16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, June 10, 1911: The carpenters went away today and I sort of miss them, especially in my stack of dishes. Heard this morning that we will have the same old teacher back that we had last year. Mrs. Edith Reynolds was here a little while this afternoon. Came with her Harry.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I wonder if Grandma ever got to know the two carpenters she thought were cute who were helping build the barn addition.
Grandma’s friend Edith and her fiancé Harry got married in April—on the same day that Edith graduated from high school. I wonder how the marriage was going two months later. The April 1, 1911 issues of Ladies Home Journal had this advice for recently married women:
One thing the bride must try to remember: If things seem awry, if the home you have gone to isn’t like you thought it would be, and life begins to seem like a disappointment, it is your love, not his, that is inadequate. In the first glow of love you believed that his presence would glorify a hut; if the glory is gone it is yourself that has changed—not he. Can you understand this? You will some day.
Happily for us all, the boy and girl once married have courage to face facts that they do not quite understand; they have some sense of the sanctity of a vow taken under the auspices of religion and law; and, better still, they love each other deeply and truly, even while they misunderstand. This will tide them over until the child comes, and with its coming, if they are decent young folk, comes the utter irrevocableness of their union. They are parents. As such the dignity with which childish eyes will soon invest them begins to hang visibly about them. They dare not fail then in “their great task of happiness.”
“The Ideas of a Plain Country Woman,” Ladies Home Journal (April 1, 1911)
Whew, in 1911 they sure put a lot of the responsibility for a happy marriage on the woman—