Moved Sister to Own Bedroom

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

Saturday, April 20, 1912:Locked Ruth out last night. I spent the afternoon cleaning house. It was my room. Rufus got stubborn and I had to do nearly all.

Picture of a bedroom in the April, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal. It probably doesn't look much like Grandma's bedroom--but it does provide an indication of what really nice bedrooms looked like a hundred years ago.

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

When Grandma was upset she called her sister Ruth,  “Rufus”.

This is the second day in a row that Grandma wrote about moving Ruth to another bedroom. They shared a room during the cold winter months—but had separate rooms during the remainder of the year.

Grandma apparently had the better bedroom because Ruth did not want to move—or maybe Ruth wanted to make her little sister do all of the work involved in the move.

14 Responses

  1. Since Ruth was the older sister, it makes me wonder why grandma had the better bedroom and why Ruth didn’t want to go back to her own room with the coming of warm weather.

  2. Maybe grandma was sickly as a young child and needed the room that was warmer, closest to the parents, and it remained her room…I think Ruth played her older sister card, you want me out, you do all the work and move me out.

  3. Am becoming very fond of your Miss Helena Muffly, Sheryl :-) … I love her “turn of phrase”, reflections and spirit… and look forward to her Diary entries. I wonder if you could see any of the qualities of this teenager in your adult Grandma, Sheryl?

    • I’m glad you also enjoy her. The grandmother that I remember seemed very elderly. When I read the diary, I wish that I’d been better able to see the qualities that she conveys in the diary when I was a child but I guess that I was just too young. I do remember that she was very smart (and patient answering my many question), frugal, and enjoyed practical jokes.

      Last year I asked her children and some of her grandchildren (my cousins) to write guest posts that show what Grandma was like when she was older. You can find them under the category called Family Memories.

  4. Linda is most likely correct. Grandma probably had the warmer room and more suitable for the winter. It was the first thought in my head before I saw the comments. The room was probably near the chimney with the heat from the range. Had Ruth’s been more suitable, Grandma would have moved out as soon as practical – as it appears she enjoyed her privacy and having the room for herself. It if fun to surmise. Don’t you love a mystery?

    • I do enjoy the mystery! I hadn’t thought about how the old wood/coal stoves were attached to chimneys and that the areas on the second floor near the chimney would be warmer, but it makes a lot of sense.

  5. Grandma may have been more eager to regain her solitude and privacy than Ruth who seems not to have minded their “togetherness.” All intriguing possibilities…!

  6. Love your blog! “Rufus” is especially great. It sounds like your grandmother was a feisty lady in her day!

  7. Loved the picture of the bedroom. My daughters had twin maple spindle four-posters when they were growing up, hence they always got the largest bedroom in every house, although in several houses that dinna mean too much.

    • It’s interesting how the little (but important) things–like the need to fit twin beds into a room–affect decisions about who get which bedroom.

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