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.
Other people mentioned this week include 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). Judy has a young son, Jeff Soderstrom (7 months old). Also mentioned are Harry and Jessie’s oldest son, Walter (referred to as Jack, age 38) and his wife Elsie (36), Mrs. Harriman and Miss Swanson (supervisors at Kilpatrick’s), Dr. Martini (one of Jessie’s doctors) and Boh Tomes, a co-worker of Jessie’s at Kilpatrick’s.
April 8, 1959 (Wednesday)
“Agnes called, wanted me to ride out to Arnolds Studio with them. Judy is going to have Jeffie’s picture taken. I can’t as I am going over to the store. Sorta dread it. I am going to meet Boh, have lunch with her. … 3:30 p.m. Have been home for a while. Mrs. Harriman said I could come in Monday. First she said they wanted a release. I did like Dr. Martini said – one week trial, see how it goes. She was real nice. I met Boh, we had lunch at Bishop’s then went up to see all the gang. Everyone remarked how good I look. Maybe I should stay home, keep on looking that way. Got my pay envelope, one day’s pay. $5.56, so I have lost out 7 weeks pay $193.97. Called hospital. Insurance company hasn’t settled yet.”
April 9, 1959 (Thursday)
“These new pills I take don’t have any effect on me either way. Don’t know what to do. If I take old ones, I get weak, no misery. I only have enough new ones for one week, can’t take old ones when I work or I will be weak so here it goes, on & on. Guess I will start old ones while I am home, try once more.”
April 10, 1959 (Friday)
“One o’clock, no mail. We just got home. I wanted to go to Super Valu, got coffee, 59 cents with coupon, got a few groceries there, also Safeway, a few. I messed up my back, across hips down left leg. Can hardly stand on it. So painful, so disgusted. I managed to get the house dusted & swept. No scrubbing. Daddy doesn’t seem to be so tired, even looks better. We turned our mattress, have our bed to make, then I think I will hit the hay. Boh called. I hated to tell her how I feel. Doesn’t look as if I will go in on Monday.”
April 11, 1959 (Saturday)
“I feel terrible. Slept good until 2:15, had to get up, couldn’t go to sleep. Was daylight when I fell asleep. My hips hurt so bad. Can’t get out of bed hardly, or out of Daddy’s chair. So painful to walk. We got up late. Daddy just went uptown. I had big things planned for today so here I am, down again. … This day was a complete flop for me. Daddy doesn’t act like he feels good. Had a letter from Phyllis & Don.”
April 12, 1959 (Sunday)
“I will have to give up the idea of going to work tomorrow. I am so miserable, back hurts so bad. I have had heat lamp on it, also heating pad. Still hurts. I can hardly stand up for any length of time. Managed to get dinner, could hardly stay up long enough to eat. … Old bed is hard with these boards.”
April 13, 1959 (Monday)
“Just called Miss Swanson. She was so nice, said she just talked to Boh and for me to take care of myself. They wanted me back when I was able. I went over to see Agnes, all I could do to get over there. Judy came home with me. I am so miserable. Called the doctor, he was busy so I told the nurse I wanted him to know why I didn’t go to work. I can’t work so I just sit around and then can hardly get up. Jack & Elsie were here a while.”
April 14, 1959 (Tuesday)
“A beautiful morning, but windy. I slept so good. Put a big pillow under my knees so when I laid flat it wouldn’t pull on my hips. I got up about 8:15. Breakfast over, dishes washed. I am trying not to complain. Must make the best of it. The days are so long. I walked around the yard looking at the flowers & trees. Plum tree will soon be in bloom. I sewed some carpet rags, can’t sit too long in a straight chair, more comfortable when I can lean back. After I had lunch, I laid down for 1½ hours. Watched a TV program. Agnes came over for a while. I started supper, sat on porch, sewed some more rags. After supper, Daddy and I walked around the yard again. He doesn’t feel like working. He is so tired.”
Larry Lehmer is a professional personal historian and senior legacy planner at When Words matter where he connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.