By the 7th or 8th grade there were football banquets where parents came & got the kids afterward. They went on real dates by age 14 or 15. There were rules–a curfew, know who & where, when back
There weren’t parties at people’s houses, so no rules were required about parents being home. It was helpful especially for Grandpa if he knew who the families were.
Kids would go to movies, both theatre & drive-ins; school dances & activities, miniature golf (perhaps by the
Chalet?). They didn’t usually eat on the dates–usually in evening so would have eaten at home.
Mom’s goals: do well in school, at 14ish expensive Jantzen sweaters with ‘marked’ seams were popular; other
‘fake’ Jantzens–the big deal; wanted the ‘in clothes’ but Grandma couldn’t see the point.
Mom’s favorite books: Trixie Belden, Ginny Gordon, Nancy Drew, Connie Blair: mysteries
Mom’s memories of music–singing more than ‘my terrible violin’–not a diligent practicer; choir in 9th
grade–alto–liked it, but too many other classes to take later on to stay in choir. Not a very knowledgeable dancer so never too comfortable with it. She only made one skirt, for home ec– ‘I wasn’t good’, & didn’t enjoy it too much either; no patience–Gram hadn’t the time by this point to make too many clothes though she made a few. No job, probably just got money when needed, though did help at the shop in the summer (wanted to pick peas for extra money but Grandpa wouldn’t let her, had her work at the shop)–did babysit some though; no real
job till married.
The girls could only wear slacks/jeans on Fridays. Mom’s family did not attend church on a regular basis.
Memories of pets–she wasn’t really attached to any: Brownie (dog), golden lab Pat, lots of cats (one, Pinky,
got face cut up in someone’s car motor & had scabs for a long time).
Chores: ironing on board while Grandma ‘mangled’ rinse dishes & put in dishwasher, keep room clean & griped cause Paula messed it up At 13 (during summer) Gram came down here to work at shop & Mom had to do more, cleaning house (made Mom hate it) probably watched Carla too. Mrs. Grove cleaned house for Gram (while Mom was at school in fall) & watched Carla.
High School favorites: Latin, English, history, chemistry
least: math, P.E., physics
ultimate least: geometry
School rules: no gum, probably no smoking on property; majority of teachers wanted quiet in class, & for them to participate if called on, open campus, could drive to school
Dress code: girls–dresses or skirts/blouses & sweaters, guys–slacks & sweaters/shirts; on Friday girls & guys allowed to wear jeans, but not holey. Probably could wear leather jackets, but nothing extremely distracting; guys with earrings would’ve been totally foreign.
When it happened, pregnancy was the talk of everything, and the kids nearly always got married; still ‘loose’ people a fair amoung but not many actually pregnant
Transport: through junior high rode bus–had to stand up sometimes but not as bad as now; but in high school, especially junior year with Jay, funny old Plymouth rounded car with shifter; Jay drove (Mom couldn’t shift well till the Studebaker when married–manual but gear shifter on steering wheel)
Childhood: measles in third grade with bloody nose (red measles)–cut hand carving pumpkin, stump in fork of tree broke off, cut leg, still scar; broke arm, hit with tines of falling rake; running up front steps, tripped on bottom step & hit between eyes on ice chest on step for milk. Chicken pox first grade; lots of tonsillitis till doctor said if one more they’d operate, & Mom just never told of any more sore throats.
Mom was often irritated with messy Paula, but fought with Jay; scratched his face, then locked herself in the
bathroom so he couldn’t hit back. Mom was bossy. Grandma got mad, especially at the scratching incident (aged between 10-14 or so). Also, on Grandma Hoffmann’s chain-swing facing town on porch (wooden)–would swing & sing, & told Jay just to shut up because he couldn’t sing (about 13)
Another injury to Jay when he was 12 (Mom 13): that summer went to stay in Oregon with Gram & Gramp’s friends, Bonds, Jay swinging on rope into lake, landed on rock & gashed leg & had stitches
More travels: 13 (Mom),12 (Jay),8 (Paula) went on bus with Aunt Marie to Illinois, pretended she was their mother to ‘go on the family plan.’ Later, took MKT (MO KS TX) train to Texas at 15 to visit Grandparents Swing; Jay called it the ‘Mighty Krummy Train’
Mom used to read Trixie & Ginny & Nancy (fourth or fifth grade) to Paula & Carla–played paper dolls with Paula–Mom’s ‘big thing’ in fourth or fifth grade. Earlier than that, Paula & Mom were sick, and Gramp bought them Alice in Wonderland coloring books & they’d pick the same page & color but not show, then compare after, to see how much they’d colored the same.
Illinois: at Sam’s farm, wanted to walk into town (about 2 miles)–they’d told them not to–too far, and plus Fairbury Fair on, & carnival people there–decided to go anyway–Mom, Carol Jo, & Paula–not on Highway 24 but sooner country road; partway down, Paula, who’d been sick the night before (they’d feared appendicitis) got tired; they got scared & walked Paula back. Then swore her to secrecy & set out again. On the way there, a car slowed & backed up, & they were terrified it was the carnival people (at 13 or so); walked to Aunt Leona’s & called to tell where they were; doesn’t remember getting in too much trouble, & Gram & Gramp came & took them home. Can remember staying with Paula in the twin beds.
