Since all of Grandma’s diary entries have been posted, this blog has ended; but you’re invited to linger for a minute or two to explore the site. You may enjoy reading (or rereading) some of the posts.

To find me, visit me at my current family history project: My Aunt the WAC.

It shares the story of my Great Aunt Marian who joined the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) during World War II at the age of 45. I hope that you’ll stop by and say hi.

I’d like to thank my family, friends, and the blogging community for your support and assistance. It’s been a wonderful four years. You’re awesome.

 

Final Diary Entry

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

Tuesday, December 29, 1914: This diary is surely doomed to be a failure and I am terribly tired of writing in it. Christmas has come and gone and I am just the same except a little older. Got some nice presents of which none were misfits. Ma and Ruth seemed to be pleased with the presented I gave them, so then I am satisfied.

Took down the tree today. We never keep our tree long, because there isn’t much to trim it with.

The Conclusion

Good-bye old year, good-bye. Tis now Dec. 29, but I am really ready to say good-bye. I haven’t much faith in myself nor has this friend with me, so it is best that we should part.

Adieu

Helen(a) and Raymond Swartz and their descedants at the Swartz Reunion, White Deer Park, circa 1964

Helen(a) and Raymond Swartz and their descendants at the Swartz Reunion, White Deer Park, circa 1964

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

Good grief, Grandma. . . I hate to disagree on the very last day of the diary, but you are wrong. The diary has done some wonderful things–both for you and for me.

Get your confidence back quickly. You’re going to need it. I looked into my crystal ball and know that you have a long, magnificent life ahead of you with a fantastic husband, and wonderful children and grandchildren.

Adieu for now—I’ll catch up with you when our paths cross again. Go live the rest of your life. You’ll be awesome.

Grandma’s Fruit Bowl

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

Monday, December 28, 1914: <<no entry>>

DSC09704

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

Sigh. . . No diary entry again. I know that the end of the diary is near, and I am relishing these last few days of A Hundred Years Ago.

As the diary winds down and we send Grandma off to live the rest of her life—and me off to a new blogging project,–I’ve been thinking about some of the mementos of Grandma’s that I’ll continue to see on a daily basis.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Grandma passed shortly after I got married; and, when the grandchildren were given an opportunity to select items they would like to have from her house, I selected practical items that I needed. One item I selected was Grandma’s ironing board.

Another item I chose was her fruit bowl. It has sat on my kitchen counter, generally filed with a bunch of bananas (or a few pears or plums), for more than 30 years. I’ve lived in several different homes across that time period, but the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter has been a constant.

The fruit bowl is so functional (yet beautiful)—and I seldom even think about its history—but it’s kind of nice that items that once were Grandma’s are part of my home. The past and the present all somehow merge.

Grandma at my Wedding

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

Sunday, December 27, 1914: <<no entry>>

DSC09680crop

my grandfather on the other side of the family, Grandma, me, my husband

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, today I’d like share another photo of Grandma and me. This one was taken at my wedding.

Cloth Calendars

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

Wednesday, December 23, 1914: <<no entry>>

cloth calendar 1963

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

Across the past few years I’ve shared many stories about my grandmother as an older woman. I’d like to on of them since it so aptly describe my memories of her. This is what I wrote on January 29, 2011:

Since not much happened a hundred years ago on this date—let’s fast forward to another January day 52 years later–probably a very routine day from Grandma’s perspective, but a day that I still remember.

In January 1963 Grandma would have been 68 years old. I was 7 and often visited her in her cozy bungalow on a neighboring farm. Cloth dish towels with calendars printed on them were the fad at the time, and Grandma always had a cloth calendar hanging decoratively in her kitchen. The calendar towel had a dowel running through the top hem and a string attached to the ends of the dowels, and it hung from a nail that was pounded into the wall.

I noticed that the calendar said 1957. I was old enough to know that the year was 1963. I asked Grandma why she had an old calendar.

She replied, “Calendars repeat themselves every so often.” She walked over to the closet at the far end of the kitchen, opened the door, and showed me a stack of cloth calendars. On top of the folded stack was a sheet of paper with Grandma’s handwriting on it. It indicated which years were the same. For example, one row on the page may have said 1958, 1969 which indicated that the 1958 calendar could be reused in 1969.

She pulled out calendars and explained how some patterns repeated with regularity—whereas due to the vagaries of leap year–other calendar patterns seldom repeated. It was so complicated that I could barely follow her explanation—but trying to understand calendar quirks consumed my mental energy for the next several days. I looked at calendars, drew calendars, asked questions about leap year. . .

Today it’s easy to find out when calendar years repeat with a quick internet search—it was a much harder task back then. But, looking back, Grandma’s explanation that day partially frames how I think about her. She was smart, and obviously enjoyed the challenge of keeping track of calendars and years.

Grandma was also always very frugal and reusing old calendars seemed to fit her. I wonder if the 15-year-old in the diary would have been as frugal—or if the Great Depression and other events in the intervening years made her thriftier.

Four years later I think that I can answer my question at the end of that post. Based on Grandma’s diary, I think that Grandma always was fairly thrifty and didn’t like to deplete her pocketbook unnecessarily.

A Photo of Grandma and Me

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

Tuesday, December 22, 1914: <<no entry>>

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

After Grandma and Grandpa’s children grew up, they built a small bungalow on my uncle’s farm. This is where they lived when I was a child.

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today,  I’d like to repost a picture of Grandma and me that shows what the kitchen in the bungalow looked  like.

This is wrote when I originally posted it on July 31, 2013:

Others who have family history blogs often have awesome pictures of themselves with the relative they are writing about—and I’m always slightly jealous.

The few pictures that I have of me with Grandma have many limitations. Time has taken a toll on the color, the picture has lighting problems or is blurry, and so on.

But, in spite of the poor quality of the picture above, I really like this photo so I decided to share it with you.

Recent photo of bungalow may grandparents lived in when I was a child.

Recent photo of bungalow may grandparents lived in when I was a child.

Grandma Gave Herself a Christmas Gift

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

Monday, December 21, 1914: I look by these pages of late that I don’t take much interest in keeping a diary. I really don’t because I have nothing exciting to write. Am done Xmas shopping for this year, and my pocketbook is done, too. The trouble for me with Christmas presents is that I never get enough.

Had one of my Brownie pictures enlarged. It came this morning. A Xmas present for myself.

Alma Derr, Rachel Oakes, and Ruth Muffly at Niagara Falls (Caption order may not be correct; Uncertain of the order; of the women)

Alma Derr, Rachel Oakes, and Ruth Muffly at Niagara Falls (Caption order may not be correct; Uncertain of the order; of the women)

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

Grandma, do tell—Was it the picture that you took of the girls at Niagara Falls last summer?

If so, I feel tingly. By giving yourself a Christmas present, you’ve given your descendants a gift that has lasted a hundred years.

—-

Whew, I can hardly believe it. I’m only aware of one photo that Grandma took which still exists—and I think this dairy entry may be referring to it. My cousin Alice has a photo that Grandma took of her sister, her cousin, and a friend during a trip to Niagara Falls in August, 1914. Grandma really liked the photo, and mentioned it in previous diary entries.

I asked Alice about the photo last summer. I’m reposting what Alice told me:

My Dad and I were cleaning out sheds on our farm outside of McEwensville, probably around the summer of 1977 or 1978. That is when we found the picture. I had just bought my first house and was delighted to have some pictures to hang. There were several other pictures from the Muffly and Swartz family.

I love the picture so much. It still hangs in my office and I enjoy looking at it every day. Everyone looks so happy.

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