This page contains Mother’s 1953 diary from January 1 through May 31, 1953


061009  Mother’s 1953 Diary

Jan 1 – May 31



Sunday, Jan 11, 1953

[John would be 3 years old June 15, 1953, I would be 2 years old August 31, 1953]

Clear just like summer.

Today has been, as usual, a busy day for Bill and me.  We/re carrying out our idea of moving the children and ourselves downstairs and trying to rent the upstairs bedrooms.  It all looked very hopeless yesterday but is really beginning to look very nice today.  We have plenty of room downstairs and the children went to sleep tonight right away – even though in the same room for the first time (they were very, very tired).  Johnny said, “Linda’s crib and Johnny’s crib” and seemed quite pleased.  They’re really very lucky to have such a large room – twice the size as most large rooms. [Linda note:  Bolding is mine.  I would have been all of 16 months when she wrote this, and John would have been 2 ½,  Eerie sense of inappropriateness in her saying we were ‘lucky’ to have such a large room – how could I possibly care or even have a concept for a large room?  John, either!  Mother’s mentalizing abilities and her Theory of Mind were faulty even as they related to raising any of her children even when we were very young.]  I do hope it all works out.  I was so busy in the house today that Johnny spent most of his time out with Daddy and except for an hour this morning, Linda helped Mommy!  [Yup, big help at 16 months.]  She does try to help – keeps handing me things and saying “here, here” (with a definite Boston accent).  [Linda note:  In my baby book she wrote that when I learned to talk I sounded just like Johnny.  My mother was raised in Boston and never lost her accent over time, having left there near the end of WWII]


Saturday, January 31, 1953 – Mother’s Diary Entry

Linda is 17 months old today!

Saturday:  Linda’s Trip and Johnny’s Apple

I had to go downtown and decided to take Linda.  She hasn’t been on many trips alone with her Mommy and really was such a big girl and enjoyed it all so much.  She sat nest to me on the bus seat and we went in to Sheety’s and had some Ice-cream.  How she loved it.  Johnny has such fun out-doors with Daddy that it really worked fine.  Before I left I told Bill in front of ‘Johnny Big Ears’ that if he cried (although in the last month or so he has been fine about being left and kisses me and says “Bye- see you later”) to give him an apple.  Well, I’d been gone about an hour when Johnny went up to Bill and said:  “Daddy, you better give Johnny an apple so I won’t cry because Mommy is gone.”  He got his apple and a short while later the whole procedure was repeated.  We thought it so smart that he heard, remembered, reasoned it out and knew enough not to just ask but give the reason.  He’s getting very wise.  But Daddy’s reports were very good too!

We’re having a wonderful time trying to make some head-way with the yard.  Bill got my clothesline up and the swing set.  [Linda note:  I have no idea which house they just moved out of or which house they just moved into – somewhere around Los Angeles]  Johnny keeps saying “he has lots of work to do too!!”  He carried wood, moved rocks to a garden, pushed his wheel barrow and never stopped all day.  I’ll be glad when the yard is fenced in.  He has been very good about staying right in back but Linda darts toward the front so fast I don’t dare turn my back.  She learned to say “CAR” and is very proud. There’s quite a bit of traffic out front and she proudly points “CAR, CAR!”


Sunday, Feb 1, 1953

We have had a wonderful slow lazy day in front of the fire.  So nice for a change.  Our furnace is not working so the fire-place was more than welcome.  The children played in the living-room contentedly.  I put Linda in the play-pen for the first time in ages but she seemed to enjoy the change.  I sewed and Bill read.  [Linda note:  Yup, here we all are in a Norman Rockwell painting!]  Johnny busily built houses, roads etc. on the floor.  So cozy and nice!  After a late supper Carolyn and Charlie appeared in out of the cold with little Charlie and the baby all bundled up.  We had coffee and a nice short visit.

