Many Happy Returns (Gladys)

Apparently Gladys wrote a second letter on December 2nd. It escaped my notice until last night. Luckily we are not too far ahead, only a day or two. Included in this letter was another letter. Roscoe had privileges at the Iroquois Hospital in Watseka, Illinois as well as St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lafayette. Kentland is situated about halfway between the two. Dr. Joseph Roberts, who is often mentioned in the letters, was a doctor at Iroquois Hospital. Conveniently the hospital letterhead lists all the doctors who were part of the medical staff in 1942. Mr. Knisely was writing Roscoe to wish him a happy birthday on November 25th.

Letter from Merton E. Knisely, Director of Iroquois Hospital

Letter from Merton E. Knisely, Director of Iroquois Hospital

November 25, 1942
Dr. Roscoe S. Yegerlehner
Kentland, Indiana

Dear Dr. Yegerlehner:

Many happy returns!

Likely you’ve been so busy in the service of others that this important anniversary almost slipped by un– noticed.

In spite of the concern of war times, I hope this past milestone has brought you joys and satisfactions of accomplishment. What an opportunity there is today for service to our fellowmen.

May your life be abundantly enriched and your efforts blessed with success as a new year opens before you. Be assured of my hearty best wishes.

I want to remind you that I think your Birthday Anniversary is well worth celebrating. Many more of them to you.

Sincerely yours,
Merton E. Knisely

Letter transcription:

Kentland Ind
Dec. 2 – 1942

Dear Daddy –

Mennen’s Baby Oil advertisement, circa 1947

While waiting for David to get ready for his 2 P.M. bottle will try to write. It is hard for me to concentrate when he is awake – for although he is good while awake I am continually doing something for him – mainly keeping his pants changed. I wrote you before about his diapers having such a strong ammonia odor and I keep him changed as often as necessary while he is awake. Dr. Cole’s pamphlet prescribed rinsing the diapers in boric acid solution after the regular wash but that is difficult for me to do with our washing facilities. Today I used Borax with the soap and will see if that will do the trick. I got a hamper to put in the “powder room” as that is the most convient [convenient] place downstairs but the hamper is willow so won’t hold water. I got a metal waste basket that set down inside the hamper and am going to put a fresh solution of Borax in the can each day to drop the diapers in as they are removed. I have used Mennen’s oil on David more than water and as strong as his urine has been, believe that has kept him from getting sore. In my letter I

[page 2] finished this morning I mentioned his “rattle.” It sounds like his nose is full of mucos but it isn’t because I keep all visible mucos cleaned out and he has no trouble breathing. I tried again this morning to give him orange juice. He took about half of the daily requirement. I think I’ll see Dr. M. and ask him about the Vit C. tablets. I wonder if some of the oranges we get have adequate Vit C to meet the need. – The pause that refreshes the baby – the 2 P.M. bottle. He has been fed, changed and is now lying on the bath table taking his daily dozen. You mentioned his night feedings. Well, I had one thermos to sour and went back to using the bottle warmer – but I now put the bottles in a wall drawer – and you can believe they stay cold. Dr. C. said to quit giving him the 2 A.M. bottle but he wakes up so hungry and I don’t believe he would go back to sleep with just a drink of warm water and thinking back, we gave Mark his 2 A.M. bottle until he was about 3 mo old so I will keep giving David his until he quits on his own.

Mark has been so elated over his 10⁰⁰ he can’t wait to do his shopping. He got me a cake saver for 1.19 and gave it to me. He wanted to get David something for Christmas right now so I told him to go ahead and get it since he is enjoying his spree so much. He stopped at the drug store at noon and got a Panda. He was wondering what to get for John and I suggested war stamps and that met his approval so he will soon be thru shopping. He saw a globe in the drug store and wanted to get it so I consented. I told him he had to put 5⁰⁰ in stamps and now he has less than a dollar

[page 3] to spend. John still has most of his. He isn’t in such a hurry to spend it as Mark. However he wants to buy some good records and since those are something he will keep I think it will be a good way for him to spend his.

While feeding David I re read your 4 letters rec’d today to see if there was anything to be answered specifically. Just mention the pictures again. Hope you get all we sent because some are better than others. We keep your picture you sent on the desk. I had two enlargements made and sent one to your Mother. I showed that picture to several people around town and most everyone said you looked heavier – Now be careful of that waist-line – As I told you in a previous letter Boonie just mad a guess when he mailed the box to you. Before you sent your present address when asked where you were I told everyone about the same thing – your destination was a secret. Several different ones around town guessed the location, but it was pure guessing. I am glad you got my letter giving Joe’s address. I think I understand his mail being stamped N.Y. because the money orders you sent to John & Mark had CUB – bu- 13 N.Y. on them. I wonder if you have heard from Henry Reinhart Jr. I wrote to him in answer to his inquiry about you and gave your “White Poppy” address.

