August 1928

Ruth 8/7/28 Kearney

Well, Merl’s sweetie (Lillian) is surely having a time of it.  I thought I had a bit of tough luck, but it wasn’t nearly so bad as what she is having.  I was up with her some last night.  Poor kid, she just nearly has to clinch her hands every time she swallows and has to gargle every few minutes to keep her throat open enough to breath.

Ruth 8/14/28  Kearney

I haven’t had to work much this week so I just loaf around.  I handed in my reports today and when I get the grades in tomorrow I’ll be through with my practice teaching – thank goodness.  Mother said in her letter today that my school would begin the 3rd of Sept.  Won’t that be fun? Bundy let me take my examination in music and then I didn’t have to take any finals today.

Ruth 8/17/28  Kearney

Before I go to the commencement exercises I must send my dear one a word.  It is likely I shall go to Central this evening.  I have no classes today and could leave this noon but Merl hasn’t come yet and I don’t want to go and leave Lillian all alone.  He will probably come some time this afternoon.  So sorry he must miss commencement but he just can’t get here.

After the picnic yesterday I went up to see your grandparents.  Your grandmother wasn’t there but your Aunt Bertha was.  There would be nothing I could do for Lillian because she is going to the hospital.  Merl will stay with her until Monday.  I would like to have a little time at Central, you know, because it will be some time before I’ll be there again.

Ruth with John's Grandmother and Grandfather, John Henry Sipes after whom he was named.  They lived in Kearney.

Ruth with John’s Grandmother and Grandfather, John Henry Sipes after whom he was named. They lived in Kearney.

Ruth 8/22/28  Waterbury  (John’s birthday)

How glad I am of what took place twenty-one years ago today.  The event gave me you so you see it is my day too.  I hope you received my little remembrance alright.  I intended to get it for you before I left you, but things just didn’t work that way and I had to wait until we got to Norfolk.  That was the kiddies and my secret the day I left.  I wonder if they told.  I didn’t care if they did, but I just wondered if they could keep a secret.

The kiddies, Leonard, Catherine, & Chet are growing

The kiddies, Leonard, Catherine, & Chet are growing

There is no rest for the wicked here.  There is so much work to be done and Mother had too much to do all summer during the heat and all that I feel like a slacker to lay around and rest any.  My hands have been so sore since I’ve been home.  The joints in my hands and wrists hurt and are swollen.

We were told that Dessa and Vern were to be married today.  Another of the gang gone;I’m really glad for Dessa’s sake.  How it makes my heart ache for our union  Two years isn’t so long. It is a consolation to know that after I wait so long I will get a better husband than all the other girls get put together

Ruth 8/26/28  Waterbury

School starts in a week and so much to do.  I thought we were going to have to cook for threshers tomorrow and Tuesday but it has rained bucketfuls this evening which will delay the threshing until the middle of the week.  Merl can home Friday evening and all of us here makes some gang to cook for and the dishes…there is no end to them!  That is another disadvantage to “seventeen” children.  It makes too much work.  I’d be worn to a frazzle for more reasons than one. (Rachel’s note: Mom will have still more to say on this later on…)

We had a shower for Dessa. ( Dessa is marrying Ruth’s cousin Vern McAfee)  We sure have had enough of these affairs this summer.  I don’t  like the way they got married.  It doesn’t seem nearly so nice to me as the way you have planned our wedding.  They went out to Wayne and were married at Sara’s house.  They just stayed there until Friday and then came back to Uncle Frank’s.  Vern got into his old overalls and went to work.  Not a bit romantic, do you think?  I hope we can carry out the plans we have already made to the letter.  They may sound idealistic but we’ll only get married once and I want it to be as nice as possible and as much to ourselves as possible.

Something is decidedly wrong with Aunt Cecil  She has lost in weight until you would scarcely recognize her,  She looks like an old woman and can hardly get around,  Mother thinks perhaps her trouble is cause by the few remaining teeth she has of her own.  I do hope something can be done soon.  Josie (Ruth’s cousin) says she can’t leave her like that and go away to her school and she’s supposed to go Friday.

Ruth 8/31/28  Waterbury

Tuesday Merl and I went shopping in the city.  He is lots of fun to go with because he doesn’t mind a bit going with me when I shop for shoes and then I went with him while he shopped for pearls as a graduation gift for Lillian.  They are pretty, but I think mine are prettier.

