Ran an Errand for Mother

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

Thursday, January 8, 1914:  Went up to McEwensville this afternoon on an errand of my mother’s, although I couldn’t see that much importance was attached to it.


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

This is the second day that Grandma mentioned the errand. The previous day she wrote:

Went on an errand this afternoon, but didn’t accomplish anything as the people weren’t at home. . .

January 7, 1914

We now know that: 

  1. The errand is now accomplished.
  2. It was for her mother.
  3. Her mother apparently thought that it was important, but Grandma didn’t think that it needed to be done.

What we still don’t know:

  1. What was the errand?
  2. Who were “the people” that Grandma needed to visit to accomplish the errand?

Yesterday Barbara commented on the post. She said when Grandma wrote that “the people” weren’t home it made her think they weren’t in Grandma’s regular circle of friends and family or Grandma probably would have named them.

After reading today’s diary entry, I think that I agree with Barbara. The errand probably was a bit stressful—and worthy of mention in the diary—because Grandma didn’t feel very comfortable having to talk with people she didn’t know well.

19 Responses

  1. I get the impression this was a “why do I have to do this?’ type of errand. Why can’t someone else do it etc.

    • Grandma probably didn’t have much say when her mother asked her to do the errand. I realize that times were different, but it had to have been difficult to be 18-years-old, living at home, and not have a job.

  2. And I get the impression that Helena’s mom was giving her errands to get her out of the house and being productive!

  3. Well, I just agree with everyone: you, Barbara, Gallivanta and KerryCan! You’re all a great group of detectives with the few clues that Grandma gives!

  4. a mystery indeed, I wish Helena had been more specific!

  5. Now that I am aware it is the last year of the diary I envision Grandma becoming an adult. Perhaps whatever the errand the comment reflects her transitioning to how she would do things, rather than how her mother would.

    • The tone of the diary entries have really changed across the years. When she first began the diary as a 15-year-old, she often seemed like she felt sorry for herself. In more recent entries, she often seems bored–but that she has a better sense of self.

  6. Looks like we’ll never discover the nature of this mysterious errand! The clues are so tantalizing.

    • Thanks for giving me the idea for this post. I think that you’re right on the mark that Grandma didn’t know the people very well who she needed to find to carry out the errand.

  7. I think Helena’s mom wanted to give her something to do.

  8. Yes, that makes sense.

  9. Your grandma was a woman of few words. I love the way you add to her entries.

  10. Isn’t it fun (and frustrating!) trying to fill in the missing answers to questions you have? At least we know the errand is finally over with! :)

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