Painting the Barn Red

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, July 26, 1911: The barn is gradually turning to a deeper shade of red under the swift strokes of the painter’s brush. Carrie and I had intended to go to a picnic next Friday, but something unforeseen intervened, and I for my part have given up going entirely.

Recent photo of the barn

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

When I look at the weathered gray barn that sits on the farm where Grandma grew up, it’s hard to envision how majestic it must have looked in  its heyday.

The family had built an addition on the barn in the Spring and now were apparently painting the entire barn red so that the two sections matched.

Picnic Plans

I wonder why Grandma no longer plans to attend the picnic. What does “something unforeseen intervened” refer to? Does she need to help on the farm? . . Might she possibly have been grounded for some reason? . . though it seems like she would have mentioned the reason if she had been grounded.  . . or . . .

3 Responses

  1. [...] also mentioned the upcoming picnic in the previous day’s diary entry and that she probably won’t go because “something unforeseen [...]

  2. [...] seems like the picnic was a major social event—yet Grandma didn’t go. On the 26th she wrote that she wasn’t going because something had intervened; and on the 27th she again [...]

  3. [...] paints became widely available in the late 1800s. The July 26 diary entry mentioned that the barn was being painted red—and now the house was being painted. Like [...]

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