Your Mother's Hands (entry 16)


We spent another year at the Kieffner place. Things were much the same for us. Both of us working and balancing out time to take care of the cattle, gardening and canning. We played lots of euchre with Bill and Barb Carrico, went on picnics and ate her wonderful mac and cheese.

We went to Bloomington Raceway with Richard and Marie Wildman. It was open air seating. We took lawn chairs and packed a picnic basket.

Twala Jean and Mike visited. They were getting married and your Dad and I were to be in the wedding.

We went to Washington Drive-in during the summer. We took Betsy sometimes. We usually packed our own snacks and drinks.

The Easter Bunny came to the farm and hid eggs all over the yard!!, and of course, Santa found his way with no problem.

Turning "21".

While turning 21 is such a BIG "rite of passage", it was not a BIG DEAL for me, as I did not go to bars anyway, nor did we buy much beer or other alcohol. My Dad did take me to Beck's Tavern on the square in Jasper and bought me a beer. We also had cheese and crackers and a sandwich. We went to Merkley's Meat Market for hot dogs, some sausage and head cheese. On the way home, we stopped at Haller's Bakery and bought some homemade bread and yeast doughnuts, and at Rumbach's we got oranges and a fresh coconut!

I remember this, as Dad drove his car and I rode "all alone" with him and I don't think we even talked about much. It was a cold day. We had all of our food stacked all the way to the back of the station wagon.

You stayed with your Grandma Braun and she baked an angel food birthday cake for me. Not my favorite, but she had egg whites for cake, extra yolks for homemade noodles...……..so not to waste a thing.

In December of 1965, US Gypsum had a Christmas Party for all lead men, office and sales reps. It was held at French Lick Hotel. Your Dad was the youngest "lead man", and we were not yet 21, so could not drink!. I bought an off-white mini dress with silver and gold embroidery on the arms and hemline. I added silver kitten heels and a clutch sequined purse. I hadn't had many "ready made" dresses in my entire life, so this one was SPECIAL. I had my hair done at the beauty shop! Kenny had a new plaid sport coat, slacks, brown wing tip shoes, gold colored shirt with "French cuffs" and beautiful matching tie clip and cuff links. OH, were we ever LA DEE DA...…….!

We had Gypsum friends: Roscoe Smith who lived in Bedford. He worked in the office and they invited us out, or to their home often. He had a LOT of dental work at Dr. Krause's office. Full mouth reconstruction, crown and bridge and partials. GOOD INSURANCE! He was so pleasant with his dental work and I enjoyed working on his smile.

Dental Work

Right after I started working for Dr. Krause, he did an exam on me. I had my teeth cleaned by his hygienist, Kaye Hayes. She also took a series of X-rays. He took out all four wisdom teeth. Both of my lowers were impacted which required surgical removal, which he did in the office on a Thursday morning giving me off on Friday and Saturday...…..again with pay. Then, little by little on a Thursday, if we were not really busy, he prepped a quadrant, took the impressions, had me pour them up and wax them , and helped me FIRE them and polish right there in the office. He was very stern about having ME do my own work, saying that someday I would be very proud to have made my own onlays. And, 50 years later I still have the same dental work. The contacts are nice and smooth and I MADE them myself, with my own hands. They were done to perfection and yes I am proud of that.

Decorating Christmas Trees

There was a lady that was a patient of ours who decorated the Christmas trees at the State Bank, Elks Lodge, Penney's windows, Sherman's Department Store, Diane's and Paris Style Dress shops as well as the Davies County Hospital. I commented about "the snow" on the tree at the bank and they told me who did it for them. I asked her about it and she asked me If I wanted to learn and go help her. Well, of course I wanted to learn!

She used stainless steel bowls and beat IVORY soap flakes with an electric mixer, pouring in a little water at a time. I have forgotten the ratio, but I beat many bowls full, and heaped the suds on the Christmas tree branches. When it dried, it looked just like snow. I worked with her for several years. There weren't many conversations, but she paid me some money, gave me nail polishes, cologne, a few sweaters and milk glass for the house and would often take me to the Elk's club for lunch. I loved having "club" sandwiches and yes I used my Home Ec. manners with the fancy cloth napkins.

Next to Dr. Krause's office in the same building, was Dr. Seat's medical office. He was a very busy general practitioner. He had MANY Amish patients and had a horse and buggy parking area. We had a building maintenance man who kept the parking lot clean and took the horse manure home to his garden!

Well, one day, Dr. Seat was gone and so was Dr. Krause. An Amishman came in. A horse had stepped on his foot while he was barefooted, and a day or so later, his toe was throbbing with a HUGE blood blister below the nail. The nurse tried to "poke" under the nail with a syringe needle but it would not drain. Enter Charlene-------with her "big idea". "He needs releif. If Dr. Krause were here, he would just drill through the nail and it would drain." So Susie and Sylvia said, "Let's do it". Well, I put in an old round surgical burr, had him sit in the dental chair, seated myself in my assisting chair and stepped on the air to run the "high speed drill". Operation "BLOOD SHOOT"....!

