GRANDMA'S DIARIES • May 1952–Grandpa Thinks About Selling


May 1952 is a busy time in the county. The unexpected death of a longtime neighbor brings everyone together to provide the traditional support to his family. Grandma mentions she and some other ladies were "Flower Girls" at the funeral. I assume this means they arranged the flowers sent by friends and relatives and then took care of arranging them at the grave site. If any reader has any information about this tradition, I would love to know more.  Another term that she frequently uses is "hard road." I remember using it to designate routes 127 and 16. Does anyone still use this term? I was surprised to see that Grandpa offered to sell the farm to Wayne. Perhaps at age 75 he was thinking about retiring. 

Thursday, May 1, 1952–Carl disked the garden, but he says it is too wet underneath. He worked in the field.

Friday, May 2, 1952–Mrs. Keith called about 5 a.m. to tell me that Arthur Hayes had just died. She (Mrs. Hayes) found him dead on the floor. I went down there right away. John Keith and Wes Burris were there. Bass came after the body.... Mary and I went quilting. We left at 4:15 to go to Hillsboro to get rape seed, also garden seed. Mrs. Keith and I went to Mrs. Jake Mutchler's to a Stanley party. Carl watched a boxing match at Wayne's with Jake Mutchler. Wayne and Tom Damman worked on Wayne's Case tractor at Hillsboro.

Saturday, May 3, 1952–Carl plowed and harrowed the garden, and planted most of the small seed. Carl worked in the field but came in at four and helped me plant potatoes. We went to the funeral home at night.

Sunday, May 4, 1952–Hot. I went to church and Sunday School then came home after Carl and an apple pie and went to Wayne's for dinner. They took the children to Tom Damman's and then we went to the Arthur Hayes funeral at 2 at Bass Funeral Home. I helped Grace Phelps, Ione Streight, and Mary Burris with the flowers, and we four went in Grace's car to the Morrisonville cemetery. We helped Wayne's eat their first fried chickens. They were seven weeks old.

Monday, May 5, 1952–Hot and getting dry. I washed a two weeks wash. Baked a pie and a pan of rolls. Wes Fogle plowed all day. We took 60 dozen eggs to Litchfield after dinner, and Carl got another treatment. Grade A, 35 cents. Geraldine says they will have to move next March for Howard Turner has sold the place to Pocklingtons of Carlinville. Carl took out hail insurance. Fogle worked all day.

Tuesday, May 6, 1952–Hot and getting dry. I went after 125 baby pullets, $20.90 and 50 straight hatched, $7.95 starter grit, ground corn at Elmer Eckhoff's. Took Wilma Turner some zucchini squash seed. She gave me a bittersweet shrub and dark blue iris.

Wednesday, May 7, 1952–Much cooler with showers. I went to Pope's at Schram City and got tomato, pepper, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage plants, 90 cents. I finished ironing.

Thursday, May 8, 1952–Cool. Another little shower last night. We heard an ad on WSMI that Howard Ogden had feeder shoats to sell. We started cross country for Honey Bend to see them. There was such a storm coming up, we turned around and came back.

Friday, May 9, 1952–We have had 1.1 inches of rain in all for the week. We made the trip to Ogden's to see the shoats. Had to go on into Litchfield to the Madison Park school building as Ogden is a carpenter. Carl bought the shoats. Mary and I quilted after noon. We got Mrs. Robinson's quilt finished. 3.00. It was Marian Robinson-Lindburg's quilt. Bill Goby came and bought Baby Gale, the Jersey heifer. $160. Billy had named her. Sure grand weather on my transplanted plants. I have lost five chickens.

Saturday, May 10, 1952–Rained again last night. Real cool. Goby's truck came for the calf, and Ogden brought the 19 white pigs, $205, 820 pounds. We went to Merle's at night to watch the wrestling matches. I paid $3 for Montgomery News and .90 for ad for selling the Jersey heifer.

Sunday, May 11, 1952–Very cool and showers. Fine hail reported in Butler. I went to Sunday School. Wayne's came at night and brought me a pink hydrangea. Merles gave me a very pretty brooch, and Alberta sent me such a nice hanky. Joe Gamlin died this evening of a brain hemorrhage. 

Monday, May 12, 1952–Cloudy and cold. I didn't wash. Put out my dahlia bulbs. Cut out a dress by a new pattern. I finally got so disgusted I put it away and went to the garden. 

Tuesday, May 13, 1952–Nice sunshiny day. I washed. Carl hauled out a spreader of hog lot cobs. Wes Fogle came at noon and finished the plowing. Carl paid him $21. He charged 65 cents an hour. It was Home Bureau at Julia Hodges. I just wasn't interested. Guess I got my dress where I can finish it now. Ross Berry mowed the yard for the second time.

