Sick at Heart

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

Monday, July 14, 1913:  Didn’t feel very good today and did feel very miserable. I’m not really sick, but sick at heart over something else.

Recent photo of the Muffly farm.

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

Why was Grandma sick at heart?  What could have possibly happened?

Previous entries provided no clue that Grandma might be stressing over something—the preceding day she just wrote about the rainy weather and going to Sunday School. . . and two days before this entry she wrote about helping with the wheat harvest.

36 Responses

  1. Mysteries of the past…

  2. Poor Helena, she does sound very sad.

  3. Hmmmm… Grandma certainly has an odd way of writing in her diary….you normally think of someone “telling all their secrets” in a diary – but not Grandma. Hopefully she’ll elaborate more in a future post…

    • Cryptic entries like this one make me wonder if Grandma worried that her mother or sister might occasionally sneak a peak at the diary contents.

  4. Maybe something happened to the boy?

  5. Details, Helena, details.

  6. She never could have thought that 100 years later we’d all be craving more details!

  7. Oh man. She acts like somebody afraid of somebody else reading her diary! I can’t imagine why she would feel that way . . . .

  8. 18 and sick at heart? Boy troubles perhaps, unrequited love?

  9. Something’s going on with her. Wouldn’t you love to sit down and ask her about it?

  10. Yes, wouldn’t you like to know what made her heart ache? Perhaps that is a lesson for those who keep a diary.

    • Interesting thought. . I wonder if Grandma would have been more or less likely to put these types of details into the diary if she could have somehow known that we’d be reading it a hundred years later.

  11. Considering her subtle way of expressing things, I’d say “sick at heart” perhaps refers to a disappointment or fear of disappointment in a matter of love…?

  12. I also think she is disappointed in love, maybe she likes someone and the feelings are not returned.

  13. I was also thinking about that little boy. Will tomorrow bring more and better news?

  14. […] bet that Grandma still felt mopey when she wrote this entry. The previous day she wrote that she “didn’t feel very good today, and did feel very miserable. I’m not really […]

  15. Oh, poor thing! It’s interesting that she doesn’t provide any details about her heartache. I hope this sad spell didn’t last long for her.

  16. […] Two days prior to this entry Grandma wrote that she was sick at heart over something.  Other readers and I speculated about what she may have been sick at heart over–and we thought that maybe she liked a guy and he didn’t return her interest. […]

  17. […] was having a difficult July, and often felt down. For example, on July 14 she wrote that she was “sick at heart”. Maybe the guests were older people whose conversation […]

  18. My first thought was maybe she’s stressed over growing up. I’m 18 and that’s what’s been on my friends’ minds and my mind lately…

    • You may be right. Since you’re about the same age she was when she wrote the diary entry, you probably have a good sense of how she felt. It’s interesting how some things like transportation and technology have really changed over the last hundred years, but how people feel at various stages of their lives really doesn’t change over time.

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