Evelyn in the Evelyn Room
Evelyn in the "Evelyn Room,"
at Dale Chihuly glass studio, Seattle, Washington
Newspaper and Magazine Columns

Evelyn has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers over the past five decades.

Evelyn started writing a weekly newspaper column for the Shenandoah (Iowa) Evening Sentinel in 1949. The Sentinel eventually became the Valleys News Today and Evelyn continues to write for this newspaper. She has written her newspaper column every week, without fail, for over 60 years. Evelyn also wrote monthly columns for Kitchen-Klatter Magazine for almost 30 years.

Links to Evelyn's newspaper and magazine columns and archives:

Evelyn's current weekly newspaper columns

Evelyn's archived weekly newspaper columns
(1949 to 2014)

Evelyn's monthly Kitchen-Klatter Magazine columns
(samples from 1958)

Dec 10, 2018
Living a life with fewer possessions
One of my sons recently told me about a magazine article discussing downsizing. That is the process an older generation goes through as they adjust to smaller living spaces.

Dec 3, 2018
Up a Country Lane. December 5. 2018
Last week we had a very big storm. Sidney was right in the path of it, and got the brunt of snow and wind. Fortunately, weather broadcasters had given us plenty of warning that bad weather was approaching.

Nov 12, 2018
The life and times of Captain of the Roma, Major John Thornell
Last year I wrote about an event hosted in the Sidney Cemetery by the Fremont Country Historical Society. Members stood by graves of notable Sidney citizens and told their stories. Included was Major John Thornell.

Oct 29, 2018
Pumpkin Heads and More

Oct 24, 2018
My son Bob just returned from Georgia and Moldova. He was part of a team sent by the US Forest Service to help the national parks and forests in those countries with their trails.

Oct 15, 2018
More Memories of The Iowan Magazine
Last week I reminisced about the beginnings of The Iowan magazine and the place it has in my heart. It started in Shenandoah in 1952 and is still published today. As I thought about its early days, I got in touch with several dear friends who were involved in The Iowan's history.

Oct 8, 2018
The Iowan Magazine - A Memory of Its Early Years
The Iowan Magazine has long been a fixture in the Midwest, telling stories and showing images of the best of our state. The publication got its start in Shenandoah in the early 1950s. Its creation is an important part of Southwest Iowa history.

Sep 26, 2018
A friendship like that with Virginia is hard to find
In a recent column I mentioned my dear friend Virginia Miller. She is gone now, but her memory lives on in a 2010 issue of Saveur, the magazine of fine food, devoted to the "25 Greatest Meals Ever.""

Sep 17, 2018
Rattlesnake traps, pet skunks and running away from home
When my sons were young, I was determined that they grow up not to be fearful. Sometimes they were far ahead of me.

Sep 10, 2018
It's been a bad year for allergies
My friends who have hay fever tell me that this has been a very bad year for allergy sufferers. Oh how I can sympathize. The term hay fever has come to mean any allergic reaction to pollen, ragweed, and other plants.

Aug 27, 2018
Celebrating 60 years with the Nicolazzis
I love to hear stories about what's happening with my family and friends. Since I don't get out as much as I used to, their reports fill my mind with colorful pictures of all they are doing.

Aug 14, 2018
Evelyn sings the praises of napping
I enjoy a good nap. I've always been able to lie down in the middle of the day, get comfortable, and doze off for a few minutes. Then I wake up refreshed and ready for whatever comes next.

Aug 9, 2018
A birthday, bicycles, and a bus
It has been a very busy week here on Honey Hill. These are the first days that I have been 99 years old, and the pace doesn't seem to have slowed down at all.

Jul 30, 2018
Evelyn celebrates 99th birthday

Jul 20, 2018
Evelyn remembers when she rode RAGBRAI
My three sons are on RAGBRAI this week, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Their trip has caused me to look back at columns I wrote the three times RAGBRAI came through Sidney.

Jul 15, 2018
Evelyn and former Governor Ray
Robert Ray recently passed away. As governor of Iowa from 1969 until 1983, he was my favorite politician.

Jul 9, 2018
From Tallgrass to Knee High
Several people have told me that there is a new exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum in West Branch, Iowa, that includes some of my columns. One is Megan Rohman, daughter of Shenandoah's Bill and Laura Danforth.

Jul 1, 2018
Up a Country Lane - from July 13, 1952

Jun 24, 2018
Hair history
It was a rare dry day in a wet week when I went to the hairdresser in Sidney to have my hair colored and cut. I have the fastest growing, healthiest head of hair of anyone in this part of the country at almost age 99.

