Saturday, December 27, 2014

1954 Jean's Letter -Dec.26

Friends, history, humor, Christmas customs of 1954, and the recognition of early character traits continuing through one's life – much to appreciate in this December 1954 letter of seven pages, front and back, from Jean to her mother.  Serena must have had someone near her age in all the families mentioned.  What happened to the train?

26 December 1954 Jean's letter to her mother,
Lucie Brown Ballantyne – first and last pages scanned.
December 26, 1954
Dearest Mother,

We even hoped up to the very last minute that you might come & spend Christmas with us.  We were really disappointed to hear you had cancelled your reservation at the Pennsylvania [in Florida], think you should change your mind again.

We spent a very quiet but nice Christmas.  For once no one was down with a cold.  The girls were tickled to pieces with everything they received – the hobby-horse, scooter, dolls, muffs, books, cooking set, billfold, socks, etc.  Harold set up his electric train he had gotten   ?   years ago but in excellent condition & about the biggest surprise to them.  The dresses Virginia & Jim sent them were lovely & they wanted to wear them this morning.

We decided to put the money you gave us toward the hobby-horse & scooter if that's all right with you.  We also got a beautiful world globe 12" that we've wanted for a long time.  The water part is dark blue & the lettering is light blue.  We have it on the television & it really stands out both night and day.  Catherine even seems to enjoy it & plays games with it with us.

Did I tell you my ABComatic washer burned out (motor) so I had choice of buying new motor ($35) not recommended; overhauling ($85) which we also heard was not always successful or buying another washer ($300+).  We decided on a new Maytag which we could buy & have serviced here in town and they gave us a pretty good deal – so much for our old washer and also a discount.  They installed it just the day before my birthday so was quite a nice combination birthday and Christmas present.  I didn't like it as well at first as my ABC but now getting used to it.

You asked what we did Dec. 11 for my birthday celebration.  That was the day scheduled for the tonsil operation so spent the day with Catherine.  She's back to normal now and has almost forgotten all about her sore throat – can eat everything – does seem to have a better appetite.

As for giving up any social activities – didn't give up any.  Brought Catherine home from the hospital Sunday (the 12th) along with Harold who had stayed all night with her and had planned to stay home with her that night instead of going to the Redeemer's Class meeting at the McElwees.  But she said she wanted to see Mrs. Morton & didn't care if we went.  (We'd asked Mrs. Morton the week before, before we knew when the operation would be.)  Mrs. Morton said she'd call us if need be & the meeting was over early so all went fine & we didn't regret going.

The next Wednesday was the Bank dinner in honor of Miss Ethel Johnson & we also went to it – they held it in the new addition which has been turned over as a dining room at Snow Hill and everything was delicious – the food was not served on our plates but passed & dishes refilled & refilled – ate much more than I should have that way.  The employees gave Miss Johnson a beautiful lamp & the directors a round table for her 30 year's service.  There was no planned program but several impromptu speeches praising her & her thanks & then the older ones reminisced about the early days of the bank which was extremely interesting.  There were about 21 of us there so could be very informal.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, glazed sweet potatoes, peas with mushrooms, cranberry salad, tomato juice, relish plate of celery, carrot sticks, olives & pickles, some kind of fancy ice cream cookies, mints, nuts, coffee & milk & also hot rolls, butter & jelly – and the next day –– heartburn! but well worth it.  Snow Hill was a nice place to have it for we all got together in the big living room with the huge fireplace lighted.  It was a terrible night – snow & ice but all went off fine.

Guess I told you about going to Aunt Mary's and Uncle Harry's for their annual family Christmas dinner.  That was nice too.

We had prime ribs of beef, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetable, applesauce & cinnamon rolls for Christmas dinner.  Next week we've ordered a ham for New Years – had planned to have it for Christmas but didn't get it ordered in time.  The girls had had plenty of turkey along with us (with even more) so plan to have one later in the year – Easter or so.

Roberta keeps picking up your letter & asking if I wrote you about the "2 babies?"  referring to the dolls we bought in Steubenville.  They weren't very expensive but made a big hit.  Catherine too has been busy with the activity books – & box you gave her.  She worked & cut out all day yesterday & was at it again early this morning.

Went to Sunday School and church this AM.  There weren't very many there – 114 at S.S. and about 40 at church – I was to have charge of Junior Church this AM but there was only one other little girl beside Catherine & Roberta so went up-stairs with them.  Catherine, as usual, was fine but Roberta couldn't hold out quite as long and refused to be quiet – During the final prayer – found the bag of Sunday School money & proceeded to spill it all over the church – $27.00+

Tomorrow night we're invited up to Melvin Long's (near Circleville) for supper – Calvin Smith is invited too.  Haven't decided whether to take the girls or not as don't think they'd enjoy too much of it & Helen is rather fussy – their baby Nancy isn't a year & they're expecting again in March.

Received so many cards & feel I have plenty of company with several babies born previous to now & some on the way –– Helen Thrasher & Jane Bossick both had boys in September, Nell Eikenhout Bartwich a boy in Nov. (She has three and the oldest is a year younger than Roberta!  Nell must be 37 or more, Jane Gilbert McKinley, a girl in Dec.

June Jones (Harold was in law school with her husband) is expecting in January.  She has a boy & a girl to her first husband, killed during World War II, a boy & girl to Ed (little baby girl died of polio at 15 mo.).

Catherine Smith Foster is expecting in February – had originally wanted 4 girls and so may be on her way to 3rd girl – both Betsy & Sally are in School.  Dook [sic – this is what it looks like, but currently he goes by Milt???] has gotten his PHD and they own a home in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Lee Ackerman Noble (knew her in library school) has two girls & hopes her next one will be a girl too – due in February, too.

Marge Zook (Linn's wife – Harold's best man & H was best man for them just a few days after Roberta was born) is expecting in March or early April.  She has varicose veins & the doctor won't let her gain over 3 or 4 pounds before delivery so she's on a very strict diet.  (Guess I should be really thankful.)  They have another little girl born on Catherine's birthday – Jan. 29, 1953.

And then, of course, Helen Long – where we're going tomorrow night.

I was at the doctors last Friday & everythings fine –– now weight 157  & he said it will no doubt all be over in the next 2 or 3 weeks – I'm due back Jan. 7 in case I haven't gone to delivery before then.  By the way Jan. 7 is Daddy Uible's birthday – so –– but Dr. F said between Jan. 10th & 20th & they say he can sure guess them.

Do hope your blouse fits & if not please let me know & we can get it exchanged – got it at a Rike's in Dayton –– or if you'd rather have something else would gladly return it.

Please think it over carefully & change your mind & plan to go to Florida –– & stop & see us on the way down –

All our very best love,
––Harold, Jean, Catherine and Roberta [plus about to be Serena]

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