“–fixed that for ya, Grandma!”

In 1933, if you weren’t happy with the expression on your daughter’s face in the annual Christmas card shoot, your only option was to try a manual solution. Grandma wanted to use a certain photo in the annual card to be sent to friends, family, employees and customers of the farm, but she just couldn’t accept Jackie’s mouth. So, she got out a fountain pen and tried to fix it, with, as you can see, predictable results:

Yikes! She gave it up and used this shot instead:

Nowadays, it’s easy to switch out features from a similar photos. So, Gramdma, here ya go! “I fixed that for ya.”
My fix:

Now, after 82 years, she can finally share her great joke: that framed photo on the table? –that’s Doc Thayer, the doctor who delivered all four choristers!


See the *new card* on etsy!

The secrets held in newspapers…

I’ve been helping Jackie with getting her blog posts up. Here’s a new one from her about newspaper research:
I’ve been working on getting the volumes of my Round Barn saga ready for printing, and since these are all based on truth, some take research. The research is often fun— one of my best stories came this way.I found, in the farm papers, a pageant on the history of dairying in Rock County —was it or wasn’t it written by my grandfather? It seemed to have been performed at a 4-H fair some time in the thirties. I went to the Beloit library —nothing digital yet— and went through the films of back newspapers till I found news of the fair, in 1937, and yes, grampa had written the pageant.There was a lot in the paper about the fair, including that someone I knew was the Queen of Turtle Township. I’ve known her over the years, so I called her up. She was probably in her late seventies.
“Jean,” I said, I’ve been reading about you in the paper.”
“What have I done?” she exclaimed.
“Well, back in 1937 at the 4-H fair you were queen—“
She laughed, and then I told her the paper also told who was the Healthiest Girl in Rock County: it wasn’t her.
“I can tell you why THAT happened,” she said…

I’ve written up what kept her from that honor in Volume 3. I won’t give give away the joke here!

There were no laundromats then…

Ron Dougan, a college man: what did he do with his shirts?
Ron Dougan, a college man: Surely he didn’t send his shirts home.
A new post from Jackie:
My dad kept all the letters his folks wrote him while he was in college. Here’s part of one:Letter from mother to son at college, 1921:”I feel I must write a few lines about your clothes. You said you had spent money for BVDs and socks and you paid a big price for both. You send home a pair of BVDs that is worn out entirely. Not the ones you said Trev might have. I expected to have you send home your new ones to wash and you send one new and one that never was yours and all worn out. I have mended them but they are still no good. You have one new silk sock and no mate to it. I have three new silk socks here now, no mate to any of them. Your handkerchiefs are always somebodys else and not near as good as I got for you. I do not like such carelessness. You must look after your clothes. Every penny counts with us. We skimp here at home and won’t buy anything we need because we can’t. It makes me feel so bad that you lose things so. You lose $10.00 and we can’t scrape up enuf for Esther to pay $10.00 for in-town school tuition. We must put creditors off. I will not remark on your grades . . .”

Six-Day Cow

I’ve been digging through materials from my family farm and found a clipping that fits with something my grampa said. I used it as a poem in Illinois Times where I supply a weekly column:

1952 news item just found:
“Dairy Workers to 5-Day
Week.” —ten years before
this clipping I heard my
grandfather say “We can’t
go to a six-day week until
we breed a six-day cow.”

Speaking of labor issues, I’ve also found items dating from the 1920s that document Grampa’s struggles with how to give each of his hired men a day off. He also wanted each man to to have a half day on Sunday for relaxation and devotion. He solved the problem by working himself one day each week in place of the man released, and juggling Sunday in various ways. He included himself in having a full day off every week. He’d get up and put on his good clothes, then read, write, and spend time with his family.