GRANDMA'S DIARIES • Nov. 1953–Fan Belt Injury


November 1953 is still very dry, continuing the drought that has plagued the county all summer. Dad (Merle) has a terrible accident trying to start a cold engine in one of his trucks. I remember being so frightened that my dad had been hurt. He always seemed invincible to me. Besides his accident, another less serious one, causes my grandma, Grace Toberman, to have her finger stitched up. A family Thanksgiving and the annual Helping Hand Thanksgiving oyster supper fill out the month. One last note of the changing times is Grandma and Grandpa going shopping for a television set. Do any of you remember when the first television came into your home? 

Monday, Nov. 2, 1953–First we went to Wayne's for a rolling coulter, then to Sears for a plow bushing. Got home by 10:30 and then I washed. I took 45 dozen eggs to A&P, Litchfield. Grade A, 52 cents. I bought 100 pounds potatoes, $2.49 about.

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1953–We got 93 pullet eggs. I ironed. Carl plowed the pasture.

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 1953–So chilly. Planted tulip and hyacinth bulbs. Merle brought his plow and plowed enough to scour it, then greased it as well. Carl and Merle got most of the pasture plowed. I baked cookies. Margaret and Connie came, and I made coffee, and we had lunch. Carl and I went to Oscar King's sale. Pullets sold for $2.15 each. Mrs. Keith came while John went to ATA meeting.

Thursday, Nov. 5, 1953–Ice. 26 degrees. Some sort of Farm Bureau election at the Community House at night. We intended to go, but Gus Mundhenk came, so we visited with him. My big potted geraniums looked bad this evening when I brought them to the cellar.

Friday, Nov. 6, 1953–Clear, 23 degrees. We took the car to Hillsboro to get antifreeze in it, $7.50–Wow! We got home in time to have dinner, and I got to the quilting. Five there. Merle got his first finger, left hand almost cut off in the truck fan belt. Dr. Bill Douglas sewed it up and put splints on it. We called after supper.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 1953–21 degrees. We went to Hillsboro after dinner. I baked Toll House cookies. Carl got a pair shoes. We took the chest X-ray. Larry and Linda came to stay all night.

Sunday, Nov. 8, 1953–Cold. The children and I went to Sunday School. Then we picked up Carl and went to Wayne's for dinner. Merle's family was there. Wayne was using his movie camera. Merle lay down for a while his finger is painful, and he says it feels like it had up to 80 pounds pressure.

Monday, Nov. 9, 1953–26 degrees. I washed. Clothes froze on the line. Cleve Robinson here. He painted the new wagon box. Clint Tucker came. He wants to sell Carl a new Ford. Mrs. Toberman got her finger caught in the wringer. Had to have 12 stitches in it.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1953–See June 17 corn. Now, Carl didn't think the nitrogen helped much, but the corn grew with but very little rain. Connie got up and said she wanted to go see Corky and Grandma, so she stayed while Merle went to have his finger dressed. Dr. Bill says they will take it off Thursday. Later we looked at TV sets at Hucker’s. The sets will now get Springfield and Decatur.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 1953–Day after day of cloudless weather. Merle had to have his left index finger removed, from the second joint out. Connie stayed with me. Carl went to Roy Neihaus sale. I ordered grab bag articles for the Thanksgiving Bazaar: animal balloons, 48 cents; nose balloons, 48 cents; key chains, 40 cents; return balls, 40 cents; trembling skeletons, 48 cents; program pencils, 72 cents. Cost about $3.35. 

Saturday, Nov. 14, 1953–We left for Lloyd Wallace's about 10:30. Stopped in Nokomis where I got two cradle gyms, one for Bea Wallace and one for Loretta Wallace. They both expect babies. Later ate dinner in Nokomis. We had a flat tire before we got to Lloyd's. 

Sunday, Nov. 15, 1953–I went to church and Sunday School, then we stayed home the remainder of the day. Wayne’s came late. He said to bring our car up in the morning. They would take all the tires off and examine the insides.

Monday, Nov. 16, 1953–I washed early. Carl took the car to Wayne's. They found three tires that looked all right and two bad ones. We went to Sears after noon and bought two new tires. Montie Chaplin broke her hip. Marian Rober broke her leg. Mrs. Werner died.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1953–Clarence Keith came to put in a four-way switch. We need the light in the garage, so we can see to go to the house at night He didn't get done. Merle, Margie, David and Ruth Osborn went to Springfield, Connie stayed here. Went to Merle’s at night. We packaged the grab bag trinkets.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1953–Still doing last things for the oyster supper tomorrow night.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 1953–Zimmerman moved two hard maples from the Wright place. I made a trip to the locker for a frier for the country store tonight. I also gave a dozen eggs and one pound lard. Went at two. Mary Nimmons along to work until 11:00 p.m. Fine crowd. We served ham sandwiches, wieners, ice cream, cake, oyster stew, and coffee. Carole played her accordion, and the Walkers showed their movies of a trip to Europe, pictures of the coronation.

Friday, Nov. 20, 1953–Rained a bit. Wayne came and made post holes on the west side of what pasture is left. He made a hole in 25 seconds with the Zimmerman post hole digger on the Farmall tractor.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 1953–Piercing cold wind. We went to Carrie Sammons' sale. I bought $1.80 worth: waste paper can, shaving mug, small stone jar, cooking pan, water bucket, deep fryer, six books. Merle's hand still bad.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1953–Cloudy. I made Alma Baird a cobbler apron, green with green and white pockets. We went to Wayne's after dinner. Merle came after Carl's 16 hogs.

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 1953–Slight snow flurries. Cloudy. Took eggs, 51 dozen, to Litchfield. Grade A are 53 cents. Carl got $21.75 for 16 hogs. Average 256 pounds, $861.18.

Thursday, Nov. 26, 1953–Cloudy. 32 degrees. I baked two apple pies, and we went to Merle's for a Thanksgiving dinner. Bondurants, Leland's, Grace Toberman and us. Had ham and turkey and all the trimmings. Paid $2.60 for our part of the ham.

Friday, Nov. 27, 1953–So cold I wondered if I should go to quilt. I went, but Mary N. didn't go. Five there. Mr. Busby had two good warm fires. Car was leaking antifreeze, so Carl took it for a check up.

Saturday, Nov. 28, 1953–17 degrees above zero. Clearest day of the week. We went to the annual Farm Bureau meeting. What a mob! We stood in line for almost an hour to get our dinner. Smorgasbord. Carl won 10 pounds of grease in the drawing.

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


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment