Monday, May 30, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 2; by Myar Hansen; 1937

The Carey's farm was located about ten miles from Hoskins, a small, thriving industrial city. It wasn't a very large farm; Mr. Carey kept six cows and about a hundred hens; raised vegetables which he sold in the city in season along with milk and eggs to earn a comfortable income without too much effort.

One Sunday, a year ago, after a dinner at the Carey's Paul had had a bright idea. It was a chicken dinner, prepared as only Mrs. Carey and Susie knew how; deliciously roasted spring pullet, thick rich gravy, soup as clear as liquid gold. Apple pie thick and juicy, with a crust that left his mouth watering.

“Gee,” he'd exclaimed, “what people wouldn't give for a dinner like this! You ought to hang up a sign, 'Tourists,' you're on the main highway and business would be great.”

The Careys had been thinking of that very thing for a long time and Paul's remark hastened their decision.

The upshot of it was that they put a thousand dollar mortgage on the farm so that necessary alternations could be made on their old-fashioned home,--a huge new screened-in porch where meals could be served; a new bathroom; rooms made over upstairs for guests; painting inside and out. By the middle of that summer “Aunt Carey's” was doing a rushing business, not only with tourists, but from entire families who came out from the near-by city for Sunday dinner.

And then the blow had fallen.

There had been agitation for paving on this main trunk line that ran past the Carey place and finally the State had decided to build a concrete boulevard with the aid of government funds. Paul and Susie had been jubilant, thinking that it meant bringing still more trade to “Aunt Carey's.” And then, without any warning whatsoever, engineers had rerouted the new road to avoid two steep hills and a bridge over a brook. The new strips of concrete now lay a quarter of a mile from the Carey's front door.

Friday, May 27, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 1; by Myar Hansen; 1937

Tall young Paul Keith finished broadcasting the few brief news items he uses as "teasers" to start each noontime program over the Hoskins Daily News local station, WACX.

John Bilger was instantly killed when the automobile he was driving caromed off a tree near Sunderland Hollow.

No traces of the two masked men who held up the Lamoille Valley Bank last week have yet been found.

Three hundred employees of the marble quarry here are out on strike today...

You have just heard the latest news dispatches brought to you through the courtesy of the Daily News through arrangement with the Associated Press. Look for further details in this afternoon's edition of the Daily News.

The first recording on today's program of noontime melodies is "Isn't It a Lovely Day" by Don Bestor and his orchestra.

Music flooded out over the air waves. Paul Keith ran a smoothing hand over dark hair and settled back to wait until the end of the record, when he would read an advertisement and then play another recording.

Susie Carey would know that he would be out tonight at about six. His playing one of Don Bestor's recordings first on the program meant just that in their own secret understanding. If he started the program with one of Bing Crosby's, Susie would expect him at about eight. One of Rudy Vallee's records played at the beginning meant that he could get away right after the program was over at one-thirty.

The music stopped and he read the coal company's ad about how clean and efficient their coal was. Paul's speaking voice was soft and pleasant, and he had a natural gift of knowing how to modulate his tones, how to put feeling and depth even into announcements.

Mr. Reynolds, the crusty old owner of the Daily News, had placed Paul in direct charge of the small station when he had first installed it about a year ago, once he had heard Paul's voice over the air. Paul had been a cub reporter on the paper then; he was still a reporter, but with the handling of the radio station added to his duties.

Paul set the phonograph needle on another record of Don Bestor's orchestra. And while the music played and the crooner sang in his husky, throbbing voice, Paul kept thinking of Susie. Susie had honey-colored hair, a dimple in each smooth cheek. Susie was softly rounded all over and could cuddle up close, but say with a firmness that belied her rounded chin: "We'll have to wait, Paul, dear. Soon as the mortgage is paid and Mom and Pop'll have nothing to worry them, we'll be married. It won't be long."

To Paul it seemed as if that mortgage would never be paid. And the mortgage was his own fault, too. That's what got his goat.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NO MORE COLD LUNCHES; M. E. S., Missouri; 1926

When I was a child attending district school many years ago, the most disagreeable part of the entire day was the cold lunch. Sometimes my appetite would lag and nothing tasted good when the cold food had to be eaten in a room that was none too warm.

When my own little folks started to carry school lunches I regretted the inability to provide them with warm food for their noonday meal.

I have observed that children who have not appeared to have any digestive troubles in their pre-school days have developed them soon after starting to school where the lunch had to be carried and eaten cold.

In our school we now serve one hot food to each child every day during the cold weather, and there is a noticeable decrease in sickness among the pupils.

It is managed this way: The school is divided into two sides. Each side takes its turn in providing for, and in preparing the hot food.

Often, hot soup is served, of which potato, tomato, bean and vegetable soups are the favorites. Sometimes potatoes are boiled in their skins, macaroni is served, or, maybe boiled rice with sugar and milk, or, hot cocoa is liked for a change. The menu is varied that the children may not tire of one thing.

