Went to Town on Important Business

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

Saturday, February 21, 1914:  Went to Watsontown this afternoon on important business. Came home in due time.

Recent view of the homes that Grandma would have walked by as she entered Watsontown.

Recent view of the homes that Grandma would have walked by as she entered Watsontown.

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

What constitutes important business when you are 18. . . and very interested in a guy (who has only been identified as “he” in the diary)?

I’m probably way off base, but somehow this diary entry brings back memories of my excitement after my first date with the guy who eventually became my husband.

I wanted to show my cousin where my new boyfriend Bill lived. He lived on a farm that was visible from the main road—but down a long lane. So my cousin and I rode our bikes over to where Bill lived. We continued past the lane to a spot where we could look across the fields and get good view of his family’s farm.

We then turned the bikes around, and headed towards home. Just then Bill’s father drove up the lane, hopped out of his car and walked toward his mailbox. Of course he saw us, and I just about died.  He said “hi” (and immediately went home and told Bill that he’d seen us).

These many year years later, Bill still teases me about spying. Was Grandma spying on “he”?

25 Responses

  1. Sheryl I LOVE that story! I feel my cheeks blushing on your behalf. :) As far as important business at 18 well I think something is definitely brewing.

  2. This post is elegant And Grandma got home in due time.
    Thank you Sheryl.

  3. I remember doing something similar to you, but walking past an “interesting” man’s farm with a friend. Twice. And of course he drove out to say “hi”. But marry him? Of no! It was teenage hormones, that was all. And very bad taste!

  4. Nothing like young love….well, I should say NEW love! Your story brings back memories!

    • I’m amazed how many people who commented have similar stories. I guess that we all acted in similar ways when we had a crush or were falling in love.

  5. What a cute story! My Mom didn’t like my first boyfriend and she saw him being a goof ball one day when she was driving home from work. She walked in the house, looked at me and said, “I saw your idiot boyfriend walking down the street with a pepsi bottle on his head.”

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grandma was spying on “him.” What a sweet story about you spying on Bill! :) There’s nothing quite like those rushes of excitement we used to get when we’re falling in love…

  7. Maybe the important business was a prearranged meeting with “he!” It’s delightful that I am feeling her excitement a hundred years later.

  8. Loved this post … what you added to it, Sheryl :) That’s such a sweet memory! Doesn’t stop me from wondering what important business she might have had, though..

  9. Oh my! this evokes so many memories. I had forgotten the thrill of just walking “on the street where you live” when I had a crush on a guy in High School. By the way, he never knew it. I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere. Practically all the girls in my class found their way to that street. Funny how, at my 35th reunion, the attractive guys were the neglected “nerds” in High School. And I mean attractive, not just more successful.

  10. What a great post. I really enjoyed your comments.

  11. Sheryl, it’s never entered my mind to ask this … but have you read ahead in the journal? I mean of course you know her life after the journal, but I’m just curious …

    • I read the entire diary several years ago, but I only remember the big events. In general I only work a few days ahead on posts. For the smaller happenings in the diary, I’m as surprised as everyone else when I get to them. I find that I get more out of the diary, and enjoy it more, if I mull over the diary entries one entry at a time.

      (Though occasionally I later discover that I’ve misinterpreted something because I didn’t read ahead–and feel slightly embarrassed when I have to explain my mistake in a post.)

  12. This whole post is so awesome! How fun to be able to relate your own experience to provide insight to Helena’s (and so many of your readers’ as well!)

  13. What formal language you grandmother uses – you can tell she’s holding a lot back. Your story of girlish embarrassment is delightful .

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