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.

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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!

Tonsillectomies a Hundred Years Ago

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

Wednesday, March 11, 1914:    Pa took us into town this morning to take the train for mother went along with me. Had never been to Williamsport before and rather enjoyed the trip, going up anyway. You may be sure I took in all the sights.

After we arrived in the city we went directly to the specialist’s office; there the operation was performed.

Was given chloroform and after being under its influence for about half an hour I came to. Ma told me afterwards that I yelled and groaned like everything, so it must have hurt some. I soon became conscious of a very sore throat. Two tonsils had been removed and an adenoid. Was soon able to get up and take a walk with Ma. Arrived home safely. Oh my, the swallowing process is terrible.

Recent picture of Williamsport (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Recent picture of Williamsport (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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

I’m amazed that Grandma had never previously been to Williamsport. It is only about 20 miles from McEwensville—though the train would have had to go through some mountains to get there.

I’m also surprised that Grandma apparently never visited the doctor who removed her tonsils prior to the date of the surgery.

Tonsillectomies apparently were very popular a hundred years ago.I even found a book published in 1914 called Adenoids and Kindred Perils of School Life by D.T. Atkinson, M.D.  Here are some quotes and pictures:

Enlarged tonsils and adenoid growths are responsible for many cases of persistent cough. Persons who breathe through their mouths carry into the larynx, twenty times or so a minute, a current of air which has not been freed from dust by the filtering process of the nose, and which is not moistened.

The consequences are that the larynx is kept dry and irritated and responds rapidly to atmospheric changes. Some authorities on the throat have reached the conclusion that in mouth breathing cases there is kept up a mild, almost unnoticed chronic inflammation of the larynx which becomes aggravated under the influence of exposure to cold or irritation from dust. In children with adenoids an almost constant “cold” in the head exists during the winter months.

The adenoid operation, though performed by a limited number of surgeons in different parts of the world, did not come into general use until a few years ago. Both parents and physicians recognize now that mouth breathing is a condition resulting from disease, that it is not a habit and that a child in a normal condition will not breathe through its mouth.  . .

adenoids-1

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I don’t remember Grandma being ill very often during the winter of 1913-14. (She had more colds the previous winter.) I wonder why she decided to have her tonsils removed.

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?

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2010 picture

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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”.

Flagged Train Down with Lantern

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

Saturday, March 7, 1914:  Nothing doing. Saw Mistress Ruth off on the train tonight. It was late, so I took the lantern down to act for a signal.

lantern

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

Where was Grandma’s sister Ruth going?

Tracks for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad  crossed the Muffly farm. There was a flag stop at a feed mill called Truckenmiller’s Mill which bordered the farm. The route went from Watsontown to McEwensville and Turbotville and then continued east to Washingtonville, Bloomsburg, and Berwick.

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Recent photo of the railroad tracks that crossed the Muffly farm.

Sometimes the diary entries give me powerful visual images. In my mind,  I see two young women, standing beside a dark mill on a cold, cloudy moonless night waiting for the train.

And, then the train lights appear in the distance.  As the train approaches, Grandma wildly swings the lantern, while Ruth frets that the train might not stop. . . .but it slowly rolls to a stop and Ruth vanishes into the train. . . . and Grandma slowly walks home with the lantern lighting the way.

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