A Pleasant Spring Evening

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

Thursday, April 9, 1914:  Ruth and I have returned home after escorting Carrie back from where she came from. It’s awful nice out. The moon light makes it almost as light as evening.

moonlight

Source: Wikipedia

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

A moonlit walk on a pleasant spring evening. . . What a lovely way to end the day!

Carrie Stout was a friend of Grandma and her sister Ruth who lived on a nearby farm.

Something doesn’t seem worded quite right with this diary entry. Grandma wrote that it was “almost as light as evening”–though she must have meant the daylight hours.

 

Popular Sheet Music a Hundred Years Ago

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

Wednesday, April 8, 1914: Nothing much. Don’t seem to have so much to do. My music lesson is easy for one thing.

Picture Source: Wikipedia

Picture Source: Wikipedia

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

What songs was Grandma learning how to play? Maybe she had sheet music for some popular songs.

Sheet music published between 1911 and 1914 that I recognized included:

1911

  • Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad)

1912

  • When Irish Eyes are Smiling

1913

  • Peg O My Heart

1914

  • By the Beautiful Sea
  • When You Wore A Rose and I Wore a Big Red Tulip

You can find the lyrics and recordings for these songs (and many more) on the Public Domain Music.org site, as well as on YouTube.

Back to Solid Earth

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

Tuesday, April 7, 1914: Back to solid earth again.

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

Hmm. . . Back to solid earth again??? Nothing really awesome has happened recently in Grandma’s life, so it why did she write this?

Her cousin, Alma Derr, did visit over the week-end, but went home the previous day. Maybe Grandma didn’t have to work as hard when she had a guest (and maybe her parents even did some of her farm chores for her). . . but now that Alma was gone, the normal workload and drudgery returned.

Closet Cleaning

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

Monday, April 6, 1914: Alma went home this morning, and it seems so lonesome without her. Hauled the stuffings out of a closet this afternoon, and then hauled them back, which means that I cleaned it.

1913-10-52.bI can’t find a picture of a 1914 closet, but maybe this shows a closet door. Picture Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1913)

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

Alma Derr was Grandma’s cousin who came to visit the previous Saturday. She lived near the small town of Ottawa in nearby Montour County.

I think I got Grandma’s genes when it comes to cleaning closets!

I also haul the “stuffings” out . . . and then put them back. :)

Searching for Arbutus

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

Sunday, April 5, 1914: We went for arbutus this afternoon, but only managed to find the buds. It is late this spring. Went to church this evening and then home.

Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

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

Grandma’s cousin Alma Derr was visiting for a few days, so the “we” probably refers to Grandma, Alma, and perhaps Grandma’s sister Ruth.

Years ago it was a common spring activity for people go out into the woods and pick trailing arbutus.

Grandma seemed to really enjoyed searching for arbutus with friends and family members, because she also mentioned it in previous years in the diary.

Carrie Stout was over this afternoon. We went to gather dandelions, and worked awhile, then went to hunt for trailing arbutus in the woods. We didn’t get any though for it was just beginning to come out. But we found some wintergreen and mountain pinks.

April 13, 1911

 

Besse was out this afternoon. We three kids went for arbutus and I got some this time. . .

April 15, 1911

 

. . . Carrie and I went for arbutus and wound up by taking a walk. . .

April 28, 1912

Bouncer: Archaic Definition

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

Saturday, April 4, 1914:  My bouncer of a cousin Alma came over on the train this afternoon. All three of us went to a play up town. Didn’t get to bed till after 12, and then I had to sleep on the rail, it was rather fun though. Wonder I didn’t roll out.

Recent photo of the railroad track near Grandma's farm. (The view is looking toward Watsontown.)

Recent photo of the railroad track near Grandma’s farm. (The view is looking toward Watsontown.)

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

When I first read this diary entry it didn’t make any sense to me. What the heck, did “bouncer” mean? Did I transcribe it incorrectly—even though Grandma wrote the word clearly?

Then I googled “bouncer archaic definition”, and discovered that an archaic meaning is:

bouncer: One who bounces; a large, heavy person who makes much noise in moving.

Wordsense

Wow—Now that I know the meaning, what a descriptive word! I suddenly can almost picture Alma in my mind.

I think that Grandma and her sister Ruth shared a double bed during the months when the weather was cold. I suppose that Ruth, Alma, and Grandma all squeezed into the bed—and that Grandma was so far to the edge that she was right against the side rail.

Now that I think about it—most beds no longer have side rails; but I guess that metal bed frames hadn’t yet been invented a hundred years ago.

A New Soda Fountain

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

Friday, April 3, 1914: Don’t remember having done anything worthwhile.

Milton-Evening-Standard-4-2-14-d

Milton Evening Standard (April 2, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share another article from the Milton Evening Standard. Milton is about 4 miles from McEwensville.

It sounds like Milton now had a super trendy soda fountain. I wonder if Grandma ever went there with her friends (or a cute guy), and had a malt or a root beer.

Pictures of the drug store and the soda fountain are on the Milton History.org site.

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