Snooping at the Teacher’s Desk

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

Friday, November 17, 1911:Another girl and I made our teacher feel cross for awhile this afternoon.  He had drawn a picture of a ring and beneath it we wrote “my diamond.”  Now he gives some of us credit for snooping at everything he has on his desk.

Did the paper look like this?

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

This is one of my favorite diary entries. Grandma must have been a hoot when she was young.

This entry also makes me wish that I knew more about her teacher. I know that the teacher’s name was Howard Northrop—but little else.  In most diary entries he seems like the stereotypical teacher—gives hard tests, puts Grandma on the spot sometimes when she isn’t paying attention, etc.

In this post her teacher seems really human—How old was he? Was he cute? Did he have a girlfriend? Was he thinking of asking her to marry him? If so, how did it all work out?

6 Responses

  1. I found myself asking the same questions you did, Sheryl. Hopefully he started putting his personal things away in a drawer after dealing with the curious girls!

  2. My immediate guess was he had marriage on his mind. Wonder how it turned out? teenage girls must drive teachers mad.

  3. […] and almost one of the gang. For example, in the fall Grandma and other girls teased him about drawing a picture of a diamond ring, and the previous winter he fell through the ice while skating one evening with students. […]

  4. […] How did Grandma know what her grades were going to be prior to receiving the report card? Was she again snooping around the teacher’s desk? […]

  5. […] about tests . . .  the time  a boy chased her around the wood or coal stove . . . the time she teased her teacher about drawing a picture of a ring, the times wind rattled the windows, the time she cheated on a test . . […]

  6. […] often gave him a hard time. For example, she once got into trouble for snooping at his desk. She found a drawing of a ring on his desk, and wrote “My Diamond” beneath […]

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