When I began writing my column nearly 70 years ago, a big challenge was just finding the time. I had a new baby, a young girl, and a hard working farmer husband to care for. My frustration with interruptions became my column on May 1, 1950. Here it is.
This morning I sat down bright and early (it was early, but neither the weather nor I were very bright) all set to meet the deadline for my newspaper column. Bobby had polished off his six o’clock bottle in fine style and gone back to sleep and his sister Dulcie Jean wasn’t up yet. Ah, the peace and quiet of a house when its children are asleep!
I had one sentence written when I heard Dulcie’s footsteps coming down the stairs. I arose to wash, dress, and feed my three year old, and then I started to type again.
Dulcie told me she couldn’t find her scissors. I found them. She couldn’t find her notebook. I found it. She wanted to color. Could I find her colors for her?
Thinking that peace was again restored, I had just returned to my typewriter when I heard Bobby yelling from his crib. I got him, changed his diaper, propped him up on the couch, and asked him to be a good boy because mamma was busy.
The washing I had hung out the night before was almost dry and since the sky was overcast, I decided to dash out and get the clothes in before it rained. I returned to the house, dumped the clothes on the couch, pushed Bobby up from his slumped over position, pulled Dulcie Jean out of a cupboard, and sat down to work on my column.
Just then there was a knock at the door. It was the Fuller Brush man. I was glad to see him because I wanted to order some of Fuller’s good floor wax. He could see I was busy with the children, so he didn’t even stay long enough to try to sell me something extra.
I poured a cup of coffee to sip while I picked out the recipe for this week’s column. I had just decided on potato chowder when Bobby started fussing.
I got a bottle of baby milk out of the refrigerator, put it in hot water to warm, and got Bobby. It took a bit of juggling, but I finally had myself settled with Bobby and the bottle in my left arm and the cup of coffee in my right hand. There was another knock at the door.
This time it was the Singer sewing machine man. He sat down at the far end of the couch from me and Bobby, and over the mound of clean laundry he told me about his product.
After he left I tucked Bobby back into bed and had just settled behind my typewriter when the quiet of the house became ominous. “Dulcie Jean!” I called. There was no answer. I ran outside and saw that the yard gate had not been fastened. I hurried to the hog lot, the cow yard, and down the lane to the windmill.
At last I found her sitting in the barn in a cow stall with our black and white dog, a black kitty, and a red hen. She and I had a long discussion about not leaving the yard unless daddy or I was with her.
It was eleven o’clock when we got back to the house and time to start preparing the noon meal. I gave Dulcie her lunch and sat down to type until Robert came in to eat. But Dulcie wanted to finger paint, so I got her the paper, put on the water and a dab of paint. Reaching across the paper, she knocked over the water glass. I wiped water off the table, the floor, and Dulcie. I decided it was time for her to take her nap.
She had no more than trudged upstairs with her toys and books to rest than Bobby awakened. He had his bath, he had his bottle and was all set for a romp when his daddy walked in the door ready for lunch.
As I sat dejectedly with the baby on my lap and watched Robert eat leftover pork chops I said, “I’ve spent the entire morning trying to write my column. What am I going to do?”
“Write about that,” he told me. So I did.
Here’s the recipe I included with that long-ago column. It sounds very good today.
Cook together until potatoes are transparent:
2 tablespoons hot fat
2 cups cubed, uncooked potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 clove garlic or dash of garlic salt (this may be omitted if you don’t care for garlic)
1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add 1 cup light cream, heat and serve at once. (This is also good without the tomatoes.)