I drilled through that man's toenail with some pressure and deep red blood shot EVERYWHERE. I think while the Amishman was Ahhhhing with releif, Sylvia, Susie and I were practically screaming with disbelief. WE HAD BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

All over our white uniforms, faces, hair (because of course we had our noses right down on the toe). It was all over the floor, walls, cabinets, dental chair, lights and ceiling. You name it and it was covered in blood. Take about 1/4 cup of blood and AIR from the high speed drill and instant explosion.

What a horrific mess we had, and I had to get it all cleaned up. This was a time BEFORE all of our infection control rules, or we NEVER would have done this anyway, even IF Dr. Krause would have wanted to.

The Amishman must have run at such a sight and Susie and Sylvia went back to their office. I probably just washed my face and of course had no other clothes. I just proceeded to clean the chairs, lights, cabinets, woodwork, walls, ceiling..................ALL of it. It took hours!!! I got everything done but the walls would not come clean. I could still see the stains, so I had to call the cleaning lady. She came and painted the room, and repainted it again as it still bled through. (no pun intended).

Dr. Krause just sort of laughed when we girls told him the whole story.....WHEW! He said, "Well, you know Charlie, I believe I would have done the same thing! And, that was the end of that.

Oh the things my hands did. Chairside skills: passing instruments, their cleaning and sharpening, mixing of amalgams and "white fillings" in a timely manner. It was one thing to learn filling material and a skill to mix, pass and clean up, but all on a schedule. There were extractions and running the auto clave. There was also bending wires and making acrylic appliances, adjusting pliers, mixing and taking impressions, pouring impressions and grinding models. "Holding hands" during injections VERY IMPORTANT, laboratory management, cleaning---cleaning---cleaning, clinic equipment maintenance, first aid, emergency techniques and office repairs. And, these were just problems at work.

Unlike many in my position, I took a lot of first impressions in the office for dentures and dental appliances. I made all the models and secondary temps and trimmed them. I mixed all the Permlastic for the secondary impressions. The timing and ratio was very important as was the humidity. I think It had been a great help learning how to and making candy!!!

Dr. Krause and I were a great team. We seldom had to retake an impression. I was very careful so to not squeeze out too much. I did not waste. Dr. Krause took note of all of this, complimented me and I'd get a little raise twice a year. I learned how to bend wires for ortho appliances, also but I was not as confident with these procedures. Dr. Krause was kind and a perfectionist, but I did not have a problem with that.

New Shoes for David

One Thursday afternoon, Mom and Dad brought David to Washington. I met them downtown and we ate lunch at the White Steamer. That was one of my favorite places to eat since I was a little girl. After lunch, Mom and I walked to Penney's for material. From there you and I walked on up to Rainey's Shoe Store where you were fitted for new high top shoes...…...GREY. Afterwards we were walking down the street. I was so proud of you and your blonde curls shining in the sun, but you were sort of scuffing along, and then BIG tears were falling. I said, "David, what is the matter?" You just got NEW SHOES. You looked up at me, and said, "I wanted Jesus shoes"..

Well I took you to Sherman's Department store and bought you some sandals too. I was so happy to have a job and the extra money! You were happy to have your sandals.!

Spring 1966

It was time to plant the garden again, and our spot was nicer than the year before. David, you were really busy walking everywhere by now and just wanted to be outside all the time. You had cute little striped overalls and hooded sweatshirts. It was windy up on the Kieffner hill, but you did not seem to mind. You loved being outside. Thank goodness you never had earaches like your aunt Betsy.

I changed my laundry day to Thursday's during the Springtime so I could hang my sheets and towels out on the lines. I had lots of clothes lines in the basement as well as a dryer. We still used a wringer washer. I didn't mind it. It did the job very well. David, you had several big card board boxes that you loved to play in. I'd pull them in to the screened in porch at night to keep them dry and clean. You'd play for hours. You and your dog and all of your planning, not just a house or barn, but an entire town. You had great imagination and would work and work and work at making things. You were always watching and taking everything in. Lots of questions and almost always happy.

One morning in April, as I left for work, all the daffodils that I planted down the lane the year before were all in bloom. They were so beautiful. The bright yellow blooms were so pretty. For some reason, that day your Dad was home and kept you with him. He was probably starting a different shift at work. Anyway, as I drove up the hill that evening, most of the daffodil blooms were missing. Well, I got my answer when I got in the house! Every cake pan, flat dish and ash tray had FLOATING daffodil blooms. David, you had picked Mommy some flowers, but you didn't pick them by the stems, you just plucked the blossoms.

It was OK...………...Oh how I loved my "little man"..

Actually, you were a very good little boy!

I still did a lot of my own sewing. One Easter I made myself a light yellow linen suit and lined it. I had black patent leather shoes and matching purse. You had green linen pants and a plaid jacket, with a shirt I make with round collar and bow tie. You also had short pants, so you could wear you "Jesus shoes"..

I remember buying your Dad a really nice Spring/Summer suit. It was your Dad's first light weight suit. We got it at Montgomery Ward's at Terre Haute. They had a new Honey Creek Mall there and we drove over to shop.

We were so proud to be able to dress in coordinating matching colors and always look nice as a family.

All you cared about was being able to wear shorts and show everyone that you had shoes like Jesus.