Friday, September 28, 2012


I have taken several of my Pony Club books to my local copy store to have them spiral bound. The coils are very sturdy and I have been quite pleased with the quailty of the finished books. They are now available for sale on for $27.98 (postage paid) and on my website for $26.00 (postage paid) If you are thinking of giving this book as a gift, (Christmas or otherwise) I also offer gift wrapping on my website. HAPPY QUILTING! 


Monday, September 24, 2012

ONE MONTH OUT OF MY LIFE; by "Sally Sod" (Mrs. Loretto Green); part 3 of 4; 1927

Home...supper...and all ready for bed. Then there were dresses to make. I'm mighty glad they don't make them as they did when I went to school, with a row of buttons down the back. I well remember how we used to turn each other around to count the buttons on the back of each other's dresses to see whether our mothers were lazy or not. The number of buttons decided that.
April 1927 Farmer's Wife Cover
"Haste makes waste." When I was trying my best to finish two dresses in one day I made a miserable blunder and sewed the front of the waist on the back of the skirt. It was then the truth of an old saying came to me: "As ye sew, so shall ye rip."

One day came a card from a city woman saying, "My boy has been sick so much and is so delicate I wish I could send him to your house in the country for a while to see if it would build him up." As usual I was in a grand rush so the next day I sent a card.

"Have Jerry ready Sunday and we will come to get him."

Who should we take with us and who leave at home? Our car does not accommodate twelve or thirteen people for a thirty mile trip. Then just as I was at my usual summer indoor sport, known as "swat and fly," I heard half a dozen voices.

"Ma, hurry...Run...Bleeding to death...Just awful."

When I got outside, there sat my Little Girl with a miserable big cut on the bottom of her foot. Blood...blood everywhere. And such screams. That meant more trips to the Doctor. But it decided who was to be left at home...with one more girl to look after her and the two big boys to cook for them.

Now a cut foot to take care of...dresses...berries. And on Saturday morning (and Saturday is my busy day always) "me gude mon" stepped in and said, "Busy?"

"Of course I'm busy. Do I look as though I were on a vacation?"

"Well, no. But I wondered if you could go to mill for me?"

"Of all things! What for?"

"So I can begin to plow."

"Well, then, I'll go if I can go right now."

"Sure, come right along and I'll start the car for you."

On the way I met a neighbor who said, "I don't, for the life of me, see how you think you have time to go to mill."

"I don't know that I have but I like to help out once in a while if I can," I answered.

Sunday morning...up at five o'clock. At seven, eight of us ready to start. We had a glorious day and brought the little sick boy back with us. Chores...little ones put to bed and then a lunch. We were all hungry except Jerry. Everything I offered him, he answered, "No, thank you. No. No."

Can you imagine a boy without an appetite? I told him to go to bed, intending to send him out to play so hard the next day that he would be starved.

Monday...first day of school. Four lunches to pack, four children to send to school. More work...More worry. The week before school started, had proved to be the most nerve wracking, ear splitting, back breaking one of the year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

ONE MONTH OUT OF MY LIFE; by "Sally Sod" (Mrs. Loretto Green); part 2 of 4; 1927

From then on things happened so fast that I could hardly keep track. A man drove up and said, “Send some of the youngsters up and you can have all the blackberries they can pick.”

So I had to get the car out and take them. But who wouldn't? Won't those pies taste good next winter?
We had just finished dinner one day when up drove a big car, Honk! Honk!

“Hello, Say, did you hear that school starts a week earlier this year?”

“Mercy, no! Well of all things! What shall I do? Here I am with four girls to get ready and the time so short. I guess I'll have to start today. Berries to can, pickles to make, bread baking. . . O, do other people have everything happen at once? I wonder.”

I turned around and went into the house. “If we can get these dishes done in half an hour we'll go to town and get those new school dresses. Yes, really. Every one can pick out her own.”

“All right, Ma, you start to get the little ones ready and we'll do the dishes.”

That sounded good. My! How the dishes flew! The floor was swept and everything done in record time. Let me say right here though, by the time I get little eight ones and myself ready to start some place I feel about ready to stay at home. Nevertheless, to town we went. I parked my car directly in front of the store so I could take my four big girls in with me and at the same time keep my eyes on the four little ones in the car. It is all very nice being the mother of ten children and taking eight at a time away with you but sometimes queer things happen.

