Which Name? Ruth, Ruther, Rufus, or Ruthie

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

Sunday, July 20, 1913:  Went to Sunday School this morning. Ruther and I went up to church this evening.

Ruth Muffly

Ruth Muffly

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

Hmm. . . Ruther.  . . That’s a new nickname for Ruth.

Was Grandma annoyed with her sister Ruth. . . or feeling kindly toward her? Throughout the diary Grandma called her Rufus when she was annoyed with her.  When the sisters were getting along well, Grandma generally called her Ruth. . . though she occasionally referred to her as Ruthie.

13 Responses

  1. You make me think how many names I have for my sisters. There are quite a few :-)

  2. I’ve never had so many names for a person: although I have done that with my cats!

  3. Sounds like an affectionate version of her name. My guess :)

  4. My Dad had at least a dozen names for each of his children. He often quoted a Danish proverb that said “a beloved child has many names”.

  5. I always just called my brother Mike but I had a few nick names for my daughter!

  6. My brothers and I had several names for each other when we were kids. I think its part of the fun that siblings have together.

  7. We had many alternative names for one another in my family, some not very appreciated. Jane

  8. Your grandma was a woman of few words! She should have been a suspense writer!

  9. Hahaha, yes i do that with my children too, calling them differently with different moods. I added their surname when i’m mad. :D

  10. I remember at that age, my sisters and friends and I experimenting with lots of (more or less) cool nicknames. Not always appreciated by one and other either ;0)

  11. Wonder if they fought a lot. :-D

    • It seems like they had more disagreements in the first couple years of the diary than what they do towards the end. I guess both Ruth and Grandma were growing up, and were less likely to annoy each other.

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