GRANDMA'S DIARIES • Nov. 1952–Politics Are Rotten In Washington


November 1952 was election time for the country. Grandma's notes about the election remind us that the partisan divide we see today is nothing new. Both Eisenhower and Stevenson supporters were just as committed and vocal about their feelings as we are in 2019. I remember President Truman's Whistle Stop Tour. Dad hoisted me onto his shoulders, so I could see President and Mrs. Truman. I think I became a Democrat that day. Ha! A bit of Grandma's weather lore brought  teasing and derision down on her, but she got the last laugh. The polio epidemic continues to attack more youngsters. This time one of my childhood friends was the victim.  The month ends with Grandma having to rescue Grandpa from a desperate situation.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 1952–Heavy fog. No rain. Cleve Robinson couldn't come. We went to Litchfield. Got over there by 1 p.m. I went to the Wabash R.R. where President Truman was making a "whistle stop" at 2:30. Big crowd. Looks like his pictures.

Monday, Nov. 3, 1952–Got up early so that I got through washing before 9 a.m. George and Fern (Best) came about 11:30. They have a 1947 Buick. Very nice with all the gadgets on it. They took us for a ride.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1952–Still so very dry. Election day, and I still wonder who I should vote for. I voted for Eisenhower. Anyway it looks like we need a change. Public reports are politics are rotten in Washington. A big furniture truck burned about 10:30 a.m. just north of Lency Ward's garden setting fire to the dry grass. The fire raced across Lency's field. I ate dinner with the M.E. ladies. Then Florence Robinson and I put to rights the church closets. We went to Wayne's after supper to watch election returns on TV. Stayed until 11.

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1952–First news this morning was that Eisenhower had been elected by a great majority. So many want a change and end corruption in Washington. Cleve Robinson was so against the results. He says we never did have such good times when the Republicans were in power. One thing sure, regardless of who the president is if he tries to pay off this terrific national debt or any part of it, we will have times that seem hard after all this spending.

Thursday, Nov. 6, 1952–Wayne's came after a bucket of soft water to wash Linda's hair. Merle's were here too. Margaret is sure that we will all be eating soup in a year from now. She can see no good in anything Republican.

Friday, Nov. 7, 1952–Clear and chilly. Eight at the quilting. Our thimbles and needles made so many scratchy noises that I predicted rain, and they jeered me. Nevertheless, it did rain. Carl took another treatment from Dr. Kraus. We talked trade in on our watches with Schwabe in Litchfield. We Helping Handers finished Mae Norvell's quilt. Six 120 yard spools of thread. We quilted 50 hours or on 10 Fridays which included two all day meetings. This 50 hours was the time the quilt was being sewed on. Clift's took Pam to St. John's hospital. She has polio.

Saturday, Nov. 8, 1952–We had a very nice rain from 3:30 p.m on through the night. Cloudy all day or possibly it was partly smoke from the forest and grass fires. We went to Hillsboro after meat. Priced watches at Swingles. Wayne was plowing and got run in from the field because of rain. He says the first time all this season.

Sunday, Nov. 9, 1952–Still cloudy. We went to church and Sunday School and to see Harley (Newport) after noon. He looked extra good for him. Vivian was leaving for Peoria. Wayne, Geraldine, Dorothy and Howy went to Springfield to see Leroy Mutchler. He is still critically ill. David Reynolds is able to move both legs and one arm and wanted company. Pammy Clift has a paralyzed throat, but she has a temperature of 99 degrees only.

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 1952–Ha! Carl said Stevenson would beat Eisenhower. What say? He sure didn't. Greatest landslide in history. Carl went after the mail. No school today as it is Armistice Day. I took Carole home after dinner as Mrs. Keith and I went to Clara Cress's to Home Bureau. Carole had quite a cold. Carl took the old roosters to Raymond–nine of them.

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 1952–Hermsmier came and culled our hens. Took out 44 and left about 80. They are not laying very good. He says they are lousy. So we bought louse powder; also Mintrate, 200 pounds to feed with oats and corn. Went to Harvel and Raymond to try to sell the culls. They offered .17 for hens.

Thursday, Nov. 13, 1952–Went to Hillsboro. Linda got up with a bad case of chicken pox. Jimmy is better. They both broke out all over. Even in Linda's mouth. White says he will pay .22 for our hens if we can bring them to him next Tuesday.

Saturday, Nov. 15, 1952–Very foggy. I cleaned up in the kitchen, scrubbed and straightened up the rest of the house. We got to Litchfield by 11. Carl took his treatment. Then we went to Schwabe's and traded watches. He allowed Carl $15 for his old Waltham watch and $10 on my Elgin watch. The price on my new Benrus watch $33.50. Went on to Hillsboro and ate lunch, and Carl went to the courthouse to watch the sale of Clyde Keith's farm, John's father. Jimmy is recovering from the chicken pox.

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 1952–Raining when we got up. Wayne came in his car and helped us haul the cull hens to White in Hillsboro. He paid us .22–all others offered .17. We got $61.60 for them–280 pounds at .22.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 1952–One of Wayne's steers died.

Thursday, Nov. 20, 1952–I cut out a blue dress for myself. Got it partly sewed up. Went to the church at one, and myself and six others washed the dishes we will need for the oyster supper. Wayne came after the clover seed and took it to Barnstable's to have it cleaned. Something went wrong with the truck, and he had to take it to the Chevy garage to get it repaired. Carl went to the Davis sale beyond the creek west of Butler. Had the first basketball game in the new Butler gym.

Friday, Nov. 21, 1952–Nice night. Cold enough. This is the evening we advertise our 55th annual oyster supper. Supper to be served at 5:30. What a mob! They ate all the soup, crackers and cake we had. Elmer Henry went to the store and got more milk and oysters. The Carroll undertakers let us have 200 chairs–no charges! They even hauled them both ways. Not too many donations to the bazaar and some of the cakes didn't get there. We workers in the kitchen need more help early.

Thursday, Nov. 27, 1952–Real cold. Thanksgiving Day. I took an angel food cake and a dish of apple salad, and we went to Merle's for dinner. Grandpa and Grandma Bondurant, Grandpa and Grandma Best. Leland Bondurant's, Ted Solander's family and Merle's. A big turkey, 23 pounds. Mrs. Toberman cooked it. We paid $2.16 for our part. Carole and Connie have chicken pox.

Friday, Nov. 28, 1952–Nice day. The clothes froze. I went to quilt. We got Blanche Rogers's quilt finished. It was less than $3.20. We are now working on Eliza Turner's. I washed. We went with Merle and Margaret to the Montgomery Service Co. annual meeting. Margaret felt so bad, Merle took her to Leland's. Homer and Jethro from WLS (Chicago radio station) were the entertainers. I won a bag of pig feed.

Saturday, Nov. 29, 1952–Snowed a bit. Carl got locked up in the brooder house, and I couldn't hear him call, much to his disgust.

Sunday, Nov. 30, 1952–Snowy. We went to church and Sunday School. Larry and Linda came for dinner as Wayne, Geraldine, Moray, Howy and Dorothy went to Springfield to see Leroy Mutchler. Aftr nine weeks, he is able to swallow and can smoke two cigarettes a day. He lies on an $1800 bed which vibrates from side to side which rolls to the same time as he breathes.

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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