Regained 3 Pounds

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

Monday, March 23, 1914:  Got a streak of sewing today. I get the streaks quite often in many variations. Another one is to get rid of some of my superfluous fat. 140 pounds (January) is entirely too much for a girl of my age. I don’t weigh that now, since I lost six and gained about three. Intend to take advantage of the other three and fight for dear life.

bathroom scale

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

Grandma lost 6 pounds after her tonsillectomy.  They were removed on March 11, and two days later she wrote:

Weighed myself this morning. I had lost six pounds. My tummy is flat you can bet. Ate solid food for supper.

March 13, 1914

My memory is that Grandma was fairly short when she was an older woman—maybe 5 feet, 1 or 2 inches. She probably lost can inch or so as she aged, but I don’t think that she ever was over 5 foot 3 inches max.

Grandma—

You can do it. Hang onto those three pounds. 137 pounds sounds a little heavy—and you don’t want to regain any more.

Allowed to Go to Sunday School

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

Sunday, March 22, 1914:  Went to Sunday School this morning without being told to stay at home.

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Road Grandma would have walked down as she approached McEwensville. At the stop sign she would have turned right to get to the Baptist Church.

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

Hmm. . . why was Grandma surprised that she was allowed to go to Sunday School?

I think there’s a guy Grandma likes who goes to her church—but I don’ think that her parents are restricting her activities though maybe she thought that she might be grounded for staying out until 2:30 a.m. on the Friday night before she wrote this entry.

Grandma’s missed very few weeks since she began keeping the diary. She didn’t go to Sunday School the previous week—but I’d assumed that her father won’t let her go because she’d had a tonsillectomy five days prior to that entry:

Was so put out this morning. Pa aid I wasn’t to go to Sunday School. I was anticipating some of the kind. I stayed at home and took a physic. Boo hoo. . .

March 15, 1914

Another Late Night

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

Friday, March 20, 1914:  Home 2:30. Went to sleep this afternoon and when I awoke was sleepier than ever.

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The road between the Muffly farm and McEwensville.

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

Grandma—

You came home at 2:30!! What were you doing? You must have been having fun to have stayed out so late.

This is getting to be a habit. On  February 18, 1914 you wrote:

 Ruth and I went to a party tonight over at our cousin’s. We walked to town and from there the party was conveyed in sleds. Didn’t go very fast as the roads were full of snow. My, but we did have the eats. Bet there were some, who made it hard for their poor tummies. Got home 2:30 a.m.

 

Got a Chocolate Pig

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

Thursday, March 19, 1914:  Ruth and I went to a party up at town tonight. We played at progressive cards. I was the only one who didn’t progress. My skill was awarded by getting the ‘booby’ prize. It was a chocolate pig with a red ribbon round its neck.

Picture Source: Compartes

Picture Source: Compartes

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

Booby prizes are no fun!

Amazingly, I found an adorable chocolate pig with a red bow on the Compartes website.

Maybe I should have a card party (probably pinochle because that’s the card game that I’m best at)—and give a chocolate pig as the booby prize to the worst player. . . .oh, never mind. . . dumb idea. . . I think whoever got it, would get mad at me.

Time and Place Where Wrote Diary Entries

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

Tuesday, March 17, 1914:  Throat is about well.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (June, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (June, 1914)

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

Yeah—only 6 days after her tonsillectomy and Grandma is feeling almost as good as new.

Where was Grandma sitting when she wrote this entry? And, what time of day did she write it?  I have a vivid imagination, and like to picture Grandma doing her daily activities, but I’ve never really been able to get a good sense of when and where she typically wrote entries.

Did the write them:

  • At the kitchen table?
  • While  sitting on a chair or lying on a couch  in the living room?
  • At a desk?
  • While sitting in bed just before she went to sleep? (I don’t really think that she wrote them in bed, since she shared a bedroom—and probably a double bed –with her sister Ruth during the winter months.)

Poor Performance at School and Tonsillitis

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

Monday, March 16, 1914:  Nothing much doing. 

Building that once housed the McEwensville School.

Building that once housed the McEwensville School.

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

You’re probably sick of posts about tonsils and tonsillitis by now, but I have to share just  one more amazing thing that I discovered: people back then believed there was a relationship between tonsillitis and poor performance at school.

This is what a book published in 1914 called Adenoids and Kindred Perils of School Life by D.T. Atkinson, M.D. said:

Children with adenoids rest badly at night. They breathe through the mouth and snore heavily. Their physical discomfort causes their sleep to be disturbed by dreams and nightmares and it is not unusual for them to spend the night in tossing about in bed.

They awaken in the morning unrested and remain tired and peevish during the day. At school they are backward, absent-minded and forgetful. There is often an inability to fix the attention, and as a rule they make poor grades in their classes.

Nearly every observant teacher can now pick out these children in the school room, guided only by their general appearance and their lack of application.

How Much Did Oranges Cost a Hundred Years Ago?

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

Saturday, March 14, 1914:  Do get some good things to eat these days. It was oranges for this day. I had callers this afternoon.

oranges

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

Grandma’s still recuperating from her tonsillectomy on March 11. Who came to visit? . . . someone special? . . . and did he or she bring the oranges?

Oranges were considered a special treat in Pennsylvania a hundred years ago since it was expensive to ship them in from the South, but they weren’t as costly as I might have guessed.  According to the Morristown (New Jersey) Daily Record, you could buy a dozen oranges for 25¢ in 1913.

Of course there’s been lots of inflation since then. An online inflation calculator says that a 1913 dollar is now worth $23.81, so in current dollars you could buy a dozen oranges for $5.95 back then. That’s a little more than what oranges generally cost today, but not much.

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If you are interested in looking at how prices have changed across the years, you might enjoy a website that the Morris County Library  in New Jersey has which lists prices for lots of items for each decade between 1903 and 2013.

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