This morning we went to a nearby church called The Church of Christ.  Very different BUT friendly and nice.  After first cry Johnny adjusted well to the Nursery.  I would like to attend a church regularly for our sake and I think Johnny would benefit from being with children near his own age.


Mon Feb 2, 1953

Here I am busy in our new house with a million things to do but loving it all and then there’s the realization that once things are settled and in their perspective [sic] places that it will be so much easier to care for than that other 11 room arc [sic]!  This morning it was so nice to pop out of bed into a nice, warm, cozy kitchen to get breakfast and how nice not to have to comb stairs for children.  They love their new rooms and it was that that prompted me to write.  I haven’t been writing in my new diary because things have been so upset and for awhile I must admit everything seemed so dark and hopeless that I hated to start my new ‘memos’ feeling so dejected when I had wanted it so as to write how much fun we have and the darling things the children do every minute all day.  But now we’re all settled and things haven’t looked so bright in a long time.  {Linda note:  Bolding is mine.  Of course I have no idea what she is NOT saying here – what troubles she is referring to?  I do know that over the years of my childhood repeated mention was made by my mother when she was angry at my father (she had a litany for him that she built over the years, as well as one that she built for me) that they were evicted from one of the earlier LA houses, perhaps in Altadena, because he was ‘lazy’ and would not keep up the yard, and that he would rather spend all his free time as a member of the Mountaineers who rescued people out of the mountains.  She also didn’t like it that he spent so much time trout fishing during those early years of their marriage – he tied his own flies.}

Johnny keeps up more of an endless chatter than he ever has before.  Right now he’s playing in his room – very busy as usual.  And Linda is in her room across the hall.  Johnny says he’s playing Doctor.  “Oh, you’re all hurt but Johnny will fix you – I’ll make you feel better.”  He’s cooking breakfast over his stove (he now thinks he has a real stove as there’s a furnace floor outlet in his room that really gets hot – it’s this he puts his cooking [sic]).  Then whenever or whoever gets burned has to go to the Dr. (I think this game will be short-lived).

If this beautiful warm weather keeps up we won’t have any need for the furnace before long.


Thurs. Feb 5, 1953

[Her note written across the top of the page] Johnny and Linda have a new cousin!  ‘Sandra Jean Cahill!  [my mother’s only brother, Charles’ daughter]

Tonight after supper we bundled the children in the stroller and walked over to the nearest drug store to call Grandma and see if our new little neice [sic]or nephew had arrived.  The new neice [sic] was born this noon.  How hapy I am it was a girl this time.  They were as fortunate as we were to have a boy first, then a girl.  [Linda note:  Why is that, folks?]  Just what we’d both always dremt [sic] of.  The children loved their night ride and sang all the way over.  Johnny kept smiling up at us and saying:  “Oh isn’t this fun.”  Ever since we moved into this house he’s been repeating several times a day “Oh Mommy, this is fun in the new house.”  So sweet!

Every time we had to lift the stroller over a curb he protectingly put his arms around Linda so she wouldn’t get jounced.  While I was telephoning they were loving and kissing – they were so pleased to be riding together.  They’re affectionate and don’t show any jealousy.  They do love each other.


Fri Feb 6, 1953 10:00 A.M.

A few minutes to write while I am waiting for a cake to bake, then we’re going marketing!

Linda and Johnny’s unborn baby brother or sister is 5 months old today.  [Linda note:  This is my sister Cindy ‘baking in her oven’.]  He must be a husky already as he’s so strong and active!  We called Johnny “HE” all through 9 mos and our Johnny arrived.  With Linda we wanted a ril so much this time so we said “SHE” and Linda arrived.  This time it doesn’t make so much difference but it is a BOY’S TURN again so we say “HE” and now will just have to wait and see.

