Visitors on a Summer Evening

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

Friday, July 18, 1913:  We had company this evening.

Source:  Ladies Home Journal

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

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

Sometimes it’s nice not to have too much detail—because it allows me to create my own mind pictures.

If I squint my eyes I can almost see Grandma, her sister Ruth,  and their parents sitting on the porch entertaining guests on a hot summer evening—and maybe serving cookies and iced tea—while her little brother Jimmie chases fireflies as dusk falls over the farm.


Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

24 Responses

  1. Brings back memories of growing up in a small town and getting excited when we were to have visitors. Especially if they were from out of town.

    • I also remember how excited we were to get visitors when I was a child growing up on the farm. Often (especially on Sunday afternoons) people didn’t call ahead to say they were coming, but just stopped by while out on a Sunday drive.

  2. I just love the phrase ‘ have company’ in the way it was used back then.

    • It is fun to see how some phrases and words were used differently back then. I know that a language changes over time, but over the short time it seems like it stays the same–but a hundred years is a long enough time period to see some words being used in different ways.

  3. That would be a pleasant way to spend an evening. Love the chairs.

    • I like the chairs, too. I don’t have an old-fashioned porch, but if I did I think that I’d try to find some chairs just like these to put on it.

  4. What a lovely description of a family entertaining – you made it so real with your words and gorgeous pictures from the Ladies Home Journal.

    • I’m glad you like it. I have a lot of fun pulling these posts together and it’s always wonderful to hear when someone especially enjoys a post.

  5. I love your mental image of Grandma’s company!

  6. I love that furniture! What nice shapes and colors…actually it would look great in my home too;0) Lovely post agian, Sheryl!

  7. Lovely vision down on the farm!

  8. I think people really liked having company back in the day. My mind goes to Jane Austen books as I write. I mean they went outside, it took them a day to visit a town 20 miles away. There was no social media. Connections were made face-to-face and information was shared. There is a part of me that longs for the type of excitement people felt back then when they took a break from their chores and visited. For the same reason Church would have seemed more appealing as perhaps many only saw each other on Sunday. What do you think?

    • As someone who lives in a typical suburban neighborhood, there’s also a part of me that longs for the the community that once existed when people regularly visited with each other. Your comment about churches reminded me of when I was in college. I had a roommate from the Chicago area–and I brought her home to my family’s farm one week-end. On Sunday my family took her to the country church we attended. Afterwards she commented that the farmers visiting with each other after church was very similar to her parent’s friends visiting at a cocktail party in Chicago.

  9. During my childhood, we loved having company. We didn’t have air conditioning and neither did most of our guest. We would sit on the porch late into the night because it was cooler outside than it was in the house. Sipping on a cold drink, enjoying conversation was a pleasurable way to spend a hot Mississippi evening.

    • I have very similar warm, fuzzy memories of sitting on the porch late at night when I was a small child. I think that I drew upon those memories when I wrote the description of the evening for this post.

  10. The furniture doesn’t look very comfortable!

  11. Comments are disappearing, hope I’m not duplicating…

    • Everything looks okay. I didn’t get any duplicate comments–though it’s concerning if comments are disappearing. Hopefully WordPress has resolved any issues.

  12. […] that the Muffly’s had company two days in a row. Visitors are seldom mentioned in the diary, but the previous day, Grandma  wrote, “We had company this […]

  13. When you squint through your mind’s eye, I can see it, too! Loved the posts and the other comments about socializing.

  14. I love your “own mind pictures” Sheryl… and the furniture is delightful. Thanks…

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