1916 Lansing: used to have big heating stove in middle of living room, with stovepipe going into wall. Also weeping willow in backyard near fence–good climbing tree with low branches. Before Paula, stayed with Lee & Carol on Blaine & 10th house: had upstairs, and Mom was upstairs in Gram’s bed, & Gram came up to tell Mom she was going to hospital (to have Paula); can remember seeing big old building near Cleveland & 9th or so, with big red neon light (1 block over & 1 block nearer town).
Gram looked at clock when checking into hospital to have Mom; just 10 p.m., & Mom was born at quarter to twelve.
Mom can kind of remember Korean Conflict–would hear planes & be afraid they were going to bomb–can remember Eisenhower Elections on TV; convention on TV when in Oregon with Jay (1956)
Mom can remember staying with Carol Jo & w/Jane in Illinois; Jane used to live out the road Aunt Rosie lives on–out a ways turns right, then back to left–out in country–Jane about 3 years older
Friends: Carol Pollock lived where Dennetts do–Carla Martin & sister in party Christmas postcard; lived where Ila lives. Helen Foreman a bit later, where McBrides live–main neighborhood playmates. From when small. Carol & Helen favorites; Martins moved–their backyard was where Mom was hit by the rake. Grandmother of Linda & Nancy Nolton lived where Jordans live.
Game: marble game on the homemade marble board–Jay used to get really mad if he didn’t win. They probably played in living room.
Begged Grandma to get Childcraft books, & Gram did (a salesman came with them 1952 or so) & Gram did, & Gramp was not happy with her . They got a TV in ‘53; maybe downstairs–same TV still there. Mom & Paula in the pink room (maybe Jay, too). Double bed & bunk beds. The first move was Jay into downstairs bedroom, & Mom & Paula into pink bedroom–this was when Mom was mad at Paula for being messy. When Carla about 3 or so, Mom moved to a bed in the big room downstairs–folding door in doorway. then Carla & Paula shared pink bedroom.
Christmas is the holiday Mom remembered most–so exciting. By Nov. 25 would keep track, maybe mark off
calendar–couldn’t wait to put up tree, Gram let put up 2 weeks before (in front of living room window as now) Would get box from Illinois–Gram & Aunt Leona made candy (some kind of caramels, & yummy divinity)–candy separate & opened before, but wrapped presents waited to open. In the fifth grade or so really wanted Heidi book; usually knew they’d probably get what they wanted (no real outlandish wishes).
Never went to Christmas services on Christmas; open gifts Christmas morning; might’ve for a while chosen one to open Christmas Eve. They got quite a few presents, maybe 10 or 12, not all big. Stockings probably behind chairs, etc., in living room–always oranges & candy canes. Gram always made Christmas fun. They weren’t supposed to get up before 7–but once Mom & Jay got up really early–Santa presents weren’t wrapped, & one year Paula really wanted a doll buggy (still there!), & Mom & Jay saw it & were really excited for her & thought it really neat she’d gotten it. Birthdays weren’t as exciting. Easter–would have baskets with candy & dyed eggs, but no presents.
When a bit older (even maybe first married), Gramp would make breakfast. Gramp’s pancakes (maybe Gram, too) were really thin, almost like crepes–Mom really kind of old before she had regular pancakes
Mischief: not easily or too often, but Nancy & Linda Nolton next door (one of them a bit older, one a couple more years older)–about 6 or 7, Jay, too, went down to cliff at end of Savannah & down cliff–with highway, canal, & river! Led astray by older girls, more happy-go-lucky parents. Lots of trouble; Mom was spanked (maybe the only time by Gramp) Couldn’t get back up; can’t remember how they did; maybe older girls yanked
them up. Main trouble when older was for fighting; Mom probably 50/50 instigator, but Mom says she was
Parents fairly strict, not unreasonably so. Gram let Mom wear lipstick when 12. Grandma let Mom wear high heels when a bit older (13 or 14). At the Illinois State Fair Mom insisted on wearing high heels; Gram tried to dissuade but Mom was adamant, & ‘nearly died.’ Strictish, but would let them do things & let them take responsibility for own actions. Mom would never have wanted to do anything that would’ve made Gram & Gramp disappointed in her. If they weren’t going to be back at a certain time, would need to have let them know. Gramp was a big worrier though they didn’t realize it till grown.
Grandma Hoffmann was little: less than 5’, rheumatoid arthritis with big knuckles & crippled toes; wore house slippers (felt). No pictures. Sweetest, most gentle, even when Mom came with her pink lipstick at 12. Loved to have them come to visit. Rosetts with iron in hot fat, fed them well. Loved to have them go to church with them.
Illinois: the adults would get together & have parties with alcohol, & Mom used to be so furious because she’d have to stay with Gram & A. Leona, or sometimes Gram’s parents up from Texas in trailer & stayed there.
Gram’s dad very gentle, too; he had a pipe–Mom still likes the smell.
