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I’m so excited!! Progress on German Handwriting

Over a year ago I wistfully blogged about the demise of handwriting in schools ( German Handwriting).  In it I made a plea for someone out there to transcribe the pages in Mom’s cookbook that were in her handwriting.

I googled “German Handwriting” around the first week of November 2012 and came across the website of “Sutterlin Stube Hamburg eV”. which appears, of course, in German.  Using the on-line translator, it showed the following information:

The Sutterlin Institute was founded in 1996 as a local working group for the transfer of old documents from German into Latin script by residents of the Old Centre Ansgar in Hamburg’s Long Horn. In subsequent years (there was) worldwide expansion of this volunteer activity. On 6 May 2009, the club  Sütterlinstube Hamburg e.V (was) founded as a nonprofit association. Members come from the city of Hamburg and surrounding areas.

The second paragraph:

Does your family have old handwritten documents, family documents or seals in loving grandmothers autograph book? And you can not read these family treasures? Maybe we can help you! …

Wow!  I didn’t waste any time sending my scanned pages and had a reply in a very short time.  The results came to me by email in the German language, but with the use of both Microsoft and Google translator, I am now making some sense of the writing.  I will be posting the results in the near future.

Stories are handed down in most families, and undoubtedly get warped over time.  I really warped this one about the cookbook!  Somehow, my story was that this cookbook (undoubtedly!) was a gift of Mom’s brother, Aloys, who was by trade a baker.  Uncle Aloys died in WWII.  Mom had said at some point that Aloys made a delicious “Butter Kuchen”.  So, my story goes that Aloys had given Mom the cookbook as a wedding gift with his prized “Kuchen” recipe among the beautifully handwritten pages.  This made sense to me because a number of the recipes had “Kuchen” in the title. Now, isn’t that just a lovely story?  But was it true?……

My sister Eleanor said “I don’t think so!  I think these are recipes that Mom wrote down, herself.  Remember, she worked in Holland for a doctor’s family and I think those recipes came from that time.”  Hmmmmmm…..I checked the family tree again.  When Mom and Dad married in 1929, Aloys would have been only about eleven years old!  Well, my story began to unravel!

Ellie’s story proved a lot more substantial than mine when Google identified some of the terms in the writings as “Dutch”!  Alas, I am inclined to believe that the writing in the cookbook was, indeed, my Mom’s. The handwriting looks to be done very carefully on the menus and recipes that were in black ink.  The handwriting on two pages in blue ink do not appear as carefully done, but I think they are also Mom’s and probably were added when she was a busy housewife and mother.

I think it’s ironic that my noticing an article about the demise of handwriting coincides with the mission of this group of German people.  I am really enchanted with their objectives and am posting them as revealed to me in the online translator:

Our statutory objectives

  1. Activation of the ability to read the Romanised and write. To do this the Club offers its own courses and action by individual members in the context of other educational institutions.

  2. Assistance in the transfer of historical documents from the German in the Latin script as a contribution to a meaningful life in retirement, for an understanding between the generations and (in some cases) to preserve world’s German heritage from oblivion and make it available to the wider research.

  3. Accompanying historical research that make a “history from below”, i.e. the history of the often forgotten culture of single people in the German-speaking world.

  4. On the basis of the transmitted texts (possibly in collaboration with other cultural), organization of exhibitions, readings and publication of written communications.

  5. Assistance in the establishment of similar institutions in other regions.

  6. Support for the publishing of publications and plays that have arisen from the transcriptions of the Sütterlinstube and still emerge.

  7. Promotion and cooperation with institutions which have similar or the same objectives.

  8. Support for projects of stationary care for elderly in non-profit organizations in connection with the purposes of 1-6.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me.  I am benefiting because my pages are finally transcribed; the people doing it are keeping their brains active and doing something they feel is useful.  Big smile here!




Roll Call Answers

Something that played a big part in Mom’s life was Sunflower club.  Here she was welcomed as another Kansas farm wife for the main purpose of just being social and good neighbors.  The club met monthly in one of the ladies’ home, and as hostess she was likely going to serve a light lunch at the end of the meeting consisting of delicate sandwiches, coffee or punch, a dessert and nut cups all on a glass hostess serving tray with cup.  

The meeting was called to order by the president and roll call was conducted by the secretary.  During the announcements at the end of the business meeting the hostess for next month would suggest the roll call question at her house. This was something you might think about during the month so that you could have something really “good” to answer when you name was called.  Where did those ideas come from?  Mom clipped one of Hope Needham’s columns to help come up with ideas when it came her turn.

