Bought Some Carbolic Acid

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

Tuesday, August 11, 1914:  Had to trot up to McEwensville to get some carbolic acid for Pa. The storekeeper said I should be careful of it; Well I didn’t swallow any if that’s what was meant. It must be fierce stuff. I could smell it through the bottle.

carbolic acid

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

What happened? Why did Grandma’s father need carbolic acid?

Carbolic acid (also known as phenol) was an antiseptic that was used to clean wounds. It was also used as a disinfectant.

It is a poison, but in small amounts it is sometimes used as an ingredient in some oral analgesics. For example, in more recent years carbolic acid has been used as an ingredient in Chloraseptic spray and Carmex.

There’s a Guy!

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

Thursday, August 6, 1914:  Ruth and I went to a party up at Seibert’s this evening. A girl friend of Ruth’s came to take in the affair, so we all went together. Had a rather nice time. They played kissing games (have reasons of my own for not saying we), even if I did get some kisses. Arrived home at about half past 1 a.m.

A side street in McEwensville

A side street in McEwensville

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

Grandma!

WHO is it? . . .Is he cute? . . . I’m not sure whether to be happy for you or alarmed.

I’m trying to be ecstatic , but sometimes I just can’t forget that in reality I’m a middle-aged mother who worries about my kids. . . and that you are my grandmother.

Fishing on Hot Summary Days

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

Saturday, July 25, 1914:  Nothing doing.

DSC08663 crop2

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (May 15, 1914)

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

Grandma-

You must have done something. Do you and your 9-year-old brother Jimmie ever go fishing on hot summer days in the   the nearby Warrior Run Creek ?

White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer Advertisement

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

Saturday, July 18, 1914: Nothing much doing. Went to an ice cream sale this evening. Didn’t get any there, but got some at another place.

Source: National Foods Magazine (July, 1910_

Source: National Foods Magazine (July, 1910_

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

mmm. . . Eating ice cream with friends sounds like a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening.

Grandma did have the ice cream with friends didn’t she? The diary entry doesn’t exactly say that, but I think that’s what she means. In my imagination a group of friends made homemade ice . . . laughing and chatting while they took turns turning the crank.

The Future Will be Better

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

Sunday, May 24 – Thursday, May 28, 1914: Nothing much doing.

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

Curt Hester, holding Harold Swartz, with Marjorie Swart and Curt Hester Jr.Things will get better for Grandma and her sister Besse. This photo was taken in 1924—and it is a picture of Besse’s husband Curt. The older boy is his son, Curt, Jr. The other two children are two of Grandma’s children. The baby is my father Harold, and the little girl is his sister Marjorie.

Somehow “nothing much doing” seems like odd words for Grandma to write in her diary to summarize the days following the death of her infant niece—but maybe that’s the best she could do. It had to be difficult.

Besse and Curt Hester had one child who lived beyond infancy. Curt, Jr. was born in 1915, and had a nice, long life. He died in 1999 at the age of 83.

When I was child, Curt Jr. lived in the house that Grandma lived in when she was writing this diary. In other words, he lived in the lovely house pictured in the header of this blog.

Hundred-year-old Bucket Bags

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

Saturday, May 9, 1914:   Well for the most part it rained today, which kept me indoors a good bit.

1914-03-31 a

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

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

Did Grandma do any sewing on rainy days? Maybe she made a bucket bag.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an article titled, “The Bucket is Back.” The first sentence said:

If ever there was a moment for the bucket bag, it is now.

Wall Street Journal (May 8, 2014)

What goes around comes around. The bucket bag was equally popular a hundred years ago. The four bucket bags in this post were all featured in the March, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

1914-03-31 d

 

1914-03-31 c

1914-03-31 b

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.

 

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