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September 2000

My Five Year Diary

This is a bit of personal indulgence and may be boring to everyone but myself. Who, after all, in interested in the thoughts of twelve year old farm boys.

I received a five year diary as a Christmas present on the Christmas of 1947 when I was 12 1/2 years old. The diary had room for four short lines of text which accounts for the terseness of the entries. I started making entries January 1, 1948 and kept it up until February 7. Evidently I was not a diary person at 12. I thought it would be interesting to preserve the contents.

A few notes of explanation:

Morris – my father.
June – my mother.
Doris – my eldest sister, turned 10 in January (Changed her name to Lynn as an adult)
Nancy – my middle sister, a terrible two.
Francis – my father’s sister.
Hugh – her husband.

Lee Blaisdale, Carol & Roger Wurtz, Shirley & Sharon Parker, and Doris & I all attended North Eagle country school, a one room country school 3 1/2 miles from the ranch. “Town” was the City of Highmore (in SD all hamlets are called cities – Highmore had a population of 1100) and was 11 1/2 miles distant.

The operation referred to was to have my appendix out.

January 1, 1948
Hugh and Francis came over. We had roast chicken
at dinner.

Januaary 2, 1948
We went to town for the first time. I made major
logarithmic calculations.

January 3, 1948
I went sliding on the sled for the first time since
my operation.

January 4, 1948
We went down to Faulsticks.

January 5, 1948
I went to school today.

January 6,
The wind was cold. We played cops and robbers again.

January 7, 1948
Today was warm. I played I was an Indian. Other same
as yesterday.

January 8, 1948
Today was Dorises birthday. Carol came home. We had tests.

January 9, 1948
More tests. Started out foggy, ended up sunny, took my
telescope to school.

January 10, 1948
We went to town today. Saw a very good show.
Doris Snobbish Very Much On Way Home.

January 11, 1948
School tomorrow. Almost couldn’t find my arithmetic
book. Morris made us walk in the cold.

January 12, 1948
Warm today.

January 13, 1948
School today. Was colder. We stayed indoors.

January 14, 1948
Blowed today, calm at first. Finished Night Life of
the Gods.

January 15, 1948
The stove smoked very badly.

January 16, 1948
A blizzard kept us from school. We played monopoly
and cards.

January 17, 1948
We went to town.

January 18, 1948
Today was a blizzard [blitzard] P.U.

January 19, 1948
Stove made a smoke screen. We went up to Blaisdales
– played pool.

January 20, 1948
Blowed again. Didn’t go to school.

January 21, 1948
Blowed again but we got to school, just Lee, Teacher,
Doris, and I. We walked 1/2 mile.

January 22, 1948
We didn’t go to school, played monopoly. Doris broke
everything. Makin plans for a new house.

January 23, 1948
Didn’t go to school, weather still blowing. I won
the monopoly game. Doris and I played cards.

January 24, 1948
Started reading “National Velvet”. Listened to Kay
Kaiser. Played no monopoly. Morris went to town.

January 25, 1948
Finished “National Velvet” this morning – school
tomorrow. Listened to Blondie & Dagwood, Sam Spade…

January 26, 1948
Planned to go to school today but didn’t – Doris won
the monopoly.

January 27, 1948
Got the mail: a reader’s digest, two papers and

January 28, 1948
Morris sawed more wood: Local Geogr : 3,4 foot
drifts, hilly land. Morris won the monopoly.

January 29, 1948
Went to town today – saw aunt? Alice – had 3
hours sleep – went to school today, not yesterday |
yesterday happened today

January 30, 1948
29 has today’s happenings.

January 31, 1948
All straightened out and up. Alice came out for
a bit. I won the monop.

February 1, 1948
They drove cattle when June went to town to get
Morris & Doris – I was lonely.

February 2, 1948
School today – went on sled – was cold – Lee,
Teacher, Shirley, Sharon, Carol, Roger and I
were there.

February 3, 1948
We didn’t go to school – I won the monopoly –
nothing else.

February 4, 1948
Went to town for hair cut – Jan 29 returned
College Algebra & Trigonometry (plane) –
Morris won monop. Where Nancy bit me hurts.

February 5, 1948
Morris won Monopoly by $1003. We didn’t go to
school. Area right below ribs hurts.

February 6, 1948
Francis went to town – got mail. Don’t know
who won the monop, we just quit. Road almost
out all over since Feb 4 snow.

February 7, 1948
Doris & Morris went to town – took back to the
Library Good Field No Hit and got Rocket Ship


Social life in rural SD in the winter time was extremely limited. The roads were frequently closed. A rural family was very much thrown on its own resources for entertainment which accounts, I suppose, the importance attached to monopoly.

It’s hard to imagine what I made of “The Night Life of the Gods” since I was quite innocent at the time. I don’t remember reading “National Velvet” at all.

In retrospect I wonder what the “Major Logarithmic Calculations” might have been. I was somewhat of a mathematical prodigy; the resources available to a 12 year old farm boy were limited, however. The College Algebra and Trigonometry texts exhausted the local library’s mathematical resources.

For many years I knew of the diary but didn’t know that it still existed. Memory plays tricks. I had constructed a myth in my mind about almost every entry saying “It blizzarded today. We played monopoly. Doris was a brat.” Evidently my less than faithful memory did her an injustice. Her bad behaviour was only once worthy of comment.

Having roast chicken was notable; cheap chicken is a development of the later twentieth century.

The smoking stove was probably the school stove, a coal burning stove in the class room. The school building had an entry hall, a coal bin, and the class room.

This page was last updated September 15, 2000.

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September 2000