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.

Lost 6 Pounds

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

Friday, March 13, 1914:  Weighed myself this morning. I had lost six pounds. My tummy is flat you can bet. Ate solid food for supper.

DSC02317

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

Grandma—

Wow, 6 pounds is a lot to lose since your tonsillectomy two days ago. I guess that there can be some unexpected positive benefits from having surgery.

Will you be able to keep it off now that you are eating solid food?

Here are several previous posts about weight and dieting:

Are You Obese?  1911 and 2011

1911 Weight Loss Tip: Fletcherize Your Food

One Hundred Year Advice on How to Avoid Overeating

Ice Cream After Tonsillectomy

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

Thursday, March 12, 1914: Ma made ice cream for me this morning. It slips down without hurting much. Had chicken broth this morning. It did make me work to get it down.

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

Grandma—

It’s awesome that your mother made ice cream for you. I bet your throat really hurts. It’s only been a day since your tonsillectomy.

Somehow this diary entry makes me think about when I got my tonsils removed.  I was 10 or 11 years old, and prior to the surgery, my mother told me that the hospital would give me lots of ice cream to eat.

When I woke up after the operation, I was shocked to discover that my mother was wrong. There was NO ice cream. Instead I got a ‘soft’ meal tray that featured soft- boiled eggs. Yuck!

Took an Awful Physic

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

Tuesday, March 10, 1914:  Horrors of horrors, I had to take an awful nasty physic this morning, and I’m not the least bit sick either. Simply because I have to undergo an operation tomorrow.

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

Grandma—

An operation? What’s wrong? You haven’t written much lately, but never mentioned not feeling well or going to the doctor.

A physic is another word for a laxative. Does anyone use that term anymore?

Big Changes and Little Changes Over Time

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

Monday, March 9, 1914:  Nothing to write.

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2010 photo

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2012 picture

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

When writing posts I often think about all the changes that have happened over the past 100 years—but sometimes I’m surprised to discover that this blog also makes me more aware of little changes that occur from one year to the next.

For example, several days ago I went through my pictures to find one illustrate the recent post about Ruth taking the train.  And, I was surprised to discover that the pictures of the tracks that I took in 2010 differed from the ones that I took in 2012. In  2012 there was a piece of equipment by the tracks that hadn’t been there two years before.

The Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad of Grandma’s day is long gone—but the tracks are still used by trains taking coal to the PPL Montour Power Plant near Washingtonville.

Any idea why what is the purpose of the new equipment?

DSC02860

2010 picture

DSC06512

2012 picture

Lonely Without Ruthie

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

Sunday, March 8, 1914:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. Seemed rather lonesome with Ruthie away.

Ruth Muffly

Ruth Muffly

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

Grandma’s sister Ruth went somewhere on the train the previous evening:

. . . Saw Mistress Ruth off on the train tonight. It was late, so I took the lantern down to act for a signal.

Diary entry for March 7, 1914

Interesting how quickly Grandma went from calling her sister “Mistress Ruth” and sounding annoyed that her sister was going somewhere fun (and that she was probably stuck with milking all of the cows by herself) to missing “Ruthie”.

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