Jessie (age 57) is recovering from a lengthy hospital stay for a sore back and is about 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). Another daughter Phyllis (35) lives in Pasadena California, with her husband, Don Lidikay (42). Also mentioned are their oldest son, Walter (referred to as Jack, age 38), their youngest son, Calvin (29), Miss Swanson (supervisor at Kilpatrick’s), Dr. Pedersen and Dr. O’Neil (Harry’s doctors) and Virginia (a neighbor and friend).
April 29, 1959 (Wednesday)
“I got a check from New Amsterdam for 10 weeks wages – $233.30, from 2-17-59 to 4-27-59. Could hardly believe it. I am thankful for it. … Daddy cut up some boards, burned them. He spaded up a place for glads. We watched TV until news was over, to bed. Daddy is so tired. Hope he gets to feeling better.”
April 30, 1959 (Thursday)
“Mrs. Wren was looking over house. I guess it isn’t what they are looking for. … Daddy took wren house down, drilled more holes in it.”
May 1, 1959 (Friday)
“I was over trying to help Virginia kill snakes. She killed 7, one black, others were garter snakes, a nest of them in their corner of yard. … I have been watching the wrens. They are so busy flying around, in and out of the house. Brought Jackie over so he could see them. … We went to church to hear a Roman Catholic Priest who was saved by grace – Harry B. Groning, B.D. I was so miserable sitting so long.”
May 2, 1959 (Saturday)
“I just got up. Had to have a sinus headache. Our windows open, nite air and breeze always does this to me. … Breakfast over. Daddy tried to decide what to do, finally settled on renting a sander and he sanded porch floor. A hard job, he put first coat of gym finish on. He doesn’t feel good, has a headache, so tired. I couldn’t do much to the house. Sawdust got in someplace. … Daddy didn’t feel like eating. I made him sit down & rest. He just isn’t himself, acts worried. I want him to see a doctor.”
May 3, 1959 (Sunday)
“Daddy has really got a severe headache, doesn’t feel like being up, said he is dizzy when he gets up. He got up 7:30, said it hurt so bad. I got him to take 2 Anacin, he laid down again. I finally got him to consent to me calling Dr. Pedersen. Dr. came about 2 p.m., asked a few questions. He is going to see him in his office tomorrow. He wants to take some tests. He left 2 sleeping pills for tonight, wants him to have a good night’s rest. Daddy ate pretty good, but is so drowsy. I just gave him an enema, hope he gets relief. His bowels are not working too good anyway since he took those calcium pills. He said he never had such a headache before, severe pains. I feel so sorry for him. God will supply his every need I pray. I called Miss Swanson, told her I will have to be with him for a few days. She said that will be perfectly alright.”
May 4, 1959 (Monday)
“Daddy slept pretty good until midnight, restless from then on. I have to urge & coax him to get up and eat. I don’t believe his head is hurting as bad today. He hasn’t taken anything for it since 5:30 this morning. He is so all in, just sleeping all the time. Jack G. has been in a lot, Agnes. Jack L. & Calvin came this p.m. Had a letter from Phyllis & Don. Phyllis is coming on her vacation. After dinner, Daddy managed to shave. I helped him get his bath. He was so tired, rested a while, dressed. Jack G. took us up to see the doctor, a blood test for anemia. Blood good, urine test good, go to U.P. [Union Pacific] headquarters for x-ray of skull and sinus, electro cardiogram. Will get report on those Wednesday. I called Dr. O’Neil. He is going to see Daddy Thursday. Judy has been over to see Daddy, so good to be near the children when you are sick.”
May 5, 1959 (Tuesday)
“It is 12:30 noon. I just got Daddy in bed. He is so tired from his long wait for x-rays. Jack L. took us over to headquarters. He has to go to Edmundsen Hospital at 1 p.m. tomorrow for electric cardiogram. I got Daddy to eat some breakfast & lunch, just have to go coax him to eat. Bless his heart, he is so good. Agnes shaved him this a.m. We had a long wait for x-rays, took 3 pictures. He was all in when we got home. I made him a lunch, then he went to bed, slept until 4:30. Mr. Miller from our church came down. After he left, Daddy perked up, has been up 2 hours. Ate a good supper for him – bowl of soup, 2 big glasses malted milk, half banana sliced, 2 cookies. So good to see him up. He is looking over the paper. I have a backache, going to bed early. Raining again, off and on all day. Agnes gave me my liver shot this morning.”
Larry Lehmer is a professional personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter, Ltd., who connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.