Small Mistakes Can Make You Feel Bad

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

Thursday, January 11, 1912:Was so disappointed today in arithmetic. I was almost positive I would make a hundred, but instead, I only made ninety due to a small mistake in adding up, but big enough to make you feel bad.

Building that once housed the McEwensville schools. The high school was on the second floor.

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

The test would have been on cube roots. On January 5 and January 8 Grandma wrote about struggling to learn how to do them.

Even though Grandma was frustrated with herself, it’s better than some of her previous grades in math. For example, on October 31,1911 she wrote:

Feel rather doleful over the mark I made in Algebra: 68. 68, you I hate.

7 Responses

  1. Anybody who is disappointed at a 90% in Algebra has got to be doing great! I would have been so excited with a 90% when I was in Algebra.

  2. I agree! 90% sounds good to me.

  3. Yeah, but I understand those who obsess over the questions/problems missed rather than the one answered correctly.

  4. Also the picture of the school is great! I can just imagine how lofty (intented), those high schoolers felt when they attained the upper floor status.

    • Thanks for the great comment. I’d never thought about it before, but I think you’re absolutely right. The high school students probably felt really “cool” as they ascended the stairs.

  5. What a good student!
    And, I agree, the older two storey schools look much more like “status”. I don’t think today’s kids understand how precious education can be… but maybe no child does.

    • You’re probably right that it’s hard for a child to understand how precious an education can be. I’ve gained some useful insights over the years–and looking back, I can’t figure out why they weren’t obvious to me when I was younger.

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