GRANDMA'S DIARIES • June 1952: Driving Test Trouble


The drama in June of 1952 is "Grandpa versus the DMV." Grandpa's hearing and vision had begun to fail so renewing his driver's license was not guaranteed. It takes all month for the situation to be resolved. Grandpa even has a sneaking feeling he may have to serve time in jail. A quick trip to Missouri to visit Grandma's sister, Maud (Newport) Mundhenk provides a break to field work. There is also a concern for Rabbit, the cow, who has a new calf and milk sickness. 

Sunday, June 1, 1952–Went to church and Sunday School. We both took a nap and then went to Harry Wallace's. I thought Carole was coming to stay all night, but she said there was too many things to do for the week. She must practice for the dance review, etc.

Monday, June 2, 1952–Sprinkled. Larry and Twinkle (Larry's pony) came to spend the day. Wayne went to Decatur, and Gerry took the little girls to practice for the dance review. We fixed harness for Twinkle. I set out snapdragon and cabbage plants. Carl rolled and hoed the corn. Very dusty. 

Tuesday, June 3, 1952–We need a rain. Fields are dusty. We went with Wayne's to the dance review. Linda looked so nice in her Irish costume. Carole was dressed as a cowgirl. The program was very nice. The dresses were lovely.

Wednesday, June 4, 1952–Expect a little calf. I washed and did most of the ironing. I went to Butler and paid phone and light bills. Went to Mrs. Rehner's and got two quarts of strawberries at .40 per quart. I went with Mrs. Duncheon and Mrs. Keith to Martha Garmmon's bridal shower at the Challicombe house. I gave her a pair of pillowcases.

Thursday, June 5, 1952–A very little bit of rain. The expected calf arrived early this morning. Finished the ironing then took 30 dozen eggs to Litchfield, Grade A 37 cents. Did some more house cleaning and putting blankets, etc. away. Went to Wayne's to watch the boxing match between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Wolcott, who won.

Friday, June 6, 1952–Hot and dry. The old cow has milk fever as we expected. Called the vet. 

Saturday, June 7, 1952–Hot and dry. I fried the chickens I got from Wayne's. Dad went to take his driver's test, but the man had left. We left for Missouri at 2:40. Got off the road after going over the bypass at St. Louis. We were too interested in naming states and capitals. Stayed in Rolla, MO, all night. Motels all full up. Ate supper at the Diamond Restaurant near St. Louis. No towns. Such a nice place.

Sunday, June 8, 1952–We left Rolla, MO, at 7:15 a.m. and got to Maud's at 8:45. Lula (Grandma's niece) came soon. We took cake and fried chickens. Maud and Lula had made chicken and noodles, scalloped corn, a salad and jello with fruit. Lula covered everything on the table and made Maud promise to let it alone, and Wayne's went with Lula and Idus (Lula's husband) out to their home. We left Maud's about six. Ate supper in Rolla. Stopped at Valley Park for gas and oil, coffee and milk. Ran into heavy rain nine miles south of Litchfield. We got home at 12:30, 40 miles from here. Had to have Dr. Hayworth for the cow.

Monday, June 9, 1952–.8 inches rain last night. Everything growing looks swell, but the weeds grew a lot. I picked a quart and a half of strawberries and pulled weeds until I got hot. Carole came to spend the week. Carl went to take his driver's test. Didn't get very far because of his eyes. Examiner gave him a blank to have Dr. Henderson fill out. He did so and took it back to the examiner who seemed pleased. Dr. Henderson says Carl has a lot better sight in his one eye than lots of elderly people have in both eyes. Dr. Hayworth had to come again. Carole watched the proceedings.

Tuesday, June 10, 1952–.2 inches of rain last night. I worked in the garden pulling weeds until I could hardly stand up. I went after starter, 6.15, for the litter chicks. Carl has to feed the little calf. Dr. Hayworth came again. He left tablets to drench the cow three times. He said not to milk her.

Wednesday, June 11, 1952–Clearing. Carole went to see Mary Ann after dinner. Larry came on his pony about 10 and stayed until we went to Mary Ann's (Ward). Merle and Ralph Keith put the cultivator on the tractor. 

Thursday, June 12, 1952–Hot. Cloudy. I took Carole home at nine so she could go to a county 4-H meeting and went after her at four. I washed after dinner. Carl plowed the corn.

Friday, June 13, 1952–Hot. Carl hoed beans. Carole and I took 45 dozen eggs to Litchfield. Grade A are 38 cents. I took her home after dinner, and Mary Nimmons, Hazel Martin and Emma Gray and I went quilting on Mildred Taylor's quilt. 

Saturday, June 14, 1952–98 degrees at 6 p.m. Carl says this heat is burning the oats crop. Oats all planted late. I went to Sunday School. Merle's came to bring Dad a lighter for Father's Day. I gave him two pairs sox. 

Sunday, June 15, 1952–St. Louis radio said they had had 101 degrees for three days. Hard roads are buckling under the heat. I went with Carl to take his driver's test. He made 100, but drove through a red light at Seymour's corner, and the examiner told him to go home and read up on red lights. He broke the back light in the sheriff's car. He had to report that. Carl asked the sheriff if he was going to put him in jail. Sheriff said, "No, forget it." (Carl)...was too childish to tell Wayne and Merle. Carl ran into the sheriff's car where he pulled out from behind it.

Wednesday, June 18, 1952–I washed and ironed. Carl plowed his 15 acres of beans. He is disgusted with the awful crooked rows he planted. Albert and Alberta are supposed to have moved to Redondo Beach, CA, while the new house is being built.

Thursday, June 19, 1952–So dry. Cooler breeze. I finally finished Linda's majorette dress. All but the button holes which I think Geraldine can do on her buttonholer. Carl plowed corn. There are no weeds, but the fine dirt keeps the moisture in. We went to Wares Grove to the annual ice cream supper.

Monday, June 23, 1952–Hot. Such a high wind. I didn't wash. I went to Merle's while Carl went to Hillsboro to drive with the tester. He made it all right and was given a permit to drive 30 days until the Secretary of State sends his license. He must either wear his hearing aid or use his side rearview mirror. Carl shipped the ten hogs he bought April 16 from Kessingers; 1,640 pounds at $18.25=$288.98.

Tuesday, June 24, 1952–Hot. I washed. Carl plowed corn. Merle is combining wheat. Report is that the wheat need not be graded for moisture.

Wednesday, June 26, 1952–Hot and windy. I ironed. I shelled 20 pounds of corn and took it to Barnstables to have ground for the young chicks. 20 cents for grinding.

Thursday, June 27, 1952–We had a dew. Hot. It was so hot most of the night. Carl thinks we never did have such a hot June. Homer Johnston had a slight paralytic stroke.

Saturday, June 29, 1952–Over 100 degrees. Merle, Jim, and Ralph Keith here for dinner. They broke a belt on the combine and then a chain. Merle got the northwest 20 acres cut and went one round on the 14 acre piece. I didn't get to take the eggs to town and will have to do that Monday. Jim drove the John Deere around in the field, and I raised Cain at noon. Something can happen too quick for Carl to stop it in time to keep Jim from getting hurt. Wayne is done combining. His wheat made 31 and 38 bushels per acre.

Monday, June 30, 1952–About 100 degrees. Merle and Ralph are combining. I washed. I intended taking the eggs to Litchfield, but the car was wanted at home. Carl is always afraid some machinery will break and may need the car. I ironed later. Wayne's picked blackberries. About now Tom Damman took his big Hereford bull home. He was here on pasture from May 16 on.

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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