The girls had quite a time selecting their new dresses. At last I decided to take two yards of this, two and a fourth of that, two and a half of the pink and as I said two and three-fourths of . . . and started to point at the piece I wanted, I looked out at the car and there was my four-year-old (the one I had left in charge of the other three) [Can you just imagine? LOL] on her knees in the back seat of the car and the little baby was just ready to fall out of the seat. I made a mad dash for the door and caught her mid-air between the seat and the floor. When I got them all straightened around again I went back into the store and there stood the clerk all smiles.

“You see I didn't take you at your word.”

“Why? How so?”

“Well, just before you made that run you said you wanted two and three-fourth yards of that . . . and you pointed at every piece of cloth on these two piles. So I decided to wait to see if you meant it.

“Of course I didn't mean it. I'll take two and three-fourth yards of the blue. Yes, the striped.”
Back Row: Mervin (12), Robert (14); In front of Robert: Jessie (9),
Gladys (11); Front row, girl looking away, Evelyn (7), Marian (8),
Cecil (5), (Cecil is still alive at 90 years old),
Frances (2), Laura Nadine (1), "Farmer" John (4)
“Anything else today?”

“Say, Ma, don't forget the stockings.”

“O, yes, some stockings, please.”


“No, gray.”

“What size?”

“Sizes you mean. Let me see. Size 10 . . . yes, that will do. And one each of size 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 ½.”

“Well, how many more steps have you in that human stair-case?”

It was a good thing I knew the salesman well or who knows but my temper might have flown again.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Mr. Green had taken a lively part in the conversation, adding an illuminating word now and then. Finally I asked him point blank: “What is the secret of your wife's success?”

And he replied without a moment's hesitation, “Her good nature.” Then he added slowly, thinking as he spoke:

Don't you think that when people have the right slant on life—even though they haven't much money—they get more out of living than people who have everything—and haven't the right slant?”

“Success?” Sally Sod echoed. “No one knows any better than I, that I am a complete failure in more ways than one. And if our Ship of Matrimony should, sometime in the future, anchor safely in the Harbor of Success, I should feel that it was the farmer's success—not the farmer's wife's.

“Webster says: 'Success is the termination of anything attempted.' That is what we are working for now and we'll have to keep right at it for years to come. It's going to be uphill work.

“After seeing me, if you still consider me worthy of a niche in your Hall of Fame please don't write 'Finis.' I still consider myself only a candidate for success and I am willing—more willing than ever—to wage a heavy campaign. My motto will be:

Hard work and more of it.

“And my emblem—a baby buggy with a pair of patched overalls rampant.”

August 1927 cover


ONE MONTH OUT OF MY LIFE, by “Sally Sod” Herself

Dishes washed; beds made; floors swept; a line of baby clothes flapping in the breeze; the owner of those same clothes asleep in her little bed; the next three out in the sunshine playing; and the six big ones away at school. Now that my house is quiet I will sit down and tell you the story of a sample month of my life.

August, October or March, it makes no difference. There is always enough to do and I never would have had this tale to tell only that I lost my temper on the first day of August—all over one simple little question my Boy said, “Why didn't you sew up that tear in my shirt.”

That was enough. I was angry in a minute. Didn't I have all the big things to do? Didn't I keep house for twelve? Ten of them under fourteen at that! Didn't I wash, sew, mend and cook for all of them? Beside keeping track of them all the time! That was enough. . .without doing every one of all the little bits of things that should be done. Well, I would keep track of my work and next time some one said, “Why?” to me I would have facts and figures that would show how I spent my time.

There is always housework to do. But the farm work has a mighty sway over the house, too. August first found us with our hay cut and wheat in the barn. That filled every inch clear to the roof and now the oats were cut and shocked and must be drawn up to the barn and stacked. So we decided the best way to do this would be to get three extra men to help. Three extra doing farm work, means three extra to cook for. Well, anyhow, that made the job short. One day it rained so the men left early and I said, “When I get a meal ready I like to have some one here to eat it.”