Jun 13, 2018
Remembering the 2000 Mississippi Queen riverboat trip
My son Bob just called from Pittsburgh where he is helping train crew leaders for this summer's conservation work. His call brought back memories of a wonderful trip to that city.

Jun 4, 2018
Touring Ireland on Foot
From previous trips to Scotland and England, we'd discovered that hiking the countryside and staying in small villages is a wonderful way to learn about a place and its people. We settled this time on Ireland.

May 27, 2018
What Freedom means to me
In May of 1966, I shared the results of a sixth grade class assignment completed by Mrs. Sugden's sixth grade class at Sidney Grade School. She asked each student to write a paragraph on the subject "What Freedom Means to Me." With Memorial Day fresh in mind, I'd like to revisit the though

May 21, 2018
Watching the Royal Wedding
Did you watch the royal wedding last weekend when Britain's Prince Harry Married Meghan Markle? I heard that three billion people around the world viewed it on television. I was one of them.

May 14, 2018
A Story of Family and Graduation
Last weekend Evelyn's grandson Nicholas Birkby received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin's School of Business.

May 14, 2018
A Story of Family and Graduation

Apr 30, 2018
The Girl Graduate in Her Own Words

Apr 23, 2018
Stitches, Seams, and Sewing Machines
When I entered the seventh grade, my mother told me it was time she taught me how to sew. She had a White electric sewing machine that she used whenever anyone in our family had clothing that needed mending or a skirt or trousers in need of a hem.

Apr 16, 2018
A visit from special relatives and friends
The other day my home was full of joy and love. Wonderful visitors stopped by to see me.

Apr 9, 2018
99 years of memories offer comfort
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. I start thinking about times gone by, and that can help me doze off again. With almost 99 years of memories, I am always surprised by what pops into my head.

Apr 1, 2018
Signs of spring starting to sprout

Mar 25, 2018
Baby chicks, ducks and rabbits

Mar 19, 2018
Easter wishes to you and yours
Have you ever made Easter eggs out of boiled potatoes? It sounds strange, but it was a recipe sent to me years ago by a listener.

Mar 12, 2018
Remember fun, family times on the Oregon coast
Do you know what hackles are? Long ago they played a role in an interesting Shenandoah story.

Mar 5, 2018
Finally, there are signs of spring
With winter still hanging around, I have been asking people if they are seeing signs of spring. I am happy to report that we might finally be having a change in the weather.

Feb 26, 2018
Aimee Semple McPherson, a super-salesperson of the church
Billy Graham died last week. As a minister's daughter and someone with a lifelong interest in religion, I have always been interested in Reverend Graham's ministry and those of other well-known evangelists.

Feb 19, 2018
A nice visit from Craig and family
I'd been looking forward to last weekend for a long time because special visitors were coming. My son Craig, his wife Sharon, and their daughter Amanda arrived from Seattle.

Feb 12, 2018
Up a County Lane Feb. 14 - The history of Honey Hill
Like many people in Southwest Iowa, Evelyn has been under the weather this week. She thought readers might like a sunny column she wrote in the spring of 1980. Enjoy!

Feb 5, 2018
There are similarities between Evelyn and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Jan 29, 2018
Right on schedule to simplify my life
It is the middle of the winter, but spring will be here soon. Then it will be time to open the doors and windows, get out mops and brooms, and get rid of a winter's worth of dust and clutter.

Jan 22, 2018
Wonderful, warm people help keep the cold away
The cold winter we're having has gotten me thinking about warm places I have been.

Jan 14, 2018
Frosty camp outs and staying sane when stuck inside

Jan 8, 2018
Times sure have changed with parenting
The other day my son Bob called to tell me he had been clearing out some boxes in his office and came across the bill for his birth on January 7, 1950. The total was $85.15. Included in the bill were six days in the hospital for me, use of the delivery room, and medications.

Jan 1, 2018
Evelyn's resolution for 2017
Many people make New Year's resolutions about eating less. I'm resolving to eat more of foods I like, even those that aren't interesting to others.

Dec 25, 2017
Sledding has changed over the years

Dec 18, 2017
Celebrating Being With Family and Dec. 20
December 20 is one of my favorite days of the year. The holidays are well underway. Christmas events are everywhere. Colorful lights are on trees. There is music in the air.

