“Had a Sorrowful Time Today”

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

Friday, May 10, 1912:I seemed to have had a sorrowful time today. I guess it was because I was getting lonesome and wanted to go someplace. Ruth went up to Turbotville to attend the commencement.

Recent photo of the Turbotville Community Hall. The building once was a high school. There is a large auditorium on the second floor and the commencement probably was held there.

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

Turbotville is another small town about 4 miles northeast of McEwensville.  I wonder why Grandma didn’t go with her sister Ruth to the commencement. Maybe someone gave a ticket to Ruth—but not to her.  It’s not fun to feel excluded.

This was the 4th day of summer vacation; and, boredom and loneliness seem to be really setting in.  I wonder if Grandma got into any disagreements with her mother, father, Ruth, or little brother Jimmie—or if she was just quietly moping and feeling down.

Over the Christmas holidays, she and six-year-old Jimmie managed to get into several fights.  For example, on December 26, 1911 she wrote:

Am beginning to get rather tired of this seemingly long vacation. When you don’t have anything interesting to do and you don’t go many places it is not very hard to get lonesome. Jimmie and I are turning into regular fight cats, so Ma thinks. . .

8 Responses

  1. Isn’t it funny when you read about someone 100 years ago, who was bored with the holidays. When you think about it though, there are so many “things” to keep the young amused these days during holidays, usually involving the use of electricity, which I don’t think they even would have had back in 1912.

    I have so much catching up to do, on reading the diary entries. I do wish I had met you earlier! :)

    • Thanks for the nice note. Based on the diary entries, the holidays seemed lower-keyed back then than they are today–though I can distinctly remember years when my children quickly became bored with new Christmas presents (even if it involved electricity). :)

  2. I am relatively new to this series, but notice that Helena’s diary entries are very brief. I wonder, do you know if she wrote just before bedtime, before nodding off? Did she ever expand and write something of length that you know of? (Did she enjoy writing? Clearly it is part of her routine). Just wondering.

    • Based on the content of the entries my sense is that she typically wrote them in the evening. I think that sometimes she wrote them before ascending the stairs to go to bed. I remember an entry a year ago or so ago when she wrote that she hoped her mother won’t be able to see what she was writing. Other times I think she was upstairs. For example, she wrote once about her sister Ruth entertaining a boyfriend downstairs in the living room.

      I don’t think that she ever wrote anything lengthier, other than occasional letters–though all I have is a postcard that she once wrote.

  3. Agree with Joanne…wish I had met you earlier! I’ve been going through and scanning my husband’s grandmother’s 1916 school autograph book this week. I have one similar from my grandmother from the same time period as well. Maybe there are some future blog posts in the making, who knows! Thank you!

    • Thanks for the nice note. The autograph books sound like a lot of fun. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll pop up in future posts.

  4. When you mentioned that it’s not fun to be excluded, I think that hits the nail right on the head – Helena is feeling left out, perhaps even overlooked. Naturally she’s out of sorts!

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