Mother and I may go to the Dakota county picnic this afternoon at Dakota City if the bread gets baked in time.  That is mothers old home session of the country and she likes to go to see so many people she used to know.  Such picnics are a bore to me, but I rather like to watch the people and get introduced to Mother’s old friends

I want to whisper something to you.  In my wandering on the way home I lost a petticoat.  Do you know where it is?  If I left it at your house or not?  Wouldn’t it b terrible if I had lost it on the street some where?


John 8/1/28 St. Libory, NE  (John is doing farm work with Merl)

I got overheated yesterday afternoon and oh how I have suffered since.  I worked yesterday till after six before I gave up and then today I managed to drag around until four.  I never felt so all in in my life . I suppose I will try it again tomorrow; if I go under again I think I will give up trying and go home.  Merl was sick yesterday too so we aren’t very ambitious.  This farm life isn’t what it might be.  To work at five and quit at eight.  Can you imagine student solicitors enjoying such hours?

Each day at four I think of you in the pool and on these hot days I wish I was with you.  I hope Lillian is taking good care of herself and I hope we are all well again by Sunday.  I will be coming even if Merl doesn’t.

John 8/8/28 St. Libory

I got a letter from President Carroll asking me to accept the book store position for this year at school which I will, of course.  Also got news of several more students who have decided to come to school.

We put in eleven and a half hours of actual threshing which is the most we have done this summer. The day offered a little excitement when my mules ran away.  They ran around over the field for awhile then stopped about a half mile away.  I didn’t mind them running, but I disliked the walk I had to make to get them. 

John 8/14/28  Columbus NE

It seemed awfully good to get home again.  I certainly miss the kiddies though they and Mother will be home next Sunday.  Dad was so tickled to see me he could scarcely constrain himself.  Now he insists that I shall not do any work between now and the time school begins.  I think I would die with nothing to do.  He said he would give me $3/day and board and room if I would just rest.  Could one ask for any better position? Dad is in a position to help us children now and he insists on doing it.  He says that he wants to pay some of my school expenses and finance Edith too.  I can realize and understand why he wants to do it and I know he would be disappointed if he didn’t get to.

John's parents

John’s parents

John 8/16/28 Columbus NE

Tuesday afternoon I went out to Camp Sheldon to see Mr. Thomas.  He at once asked me to come out next week and serve as cabin leader for the High Y group of boys.  Since dad won’t let me work I’m going to spend ten day at the camp.  It will be a lot of fun.  If you see Merl tell him Mr. Thomas would very much like to have him at the camp too.

8/22/28  Camp Sheldon, YMCA boy’s camp

I’m having a wonderful time.  Nothing to do but things that are enjoyable an easy.  We jump out of bed at 6:15, take our exercises, dip in the pool – oh, oh its chilly!  By the way, nature’s own is our only attire, then comes breakfast, a morning talk, morning watch, and then a succession of studies and lecture until noon. The afternoon is athletics and swimming.  In the evenings we have campfire and a speaker.

My cabin is the first one on the south and is called “Sky Chief”.  I have a fine bunch of boys. We compete for honors.  Yesterday only one other cabin obtained more honors than ours.  We leaders act as officials for the games.  I hope to learn more about swimming and lifesaving.  I’m taking the courses offered in leather craft and first aid.  In leather craft I am braiding a chain.  Maybe I’ll carry the knife you gave me for my birthday on it.

John in front of the cabins

John in front of the cabins

John 8/26/28  Camp Sheldon

The opening of your school approaches fast.  I feel nervous for you dear because I now how excited you will be.  My work with the boys here in camp has made me realize the value of boys and girls and how impotant is the influences brought to bear during their early life.  I have the good feeling to know that you love and appreciate children.  I know you will instill in their lives high ideals and good habits.

I feel quite encouraged with my work among these boys.  I feel that I have won their confidence and that they would do anything for me.  I hope I can always win the hearts of boys and work with them. (Rachel’s note: You did, Dad, but the boys and girls were a bit older as college students.) This cabin group is a splendid group.  They are all hard workers.

Harold is to be operated on for appendicitis tomorrow morning.  He has been ill since last Tuesday. No one likes to think for going through the ordeal  He will be operated on in the Columbus hospital.

The boys are standing by telling me what to write.  They instruct me to say “Darling Ruth”, etc for they know your name.  We’ve been practicing for a Bible pantomime and I can sympathize with Mrs. Carrell.  It’s certainly a task to get these fellows organized.  They all want to do seven things at once.  We took third in the competition.

Camp Shelton

John is seated, second from right. Click to enlarge.


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