GRANDMA'S DIARIES • Sept. 1954–Pet Parade In The Park


September 1954 and the weather is still hot and dry. Does anyone remember Essie Molohan who taught third and fourth grade at Butler? She was my favorite teacher, even though she was the only one who ever spanked me. Her classes were such a joy. She came up with original ideas, like the one Grandma notes–a pet show in the park! Even cousin Larry brings Rascal, his pinto horse, for the show. Another question I have is about the location of Hog Lake east of Morrisonville. This is where Grandma was born. I would love to learn more about it.The unpleasant memory of September 1954 was when Mom and I were so ill with yellow jaundice. I could barely raise my head from the pillow for nearly three weeks. I later learned that we had a form of hepatitis caused by contaminated water. I have no idea how we contacted it, or why the rest of the family did not get sick. Even now, all these years later, I cannot donate blood because of having been diagnosed with it.

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1954–Not so hot, but dry. Julia Best and Lucille came about 10 a.m. Jay Hall used the road patrol and pushed out some stumps along the turning row that Carl couldn't get out. He charged $3 for his work. Mrs. Keith came while John went to ATA. I sewed quilt lining to the frames. Tom Dammann filled his silo.

Thursday, Sept. 2, 1954–Hot and dry. Dust is so bad in the field. Carl couldn't see where he had harrowed. Mary and I put Connie's quilt in the frames. Connie shouted something at me as I went by. I didn't get it so I came on home. She said she wanted to come home with me. Margaret brought her. We washed. She had a big time rinsing clothes.

Friday, Sept. 3, 1954–Sun dog. Carl had to quit harrowing. Wayne and Geraldine came, and Wayne laid out a drain furrow for Carl through the field. John Keith sprayed his new planting of alfalfa for worms. A good rain right away would help a lot.

Sunday, Sept. 5, 1954–We examined John Keith's new alfalfa. Looks like his spraying did some good.

Monday, Sept. 6, 1954–Barely sprinkled in evening. I fixed cling peaches and pickled them. We went to Frank Derby's funeral at 2 at Waggoner. Went to Lanter's Corner and straight west two miles, then north a mile, turned east and had to come back to the hard road. After the funeral we looked the church basement over. Drove to Wayne's. Linda and Geraldine went with us to Morrisonville where we ate a fish supper with the American Legion. Wayne and Jim (Ward) were putting up the pipes for the silage cutter.

Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1954–Hot and dry. I am still working with peaches, but getting tired of the job. I now have 35 quarts canned, seven quarts pickle peaches and seven pints peach butter.

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1954–56 degrees at 6 a.m. Sure cold after being near 100 degrees yesterday.

Friday, Sept. 10, 1954–Result of sun dog on Sept. 3–maybe a little hotter and dry. Carl and I worked on the old cistern pump and found it hopeless. Carl and I went to a meeting at the church. The young married people are working for more room, maybe a basement under the Presbyterian church. They voted a majority on “beginning to raise money.”

Saturday, Sept. 11, 1954–We went to Hillsboro where Carl got a cistern pump, $8.45, from Barnstable and Ware. Came home and tried to make it work. George and Fern (Best) came nearly noon. I got dinner and George helped Carl get the pump to working. Mrs. Molohan's room at school had a pet parade at the Butler Park. George and Fern went with us. They made about $35. Larry brought Rascal down, and the children at the park rode him. Larry rode him out here, and they both stayed all night.

Monday, Sept. 13, 1954–Went to Butler to post office thinking we would get a notice to come for Carl's glasses. No letter. Came home and phoned the doctor in Springfield. Said they would have the glasses ready by noon. Went to Geraldine's and she took us up there. He says he can't see with them. Cost $61.20.

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1954–Foggy. Wayne and Geraldine here for dinner. I had been to Litchfield to take cream and eggs. Grade A eggs are .40. McKinzie combined 75 bushels of beans. Connie came to spend the afternoon. We three took a sample of the beans to Raymond to get a moisture test. T'was 11-plus. Merle and Margaret left at 10 p.m. for near to Chicago. Moving Harold Nettleship.

Thursday, Sept. 16, 1954–Little fog. I have a sneezy cold. I went after Freddie Lewey. He took the beans to Raymond with the John Deere. Took two hours. McKinzie combining. I sent a lunch to the field. Wayne and Jake (Mutchler) came in truck for a load of beans 145 bushels and 20 pounds. Carl got 220 bushels and 20 pounds of beans from 20 acres. Hauled them to Raymond and stored them. The bank will loan up to $2 per bushel.

Sunday, Sept. 19, 1954–Clear, so dry and hot. I went to Sunday School and church. After dinner we drove to Taylorville, but went by way of Hog Lake, east of Morrisonville. No lake for years, but rich soil. Crops look good

Monday, Sept. 20, 1954

Bad fog. One and a half inches rain. We hurried over to Barnstables for the hen feed. They didn't have it ground. We went to Geraldine's, and she drove for us to Springfield. Dr. Duncan adjusted Carl's new glasses which made them better. Carl complained that a part of everything looks red. Dr. Duncan says it will take lots of patience. He says use his old ones. Doctor says Carl sees too good out of his left eye.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 1954–Much cooler, 50 degrees. Wind, but no rain. Got another half-inch yesterday evening. Cold wind by night. I worked a while on my gray jacket to my suit. Slow work for I have to read instructions and then only partly understand. Went to the annual ATA fish fry at the Community House. All one could eat for $1. Mrs. Keith came home with us, and we watched TV. John brought us two pieces of uncooked fish.

Thursday, Sept. 23, 1954–Clear. Mary Nimmons, Hazel Martin and I went to Mrs. Seller's funeral. She was Bertha Williams's mother. Carl is disking his old alfalfa field. Quite a bit of seed on the old growth.

Friday, Sept. 24, 1954–We went to Wayne's before noon. Mary and I went quilting. We finished Connie's quilt. It took 420 yards of thread at one and a half cents per yard. I baked a cake, and we went to an ice cream supper given by the young married folks. They cleared $74.50. This was the start for raising money to remodel the church.

Sunday, Sept. 26, 1954–A grand day. Didn't go to Sunday School. I cooked a hen to make broth for Margaret. She has had the flu.

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 1954–Annual Home Bureau meeting at St. Aloysius Church in Litchfield. Mrs. Keith, Mrs. Streight, and I went to the meeting, 128 there for dinner. The Litchfield ladies gave a good play.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1954–Two and a half inches rain. Got enough of my work done so I could go to Merle's. Margaret and Carole no better. They vomit everything they eat. I came home, bringing the rest of her ironing which I got done by 8 p.m. Mary Nimmons and I went to Hillsboro. I got another 50 pound sack of 17 percent broiler finisher, $2.70. The young chickens are eight weeks old. Carl had his seed wheat cleaned at Butler, $3.16. Merle brought 25 80-pound bags of 3-12-12 fertilizer, $45. Fred Lewey spread lime on old pasture yesterday.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 1954–Little shower. Dr. Bill (Douglas) came to see Carole and Margaret and told them they had yellow jaundice.

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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