Ideas for Roll Call Answers

Dear Hope:  Some one asked for roll call ideas.  Here are some:

• What frightens you most?
• The biggest thrill in your life.
• Who has the last word at your house.
• Recipe for ill temper.
• Strange but true.
• A discourtesy often seen in public places.
• Verse from an old valentine.
• Give a new decorating hint.
• Describe your wedding dress.
•A home courtesy.
• A lesson my mother taught me.
• What I can see from my kitchen window.
• My first day of housekeeping.
• How to remember my neighbor,
• My first day at school experience.
•The town I like to shop in and why.
•My most embarrassing moment.
• A person I have I have always admired.
• What I do when I do what I please.

— Mrs. James L Damery, Illinois.

Aren’t these just great conversation starters anyway?  I would love to hear answers to any of these questions.


Health Hints

When I was just a kid, Mom’s reading and utilizing home remedies for ailments seemed like “quackery” to me.  It’s amazing how my perspective changed now that I am “that age” myself.  I find myself attracted to natural ways to overcome flaws in my body or in my general health.  Now I completely understand Mom clipping something like this and wanting to save it.  I find Rose of Missouri’s cure for insomnia pretty incredible.  I can’t imagine that Mom actually ever used this remedy, unless of course, she was mad at Dad or us kids and wanted us to stay away!

Sends Helpful Hints

Dear Hope and Friends:  Howdy to all the friendly folks.  I like the Household just as it is–it’s very seldom I don’t find something to clip and save.

To those who ask for relief from gall bladder trouble, try filling a tall glass one-third full of pure unsweetened purple grape juice, then fill the glass up with sweet milk, and drink this about an hour before breakfast.  No sugar!  This has helped many, and if it doesn’t help, it sure won’t hurt, so it’s worth a try.

For those that have trouble sleeping:  In the morning slices or shave onions real thin, and in a pint jar put a layer of onion and a layer of sugar until jar is full, with sugar on top.  Put lid on and leave at room temperature till bedtime.  Use plenty of sugar to make a good syrup and you won’t mind the taste.  Take four good bites of onion and four or five good swallows of the syrup, than a good drink of water, and go to bed.l  You’ll get a good night’s sleep.  I’ve used this for years and it never fails.

A tall glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice daily will relieve sinus trouble and in many cases effect a real cure if kept up.  Drink it 45 minutes or an hour before breakfast.

Honey is one of the best remedies for colitis, also helps indigestion.  Just eat it by the spoonfuls or any other way.

Try the unsweetened grapefruit juice over a long enough period of time to make sure whether it would not help.  Vitamin C combats infection, and the unsweetened juice contains many other valuable minerals and vitamins.l  Be sure to keep covered tightly in refrigerator. –Rose of Missouri


Gift Verses

I think I would file this clipping under “How To Be Nice”.  I think Mom thought these might be nice to do some time, or maybe might be nice to share them with the women at Sunflower Club.  I can’t imagine Mom  actually writing a note like this with a gift because her handwriting was German Script, very much like the blog posts I’ve had of recipes written in German Handwriting.  Not many Americans could probably read it.  The clip ends with some hints on crafty projects.  This clipping is also neat because we have a picture of our friend Hope Needham.

Gift Verses

Dear Hope:  In my scrapbook I came across some old clippings giving verses for gifts.  I think a message like these written on gift-enclosure cards are a little more heart-warming than commercial cards.  Maybe some of you would like to add these verses to the ones that have been printed lately. — Mollie K. from Wisconsin

Verse With Pair Pillow Cases

When night time comes and you go to bed,
On these pillow slips lay your weary head.
May dreamless sleep then come to you
And morning find you good as new.

With a Handkerchief

Perchance if you should have a cold.
Oh, do not use your sleeves!
For her’s a hankie right at hand
In case you cough or sneeze.

With a Lunch Cloth

As you lay your table for lunch,
Please use this cloth of cheer,
And think of me as a loyal friend
To whom you’re very dear.

With Plant or Flowers

Like a plant from the tropics
With its brilliant hue
The gay flower comes from me to you.
It carries a message of changeless worth
That Christ was sent to all the earth.
To him there is no east no west
But all are loved and all are blest.

With Socks, Hose or Bedroom Slippers

My gift is very sensible
When taken as a whole,
For though it’s small it”s big enough
To cover up your sole.

With Any Gift

A wee little gift I am sending today
Just to show my intentions are good.
I can’t send much, I’m sorry to say,
But I’d send you the world if I could.

For Mother

A gift for my mother
To whom all love is due,
May the world be glad this Christmas Day
And the gladdest in it, you.

Then here are some ideas and suggestions.  Press cellophane smooth and use instead of glass in picture frames for children’s rooms.

Make toys from oilcloth, binding edges together with bias tape and stuffed with scraps of material cut fine.

To about four cups of scraps cut fine, take one cup of flour and water enough to make a smooth paste.  Put scraps into vessel and mix in the paste and mix together well.  Use a knife to spread this mixture on jars, boxes, etc.  Set in sun to dry.  Then give a coat of shellac. –Lillian, Oklahoma.

