The first years after our marriage in 1948, it worked out just fine to have only one car because we both worked for Andress Motors Company. But the summer of 1951, a new factor came into being. We were expecting a baby in March of 1952. I worked until November of 1951 before going home to await the birth of our first child. We had agreed that I would not go back to work but would be a full time “stay at home” momma.
It was so hard after 11 years keeping books there at Andress to just go home and be idle. My mother lived with us and she had always done the cooking and continued to cook. I felt like I was encroaching on her territory even though it was MY kitchen. I would watch the calendar and think of the “Ten Day Report” that I had compiled, or I would look at the calendar and think that I must get the financial statement out, preferably before the 6th of the month. I would remember the sales tax report that must be paid by the 21st of each month, and the daily report for Mr. Andress.
The only way that I had transportation to get anywhere was to take J. C. to work and go back for him at lunch, and some days take him back after lunch and pick him up when his work day was over. That was hard because I was getting cumbersome as the time approached for the baby’s birth.
Preparations for the baby took a lot of time, getting the bassinet ready, the baby bed, the layette, and after my big shower writing all those thank-you notes, but still I felt shut off from the office that I had worked in since I was 17(I would be 29 that summer of 1952.)
There were several months after the baby’s arrival that I was too busy to really need the car. I had so much to do for her as well as canning and putting up jelly. Back then I did not just put up the juice in the freezer and make fresh jelly all throughout the winter as I do now. I made up all the jelly for a year at one time, put it in jars and stored it. And it was time to put up vegetables for the freezer.
Soon I realized that we desperately needed a second car. However our income was cut in half when I went home, and we were still paying a note on the new Ford we had bought the month before we found out about the baby being on the way. I would roll the stroller around our yard with Suzanne and wish that I could go to town, to the store, to the library, to church and to so many things. But it was too hard to take J. C. back and forth to work with the baby.
And then we made one of the best purchase we ever made. Harry Miller had a fishing car. It was several shades of blue-green, so faded, and discolored. It was a 1940 Ford Fordor. Even though it was “ugly as homemade sin” it ran really well as Harry had kept it up. He was buying a pickup truck for himself and wanted to sell the old jalopy. He only asked $100 for the old car, and the car was ours. That was about the best thing we could have done because J. C. took that car to work, and when he had to go back and let someone have parts at night or on the weekend, he used the old Ford. He just went out of the goodness of his heart because we were not furnished transportation for him to go back for customers in the night, nor was he given extra money for the time spent. But now we were a two car family!!!! It was just an old car, thirteen years old, but it was the greatest luxury for us, and we were so grateful to Harry Miller for selling it to us so cheaply.
In later years when it was Bolen-Speede Ford, Mr. Speede furnished J. C. a new pickup truck to drive home and to use to sell parts after hours when the dealership was closed. And he furnished me a new car each year and even paid the insurance on it. Mr. J. C. Johnson who bought out the dealership, also furnished J. C. a pickup truck to drive and we were able to sell the old Ford. It had served its purpose well, and brought me many hours of happiness as I could take Suzanne and John to town, to Sunbeams, and later to the little choirs and piano lessons. If I had to go to the grocery store, I could.
When Suzanne was two and out of diapers, I had the opportunity to buy a dryer that had been a demonstrator. That was the next best purchase we ever made. It had been so hard to go down the high back steps and hang clothes on the clothes line. In wet winter weather we put a rack over the floor furnace to get diapers dry. Now I could wash at any time of the day or night and in any kind of weather and dry my clothes. A few years later when our son was born I really utilized that dryer as I could wash diapers easily and dry them. (That was before the paper diapers that the young mothers use today. They do not know how wonderful that is to not have to wash dozens of diapers each day, dry and fold them.)
I think the used dryer cost $167.00, and coupled with the $100 second car I know that those were the best purchases we ever made.
Later, when my mother became bedridden, and I often had to wash seven sets of bed linens each day for her bed, and almost forty diapers for her each day, I thanked God over and again for being able to wash and dry clothes and bed linens at any hour of the day or night during her nineteen years of illness, seven of which was in a hospital bed here in our home. Being able to keep her clean and dry prevented bed sores. In all those nineteen years she never got a bed sore.
I have written of the gifts my brother-in-law gave his wife – a huge diamond princess ring with three half carat diamonds, and a mink cape (not a stole but a cape), but I know that my dryer and our old Ford brought me so much happiness that I wouldn’t swap my used dryer or my 1940 Ford for either of her gifts. I wouldn’t change those memories for anything.
Sometimes when you think the world is not going just like you would like it to go, stop and think back at the goodness of God, of the blessings that you have received, and remember with me the simple things that others might take for granted but they meant so much to me. God does supply all your needs, maybe not all the things you might want, but your needs. He has supplied mine, over and abundantly. I recently read a book by Muriel Jenson about a girl named Mariah Mercer who made hand painted plaques to sell. Her favorite verse on one of her plaques read “LIVE WELL, LAUGH OFTEN, LOVE MUCH.’ And I would add “THANK GOD.” Try it, it works!!!!!!!!!!
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.