Just like an answer to prayer, a car stopped in front of the house and let out five people who came to spend the day. The end of that week totaled 29 loaves of bread, 5 cakes, 4 washings, 8 floors cleaned, 16 meals extra for help and 5 for company.

The next week everything went along as usual until Friday when the news came that there would be company for dinner Tuesday.


“Aunt Lizzie, Aunt Flossie and her three youngsters.”

You should have seen my children then! Whoops, “hollers,” somersaults, cart wheels and hand springs.

“What shall we have to eat?”

“Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!” their voices sang out clear and loud.

“What else?”



“Soup . . . noodle soup!”

“Hold on! Hold on! Not all that at once.”

“Well, say, Ma, fry the chicken anyway and have some of those new pickles and pie.” We vote by acclamation at our house.

“Why, that will be Sister's birthday. Why not a great big cake?”

So we decided on cake instead of pie. Then I thought, “There's a woman near here who came to this part of the country with Aunt Lizzie . . . when they were young. I'll ask her over, too.”

When Tuesday came the day was fine, and everything was nice. We had a good visit and a good dinner and Little Son said, “I'm full up to the neck. When do we have another birthday?”

After my company was gone I began to think and figure. I had my pencil and paper out and one of the boys said, “What's the big scowl for?”

I told him that I was trying to figure out two winter coats and a bed blanket after the money was all spent and he said,”Don't worry, Ma, I'll learn how to rubberize Pa's milk checks. Then you can always stretch the money.”

Monday, September 10, 2012


An ad for Sun Maid raisins by Norman Rockwell (August 1927)
“Sunday is my day of rest. I don't bother with potatoes that day. A little extra baking on Saturday leaves me more time to myself: 'I work hard all the week so that I will know enough to appreciate my rest when it comes.'

“My little trips are a pleasure, too. They give me a few breaths of air, a change of scenery and a little chatter along the way. All three of which are very refreshing.

“I can't do any Community work. But,” brightening, “Elwyn always gets me out to vote. He says, 'It's a duty now that women have the ballot.'

“One of our greatest compensations is reading. We are all great readers. We read everything we can get hold of. The source of our supply is two of Wayne County's circulating libraries and the grade school and high school. Between these we can get any kind of book any time.

“We have the daily papers, the farm papers, the general run of magazines and The Farmer's Wife. What are you editors doing? Giving the magazine more milk and sunshine, or what. It seems to be improving right along.

“Astonished at the amount of work I do? Well, there is more to that, too. You see my health is fine, 100 per cent, and I am still young.

“Moreover, there's my Husband. He's the backbone of this institution. I wouldn't be anything without Elwyn.

He's a fine farmer, and a fine man, too. Every year I see his work all done so well.

“We're doing general farming and specializing in Holstein cattle with a registered sire. The cattle are the cause of the children's health. Milk saved their lives. O, I wouldn't dare to live in town with this 'bunch.'

“One thing I find in your Success Stories. All the Success women have modern conveniences of 1926 while I have the inconveniences of 1890...But you may look over the place for yourself.

“Just see our 115 acres of low, flat land. It's so flat that sometimes I think it must ache, like Mexico and China, for a little uprising.

“Back to the house. It was built new for us when we had one baby and here it stands,--made strong and warm. But it was either stunted at birth or else it developed the rickets immediately after, for it has failed to keep pace with our growing family. Five rooms. No more; no less. Not a porch, cellar, cupboard, clothes-closet, well or cistern. So if I am a Success, you see it is in a cramped and cluttered way.

“I had no training at all for farm life, though I was born on a farm and lived there till I was four years old. I was the youngest of six and so much younger than the rest that I grew up almost alone.

“If there is anything sweet and gentle in my nature it came from my Mother. You know her kind. She was Grandma Hughes to the whole neighborhood.

“It was from my Dad that I got my ability to 'laugh it off'; also my square shoulders. He was a hard-working man, a horse-shoer by trade. At the age of 76 he still has a hearty laugh, can crack a joke and dance a merry jig.

Fashions of Spring 1927

“When I was a small child, we moved into town and I went to grade school and had two years of high school. Then I worked one year in a paper mill and that's where I met 'me gude mon.'

