December 31st, 1953

Thur - Fri worked both days - nice weather

December 30th, 1953

Wed. another beautiful day. Worked. [got] a letter from Mother about beef.

December 29th, 1953

Tues. [another] Beautiful day. Washed wood work in the kitchen, and part of walls.

December 28th, 1953

Mon. Beautiful day. Ironed.

December 27th, 1953

Sun. a beautiful day. We took the folks up to see Helen - started @ 9:30, home at 4:10.

News from 2008 - Christmas

Eartha Kitt, who rose from the Southern cotton fields to captivate audiences around the world with sultry performances as a singer, dancer and actress, died on Thursday at the age of 81. She was widely associated with Christmas because of her hit "Santa Baby." The song, recorded in 1953, went gold this year and she received the gold record before she died.

Complete Reuters Obituary

December 26th, 1953

Sat. a pretty day. Honk called @ 6:30a.m. Home @ 10:30. I worked. no snow. To Walter Mc's @ nite - took them a rabbit.

December 25th, 1953

Fri. Christmas Day. To mothers, Honk & I, Marvin - Jean, Jane - Tom & Aunt Elsie. A beautiful day, 37°. Didn't have snow. To Walter Mc's @ nite.

December 24th, 1953

Thur. worked.

News from 1953, Christmas

Some might say that this period marked the beginning in the United States of "The Fifties". The Korean War had ended with a truce some six months earlier, and this holiday period was welcomed by many as the threat of an immediate nuclear "hot war" receded.

The hot holiday movie release was The Glenn Miller Story, and the new Christmas song was Santa Baby, as performed by Eartha Kitt. We were still a year away from Elvis, but rock and roll was clearly coming. The first color televisions (from RCA) were put on sale on December 30th, at a price of just over $1000, and the Rose Parade was broadcast in color for the first time on January 1st, 1954.

December 23rd, 1953

Wed. worked.

December 22nd, 1953

Tues. worked.

December 21st, 1953

Mon. Ironed.

December 20th, 1953

Sun. to church & Sunday school. To Christmas program @ nite.

December 19th, 1953

Sat. Jane & Tom here. washed.

December 18th, 1953

Fri. Cold. Worked.

December 17th, 1953

Thur. Cold. Zero. Worked.

December 16th, 1953

Wed. Cold - to work.

December 15th, 1953

Tues. Cold, raw day. Ironed. Jean and I went to "Fay Edwards" funeral. Fred & Juanita here @ nite.

December 14th 1953

Mon. Cold. I washed. To town to funeral home to see "Fay Edward".

December 13th, 1953

Sun. cold. Jane & Tom here. Marvin & Jean came for supper.

December 12th, 1953

Sat. a Beautiful day. Fay Edward Grimes died of Heart attack today. Helen Hutchins had surgery Dec. 12, 1953. Honk called to Hazelrigg tonite started 4:45.

December 11th, 1953

Fri - worked. Jane & Tom came home with us.

December 10th, 1953


December 9th, 1953


December 8th, 1953

Tues. A Beautiful day. To Mothers - Aunt Elsie & I.

December 7th, 1953

Mon. washed - hung clothes in basement. To the children's @ nite for Jane's Birthday dinner. I & Honk gave her a Gray corduroy dress. Mayme gave her a beautiful Peach colored dress.

December 6th, 1953

Sun. Cold, snow. To the Honks folks. Honk called out at 5:15 pm this evening. Got home @ 12 mid nite.

December 5th, 1953

Sat. a pretty day. Maymes Birthday. Took Aunt Elsie to Thorntown.

December 4th, 1953

Fri to work - to McAdoo's & Grannys

December 3rd, 1953

To work.

December 2nd, 1953

Wed - to work.

December 1st, 1953

To Gadsen to pay for flowers. They [Lister's] struck water to day at 64 ft!

November 30th, 1953

I washed - carried water from barn. (Drilling for water - Listers). Cold. Bad day.

November 29th, 1953

Cold - snow. To Mothers "Aunt Elsie, Honk & I". Mother & Dad Collins both sick.

November 28th, 1953

Cold, Damp, bad. To Fred Owens for Birthday Supper. Fred was 54.

News from 1953 - Thanksgiving

In 1953, someone at Swanson severely overestimated the amount of turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving. With 260 tons of frozen birds to get rid of, a company salesman named Gerry Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, recruited an assembly line of women armed with spatulas and ice-cream scoops and began creating mini-feasts of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes — creating the first-ever TV dinner. Thomas later said he got the idea from neatly packaged airplane food.