Dec 11, 2017
Life Imitating Art With Norman Rockwell
A book I've been enjoying lately is American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, by Deborah Solomon. Rockwell has long been one of my favorite artists, but I've never known very much about his life. Through this well-written book, I am learning a lot.

Dec 4, 2017
Evelyn's History With Fruitcake
The Christmas season is fast approaching. With it come fruitcakes, as much a part of the holidays as evergreen trees, Santa Claus, and stockings hung by the fireplace.

Nov 27, 2017
Remembering Thanksgivings Past
A highlight of Thanksgiving is food, and this year's holiday was no exception. It began two days before Thanksgiving Day when my son Jeff arrived from Montana to spend a week with me.

Nov 20, 2017
Ideas for Evelyn's Columns Come From Many Sources
Occasionally someone will ask me how I come up with the subjects to write about in my columns.

Nov 13, 2017
Remembering Bobble Head Dolls
The other morning a friend was here and asked me a question. I didn't say yes, I just nodded my head.

Nov 6, 2017
Evelyn's Passion for Writing
I have always been interested in writing. When I was in high school I had a small diary that I could lock with a tiny key. Our family moved every two or three years because my father was a minister. My diary was full of what I saw in the new towns and the people who were there.

Oct 30, 2017
Reflecting on Halloweens Past
I enjoy decorating in the autumn, especially with Halloween at the end of October. This year I have three pumpkins on the porch. My little table in the living room has some miniature ceramic pumpkins and a ceramic scarecrow.

Oct 23, 2017
Celebrating Iowa Farmers, Norman Borlaug and the World Food Prize
Last Thursday evening I watched the Iowa Public Television coverage of the annual World Food Prize presentation. I try to see this every year. It is such an impressive program of people coming from around the globe to discuss eliminating hunger everywhere.

Oct 18, 2017
Bob's Visit and Remembering Robert
It has been one year since my husband Robert passed away. I find it incredible that the time has gone so rapidly. Even so, I was not looking forward to the anniversary of that day.

Oct 9, 2017
Backpacking Yellowstone National Park
My sons Jeff and Craig spent last week backpacking in Yellowstone National Park. I've asked Jeff to share the story.

Oct 3, 2017
Backyard chickens and the work that goes with it
My son Bob told me he has friends in Seattle who have chickens. Seattle allows people to raise up to three chickens in their backyards. So Bob's friends are giving it a try, even though they've never lived on a farm.

Sep 26, 2017
Memories From a Jar of Fresh Jam
My friend Sandy Harvey brought me some pear honey she had just made. She called it that because it looks like honey and has the same consistency, but is really a very light jam.

Sep 19, 2017
Celebrating Amanda's 13th birthday 'Smore Style
September 9 was my granddaughter Amanda's 13th birthday. She is now a teenager and I am very proud to have her as my granddaughter. I talked with her and her dad recently and got a first-hand account of her birthday party.

Sep 11, 2017
Thoughts of Floods Past
The recent flooding happening in the southern part of the United States brings to mind floods that have been closer to home.

Sep 5, 2017
Jeff and Bob Birkbys Solar Eclipse Experiences
Last week my son Craig shared the story of how he and his family experienced the recent solar eclipse. Now I've asked my sons Jeff and Bob to tell about where they were and what they did on that momentous occasion. First, Jeff.

Aug 28, 2017
Craig Birkby Shares His Eclipse Experience
Well that was fun! The eclipse came and went, and I was impressed with the excitement it created wherever it cast its shadow.

Aug 21, 2017
The Birkby Backyard
Our backyard has always been a place where our family could play, gather for meals, and enjoy the seasons. It has also been home to many animals that think it is more their home than it is ours.

Aug 15, 2017
What Are You Passionate About?
Sometimes when I sit and think, I find it interesting to see where my mind goes. Today, I began thinking about my passions and was surprised by how many I have. When I was a young girl in Dexter, Iowa, the town did not have a library. My father would drive to nearby Stuart where they did have a library and bring home armloads of books for my sister and me.

Aug 8, 2017
The Incredible Food of RAGBRAI
RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa, is always held the last full week of July. Now in its 45th year, RAGBRAI features 10,000 cyclists biking seven days from the Missouri River on the western border of Iowa to the Mississippi River on Iowa's eastern border.

Aug 2, 2017
The Joy of Walking into a Library
When I was a young girl in Dexter, Iowa, the town did not have a library. My father would drive to nearby Stuart where they did have a library and bring home armloads of books for my sister and me.