“Elwyn was sick. He couldn't stand inside work,--couldn't eat. That's why we decided to come here to his father's farm. I was only 18 when I came here as a farmer's wife. I didn't know a thing about housework. Couldn't boil water without burning it. They laugh at me still because I tried to freshen salt pork in boiling water. I don't know whatever I would have done if it hadn't been for my Husband's three sisters. I do wish you would say that what I am in the line of cook, housekeeper and seamstress, I owe to them.

“Of course I've been too busy raising children to help financially. The only money I've ever made has been from The Farmer's Wife. First there was ten dollars for a prize letter, “Writing Home to Mother,' and then the money for the 'Sally Sod' letters and the 'One Month' article. When your letter came telling me they were accepted, I drew a deep breath and was transported straight through the air to the southwest corner of a gloriously pink cloud. And there I am yet.

“It has been one of the greatest desires of my life to burst forth on a printed page. But I never expected it to happen.

“And the money...I really didn't know I had that many dollars worth of brains in my dome. Elwyn insisted I should spend it all for myself, but of course I wouldn't do that. It meant a lot to the little Greens, coming just before Christmas, as it did.

“I had no idea that the simple expression of my feelings would cause such an outburst. I wish I could answer all the nice letters that have been written in reply. But that would be quite an order. I had to smile when I read them. I couldn't help thinking, 'How human these women would find me if they could see me reading their letters leaning on my mop handle.”

Friday, September 7, 2012


These little ones would be at least 85 years old if still living
Flaxen-haired, pearly-teethed “Gladys—with—the--joke.” She was standing a little apart, bubbling over with amusement. It danced out of her eyes and rippled out in her voice. And finally, with a little coaxing, the secret popped all the way out in one breathless rush.

“I knew Ma wrote those Sally Sod letters. She didn't tell us. But I guessed it, 'cause Ma had counted up what she had done in August. And I knew no other mother had. So I guessed it.” And Gladys laughed—such a rippling little laugh, mischief darting from her eyes.

Jessie, nine comes next. All the babies love her. She's a good scout and a born little mother.

Marian, eight, is a dyed-in-the-wool flapper.” At which Marian looked up all smiles and dimples.

Next came seven-year-old Evelyn, the Brownie, brown hair, brown eyes, brown skin, a real nut-brown maid.

Little Miss I-Don't-Care,” said her mother.

Then Cecil, the five-year-old beauty, with a turned-up nose and wonderful golden hair with a permanent wave.

Next is Farmer John, my pride and joy. This boy was born under the worst possible circumstances. I had whooping cough together with seven of the children when he was born. He weighed only four and a half pounds at first; was raised in a market basket till he was seven months old. The first few years he was very delicate. Our doctor took such an interest in him that he said: 'When you call me, tell if it's John and I'll burn up my little old car to get to him.' Now, at four, John’s quite a boy.

And so he is. A sturdy, square-shouldered little fellow with a sweet serious face.

Frances, two years old, is 'Pa's baby.' Though for the matter of that, they're all father's babies. They're all crazy about him. Elwyn, my Husband” (we capitalize Husband because that's what Sally Sod did with her voice) “says it's my fault because I tell the children 'how nice Pa is.'

Our little 'Ma-Ma Doll,' the baby, is Laura Nadine—sweetest of the bunch.”

Then hastily, lest some one should be hurt: “Of course, they've all had their turns at being 'the sweetest.' But their turns have been rather short.

You can see that all I've ever had a chance to do is to raise children. I have six in school and four at home. What I told you in 'One Month Out of My Life' is absolutely true and is a sample of what's happening here all the time.

Of course, my work runs largely to 'eats.' I'm keeping house for twelve healthy, hearty people. And every one of them has a good out-of-door appetite to be appeased three times a day. My cake-baking averages around five cakes a week; I peel an average of a peck of potatoes daily and everything goes in the same proportion.

My 'daily dozen' and forearm developer is mixing up 14 loaves of bread.

Our weekly washing usually consists of one big family wash and three smaller ones. One week there were 42 dresses and in one single wash there were 22. I put them on the line and looked them over. Nineteen I had made myself.

