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.

I’m Sharing A Recipe…

Sheryl:

Sunday, December 20, 1914: <no entry>

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

Readers participating in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon have shared many wonderful memories. We are giving Grandma a great send-off to live the rest of her life after the diary ends.

Today I’m reblogging an awesome post that Dianna at These Days of Mine did for the Bake-a-thon. She shares a wonderful Applesauce Cake recipe, and tells a heartwarming story about sharing the cake mini-loafs. And, I absolutely adore how she wraps the mini-loafs and ties ribbons around them. Dianna knows how to make a food gift really special.

Originally posted on these days of mine:

ALERT THE MEDIA!

(For those of you who don’t personally know me, let me share with you that I rarely cook, so the idea of me sharing a recipe is rather humorous.)

Today’s post is a combination: I’m participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop:

2. Share a favorite holiday inspired recipe!

…and this is also my entry for the “Bake-a-thon” over at Sheryl’s blog “A Hundred Years Ago Today”.  For the past few years, Sheryl has shared her grandmother’s diary (written in 1911-1914) each day, but that diary comes to an end on December 31. Sheryl’s readers are sharing favorite family recipes as a way of honoring her grandmother and bidding farewell to the diary.

We didn’t often have desserts when I was a child, too tempting for my mom to have sweets in the house, I imagine. She would make peanut butter cookies occasionally, and sometimes, she…

View original 231 more words

Hundred-year-old Christmas Place Card Ideas

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

Saturday, December 19, 1914: <<no entry>>

Place card figures and rhymes

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1914)

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

Since Grandma again didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I’ll continue telling you how to create a “Christmassy” table. In addition to a centerpiece, Christmas place cards need to be made.

In case you aren’t a creative person, the December, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal included twelve “little people and little rimes” that could be cut out and glued onto tag board to make the place cards.

What fun children making the cards must have had trying to decide who got which rime!

Hmm. . .who should get this one?

1914-12-26 g

. . . and, who is the perfect person for this one?

1914-12-26 f

 

Creating a “Christmassy” Table

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

Ponsietta Christmas Table Decoration

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1914)

Friday, December 18, 1914: <<no entry>>

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I thought that you might enjoy these hundred-year old suggestions for how to create a “Christmassy” table.

It is the little extra touch that makes a table festive in appearance.

The table itself must be Christmassy in its setting and decorations, however simple, and once our eyes have taken it all in we settle down to the enjoyment of turkey and all the “fixins.”

Forest Christmas Table Decoration

Christmas table decorations

Christmas Wreaths a Hundred Years Ago

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

Thursday, December 17, 1914: <<no entry>>

evergreen wreath

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, and to get into the holiday spirit, I thought you might enjoy seeing what Christmas wreaths looked like a hundred years ago.

Christmas greenery including a wreathThe wreath on the wall above the sideboard is decorated with tinsel, and a bright Christmas ball hangs at the bottom.

Wreath with ornaments Pretty wreaths are made by tying small sprigs to circular wire or wood frames.

wreath with red ribbons and bellsCrimson ribbon bows make a most effective contrast with the green sprays.

Ladies Home Journal (December, 1914)

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