A Quiet July 4th

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

Saturday, July 4, 1914:  And quite a fourth it was. Saw not a single flash of even one firecracker.

Old 4th of July Postcard (circa 1914)

Old 4th of July Postcard (circa 1914)

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

Grandma’s July 4th celebrations seemed hit or miss, and very low key. The previous year, on July 4, 1913, Grandma wrote:

Wasn’t much celebrating done at this house today. I saw a balloon go up or rather I saw it after it had gone up. Saw a few fireworks this evening, but that was at a distance.

I can remember going out on the hill behind the barn when I was a child on the 4th to look for fireworks in the distance. Maybe Grandma’s family also went to a nearby hill and hoped to see fireworks from nearby towns in the distance.

Memorial Day, 1914

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

 Saturday, May 30, 1914: Went up to town this morning to take in the doings. Went with a couple of friends over to Watsontown this afternoon. Saw a fat cousin.

If I squint a little I think that I can see a parade slowly advancing down Main Street in Watsontown–a band,  the GAR Civil War Veterans, a couple horses pulling carts advertising local businesses. . .

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

Prior to 1971 Memorial Day was always on May 30.

Yeah, Grandma! I’m glad that you’re finally having some fun. Was there a parade? . . . food? . . .music? Did the old veterans make speeches? It’s been a rough few days with the death of your infant niece—and it’s good that you’re finally getting out with friends again.

—-

Memorial Day sounds like a fun holiday a hundred years ago. For example, on May 30, 1912 Grandma wrote:

Memorial Day: Carrie and I went up to McEwensville this morning. This afternoon we went over to Watsontown accompanied by another girl friend. We had the pleasure of getting an automobile ride. It was the first time I was ever in one and consequently never had experienced a ride. We had a good time.

1914 Easter Hats

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

Friday, April 10, 1914:  Went to Watsontown this afternoon. Don’t have a new hat for tomorrow. Well, you see it will be Easter, that’s why. Oh, I don’t mean tomorrow; I mean the day after tomorrow.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

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

Whew, another ambiguous diary entry. . .

Did Grandma buy an Easter hat when she went to Watsontown. . . or didn’t she?

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

 

19th Birthday and Almost an Old Maid

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

Saturday, March 21, 1914:  It doesn’t seem to me that this day is long in coming. Time was, when I wanted it to come, now I don’t. Am afraid it may come some day and find me an old maid.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Don’t stress. Nineteen is not old, and I can see in my crystal ball that you aren’t going to be an old maid—though you are going to need to wait another 7 years to get married.

Awesome Desserts for a Washington’s Birthday Party

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

Friday, February 20, 1914:  Nothing much doing.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1914)

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

Have you ever heard of anyone holding a party to celebrate Washington’s Birthday. It must have been a much more popular holiday a hundred years ago than what it is now.

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share some fun food suggestions for a Washington’s Birthday party that appeared in the February, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

In the 1960s, Washington’s Birthday morphed into President’s Day which is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.  But, in 1914, Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on his actual birthdate, February 22—and apparently it was a bigger deal than what it is now.

1914-02-71-b1914-02-71-b1

No Mail: No Valentine

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

Saturday, February 14, 1914: Looked forward to a valentine this morning, but no mail carrier came as the roads were rendered impassable from the snow storm. The snow lies 18 in. deep on the ground.

dsc07028-crop

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

Oh dear, no mail. . . and since it was a Saturday it will be two days until Grandma gets her valentine. Who was Grandma expecting to get it from?

This diary entry makes me realize that times have changed. . . and not changed . . .  in some unexpected ways over the past century.

In 2014, like 1914, due to the snow emergencies in many locations across the United States, lots of mail carriers probably are unable to deliver the mail . . . however, most young people today probably don’t care that it isn’t getting through since they  already got their valentines via Facebook, email, or texting.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

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Reflections on the New Year

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

Thursday, January 1, 1914:  

Ring out the old, ring in the new.

Ring merry bells across the snow

The year is dying, let it go.

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

The days and weeks go marching by,

Another year is here once more.

And thus speeds on the wheel of time.

Giving to this year a mighty four.

Time flies, even here at home, where there is nothing much doing, the days quickly pass. My new year was spent at home in the usual manner.

Vintage New Year's Postcard

Vintage New Year’s Postcard from the 1910s

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

I agree with Grandma–Time flies!

New Year’s Day is a good time for reflection.

We are now three-quarters of the way through the diary. Grandma kept her diary for exactly four years—she began it in January, 1911 and the last entry was in December, 1914.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Grandma better via this blog. And, it’s been wonderful re-connecting with relatives and making many wonderful new friends.

When I began posting these entries on January 1, 2011, I doubted that I’d ever get to this point. Now I’m starting to feel a little sad that the end of the diary is only a year away—and I’m beginning to think about what I want to do next:

  • Use the information I’ve compiled for this blog to write a book about Grandma?. . .or maybe a cookbook of hundred-year-old recipes updated for today?
  • Continue the blog, but without the diary, and instead focus on hundred-year-old magazine pictures, stories, and ads?
  •  Select a different relative. . .and a different time period, and then tell their story on a blog over the course of a year or two? . . maybe using a handwritten cookbook as a jumping off point?
  • . . . or maybe doing something entirely different?

It’s been a wonderful three years. Thank you! I look forward to sharing the final diary entries this year, as well as occasionally brainstorming ideas for my next project.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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