Chapter 4: THE FARM LIFE, AND OUR CHILDREN MARRY
Ralph's moved onto the farm Father bought on Fairview Road in January. The year did not start out very well for Morris and me. On January 2nd, while we were getting groceries, 90 dozen eggs were stolen out of our car. We reported this to the police, but no results.
Morrie started in 4-H. Turkeys and geese were his projects. That meant going to monthly meetings which were first held in the homes and later in the Harlem Town Hall. We raised poultry again, dressing and delivering quite regularly. The prices remained similar to the year before.
Reverend Fike had a church membership class, which met on Saturdays for six weeks. We took Morrie to it. On March 6th, Morrie was baptized along with Emmert Johansen, Bertha MacAdam and Nancy Hoefle.
Church Play with Nancy (standing), Berty (striped dress), Emmert, Morris and Douglas
My parents wanted to move into the Freeport area to be close to Ralph's and to us. They were able to buy a 10-acre farm East of Freeport about a mile at the bend in Route 75.
Early in May there was a stockyard strike in Chicago just when we were ready to sell our butcher hogs. We had to keep the hogs several weeks longer and even had to buy corn to feed them. Finally the stockyards were taking hogs again but paying only 19 cents a pound. That was an awful blow to our finances.
On May 22nd, 1948, we bought a Coolerator freezer from Kahl's Appliance in Freeport, for $400. (Early in 1984 it was still in use.) First things we put in were strawberries and three old turkeys.
Father asked Morris to make the hay on his ten-acre farm that he had bought earlier in the year. While making it, Morris broke off a front tooth with a hay hook. The dental bill was $25.
The boys were given smallpox shots. While at the doctor's office I had Douglas examined concerning his hernia. The doctor said he was healed. We were happy for that.
After threshing was over our family went to the Milwaukee Fair for one day. We saw a clothes dryer working among the exhibits. It made a good impression on me. We bought four bushels of apples on our way home. We had been on the farm seven years planting fruit trees every year, but still no apples of our own!
Morrie showed geese at the county fair in 4-H and got first place. Morris got 20 yards of ready mix cement for the floor of the lean-to and feeding floor in front of it. We appreciated the cement barnyard.
Harlem Helpers 4-H Club with Morris (second from left) and Morrie (fourth, front row)
I was asked to give a talk to the Ladies Aid of the Zion Reformed Church. I chose to give a book report on 'Peace of Mind' by Rabbi Liebman. This book was quite popular at this time.
We had a severe hailstorm that summer. We were glad for hail insurance. It paid us $600.
We spent a lot of time at Durand helping my parents get ready for their sale. They were selling their farm and most of their equipment. October 25 they had the sale. The farm went for $193 an acre. Our Ladies Aid had the lunch stand. I helped Mother in the house to feed the help.
We bought a set of World Books especially for our boys to use with their school homework.
November 3rd, Harry Truman was elected to the Presidency. Morris had to buy another corncrib which was 13' x 18' wire crib with an aluminum roof. We put a cement floor down first for it to sit on north of the original crib.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we dressed and delivered turkeys, geese, and chickens. I was especially glad for the contract with the Raleigh Company for 80 geese. We had to have help to dress them. Drying the goose feathers was a problem but worth the bother.
I still had my heart set on a clothes dryer, so for Christmas we got ourselves a Bendix clothes dryer from Kahl's appliance company. It lasted us for over twenty-five years.
The Sunday after Christmas Reverend Fike resigned. He had been our pastor for nearly ten years, and we were sad to see him leave.
At the February church council we called David Fouts to be our pastor.
On the last day of February my parents moved from Durand onto their little ten-acre farm on highway 75 east of Freeport. We were glad to have them closer now.
We became members of the Pure Milk Association, meeting the standards to sell 'Grade A' milk. A farm of 175 acres was for sale a couple miles north of where my parents were living. Father bought it for $150 an acre.
After Fikes moved in June to Dixon to preach, the parsonage had to be redecorated. Morris and I were appointed to oversee the work. We got the paint and help to do it. The Fouts family moved in as soon as the parsonage was ready.
George MacAdam told us that if we could get Inky bred we could have her colt for keeping her for them.
As soon as first cutting hay was made, the Art Simpson's, who were friends of ours and were renting a cabin on Lake Mendota in Wisconsin, asked us to come up to fish. We went one evening and came home the next evening after catching a lot of perch during the day. The boys enjoyed it.
At council meeting in July, Reverend Fouts wanted a better house for a parsonage. He knew of a large house for sale on Lincoln Boulevard. The next day the trustees bought it for $10,500.
We tried to let the boys know that farming was not all work all the time. Late in July we had a rainy period and could not work in the fields so we took off one day to go to the Railroad Fair in Chicago. We left after morning chores and had the neighbor to do the evening chores.
In August, Morrie went to Junior High camp at Camp Emmaus. He enjoyed it but came home with a swollen and sore throat and fever. I tried to get him over it, but his fever kept coming back. After nearly a month I took him to Dr. Becker, who gave him penicillin. Morrie got worse and hurt so he could hardly walk. I called Dr. Becker who came out to see him. He said Morrie was allergic to penicillin and should never take it again. He gave him sulfa capsules and said he had rheumatic fever. He put him to bed for several days and said he should not be active.
On October 15th, we took our boys to Manchester College Homecoming. We left early Saturday morning. We ate a picnic lunch at Silver Lake and got to the College Campus in time for the football game. We stayed over night with Professor Lloyd Hoff and his wife. We also went to a play that evening. Sunday, after going to Walnut Street Church of the Brethren, we visited Ruth Brandon Luther and husband Charles. They were living at Columbia City, Indiana. We stayed with them over night and came home Monday. The boys always remembered their first football game.
I was called into court to see if I should serve on a jury. The trial concerned a murder in a tavern. I got excused because I had an opinion about it. I was glad I did not have to serve on that jury.
We bought a small International 14T baler for $1,410. Also, we bought Ralph's share of the corn picker.
In October, Morrie got the chicken pox. Douglas had to stay home from school, too, but did not break out until Morrie was over them.
November 22nd, 1949, was a day longed for, because on that day we paid off the mortgage on our farm. We were thankful.
We put a Stover Steel Gas tank under ground, and George MacAdam put a regular gasoline pump over it. George also brought out a cutter around Christmas time for the boys to hitch Inky to and have a good time. Which they did.
Raleigh's took 95 geese for Christmas 1949 .
January 3rd, 1950, we bought a 1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser, dark green color for $1,525. We kept our Plymouth for a second car. We made a new garage for the Studebaker.
Reverend Fouts did not want Sunday evening services. But we had them pretty regular anyway with some kind of program, because Fouts did not care to preach twice on Sunday.
Our neighbors, James and Violet Hull, had their first baby. James asked me to come up mornings for the first week to bathe the little girl. I was glad to and enjoyed it.
This was Douglas' first year in 4-H. Our club was named 'The Harlem Helpers.' Douglas had 25 turkeys for his project. They were White Holland breed.
Morris made a ping-pong table especially for the boys and their friends. April 20th, 1950, Inky had a colt. We named her 'Princess.' Morris made our washroom twice as large by adding on to it on the north side. Then we brought our freezer up from the basement and put it there.