Source: Time Magazine

November 27th, 1953

Snow - cold - damp. Listers came with well machine. Drilled a little.

November 26th, 1953

Thanksgiving to Maymes. Had a swell dinner.

November 25th, 1953

Uncle LM buried. I came home. I let Aunt Elsie have $2000 today.

L.M. Peterson Dies at Home

Lebanon Reporter, November 24, 1953
Was Resident of City One Week

Laurence M Peterson, 72, a resident of Lebanon only a week, died last night at his home, 302 East South Street, after a serious illness of two and one half months.

A realtor with Spana & Company of Indianapolis, Mr. Peterson moved here after residing in Indianapolis 16 years.

He was a native of Boone County, born March 9, 1881 the son of William and Lucinda (Cory) Peterson and was married in Indianapolis August 31st, 1907 to Elsie Stephens, who survives. Mr. Peterson was a member of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.

A brother, Jesse F. Peterson of Cleveland, O., one niece and a nephew also survive. Two brothers are deceased.

Services will be held at 2pm Wednesday at the Russel and Hitch funeral home with the Rev. Arthur Kortling in charge. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home.

November 23rd, 1953

Uncle L.M. Died.

November 21st, 1953

A beautiful day. Moved Uncle LM to Lebanon.

Skel Gas

The propane tank Helen referenced in the last post was still here in 2002 when I bought the farm. And Skel Gas is still in business, although since we installed a gas furnace I went to the co-op for a new tank. But the old one was still perfectly serviceable - after 49 years.

Posting will start in earnest on the 21st - nearly on a daily basis until next December. And I'll be ading more historical (and personal) notes as we continue this journey.


November 16th, 1953

New tank - Skel Gas. Did not attach up.

November 15th, 1953

Our well went dry.

November 1st, 1953

Cold day. Brought Uncle L.M. by ambulance here.

Honk & Helen

This blog is a bit of history, and a bit of an experiment. First things first: I'm not Honk, and my wife's not Helen. Harold ("Honk") and Helen Dohoney were the couple who previously owned the small farm we live on in Dover, Indiana. The farm was built in 1912, by Helen's dad, Charles Booher.

Honk was born in 1898, Helen in 1901. They were married on June 14th, 1948. Helen passed away in 1990, Honk died in 2001, a day away from his 103rd birthday. I bought the place out of his estate in 2002.

They had no children - Helen had children by a previous marriage who were the executors. After the sale, all of the home contents were sold at auction, but a lot of stuff was simply thrown out.

The farm originally had something over 100 acres - Honk and Helen raised corn, soybeans and cattle. He also worked on the railroad, for the old Monon line, and Helen was an RN, a graduate of a certificate program for nurses at a now defunct hospital (Williams) in Lebanon, the county seat. Honk had a crop in the ground and cattle in the pasture until 1996.

Helen was also a diarist - and I recovered her papers covering the years 1953-54 and 1973-74 from the flotsam and jetsam after the auction. These are the diaries that will be preserved on this blog - a snapshot into the daily life of a Hoosier farm couple from a half century ago, records of momentous events (Milan's basketball championship, the Nixon resignation, the 1973 oil crisis ) from the perspective of an American small town in the heartland.

Starting November 1st, I will post here the contents of the 1953-54 diary, which runs to December 1st, 1954. The following August (2010) I'll start the contents of the 1973-74 diary, which runs to September 7th, 1974.

There won't be a post every day - the blog will follow the diary, and Helen didn't write every day. Some entries will consist of nothing more than a record of the weather. Other will have visits to friends and neighbors chronicled. But every one will be real - this is peering into the past, if through a darkened glass, and discerning how much has changed, and indeed, how much has not.

Occasionally I'll try to post more biographical information - we've begun something of a hunt for records and family history on this couple. I'll definitely get a picture up before too much longer. Perhaps our affinity is merely the result of living in the same place, but I think we share an affinity in temperament, too. There are times I think they're still hanging around, watching as we clean and scrub, gather eggs, feed cattle and shear sheep. I'd like to think they'd approve of the changes we've made.

We did locate their final resting place this past summer: it's less than a mile from the house. And we took them a sunflower, and promised to do our best to keep their memory alive. And to take good care of the farm and the land.

And that's why we're here, on Blogger.

See you November 1st, 1953.

Dave & Lorraine Haxton