Wednesday, May 14, 1952–Mary Nimmons and I went to Litchfield to Sherman's sale. I got 12 yards hope muslin at 20 cents a yard. We went to Frame's Greenhouse. I got some petunia plants. We took a box to the Salvation Army for Mayme Ware. Just nothing in it that was of any value. I hope I don't have to take any more trash like that.

Thursday, May 15, 1952–Warmer. Today is the birthday of Annetta Fish. I have been looking for George and Fern (Best) all week. They came today. We had beans with ham meat cooked in them, strawberry shortcake, etc. I got my garden all plowed. Tomato plants look puny. We had so many nights when it all but frosted. Carole has a pusy tonsil and is getting penicillin shots. Wayne got done planting corn. Wayne was sick all night. Geraldine thought he got poison off the seed corn. Black Jersey bred.

Friday, May 16, 1952–I fried a chicken and made cottage cheese and Mary Nimmons and I went to the regular Helping Hand meeting at the church. We went after Mrs. Pearl Bradburn. Had 14 for the scrambled dinner. They started on Mildred Taylor's quilt. We voted to have a scrambled dinner on regular meeting day. Also voted to buy an electric clock for the church.

Saturday, May 17, 1952–Rainy and so chilly. Got about ready to go to Litchfield for Carl's treatment and the car wouldn't start. We pulled it with the tractor nearly to the hard road. McDavid's man brought a new battery.

Sunday, May 18, 1952–Showery and cold. Wayne's came after noon. Dad offered to sell him the farm. He wants to think about it. 

Monday, May 19, 1952–Very damp and cold. Carl harrowed the fertilizer that Merle spread on the six acres. I worked my garden all over. Rained at noon. We went to Coffeen. Dr. W. took a bit of my palate. They gag me. We looked at Yvonne Casey's house to be sold the 24th. It wasn't desirable. Stopped at Harold Laughlin's for seed corn, two bushels medium flat hybrid, no. 300, $23.30, one bushel medium flat, no. 336, $11.65. A letter from Alberta said they sold their place for $12,500 to a Norwegian. They move June 22.

Tuesday, May 20, 1952–I didn't wash. I sewed enough on Linda's majorette dress, so I could fit it on her. She wanted me to leave it and let her mother finish it. We went to Wayne's after supper and Geraldine and I cut on Linda's Irish dress for the dance review.

Thursday, May 22, 1952–Larry brought the Ford and planter. Wayne went after fertilizer and treatment for wire worms. I ironed and got dinner for Wayne, Charles Campbell and Carl. I worked on Linda's dress. Home Bureau tea at Harvel. I didn't go. Wayne started planting corn a little after eight, took off nearly an hour at noon and was done by four. Planted 26 acres. Carl and I had to go after another half bushel of seed corn. It was no. 332 medium flat, $5.83. 

Friday, May 23, 1952–Mary Nimmons and I went quilting after dinner. I am tired for no good reason. Wayne replanted 80 acres of his corn. 

Monday, May 26, 1952–Clear and warm. I got sort of worried about all the hand work I have on Linda's dance review dress, so I even let the dishes go and worked on it. I got a bite of dinner, rested a bit and was ready to begin again when Mrs. Hayes and her niece, Mrs. Sundburg came. I later cut out the bonnet for Linda. Wayne helped Howy replant some of his corn. Merle took our hogs and some of Wayne's to market.

Tuesday, May 27, 1952–Wayne came after the planter to plant 12 row of corn that were missed somehow. He brought it back soon and Charles Campbell and Carl planted beans. They got done before three and Carl took the planter home. Carl got a notice that he must take a driver's test June 7. I took the car to Hillsboro, and Delbert Keepper put a new muffler on it, $7.15. McDavid's want quite a bit more. Receipt for 10 hogs, $475, $20.75 per cwt.

Thursday, May 29, 1952–Today is the birthday of Grace Toberman. I washed, and then we three took 30 dozen eggs to Litchfield. Grade A, 35 cents. We stopped in Rocky Hollow, but Larry couldn't find a cave he was told about. I promised to go back. Hillsboro graduating exercises. Phillip Damman, Marie Taylor, Martha Grantham graduated.

Saturday, May 31, 1952–I made pickled beets for the alumnae banquet. It took four cans at 23 cents per can to make four quarts. Margie Damman came after them. Carl took the roller and rotary hoe to the field to be ready to go to work on Monday. Mary Ann Ward is back in the St. John's Hospital at Springfield.

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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