These last few weeks have been so wonderful with the children.  Of course, I’m not nearly so busy as in the other house and have had more time to go to store and walks, etc. with them.  (no car now as we felt compelled to sell it as the monthly payments were just too high).  The children seem to enjoy this place so much having their separate rooms means a lot for them to play in.  [I am 17 months old at this time]

They get cuter all the time. I want to write down several incidents that have happened lately which struck us as being especially dear.  How we love them – I don’t think there could be two nicer children in all the world – at least now I can brag about them to my Diary.


Sun. Feb 15, 1953

Johnny 2 yrs and 8 mos.


Tues. Feb. 17, 1953

“Mildred or Mrs. Or (Mama) Lloyd”

Several days ago Johnny very calmly at breakfast said “More sugar please, Mildred.”  I didn’t know he knew my; first name.  Bill calls me ‘Mil”.  He was quite proud and also had the gleam of mischief in his eyes.  Well, mistakenly, I showed my amusement much to his delight.  From then on, all day he would run in for no reason at all and say “What are you doing Mildred.”  I don’t want him to call me anything but Mom, Mommy, Mama or Mother – so finally got quite cross.  The next day he switched to “Mrs. Lloyd”.  The woman next door calls me that several times each day.  Of course every time he got tired, or hurt he returned to “Mama”.  As stern as I must be so he won’t continue I can’t help being amused at the same time!


Wed. March 11, 1953

The children are still both sick with these nasty colds.  I’ve been giving Johnny some drug the Dr. prescribed and hope it will do him some good.  Linda’s little head is stuffed up but her cough isn’t as bad as Johnny’s.  [Linda note:  Over the years mother was repeatedly angry with me because the other children got sick and I didn’t.  She was even mad at me that I didn’t have ‘enough’ chicken pox.  She felt, and told me so, that I deserved to be sick and the other children didn’t.  If what she is writing here is ‘true’ then the part I just wrote must indicate a progression of her maliciousness toward me.]  We’ve really been fortunate as they’ve been sick so little and how I hate to see them feeling bad.  They’ve been very good children and very easy to give medications to.  In fact Johnny reminds me to give him his “medicine” if I forget.  When he coughs he says “Poor Johnny has a bad cough – give me some medicine” – then “thank you much Mommy fo making Johnny better.”  He’s so sweet!

Grandma stayed over nite and we had a nice quiet morning, first in ages.  Johnny wanted to show her what a big boy he was by putting his pants on.  She asked him if he could also put his shoes and stockings on.  “Sure, Johnny can do it” and that little sweetheart sat down and did it without too much struggle, much to our amazement.  We did much clapping, even Linda joined in not knowing just what he had done that was so wonderful but was proud anyhow.  She adores her “Johnny”.  Since they’ve been sick and had to remain in the house all day, Linda has taken to calling “Johnny” over and over and over from her room.  Of course he comes running.  Finally today, I dragged out the old play-pen much to her disgust and she played in there for awhile so as to give us both some peace!


Thurs. Mar 12, 1953

No real news.  Johnny was awake coughing for several hours last nite and consequently we were both dead today.  My cold is at it’s height so we all stayed in bed until noon.  First time that has ever happened.  This afternoon I cleaned, washed, baked a cake.  The children rested but no nap and early to bed.


Fri. March 27, 1953

How good the children have been this week – they had been a little fussy several weeks back, after their bad cold.  It seems after they have recuperated but still feel kind of weak and not altogether well, still not quite well enough o go out-doors, have been inside so much they’re bored with toys, room and even ‘Mommy’ then they get fussy and I don’t blame them.  But still it’s hard on all of us.  Then later when all is well they seem better than ever.  I don’t know if it’s just by comparison or that they really are better for it!!  Anyways, now they’re so good!!

I will be glad when the nice warm weather comes it seems we’ve had a long cold winter.  Not cold in the New England sense but damp, smog, cloudy cold.  I would love to live where the sun shines all year.  Bill says it does in Arizona.  I would like – who knows?


