Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Please Pass the Iodized Salt, No Goitering

by Connie Cortright

Photo from Wikicommons
We don't see someone looking like the picture on the left much anymore today. This woman has a goiter on her neck. A goiter is a lump in the area of the neck caused from the swelling of the thyroid gland located at the base of the neck. Back in the early 20th century, especially in the area of the Great Lakes and the Pacific Northwest, goiters affected many people, including small children. The thyroid gland can swell to this size when there is a lack of iodine in a person's diet. The soil in those regions didn't contain enough iodine, and thus, their food didn't either.

Our country wasn't the only one with the goiter problems. During the late 1800s several scientists were doing experimental work using iodine to combat goiters. By 1915 a Swiss doctor,  Dr. Bayard, experimented with school children. He used salt, containing a small amount of iodine, in their diet to find out if it made a difference. He could see the goiters decrease the longer he used the iodized salt in their food. When he stopped using the iodized salt, the goiters would increase in size. By 1922, Switzerland passed a law requiring iodine to be used in salt throughout the entire country.

David Cowie, chairman of the Pediatrics Department at the University of Michigan, conducted a similar study in his state in 1922. When he found the same results, he urged Michigan to adopt the iodized salt solution for their goiter outbreak and developed the Iodized Salt Committee to push the same solution nationwide. On May 1, 1924 iodized salt was available on grocery shelves in Michigan.

The Morton Salt Company didn't object to this inexpensive change. They readily changed their salt formulas by adding a small amount of iodine. All of the states didn't find the necessity of doing this, but the number of goiters shrunk considerably where the iodized salt was in use. Today countries the world over used iodized salt to help with this health problem.

I remember my grandma talking about goiters when I was little. I'm glad we don't share this problem with our grandparents/great-grandparents. Now I know why it's important to choose iodized salt when I'm in the grocery store.

It has also been shown that a lack of iodine during pregnancy can influence the mental health of a baby. It has been linked to difficulty with mental processing, coordination, extreme fatigue, and depression. Maybe we could use that excuse when a doctor tells us to cut down on our salt intake.

Please pass the salt.

Information taken from Why iodine is added to salt and History of US Iodine Fortification

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Day is Here!

In honor of my husband's birthday, I'm announcing that my book is now officially published! 

Trouble brews when a naive Lutheran school teacher meets the Roaring Twenties. Her caring, young pastor attempts to keep her out of trouble. Will he succeed?

During the Roaring Twenties, young Emma Ehlke leaves her family’s Wisconsin farm home to take up a new teaching post at a Lutheran parochial school in the city. Excited at the prospect of life in a modern city, fear of the unknown is also Emma’s companion as she steps off the train. She soon meets the dashing young Freddie who takes it upon himself to be Emma’s guide to city life in the jazz age. At the same time, the young and single minister of her new church, Pastor Neil Hannemann, also wants to take her under his wing, but not like Freddie! Emma finds herself torn between the novelties offered by Freddie and his friends and the faithful path on which Pastor Hannemann wants to lead her. Which way will she go? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Almost Here!

I received the "proof copy" of my novel today. It's quite a feeling to hold in my hands the book that I've spent countless hours working on. It will take a couple days yet to finish the process, but I should have a big announcement next week sometime!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lutheran School Teachers in the 20s

by Connie Cortright 

With the release of "Guide Me Home" in the next week, I'm going to print my "Author's Note" that is in the beginning of my book. Since my novel takes place in 1926, there is a definite historical background that needs to be understood before the book is read. In my blog post this week, I'm taking the time to do a bit of explaining for everyone not familiar with the lingo and traditions of Lutheran culture.

So here is a tidbit in Lutheran history...

Guide Me Home is the story of a Lutheran parochial school teacher in the Roaring Twenties. In Wisconsin and the Midwest at this time in addition to public schools, Roman Catholic parishes and Lutheran parishes commonly operated elementary schools for their respective church’s children.
Our heroine, Miss Emma Ehlke, is not a “Lutheran nun,” but a young, single woman who was trained for her profession in a teacher’s college run by her Lutheran denomination. Her training was similar to the normal school colleges, which trained public school teachers, but she was also taught to teach religion to her students.
New teachers like Emma were assigned to teach at a Lutheran grade school upon graduation from college. Typically, a school board chosen from among the men of the congregation governed Lutheran schools. The Lutheran school was an endeavor that involved the entire congregation.
Since virtually all the children attending Emma’s school were from the congregation’s families, Emma would be expected to hold devotions, teach Bible stories, and also hymnody. Older students would receive instruction in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism by the pastor in preparation for reception into the congregation as young, “confirmed” adults. New adult converts to Lutheranism also had to study the doctrines of their new faith by the same method.
In the story, Pastor Hannemann lives in a “parsonage,” a supplied home situated next to the church. Married male teachers usually lived in “teacherages” owned by the congregation. Young, unmarried teachers like Emma were usually boarded with a church family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Frozen - The 1920s Version

I understand that blogs sometimes have guest authors, so today we’re having a guest give a firsthand account of how ice for iceboxes was made. The author is my grandfather who was born in 1900. Before he passed away in 1985, he wrote down his “memoirs” for his family. The following is his description of cutting ice for icehouses:

“On the farm we always had our own ice on the other end of the building where the milk separator and milk utensils were kept. The icehouse part was double boarded with four inch studding to form an air space between the walls. There was one door in the north end so the ice could be put in or taken out as the occasion arose.

Each winter, usually the latter part of February or the first part of March, when the ice in Bear Lake got to be 22 to 24 inches thick, the icehouse was filled. It usually held from 125 to 150 cakes of ice, which was cut in twenty-four inches square at the top of the ice.

To start with, a hole had to be cut in the ice far enough out in the lake to have clear clean water. After the snow had been removed, the ice was marked on top into lines that were twenty-four inches square. An ice saw was inserted into the hole and then with an up and down movement the ice could be cut into squares. After the first row was removed, then one could cut a whole row and then into squares.

Photo from Wikicommons
To get the first two out, you had to watch out or you could slip back into the hole yourself very easily. One used an ice tongs that had points on each side to clamp into the ice block. By bobbing the cake up and down once or twice, the block could be landed on top of the ice. When about twenty cakes were cut, you could start loading them on a sleigh. That was a good sized load, and the driver could start for home. The ice had to be tied on each end of the sleigh to keep the ice from sliding off. If you were not careful of the holes in the road, the ropes would be broken and you would lose the whole load.

One person usually did the cutting, while the other hauled with the help of the kids at the icehouse. The cakes of ice were placed side by side on a four inch floor of sawdust. About six inches were left open on all sides of the building for saw dust after the building was filled. As all cakes were not always square and did not fit together exactly true, an adz was used to chip off the sides so they would fit. When the layer was completed the tops of each cake was chiseled down so that the cracks between could be filled and tamped down tight. Then the next layer was added until the building was filled.
Photo from Wikicommons

When that was completed about two loads of sawdust was shoveled in the sides and tamped down tight. The less airspace, the longer the ice would last. When the ice was removed, only one cake at a time, it was taken out just as it was put in only in reverse. Each time only the part to be taken was uncovered and then the hole covered and packed down firm.”

Even after reading his description, I can’t imagine how that ice could remain frozen throughout a summer and into the fall to keep an icebox cold. Also, I can’t imagine how much ice a city had to cut to keep all the iceboxes cold for a whole year! What a cold job! BRRRR!