Oops–Sometimes I Misinterpret a Diary Entry

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

Sunday, June 30, 1912:  Oh dear, June is my favorite month and here the last day is almost over. Went to Sunday School this afternoon. I received my Bible today, but haven’t got it yet, as my name was to be written in it, but I suppose I’ll get it next Sunday.

The old McEwensville Baptist Church that Grandma probably attended was located somewhere on the lot that contains this yard and house.

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

I’m amazed how often I’m taken by surprise by diary entries. Today is one of those days.

Before I started this blog I read the entire diary.  I remember many of the “big” events in the dairy, but never noticed or don’t remember many of the smaller details.

Now I only work a day or so ahead—and sometimes realize that things weren’t exactly as I had thought.

Today I was surprised that Grandma still did not have her Bible.

Grandma memorized more than 700 Bible verses and the reward was a Bible. I had thought she’d received it on the first Sunday in June because she’d written on Sunday, May 26:

Went to Sunday School this morning. I’ve finished learned verses for my Bible which means I have learned the required number. I expect to get it next Sunday.

I now realize that she did not receive the Bible when anticipated—and she was  still waiting for it.

16 Responses

  1. Trying to fill in the blanks is rather difficult at times with a project like yours (and mine.) I keep finding out more tidbits about my husband’s grandmother, but who to believe! How to interpret the stories and scraps of paper. Again, I like how you’ve handled your blog posts, a format I will probably borrow some day. Blessings!

    • Remember back to the days when we used to do term papers in school. We’d do a little research and take notes on index cards; and then re-arrange them to write the term paper. One thing that I really like about the blogging format is that each day’s post almost feels like I did enough research to complete an index card or two. And, it feels like, at some point in time when I have a better understanding of Grandma and her times, I could eventually rearrange the posts to tell the story in a more typical fashion.

  2. That’ what I love about diary entries — ambiguities clear up with time. I always have to remind myself that they were writing for themselves — not me. I am just along for the ride. I love Helena’s unaffected way with words.

  3. Hope she has that Bible, with her name in it, in hand soon! Amazing how once again June is just about gone.

    • Summer goes too fast! I was just thinking that July is going to be gone before I know it, and August will go even faster. . . Maybe the sense that fall and winter will come too soon, makes me appreciate summer even more.

  4. As outsiders, we are reading how her life was unfolded without knowing the ending. You read the diaries to find out what was her “beginning” on a daily basis.

    I would assume that the Bible had to be ordered but I would also assume, it would have been ready in hand to award as a prize. Surely it was expected someone would win the prize. Does her Bible still exist? Was the name in gold emboss?

    Life was simpler, touching and sounds so sweet from our hundred year forward armchairs and yet we hear it was not so – it was hard work, disappointments and sprinkled joys.

    I have two diaries written by a young boy in Iowa in 1935. It is a lovely look at mid-western American life. I tried to find the owner but never did. They are definitely entries to be shared with the world – just as you have but I don’t feel they are mine to share. I do have my brother’s diary of 1947 (he died in 1952) and a couple of other people’s. We have lost the art of writing a diary – daily emails and blogs are our diaries.

    BTW I subscribed to your site because of a book that your Grandmother was reading. It was a book read by another diarist 100 years ago in my town who was a distant relation to me through marriage and I get to see glimpses of my relations mentioned in her diary,

    Thanks again to you Sheryl and your Grandmother.

    • I don’t think that the Bible exists any more.

      The diaries that you have sound very interesting. Sometimes I think blogging has replaced diaries for teens and young adults.

      It’s really interesting that Grandma mentioned the same book in her diary that another diarist mentioned. It must have been really popular at the time.

  5. I have a feeling they held the distribution to the last day of Sunday School… or did they go to Sunday School all year round? This way there would be something to hold the youngsters over till the beginning of the Sunday School year…

    • Sunday School was year-round–but I’d guess that there still may have been days when rewards and attendance awards were given.

  6. I would be on pins and needles waiting for my bible – she must have had great patience. ~ Patty

  7. [...] completed memorizing the verses on May 26–and received the Bible the previous week (June 30), but they kept the Bible to put her name on the cover . Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

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