In May, we found time to go to the Passion Play in Bloomington, Illinois. Then, in June, we went with my parents to Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Andrew Cerroni and his wife did our chores for five days and lived in our home.
The U.S. was in Korea, helping the South Koreans against the North Koreans who were communists. Chinese communists were helping the North Koreans. Truman called it a 'police action.'
Morrie and Emmert went to the Junior High camp again, July 30th ' August 5th. In the County Fair, Morrie entered 5 sheep and 3 white geese, and Douglas entered a pen of turkeys in the 4-H showing. Morris and I entered 4 gray geese and 3 chickens in the open class. Altogether, we got 21 first and second places and one fourth place.
At District Meeting in Lanark, I was elected to the Home Builders Department of the District Women's Work, and Morrie was put on the District Intermediate Cabinet.
The boys had helped us so well all summer, so we decided to take them on a trip out west. Mrs. Tippetts, our schoolteacher, was very favorable to their going even though they would miss school from September 5-18. We were going to Colorado to visit our friends, Harold and Frances Miller. On the way we stopped at our cousins in Nebraska where the boys had a chance to ride a quarter horse on an active ranch. We enjoyed Pike's Peak, Carlsbad Caverns, oil wells, etc.
After I got home from this trip I went with the District Women's cabinet to visit our churches in Wisconsin. We had meetings in Mondovi, Menominee, Stanley, Rice Lake and White Rapids.
Our boys started going Sunday nights to the Youth meetings at the Freeport Baptist Church. At Christmas time we delivered 130 dressed geese to the Raleigh Company.
At the beginning of the year the situation was bad in Korea. The U.N. Forces were driven out of Seoul. MacArthur was in charge.
On January 23rd, W. T. Raleigh died at age 83. His death affected us because he was the one who liked to give dressed geese as Christmas presents to his employees. At his death the employees voiced an opinion that they preferred dressed turkeys. So we lost a very good market for our geese.
Our family had very good friends who went to the Baptist Church. They knew we felt very dissatisfied with the spiritual and social life, which was deteriorating in the Church of the Brethren under the pastorate of David Fouts. There were no longer Sunday evening meetings for anyone. The youth needed more attention from the church. So with our boys and our friends we started going to the Sunday evening meetings of the Baptist Church.
Morrie and Douglas were soon singing in their youth choir, which meant practicing during the week. Gradually we began going to morning services, too, because Reverend Wiens really had good sermons. I was asked to sing in the choir, which was a pleasure. Also, I was asked to teach a sixth grade girls' Sunday School Class for the three summer months. Nine other members of the Church of the Brethren attended the Baptist Church at this time, too.
In March, Morris went to a sale in St. Charles and bought two pure bred Holstein Heifers, one for each of the boys, paying $320 and $250. This year, the boys wanted a heifer besides geese for their 4-H project.
I was asked to be co-leader with Alice Bittner for the Harlem Helpers Girls Home Economics Club. After serving for 1951, I decided two meetings a month were too much. One meeting for the club and one meeting for the leaders were required. Besides, Morris still was co-leader with Clarence Altman for the Agriculture Club.
We tiled our north pasture where the creek ran through so that we could use that rich ground for corn.
May 17th, Morrie and Joan Sager took their final 8th grade exams. Then, the last of May, we went to the eighth grade graduation program in the old Junior High Building. Reverend Billman spoke to all of those who were graduating from the County Schools. This procedure was eliminated when the new junior high building was built. Mrs. Kuhlemeyer was hired to teach our Millerburg School for the next year.
Morris gave me an accordion for my birthday. Lessons from Mr. TerHark came with it, but I found it hard to find time to practice.
We got a new larger baler with its own motor. This was much more satisfactory, and we did a lot of custom baling. About this time, we started a custom that has pretty much lasted through the years. The Johansens and we and Haugers got together on July 4th or 5th for a picnic and fireworks when such was legal. The weather has generally been nice, and we all enjoy ourselves.
July 10th, 1951, we took a short vacation, which had long reaching results. After first cutting hay was baled, we went to a Red Top Cabin Resort on Island Lake north of Spooner, Wisconsin, to fish. Fishing was good. We always remembered this place and years later made an investment on this lake shore.
In September, David Fouts became an associate pastor at the Embury Methodist Church of Freeport. The Moderator of our local church, Carl Smucker, said that a $2,500 mortgage had been put on our new parsonage in an illegal manner, and he would try to get it removed. Many of us wondered what would become of the Church of the Brethren in Freeport. Reverend Smucker got his son-in-law, Reverend Royer to be our interim pastor. We started going back to our church on Sunday mornings. Douglas and Mary Johansen had been going to the Baptist Church and wanted to give their lives to Christ through baptism and into the Church of the Brethren. Since our Moderator lived in Rockford, we went to Rockford for the baptismal service. Reverend Paul Haworth who was pastor at that time of the Church of the Brethren in Rockford baptized Mary and Douglas October 7th, 1951.
Morrie was a freshman in Freeport High School. Bittners and we agreed to car-pool our children to High School.
Morris had a bad accident during corn picking. While unloading corn, the big jack slipped, and it and the wagon box fell. The jack hit Morris' head and cut his ear partly off. I took him to town to Dr. Becker who stitched it back to his head. It was quite serious.
Geese and Turkeys
We put an oil-burning furnace in our basement, which saved me many steps which were required to feed our old coal burning furnace. That Fall during hunting season Morris and the boys bought a rifle for $28.
For a break in our work, we again went to M.C. Homecoming. Later, Morris and I went to the Chicago Livestock Show. At Thanksgiving and Christmas we were able to sell only 42 geese and ducks, but since Raleigh's were not buying geese we had to sell 57 live on the poultry market for 20 cents a pound. We dressed and froze all we had room for in our freezer.
At our neighbor's sale we bought a Farmall H tractor and combine for $800. Later, we bought a used International truck $1,150. We bought a Plymouth car and had to alter our garage to get it in.
Late in January, I was an 'out-patient' at the hospital for x-rays. As a result Dr. Becker said I had spastic colitis, and he gave me a diet and medicine, which did not help very much.
We found a regular market for our eggs at the Mid-City Grill. We bought only 220 pullets for the year. We got a possible market for our dressed geese in Chicago at a Del Farms store, so we still hatched goslings. We built an addition on to our machine shed making it twice as large.
The war was still going on in Korea. Eisenhower was running for President, saying he would see that the fighting would stop if he were elected. November 4th he was elected President, and July, 1953, fighting in Korea stopped.
We were farming Ed Stukenberg's land this year.
Reverend Royer asked to be relieved of preaching for our church. Reverend Carl Zigler came to replace him and agreed to be our summer pastor. He and his wife Madeline and daughter Priscilla moved into the parsonage, which our congregation furnished adequately for them. Reverend Zigler was very successful with his visiting of those whose names were on the church records. By June our attendance was up to 75, and there was a very good spirit among us. I taught Bible School for two weeks that summer besides picking and freezing strawberries.
Morris and I asked to be relieved of being 4-H leaders of the Harlem Helpers Club. Helen and Elmer Prasse took our place.
Morrie took his driver's test and got a driver's permit. That helped us a lot. The boys could go to 4-H meetings, etc., by themselves. We made a cattle and hay shed north of the barn in the woods, because we needed more shelter for heifers and hay.
