Saturday, December 22, 2012

I have my Christmas present already

Through the years, Gene was the recipient of many of her mother's long, newsy letters--stacks and stacks of them. Here's one example:

June 17, 1952 (Tuesday)

Dear Gene,

Got your little letter yesterday and glad to hear from you. But sorry you are battling the hayfever. I've cut out the page that had the remedy I used for the terrible spell I had at home once at Aunt Bell's. This is out of the old home remedies book she had, which I possess now. I had gone to the doctor and he couldn't or didn't help me so got sick and tired dragging around, feeling miserable. Epsom Salts isn't pleasant, but it isn't as bad as having the hayfever. You can always eat something to take away the unpleasant taste. So try it, Gene. It won't hurt you--only keep your bowels cleaned out, best to take on empty stomach 1/2 hour before meals. Don't eat too many starches and eat lightly or oftener. Yes, I got your check, Gene. Thanks--glad the dresses fit Linda.

Well, Ricky [Dick's oldest son] got the measles all right and for about 2 days he coughed his head off (nearly). Such a terrible bronchial, barking cough! I began to fear it was going into pneumonia. Last Monday night, a week ago, he coughed nearly all night and had such a very high fever--just burning--about wore me out too. Real early morning Tuesday, I gave him 2 aspirins (childs, 5 grams each) to try to break up the fever and knew if it was measles, he would soon break out when he began to sweat after breaking up the fever.

But had to be so careful that he didn't take cold after perspiring--the sheet was wet. I took a cloth and rubbed his back dry under cover. Such fever and sweating is hard on the heart. The room should be kept warm without having to pile on so much cover and keep them sweating after they're broken out. Ricky sure broke out all over. His eyes were so red, lips and face swollen. I kept the shades down. I sure pity you if all your children should come down with them. Ricky didn't eat much--very little until he began to get over the peak.

They are 3 days coming, 3 days stay on and 3 days fading away, and then be careful not to let children out too soon. Our landlady asked her doctor and he said Ricky must stay in until he gets over the hard cough. When he does go out, it must be the middle of day and not to be out in the cool AM's or evenings. Doctor said it was better to be cautious and careful now then have something develop later in life such as weak heart or rheumatic fever.

I'm just telling you these things so you'll know if your children should get measles. They caused death of my father and mother and almost my brother. They went in suddenly on my mother. My father got pneumonia, and your Uncle Edgar went outdoors too soon and took cold. I remember Dick got them in the hospital in Marshfield and then you got them from him and Pierce from you. What a time! Eric and Carol [Dick's second and third children] had the mumps a month ago and are fine now. Ricky never has had them.  Ricky is a good patient.

I believe school is out or will be this week so guess it isn't too bad to miss school on the tail-end of year. Linda will be starting, won't she, next fall, or will she have to wait until next February? Eric started last fall as his birthday was December 22 and was 5 years then. He's a handsome little lad and loves outdoor sports. He loves ballgames and is a good batter.

Last Sunday was Father's Day, but I'd been so busy, I entirely forgot it. I didn't fuss too much for a dinner--fixed table in kitchen to eat--wasn't sure Pierce or Mona would be here to eat or not. But they came and when I set the table, Pierce and Mona pushed a card and gift of a nice tie on you Dad's chair and pushed it under the table. Then I realized it was Father's Day and told them I really forgot it. Had a small meatloaf, potatoes, frozen peas, corn on ear, lime jello with grated carrots on lettuce.

Mrs. Cocke [a neighbor maybe?] brought down a boysenberry pie Saturday evening. She told me earlier she was baking pies and would bring a piece down for Ricky--so a whole pie was the "piece." I told her that sure was a big piece of pie! So got ice cream and had pie al a'mode Saturday evening. I made a date-nut loaf for Sunday dinner, which is so easily made and so good. Everyone likes it. One day Mrs. C. gave me a big bag of nuts (walnuts) she had on hand so am using them up in cookies, etc. I think I wrote you that recipe, but with your family, you should double it. It's easily made. Can you get dates there now?

With hayfever, they say Arizona or New Mexico is the place to live. I expect that's why your cousin Laura Harriet (Fast) lives in Tucson, Arizona. You know she got down with tuberculosis when she taught her first year of school--wasn't too strong. Her father, your Uncle Doc, cared for her. I expect he advised Arizona after she married. She has a new home and two children, I believe, and is fine.

