Did Grandma Want to Become a Teacher?

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

Tuesday, June 24, 1913: Can’t say I have much for today either. These June days seem to have very little to do with me.

Recent photo of building that once housed the Red Hill School at the south end of McEwensville

Recent photo of building at the south end of McEwensville that once housed the Red Hill School where her sister Besse had taught

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

I can sense a bit of sadness or depression. What did Grandma mean when she wrote that these June days seem to have very little to do with her?

It may be a huge stretch on my part, but this entry makes me wonder if Grandma was hoping to hear that she’d gotten position as a  teacher at a one-room school house. . . and that she was very worried that she won’t get one.

But, on the other hand, Grandma never wrote anything about seeking a teaching job. . . so maybe I’m letting my imagination run wild. . . .

However, both of Grandma’s older sisters, as well as several friends, taught at nearby one-room school houses after they graduated from high school, so it seems like she may have wanted a similar job.

Her sister Ruth (often call Rufus in the diary) graduated from high school in 1911. On June 30, 1911 Grandma wrote in the diary:

Rufus is going to teach school next winter, as she has just been elected to that office. Am glad.

And, according to The History of the McEwensville Schools by Thomas Kramm, Grandma’s oldest sister Besse taught at the Red Hill School at the south end of McEwensville from 1906 to 1909.

17 Responses

  1. It is an interesting turn of phrase, that’s for sure.

  2. Yes, I agree that there’s a little sadness in this post. Did your grandmother become a teacher?

  3. I think there were few opportunities in those days for women. Your grandma could have been a teacher or a nurse. Maybe she felt like she was drifting along with no real goals.

    • My sentiments are exactly like yours–that she felt like she was just drifting along. I try to remind myself that women had different goals back then, but it still seems like she must have sometimes felt frustrated.

  4. Seems like she would have been thinking of her future and with few options, you would be right to think that she may have wanted to be a teacher. Do you know what she did after high school and before she married? I guess working on the farm also would have kept her busy enough and maybe she was needed there.

    • As far as I know she never was a teacher or had any other career outside of helping on her family’s farm. But, she eventually married a farmer, so maybe her work prepared her for her future.

  5. With no job and no boyfriend, it was probably a bit depressing to see only a future on the farm.

    • I think you are right. I have a difficult time getting my head around the goals of the typical girl a hundred years ago–but I think that marriage probably was a major goal and that she probably was worried that she didn’t have a boyfriend.

  6. I like the way your imagination stretches! Makes me even more sure you could write that novel all this research begs for…

  7. Is that what she ended up doing then?

  8. Seems like the shine of graduation has wore off and maybe drifting a bit to see what’s next. As others have mentioned, probably harder for a women back then.

  9. […] the previous spring, She has never mentioned in the diary that she hoped to become a teacher—yet it seems logical that she may have wanted to become a teacher. Could Grandma have been sick at heart because she heard that she didn’t get a teaching position […]

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