Each child carries his own bowl and spoon which are washed when the meal is over. A large kettle is provided in which to cook the soup, and other foods. A large spoon, fork, soup ladle, dishpan and cloth and towels which the children bring from home complete the equipment. The food is cooked on the regular heating stove, the children bring the towels home to be laundered, and everything is kept clean.

This hot lunch I think is the best thing accomplished in our school, not only for the past year, but in the entire history of our district school.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Two weeks before we were married we were driving through a woodland road and we dug some ferns and a magnolia and dogwood tree from Father's woods. They were placed in the back yard of the home in preparation for further garden work. For twenty years they have been early-spring cheerfuls, adding to our joy and helping us pass it on to others in the early blooming dogwood and the fragrant magnolias through a long season. Hundreds of people have had the flowers from our largest magnolia tree. We always have some in the home and when anyone admires them, we share them.

We seldom take a trip in the car or otherwise that we do not pick a bunch and take them with us. There is always an abundance and enough are left on the trees to form red berries or seed and make feasts for the birds. We added a new magnolia tree each year until we had a dozen or more. We dug them from the upland and placed them north of the house for they need partial shade. Every summer is a magnolia summer for us and our friends. They are so woven into our lives that we sometimes leave them for calling cards and our friends know who has been there, if they are away.

Twenty years ago, after the June wedding, we found a bunch of daffodils the size of a dinner plate in the hardy border. They had been planted by my grandmother when the house was new. We dug them up and put them into the dark woodhouse until fall and then the trouble began! "The man" said, "there is enough to plant the place!" He planted and planted and we gave bulbs away.

The next spring and for nineteen years our yard has looked better than a gold mine to me. We pick and give the lovely things away to friends, sick and well, to hospitals, churches, golden weddings. And there are always enough left to make passers-by exclaim.

Before the old year is out, my husband digs some of the bulbs which are starting under ground and we place them in bowls of water, held up by stones, put them in a sunny window and they bloom in a short time. These make delightful winter gifts. He digs the bulbs periodically and we have them blooming in the home all the time in cold weather.

I wish I could tell of our memory garden, its joy to us and its joy to other, though only a small part could be put on paper.

Shakespeare counsels, "No day without a deed to crown it," and if giving away flowers, bulbs and roots can be classed as a "deed" then we have scarcely a day without one.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I am on the shady side of fifty and have lived on a farm forty years of that time--most of the time near a small village. In my young days, ready-to-wear garments for women were unknown to the stores of this village, so my mother taught me to make my own clothes. I began by making clothes for my dolls and soon learned to cut the garments by patterns of my own cutting. Mother encouraged me in this by giving me old garments to cut up into patterns. They could be measured to a doll more easily than a paper pattern and if they did not fit there was no particular loss. I soon learned to tell just what was wrong with my pattern so that a second or a third cutting would be exactly right. This idea has saved me both time and money, for in dressing two girls through high school many dresses in many different styles are needed. There are no patterns sold in our village so when the design for a dress has been decided on I save cost of pattern and time it would take to order it by resorting to the idea taught me by my mother.

When our oldest girl went to college last fall, she wore to travel in, a brown-and-tan plaid wool dress made from a circular cape she had worn the year before. The only cost of the dress was one dollar for a brown kid collar and cuff set that exactly matched and gave it the precise tailored look a college girl would wish.

In buying piece goods or ready-made garments, I find it economical to buy good materials for they hold color and shape better and I am sure to use a second and sometimes a third time by remaking. I plan the made over garment by studying the fashions and comparing the old garment with them. Sometimes the changes in styles are so radical that the old garment cannot be used. In that case I store it away with a few mothballs till the next season and pretty soon a design comes out by which it can be used either alone or in combination with something else.

What is worth as much to me as the money I save by my sewing, is the fact that our girls have developed habits of economy in dress for they know that one season's wear for a garment is not the end of its usefulness, and they can design and make their own clothes and remodel the old ones.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I LIKE TO LIVE ON A FARM; Lena Martin-Smith

Where there is work and more work,
All of it worth while and essential;

Where the air is pure and sweet all day,
Not blanketed with smoke from factories;

Where we may see without obstruction
The pinks and lavenders of the dawn;

Where the golds and reds and silvers
Are clear and open above the fields, at sunset;

Where one may see the full canopy of stars
And moonlight does not have to rival street lights;

Where the sounds of living and growing
Mingle with the breath of pines and maples,
Not marred by rushing traffic, honking horns,
Cut-outs and street cars;

Where labor is of one's own choosing,
Of great variety and based upon ambition
For accomplishment and not "eight hours;"

Where women and men are real business partners,
The women an economic aid and not parasitic;

Where the standard of housekeeping
Is the pleasure and comfort of the family;

Where social gatherings are few enough
To promote real joy in the company of others--
Fun, laughter and story-telling
Rather than boresome toleration or keen competition
For favors from the other sex;

Where we may dare to eat real butter
And cream, fresh eggs and smoked ham,
Through we may not possess a single pair
Of cobweb silk hose!

