17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, May 6, 1912: It is hard to realize that today was the last day. We had our annual banquet, and I guess we all enjoyed it. At least I did. Mr. Dunkle, our teacher, acted the part of toastmaster. We drank water flavored with lemon to each other’s health, but that was soon over and we vacated our places at the table.
I recited my oration without omitting a single word, but I believe that it wasn’t said none too well. Swiftly today drew to a close. Nor can I say that as school is done, I am glad. My heart is filled with sadness. What I will do next year, when school closes I do not know. As I graduate I will not be able to look forward to the next year. For awhile I bid adieu to my school days.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
The last day of the school year—with the excitement of the banquet tinged with the realization that school was over for the summer–sounds like it was bittersweet for Grandma. Probably parents and other family members attended the program.
The “trial” that Grandma worried about in yesterday’s diary entry apparently was her oration. She wrote the speech on April 16, 17 and 18; and finalized and memorized it on April 22 and 23. I suppose that she practiced it in class a few times after those entries in preparation for the banquet, but never mentioned it again in the diary until this entry.
I don’t think that it’s very clear from the diary entry, but Grandma had one more year of school to complete before she graduated. She attended an old-fashioned three-year high school, and in 1912 she completed the second year. She was just worrying about her future after graduation, which won’t occur for another year. She always seemed to need to worry about something . . . sigh. . . but I guess that’s just human nature.