“I suppose you are wondering, 'What about the ironing?' I do my ironing as some people can fruit. The cold pack method for mine. Lots of the washing is folded at the line and put away. I iron only the best clothes, school dresses, shirts and table cloths. My little girls are learning to iron their everyday clothes.

“Then there are trips that I make. Some to town; some to mill; some on errands; some to get milk cans. I figure that these save my husband's time as I take the car and make them all during his working hours.

“Now that my children are growing older they can do lots of the smaller jobs which leaves me more time for the big ones. And I think you will agree with me that it is time I need. Mervin, here, is quite a cook. O, but you should hear 'the bunch' sing at their work!”

“Yes,” piped up Gladys-with-the-joke. “And Ma always says, 'Stop that groaning.'”

When the laugh subsided Sally Sod went on unperturbed. “I don't want this to sound like a long drawn out wail of misery, because life always has its own compensations. When I work my hardest, my little ones smile their sweetest. And it's many a laugh we have over their queer sayings.

“The other night when I put my little two-year-old to bed, I said, 'Good night, Darling.' And she answered, 'Good night, Sauer Kraut.'

Monday, September 3, 2012


 Loretto Green aka Sally Sod
Sally Sod sailed under no false pretenses. She told us all frankly, "Ours is not a Success Story. We still live on a rented farm with positively no modern conveniences, either in barn or house."

So I was not surprised, that Sunday afternoon, when there loomed up out of level, bare, March fields, a modest shingled house. It stood plain, straight, uncompromising, humble and proud of it. But it had one beauty. It was bursting with bloom at every window, the bloom of childhood. In another moment they were around me, a bevy of little children; modest, but friendly, smiling, unafraid; fairly prancing with eagerness and high spirits. I had a "guard of honor" through the mud and up to the back steps where Mr. and Mrs. Green awaited me.

"Is this Sally Sod?"

Not one breathing second was she the disconcerted hostess, surprised and caught off guard. A warm grip, an eager flow of words, a torrent of laughter. And I was fairly swept into the house on the wave of it; through the dining-room with its long table, a regular harvest-hand table; into the little parlor. And when we were seated, with most of the little folks standing, the room was furnished as no interior decorator could do it, damask of pink-and-white cheeks with the roses of red blood in them, jewels in sparkling eyes.

And how we laughed! I never laughed so much to the square inch in all my life. Just why? I've tried to recall. But the little jokes melt away into thin air,--too fine to be caught in the mesh of words. You see, Sally Sod is Irish on both sides. "Grandparents right from the bogs," she said. It is impossible for her to speak without giving a quizzical twist to her words. And the children, born and bred to humor, are always ready with a come-back. Their father, Yankee by birth, has a merry twinkle in his blue eyes,--born there and kept always busy.

Sally Sod's Ten Children, and counting (She had more!)

So they laugh,--the Sally Sod household. And the house is full of their laughter. If you ask me, I think this is the secret and heart of the whole story of their success.

"Laugh a lot?" Sally Sod repeated when we caught our respective breaths. "I'll say so. I wish you could hear and see these children of mine when they are shut in for a time. You surely would hear some rib-crackers."

"Ma, she's writing it down, "shouted nine-year-old Jessie from the other end of the table." She was reading upside down as fast as I (Grace Gray, the interviewer) could write. 

"O, we have a circus here all the time," Sally Sod went on. "I suppose I could make something of it if only I had the sense to appreciate it. I've just finished writing 'The Diary of a Distracted Mother.' I bought a big tablet and wrote it full. And I still have more to say.

"And here are my ten. Robert, 14, is my chief executive. He has just taken a prize in a declamation (speech) contest and won a gold medal. But he's so dignified he doesn't like to have me speak about it. He's planning to be an electrical engineer.

Mervin, 12, is our joke-smith, our clown, the cause of our greatest laughs. He's the boy who is going to rubberize his Father's milk checks. His ambition is to drive a truck. He has just won the seventh grade spell-down which made him grade champion and brought him a fine modern dictionary.

"Gladys is eleven and mothers all of the children. She is a prize-winner, too. She spelled down the fifth grade last year and won a dictionary with a 'G' in gold letters...

More introductions in my next post. To read Sally's "Diary of a Distracted Mother," type that title into the "Search This Blog" box on the left side of my blog. She was such a clever and funny writer.