Love Sonnets of a Shop Girl (Sonnet XIII)

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

Friday, October 3, 1913: Working for wages.

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

Grandma worked long days on her father’s farm husking corn.  Did she ever wish that she had a job in town—maybe as a clerk in a store?

Postcard showing Marsh Shoe Store, Milton a hundred years ago (postally used December 1910).

Postcard showing Marsh Shoe Store in the nearby town of Milton a hundred years ago (postally used December 1910).

It wasn’t all fun and glamor working in a store. Here’s what one of the sonnets published in 1913 in  Love Sonnets of Shop Girl had to say:

Sonnet XIII

That floor-walker’s getting’ too breezy;

He hangs around me all the time.

I’ve wanted to let him down easy,

But he doesn’t get wise—he’s a lime.

I don’t like the way that he treats me –

You’d think that he owned me, the slob!

You’d think, by the way that he meets me,

I owed him my life—and my job!

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He’s got to quit callin’ me “Baby”

And “Sister” and “Honey” and “Pet.”

I’ve quarreled with Terence; but maybe

He wouldn’t be tickled to get

A chance at this floor-walker Willie,

Who tried to get merry with muh!

Oh, wouldn’t he wallop him silly!

And then for the ambulance—huh?

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But I won’t tell Terence; I merely

Will speak to this floor-walker gink,

And tell him, quite plainly and clearly,

Exactly the things that I think.

I don’t want to act at all shady,

But if he get uppish—the yap!—

I’ll lift up my hand like a lady

And bounce him a biff on the map.

Love Sonnets of a Shop Girl by Berton Braley was published in a 1913 book called Sonnets of a Suffragette.  The entire book is available on the Internet Archive.

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Fairs A Hundred Years Ago

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

Wednesday, October 1, 1913:

October comes with the colder days.

Dresses the trees in gayest attire.

Garners the harvest in fields far and near

Into great heaps that all may admire.

This is Fair Week but not so the weather. Not going this year, so I won’t take it as hard as some.

Milton.Fairground_ferris_wheel_Milton Fairgrounds (This picture may have been taken a few years after Grandma wrote this diary entry). Photo source: Milton History. org.  Used. with permission.

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

Grandma –

Why aren’t you going to the Milton Fair? You had so much fun last year and even saw an airplane:

Saw a flying machine whirling aloft in the air for at least 10 minutes. I think twas quite a sight to see.

October 3, 1912

There are so many reasons people attend fairs. Here’s what the October, 1913 issue of Farm Journal said about the purpose of fairs:

The word fair, as now used in America, has lost much of its Old world meaning. In this country the fair, whether we call it a world’s fair or a state fair, a county fair or district fair, is an industrial exhibition. And this is as it should be.

It places the fair on a strictly business basis; it makes of it a practical, helpful thing. Conducted on an industrial, practical line, the fair is designed to help both the farmer and the city resident. It is the common meeting ground of all classes. At the fair the man who produces and the man who buys, the grower and the manufacturer, get together. They learn what each is capable of doing, and ascertain each other’s need.

It is remarkable how much benefit we can get out of the fair when we attend filled with a desire to learn—to gain something worthwhile.

The farmer who is seen “taking notes” at a fair—jotting down the name of this big apple, the weight of that monster pumpkin; who writes down all the information he can get about caring for hogs, poultry raising, feeding; who investigates the new kinds of machinery, and secures all available figures about up-to-date methods—that farmer will make his trip to the fair a valuable thing. He can do this and still have plenty of time to accompany his family to the side show, to take a whirl on the merry-go-round, or throw a ball at the doll babies.

Monthly Poem

For information about the monthly poems sees this previous post:

Monthly Poem in Diary

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Making the Farm Pay

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

Monday, September 29, 1913:  

9/29 – 30: These days have come and gone. They ground me working on my job.

farm.book

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

Grandma must have been too tired to write anything a hundred years ago today (and tomorrow).  She was spending long days out in the field harvesting corn—but past entries have indicated that she was pleased to be making some money:

I’m on duty now out in the corn field. The beginning took place this afternoon. Somehow or other I imaged I would accomplish more than what I did. This is an opportunity to earn some money of which I always seem in need.

September 25, 1913

I assume that Grandma was working for her father—and that he was paying her.  She was happy about the money; but was her father happy or worried about the profitability of the farm?

Did he worry about rainy weather that might prevent completion of the harvest before the snow flew? . . . or low market prices that would prevent him from recouping the cost of growing the crop?

Maybe he read a 1913 book called Making the Farm Pay by C.C. Bowsfield.  Here’s an abridged version of what the first page said:

The average land owner has a great deal of practical knowledge, and yet is deficient in some of the most salient requirements. He may know how to produce a good crop and not know how to sell it to the best advantage.

