17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, April 23, 1912: What an extraordinary thing for a dummy like I am. I know all of my piece from beginning to end. I learned the larger part of it this evening. There are almost a thousand words in all.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma was memorizing a speech that she needed to present on the last day of school. The previous day she indicated that she’d completed writing it.
Assuming that Grandma spoke at about 150 words per minute, a 1,000 speech would take a little less than 7 minutes to present.
Today students don’t generally memorize speeches. Instead it is considered better to use notes to provide reminders about what to say. I wonder if students were encouraged to write and memorize speeches back then, or if it just was something that Grandma decided to do on her own in an attempt to make sure that she said what she wanted to say.