Sat. March 28, 1953

Mother had stayed over nite and baby-sat last evening while we went out.  We just took a bus to a Pasadena movie – but it was nice.  We go so seldom but I don’t really mind as we both always have so much to do right here at home.  I’ve had a big sewing urge of late.  Mother has loaned me her machine – I have high ideas but no money.  I have made many ‘baby things’ – all darling and am about to make a night gown and bed-jacket for the hospital which I am in dire need of.  (Total cost 1.88).  No wonder I want to sew. [I have memory of mother knitting, but never of her sewing.]

I had another Dentist Appt. this morning so Daddy baby-sat.  Children were angels according to reports.  He’s very fine with them and I bought some yarn for a sweater for Johnny (only 1.19).  It does pay to make things.

We had the nicest supper in front of fireplace on card-table after children in bed.  Italian sphagetti [sic], French bread.  We do have fun!.


[Linda note:  If mother was a Borderline, which my guess is she was, stress would have caused her far more trouble than it would an ‘ordinary’ person.  Certainly their later move to Alaska a little over 4 years after this was written, and then followed by the homesteading, created an amount of stress on her that could have ONLY made her deteriorating condition much worse over time than it might have been if they had made more moderate choices in their lives.]


Sun. March 28, 1953

This week-end has been such a nice one.  We haven’t done anything spectacular but I guess with us, those are often times the nicest – just a couple of stay-at-homes-at-heart.’  This morning we got up rather late (8:15)! And I cleaned house.  I hate to clean on Sun. and very seldom do but yesterday was quite broken up and I just didn’t get to it.  (My favorite cleaning day is Fri. and then everything is fresh for Sat and Sun.  I can spend time with Bill and the children.

Johnny and Bill were very busy out of doors; still fixing up the yard.  It really looks quite nice now, how we yearn, plan and hope for our own home in the future.  How much we’ll appreciate it.

The children took a nice long nap – Bill took Johnny for a walk while I fixed supper.  I had mace ice-cream and it was good!  Before bed-time we all had lots of fun.  I got out a book of nursery songs and sang to Johnny.  He hears one just once and remembers most of it.  Linda enjoys them too!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Tues March 31, 1953


JOHNNY:  He’s such a big boy for his age and so well developed in every way.  He’s everything I ever could have hoped for.  He’s so well-mannered (which we never expected at so early an age), eats so well at the table!  Always says “Thank You for the nice supper”  He talks (and responds) so well – not baby talk! And knows several songs and rhymes.  Plays very well by hours by himself.  He’s just all trained – now it’s just growing up!!  A long road indeed.

LINDA is our beautiful little girl, even if she’s our own I must say she’s beautiful and good!  She feeds herself fairly well and drinks from a cup (still sits in Baby Butler).  Is potty trained BIG AM starting on other.  [Linda note:  This was a huge problem related to what happened while I stayed with grandma when Cindy was born.]  Says many words, new ones are SUPPER, APPLE, COOKY, BABY, THERE IT IS, COME, MAMA, MILK, etc. [all this written between the lines]

On the “Special Data” page:

CHILDRENS HOUR.  During this period we’re all together, usually in Johnny’s room and they play with Daddy and each other!  We play records, read books etc.  Johnny always hears 1 or 2 books before bed and is rocked and several songs.  Current favorites:  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Johnny Has A Little Lamb and always (Billy) Johnny Boy.

Children’s schedule:  (it has been pretty much like this since several months before Johnny’s 2nd Birthday)  It’s flexible!

7:00 arise, say good-bye to Daddy.  Johnny enjoys seeing Daddy leave in old funny car.

7:30 through breakfast – POTTY – dressed.  Mommy makes bed, dresses, does dishes.

8:30 Children play in room.  Mommy settles house (washes if any)

9:30 Johnny goes out-doors.

9:00 – 11:00 then I do 1 major job (ironing, cleaning etc).