I found an additional clipping for verses which was in response to the request for gift verses.

Dear Hope:  “Happy Go Lucky of Illinois” wanted verses for gifts.  I clipped these from this column many years ago.  Maybe they are what she wanted.  They were sent in under the pen name of Dorothy Dix.


I hope this piece
Of cambric sheer
Will ne’er be used
To wipe a tear.


Of course you know than an apron
Is often a friend indeed,
So I’m hoping that this one may help you
Sometime in an hour of need.

Any Small Gift

This gift is very tiny
But it is enough to hold
The many Christmas wishes
Held in every fold.


The cheery little blotters
Their very best will do
To beat the cheery wishes
That now are wished for you.

Hey, what is a blotter, you may ask?  Ink Blotters were  made from soft paper which was highly absorbent. When Mom bought tablets for writing paper, the first page of it usually had an ink blotter which was a soft kind of paper, highly absorbent.  If writing with a fountain pen that was rather drippy, you might use it to absorb little droplets from the pen.  You might also use the blotter to  “blot” the sheet you just wrote with the fountain pen so it wouldn’t smear.  Ours didn’t get used that much.  It felt something like thick construction paper.  In fine stationery stores you could buy fancier blotter cards which I’m sure is what this little verse is referring to.  

Any Gift

Maybe you’ll like it, and maybe you won’t,
I’ll tell you what you can do if you don’t.
Just wrap it up pretty and put it away
And give to somebody next Christmas Day.

Sleeve Protectors

This pair of sleeve protectors
Is just the thing for you
To keep your cuffs and sleeves from dirt
In car and cellar too.

With Gift Candles

The pioneers many a candle made
Of the old time tallow kind,
And still we like their soft dim light
For the sake of Auld Lang Syne.
May the light of Christmas fill your heart
With rays of Peace Divine
Bet wishes and just heaps of love
Go from my heart to thine.

With a Cake

Made of sugar and eggs and spice
And full of everything else that’s nice,
Sent at this season of snow and ice,
With Christmas cheer in every slice.

With a Nut Bread

If bread upon the waters cast
Some day return to you,
‘Twould run a bakery for ten years
Before you’d get what’s due.

With a Gift of Nuts

Affairs of state confront the great
With many a nutty problem.
But these nutty ones are easily creaked
And I hope that you’ll enjoy them.

With Stuffed Dates

There are dates that make us happy,
There are dates that make us blue,
There are dates that steal away the sunshine
From the days bright golden hue,
There are dates that have a joyful meaning
The heart of love alone can see,
But the dates of which I’m speaking
Are the dates to you from me.

With Home Made Pickles

Some folks are always in a pickle
No matter whatever they do,
But I wonder if you wouldn’t rather
Have the pickle in you.
If so, here’s some home-made pickles
To add to your Christmas cheer.
Good wishes glare go with them
And hopes for a bright New Year.

With a Glass of Jelly

Before the frost was on the pumpkin
Or the trees their leaves had shed
I made this glass of jelly
From apples bright and red.
Just eat it on your breakfast toast
When dawns the Christmas day.
Best wishes for your happiness
With peace and joy alway.

With a Dressed Chicken

We may talk of all good eatables
And name them one by one,
But what with chicken can compare
Beside the total sum?

And when you’ve polished drumsticks
And of white meat ate and ate,
There is still the bread and gravy
For cleaning up your plate.

With Any Gift

Best wishes for the Christmas day
And all the days to come;
May happiness be yours always
From dawn till set of sun.
In all my blessings I count o’er,
Wich number not a few,
I think the Giver of them all
For friends the like of you.
Sent in by Molly K. from Wisconsin

More Verses

Dear Hope:  I am sending a few verses to be used with gifts as my contribution to the Household as I enjoy the contributions from others very much.  I would like to hear from someone who has used sheet music.  I prefer religious songs but any would be all right.  Send a list of songs you have.  Now here are the verses.

With an Apron

A maid in an apron is always quite charming,
To a young man’s affections completely disarming,
You might don this one and invite “him” to tea ,
As for the result, well, we’ll all wait and see.

With a Handkerchief

I’m sure you’ll think old Santa Claus
Had really passed by you
If among your gifts you failed to find
A handkerchief or two.

With a Pair of Towels

A couple of towels for husband and wife<
Use each one separately, live without strife.
But if “He” never wishes to hear Wifey howl,
He’ll was on the wash cloth, and not on the towel.