Morris spent considerable time canvassing for money to put buildings up on the county fairgrounds. The land had been given by the Albertes brothers, but the rest was up to the county. Temporary tents were set up, and the Fair was held in spite of rain. Our boys got first prizes on their poultry. After the Fair, we held a 'baler picnic' at our place. We invited all those for whom we had done custom baling. There were 26 who came.
Douglas and Robert went to camp in July and Morrie and Emmert in August. Later District Meeting was held at Camp Emmaus. We used the new recreation hall,[ which had been built in 1951.
Father bought the Joe Myers farm one mile west of us and turned it over to Ralph and Ann for them to finish paying for it. We were glad to have them near us again.
Reverend Carl Zigler left us at the end of summer, and we were sorry. At Council meeting in September we called Reverend James Minnich to be our pastor, and he accepted. The church families were responsible for cleaning the church. We did it quite often. I had the Intermediate S.S. class. We tried to make the class interesting with social activities, parties, hayrides, sled rides, etc.
The Boys Trap a Fox
This year for the first we had yellow transparent apples and Keifer pears from our own orchard.
In November, we delivered 75 dressed geese to Del Farms in Chicago. In December we sold them 36 more geese and 12 ducks. We also took the goose feathers to Chicago at the same time and found a market for them.
Douglas went trapping with Darrel Miller several times. In November, Mother had cataract surgery done by Dr. Kortemeier. On Thanksgiving Day, Morris went with our truck to collect corn for CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program). For Christmas, I got a Universal Coffee Maker, which I still have and use.
On January 20, Dwight D. Eisenhower became our President. We viewed the ceremony on Bittner's T.V.
In February, I went to the Monroe Clinic to find our why I had pain much of the time in my back and side. After several examinations and x-rays, I was told I had a bad case of spastic colitis. I was given medicine and told I would have it always, but I could relieve the pain by eliminating the activities in my life that caused the most stress. I could not see how that could be done at the rate we were living and working. Morris thought if we could put a hired man in the home place and we move to a new house, life would be easier for us. It seemed reasonable to me. So we started making serious plans to build a new house for us west of the house on our home place, in our nut grove. We would do this along with all our other work, hiring help when we needed it.
We got 440 chicks in February and helped Ralph's move to his farm at the west end of Lily Creek Road, one mile from us.
We farmed Mr. Staas' ground this year for extra income. I had a new electric incubator to hatch goose and duck eggs. Our real estate taxes on the farm were $400. Morrie was on the debate team in H.S. and did very well. In November, he made first team and then began to go to debate contests all around the north part of Illinois on weekends. We missed him at home to help, but he was getting good experience we hoped.
April 1st, 1953, Mr. Lyons, the well driller started digging the well for our new home. In ten days we got a pump from Montgomery Ward for the well. Then Mr. Shelly dug the basement, and George MacAdam helped put in the sewer. A cement contractor laid up the cement blocks for the basement walls. The rest of the house took shape as we could do it or get help and as the weather permitted. We got pretty split rock for the front of the house from Galen and Lloyd in that business in Sterling. George MacAdam and Ray Aumock helped us the most while Morris had to make hay, combine, plow corn or help Ralph. July 27th, the house was ready for the roof. We put good Rusco storm windows on every window. By November 2nd, the trim was painted on the outside and the rest could be done on the inside during the winter.
After 7,600 bales of hay were done by mid-July, our family took four days off to go fishing in Wisconsin.
On July 27th, President Eisenhower kept his word. Truce was signed in Korea, and the shooting stopped.
Morrie was elected to the District Youth Cabinet, which meant he was away from the Freeport church many Sundays, visiting other youth groups. There were also cabinet meetings to attend. The Freeport youth were active with regular Sunday evening meetings and fun activities like roller skating, swimming at Jr. High School or learning plays and exchanging programs with nearby youth groups.
At the Fall election of Ladies Aid I was elected President again. Then I was elected teacher of the Adult S.S. class. It seemed I was needed to be regular organist, too.
August 31st, Douglas registered to enter eighth grade at the new Junior High School in town. He was very active in the Junior High S.S. class, too.
September 1st, we hired Bob and Delores Blasing to help with our farm work. They had to live with us until we could move into our new house. That was the start of a lot of confusion. Delores got sick and called the doctor out. She was pregnant. Mother Firebaugh was out every weekend. We still had men helping at the new house with installing electricity and water. I fed them the noon meal and sometimes supper. Bob Blasing got sick during corn picking and again at Thanksgiving.
October 14th, we moved into the basement of the new house. We used the old cook stove for heat and to cook. Looking forward to 1954, we rented 40 acres from Mrs. Herbig in Cedarville.
Douglas went trapping on his own. He was delighted to get two mink. Mr. LeBaron helped him skin the first one. He got $68 for his furs. For Thanksgiving and Christmas combined, we dressed and delivered 173 geese to Lloyd Larsons and the Rockford Poultry Market.
Our Church was having financial problems. At council we decided to ask the District to help us out. The District loaned us $600 to add to our $2700, which we paid Reverend Minnich for the year.
I had to have a new thirty-inch electric stove. I got a Frigidaire. Our cows were getting sick because they were not being milked right. It was the fault of the old milking machine we had, so Morris had to get a new one. It was a Surge.
Our Ladies Aid decided to help sew at the hospital once a month. There were ten there for our first time.
We got 200 pullet chicks and 300 straight run in February.
The furnace Mr. Loescher put into our new house did not keep us warm. He had to exchange it for a larger one, which cost us more money. Bob and Delores had a baby girl February 22nd.
Morrie was on the debate team again this year, spending many Saturdays away from home. They seemed to always rate high in these contests. He was still involved in District Brethren Youth work as well as at Freeport. Douglas was also getting into the youth activities and exchanging programs with neighboring churches.
Douglas had trained Princess so he could ride her. Many times he went on Trail Rides with the Western Riders as a guest of George MacAdam. Morrie had dropped out of 4-H, but Douglas and Jim Hauger still belonged. At Fair time Douglas got second on his calf and two first places on his geese. All winter and spring our family spent as much time as we could spare putting up dry wall, nailing plywood on the floors, painting, etc.
New House, west of Main Place, 1954
In May, we set out fruit trees and grapes and asparagus and landscaped the yard at the new place. We were running out of money so we put a $6000 mortgage on our new house through the State Bank. We had to buy a milk cooler which was necessary in order for us to stay on 'Grade A' milk market. We had to double the size of our milk house. We also had to sell our nice team of horses, May and Flory, in order to stay on 'Grade A." We put our heifers in the pasture of Herbigs near Cedarville. That caused us a lot of trouble because the fences were poor, and the heifers often got out.
When Morrie was home he worked part time for the road commissioner. At corn detasseling time he worked doing that. Then he got work at F. G. Smith's in the cement and lumber business.
At school board election time Morris got off the board.
I was feeling sick so much of the time that Dr. Becker had me to enter the hospital for a D and C to look for or take care of any trouble. The result was negative, but I needed some treatment to get healed. That same day that I entered the hospital, Morris had an accident while making hay in the afternoon and had to go to the hospital. His thumb was broken. He had to have an X-ray and surgery. I was not told about it, and all I could do was to wonder why he did not come in the evening to see me. The next day when I got home I found out about it. He had a lot of pain in that hand. As soon as I got home I went out to pick strawberries and asparagus and freeze them. Next day we had an order for seven dressed chickens, which I delivered and then made strawberry jam and cooked for company in the evening. Seemed as if we were always having unexpected company for a meal. At the Monroe Clinic I was told to avoid stressful situations. That seemed to be impossible because of the life we were living.
