GRANDMA'S DIARIES: Sept. 1954–Indoor Plumbing On The Way


September 1952 is hot and dry. Both house gardens and crops have suffered through the hot summer. In addition to the less than hoped for yields, a disease begins to spread through the hog farms in the county. Of course, all is not doom and gloom. Grandma and Grandpa are, at last, going to install indoor plumbing before winter.  Readers who remember outhouse trips in bad weather will breathe a sigh of relief that Grandma and Grandpa can say goodbye to that experience. At the end of September, more bad news. I am sure readers can identify with the possibility that Grandma may have breast cancer. Looking back on how we dealt with cancer 67 years ago as opposed to now makes us thankful for the medical advances that have been made. One thing never changes though; we rally to surround our family member with love and support.

Monday, Sept. 1, 1952–Showered. Labor Day, and I washed but so many interruptions. Wayne came, then Mildred Taylor. I gave her some half gallon fruit jars as she had four bushels of peaches to can. Then the McNess remedy people and then Mary and Bob Nimmons. Mrs. Keith called on the phone, and Gus Sammons trucked his cattle home from the west 80. I got through finally. Did most of the ironing later.

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 1952–One inch of rain from late p.m. through the night. Everything was getting so dry. Only enough tomatoes to eat. Cabbage has finally begun to head. The garden has been almost a failure. I went to Carrie Sammons for a little visit. Men painted some more on the barn.

Thursday, Sept. 4, 1952–Carl decides he will not buy any more shoats. A hog disease which broke out in the summer has worried the farmers. Stockyard at St. Louis was closed while they fumigated and disinfected.

Friday, Sept. 5, 1952–Today is the birthday of Mamie Ward. Wayne's came at night. Wayne tried to make the player piano work. Seemed to be OK only wouldn't make music out loud. Linda stayed all night.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 1952–Today is the birthday of Harriet Busby. Real warm in the daytime. Merle came after noon and hauled old corn to Butler. Carl and I went to Mrs. Hayes' in the morning to look at her bathroom and the location of the septic tank. 

Monday, Sept. 8, 1952–Hot and dry. Perry Rogers and "Dude" Cress came to talk over the possibilities of a bathroom. I wanted to get out some of this awful dust that comes off the road, so I didn't wash.

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1952–Hot, still dry. The Home Bureau ladies served a lunch of hamburgers, wieners, ice tea, pie to a bunch of men who were making a tour of Jack Rundquist's farm and another farm north of here. They took in $50 and cleared about $25. A man from Sears came and cemented the top of the fire bricks in our round stove; cost $4.34.

Saturday, Sept. 13, 1952–Hot, dry. We went to Litchfield then to Sears, Hillsboro to look at bathroom fixtures, $166. Also looked at Dorsey's. They are high. Huber and Stokes came to put last coat of paint on the buildings. He painted the brooder house and the individual hog houses beside the hen house, barn, wash house and coal house; labor $50. We paid Sears $20.96 for paint, oil and turpentine for the paint job. Sears furnished paint for a repaint job on the east and south side of the barn. It scaled off after it was painted five years ago.

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1952–Mr. Campbell came to work and reported two big oil tanks and a spreader at the hard road, so I dashed down to Butler to get bread. The road was oiled before noon.

Thursday, Sept. 18, 1952–Cooler. We went out through Tom Damman's farm to get to the hard road because of the oil. Then we went to Litchfield to see Buchers about a certain kind of corn crib to put in the hayloft. Went on to Hillsboro and got an oil change for the car. Then to Irving where we looked at the Padgett place to be sold about 2 p.m. We went to the apple orchard out of Irving and got two bushels of apples–Jonathans–$1 for one bushel picked and .50 for one bushel dropped. We then went to Raymond and got hen pellets and hog feed, $11.30. We hadn't had any rain, but elsewhere they did. I paid $182.46 for a year's life insurance to Country Life for Carl and I. Got $3.25 worth of Christmas cards, etc. from May Stein.

Saturday, Sept. 20, 1952–We went to Litchfield with 15 dozen eggs, 53 cents for grade A, but first went to Louie Menapaces south of Irving to see some small pigs. He wanted $12 a head, entirely too high.

Monday, Sept. 22, 1952–46 degrees. Fine weather. I washed and then ironed after supper. We put up the heater in the dining room. Too cool at night to be comfortable.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1952–Gilbert Clinard began combining beans about 3 p.m. Carole came to stay all night. I cut out a dress for her. Carl had a lot of trouble starting the tractor. We pulled it about the lot.

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 1952–46 degrees. Annual Home Bureau meeting in Nokomis. Since we are combining beans, I will stay home to get dinner. Carl had to get a new battery for the tractor. I got most of Carole's dress done. Got done combining. They made almost 20 bushels per acre. Beans are $2.86 to $2.88. Carl and Campbell scooped them all in a bin in the barn, but one load which was hardly cracked.

Thursday, Sept. 25, 1952–Fine weather. Carl took a load of cracked beans to Montgomery Service Co. I finished Carole's dress, and we took it to her after supper. She liked it. Well, it did look nice. It fit fine.

Friday, Sept. 26, 1952–So much trouble these days starting the car. I made a date for an examination of a lump in my right breast. Doctor told me to come at three. He said I had better have it out and to come to the hospital about 3 or 4 next Monday afternoon.

Saturday, Sept. 27, 1952–We got the car started. I took it to McDavid's. Carl told them to work on the oil filter and the battery, etc. I rode over with John Keith's after dinner. Came home and got the eggs to take to Litchfield. Carl is working on his wheat ground. I left my broken spectacles at Henderson's. They came apart at the nose.

Monday, Sept. 29, 1952–Hot and dry. Merle came after Carl's 19 shoats, the ones he bought from Howard Ogden. Carl went on out to harrow. I got up about six and washed. Carl came in and ate breakfast. They finished the field work at noon. I ironed and Carl took me to the Hillsboro Hospital about 3 p.m. I didn't have to go to bed. Merle came to see me at 7 p.m. Elmer Culp sowed the wheat, 14 or 15 acres.

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1952–I didn't get any breakfast. Wayne, Geraldine and Carl came just before they took me to the operating room. Merle came about the time I went under. It didn't take long. Dr. Turner Douglas removed the lump and a big mole under my arm and another one which came recently, one the middle side of the breast. I vomited all day; just about 12 hours of it. When that was over, I recuperated rapidly. Geraldine stayed all day with me. I'd rouse up and vomit, and there she was. I would go to sleep again. She is a wonderful gal. Carl stayed all night with me. Merle and Margaret talked to Alberta at noon.

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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