TV, movies, radio, bikes: fairly important, not as many movies as Dad saw. Biked out to Lakey’s several times (with Helen), once to Lake Lowell with Helen.
Thanksgiving: much the same as now–green Jello & turkey & dressing & cranberry & potatoes & gravy. Set big table, better dishes, just immediate family. July 4: Mom didn’t like fireworks (still); rarely went to fireworks, down by rodeo grounds (near Armory) or gold course. Gramp didn’t either. Drive by rim & watch from
Storms in Illinois: at Gram’s parents in Illinois; returning from somewhere & saw ‘positively black’ sky & was scared. Another time on the train. Staying all night (of adult party?) with Gram & Gramp Swing in trailer in Forrest–rained really hard, thunder & lightning. Gram sort of talked to Mom & told her it would be OK. Hates storms still.
Old Marble Front country school: furnace caught it on fire. Mom heard of it, & either saw where it had been, or its ruins. Thought it very creepy.
School year: ran from after Labor Day-before Memorial Day.
Recess: elementary school, played jacks a lot, also liked (spinning on bars), also tumbling. Maybe wore shorts under dresses, or more flexible when younger?. Had to go to Lincoln in second grade: restructured; same bus took you either place. Once got off at Van Buren accidentally & was horrified. Did patrol, which was a big deal, especially if Captain or Lieutenant or whatever the head was called. Helped out answering phones in principal’s
office & hated it then, too. Hated Lincoln because unfamiliar.
Jr. High: remember ninth grade more–Hi Pop Inn, hanging around waiting for buses in front. Hi Pop Inn: hamburgers, hot dogs, pop. So crowded: unsure whether open outside school hours or not. Some probably went every day, not all, but everyone probably went sometimes.
Summer: no real trips except Illinois. Some camping, up to Penny Springs Campground near Warm Lake. To Warm Lake also. To Sage Hen, Deadwood. At 12 or 13 to Black Lake near 7 Devils–had to park & walk in: very isolated. W/others, maybe Paul & Dottie. Tents. Little camp stove ran on gas; Gram would fry potatoes, probably had steaks–Gramp didn’t like hamburgers & hot dogs. Maybe to Cascade some, too. Gilberts (Helen’s mom & stepdad) had cabin, there, & Mom went with them. Went camping ‘a fair amount’–Gramp liked to fish. Mom’d always want to step at Banks, or Ponderosa (1 mile this side of Banks); Mom’d start begging to stop on way back down for hamburger. Gram was always glad because he’d stop for Mom, but would’ve rather gone
on home & have soup. Gramp never did like eating out.
At 9 or 10, on way to Illinois, in Corning, Iowa: Mom had problem, either not hungry, or didn’t want to stop there. Didn’t want to eat breakfast. Gramp fussed & said Mom had to eat something. Mom said, “Well, I’ll have strawberry pop!” So that’s what Gramp let her have.
Popular clothes–straight wool skirts in different colors with matching sweaters–a little below knee–the thing about 9th grade, a bit later too, on into high school perhaps. Full cotton skirts with tons of crinolines underneath to make them stand out (7th-9th grades) Poodle skirts similar but heavier (before high school, anyway)
Mom’s favorite ‘story’ was Locked In (Childcraft). Movies: The Ants (really scary). Charlie Chan TV movies. Giant (about 14 or so)
Mom’s wedding: lavender thin lace & chiffon. Gram made them all. Her shower was at Patsy Adams’s house. Paula & Carol Pollock/Goettling & Carla. Gene & Jay. didn’t want more than one attendant, had already been Carol’s attendant, & couldn’t really choose between Patsy & Helen. Lots of towels, Gram & Gramp gave Electrolux vacuum. Dad’s parents gave clock radio. Carol Jo gave round silver cold dish. Gram H. & Aunt Leona some blankets. No one came from Illinois, but hadn’t really expected them to. Aunt Marilyn gave set of
flatware. Mom and Dad’s courtship: started dating summer of 1959, a few times before. Dad sent a letter every
day while she was in Illinois (30!). Shortly after Homecoming, really began dating, steady mostly all through
senior year. Graduated, college 1 semester; September 28, 1960 actually got ring. After semester Gram & Gramp wanted Mom to do something so went to business school. End of January-early August. Dad never actually proposed, just somehow in conversation they knew they’d get married. Mom didn’t mind. Gram & Gramp never really said much about them being so young.
Jobs: for lawyer fall of ‘61 (November?)-January of ‘63, then for Idaho Motor Club, like AAA–more money so quit at lawyer, till April of ‘66. First a flunky (one other office worker, Joanne); she married August of ‘64, then Mom was the office manager. Kind of fun but Old Mr. Lord was weird, really stingy, & they thought he gouged people sort of–balked at doing duty required by agreement. No jobs in Texas or Georgia–fun but no
money. No job, really, till Gramp died & took over shop books. $25/week at very beginning; lawyer not very affluent, Mom much of the time sitting & reading. Motor Club would pay more, agreed to come; lawyer agreed to match, maybe beat starting pay at MC but Mom’d already agreed & would still sit forever with no raise. The most she ever earned was $300/month.