A 1957 Journal

I never realized until lately, while sorting through some papers, that my mom regularly kept a journal.

Well, sort of.

She used a date book and wrote down events that happened during the year.

1957 Date Book used by Florence Miller.

1957 Date Book used by Florence Miller.

I found her date book/journal for 1957 rather interesting and will share some events and noteworthy items that she chose to record that year. It is also interesting to see the local names that pop up.

Tuesday, 1 January: Bertha Etzler married on Dec. 8, 1956 to Mr. Stevens.

Monday & Tuesday, 14-15 January: Very cold this morn.

Wednesday, 16 January: 9 below zero.

Thursday, 17 January: Herb, I, Karen, Anna Lou & her mother went to Springfield & Dayton today. Anna Lou had an appointment at Dr. Weaver in Dayton. Very cold today.

[My mom worked as a bookkeeper at Willshire Grain & Supply, a grain elevator, so of course she would record the grain prices.]

Friday, 18 January: Corn, $1.84; Oats, .74; Wheat, 2.26; Beans, 2.39.

Saturday, 19 January: Went to Berne this afternoon. Herb got his first polio shot.

Sunday, 20 January: Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz & Gloria, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Eichler over for dinner today.

Monday, 21 January: Karen Sue Miller 5 years old today. Vernon Caffee birthday.

Thursday, 24 January: Mr. & Mrs. Forrest Hileman over this eve.

Friday, 25 January: We sold our beans today, 608 bu in storage for 2.37. Bruce Barber’s dad died today.

Sunday, 27 January: Herb & I went to Ft. Wayne today. Open house for 4 new pre-fab homes. Herb & Norval went to see Bruce Barber (sheriff)’s dad this eve.

Tuesday, 29 January: Corn 1.81; Oats, .74; Wheat, 2.23; Beans, 2.37.

Saturday, 16 February: Jim Dutton & Rev. Pattrick daughter married this eve. He is owner of Farmers Grain & Feed Co.

Wednesday, 20 February: Merle Hoverman died this noon of a heart attack. Corn, 1.79; Oats, .70; Wheat, 2.14; Beans, 2.27.

Monday, 25 February: W.J. [Johnny] Reef run tractor in ditch and ran over him this afternoon. Taken to Adams Co. Hospital. Very warm today, 66 degrees.

Saturday, 9 March: Phil Hileman married to Dallas Kiracofe daughter this eve. Willshire beaten at Bluffton, O, tourney by New Bremen, in district finals.

[My parents built their home in 1957, built by carpenters Louis Schumm and Bill Baker. My mom kept a good timeline of the construction process.]

Monday, 11 March: Dug basement today. Very nice this week.

Wednesday, 13 March: Finished digging basement this morn.

Thursday, 14 March: Forrest Hileman worked on basement today.

Sunday, 17 March: Ruben Thieme, 23 years old, son of Max Thieme killed in 2-car crash in Fort Wayne this eve at 7:30.

Monday, 18 March: Rained today. Brought out forms today from Smalley at Celina.

Tuesday, 19 March: Herb, Forrest Hileman & Billy Baker set up forms today.

Wednesday, 20 March: Ruben Thieme funeral today. Poured concrete today. Got down to 21 this eve.

Saturday, 23 March: Herb sowed oats today. Very nice. Opal (Gribler) May, 29, died this eve in her home in Defiance of a heart condition.

Monday, 25 March: Snowed hard today.

Tuesday, 26 March: Opal (Gribler) May buried today. Survived by a 2-year old son.

Thursday, 28 March: Dug out & poured footer for garage today.

Friday, 29 March: Poured garage walls today.

Saturday, 30 March: Poured floor in basement today. Forrest Hileman worked from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, 31 March: Hildegard (Schumm) Buxton’s 2 wk old baby buried today. W. J. Reef came home from hospital this afternoon.

Tuesday, 2 April: Mrs. Ivan Johnson died today.

Wednesday, 3 April: All power went off at 8:30 this eve. Rained and froze today. Everything covered with ice.

Thursday, 4 April: Did not go to work today. Power did not come on till 3:30 this eve. Everything flooded. Mrs. Ivan Johnson buried today.

Sunday, 7 April: Esther & Al over this eve. Rained about all day.

Monday, 8 April: Snowed very hard today. Down to 15 this eve.

Wednesday, 10 April: Forrest Hileman laid fireplace in basement today.

Friday 12 April: Ground covered with snow this morn. Forrest Hileman finished with basement today. Finished fireplace in basement & flue up to first floor. Very cold this eve.

Monday, 15 April: Very nice today.

Tuesday, 16 April: Louie [Schumm] & Billy [Baker] laid floor joists today. Drizzled all day.

Bill "Billy" Baker. (2006 photo by Karen.

Bill “Billy” Baker. (2006 photo by Karen)

Friday, 19 April: Very hot today. 80 degrees.

Sunday, 21 April: Easter Sunday. About 85 & very hot. Went to Schumm Church this morn, at mom’s for dinner. In afternoon we went to Home Show at Coliseum. Clara went with us.

Monday, 22 April: Louis Schumm & Billy Baker started on house today.

Friday, 26 April: Had Paul Roehm Jr and Katherine Breymaier over for supper this eve.