Worse than this, he may follow a method which turns agricultural work into drudgery, and his sons and daughters forsake the farm home as soon as they are old enough to assert a little independence.  The farmers are deprived on the earnest, intelligent help which naturally belongs to them, rural society loses one of its best elements, the cities are overcrowded and all parties at interest are losers.

You may also enjoy reading (or rereading) a previous post that I did on the Country Life Commission. A hundred years ago the federal government sought to make farming more profitable, and to make farm life more appealing for young people, by appointing the Country Life Commission.

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1913 Publisher’s Weekly Bestsellers

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

Sunday, September 28, 1913: Went to Sunday School this morning. Most of the people went away this morning leaving Ma and me at home. I got pretty lonesome for awhile, but afterwards got company.

The.inside.of.the.cup

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

I suppose Grandma and her mother had to stay home to feed the livestock and milk the cows. Where did everyone else go?

Before the company came, what did Grandma do? Maybe she read a book. When I’m lonely I often read books.

A few weeks ago, I gave you a list of 1913 books that are still popular according to Goodreads.

I’ve found another list of books—the Publishers Weekly list of 1913 bestselling novels.

The lists are very different—many of the 1913 bestsellers were written by authors I’ve never heard of –and many of the books that stood the test of time were sleepers a hundred years ago.

Bestselling Novels in 1913

1. The Inside of the Cup by Winston Churchill

2. V.V.’s Eyes by Henry Sydnor Harrison

3. Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter

4. The Judgment House by Gilbert Parker

5. Heart of the Hills by John Fox, Jr.

6. The Amateur Gentleman by Jeffrey Farnol

7. The Woman Thou Gavest Me by Hall Caine

8. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

9. The Valiants of Virginia by Hallie Erminie Rives

10. T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hmm. . . I read Pollyanna when I was a child. I think that it’s the only book of this list that I’ve ever heard of.  I wonder if people still read it.

I googled The Inside of the Cup by Winston Churchill, and discovered that there were two Winston Churchill’s—the British statesmen and the American novelist who wrote this book.

 

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1913 Nestle’s Food (Baby Formula) Advertisement

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

Tuesday, September 23, 1913:  Don’t know how to express myself.

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 an advertisement for a baby formula, Nestle’s Food, that appeared in the October, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal. 

1913-10-49.nestle.ad

A few days ago I did a post that showed several pictures of the “right” and “wrong” way raise a baby.  Readers’ comments about that post led me to do this post.  It contained pictures from the October, 1913 issues of Ladies Home Journal where both the “right” and the “wrong”  way showed the baby drinking from a bottle.  Several people commented that it was interesting that breastfeeding wasn’t mentioned.

After reading the comments I looked at the magazine again–and I discovered that this ad was positioned right next to the picture article about the right and wrong ways to raise a baby.

1913-10-49.page

Maybe I’m in a cynical mood today, but somehow it feels like the magazine was trying to please the advertiser, and that the advertisement drove the content.

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Hundred-Year-Old Advice About the Right and Wrong Ways to Care for a Baby

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

Saturday, September 13, 1913:  This day is a good bit like some other days.

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 some fun drawings of the wrong and right ways to care for a baby that appeared in the October, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

Wrong

1913-10-49.a

Right

1913-10-49.b

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Wrong

1913-10-49.c

Right

1913-10-49.d

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Wrong

1913-10-49.e

Right

1913-10-49.f

Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream Advertisement

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

Friday, September 12, 1913:  I’ve forgotten for today.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a hundred-year-old ad for Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream that was in the March, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

1913 Colgate adCare of the teeth twice-a-day and every day is a good habit easily formed with Colgate’s.

COLGATE’S RIBBON DENTAL CREAM

DELICIOUS

ANTISEPTIC

ECONOMICAL

COMES OUT A RIBBON

LIES FLAT ON THE BRUSH

CANNOT ROLL OFF THE BRUSH

Its flavor is delicious—making its use a treat and insuring regularity.

Its antiseptic action is thorough—checking the germs which cause decay.

Its cleansing is safe—removing deposits and leaving the mouth non-acid without over-medication.

Every member of your household—man, woman and child—should have an individual tube.

Single tubes and boxes of half dozen at our dealer’s—or send us 2 cents for a trial tube and our booklet “Oral Hygiene.”

COLGATE & CO.

Dept. H

199 Fulton St., New York

Maker of Cashmere Bouquet Soap—luxurious, lasting, refined.

According to the Colgate website:

Colgate introduced its toothpaste in a tube similar to modern-day toothpaste tubes in the 1890s.

Until after 1945, toothpastes contained soap. After that time, soap was replaced by other ingredients to make the paste into a smooth paste or emulsion—such as sodium lauryl sulphate, a common ingredient in present-day toothpaste.

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