Days Gone By: 1952Back in 1952 Bernie (Mrs. Harvey) Probst started a scrapbook for her new baby daughter Mary Jo (now Nelson), who is also known as the “saver of the old hospital arch” written about last year.
By: Pat Hunter, archivist, River Falls Journal
Back in 1952 Bernie (Mrs. Harvey) Probst started a scrapbook for her new baby daughter Mary Jo (now Nelson), who is also known as the “saver of the old hospital arch” written about last year.
The amount of ephemera Bernie collected is astounding. The very first item pasted to the front cover is a receipt from the River Falls City Hospital for $59.40 which included a four-days stay at $6.50, drugs $3.80; sanitary supplies and dressings, $5.60; delivery room charge $10; baby care, $8; anesthetic fee of $5 and laboratory fee of $1, along with a charge of $75 for the doctor. The next is a lock of Mary Jo’s golden hair at 14 months old.
According to Bernie’s records it was a beautiful day in June 1952 when 6-lb. 5 ounce Mary Jo joined the family. Dr. John Anderson delivered her with nurse Mary Murray R.N. attending.
The birth was announced as the “fourth dividend of preferred stock in the Probst Corporation,” with first, second and third dividends, Harvey J. Probst Jr. “issued” in July 1940, 1940; Roger in September 1942; and Shari in October 1944. After Mary Jo, came “fifth dividend Michelle in May 1957; and “sixth dividend Lisa in December 1961.
Included in the collection are newspaper clips of the Mother’s Day fire in May 1951 at Central Lumber Co. one of the largest fires in River Falls’ history and which could be seen as far away as Ellsworth; Father H.G. Shaney turning the first spadeful of earth in groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of St. Bridget’s Parochial School which was expected to be ready for classes in September of 1951, and a photo of the finished school in 1952, and an article on River Falls iron lung baby, David Wells.
There is also a clipping from the Minneapolis paper reporting the death of England’s King George VI and a photo of the new Queen Elizabeth dated Feb. 6, 1952.
One of the radio program advertisements Bernie must have enjoyed listening to was Cedric Adams and his “Sunday Souvenirs” program broadcast at 1 p.m. on WCCO.
Well wishes from friends and neighbors included:
—Welcome Baby Girl!! I wish you happiness, good health and prosperity through all your lifetime. Congratulations to your mother and father and may your presence bring them much joy and contentment. —Margaret TeWinkel.
—To the Sweet Little Baby, sure glad you have arrived and are so sweet, you will have many little playmates in your neighborhood to play with. Your daddy and mother are so proud of you and I think you are tops. Your brothers and sister are sure thrilled over your arrival also. I bet when you come home you will be spoiled by all your admirers. —Your loving neighbor, Virginia Pedersen.
—Dear Little Newcomer: Welcome. Hope you will be as happy as you’re making your Mom & Dad. You are arriving at a nice time of the year, it won’t be long before Mom will have you out in the buggy showing you off to all her friends. Hope you come over to see us. I have a son that is a good friend of your two brothers. I wish you all the happiness in the world in the world and a long life. —Ruby Hawkinson.
There are pages and pages of household ads from that time — car advertisements, clothing styles for the whole family, a program from the 1952 Ice Follies playing in the Twin Cities, along with Sunday comics including Li’l Abner, Blondie, and Sad Sack.
She even listed grocery prices: butter, 81 cents/lb., eggs 40 cents/dozen, milk 18 cents/quart; steak 90 cents/lb.; pork 45 cents/lb.; potatoes 79 cents/10 pounds; coffee 91 cents/lb.; flour $4.25/50 pounds.
The boys’ shoes cost $8.98 and $10; Shari’s were $6.98; overalls $2.89; shirt $2; coats $10-$25, and overshoes $5.98.
Bernie kept it current with Mary Jo and Dwight Nelson’s wedding program from 1973 tucked in the book.