Refrigerator Ice Cream

I remember Mom making ice cream in the ice cube trays.  We had a Frigidaire refrigerator that had to be defrosted.  It had two trays that were two cubes wide and about 10 cubes in length and an additional double wide tray.  The depth of these were more than an inch.  The dividers were also metal with a lever to pull up to release the cubes.  If you didn’t take the time to let the tray melt a bit, your ice cubes were likely to crack and look somewhat like crushed ice.  Mom made ice cream in one of those trays.  We all loved ice cream and we had plenty of cream from our cows.  This was a good way to use up some of the cream.  Since the contributor begins with “Dear Household Friends” this clipping likely came from Hope Needham’s column in the Drover Telegram.

Refrigerator Ice Cream

Dear Household Friends:
I have a recipe to add to those for a very good ice cream that can be made in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Ice Cream
5 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rich cream

Scald 4 1/2 cups of milk in double boiler. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt with the other half-cup and add to the scalded milk.  Cook till thickened.l  beat the eggs and add, and cook two or three minutes more, stirring constantly.  Chill.

Whip the cream stiff and add it and the vanilla to the rest.  Pour into three refrigerator trays.  When partially frozen, beat up again.

It’s a very good basic recipe.  To make chocolate ice cream, add a package of chocolate instant pudding before the whipped cream.  For maple, use brown sugar and maple flavor.  Lots of other varieties can be made be making similar changes.

We live on a farm and have one cow for our own use, so we have lots of cream and milk.  I’d like to see some sour cream recipes in the column, especially one for cake.  My mother used to make cakes with sour cream when I was small, and they had such a good flavor.

I still make wood fibre corsages and satin waffle-weave pillows.  Anybody interested in such exchanges?  I make the corsages in two sizes, in rose, carnation, violet, sweet pea, primrose, orchid and apple blossoms.

The memory gems are especially nice.  Best of luck to all of you.

Mrs. John Darr, Arlington, Iowa

I find Mrs. Darr’s mention of wood fibre corsages intriguing, me being a crafter as well.  But I did a search for wood fiber corsages and found one for sale on Etsy, but a “how-to” article from a 1936 issue of Popular Mechanics is out there, too.  In a 1952 issue there was a classified ad from a company that offered, among other craft kits, a kit for wood fibre corsages.  Who knew?

I suspect the satin waffle-weave pillows might be smocking of some sort…..done that! But my search on that topic only reveals waffle weave fabrics, so maybe that’s what she means.

Getting Poinsettias to Bloom Again

I’m not really sure who Hope Needham was, but Mom must have been a fan.  There are several clippings which she authored.  At first I was sure she was part of the Kitchen Klatter staff or maybe the Jessie’s Homemaker Radio Visit magazine.  The clippings don’t really resemble something that would have been clipped from Cappers Weekly or Grass & Grain.  These may have been an earlier publication.  You have to realize that Mom came to this country not knowing any English.  She learned the language when her kids started going to school.  So, to finally be able to read the language must have been quite an accomplishment.

I remember Mom trying to “save” a poinsettia and this must have been where she got the inspiration.  So, this clipping may be from the ‘50’s when I was in grade school.  Do any of you remember Hope Needham?  If so, maybe you could tell us a little more about her.

Scan of the clipping from Mom's Cookbook

Dear Mrs. Needham:

The art of getting poinsettias to bloom without a greenhouse is quite tricky and since our African Violets (130) take up considerable space and require a lower temperature, our poinsettias didn’t give us a nice show as usual this year.  We have had the same plants grow and bloom every year for 15 years or until they became too large to get into the house.

After the plants drop most of their leaves and flowers, usually about Feb. 1, I remove them to the basement where the temperature is about 44 to 60 degrees. The last of the leaves drop off and the plant becomes dormant.  Only water the ground enough to keep the stems from shriveling, usually one a month is sufficient.

About May 1, or when the weather outside is warm and danger of frost is past, I take all the plants upstairs, knock them from the pots, remove some of the old dirt and re-pot in larger containers.  The soil mixture I use is one=third well-rotted manure or a handful of commercial fertilizer, to two-thirds by measure of black soil with a small amount of sand to make the mixture porous.

The stems are not cut back several inches, making the cut at an outside leaf bud, so that the new growth grows to the outside and makes a more shapely plant. I usually cut away most of the previous year’s growth , or the plants would be monsters in just one year.  Water the newly planted poinsettias well, and in about two weeks new growth will start.

From now on never allow the soil to dry out, but keep the plants in the sun.

I have read that the plants can be sunk in the ground somewhere, but I  never tried it, but keep them where I see them every day and can keep the soil in the pots moist at all times.  Some hot days it is necessary to water them two or three times.

By September, or when night temperatures drop to 60 or 65 degrees, the new wood has grown to 20 or 24 inches, and I bring the plants into the sun room and put them in the  south windows to get as much sun as possible.  The temperature should be about 70 degrees from now on.  A draft on the plants or insufficient water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off.  By Thanksgiving the tips of the branches  will be showing color and the entire bract will be in color by Christmas. The color will appear quicker if the plants get no artificial light at night.

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