It will soon be Conference in SLC, won't it? They have an excursion train leaving here for all LDS who goes--the streamliner--and the rate is $21 plus tax, which probably is $24. Wish I could have plenty of time and money so I could come up and see you all awhile for that is a reasonable rate and nice way to travel and pretty time of year too.

Oh, yes, forgot to say, Dick came in Sunday PM just after we had sat down to dinner so put out another plate for him. He slipped in and I heard Ricky say, "Hello, Daddy." Ricky is in front bedroom. He had to leave for camp, though, at about 5 PM, so it was a short stay. He finally got the color film pictures made. They're so expensive, so we don't get any. He let us all see them, so you'll probably get yours soon as he writes you.

Marian, Linda & baby Jan
Evelyn Betts came over to see your pictures as Pierce told her Dick was here and had them. She called over and asked if she could come over and see them. Alden and Pierce went to the Veteran's Hospital after dinner to see someone there, so he was telling Evelyn. She said, "Gene and I keep so busy, we can't write." But she'd love to hear from you. She works from 5 to 11 PM, a bank job at night while Alden is home to stay with their 3 kiddies and do his studying. He is going to school, taking up a medical course, so you see they're busy too, and he does painting jobs on the side. His father is here helping to paint too. Evelyn says, "Gene doesn't change." Evelyn keeps her slender figure too and is active and looks the same. They have one boy and two girls--last one a little younger than Jan. Little Jan looks like the Manwarings, doesn't he, fair and blondy.

I bet Perry keeps his school-boy figure with so many jobs that keep him going all the time. Guess you got my last letter, didn't you? Margaret Mack is in mission home now and will sail for France July 11. Must close. Dad says he wants to eat. Anyway, we're glad we got to see the pictures of you all--all look swell and pretty. Pierce is busy with exams this week. Lots of love to all. Mother

Your dad thinks I've written a book!

Gene & Perry, Salt Lake City
November 11, 1952 (Tuesday)

Dear Folks,

Haven't had any word from your end of the line since Dad's letter of October 30th, which I enjoyed very much. Hope you are all ok. We are all well and though our weather is cooler, it hasn't changed much from what we had when you were here. Dad, there has been no rain. It's the driest spell Utah has ever had. But I'm glad anyway and really enjoying it.

I have my Christmas present already too--Perry got me a Westinghouse automatic electric dryer. Oh, how I shall enjoy using that when we get it connected! It will blow all my diapers and clothes dry for me in no time this winter. No more clothes lines for me-ha!

I am expecting my baby in about three weeks the doctor says December 1st or 2nd. [Renee was born December 8, 1952] Will surely miss your presence around here at that time, Mother. Perry's mother will take a two-week leave of absence from her job to help me out at that time however.

Were you surprised at how the election went? We were though we did vote for Ike. Guess now there will be some changes made in Washington--hope so!!

Keep thinking we will hear from Pierce, but we don't have his address. Do you see him much? I have a wedding gift for them. Mabel called me this morning and we talked for about half an hour. She said she'd like to hear from Dick or Emily and said she might call Dick sometime at your place. Tell Dick I'd like to hear from him once in a while too! Do hope he makes good on that selling job. Think that idea of his about getting a place in the San Fernando Valley a wonderful idea--do hope he can follow through. All of you please write me when you can. I love you and think of you all every day. Love, Gene.

The following is a postcard Gene wrote from Los Angeles. It appears that she got a chance to escape her mothering duties for a short time to visit with her family in California. We can probably assume that she took baby Renee with her.

June 16, 1953

Dear Perry,

Got into Riverside at 7:30 last night (Monday) and Aunt Veda and I took an 8:15 bus to LA. Pierce came in and took us both home. We were of course very tired and worn out. It was so hot coming across the desert--over 100 degrees at Las Vegas and Barstow.

I have taken a nap today and stayed home visiting with Mom and Dad and Dick's kids. Called Evelyn this morning. Will spend part of tomorrow with her. Dick and his girlfriend will take me to dinner tomorrow night then will meet Pierce's wife and visit with them Thursday I think.

Hope everyone and everything is ok with you and family. I think about you and talk about my family all the time-ha! More later. See you soon. Love, Gene

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