Month: December 2012

Dashing Through The Snow

In Muscatine on Sunday, December 31, 1950, Dale, Stanley, and Dalene went sledding.  Helen’s brother Harley, his wife Dot and son Keith arrived from Osceola to spend the evening with them.  Dale wrote, “Had fried chicken and watched TV all evening.” 

Happy New Year!


Dale And Jettie Go To Stillwell

In Muscatine on Tuesday, December 30, 1952, Dale wrote, “Mother and I drove to Stillwell for dinner and visit with Pearl Wood and her husband George Parrick.  Nice day.  Home by 6:30 p.m.  Turkey pie for supper and TV all evening.”  Stillwell, Illinois, was about 100 miles south of Muscatine (below).  I don’t know who Pearl Wood and George Parrick were, but likely friends or relatives of Jettie’s.

Sleigh Ride Gone Awry

From Jettie’s diary: On Sunday, December 29, 1918, Williams hitched the team, Bob and Bet, up to the sled to go to Miller’s for dinner.  Williams tied one horse to a hayrack.  When he came to the house to get ready, Bet turned Bob and the sled around, upset the hayrack and broke it and broke the tongue of the sled, and broke the bridle all to pieces.

Lions Beat Browns

On Sunday, December 28, 1952, leaving Osceola with Dalene after the weekend, Dale wrote, “Brought Mother home to Muscatine with us.  Took 3½ hours.  Bright day.  Helen had meat loaf dinner.  Watched Detroit Lions beat Cleveland Browns on TV.  Good programs on TV.”  That was the 1952 NFL Championship game, with the great Otto Graham quarterbacking the Browns – but they lost, 17 to 7.

Holiday Football Game

In Osceola from Muscatine for the weekend on Saturday, December 27, 1952, Dale wrote, “Dalene and I drove out to Louie’s for dinner.  I drove his Dodge.  Watched football in the afternoon on Marie’s TV.  Had supper there.  Went to George and Wilma’s after supper.”  Louie was Helen’s brother, Marie was Dale’s sister, and Wilma was Helen’s sister.  If that football game was the Blue-Gray Football Classic, Gray won 28 to 7.  If it was the East-West Shrine game, East won 21 to 20.

Surprise Visit To Osceola

In Osceola on Friday, December 26, 1952, Dale wrote, “Holiday.  Dalene and I drove from Muscatine to Osceola.  The Mercury stopped in Oskaloosa.  Wired up wrong.  Had to be towed to a Ford garage.  Cost $5.74 to fix.  Mother was surprised to see us.  To Lloyd’s at night for ice cream.”  Lloyd was Dale’s brother.

Merry Christmas!

On Monday, December 25, 1950, in Osceola after his father’s funeral, Dale wrote, “We went to Lloyd’s in morning, Mother and Marie, too, for dinner.  We went out to Ruth and Louie’s to borrow 2 sleds.  Louie and Ruth here for supper.”  Lloyd and Marie were Dale’s brother and sister; Louie was Helen’s brother.  This was not a happy Christmas.  However, the following video should offer cheer for everyone:

Moving In With Friends

In Washington, DC, on Wednesday, December 23, 1936, Dale wrote, “Jim and Corinne bought a house and took us to look at it.  We’re going to live there, too: 8 Moore Avenue, Hyattsville, Maryland.”  Jim and Corinne were friends.

Special Basketball Team

In Muscatine on Wednesday, December 22, 1954, Dale and Dalene went to the high school gymnasium to watch the Harlem Magicians play basketball.  Dale described it as “Punk” in his diary.  The team was formed by former Harlem Globetrotters star and Hall of Famer Marques Haynes in 1953.  Goose Tatum was also on the team.  Below: one of their vintage posters.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like . . .

In Minneapolis on Wednesday, December 21, 1955, Dale wrote, “Family went shopping in the afternoon.  We decorated the tree.  Stan and a girl friend from Robbinsdale went shopping downtown at night in our car.”  That was a girl friend, not a girlfriend.

Oh, Christmas Tree

In Minneapolis on Tuesday, December 20, 1955, Dale bought a Christmas tree after work and put it up in the living room for decorating.  This was a photo of our living room at Christmas:

A Big Ten University

In Minneapolis on Monday, December 19, 1955, Dale wrote, “Stan came home from Muscatine for Christmas.  He and Helen went to the University of Minnesota to register for Winter Quarter.”  Below: Coffman Memorial Union on the main campus.

Working At Kord’s

In Muscatine on Friday, December 18, 1953, Dale wrote, “Dalene and I went Christmas shopping in the evening.  Stan worked at Kord’s and then went to Fun Night.”  I had an after-school seasonal job at Kord’s drug store that year, in the heart of downtown (below).  Fun Night was a teen dance at the YWCA.

Making Final Arrangements

In Osceola from Muscatine on Sunday, December 17, 1950, for his father Williams Gardner’s funeral, Dale with brother Lloyd, sister Marie, and mother Jettie made funeral arrangements and bought cemetery lots side by side.  The burial took place two days later.  Below: the headstone on Dale and Helen’s cemetery lot, which closely resembles Williams and Jettie’s.

A Sad Day

On Saturday, December 16, 1950, my grandfather Williams McBain Gardner (below) died in Osceola, Iowa.  Dale’s sister Marie called us in Muscatine and Dale drove his family to Osceola that day.

Steve Allen Show

In Minneapolis on Sunday, December 15, 1957, Dale wrote, “Stan went to sing at church.  Dalene went to a girl friend’s to wrap Christmas presents.  Stan brought a girl friend here to watch Steve Allen.”  In 1957, The Steve Allen Show was on NBC Sunday nights opposite The Ed Sullivan Show.  It launched the careers of cast members Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington Jr., and Bill Dana, and I used to watch it for the corny humor.  Follow this link for a sample:

Dale Drives In A Blizzard

In Muscatine on Friday, December 14, 1951, Dale wrote, “Blizzard most all day and near zero weather.”  He had to drive to the West Liberty train station to pick up a co-worker and didn’t get home until 3:00 a.m. Saturday, as the train was late due to the storm.  From West Liberty to Muscatine is 19 miles:

On The Road Again

In Osceola on Thursday, December 13, 1962, on his way with Helen from Minneapolis to California, Dale wrote, “At Mother’s.  George and Wilma, Ruth and Louie, Lloyd, and Marie Kimmel came to see us.  Left at 11 a.m., drove via Kansas Turnpike to Pratt, Kansas, 450 miles, by 9:30.  Beautiful day, 47° in Kansas City, warm and a nice motel in Pratt (El Rancho).”  That was about midway between Wichita and Dodge City, as in the route below.  George Casey’s wife Wilma was Helen’s sister, Ruth Schaffer was married to Helen’s brother Louie, Lloyd and Marie were Dale’s siblings.

Singing Handel’s ‘Messiah’

On Sunday, December 12, 1954, the Muscatine High School chorus, 116 voices under the direction  of Max Collins, and four guest soloists (Mrs. Evelyn Sanders Vaneck, soprano; Miss Corinne Hamilton, contralto; Stephen Hobson, tenor; and Harry Morrison, bass) sang with organ accompaniment by Charles Shook and piano accompaniment by Judy Smith.  Max Collins is on the far left in the top photo below, and Judy Smith is on the far right in the lower photo below; I’m second from the left in the back row.


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