Jul 25, 2017
Not So Easy Ways to be 98
My 98th birthday is coming up quickly. I am amazed the time has gone by so quickly, but I look forward to some more good years. My son Bob was here in May, and I asked him how he thought I was doing. He told me that the air might be slowly going out of my tires, but they're not flat yet!

Jul 18, 2017
Lifelong Lessons Through the Boy Scouts for the Birkbys
When my sons were Boy Scouts, I sewed lots of patches onto their uniforms. There were "temporary patches" that they earned through an event or activity.

Jul 12, 2017
The Winds of Change Have Come to Southwest Iowa
A Shenandoah friend tells me she was awakened the other night by the sound of train cars. They were moving the parts for wind machines to the edge of Shenandoah where they are loaded onto trucks for the drive to a new wind farm near Tarkio, Missouri.

Jul 6, 2017
The Hard, Satisfying Work of Putting Up Square Bales of Hay
I am amazed to see the huge round hay bales in fields these days. One farmer with one baling machine can do the work that used to take a crew of men all day long.

Jun 28, 2017
A Good Pair of Shoes Can Be Hard to Come By
I had an appointment with the foot doctor the other day. Lately I've been bothered by two ingrown toenails, one in each foot. Dr. Andrew Stanislav at Grape Memorial Hospital in Hamburg told me he could take care of them.

Jun 27, 2017
Finding Lost Things
Do you ever lose things? I think the most common are socks. We usually lose just one at a time. What can you do with the surviving sock?

Jun 14, 2017
The Peacefulness of Hymns
When I think about the music that has been important in my life, many of the songs are hymns. I find myself humming hymns, and sometimes I'll start singing an old favorite.

Jun 7, 2017
Two Iowa Boys in Scotland
I had been to Scotland 25 years ago with my mother and brother to visit relatives, but had always wanted to return to spend more time hiking in the beautiful mountains and valleys. My Shenandoah friend Bill Danforth said he would join me for a hike into the heart of Scotland's wild country...

May 31, 2017
Making The Choice To Have A Good Day
One of my favorite events just happened. Each year for the last 10 years I've attended the Sidney High School senior awards ceremony to present a scholarship in honor of our daughter Dulcie Jean.

May 24, 2017
A Program Celebrating the Apron
The Fremont County Historical Society hosted an Apron Luncheon fund-raiser on May 13 at The Gathering Place in Sidney. I enjoyed the event thoroughly.

May 17, 2017
The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life
I recently heard that the oldest living person in the world has died. Emma Morano was 117 years old!

May 9, 2017
A Way to Honor Robert
Our family has always had a love affair with trees. One of my favorites was a gnarled redbud that grew in the front yard of our home when we lived two miles south of Sidney. In the spring, the blossoms made it as beautiful as a tree can be.

May 2, 2017
A Trip to Iceland Through the Eyes of Amanda
Being an armchair traveler is one of my favorite activities these days. Recently my son Craig and my twelve year old granddaughter Amanda went to Iceland. I learned about their trip from a phone call with Amanda. Here is her report.

Apr 25, 2017
Why Don't People Make May Baskets Anymore?
May Day is nearly here, the first day of that springtime month. It has gotten me thinking about a tradition I love but don't see much these days. That is the making and giving of May baskets.

Apr 19, 2017
A Visit from a Student of History
I had a visit recently from a wonderful friend, Kären Mason. She and I have known one another many years and I am always pleased to have the chance to sit with her and talk.

Apr 12, 2017
Nothing Quite Like a Donut Stop Doughnut
Not long ago, the Travel Iowa website celebrated the Donut Stop in Shenandoah for having the fifth best doughnuts in the entire state.

Apr 5, 2017
Broken Collarbones are Strangely Common for the Birkbys
The Birkbys have had more broken collarbones than any family I know. I say this because of a call I got last week from my son Craig who reported that his brother Bob had just broken his collarbone.

Mar 29, 2017
Cutting The Apron Strings with your Children
The other day I was cleaning out a bedroom our sons had shared decades ago. In one the drawers I found a box of apron strings I had cut from my old aprons over 40 years ago. The memories of the meaning of those cut apron strings came flooding back.

Mar 21, 2017
Fine Midwestern Cooking and a Special Visitor
My son Craig came from his home in Seattle for a brief weekend visit recently. He was here for only a couple of days, but we packed a lot of good things into that time.

Mar 14, 2017
The Many Ways Poetry Is Ageless And Limitless
I have always loved poetry. I give credit for that to my parents. Both were very articulate, spoke well, and loved reading. They insisted my sister and I use correct grammar, and encouraged us to read and write.

