Two Unhappy Sisters

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

Saturday, December 20, 1913:  Ruth and I had a sorry time of it this evening. It was a tongue fight.

Source: Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine (April 1, 1913)

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (April 1, 1913)

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

Whew, what anger! What did Grandma and her sister Ruth fight about?

Sometimes when I read a diary entry, I can’t help imagining a story in my mind even though it’s probably wrong.

Here’s the story I imagine—

I think that the fight was about who was going to milk the cows. Ruth went to Sunbury from December 15 to December 19. On the 15th Grandma wrote:

Ruthie left for Sunbury this morning, also left me all the milking, but I’m pretty hardened to that.

Since Grandma did all of the milking for four days while Ruth as gone, I think that she wanted Ruth take a turn at doing all the milking so that Grandma could go somewhere and have a little fun. . . but Ruth refused.

. .. . Or maybe Ruth just took off to visit friends or attend a show without doing her share of the milking, and Grandma was once again forced to do it all. . . . . . . Or. . . .

17 Responses

  1. Could be many scenarios, couldn’t it? It’s interesting she wrote it in her diary.

  2. I like the way she worded it. A tongue fight instead of an argument. I am sure it was interesting :-)

  3. Her happiness at having Ruth home didn’t last long :)

  4. Interesting entry and hope they got it all sorted out before long!

  5. I’ve never heard an argument referred to as a “tongue fight”. It must have really been bad….

  6. The cow picture seems apt. Two of them are looking at each other with some intent.

  7. In my experience, sisters, especially sisters of that age, can find all sorts of things to argue about! But I’d bet anything you’re right that it has something to do with the chores.

  8. Do you think tongue fight and chin wag are in the same line of language? Your guess as to the origin of the fight sounds reasonable Sheryl.

  9. That sounds like a very likely story! I sure would have mouthed off at Ruth!

  10. Aww sorry they had a fight, but really surprised that they don’t have more fights!

  11. Your Grandmother was probably exasperated and in need of a break. If Ruth didn’t help out that day I can understand her getting mad. Or it could have been an accumulation of things simmering under the surface and then out it came all at once.

    Did your Great Grandparents have any kind of holiday preparations going on? If that were the case it would add to the stress and work.

  12. Yes, I bet it had something to do with the chores!

  13. I think you have guessed right. Grandma was fed up with being left with the chores while Ruthie was out galavanting.

  14. but it was nice to see, she felt sorry about this situation. I am sure they worked it out later!

  15. Ah, family. It is always tough living and working together. Hope they mend the fences.

  16. A Tongue Fight! No trouble figuring out that it was a doozy!

  17. Or Ruth turned up at the dinner table wearing Grandma’s favourite sweater without asking. I know that’s usually a cat fight waiting to happen :D

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