11:00 or 11:30 Linda and I join Johnny in yard. (the yard still isn’t completely fenced so I don’t let Linda out unless I can keep my eye on her.  It has gotten to be a habit for us all to go out together during this period.  I usually rake, weed etc. and play with them at least ½ hour.  As my last few months approach before new baby I think I’ll do hand-work.  12:30 – 1:00 Lunch.

1:00 – 3:00 NAPS.  I am still very insistent.  They both need this rest!

3:00 Snack and if nice out doors for an hour or so.

4:30 – 5:00 Baths.  Supper.

6:00 – 7:00 CHILDREN’S HOUR.  I like to do dishes before they go to bed.


Wed. April 1, 1953

Linda is talking more every day.  Sometimes she just gets the expression and tone – but enough of it so you can tell what she wants.  She seems to add several new words every day to her vocabulary and does so want to talk to her Johnny.  They’re getting more companionable all the time but sometimes get so silly together.  He loves to make her giggle and she’s certain to oblige.  She tries to copy every thing he does.

Johnny has climbed up on the rocking chair and sung 3 Blind Mice for ages, even before he could talk too well.  The first 2 verses over and over.  Now little Linda does the same thing.  The first 2 words aren’t too good but the MICE comes out loud and clear and the tone is perfect.  Johnny is so proud when she says something new and says, with his eyes shining:  “Linda said it!”


Mon April 13, 1953

Half clear, half cloudy.

How the weeks fly by!  This morning somehow or other, I found myself pretty well caught up with my housework so I devoted from 10 to 12 with both children out-of-doors.  They didn’t have much outdoor play over the week-end, with Daddy up at Inyokern [where his parents lived] so they really deserved it.  They swung on the glider and sang at the top of their little lungs.  Johnny calls the glider his TAXI or BUS depending on mood.  He’s the taximan and must collect the fare from his little passenger.  He gets off every few minutes to refuel it with gasoline.  This is all his own idea – such ingenuity.  Another few months and they will be able to be together all the time without ‘Mama’ to keep an eye on Linda.  They want each other’s company now and are most unhappy when kept apart.  They were thrilled by the gifts Daddy brought home – little things mean so much to them.


[There’s a wonderful picture of John and me in Radio Flyer wagon smiling, glued to page of Monday, April 20, 1953 – I hope to scan in one day]

Special Data page:

Friday night I went downtown and bought some much-needed clothing for the children.  They have worn out and at the same time grown out of everything but I’ve been waiting for some warm weather to buy summer things but it has been unusually cool so far.  I do so love the summer days but should be glad, I guess of the coolness before ‘baby’ comes.

When I told the shoe salesman the next sizes the children were to wear he brought the shoes I just couldn’t believe that they were that big.  In fact, I even called Bill to check on Johnny’s.  Why, they look big enough for a little boy starting school.  Shoes:  Johnny 10D, Linda 6 ½.  Clothing:  Johnny size 5, Linda size 3, and none too big!


Sun. May 3, 1953

This morning Bill took both children to the store to get a Sun. paper.  Johnny came in from out doors to get his sweater and noticed that Mama had put Linda’s new ruffled sunsuit on.  His first words were “Oh, Linda it’s so pretty!”  He’s so observing and does love his sister so – he likes her to look pretty and always notices.  She wore her new sweater and Johnny wore the one I just recently finished.  I had planned to make Linda one but while looking for yarn I fell in love with 2 little white ones which were reduced (both for price I could make one).  One, has embroidered flowers on one side with little pearls and rhinestones in it – nylon, the other is cotton boucle with blue swans kitted above ribbing.  I must shop and save with 3 children but love them to look nice too!


