Friday, March 14, 2014

The Way Things Were...

Bessie Sanner 2008

This letter was written in 1996 by Bessie Callen Sanner (1912-2011) to a niece.

Dear A-,

Received your letter. Will try to answer your questions.

No 1. - The most important event that happened in our country that I can remember, happened in my pre-teen years. It was the end of the first world war and the soldiers comeing [sic] home. Then trough [sic] the 1920's [sic] it was "depression times" and the strugle [sic] to live. Then the election of president Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal that got things going again.

No 2 -  How did we spend our leisure time--
We didn't have as much leisure time as you have now. Our family lived in the country then - as you do now - We didn't have TV and computer games as you have now. We didn't even have electricity.
Otherwise our recreation was not a lot different from yours now. We played in the snow. skiing and coasting in winter and in summer we went swimming, played baseball and had 4H clubs.
Evenings we read books and magazines and played games and sometimes there were neighborhood dances.

No 3 - Advice-
I am old enough to know that any "advice" I might give you will seem weird, however I will tell you that when you make a mistake - and you will make some - try to remember it, learn from it, and don't do it again.

Aunt Bess.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grandma's Gas

I was told this story many years ago. I do not remember it exactly, but it is called "Grandma's Gas."

When Tom and Pearl Callen were young, I don't remember if they were dating or had been married a short while, they would often run out of gas. Finally, Pearl's mother made a deal with Tom. She would buy a half tank of gas for his car, but she wouldn't give it to him, and he wasn't to use it. As soon as the fuel gauge showed a half tank, he was to fill up. After that, the second half tank was Grandma's gas. Tom and Pearl's children grew up knowing that they weren't allowed to use it, and I learned from my husband that I wasn't to use it, either.

Just the other day, I was giving a ride to a relative, one of Grandma's great-grandchildren. He had given me some money to pay for fuel, and I commented that I needed to fill up. He looked at my gas gauge and told me I had half a tank, implying that I could let it go longer. But I told him that I couldn't do that, because it was forbidden to drive on Grandma's gas. He smiled, and said OK. It is still true, and he knows it, that even though Grandma has been gone for a number of years, Grandma's gas is hers!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letter from F. M. Callen 2 March 1927

Here is some context: Francis Marion (F. M.) Callen was born 29 December 1879, the third son of George W. and Margaret Callen. He married Nettie Sublett, probably in late 1909, and their only child, Velma, was born 5 August 1910. "Brother-Wife & Family" are John, Nina, Bessie, George, Frank, and Tom Callen who were living in Westmond, Idaho.-ed
Velma Beatrice Callen
Co Bluffs, Iowa
March 2-1927

Dear Brother-Wife & Family

I will try a write you few lines to let you know we are. We are all pretty well except Velma. She is in the Hospital now but is felling much better now, She had a very bad opperation She had a bursted blood vessel on the inside close to appendix; She started with a toutch of the appendicitis She was getting better and ate a little to much and started to through up and burst a blood vessel and would of been gone if we had not got her to the hospital when we did.

Velma has been feeling bad all summer and winter and been taking medicine and I hope now she will be better.

I have been layed off from work since the 20th of November but have a few day since and this comming had made it pretty tough but if we can save Velma I don't care for that we will get by some way.

If we had of lost Velma I think I would of been alone in the world as I don't believe Net could of stood it She is very nervous any how.

It seems that Lees folks and us have had it pretty tough this year Grace has the mumps and her little boy has got the measles otherwise we are all pretty well.

Well I will slose hoping the these few lines will find you folks all well and doing well

love to the children

From you brother & Uncle

F. M. Callen
2313 South 6 Street
Co Bluffs

Friday, March 23, 2012

Letter from F. M. Callen 2 April 1917

F. M. (Francis Marion), J. W. (John William), and Robert (Harman) Callen were brothers. "Father" was George Willam Callen. The photo below shows George, his wife Margaret Ellen (Harp), and two of the brothers in front of their half dug-out house in Oklahoma circa 1910.-ed
Father's Place in Trail Oklahoma

After 10 days, return to
F. M. Callen
Trail, Okla.

J. W. Callen

Dear sir I will write you a few lines to let you know what we are doing in regards to your place. the loan Co. has started foreclosing but I had it stoped for awhile and now they have release [sic] the suit and the money will be here in a few days and I think you will get your money in about 2 or 3 week. I think you have been very patient not knowing how things were but you don't know how slow the loan Co. has been I think there has someone been meddling some in the matter but I hope they have stoped.

Well I would like to know how much is the least dollar you would take for your interest in father place and ask Robert how much he will take the price is cash the place was appraised at $1800.00. Now if I can satisfy you in a division so I could get to keep my part I will take 25 acres in the middle so I can have the house and barn but I will if the place will not bring as much according sell mine.

I would like if you could let me have $64.76 so I can pay the interest on father place and I will pay you this fall. or when we sell the place. or if I sell my place.

Will I will close for this time.

Yours as ever
FM Callen

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Letter from Uncle George 13 September 1943

This is written on stationery from the Desert Training Center, California-ed.
George William Callen

P.F.C. George Callen
Co. A. 607 T. D. Bn.
U. S. Army A. P. O. # 185
c/o Postmaster
Los Angeles California

Mr. John W. Callen
Sagle, Idaho

Dear folks,

I'll try to write a little, to let you know I got here alright. I was a little late, but guess I'll be excused. I arrived in Las Vegas about 1:15 Saturday morning. The bus had just left, and the next one left at 9:00 o'clock that night, so I decided not to wait for it.

I hitch hiked to camp, left Las Vegas about 9:30, and got into camp about noon.

My Co. left on maneuvers before I got back, so I am with the 815 T. D.s now until they decide to come, and take me out on maneuvers. If I had known that I think I would have taken a little longer furlough.

There are only a few men left here to guard. I would suit me fine if I could stay here too, but I don't think I will. I'll probably be sent out on maneuvers.

I am sending a card I got at Butte I didn't travel that road. The mountain is about 10,000 feet in elevation, and there is snow about 12 feet deep in places.

I can't think of anything to write so, will close for this time. Please write soon? [sic] I am as ever your loving son George.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letter from Uncle Frank 12 August 1943

This was written on stationery from the American Red Cross.-ed.
Robert Francis Callen

Pfc RF Callen
12th Station Has. APO 922
San Francisco, Calif.

Aug 12 1943

Dear folks

Will try to write you a few lines to let you know I'm still alright I am back in Australia now in a hospital.

I told you a while back that I didn't think my eye was hurt much well that was a mistake. I have but one eye now the left one is out, so when I see you again guess I'll have a glass one in there. And don't [think] that will [be] to long either. I think my army days are just about over.

I got a letter from Pearle awhile back, but I couldn't answer it just then and now I've lost the please tell Tom to get buisy [sic] and write. it won't hurt him.

Well this is all I can think of to write now so will close for this time
please write soon
as ever your
loving son


Saturday, March 10, 2012


"Aug 23, 1910
Recd of G W Callen
 the sum of Ten(?)Dollars.

K P Hampted"