Jessie (age 57) is still recovering from a hospital stay for a sore back and has yet to return to her job at Kilpatrick’s Department store in Omaha. Her husband Harry (age 60, who she refers to as Daddy), a boilermaker’s helper at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, was busy building an enclosed front porch for their home in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Also mentioned this week is Harry and Jessie’s daughter, Agnes Grosvenor (37), who lives across the street with her husband, Jack Grosvenor (40) and their three children – Judy (17), Linda (16) and Jackie (3).
April 22, 1959 (Wednesday)
“It froze ice last nite. The birds were trying to drink, they were going around the edge of pan so I went out to give them water & feed. A sheet of ice, thick enough I could lift out of pan without breaking. Agnes went uptown. I went along, tried to find material for some kitchen curtains. Bought a pair of hose, had a coupon for 25 cents, got some groceries. I just can’t walk, I was in so much pain. I scrubbed & waxed kitchen floor. Old back growling. I can stand straighter, but so sore. Oh yes, I got a check from Mutual. Only paid on last one. I took out $5 a day for room, old policy doesn’t pay when there is compensation. Oh well, that is right. I don’t want it any other way.”
April 23, 1959 (Thursday)
“54 degrees at 9 a.m., supposed to be in the seventies. Oh, what a miserable nite. I was in so much misery, just couldn’t lay any way, never slept good. I am so sore and stiff this a.m., must be from my scrubbing and waxing. I got awfully blue. Shouldn’t be, such a beautiful morning. … Daddy is lame in his back. He tries to kid me. I can tell.”
April 25, 1959 (Saturday)
“Daddy slept good. I was so nervous & fidgety. Daddy was snoring, making a funny noise, so I got up, took a sleeping pill. I slept good, so dopey when I got up. Of course, that is natural. … What a day. After Daddy finished his porch floor he dug up a peach tree, planted it for Agnes. We had cake & coffee, drove to Omaha, bought 2 juniper trees for front of porch at Ryan’s nursery, $3.98 each. Drove out to 73rd & Miami for part for mower. We went around in circles trying to find him. At last we did, cost us 90 cents.”
April 26, 1959 (Sunday)
“Went to church. Didn’t feel like it, went anyway. So hard to sit so long. We had a lunch. Daddy sprayed his plum tree (full bloom) and other trees, sorted out his lumber pile, got his mower going. Didn’t want to start. He mowed our little patch of grass. We have been reading. Could go to bed, too early. I want to sleep when I do retire.”
April 27, 1959 (Monday)
“Soaking my stovetop. I went over to get some Easy Off from Agnes to use on my stove. Came home, put it on, rubbed clothes out of water. Reading my bible, no mail, lunch time. I cleaned part of stove. Raining. Had to go to the drug store for needle & calcium capsules. Daddy had a hard time giving me my [liver] shot, couldn’t get the needle to go in. About 4 tries.”
April 28, 1959 (Tuesday)
“Almost 8:30, we just came in. Daddy took siding off front of house on porch. We burned it, he went after gas. He is awful tired. After lunch I washed six windows on porch. A job, believe me. I ironed sheets, folded down rest of clothes, dampened, ironing pieces. I am tired. Still feel better, a grand day. So happy I feel like working.”
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter in Urbandale, Iowa, where he connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.