The boys are going to Jr. choir practice directly after school so won’t be home till later. It is so cold I won’t try to take David out. When this cold I don’t think he needs the fresh air as much as to stay in and keep warm. He is always warm when out in the buggy, but I am afraid it would be too cold for his face and I know I couldn’t keep warm the way the wind blows. I can’t give you a financial report in this letter because I haven’t been able to get the Bank statement and couldn’t get my money all deposited. Will send it by Mark in the morning.

[page 4] The boys came home early – due to the wind blowing snow into drifts the school busses had to leave earlier than usual so the boys were home by 3:30. Mark wanted a cake to put in the cake saver so John made a cake. I was busy otherwise so he did it mostly by himself. Mrs. Roberts said she had talked about what good boys we have to help and someone from Watseka was driving around Kentland and saw the boys taking diapers off the line and decided this was our home. Since I have been feeling normal again they don’t have to do so much but help me when I need them.

I sent Mrs. Plummer an African violet for their wedding anniversary and she called me to thank us. She said to give you their regards. I told her when this weather lets up I would bring her over to spend the day. It is too cold do anything now but stay home. Tho the house is warm I feel the cold. My hands are so dry, but that is partly due to having them in water so much. I mentioned your laundry – meaning what came from Norfolk and some said “Does he send his laundry home?” – Now isn’t that good for a laugh – However, wish you could – so I could iron your shirts but don’t know when I would find time as it crowds me to keep what little ironing I have done. Don’t have any ironing for David. He wears knit suits and they require only washing and of course these gauze diapers need only to be folded when dry.

Had a letter from Ruthie today. They were in North Judson when she wrote but thought they would be back in Flora by the week-end. She wanted your new address so she can write to you. They won’t know until the first of the year whether Floyd will have to go into Service. I have filled a lot of paper but still don’t feel like I have done a very good job writing. Not very newsy – mostly talky-talk. If the Enterprize comes tomorrow maybe will have some news.

Love Mother

P.S. Thanks for the newspaper

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney

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5 thoughts on “Many Happy Returns (Gladys)

  1. davidmadison1942

    LOL: “most everyone said you looked heavier – Now be careful of that waist-line –” My dad was always very careful about that, and never developed a pot belly

    LOL: “Mark wanted a cake to put in the cake saver so John made a cake.”

    How 1940s! “…was driving around Kentland and saw the boys taking diapers off the line and decided this was our home” !!

    ““Does he send his laundry home?” – Now isn’t that good for a laugh…” But I remember that Mark sent his laundry home from college….a lot closer, of course, than the South Pacific!

    “Boonie just mad a guess” should read “made”

  2. Mustang.Koji

    Her mentioning about “Borax” reminded me of mom using it to remove the odor from (ahem – wetting) the bed! I also used it when I still had the top load washer… but what did she mean by “one Thermos to sour”?

    And the days when diapers were washed and reused!

    1. Genealogy Lady Post author

      While she was giving David his 2A.M. feedings she would prepare the formula before she went to bed and put it in a thermos. That way she wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go downstairs to fix a bottle.

  3. Cynthia Knochel-Gonzales

    Wow, going back into history–that’s something! Words from my husband whose mom grew up in Watseka, yet moved away– his mom’s side of the family remained there. He returned every summer to spend with family and eventually his parents moved back. So, as we were able to magnify the Birthday Anniversary letter from Irq Hosp, my husband pointed out the people he knew along the list of names. Who his Grandmother went to, who gave him shots, those whose sons would followed in the MD footsteps and I would come to know. Those who sons he would eventually work with in the medical field.
    Incidentally, Lafayette was 2-3 times as far away…an hour or more by time, whereas Watseka is 15-20 minutes. My sister, and one brother, and I were born in the Irq Hosp.
    In conversation with my father recently, and discussing several bits from your grandparent’s letters, I was informed that his youngest brother Wayne Knochel spent many hours in Doc and Gladys’ home chumming with (my father feels) your Uncle Mark…. Wayne spent most of his life there actually, and later became a Doctor himself, being influenced by your Grandfather. Your Grandfather mentored my Uncle, with the influence of his bedside care well instilled– that the caring spirit Wayne practiced remains long after he retired. Wayne as well became a mentor to younger doctors, one of which is my father’s doctor today. Those in the Lafayette area do not remember your Grandfather, but his personal caring legacy was shouldered on through my Uncle, whose name remains on lips of medical personnel to this day.

    1. Genealogy Lady Post author

      Hello Cynthia,
      Thank you so much for the wonderful commentary on my grandfather. I think the best legacy as a teacher is to inspire others. I am trying to collect as many memories of my grandparents. Eventually I might write a book so having memories to flesh out their story is wonderful.
      And thanks for the update on the difference between Lafayette and Watseka.


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