Bob Blasing stepped on a nail while haying. He went to the doctor for a shot. He passed out and was taken to the hospital. He was off work six days. We were getting disgusted with them in more ways than one. Their sewer clogged up and had to be pumped for $20. In August we told them to find another place.
Very soon we got a letter from John and Velma Brumbaugh wondering if we would consider them for farm employment. They belonged to the Church of the Brethren and had seen our ad in the 'Messenger.' John was formerly in BVS as a conscientious objector during the war. They came to see us from New York State. Both parties seemed agreeable, so we hired them.
In July, Dan Cram asked us if we were interested in buying his farm, which bordered us on our whole east side. He wanted $290 an acre for the 100 acres and $8,000 down. We were able to get $15,000 mortgage on our home place from the First National Bank.
At our election in Aid, Ann became president. It was a relief to me. The boys each went to camp. Then Morris and I took off for one week. We took my parents and went to Colorado to visit the Millers and on to Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. On the way home we stopped at a cousin's home in Nebraska. We went in Father's new Packard. He wanted to go to Oakley, Kansas, to see if he could find anything left of the buildings on the farm where I was born in 1911. We found the foundation of the house still there in a wheat field that once was their farm. When we got home Bob and Delores Blasing were ready to leave us because Bob had been hired by a farmer near Durand.
Having bought Dan Cram's farm, and discussing the situation with our banker, we tried to sell the new house. We felt we should move back to the old house and put Brumbaugh's in the Cram house or the dairy farm as we would call it. It was better suited for dairying than our first farm.
But much cleaning and redecorating had to be done to the old house before I cared to live in it. In one year it was a mess. While we were working on it we decided to put in a fireplace and a picture window in the living room. John and Velma and baby Jennie Sue came October 31st. They had to live with us for two weeks until the people moved out of the dairy farm house. During that time their baby Jennie Sue got the mumps and was real sick!
As usual for Thanksgiving and Christmas we had 105 geese to dress out and deliver to Rockford besides other poultry to sell.
We started out the year with two jobs, which had to be done. Since John and Velma were involved, we took care of their problem first. They needed a bathroom. So we put one in which took quite a while. Then we went back to getting the old house ready for us to move back into.
This was Morrie's senior year in high school. He had a part in the high school carnival, which made money for the seniors and the school. He and Royal Johnson went to the Brethren Seminar in Washington D.C. and New York for one week. He had just bought a camera and he came back with good pictures. Royal and Morrie gave a report to our congregation when they got home.
On March 9th, Morrie was driving Mr. Wright's Buick, taking Julene and Emmert to Rockford to practice for a State Music contest. They were in an accident on their way home, which hurt Julene and Emmert and the car. But it did not keep Julene and Emmert from entering the music contest. Morrie was not at fault for which we were thankful.
In March, Ralph and Ann were ordained to the Deaconship for life.
We sold our electric incubator to Mrs. Otte for $55. I wanted to cut down on geese and would hatch them from hens again.
April 22nd, Emmert, Paul Masterson, Morrie, Dad and I went to Manchester College to see about entering in the fall. Morrie was able to get a $200 scholarship from M.C., which he used when he entered in the fall.
We moved back into the old house April 28th. I was glad to get back. We could not sell the new house then, so we rented it to Bob and June Ferguson and family. He was an ex-navy man and they had four children.
May 29th was Morrie's Baccalaureate services, and June 2nd, he graduated from high school. He spoke on 'America's Responsibility to the World.' His choral group sang ' Halls of Ivy.' We gave him a two-suiter suitcase. He worked for F. G. Smith again and felt pressured to join the union at $25. It wasn't long before Mr. Smith was having him work on his farm doing farm work, which was more suitable to him, Mr. Smith thought. When Morrie was ready to leave for college, Mr. Smith gave him a present. August 13th, Morrie got his draft questionnaire. He filled it out and asked for questionnaire #150, which was for Conscientious Objectors.
In June, we all went to Annual Conference at Grand Rapids for two days. In August, John and Velma asked to leave because she did not feel good much of the time and did not like farming. They left October 4th. Douglas got second place on his calf at the Black and White show and also at the Fair. He stayed overnight at the Fair this time. In August he went to camp.
We took Morrie to M.C. on September 4th. He was very good about writing home. I appreciated that very much. When we saw him at Homecoming time, he seemed to be doing well.
We had to dig in a new sewer at the home place. We sold 109 geese during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
After John and Velma moved out of the dairy farm house, we rented it to a couple that lived there only until June. Then we rented it to Dale and Jenny Toepfer and their son Billy. Dale and Billy helped on the farm some and Jenny and Billy became interested in our church and attended quite regularly.
We sold Bob Ferguson two acres for $1,750 next to the new house where he was renting. He began building a new house.
Morris put a new barn cleaner in the dairy barn. While working in the barn Douglas got hurt above his eye, which required stitches and several trips to the doctor.
In March, Morrie got his classification 1A. He appealed for a 1-0. He was in the A Cappella Choir at M.C., which went around Illinois and Indiana at Easter-time giving programs. We attended the program at Rockford, Polo, and Lena, each time bringing Morrie and another boy home for the night and returning them by 8 a.m. next morning. For the summer Morrie had work at MicroSwitch.
In April, we bought a 1955 Studebaker for $1,697. Douglas got his driver's permit. We were glad because he was very involved in 4-H and FFA, going to meeting, giving demonstrations and judging and then could go by himself. He was president of the 4-H club. In a speech contest he won first place. When he went to Springfield and gave it there he also won an 'A' rating on it. His position on the Brethren Youth cabinet meant lot of meetings and travel away from Freeport. Being on the debate team in high school took him away from home many Saturdays too.
While Morrie was working at MicroSwitch, Dr. Chas. Morris and wife came to visit us. He was head of the Physics Department at M.C. Of course Morrie had to show him around MicroSwitch. In August Morrie got his summons from the draft board to appear before a judge in Chicago. He drove the car to Chicago to a minister friend's home and this friend went along with him when he appeared before a black judge concerning his C.O. status.
Our pastor, Reverend Minnich, resigned and moved in August. Reverend Rummel, a student at Bethany Bible School, came out then to preach to us and live in the parsonage. In a month he was ordained as our Pastor.
My Mother was in the hospital for twenty days during July with a gall bladder attack and kidney infection. I went to see her every 2day, trying to encourage her to eat and get well. We had company, relatives from a distance, visiting her during this time and staying with us.
We bought Morrie's ewes for $300 and put it into his account in the bank in Freeport. Then he wrote checks on it.
At the County Fair, Douglas got eleven ribbons and two trophies on his sheep. He sold six of his white face cattle for $523.
We all went to District Meeting in York Center and from there took Morrie to M.C. for his second year.
Douglas entered his junior year in high school. In October we went to Homecoming at M.C. to see Morrie and stayed with Dr. Charles and Maime Morris.
We bought an A.C. tractor and two plows for $2,067. In the world, England and France bombed Egypt over the Suez Canal. Russia threatened to enter the conflict. The U.S. and Russia for once were on the same side in the U.N. where they voted to condemn England and France, which then withdrew. President Eisenhower won the Presidency by a landslide.
