Had to do All the Milking

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

Saturday, May 11, 1912:I had to do all the milking this morning. Made me so mad at Ma. She had to come out and pester me some. Did some sewing this afternoon.

The inside of a dairy barn a hundred years ago. The Muffly’s probably had fewer cows than the farm in the photo. (Photo Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine, February 15, 1912)

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

What could Grandma have possibly been doing incorrectly when she was milking the cows? . . . .Or maybe her mother came out to the barn because she was upset that Grandma had forgotten to do some housework (or had done it poorly).

Summer vacation was getting off to a poor start. Grandma had written the previous day that she was lonely and wanted to go somewhere. She’d also written that her sister Ruth had gone to the nearby town of Turbotville to attend a commencement ceremony. Ruth probably stayed overnight in Turbotville with friends—and left all of the milking for Grandma.

Sometimes you just can’t win. One thing doesn’t go right . . . and then another . . . and then. . .

6 Responses

  1. It’s the gap between what we hope for and reality that can make a day miserable and she seemed to be having a “nothing goes right” kind of a day.

    • You have such a wonderful way of describing things. I love the phrase, “the gap between what we hope for and reality.” It so aptly describes a bad day.

  2. If milking made her mad, then sewing made her mend.

  3. Poor Helena was having a rough time. I hope she enjoyed the sewing she did in the afternoon.

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