Arbutus Still Not Blooming

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

Sunday, April 12, 1914: Went to Sunday School this morning. A whole gang of us went for arbutus this afternoon. Didn’t get any though, for it’s just in bud. We had quite a walk in the bargain.

DSC02316

 Maybe the “gang” walked at this same spot a hundred years ago today. These woods and fields are across the road from the house where the Muffly’s lived.

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

Grandma—names please. . . Who went with you? How many people? . . . all girls? . . . or were there some guys, too? . . .

What did you talk about? Did you joke and tease each other?

This was Easter Sunday. Two days prior to this entry you mentioned Easter hats, but when Easter actually arrived you didn’t mention it.  Why?

—-

The previous Sunday (April 5) Grandma, her sister Ruth, and their friend Carrie Stout also searched for trailing arbutus:

We went for arbutus this afternoon, but only managed to find the buds. It is late this spring.

1914 must have been a late spring—just like 2014 has been a late spring.

Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

19 Responses

  1. Well, we know that Grandma can be rather “tight-lipped”! But it is surprising that she didn’t mention anything at all about it being Easter.

  2. I’m enjoying this string of connection you have with your family history. It must be so exciting to literally walk where they have walked, visualizing their first hand experience as you go.

    • I do enjoy imagining what it was like in Grandma’s day. I am fortunate that the area where Grandma lived is fairly rural, so it hasn’t changed as much as many places.

  3. You’re sounding increasingly frustrated with poor old grandma!

  4. I’m glad Helena had a healthy social network of friends and family.
    Diana xo

    • One thing that I find a little surprising is how her network of friends seems to have become stronger in the year since she graduated from high school It seems like it would take more effort to maintain friendships now that she is isn’t in school.

  5. Wonder what they did with arbutus when they finally got some?

    • I think they used them for decoration. When I did a post on Gathering Arbutus two years ago, someone commented:

      “.. . . People used to gather it by the huge handfuls to put in vases. . .”

      • Hmmm. Trailing Arbutus is such a tiny flower, without much of a stem, I cannot imagine that one could put it in a vase. Our neighbors have some patches along their section of the road. We look for it in March, but, as you said this year it is late. It is one of the first flowers with a sweet scent. You have to get right on the ground (or leaning on the road cut) to enjoy its aroma. Maybe they brought it inside to add a fresh scent to the house after being closed up for winter (remember, they may have only bathed once per week back then).
        Oscar

  6. Great post, especially the way you’ve connected so well with place and time in the present.

  7. It is interesting what she decides to write in her diary. I would have thought she would be busy on Easter but maybe they didn’t have a big family dinner back then.

    • It doesn’t seem like her family had big Easter celebrations. For example, in 1913, she wrote:

      Easter Sunday. Quite a few joined the church this afternoon. I would have like to but decided otherwise. The Bunny didn’t bring me any eggs. Rufus got three and Jimmie got two.

  8. Sorry to have lost track of you for awhile but…I’m back on track now and don’t want to miss an episode of this interesting story!!!

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