Mar 7, 2017
A Special Visit From a Fellow Author, Lyz Lenz
Last week, I had a very special guest come for a visit from her home in Cedar Rapids. Her name is Lyz Lenz. A year ago she published an article in Pacific Standard magazine titled "The Death of the Midwestern Church" that looked at the challenges facing churches in small towns.

Feb 28, 2017
Beauty and Peace Found at Waubonsie
The warm weather last week brought a number of people to walk the trails and have picnics at Waubonsie State Park in the bluffs six miles from Sidney. That reminded me of the many times I have enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors at Waubonsie, preserved for all to enjoy.

Feb 21, 2017
The Many Ways Plants And Flowers Bring Joy To Our Lives
With the wonderful, warm weather we have been having lately, I've started thinking about spring coming soon. With spring come many flowers and other plants that bring such joy to our lives.

Feb 14, 2017
Keeping Those Connections from the Past is Important
I always pay special attention to the first sentences of books. Its purpose is to pull the reader into the pages, and I realize that is extremely important to the success of a book.

Feb 7, 2017
Encouragement from Amanda
It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to lose your home and all your possessions and have almost nowhere to go. That is the reality for many people in war-torn areas of the world. Fleeing from unendurable conditions, many of those have found themselves in overcrowded refugee camps...

Jan 31, 2017
How Being a Cub Scout Den Mother Enriched My Life
Last week brought news that a long time friend of our family had passed on. Morgan West was about the age of my sons and an important part of our lives.

Evelyn’s Faith Journey
Several weeks ago I wrote about the early years of my faith journey, from my earliest memories of church to my years in grade school.

Virginia’s Pork Chops
On my bookshelf is a copy of the October, 2010, Saveur magazine, a publication of gourmet cooking and fine dining. The photograph filling the cover is of Iowa pork chops prepared with a special glaze. “25 Greatest Meals Ever,” reads one headline. “Insanely Delicious Barbecue Pork Chops,” says another.

Memories of Church
With Easter just passed, I have been thinking about faith. My first memories of church were in Dexter, Iowa, where we lived when I was six years old. My father was the minister, so naturally, our family went to every church service.

Skiing Fun in Europe
My sons Craig and Bob just returned from skiing in Europe. I’ve asked Bob to write a column about their trip to share some adventures and perhaps even a recipe. Here it is.

Evelyn’s College Story
I was going through some boxes the other day when I ran across a paper I thought was long lost. It was my college diploma, and it brought back a flood of memories.

Thinking Positively
My friend Cissy Voyles says I am happy every day. It makes her wonder if I have a secret.

Goodbye, Walter Birkby
We just received word that our distant relative, Walter Birkby, has passed away. I only met him once, but I enjoyed his cheerful spirit and inquisitive nature. For someone so involved in life, it is curious that he was famous among certain scientists across America as “Dr. Death.”

Evelyn's Love of Music
After writing last week about pianists Adam Swanson and Marty Mincer, my mind has been on music. In fact, I have CDs from these two amazing pianists that I play often as I write. Their music keeps me energized, so that is the first of a number of reasons music is important to me--it helps me write.

Marty and Adam, What a Pair
It would be amazing enough if Southwest Iowa had produced one world champion ragtime pianist. In fact we can boast of two — Marty Mincer and Adam Swanson. Their talent is amazing, and they are known throughout the nation and overseas as well. I’m pleased to say I recently visited with both of them.

What an Unusual Winter
We have been having a most unusual winter, though I’m not sure why anybody is surprised to find cold weather in Iowa in February. Of the 95 winters I have known, some have been colder than others. Some have had lots of snow, while others had very little. If February is too mild and dry, I become concerned. So I am actually all right with the frigid, snowy winter we have been having.

The Art of Mending Clothes
Does anyone mend clothing anymore?

Remembering Agnes
When my family moved to Sidney in 1935, there was a popular radio character named Seth Parker. He was played by Phillip Lord who used his memories of his backwoods preacher grandfather to write radio programs full of fun, music, and an occasional sermon.

Everyone Has a Story
Everyone has a story. For many years I have encouraged people to write down some of their stories. It is a wonderful way to reflect on what has been important in life, and to share with friends and family.

Evelyn's archived weekly newspaper columns from 1949 through 2005 at the
University of Iowa Digital Library (keyword searchable)

A sample of Evelyn's monthly columns for Kitchen-Klatter Magazine from 1958.

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