at Wes Burris' field. Paul had combined one hopper full. When he turned on the machinery to unload his hand got caught and cut off his left little finger and mashed the next one. Carl went to the hospital with him.

Wednesday, July 12, 1950: Hot and getting dry. I wrote a thank you letter to May Norvell at Glendale, CA. She sent us $11 for the quilt we finished for her. Wrote a card to Irene Knodle. I cut maples and locust sprouts around the garden fence. Sign (zodiac) is in the heart and last quarter of the moon. Sprouts are supposed to die. I made Carl a pajama coat after dinner. Carl shipped five old sows and two shoats.

Thursday, July 13, 1950: Came a half inch rain about 1:20 a.m. Real cool all day. I dressed the first fry for our dinner. We had sliced peaches and white cake. Larry rode his pony "Twinkle" over after dinner. He has a new saddle and bridle. Geraldine and Linda came later and brought ice cream. Carl mowed weeds. A letter from Alberta says they are getting worried over the war scare in Korea. Not too good for the U.S. soldiers. (This day was Grandma's 67th birthday.)

Friday, July 14, 1950: Clear. Carl wanted a little early dinner while I was busy getting it for George, Fern, (Best) and Frances Cleveland. Carl ate and went on to combine. It was one o'clock when I got dinner ready for them. I wish they would come earlier. It is aggravating to have company come in right at meal time. Merle's and us gave Larry a Roy Rogers watch for his birthday.

Monday, July 17, 1950: Rained. We went to Joe Anderson's funeral at Palmer. He is Jessie Mundhenk's husband. Carole came at night to visit.

Tuesday, July 18, 1950: Carl and I went to Litchfield to take the eggs, 35 cents today for grade A eggs. We got Linda an "Old Mother Hubbard" doll for her birthday. Very nicely dressed. Carl sold the Henning's male hog to Neece at Donnelllson, $45. Linda Anderson hauled him.

Wednesday, July 19, 1950: Warm. Carole went home for I went to a Helping Hand meeting all day at Presbyterian church, 13 there. We quilted on Grace Wilhelm's and Mildred Taylor's aunt's quilts.

Thursday, July 20, 1950: Tiny bit of rain. I washed. Cloudy so it took until noon for the clothes to dry. I ironed everything but three pairs pants that were not dry enough. I went to Mary Nimmons'. She is giving a quilt top and lining to be quilted and given to Irene Eckhoff. Carl took the calf to the locker. He weighed 570 pounds. Then he got corn for the shoats.

Wednesday, July 26, 1950: Rained early. We ate early lunch and went to the Morrisonville picnic. In time for the parade which was very good for a small town. Merle's brought me enough blackberries for three quarts and two pies.

Thursday, July 27, 1950: Very pleasant. Carole was here. We took eggs to Litchfield, 37 cents today. I butchered two roosters for dinner. Dean Garrett and a helper brought the material for the garage. I got dinner for them, but no one but Jake who came to help was here. Linda came to stay all night–her birthday.

Friday, July 28, 1950: Hotter. Dean and helper got here about 9 a.m. They got the framework up.

Saturday, July 29, 1950: We went to Hillsboro. Took Margaret and the children with us. I got 20 pounds of sugar. They say people are starting to hoard. Seven new directors elected for our new consolidated school district–Wares Grove, Cherry Grove, Victor, Union and Butler. They were L. White, K. Grantham, A. Kopp, L. Osborn and Paul Burris.

Sunday, July 30, 1950: We went to Sunday School and church. I don't like the Rev. Johnson's sermons too good. He quotes too high brow poetry. We just rested after noon. When it got cool we picked a couple of gallons of blackberries.

Monday, July 31, 1950: I washed a two-weeks washing. Kept looking like rain, but didn't do anything. I canned six quarts of blackberries.

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