Grandma’s April Fools’ Pranks

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

Wednesday, December 16, 1914: <<no entry>>

Photo source: The Newspaper
Photo source: The Newspaper

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

Another day with no diary entry . . . sigh. . . so I’ll continue the story about Grandma’s sense of humor when she was an older woman.

My aunt mentioned in yesterday’s post that her mother (Grandma) always enjoyed a good joke or story. She also told me how much Grandma enjoyed playing pranks on April Fools’ Day.

There are several versions of the April Fools story (or maybe Grandma did similar pranks a couple different years). Here’s how my cousin Anne Marie told the April Fools’ day story in a guest post several years ago:

One April Fools’ Day Grandma took an old newspaper from her basement and carefully glued all of the pages together and quietly placed it in our newspaper box. I can still hear Mom laughing when she tried to read the paper that day and it didn’t take her long to figure out who the prankster was.


How to Participate in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon

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

Saturday, December 5, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Grandma’s growing up. We’ve followed her life daily for the last four years—but she’s slowly losing interest in writing in her diary, and it ends on December 29, 1914. I’d like to use some of the remaining days of this blog to give Grandma a wonderful send-off to live the rest of her life.

So many wonderful memories of my grandmother are linked to food—and I think that if she was still around that she’d enjoy hearing other people’s stories of a holiday treat that they associate with one of their ancestors.

To celebrate Grandma’s transition to the next stage of her life, I’m organizing an event: Grandma’s Bake-a-thon.

To participate in the Bake-a-thon make an old family recipe, and share the story of why this recipe holds special memories for you.

You may want to tell your family and friends the recipe’s story; or share the recipe on your blog or Facebook page, in your Christmas letter, or by writing a comment on A Hundred Years Ago–whatever is most meaningful to you.

If you’re not a baker, you don’t need to actually make anything—just think about a favorite holiday treat and the person that you associate it with—and share the story.

Let the Bake-a-thon begin!

Memories of Baking Cookies with Grandma

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

Friday, December 4, 1914:  Nothing much doing. More later on.


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

As the holidays approach, I’d like to share a memory that includes both my mother and Grandma.

Mom always organized a cookie-baking party on an evening a week or so before Christmas. Each year my brother and I rushed to finish our farm chores so we could eat an early supper—and then bake cookies. Following the meal, we washed the dishes while Mom went to get Grandma, who lived in a bungalow two miles away.

Soon Grandma would be struggling through the kitchen door carrying a huge basket filled with cookie ingredients—walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, flour, baking chocolate—and her recipes.

We’d sort through Grandma’s (and my mother’s) recipes, and try to decide which cookies to make. Many of the recipe cards indicated that the source of the recipe was a great-aunt, cousin, or other relative.

The decision about which cookies to make required a discussion not only of the merits of each perspective recipe, but also of the person who originated the recipe. Should we make Great-grandma’s filled raisin cookies? (“Dad always loved them.”) . . . or that wonderful Sand Tart recipe that came from someone who was a neighbor of my mother’s 40 years ago (“Don’t know whatever happened to her, but she was a wonderful cook.”) . . .

Ah, the memories. . . I could go on and on.


Grandma’s diary ends on December 29. Over the past several months readers of A Hundred Years Ago have made many wonderful suggestions about how to send Grandma off to live the rest of her life.

I’ve decided to go with a Bake-a-thon because baking cookies with Grandma holds special memories for me and I know that the older version of Grandma loved our annual cookie baking party—so I think that she would have enjoyed a virtual Bake-a-thon.

Come back tomorrow—and I’ll share details about how you can participate in the Bake-a-thon.

Making Handkerchiefs for Xmas Gifts

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

Wednesday, December 2, 1914: Am making handkerchiefs for Xmas presents. They are to be real nice and fancy, with edging of my own makings on them.

tatted handkerchief

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


The handkerchiefs sound lovely. Do they have a tatted edging? Tatting is so delicate and beautiful. I have vague memories that your married sister Besse showed you how to tat last summer:

Besse was trying to teach me tatting today. Am awful stupid about it, but still I persist in trying to make the stuff. It takes some patience.

June 11, 1914


A Hundred-Year-Old Thanksgiving Picture Story: The Turkey and her Haughty Cousins

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

Friday, November 27, 1914: <<no entry>>

Source: Good Housekeeping (November, 1911)
Source: Good Housekeeping (November, 1911)

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

Thanksgiving, 1914 has already come and gone; but, since this is Thanksgiving Day in 2014, I thought that you might enjoy this hundred-year-old picture story.

The Turkey and her Haughty Cousins

turkey story 2

turkey story 3

turkey story 4

turkey story 5

turkey story 6 (1)

(Good Housekeeping, November, 1911)


Carried a Sassy Goose Home from Town

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

Thursday, November 26, 1914: Thanksgiving. Have been having quite a long vacation. We had a Thanksgiving dinner for one thing. My taster was lacking due to a cold and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have. Carried a sassy goose down from town last Monday. The remains are in the pantry awaiting further digestion for the morrow. Wonder if that goose will keep me awake tonight.

Source of photo:  The Livestock Conservancy
Source of photo: The Livestock Conservancy

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

Happy Thanksgiving, Grandma—

You carried a sassy (live?) goose home from town?

How the heck did you do that? A goose must weigh at least 10 or 12 pounds—and a cage would make it even heavier.

I’m not sure where you got it, but you live a mile and a half or so from both McEwensville and Watsontown. That’s a long walk.

And, then I suppose you had to help butcher it –and then cook it. And, you probably also had to make some other foods for the big meal—maybe mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies. . . .

Whew, I’m tired just thinking about all you needed to do to prepare for Thanksgiving.

I hope that you feel better soon, and that your “taster” is back by tomorrow. After all your hard work you deserve to enjoy at least some of the goose’s “remains.”

Advertisement for Carving Sets for the Thanksgiving Turkey

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

Wednesday, November 25, 1914: <<no entry>>

Adversitement for Carving Sets for Thanksgiving turkey
Source: Milton Evening Standard (November 23, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought you might enjoy this advertisement for carving sets. It appeared in Grandma’s local newspaper, the Milton Evening Standard.

Are you prepared for Thanksgiving? You won’t want your guests to think that your turkey was tough just because you don’t have a good carving set. :)