For holidays this year we dressed out and delivered 76 geese besides chickens. We made up our minds to quit the goose business but still dress chickens in season.
When Morrie came home at Christmas he stopped at Argonne National Laboratory to apply for summer work. He and Douglas were both on the honor rolls at their schools.
The draft board sent Morrie a 1A0 classification because he had worked a couple months in MicroSwitch, which sold some of its switches to the war machine. Morrie went to Elgin to see Harold Rowe. Morrie was advised to write to the National Service Board for Conscientious Objectors and to the appeal board.
We joined the DHIA (Dairy Herd Improvement Association) with Ralph Beckmire as our tester.
While Morris was milking at the dairy farm a cow kicked and hurt his knee. It became stiff and hurt and did not get better. We decided it needed the attention of a doctor. He went to the hospital January 29th for surgery by Dr. Rockey. The doctor found thick cartilage and removed it. It was very painful, and he had to take whirlpool treatments to ease the pain and keep it from getting stiff. Douglas and Billy Toepfer did all the chores except mine.
Morrie wrote home asking for all his records in the draft office. That office would not give them to me but said I could make a copy of his file. I spent one whole day making copies of his file and sent them to Morrie. Morrie also wrote that his application to Argonne had been accepted. He would be working there in the summer for $2.07 an hour.
Bob Ferguson and family moved into their own new home and ours was for rent in March. A family from our church was eager to rent it'Bob Jealouse, Jenny and children David and Connie.
Morris signed up with the soil bank for this year. Douglas with his responsibilities in 4-H and BYPD and FFA was involved much of the time away from home. In May, Douglas got the State Farmer degree in FFA. May 3rd he had a date with Audrey Bessert and later took her to the prom.
At council we voted to keep Reverend Rummel for another year, but he declined. Then after Reverend Stauffer preached a couple times we called him to be our pastor.
When Morrie came home at Easter he had his eyes tested by Dr. Kortemeier, who fitted him correctly with glasses. On May 11th, Morrie got a 1-0 classification with the help of the lawyer at NSBRO.
Morris got a welder and put it in our old milk house. I helped him weld a drag one day, watching him do it. For the next two days I suffered with burned eyeballs. I had to wear colored glasses and put medicine in my eyes. Nobody told me of this danger.
Morrie worked in Argonne Laboratory near York Center. He lived with the Byron Royer family, but would come home on weekends quite often.
I taught Bible School, and then Morris and I went to Annual Conference in Richmond, VA. On the way we took Jenny Jealouse and children to her parents' home in Pennsylvania. We brought Robert Johansen back home with us. At the conference he had won the National Youth Speech Contest.
Douglas went to the 4-H camp at Monticello, Ill. Later Morris and I went with him to the Illinois State Fair at Springfield where he gave a demonstration and won an 'A' rating. At the County Fair he got five first places on sheep and a showmanship award.
William and Emma Hauger's 50th Anniversary
1957 was the 50th wedding anniversary for my parents. Ralph and Ann and Morris and I planned a simple celebration at their home for them. About one hundred guests came. We had our family picture taken and enlarged to give to them.
In September, Douglas entered his senior year in high school. Early in September, Morris and I went to York Center to visit Morrie. He introduced us to Joyce Maier. She lived in Lombard not far from Byron Royers'.
Douglas had charge of the carnival at high school. He also sang in the A Cappella Choir and therefore was in the Christmas Vespers program. This program was one of the most beautiful productions that the school gave each year for the public to attend by ticket only. We were always glad when we were able to get a ticket from someone in the program.
Homecoming at M.C. found Morrie sick in bed. He had taken penicillin to which he was still allergic.
We did not dress out any poultry to sell at the Holidays this year. I really enjoyed celebrating Christmas without being so burdened with that kind of work. Our family was all together and in good health.
January 21st, I entered the hospital to have surgery for a rectal fistula. I was weak for a month or more. I managed to go to the FFA banquet for parents because Douglas was Master of Ceremonies.
In March, Morrie brought John Barr (his roommate) and Dwight Beery home from M.C. John and Dwight gave us special music on Sunday morning.
May 29th, we got our dial phone system working.
We bought only 250 chicks this spring.
Douglas, being 18 this year, registered for the draft. On June 1st, we went to his Baccalaureate services and June 3rd we attended his graduation program. There were 217 graduating this year.
At our church council meeting the congregation encouraged Robert Johansen and Douglas to enter the ministry.
Since both of our boys were going to be in college for the next few years we decided to put a hired man in the house on the dairy farm. We hired Jerry Groves who had been a farm advisor in Colorado. He and family wanted to come in December.
Our family went to Annual Conference in Des Moines for two days. Later I went to a missionary conference with Aunt Florence Yohn. It was held at Conference Point on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. I was glad I went because that was the last time I saw Aunt Florence in good health. Within the year she died of cancer.
August 14th, an airplane carrying 99 passengers of which 15 were Brethren, went down in the ocean off the coast of Ireland. The Church of the Brethren was celebrating the 250th year of its beginning in Scharzenau, Germany and these Brethren were on their way home. It was a sad occasion for our Brotherhood.
At the County Fair Douglas got four first places, one second and one first in showmanship. He sold his sheep at the fair for $600.
This was the year of the National Youth Conference at Junaluska, South Carolina and Douglas went by bus.
October 11th I bought a new Maytag washing machine. I still use it in 1984.
Both boys were in college this year. At Homecoming Morris and I took Jim Hauger and Carl Adams over to M.C. to visit Douglas and Morrie and to see the college.
We were glad to have our family together over the holidays. We bought a 1958 Studebaker Commander for $2,225.
Jerold Groves sent us $75 for us to buy some furniture for them at household sales. We did the best we could. They were settled in by December 30th. We hoped their coming would make life easier for us in lifting some of the work off our shoulders.
The Communists were trying to stir up trouble in Berlin. This caused the U.S. to organize the Berlin Airlift.
The U.S. sent up its first satellite this year.
My mother started this year by having a second cataract removed. It had taken her a while to decide to have it done. Then she was glad when it was done, and she had good sight again.
In February, we left on our first extended trip to Florida. We felt Jerry Groves had been on the farm long enough to know how to take care of all the chores. The weather was very cold. Our first stop was to visit the boys in M.C. Then on to our Church of the Brethren Relief Headquarters in New Windsor, Maryland. In Washington, D.C., we visited Senator Douglas. He was a wise man. At Bridgewater, Virginia, we visited the N. J. Millers and John T. Glicks, whom I had met at the delegates' conference many years before at North Manchester. We saw many beautiful sights and tourists attractions on our way to Florida. When we were with Galen and Thelma Hauger they took us around to see the sights. The oranges and grapefruit were especially good when picked right off the tree. We came home through Alabama. We will always remember this trip for the natural beauty we saw during the winter months.
By April, Jerry Groves was dissatisfied. He thought he was working too hard and that he was too smart to do farm work. He left us May 15th right in the middle of corn planting. Later we heard he had entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. We rented the dairy farm house to the Alfred MacAllister family.
Morrie had applied for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and got it. He also applied for an assistantship at Champaign at the University of Illinois. He got that too which was worth $1,900. That was much needed financial help.
