Friday, August 20, 2010

WHERE WE CAN REALLY LIVE; Mrs. M.B., Nebraska; December 1929

My grandparents, on both sides, were farmers. Some of my happiest days were those summers I spent as a child at "dampers,"--a baby name for "grandpa" that has stuck.

My parents have always lived in town, and it has been one long grind of deeping up with the demands of city life. Never enough money, no matter how much! Always noise, confusion, and restlessness.

My husband was raised on a farm. And now the children love to sit in the evening and hear him tell of the days when he was a little boy. Fishing and swimming, climbing the huge, gnarled apple trees, walking barefoot down the road, kicking up the hot dust between his toes, riding the high loads of hay, going after the cows. It's like a fairy story to them. They don't know that such things are real happenings!

It makes me fairly sick to think that all the things that go to make up ideal childhood are denied them. I look at their surroundings with a scornful and rebellious heart. A tiny little two by four year and beyond that, the asphalt street, always roaring with traffic. Now, I ask you, is that any way for children to live and play? No wonder they're so tired and cross in hot weather. And I, too.

It's our dream to be able some day soon, to get a little place out somewhere, where we can really live. Where my husband doesn't have to leave in early morning and be gone until dark. We'll have a hard time, of course. But, oh, the compensations! We're used to the hard time. How we pinch and scrape! But so far we haven't had any compensations.

Monday, August 16, 2010

EARNING EXTRA DOLLARS; June 1929

"A STRAWBERRY PATCH OR BUST"

I took a notion last year that I'd set out a strawberry patch or bust. It was one-half acre exactly. When I finished the harvest, I had taken in $367.47. Expense for pickers was $47, at the rate of three cents a quart. I had to market the berries all myself as Hubby was too busy in the fields. Sometimes I made two trips a day to town, a distance of 14 miles. My little girl helped carry them in from the patch.

Oh, yes, of course I had to neglect my housework, but now after it is all over I'm going to make everything clean and pretty and will have a nice little roll in the bank besides.

Does it pay for a farmer's wife to have a business of her own? I'll let the rest of you argue about the question. But I will say that I think that there are some females who need responsibility to make them real women.--Mrs. W.G., Ohio

"THE COOKIE STILL GOES TO MARKET"

My cookies looked very nice with their two raisins shining through the thin wrapping paper. They were taken to our curb market with other farm produce and my husband soon became known as "the cookie man." I sold for twenty-five cents a dozen, but if I lived where eggs were always high, I would get thirty cents. Soon the demand exceeded the supply. They were bought to be mailed as gifts, eaten at curb and even carried home by near neighbors. I also baked shredded-wheat bread in one and one-quarter pound loaves, selling at fifteen cents. One daughter and sometimes two, helped me.

My first venture was only two dozen. These "old-fashioned sugar cookies" can not be bought in shops and I am greatly indebted to The Farmer's Wife (for giving me the idea.)--Another Cookie Lady, New York.

Friday, August 13, 2010

DREAMS; by Mary E. Willits; 1931

She used to have a dream,
Of songs that she would sing,
Of silks and diamonds she would wear,
Of all the pleasures wealth would bring.

She used to have a dream
To climb a snow-capped mountain high,
To write a poem of sighing winds,
To paint a sun-splashed western sky.

But all those dreams of yesterday
Have changed, and have become more fair;
The songs she sings are lullabies,
Her wealth--her baby's golden hair.

She has not climbed the mountain's peak,
Nor has the things that wealth can give.
But still she has this great dream left--
To teach her baby how to live.

She used to dream--
Of wealth and power and fame.
And though no crowds will call her great,
God surely knows her name.

Friday, August 6, 2010

BOXES; 1929

So many girls have "boxes" for their friends,--specially cut "boxes" made of firm, rigid materials that never stretch or bend. Have you sometimes heard them trying to fit into them their different acquaintances?

"What makes Amy wear such awful clothes?"

"Jim can't talk about anything except those smelly chemistry experiments of his. Why, he doesn't even like basketball games."

"Why doesn't Hildreth cut off those braid? Nobody wears their hair like that nowadays!"

"Oh, Robert is good at school but he can't dance or anything and he's always talking about books."

So each of us brings forth a "box" of special prejudices and tries to push others into it. How hard it is to make them fit! Clothes here, manners there, won't be squeezed into our box at all! Out must go the misfits, for if they won't fit into our special "box," what's the use of trying to be friends with them?

Other girls have another kind of "box"; one which seems to have room for the most amazing sort of things.

There is Mary, for instance. She can't do anything especially well; but she is always asked to parties and to serve on committees. At meetings it's always Mary who thinks of something to keep different factions from hurling sharp words at each other because of the new pins or what play to give or whether Grant's Grove or Silver Lake would be the nicest place for the annual picnic.

Sometimes Mary's friends chide her about the acquaintances she makes. Perhaps it's their funny clothes or their nationality or their manners. But Mary is loyal. Haven't you heard her?

"Why, Bob isn't funny even if his clothes are shabby and a little queer. He is generous and clever and you know there wasn't anybody at school last year who knew as much about literature as he."

"Oh, don't you think that Hildreth's hair is lovely? At camp last summer she looked like a Nordic princess in that dance costume. Don't you remember?"

It is a happy sort of "box" which Mary keeps and to what interesting shapes it must bend and stretch to hold all of the widely varying sorts of friends that she gathers to herself.

Monday, August 2, 2010

GOD IS LOVE; Anna in Nebraska; December 1929

Guess I'll just write a line and give you a peep into the life of another busy farmer's wife. Married at fifteen, I became the mother of five rosy, chubby babies in less than eight years. When the third babe arrived we decided town was no place for a "poor man," so we rented a farm.

Well, the first year our hogs died with cholera; the second, all the kiddies, including Daddy, were very sick with scarlet fever; and the third, our four work horses broke the gate and got into the seed wheat and died. Such has been our luck, but have we given up? Not much!

It's true I've shed a good many tears, and it isn't so funny to wear a winter coat ten years. Yet a person can't afford to think of these trivial matters where others are concerned. And when at meal time our baby Ken bows his curly head and says "God is Love," I can truly say I'm not sorry for the sacrifice.