Thursday, December 10, 2015


Ina and Jack Dobson with grandchildren, c. 1926

Temperatures had turned rather mild, and it was raining. Jack and Ina were awake at 5:30. Ina stayed in bed while Jack went downstairs to stoke the fire in the wood stove. After 20 minutes or so, Ina went to the kitchen to dress. She had left her clothes on a chair in the kitchen so that they would be nicely warm.

No professional photo for Jack
Ina always made a nice farm breakfast for Jack. Today it was bacon, eggs, and toast, but some days she made pancakes, biscuits, or cereal. Rich cream was readily available for cereal and coffee. The wafting aroma of bacon drifted upstairs and roused the sleeping Shirley who dressed quickly in the kitchen as Ina cooked. Ina knew something about nutrition and was careful to control her own diet.

Ethel and her baby
By the time they had breakfasted, it was light enough for Jack to begin his chores at the barn. Ona and Shirley put on their rubber boots and waded across the yard to the chicken coop to gather eggs and feed the chickens. Back at the house, they warmed themselves in the kitchen and donned dry sweaters. Then they went upstairs to clean, and today they discussed sleeping arrangements for company. Together Shirley and Ina made up the guest bed. Light dusting was all that was necessary to ready the bedroom. Of course, the family wouldn’t arrive for some days yet, but Ina wanted to be ready – just in case.

Now that the doll was finished, Ina couldn’t decide how to dress her. One thing was certain – the doll had to have clothes. She should at least have a nightgown, but Ina wasn’t sure how to proceed. Some seamstresses could just make the cutest things without much effort, but Ina didn't know how to get started.

Of course, there were other things that needed doing -- decisions to be made, provisions to be purchased, gifts to be readied, cards to write, baking to do. Ina felt panic rising within her, but Shirley quickly reminded her that she was there to help. Together, they would get things done.

So, after lunch, Ina decided to devote the afternoon to writing Christmas cards. She remembered many friends with cards, and some cards would include a newsy letter. It was an enjoyable afternoon of writing, but by the time daylight was waning, Ina was ready to put away her box of writing supplies. KW


Hallie said...

I thought there was only one other grandchild besides you. Who is the boy?

Kathy said...

Ina and Jack had five grandchildren. The boy is Stanley Sanders, Pearl's son, born 1920. The baby is Shirley Jean, Ethel's daughter. In addition, their daughter Shirley had two girls, Roberta and Marilyn. I'm not sure of their birth dates -- something like '39 and '42. And then I was last.

Hallie said...

Oh, I guess I remember a cousin Stanley, but I don't remember anything about Roberta and Marilyn.

Kathy said...

When we lived on Broadview, Marilyn brought Aunt Shirley for a visit. They came to breakfast and brought Stanley with them. He walked with a cane -- badly crippled through osteomyelitis.

Both Stanley and Shirley Jean died in 1996. I attended Stanley's funeral with my half-sisters Harriet and Joni. Stanley was my full cousin through my dad (Aunt Pearl's son) and also my cousin once removed through my mother. He was Harriet and Joni's cousin once removed (our mother's cousin).

Someday you'll be old enough to understand all this.

Chris said...

Catching up. The old photos are wonderful. There's something about black and white photos that catch nuances that color photos just can't. It's like so much more of the person is revealed.

Kathy said...

Years ago I attended a talk given by a professional photographer who said he used only black and white film because of the nuances you mention. He said that he occasionally slipped color film into his camera to please his wife, but otherwise black and white was his film of choice.

And now, how long has it been since black and white was outmoded, at least for those of us who only dabble in photography? Images come and go. We don't give much thought to what will remain in the future.