In March, Douglas got a draft classification of 1-A. He made an appeal for 1-0.
I was appointed to the trustee board of the Mt. Morris Home. They had a problem of building a new home for the elderly residents or closing it. The home no longer met the state code regulations. That meant one day every month was spent in meetings, sometimes in Chicago and more often in Mt. Morris.
Morrie's Graduation from Manchester College
Late in May as soon as regular school lessons and exams were over for Douglas, he came home to do chores so that his Dad and I could attend Morrie's Graduation from Manchester College. His graduation surely gave me a good feeling since I was never to experience such an occasion of my own. Dr. Andrew Cordier who was my favorite teacher when I was in M.C. gave the commencement address. Dr. Cordier was Secretary to the Secretary General of the United Nations for many years.
To add to our happiness was the fact that we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on June 7th, just a week after Morrie's graduation. Morrie had work at Argonne Laboratory that summer, and Douglas worked in the laboratory at the Burgess Cellulose Company. Douglas also got a '53 Chevy.
Reverend Stauffer resigned in July. After hearing Charles Cochran, a Bethany Student preach several Sundays, we called him at a special council to be our pastor, on an interim basis.
Through Orion Stover, we decided to rent our 200 acres on the halves with a young couple who wanted to start farming. Bob and Ruby Steinhauser were able to borrow money from the Farm and Home Administration. They bought half of our stock and equipment and arranged to move into the dairy house January 1st, 1960.
Bob Jealouse and family were moving out of our new cement block and brick house. He had a new position in Dallas, Texas. Then the Alfred MacAllister family moved into that house.
August 21st, 1959, Hawaii became a state of our Union.
Morrie, Joyce, Audrey, and Douglas - Summer, '59
June 15th, Ralph and Ann had a baby girl, Kathy Sue. A few weeks later I kept Kathy while Ann was in the hospital for minor surgery. It was nice to care for a baby again, especially since that baby was a girl.
The middle of September Morrie left for the University of Illinois in Champaign to work on a doctorate in the science of physics. In October, we took Audrey over to homecoming at M.C. Morrie and Joyce were there, too. Douglas was in a play 'Diary of a Scoundrel.'
In late Fall our congregation bought a new electric Allen organ from Chicago for our church. Dick Myers from Elgin played it when it was dedicated. Six lessons came with it. Since I was the organist, I took the lessons. Soon we got Jane Leiser of our congregation to share the organ playing with me. She had much more experience than I.
At Christmas 1959, Douglas gave Audrey a ring as evidence of what we thought we had known for some time. After Christmas I went to Dr. Kortemeier who told me I was getting a cataract on my left eye.
In February, at council, our church called Reverend Foster Statler to be our pastor. Morris and I were elected sponsors of our youth fellowship of twelve to sixteen members. I also played for the Junior Choir, which took up time each week for practice. Later we bought a Gulbransen electric organ for $1,480 for our home. That way I did not have to spend so much time at the church practicing.
Before spring work started, Morris and I took another trip to Florida going by way of Champaign to visit Morrie. On our way we stopped to see Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. We got to Florida in orange blossom time. It was very beautiful and the fragrance at evening time was so sweet and pleasant, it was hard to describe. Through the heart of Florida is the Citrus Belt. It seemed very unusual to see blossoms and fruit on the trees at the same time. Before we came home we went deep-sea fishing from Key West.
That Spring the Brandt farm across the road from our dairy farm came up for sale. With a renter on our farm we thought it wise to buy the 87 acres. We were able to survey the house and garage and orchard out of the farm and sell that to Max Hutchins. That left us with what we needed'the barn and the land. Through the following years we made a cement barnyard and built a pole barn for machinery and young stock, etc.
With the children's weddings taking place in June and August, we redecorated the whole first floor of our farm home.
Joyce's parents, Minerva and Ivan Maier, spent Easter with us. We enjoyed getting better acquainted with them.
For the summer Douglas worked at the Burgess Cellulose Company for $1.75 an hour until he was married in August. Morrie had work at Argonne.
Early in June we all went to Champaign to see Morrie and to attend Annual Conference over Saturday and Sunday.
Morrie and Joyce's Wedding, June 1960
Douglas and Audrey's Wedding, August 1960
We made arrangements with Minerva Maier to manage the rehearsal supper for us and we would pay her for her efforts and food. On the afternoon of June 25th, Douglas and Audrey and Dad and I went to Lombard for the rehearsal. Douglas was best man for his brother. Dad and I stayed over night with Morrie in the house that he was renting. June 26th was a lovely day for the wedding. Dr. Robinson and Reverend Whipple performed the ceremony. Joyce was a beautiful bride and her attendants were very pretty. The wedding was held in the York Center Church of the Brethren. They left right after the wedding for the mountains of the West. Frances and Harold Miller, living in Denver, offered the use of their cabin on Mount Thoriden for a wedding gift. That was surely appreciated.
Then, six weeks later, Douglas and Audrey were married. We had the rehearsal supper picnic style in our yard. We served nineteen. Ruby Steinhauser came over while we were at our Church of the Brethren rehearsing, and washed all the dishes and put them away. I really appreciated that. Douglas and Audrey had a beautiful wedding too. Audrey was a beautiful blonde bride. Morrie was best man for his brother. The decorations of flowers were pretty for both weddings, and each couple received many useful and beautiful gifts. Douglas and Audrey left for the same Millers' cabin in the Mountains of Colorado.
At homecoming time, Dad and I went to M.C. to visit Audrey and Douglas. They had a nice apartment close to the college. Audrey was working as Secretary to the Brethren Pastor.
In November, John F. Kennedy was elected President. He was a Democrat, and we feared there would be war someplace because of many places of discontent and trouble in the world.
In November, we went to Champaign to visit Joyce and Morrie. They had a convenient one-room apartment. Morrie was an assistant teacher besides doing his own schoolwork. Joyce was a junior in the University.
We bought a Shasta trailer for $890, hoping to do some traveling and camping.
All the family were home for Thanksgiving, and the men went hunting. The corn was not picked yet because it was too wet. All six of us went to church that Sunday.
At Christmas time we thought we would have to celebrate without Joyce and Morrie who planned to go to Florida. But they surprised us and came home Christmas morning, making us very happy. We went to my parent's home for dinner.
We finally got our corn picked by January 7th, 1961. It had been one of the wettest seasons for corn picking that we ever had.
We decided to shorten the winter by taking our new trailer and going to Texas. We spent three days visiting Jealouse's in Dallas and sight seeing there. We found San Antonio and the Alamo very interesting. The Church of the Brethren had a mission in Falfurrias, Texas, for the Spanish and Indian children. There was a school and a church on this Mission farm. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gordon were Volunteer house parents who took care of the needs of the volunteer youth workers who did the work of this mission farm'mainly dairy and poultry. Olin Mason directed the mission work. Mr. Mason showed us where to set up our trailer on the mission's ground. It served as home base while Morris and I saw places of interest in the area. Gordons took us to Mexico where we bought a leather purse for me, and a quart of vanilla. We crossed at Reynosa. Masons took us to the King's Ranch where we saw some famous racehorses and Santa Gertrudis cattle. From there we went to the Arkansas Wild Life Refuge. We enjoyed watching the wild life'whooping cranes, wild hogs, turkeys, deer, etc. At Galveston we experienced a new occupation'picking up seashells.
