An early cold snap and a heavy snow make for a difficult November in 1951. Grandma and Grandpa have to make an emergency call for Ed Holcomb to deliver a supply of coal for the heating stove, and Grandma must bring some baby chickens in and park them behind the wood cook stove. Baby chicks in the kitchen were a happy experience for me. On the other hand, another entry reminds me of one of the worst experiences of my childhood–the dreaded "accordion lesson." My teacher was an elderly Italian gentleman who must have eaten a lot of garlic before he came to give me my weekly lesson. Some readers may remember the odd popularity of accordion bands in the early 1950s. On a more serious note, Grandma mentions a violent murder that occurred in Panama. Perhaps a reader familiar with local history can add more information to this frightening story.
Thursday, Nov. 1, 1951–Went to Hillsboro. Carl got a pair of shoes. I emptied our 328 locker, so they could put the beef in it. Merle gets a quarter, Wayne one, and C. Robinson one. Mrs. McCammon came after noon. We made the ad for the paper for the Thanksgiving event. We think we will have a large pan made to set the boiler of milk on at the oyster supper. Wayne is plowing.
Friday, Nov. 2, 1951–Cold this morning. Came several skifts of snow. I dug canna and dahlia bulbs while Carl went to see if Merle had drained the tractor.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 1951–High wind all day, 17 degrees above this morning. Sure is cold. I baked cupcakes, but it was so cold when I got away from the stove. I didn't do any cleaning. Snowed enough to see it about 1:30. Carole and I went to Hillsboro. I took the library books back and got some groceries. Left her home so she could take her accordian lesson. Merle brought her back about 6 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4, 1951–Cold. T'was about 20 degrees. A sultana has frozen in the northwest bedroom. Wayne came after a bit. Merle came for Carole. Carl went after the paper. We went to Carlinville hospital to see Aunt Katie. The children have all been to see her. Neva from Gibson City; Lela, Chicago; Shirley, Salem; Otis, Tulsa, OK; Virginia from Minnesota and Perry from Oregon. She had a heart block, but was better. An old hen had eight new hatched chicks. I put them with Margie's ten in a box behind the stove.
Monday, Nov. 5, 1951–I cleaned the living room–a dry clean however, for it is cold. Changed the furniture, so the stove can operate.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 1951–Everything is buried under nearly one foot of snow. It took over an hour to make all the chickens comfortable. Twelve leghorns I put in the old brooder house, also a hen with three small chicks. We only have enough coal to last until tomorrow night. I don't know when we ever ran so near out at winter time.
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1951–Sunshine and dripping off the house. Ed Holcomb brought us six tons coal, price $5.50. He charged $2.50 a ton for hauling, .66 tax. Total $48.66. Guess we'll get our other heater going now. I have my quilt here, so I can work on it. Tonight is ATA. Maybe Mrs. Keith will come. The Wares Grove men are helping Jay Hall, commissioner, open up the road over the hill to the north road, so the school bus can get there tomorrow. No school.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 1951–The men opened up the roads west of us. The cut on Costello Hill was level full of snow. I quilted a bit, but most of it is hard to quilt. It is the pattern taken from Grandma Wade's quilt which my mother received when her mother died in Pike County about 1888.
Friday, Nov. 9, 1951–Wayne, Geraldine and Merle came in the a.m. and we picked out 54 hens to sell. They carried 65 pullets to the henhouse. Merle backed our car around so we could go to Butler for groceries. Took 15 dozen eggs to Henry's. Marie gave me .60 a dozen for eggs. The hard road was clear.
Monday, Nov. 12, 1951–About 50 degrees. When we got up it had rained enough to do away with most of the snow. Rained about all day. I marked Dorothy Ward's wedding ring quilt to be put in the frames this Wednesday. We went to Butler to get the mail as it is Armistice Day holiday. Too late for the mail. The office was closed. Mrs. McCammon's father died at noon.
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1951–Cloudy. John Keith took the Mrs. and me to Mrs. Borgic's to the Home Bureau meeting. Got awful dark and there were cyclones both north and south of us.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1951–We went to Hillsboro. As we came home, we stopped and asked Charlie Campbell to come fill up with dirt on the north side of the kitchen. They also put some more tar paper over the foundation to keep the cold wind out. John and Mrs. Keith came after supper, and Carl went with John to a special ATA meeting. They ate doughnuts and drank coffee.
Thursday, Nov. 15, 1951–What a night. Carl awakened about 1:30 a.m. with a chill, one after another came on. I called Merle. When he came, he called Dr. Bill Douglas and Wayne. Took nearly two hours for the chills to be completely over. Doctor gave him a shot, also a capsule and two tablets. Doctor came again at 9 a.m. and gave him another shot. He says Carl has a kidney infection. I washed a two weeks washing. We had chicken and noodles for dinner.
Friday, Nov. 16, 1951–Dr. Bill came and gave Carl a shot of penicillin. Wayne called. Merle, Margie and Connie were here for dinner. I don't get anything done but chores. A Webster boy has whooping cough. He goes to Butler school. Geraldine took their kiddies to the doctor for shots. Larry needed only one shot–a booster. Linda must have three, one a month. Wayne's were here for a scrappy supper. Geraldine later went to a show and crowning the Carnival Queen. The rest went home.
Saturday, Nov. 17, 1951–Carl is better. Dr. Bill came and gave him a third shot of penicillin. Wayne milked the cow. Carole and Mary Ann Ward went to Litchfield with me to take 30 dozen eggs to the wholesale egg house. Grade A are .67. We had a barbecue for our dinner. We had snow flurries, and early there were icy spots on the hills. Husband and wife found murdered in Panama, and she was partly burned.
Monday, Nov. 19, 1951–Fair and not so cold. I just had a small washing, but I did wash the pair pillowcases I made to sell at the bazaar, also enough crocheted lace for a pair pillowcases. Eliza Turner ordered the lace.
Thursday, Nov. 22, 1951–A big day for me. Rained intermittently. I took chicken and noodles, cream and butter and we went to Merle's for dinner. Bondurants, Solanders, Stivers, Tobermans and Bests–24 of us there. Had a 20-pound turkey.
Monday, Nov. 26, 1951–Too cloudy looking to wash, though it turned out to be a fair wash day. David Osborn came about 11 a.m. and put opening in the cellar stairway to make it accessible to reach the water pipe under the kitchen. I got dinner for him, but he wouldn't stay–$11. Wayne's came after us to go to PTA. The first room furnished the program, and James Ward showed his pictures of their trip west last July.
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1951–Mild weather. Estah Marsh is having a Stanley breakfast. I just don't have time to go. Bud Seward came to change roof on the garage. The one Busher's put on when it was built has always leaked.
Friday, Nov. 30, 1951–Mild weather. We quilted at Florence Robinson's. Seven there. Bud Seward finished putting the new galvanized roof on the garage.
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 email@example.com.