Mon. May 11, 1953

Linda is really learning to talk – not too many sentences, but a few.  She’s grasping new thoughts and words though every day.  She tries to tell me what she wants done more and more instead of that ah-ah-ah noise she has been using.  She loves to have a chance to use the one sentence she knows so well:  “Where did Johnny (Mama, Daddy, etc.) go!”  Looking all around while saying it.  It’s quite a coincidence that that was Johnny’s first real sentence too.  They both love to sing – Johnny sings all his little songs loud and clear now while playing in his room.  Linda’s favorite singing time is while on ‘POTTY’.  Her favorite being “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” which we so often sing to them.  She knows the tune so well that you’d think she was singing the words but actually only knows some.


[Linda note:  I had to stop and get my own footing as I wrote my introduction before I could read any more of my mother’s words]

Sat. May 16, 1953

How sweet, adorable, smart …. Are our children.  Yes, I am prejudiced.  I think we have the two most wonderful children in all the world.  Not just today but I am reminded of it all the time every day!  How my heart swells with pride and such joy they bring us.  I’m so glad we’ve done things as we have.  Money will come later but we could never go back and have our children while we’re young.  I am glad we don’t think they’re perfect [Linda note: hummmm….] – I know they’re not but then, neither are we.  They wouldn’t need us at all if they didn’t require love, understanding, laughter, care, patience – yes and training [by what methods?] and sometimes spankings [OK….and…..].  But they’re so anxious to please us and do right [like we weren’t perpetually terrified?  (bolding is mine)]. How very, very lucky we’re to be blessed with such children.  Thank God!


Sun. May 17, 1953

Today felt like gallivanting – in fact, I’ve wanted to go somewhere all week end.which is most unusual for me!  But when it has come right down to going I realize I’d rather stay home after all.  I would like to go it seems but baby is starting to be quite heavy and so active that the best place is home.  The next few week-ends are planned on Sat. nites and that will be plenty.  Sometimes I get so excited when I actually realize we’re going to have our new baby so soon.  Even though this is to be our 3rd I am no less thrilled.  This baby seems so real, partly because he’s so active; and because I’ve had 2 and know it actually happens! [Linda note:  Anything strange about that statement?]  They’re full proof!  With Johnny – I knew it, thought about it even more but still it was hard to believe.  This baby has a family waiting too.  I hope a little more wise Mommy and Daddy and a very anxious brother and a sister who’s sure to adore her baby.


Thurs, May 21, 1953

Feeding the Birds

Johnny always notices the birds and all about him.  Today I gave him some bread crumbs which we scattered about for the bird’s lunch.  After his nap, he could hardly wait to get outdoors to say [sic] if the birds had eaten their bread.  There was still a considerable amount left which disturbed him greatly.  I could hear his little voice lifted in call to the birds:  “Come, birdies – come eat your lunch it’s so good, come eat it lunch is ready.”  How disappointed he was when they didn’t come at once.

Daddy must make a high stand where we can put crumbs for the birds and he can watch them feed!



4 thoughts on “**1953 – MOTHER’S DIARY – PART ONE

  1. I do feel so lucky and blessed to of had a brain with that coping mechanism. My other siblings who did not enter a shell passed on the abuse to their children. I sometimes strugle with assuming my children are more mature than they actually are. I at least am aware and never had my children alone at home at age 3, 5and 7 for days while in another state like my sister did with her kids.

  2. I think that part of the sickness is that she portrays to the world that everything is normal and sweet. My parents always were mean yelling, arguing, and separated otherwise. But whenever a visitor came always wanted the whole family together in the family room looking to be normal. Like the perfect family. For awhile I liked the fake atmosphere of family time but then when I realized it was just for show. I say that because as soon as company left the house was caos again. I would not come out for company either or just come say hi and back to my room.

    • I hold such hope, and find it so thrilling that we can begin to recognize and share the PATTERNS that are so similar between abusive and chaotic families! It’s not the individual incidents of abuse, etc. that matter to me so much as being able to increasingly clarify the similar PATTERNS that are both the symptom of the insecure attachment disorders our caregivers have/had but are also the MEANS to the intergenerational transmission of them!

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