When we got home we found Bob had lost two calves and one sheep. But that was not unusual for wintertime.
Our slides were good and gave us pleasure reviewing our trip by putting our slides in order.
We got 300 chicks from Stauffers at Mt. Morris for $127.50. We had 83 sheep that spring.
In April, Russia put a man around the world and brought him back!
Douglas got a letter from the draft board asking him to appear in Chicago, May 3rd, 1961. Since Douglas knew Reverend Hubert Newcomer very well, he asked him to go along with him to Chicago. It was November 14th, 1961, when Douglas finally got his 1-0 classification.
June 1st, 1961, Ann gave birth to a baby boy, Daniel Bruce. He would be more company for Kathy than her other two brothers who were much older.
Even though Bob and Ruby were renting on the halves, Morris had plenty to do. He helped in the field and made improvements on our farms. We also had to get a new, larger milk cooler for the dairy farm.
June 12th, Morris and I took the trailer to go to Annual Conference at Long Beach, California. But we did a lot of sight seeing on the way. We stopped at Lybrook, New Mexico, where the Church of the Brethren had a mission for the Indians. Galen Snell was the director. At Grand Canyon we stayed overnight and hiked and ate breakfast while watching a beautiful sunrise at a lookout point. We went through the desert at night while it was cooler.
Frances and Harold Miller had moved to Santa Barbara, California. We left our trailer there. Free from our trailer we went to Torrance, California, where Morris' sister and family lived. We stayed with them, the Harold Smith's, while attending Annual Conference for six days and nights. One afternoon we took off to visit my Uncle Ira and Aunt Linda Yohn who lived in Los Angeles, California. Ira was my mother's youngest brother. We saw the Palomar Observatory, too, before we went back to Santa Barbara for our trailer at the Miller's home. We spent some time with them, then with the trailer we turned toward home, camping in the Sequoia National Forest and Yosemite Park. We especially liked Yosemite Park and took several of the drives through to see as much as we could.
On a Sunday afternoon we were in our car, quite a distance from the park entrance. We had passed four Japanese students walking on the road and trying to catch a ride to the exit of the park, apparently. We drove to the place we wanted to see, than turned around to go back to our campground. We caught up with these students still trying to get a ride and seeming very agitated. We stopped to inquire if they were having a problem. It was hard to understand them, but it seemed they were due at the exit to catch a ride back to their college and they had become lost. So we offered them a ride to the exit of the park. They were crowded in our back seat, and we heard them whispering. That made me uneasy. Finally, we got to where they were meeting their ride. They got out and seemed very grateful for the ride. They said they had agreed to give us something and decided that one of their party whose father dealt in pearls would give Morris his pearl tie tack. He took it from his tie and gave it to Morris. We tried to tell them we did not help them to get paid, but they insisted. So we took the pearl tie tack and said 'thank you.'
We went on to San Francisco and its cable cars. We camped on the shore of Lake Tahoe. We took a swim in Great Salt Lake. It was not very pleasant. I thought I never would get the salt out of my swimsuit. We got home by July 13th. It was the longest trip we had ever taken and we enjoyed it in our little trailer. It was small, only 13 feet and since we did not have any plans to travel very soon again, we sold it for $800.
Morris took the agency for Pride Seed Corn. He had a booth at the County Fair. He did pretty well. Over a period of several years he earned some nice prizes.
Cousin Helen Johansen and I went to the first Women's camp that the Northern District of Illinois ever had, at Camp Emmaus.
Morris had to put in a new septic tank system at the new cement-block house where MacAllisters were living.
Our daily living surely involved a lot of cooking for me to do. We entertained visiting relatives and friends in the church besides some farm help who ate meals with us. We did not have as much of that since Steinhousers were farming on the shares. Mother Firebaugh came to our place for at least one or two days every week. She made her home with Ardis and Jerry MacAdam.
Morris and I were still responsible for the youth of our church. We planned weekly programs, and in between we had picnics, parties, and took them to youth rallies and cookouts. At Christmas we went caroling, had parties and a program, always trying to keep them interested.
Before the weather got too cold Morris put 21 yards of cement in the dairy barnyard. Within the next couple of years he cemented the whole barnyard at the dairy farm.
During and preceding the holidays we dressed and delivered sixty or more chickens. It was a relief to us to not have to work as hard at dressing poultry as we had in our beginning on the farm.
At the Pure Milk Association meeting in January, Morris was elected President for a one-year term.
I was on the nominating committee of the United Church Women. I was also in charge of the mission study school which involved conducting a school of missions each Sunday night in January.
I was glad when we felt free enough to take a trip to Florida again. We visited Douglas and Audrey in M.C. Then went south into Alabama. In Montgomery, we saw a statue that looked out of place in a city park. We stopped to see it closer and perhaps learn something. It was a statue of the mythical Roman God Vulcan, who supposedly is the god of fire and metal. The caretaker said it was there because Montgomery's main industry was smelting iron ore in big iron furnaces.
In St. Augustine, Florida, we saw 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' Museum. It was very educational. We stopped at cousin Galen and Thelma Haugers' for a short visit and went on to Clearwater where my aunt and uncle, Clarence and Ora Yohn, lived. They had many places to show us and fancy places to take us out to eat. They also took us to a newly organized Church of the Brethren in St. Petersburg. Then we continued our trip down the west side of Florida, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island and Naples, always looking for shells when walking on the beach. We took the Tamiami Trail to Miami and viewed interesting sights around there. Finally, when we got to the Everglades, we set up a tent and stayed there several nights, exploring that area.
Heading back north we stopped at Clewiston, Florida, to go through a sugar mill there. We had noticed the harvesting of the sugar cane in the fields. When we saw our first sugar cane field burning we felt sorry, thinking it was a loss. But we learned the fire was to burn the leaves, letting the bare stalk standing, charred and dirty looking. It is cut and put on a wagon and hauled to the mill. We saw how dirty the juice looked at first and how through many processes it looks like the sugar we use.
The Stephen Foster Memorial was beautiful. I liked to hear the Stephen Foster songs being played on records and animated pictures illustrating those songs. Finally, we stopped at the University of Illinois where we visited Morrie and Joyce, and arrived home the next day.
On February 20th, 1962, astronaut John Glen orbited the Earth three times at 17,545 miles an hour. He was picked up by ship in the Atlantic. He was in the air four hours and fifty-six minutes. We viewed it at my parent's home on their T.V.
On February 24th, we got a letter from Douglas saying they were going to Utah University the next year on a National Science Foundation Scholarship to earn his Masters Degree.
We had company one Sunday. There was a good fire in the fireplace. About chore time our company talked about leaving. Morris put more wood in the fireplace hoping to keep it burning through the evening. Then we both went to the door with our guests as they left. Morris and I both went directly out to do our chores. I got through choring first. I found the downstairs full of smoke. The carpet was on fire in front of the fireplace. A live spark must have flown out as Morris replenished the fire an hour before. I picked up the burning throw rug which was on top of the carpet. The rug fell apart. I picked up the pieces and threw them outdoors. The carpet was smoking, too, so I put a wet towel over it. There was a strip about two feet long and six inches wide that was badly scorched in the carpet. I felt lucky that it was no worse. Our insurance paid just enough to buy another throw rug to match and place in front of the fireplace.
