Open Session: What Readers Think


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Beautiful writing - I'm writing in regard to the woman from Marysville, Kan., who wrote of her love of living a farm life with her husband ('Simplicity made up lifetime of romance,' February). That was beautiful!

Jean Sorensen
Aurora, Neb.

Remember Mom Day - I'm surrounded by living proof that many wives have daily routines that could try anyone's patience. On either side of me live young families with wives who manage to combine keeping house, working two jobs, and staying socially active after working hours. My husband and I marvel at the pace and endurance of these mothers, who take two jobs in stride and complain only about the bad weather.

One of the wives works in an office and also peddles cosmetics after hours for extra money. She attends church and club functions as well, to stay in the social flow. Her young children have an excellent role model.

The other housewife has a factory position, and she thinks nothing of wearing herself out physically as she works toward amassing money for a family vacation and gifts for less-­fortunate relatives. She manages to go to her health club once a week, where she unwinds by lifting weights, trotting in place, and taking a steam bath to roll off those dreadful calories.

A lot of busy wives work two jobs both to bring in extra bucks and to stay physically fit. Not long ago, I read in a women's magazine that helpful wives with two jobs and a sense of humor make harmony and extra money a household miracle. Those wives also fix the family meals and see that needed vitamins are taken to build rosy cheeks.

Growing up on a farm, myself, we took what came and made do with what was available. My mom assigned us children chores around the place and drilled into us that no one but God got along without working.

To celebrate the need and importance of Mom in our lives, we should have an annual Remember Mom Day to recognize that life wouldn't be normal without her. To make it official, the governor - or even the local mayor - should pass a law citing Mom as the foundation of everything. I was inspired with this idea by my two neighbors.

Although two jobs by the same person today seems to run the country, most people manage to keep up their measure of things in general. They take the rough life in stride, caution their husbands that it takes the right foot forward to keep up with the times, and they plan ahead to stay abreast with competitors.

Whether or not the governor or the mayor proclaimed a Remember Mom Day, I'd put it on our family calendar.

Helen B. Bach
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Editor's note: We do, of course, have Mother's Day, but its purpose has gotten obscured. How about if we all strive to return the day to its original purpose, and make it about acknowledgment - instead of about stuff?

Gone Fishin' - Spring is in the air, and with it comes outdoor activities. This photograph shows great-grandsons Garrison and Korbin Smith plotting to catch a big fish at Nelson Park in Lebanon, Mo. The boys are the sons of Jeremy Smith and Stacie Danrell, both of Lebanon.

Norma Woosley
Lebanon, Mo.


Enjoyed pioneer fiction - I have been reading your monthly stories, and The Agreement by Jo Maseberg, which concluded in December 2007, kept me guessing. I figured that Caroline's father would find her. I liked the way the story ended.

I would like some more information on soddie homes. How big could they be built?

Merle Bowers
Forsyth, Ill.

Editor's note: We didn't know the answer to your question, Merle, so we sent it along to Fred Juenemann, who lives with his wife, Lesa, in the Minor Sod House, located near Brewster, Kan.

Juenemann wrote back to tell us that most sod h­ouses were one-room buildings that measured about 14 feet by 16 feet.

'Walls were made of strips of native sod 4 inches thick,' he wrote. These were laid horizontally, 'in courses like bricks, with the grass (top) side down, making 2-foot-thick walls. The roofs were usually thatched or covered with sod.'

The Juenemann's house is larger than most soddies. It measures 48 feet by 19 feet, with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. Its sod exterior has been protected with a cement covering since about 1918. However, the sod can still be seen through a window inside one of the house's walls.

We asked Juenemann if he would recommend any books about sod houses, and he suggested readers seek out Sod Walls, by Roger Welsch. The 208-page book includes more than 100 photos and drawings, and sells for $12.95 (plus sales tax in Nebraska). You may order it by writing to Lee Booksellers, P.O. Box 5575, Lincoln NE 68505. The publisher can also be reached at 1 (888) 665-0999, or by sending an e-mail to

You may also be pleased to know that The Agreement is now available in book form. For ordering information, click on the following link:

Open Session

We welcome letters from readers. If you have an opinion or comment on an article you saw in CAPPER'S that you'd like to share, send it to Open Session, CAPPER'S, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.