Month: February 2012

A COLD Day in Minneapolis

On Monday, February 29, 1960, in Minneapolis, Dad wrote in his diary, “8° below to 15° above.  COLD.  Got the speedometer cable greased.”  He liked to record the high and low temperatures each day.  This was probably due to his early life as a farmer in Iowa – weather conditions are foremost in the minds of farmers.

Under the Knife

On Wednesday, February 28, 1951, I had surgery at Muscatine’s Hershey Hospital to have a checker-size tumor removed.  It was the size of a checker, but we found out later that it was not malignant.  That was a relief.

Muscatine High School Wins a Game

On Friday, February 27, 1953, Dale listened on the radio as the Muscatine high school basketball team beat Davenport, 55 to 52.  I went to the game and then to Fun Night downtown at the YWCA.  That was a teen dance held most Friday evenings, and this year was my sophomore year.

Cassius Clay – World Champion

On Tuesday, February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay (who would be Muhammad Ali later) became world heavyweight boxing champion by defeating Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.  Below: Cassius Clay.

Voice of America Begins

On Tuesday, February 24, 1942, radio’s “Voice of America” made its first broadcast in Europe.  It now provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio, TV, and the Internet outside of the U.S. in 44 languages.  The official website is  VOA radio and television broadcasts are distributed by satellite, cable, and on FM, AM, and shortwave radio frequencies. They are streamed on individual language service websites, social media sites and mobile platforms. VOA has more than 1,200 affiliate and contract agreements with radio and television stations and cable networks worldwide.

Looking for a Ski Jump

On Sunday, February 23, 1941, Dad and I drove around St. Paul, looking for a ski jump.  (The diary does not say whether or not we found any – I think we were just out for a ride.)

Making a Record

On February 22, 1955, the Muscatine High School Boys’ Quartet, under the direction of Max Collins, recorded some songs at Muscatine’s radio station, KWPC (“Keep Watching the Port City”).  I carried one of the records we made around the country whenever I moved, for many years.  Below are me (second tenor), Larry Misel (first tenor), John Evans (baritone), and Jerry Hufford (bass), with accompanist Judy Smith.

Jettie Ready to Move to Town

On this date in 1951, a Wednesday, Dale drove his mother Jettie from Muscatine to the Burlington train station for her return trip to Osceola.  She was ready to move into town from her farm house four miles east of Osceola on U.S. Highway 34, where her husband, Williams Gardner, had died a little over two months earlier.

First American to Orbit the Earth

Fifty years ago today (hard to believe, isn’t it?), John Glenn made three orbits around the earth.  Three months later, Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the earth.  Below, Glenn on the left, Carpenter on the right.


Executive Order 9066

On Thursday, February 19, 1942, two and a half months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing military commanders to designate military areas for relocation of Japanese Americans.  This forced 120,000 Japanese Americans into “relocation camps,” based on the fear that Japan was preparing a full-scale attack on the west coast and that some in the U.S. Japanese community might be spies for the Japanese government.

Dictionary Giggle

The first of several definitions from my cousin Margie –
ADULT: a person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

The Price of Eggs

On this date in 1919, a Wednesday, Jettie noted that they sold 1450 dozen eggs in 1918, ranging in price from 55¢ to 62¢ per dozen.  For some reason, the price of eggs in 1919 dropped to between 30¢ and 44¢ per dozen.

More Diaries

I received an email yesterday from my cousin Marie White, who said she has six more of our Grandma Jettie’s diaries, and she will send them to me.  I don’t know what years they are, but I will keep you posted as soon as I get them.  Then I will publish them here in whatever decades they belong to. – – Stan Gardner

Childhood Winters

It’s chilly outside this morning, and I remembered what winters were like in Muscatine, Iowa, when I was growing up.  Our house had a coal furnace in the basement, and my father would go down there every morning, shovel coal into the furnace and get the fire going.  Upstairs, my sister and I would stand shivering on the “hot air” registers while we got dressed for school.  The heat from the furnace rose through the house because warm air rises – there was no fan to blow the air.  Don’t we have it easy these days? — Stan Gardner

1940 Blizzard

On this date in 1940, a blizzard affected most of Iowa from February 8-10. Snow fell across most of the state from late on the 7th into the 9th with strong winds blowing and drifting the snow for several days afterward making travel nearly impossible. The highest reported storm total snowfall amounts included 6.5 inches at Fayette and Indianola, 8.2 inches at Storm Lake, and 9.5 inches at Algona.


On this date, February 7, in 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York’s Kennedy Airport — and “Beatlemania” arrives.  It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles, a British rock-and-roll quartet that had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit six days before with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
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