In April, Joyce wrote from the university that she had a contract to teach in an elementary school in Mansville, Illinois, for the next year.
We bought a 1961 Dodge half-ton truck for $1,450.
In May, we had to borrow $23,000 from the Federal Land Bank to pay up Dan Cram for our Dairy Farm.
On May 27th, Douglas graduated from Manchester College with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree. At his Baccalaureate service Norman C. Baugher spoke. The next day Dr. C.C. Ellis spoke for his Commencement.
Even though our farm was rented I still was drafted sometimes to help out. The first of June I drove on the baler. It was so cold I wore snow pants and my winter coat!
I taught Daily Vacation Bible School in the mornings and picked and froze strawberries the rest of the day into the night.
June 10th was the day for the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new Senior Citizen home called Pinecrest Manor at Mt. Morris.
June 16th, Joyce graduated from the University of Illinois. We went down to
help her celebrate. It was a nice day, so we went out west of town to see her
school at Mansville. Annual Conference was at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, that
summer. From Urbana we went east to attend Conference. The moderator was
Reverend Nevin Zuck. At the end of Conference we joined a 'Peace Walk' in
Washington D.C. We talked to our representative, John Anderson, and went sight
seeing in New York City. Some things we saw were the Empire State Building,
Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church, Battery Park, Brooklyn
Botanical Gardens, Cathedral of St. John and the Riverside Church. We stayed
overnight in Sturbridge, Mass. On our way home we saw The Great Stone Face, and
Niagara Falls and took a ride on 'Maid of the Mist.' We went through Canada to
Detroit where we took a tour of the Ford Plant.
Douglas Firebaugh and Robert Johansen Graduate from Manchester College
In August, we went on a camping trip with Morris and Joyce into Northern Michigan for four days. We went in their car and slept in a tent.
On September 9th, Douglas and Audrey left for Salt Lake City to go to the University there. Audrey soon found work in the capitol building as a secretary. They were able to rent a nice, furnished apartment, too.
We decided to build a camper to fit on our Dodge truck. It took quite a while to build it. Our first trip was to visit Joyce and Morrie at Urbana.
I again went to Women's camp at Camp Emmaus. Then we went to Minnesota in October to visit relatives.
There was trouble stirring around Cuba. President Kennedy blockaded the ports of Cuba. Then Russia wanted to talk. Finally, we withdrew our blockade, and Russia withdrew its war threat.
Father had a tenant house on his farm North of Freeport. It was empty because it needed remodeling. Morris and I decided to help him do it. It took us until March 7th, 1963, to finish it for renting. Father paid us for our work.
Morrie was working on his Doctor's Degree in Physics. In December he passed his 'Prelims." He and Joyce were home for Thanksgiving but Douglas and Audrey did not come until Christmas. We visited by phone with them. At Christmas, they came by train to Savannah where we met them. On Christmas Day, all the children were with us, and we spent the day with my parents. On the last day of December we invited the Johansen's to supper and to spend the evening. Robert's girlfriend, Ruth Ann Knechel, was with us too. We were glad to have her.
In February we got good news from Douglas. He wrote saying that he had received a contract to teach chemistry in Freeport High School.
We hired our sheep sheared this year by Duane Bell. We had 94.
April 1st, we went to Pinecrest Manor in Mt. Morris to do volunteer work. Morris worked in Maintenance and I in Housekeeping. Morris built cupboards in the laundry room and helped finish rooms in the new building that the contractors were not paid to do. I spent most of my time in the new building getting the rooms ready for residents from the old home to move into and also ready for new residents. Morris and I were given one room for us to use when we stayed over in Mt. Morris instead of returning to Freeport. There were rooms for one hundred and ten residents then and eventually one hundred twenty. We worked until May 24th, when we were needed at home to do garden work and to help in the field.
Morris and I had lawyer Beckmire to make out separate wills for each of us.
Douglas was graduating from Utah University with a Masters of Science Education Degree in June. So we got our camper and truck ready and left on May 28th. We got to Salt Lake City and were welcomed by Mr. Felt, the landlord of the apartment Douglas and Audrey were renting. Mr. Felt urged us to stay in another apartment in the same house where Douglas and Audrey were living. So we parked our camper and moved in May 31st. Over this weekend we went sightseeing and picnicking with Douglas and Audrey. But they still had a week of school and work to do. So Morris and I took our camper and went south to see Bryce Canyon, North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion Park.
We got back to the apartment by June 7th. We visited more sights in Salt Lake City and heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Morrie and Joyce came for the Baccalaureate services. On June 10th, 1963 Douglas got his Masters of Science of Education Degree in a lengthy service. We went with Morrie and Joyce to see the Kennecott Copper mines and some other sights and the next day the three families left for the Teton National Park. Morrie and Joyce left us the next day. Douglas and Audrey and we went on to Yellowstone Park. Soon, they went home while Morris and I stayed on for a few days. Morris did some fishing from 'Fishing Bridge' and caught cutthroat trout. On our way home we stopped at Spearfish to see the Passion Play. We got home June 20th. After finding how things were at home we decided to sell our camper. We sold it for $825.
Ruby and Bob Steinhouser had decided they did not like farming and were making plans to sell out. Morris and I started advertising and looking for new renters.
Reverend Foster Statler resigned from our church to become Chaplin of Pinecrest Manor. Later at council meeting we called Reverend Lyle Sherred to be our pastor.
August 10th, a silo crew finished putting up a 60-foot silo at the dairy farm. It cost $2,500. Morris put a feed bunk around it and had an unloader installed inside. Douglas and Audrey were living in an apartment in town. But he helped us on the farm all summer vacation.
In September, our well went dry. We had to carry water from MacAllisters. The well would give us just a little water each time we tried it. The well driller had so many wells to drill that summer that he did not get to us until October 25. He decided to just deepen the present well, which was a dug one, quite shallow. He went down 113 feet and put in new pipe and a new pump. We have never had any more water problems.
Bessie Crim had been director of nurses at Pinecrest all during the time of moving from the old home to the new one. She had set up a nursing schedule and was running the institution according to the requirements. I was aware that there was jealousy among the staff concerning her. The administrator gave her thirty days notice to leave. She was shocked and had no place to go, so we said she could live with us until she found another position. I took her to different towns looking for another position. Finally, she found a position as Director of Nursing at Alma Nelson Manor, east of Rockford. After six weeks living with us, we took her and her trunk and boxes over to Rockford with our truck.
Mother Firebaugh had a cataract removed in the Fall. She lived with Twila and Webster while recuperating.
Friday, November 22nd, 1963 was a sad day for the United States. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Lyndon Johnson became our President immediately. We saw the funeral on my parent's T.V. Everyone wondered how the world situation would be affected by this, because our government was already involved in Vietnam. Rumor was that Kennedy was trying to find a way out of this civil war.
Our children were all home Thanksgiving Day. Douglas and Audrey announced they were to have a baby in June!
December 10th, Steinhousers had their sale. Morris bought some of our machinery back. That experience of trying to start a young couple in farming was a losing situation for us. We were glad to have Max Hutchins at this time finish paying for the house and acreage he had bought from us.
For Christmas, we were all together with my parents in their home. The next day the Johansen's were with us for a meal before Morrie and Joyce went back to the University.