Expected Visitor Didn’t Come

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

Saturday, December 27, 1913:  Expected company today, but was doomed to disappointment, no sign of cousin Alma appeared.

Grandma probably looked out the window, across the frozen filed.s, as she waited for the train (that hopefully contained Alma) to come down tracks.

Grandma probably looked out the window, across the frozen fields, as she waited for the train (that hopefully contained Alma) to come down tracks.

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

A hundred years ago visits were often planned via letter—and when plans changed  at the last minute there was no way to let the other person know.

Grandma’s cousin. Alma Derr, lived on a farm in Montour County, Pennsylvania  near the hamlet of California. Alma was the daughter of Judson Derr. He was a brother of Grandma’s mother.

Grandma probably expected Alma to come on the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick (S. B. & B.) train. There was a whistle stop for the train at a feed mill near the Muffly farm.

Alma was 15-years-old—and was three years younger than Grandma; but despite the age difference they apparently were good friends.

The previous summer Grandma spent several days at Alma’s. For example, on August  16, 1913 Grandma wrote:

 Went out to Alma’s this morning on the train. We went to a festival over at California this evening. That was the first country festival I was ever to. We went up to the Hall this afternoon to tap the packers and then we swiped a dish of ice cream. When we finished it, we washed the dish and spoon in salt water.

7 Responses

  1. We sure take for granted the ability to have regular daily, and in fact, instant contact don’t we? I’m sure this was disappointing!

  2. I like the name for the S, B & B as the Sweet Bye and Bye. We had a RR like that, too. It was the T, P & W. Officially, the Toledo, Peoria and Western. I don’t know of another name.

  3. Aww I wonder what happened. Poor Helena, she was probably looking so forward to the visit.

  4. That must have been so difficult: not knowing about last minute changes of plans…! Grandma must have been so disappointed.

  5. Maybe Alma is still on her way! I imagine she was looking forward to the visit, too.

  6. I wonder if your Grandma and Alma stayed friends into their older years. Helena really seems to have cherished their friendship.

  7. I can imagine the disappointment as the train came with no cousin Alma on it. Maybe this is a diary of mostly the disappointing happenings. When things go well, maybe she forgets to write. I hope so!

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