Old-time grease buster - Recently, a reader requested suggestions on how to clean the baked-on grease from iron skillets. I remember how my aunt did it.
I was probably 8 to 10, sometime in the mid-1920s. On a sunny day, my mother, sister and I went to Aunt Anna's. There, a large iron kettle stood on legs, so that a fire could be built under it. The adults there were making soap. They had saved grease for the entire year, mostly from pork. It was mixed with other things, including lye. When it was cooked and ready, Aunt Anna and Mother skimmed the soap from the top of the kettle and put it into wooden boxes. After cooling, it was cut into bars. What remained in the kettle was mostly lye, and Mother and Aunt Anna put their iron skillets into it. After a time, it ate off the old grease, and we had 'new' skillets again.
I have been reading CAPPER'S since I was a child and now receive it in talking book form from the Nebraska Library for the Blind and Handicapped. (I have macular degeneration and can no longer read.) Thank you for such a great publication.
Be wary - In a recent Reader to Reader column, a reader asked for information on how to acquire a copy of her old high-school yearbook. My advice to her and others is to be mindful of scam artists.
After my yearbook request appeared in Reader to Reader, I received a letter from someone in Phoenix who claimed that he would sell me the yearbook for $30. I sent a check, he cashed it - and that ended the transaction!
I was scammed. I wrote to him, finally, and told him that I wouldn't sell my soul for $30, though he may have.
Longtime Reader - My mom, Myrtle Elmore Cox, of Elk City, Kan., turns 100 this year. She is the fourth member of her family to reach the landmark.
She taught in one-room schoolhouses for several years, raised her sons while helping on the farm, earned a degree and taught for another 20 years. After retiring, she tutored many children without charge.
She says she has probably been reading CAPPER'S for 99 years - she remembers her parents always had it in their home. I, too, remember CAPPER'S always being around the house, and I still read it whenever I visit Mom.
Heartfelt thanks - I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy CAPPER'S. I look forward to getting it every month. When I am finished reading it from cover to cover, I share it with our daughters. Your stories are so enjoyable, and Heart of the Home is really heartwarming. One learns something new every month. I've tried many of the recipes, and they are delicious. Please keep up the wonderful work. People need a great paper like CAPPER'S. God bless you.
Society columnist - I was interested in reading of Roxie McClendon, who wrote the society column in the weekly paper for so many years ('Small-town society columns endure,' April). I'm not as old as she, but until retiring January 1, I wrote news for our country paper (The Phonograph-Herald) of St. Paul, Neb., since 1968.
It was surprising to know how many people, near and far, read my column - and the number of elderly people who looked forward to my weekly phone calls. Relatives often told me, 'If I see Mom's name in the paper, I know that she is doing something and getting along OK.'
I also received many subscriptions. I'm 85 years old, and I thought it time to retire.
I enjoy your paper so much. If I could afford only one paper, it would definitely be CAPPER'S.
Unexpected memory - In August 2005, I visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, with a World War II veteran's organization. I was a top gunner on a B-29 Bomber during World War II. Our bomb group was stationed in Kharagpur, India, and later at West Field, Tinain, from which we bombed Japan.
We veterans had gone to the museum to view the various historical aircraft. In one of the large aircraft display hangers, in a remote area, there was a restored World War I Army truck. It popped into my mind that I had seen trucks like this before. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Army convoys drove past our South Omaha, Neb., home, traveling from Fort Crook and Fort Omaha.
When the northbound Army convoys from Fort Crook exited, we could hear them even though they were still a couple of blocks from our house. On such occasions, the adults and children in our neighborhood went close to the street to view the convoy and wave at the soldiers. We ran beside the slow convoy for a block or two, until we could no longer keep up with it. It was an enjoyable happening that repeated a few times each year.
Seeing the World War I vehicle - a Standard B 'Liberty' truck - was the highlight of my visit to the Air Force Museum. It took me mentally back in time to when I was a 10- to 12-year-old. What a memory!
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.