Top News Story: Ships Have Sunk in Lake Superior

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

Monday, November 23, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Source: Milton Evening Standard (November 23, 1914)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (November 23, 1914)

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

I always find it interesting to see what national news made headlines in central Pennsylvania. This article was the top center headline on the front page of Grandma’s local newspaper, the Milton Evening Standard, a hundred years ago today.

What a sad story—So many lives were lost due to the extreme weather. .

It makes me think about another, more recent, November maritime disaster on Lake Superior—the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975 which was memorialized in the song by Gordon Lightfoot.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

When the skies of November turn gloomy

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more

Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty

That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed

When the gales of November came early

Grandma’s Ironing Board

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

Thursday, November 19, 1914: <<no entry>>

Grandma's iron board

My Grandma’s  iron board

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I’m going to go off on a tangent—

Sometimes I’m surprised how thoughts of Grandma pop into my head at the least expected times.

Last week-end my husband and I had friends over for dinner. It was almost time for them to arrive and I still hadn’t set the table.

I pulled some cloth napkins out of a drawer-and thought with dismay—“Dang it, I’m going to have to iron them.”

Annoyed, I dragged my heavy ironing board out of the closet—and suddenly thought—”Did Grandma also dislike lugging this hefty ironing board around?”

This makes perfect sense because I have Grandma’s ironing board.

DSC09631She passed many years ago. It was shortly after I got married, and I needed an ironing board. So when the grandchildren were given an opportunity to select items they would like from her house—one of the things I chose was the ironing board.

I’ve used the ironing board for more than 35 years. It’s probably 60 or 70 years old (and probably could easily last another 60 or 70 years).  I replaced the ironing board cover once a few years ago—but that’s it. It might be heavy, but it is also darn sturdy.

 

Cows Escaped and Went to Neighbor’s Farm

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

Wednesday, November 18, 1914:  Today passed as other days. A few flakes flew this morning. Wish the snow would get down to business, for then I wouldn’t have to look after the cows. Today they went off to a neighbors and I had to walk after them.

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (August 1, 1911)

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

Hmm—apparently the cows were still out in the pasture, but after it snows they will be confined to the barn. During past summers Grandma mentioned several times that she needed to watch the cows. For example, on August 26, 1911, she wrote:

Everything seemed to have gone wrong today. Hard to tell what the cause really is. I have to watch the cows, and I don’t like it but school will soon start and then that task will be ended.

And, on May 18, 1912 she wrote:

What a doleful calamity. I had to watch the cows this morning, I mean this afternoon. I’m afraid that this is only the beginning. They got into the wheat for me.

This is the first time Grandma mentioned watching cows in the Fall in the diary—and I think that it’s the first time that she mentioned it in 1914.

I remain clueless as to why the cows needed to be watched. It still seems like they should have been securely contained in a field fenced with barbed wire, but obviously they weren’t (or if there was a fence it wasn’t strong enough).

Went to an Entertainment with Sister

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

Tuesday, November 17, 1914:  Ruth and I went to Watsontown this evening to attend the second of the course of entertainments. Didn’t want to go very bad, but since she was willing to pay my way I went.

Recent photo of downtown Watsontown

Recent photo of downtown Watsontown

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

Grandma-

Wow! Ruth paid your admission fee!

I love it! Sometimes your sister was annoying, but she sure came through when you were feeling down about the end of your third romance.

What was the entertainment? . . . a play? . . . a speaker? . . a musical program?

Worry and Mental Attitude

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

Wednesday, November 11, 1914: <<no entry>>

A recent rainy day in McEwensville

A recent rainy day in McEwensville

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

Grandma –

Are you okay? You were so sad three days ago when your “third romance ended in tragedy.” I’m concerned about you now. How are you dealing with your heartache?

A hundred years ago, people thought about emotions a little differently than we do now. Here some quotes from a hundred-year-old book:

Worry is a type of fear. It is a futile regret over past mistakes and the miserable forecasting of the future.

As no one’s future can be clear throughout, there is never wanting the matter of anxiety to a mind susceptible of this state.

And, not only the imagination, but the intellect, the emotions, and the will have or may have a powerful influence over the sensations and organic functions.

Mental attitude refers not to the will or the emotions, but to the mind in its entirety. The trend of a woman’s thoughts, the use she makes of her intellect, the strength of the volition, the sense of responsibility, and the objects of her life are all questions that have a distinct bearing upon the bodily functions and the health of the individual.

Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911) by Anna Galbraith

The Old Cow Died

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

Monday, November 9, 1914:  The same old tune, the old cow died. That reminds me of Pa’s increase, namely cows. They arrived today.

Source: Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine (1911)

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (1911)

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

Hmm. . . what did Grandma mean by the old cow died?

My first thought: Did a cow on the farm die? . . .Or was Grandma thinking about the end of her romance, and the phrase was an idiom that meant something else?

So I googled it, and discovered that there actually is a song called The Old Cow Died. According to Information Please, the words are:

The Old Cow Died

There was an old man,

and he had an old cow,

But he had no fodder to give her.

So he took up his fiddle and played her the tune:

`Consider, good cow, consider.

This isn’t the time for the grass to grow.

Consider, good cow, consider.’

You can also listen to it (with slightly different words) at: Smithsonian Folkways (click on “play sample”).

I’m still left wondering why the song popped into Grandma’s head. Maybe it was because her father bought some new cows. . . or maybe a somewhat melancholy song was just the right song to hum as she worked her way through the ending of a relationship.

Third Romance Ended in Tragedy

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

Sunday, November 8, 1914:  My thoughts are in some kinds of a tangled maze, for it is now November the eighth, and I have decided to begin on a new month at last. Perhaps this may be accounted for in the fact that my third romance has ended in a tragedy to me any way. I have given up all hope for none is left for poor me. No one knows, no one suspects that deep down in my heart there lies something which I would dare tell no one.

Blanche and Margaret B. were down this afternoon. Took their picture. Wonder how it will be for it was raining at the time.

DSC06502

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

Oh Grandma, I’m so sorry. What happened?

I want to ask why you didn’t tell us about your romance via diary entries during the past few months. But, I know you’re feeling too bad to answer. I’m sure you had your reasons.

Blanche and Margaret Bryson were friends of Grandma’s. For more about them see these previous posts:

Blanche and Margaret Bryson

My Memories of Blanche Bryson Kramm

Milford, Margaret, Bertlet, and Blanche Bryson

Milford, Margaret, Bertlet, and Blanche Bryson (Source of Photo: Jane Shuman)

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