Sunday, 28 April: Scrubbed basement this afternoon.

Tuesday, 30 April: Started on roof rafters today.

Thursday, 2 May: Put most of sheathing on house today. Very nice all week. Very cool this eve.

Saturday, 4 May: Got frame of garage up today. Have insulation board on house and also sheathing on house now.

Sunday, 5 May: Mom & Amy over today.

Monday-Wednesday, 6-8 May: Put shingles on house & garage roof rafters on.

Sunday, 12 May: Mother’s Day. Ruth, Bob & family out over weekend. We were all over at LaVerne & Martha’s for pot-luck dinner today.

Florence & Karen, c1959.

Florence & Karen, c1958-9.

Friday & Saturday, 17-18 May: Put windows in & painted windows. Louie & Billy almost finished on house until the wiring comes.

Monday, 20 May: Worked all day putting garage door on.

Wednesday, 22 May: Louis & Billy finished on house today. Ready to be wired now.

Thursday, 23 May: Forrest Hileman here to lay bricks for fireplace in living room. Rained again today. No corn planted yet. Very wet.

Sunday, 2 June: All over at Aunt Edna’s this eve for a house warming.

Friday, 7 June: Herb finished planting corn and beans this week.

Sunday, 9 June: The whole family, Emanuel’s, Uncle Paul’s and all of us over at Esther’s this eve for their wedding anniversary.

Monday, 10 June: Jack Brasher here all day plumbing. Mom had her cabinets put in today.

Thursday, 13 June: Karen went to Bible School this week & last week. [Wow! We had Bible School for 2 whole weeks!]

Friday, 14 June: Rained every day this week. Very wet. Some people don’t have any crops out yet. Jesse Sipe has 8 acres corn & 12 acres beans in the ground. Nailed on rock-lath about every night this week.

Saturday, 15 June: Alumni Banquet at Willshire School this eve. Enid Westerberg married to Charles Strable today. Jack Brasher did some plumbing this morn. Here till noon.

Sunday, 30 June: Wm Kelly, husband of the former Ruth Ketrow, buried today. Schumm Ice Cream Social this eve. Still very wet. Russel Price & Melvin Nussbaum drowned in the lake of St. Mary’s today in a boat accident.

Friday, 5 July: Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Weaver’s 6 mo. daughter killed today. Herb’s cousin. Mrs. Weaver’s car went out of control & left the berm. Had our floor in garage and back porch and planter put in today.

Sunday, 7 July: Went to the Hardy & Hardy Funeral Home to see the Weaver baby this morn. Had our church’s annual picnic in the Berne Park today.

Sunday, 28 July: We were at Herb’s folk’s for dinner today.

Friday, 2 August: Went to Decatur shopping this eve. Looked at Plymouth station wagon at M & W (Morningstar’s). Louis Schumm worked on outside of house today (trim).

Saturday, 3 August: Got Karen’s gray bedroom suite from Shaffer’s today. $139.50. Herb also bought 1953 Plymouth station wagon this eve. $895 for station wagon. Allowed him $400 for his 1948 Chev. Pick-up truck, $495 difference.

Sunday, 4 August: Boat races at Celina today. A cool day.

Monday, 5 August: Herb started work at Huffman’s [Huffy’s] today.

Thursday, 8 August: Started plastering house today.

Saturday, 10 August: Finished with first coat of plastering today.

That was the last entry in the journal. Either she got very busy with finishing the house and moving into it or she lost interest in journaling.

There is an itemized price list of the labor and materials to build the house in the back of the book. It is amazing to see the 1957 prices.

I also learned that W.J. Reef, our neighbor “Johnny”, as we called him, did the electrical work for the house. That is no surprise because my dad did electrical work with him years later.

Wavil "Johnny Reef (1901-1964)

WJ “Johnny” Reef (1901-1964)

I also see that my Uncle Kenny and neighbor Larry Caffee helped work on the house and that my Uncle Al did the bulldozing on the lot.

Also interesting is that my mom referred to Bill Baker as “Billy” Baker. Bill built our house years later. He was a very good carpenter who liked to use a lot of nails. We can vouch for that!

As usual, some very good information!













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    • Andy Gappa on February 19, 2016 at 8:36 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for the information. Found a death date I was missing for Ivan Johnson’s wife! Keep up the interesting work.
    Andy Gappa

    1. I am so glad the information was helpful. You never know where you will find information and clues.

    • Kenny Miller on February 19, 2016 at 9:56 am
    • Reply

    Very interesting since I knew most of the people. Wish we had kept a ledger to reflect back on.

    1. I feel the same way. It is great to look back and read these things but so hard to take the time to regularly record in a journal.

    • Mary Anne on February 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm
    • Reply

    Very interesting to read. Kind of jogged my memory about a few things I had forgotten!

    1. Thanks! I found it interesting and am happy to hear that others did, too.

    • Brian Brewster on February 25, 2016 at 9:29 pm
    • Reply

    Knew or have heard a good deal of names listed. Thinking of you as you carry out the sad task of sorting your parents belongings. It is not an easy thing.

    1. There is a lot to go through and it is a sad task! I will post interesting items as I find them. Thanks for writing.

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