Historic Papers, Journal Entries From 1942

My great great grandmother Neola was born in 1888.

From a very young age she began keeping a journal. These journals, kept year after year have been preserved by my grandmother and handed down to me. I now treasure these historic papers. I was reading through one of them randomly…just exploring..I do that sometimes, rather than read them in order.

Granny Kiser born in 1888
My great great grandmother, Neola Kiser.

This time I chose 1942
The first thing that caught my attention were the four entries in a row when my great great grandmother spent digging potatoes, doing wash, and canning green tomato mince. One day she dug 15 bushels! She certainly was a hard worker. I remember that about her, even later in her life.

The Old Ways
I remember as a little girl visiting her and she would be doing laundry on the back porch with hand crank washer and a wash board, along with that she tended to a huge garden and then cooked us a homemade meal during the visit! She was an astonishing woman and a great cook! No wonder she lived well into her 90s!
I’ve found some particular entries that I want to share from 1942.

Jan 23rd 1942  Neola Kiser Diary entry. Weather fair. I washed, Jake helped Jonnie Rief husk corn and shred fodder. President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met at Casablanca in Northern Africa to make war plans.

March 1, 1942  Partly fair, some snow. Point rationing book number two began. 40 points per month.

May 6th, 1942  Windy and partly fair. Betty (my grandmother who is now 84) went to get beginners driver’s license.

May 15th, 1942  Rained most all day. Went to Bluffton got a new permanent and a new hat. Breiners were over.

July 6, 1942  Very hard rain at night. We plowed up the strawberry bed and planted pickles. Jake mowed hay. Midge and Floyd here.

July 8, 1942  Fair weather. We plowed the sweet clover field. The twins were here in afternoon. We planted potatoes in the garden. French’s here in the evening.

July 24th, 1942 Fair weather. We went to Bluffton in the evening. Rex came home (from the service) at 3 in the morning. I washed Rex’s uniforms and ironed them.

Just rereading these short entries gives me a sweet reminder of what my great, great grandmother was like. I hope these historic papers offer you a glimpse of what life was like in 1942 in the Midwest. It was my great, great grandmother Neola who inspired me as a writer with her writing and journals.

The Peace of a Healing Heart

We all Make Mistakes

sunflowers in bloom
Photo Credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile…smile…smile) Flickr

Our choices or decisions can take us away from our center occasionally. We ruminate over our mistakes and we beat ourselves up for them much too much, when we are far better served to use our energy toward creating healing in our life and improved choices in our future. At times we do the very best we can and we still make mistakes, that’s natural, we are human. We sometimes make mistakes out of fear, out of impulsiveness and sometimes just an error in judgment when we couldn’t read a situation clearly.

Mistakes are Moments
We can’t always change the direct impact of our mistake but we can certainly take another positive route from that place. We can create good from mistakes when we use what we learned from our mistake. At times our own mistakes allow us to understand more clearly when we are hurt by another.

There are moments of forgiveness of self and of others for each of us. When we hurt another or another hurts us it isn’t always easy to reach a place of forgiveness, though it’s best for our own healing when we reach out for that place of peace and release ourselves from that pain. Forgiveness allows us to move forward with an open and healed heart. On most occasions people hurt us without really realizing how deeply their behavior or their actions impact us. They are seeing situations through their own eyes, not ours. Many times it’s in hind sight that they begin to realize the real impact their actions had on us. I work hard to forgive the actions of others, that have impacted and damaged my spirit and heart.

At Times It’s Not Easy
At times I’ve wanted to lash out like anyone in my moments of deepest pain and grief. At times I have been physically ill from the pain of hurt caused by another. There is a time of healing, of mending of the spirit, a time when only the love of God can work within us to help us to move through the pain and reach the other side to understand the fear or the pain or the frustration or inconsideration that drove their actions in the first place. It doesn’t make their action right. Healing simply brings is a sense of understanding that they were in pain or uncertainty and their choices were self defeating and that we must simply step back and allow them to live through their choices and find their own way. We can request God watch over them, we can ask that they be surrounded and supported in their lives. From there we step away and release them, forgiving them and beginning to find our own sense of calm, knowing we did all we could do within the situation.

Full Circle
I find many times that things come full circle. We are given opportunities and moments to bring peace to relationships, families, and friendships when we keep our hearts open and we allow the space for others to step forward in their own way and make peace. Forgiving and making peace, doesn’t mean forgetting or allowing ourselves to be stepped on again. It means allowing the love of God to work through us, in it’s own way and beginning anew. We remember what we experienced, learning from it, and move forward creating a new bond one day at a time, one word at a time and one message at a time. It’s allowing God to heal us, to heal a situation, to heal our heart. It’s remaining open even when we don’t understand fully what God’s plan is. It’s trusting God to lead us, to guide our life and to guide our heart peacefully so that something broken can be rebuilt.

Movie Review: Lorenzo’s Oil

Ever wonder just how many mountains love can move? This film starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon features an exceptional set of parents who take on the international medical community.

Their son afflicted with a debilitating rare disease, these two people with no prior medical knowledge organized symposiums, took on a resistant parent-run foundation, collected data and more in a relentless pursuit of a cure. The result? A medical miracle in record time.

But that was only the first half of the problem. Next came the rebuilding of the myelin to reverse the impact of the disease. This turned into a new collaborative effort called The Myelin Project, something that will positively impact multiple illnesses beyond ALD that launched their family’s odyssey into the arena of medical research.

How have they done it? Sheer will and the pure love present in the parent-child relationship. Worth checking out.

The Emotion of the Holidays

For Some, Holidays are Filled With Memories of Those Lost
I think most of us can relate to the idea that holidays are filled with moments of deep love, challenge, emotion and a wide variety of expectations. For me it starts with the commercials filled with happy families gathering around to share a meal, opening gifts or sharing their day together. That is the beautiful side of family and committed relationships. The flip side is that most of us have experienced the loss of people that we truly love and treasure and enjoying the holidays without them is never an easy experience. We learn to accept our loss, to move forward, to heal; but somewhere in side, at least for me is a place of sadness that I can no longer share the significance of special days with my parents and with others I’ve lost.

Pleasure and Sadness Mingle
Holidays seem to be filled with a mixture of joy for those we can be with, pleasure for the special moments when we can hold those dear to us and filled with tinges of sadness for what can never be again with those we’ve lost. Even with those we love still near to us on the earth plane the holidays can be a roller coaster of emotion. Families squabble, they have different views on life and they certainly have different priorities and wishes. Talk to anyone in my extended family and you will get a variety of versions of what a holiday should be. Some prefer the holiday with their immediate family, others enjoy the extended family. Some prefer a sit down meal, others enjoy a pot luck so based on my own family I can only imagine that there is an abundance of roller coaster experiences out there for many during the holidays. When I turned on the Today Show this morning, they were discussing strategies to use to handle relatives and emotional situations during the holidays.

Keep It Simple
For me it’s best to keep it simple by spending time with those I treasure as well as making sure there is private time for reflection and prayer to remember those I miss, who remain close in my heart. Loss and grief are never easy to handle and the added pressure of holiday exceptions adds another dimension to the pain. My suggestion, detach from any family drama, focus only on those things that bring you joy and release the expectation of being able to do it all.