And these are only the beginning of
Reasons why I like to live on the farm!

Monday, May 9, 2011

WHEN WE VISIT THE SICK; Virginia Carter Lee; 1918

To know just when to call, how long to stay and just what to do and say when visiting the sick, requires tact, judgment and common sense.

The first thing to consider is the selection of a seasonable hour. The patient needs regular and periodic care and the visit should be timed with reference to this and not merely to the caller's personal convenience.

Most invalids are better able to enjoy seeing their friends during the middle of the day than at other times. Few invalids care to receive their friends until the room has been freshly aired and set in order for the day, the daily bath and toilet completed and the doctor's morning visit over. Neither early morning nor late evening are favorable visiting hours.

Some visitors never know when to go. As a rule, from fifteen minutes to half an hour is a sufficiently long period, for it is far better to go while the welcome lasts. If the visitor is wise, she will not allow herself to be entreated to remain longer or to prolong her call by the invalid's plea that she is "not a bit tired."

She is probably more or less excited tho not able to realize her real feeling until after her guest's departure.

But more important than all else in visiting the sick, is the atmosphere the caller consciously or unconsciously carries with her. Conversation, manner, even the tones of the voice have their effect on the invalid.

Too much sympathy with the patient is a mistaken kindness and often positively harmful. After a few kindly inquiries, the visitor should tactfully lead the conversation away from the patient's ailments into other channels. Diversion of the right kind is really as valuable to a sick person as a dose of medicine.

The visitor should carry cheerful news and avoid all that my be depressing. One's own personal worries and trials should be left outside. Entertaining news items, descriptions of the latest book read and letters from absent friends will all be of interest to the lonely shut-in.

The caller should dress attractively. Only those who have experienced much illness, realize what a positive refreshment a caller's charming toilet may be nor with what delight the tired eyes take in every bright detail. You must remember that what is merely an episode to the caller is an event to the patient.

Just what to take to a sick friend may be a problem. Flowers, fruits and jellies are customary gifts. If your friend is supplied with these dainties, a new book or magazine, will be even more appreciated as bringing a fresh element into the sick room.

Any little novelty that helps to break the daily monotony will prove attractive.

Friday, May 6, 2011

DAYS WORTH WHILE; part 2 of 2; Mrs. D. W. E., Kansas; 1924

After returning home, I did not feel in the mood to tackle that pile of sewing so I wrote a dear friend and then prepared lunch for the babies and myself and afterwards we all lay down to rest.

In the meantime the mail carrier had left a new magazine and when I arose I could not resist taking just a peep. The girls came home from school and found me still reading. Immediately the cry went up, "Oh, Mamma, can't we have a little picnic? You said you would take us to the woods some day. You're not very busy. Can't we? We're awful hungry." I laughed. No, I was not very busy! So I gathered together some eats and we all started for a walk. We ate our lunch in a sheltered place. The children hunted pretty stones and exclaimed over the beauty of the woods and we returned home just in time to do our evening work and prepare supper.

The pile of sewing was still waiting for me to find time to do it but still I did not feel that the day had been wasted. I had done so many things that I had planned to do when I had time.

Why not take a few of these rare days when we are left alone to do the things we always mean to do "some day," the pleasant things, the things our children will remember us for instead of always the big piece of work that we want to get out of the way.

I mean to have another such a day when the opportunity comes

Monday, May 2, 2011

DAYS WORTH WHILE; part 1 of 2; Mrs. D. W. E., Kansas; 1924

Dear Folks:  I wonder how many farm women have the same habit I found myself in:  Whenever the men folks were all away from home for the day, I would pitch into some big job that I had been dreading and work frantically all day, the children and myself eating a pick-up lunch at noon. The two reasons for this were that I need not stop to cook dinner and wash dishes and that I could get things cleaned up before the men returned.

One morning recently, my husband carried his dinner with him to work in a far-off field, so I let the two school girls also carry their dinner that day. They tripped away blithely, pleased at taking their lunch to school. I turned to my day's work with the thought that now I could put in a long undisturbed day at sewing that was waiting.

The two babies, aged one and a half and four, were playing on the floor. Suddenly the older one got up and looking pleadingly in my face said, "Mamma, you said we would visit school some day when you had time. Don't you have time today?" Immediately the baby chimed in, "Go kool! go kool! I go kool, too." I started to tell them Mother was too busy when the thought struck me how often I answer their eager questions that way. So I said, "Why, yes, let's do go today!"

After tidying the house and getting the three of us into fresh clothes, we went to school. The older girls were so pleased to have us visit them, the teacher was genuinely cordial and I greatly enjoyed  the time spent there.