New Dress Finished

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

Wednesday, May 28, 1913:  My dress is finished and ready to wear whenever that time comes.

wils36337.A.Front

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1912)

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

Based on how quickly Grandma’s mother made the dress, she must have been an accomplished seamstress. On May 24, Grandma wrote:

Ma started to make my dress I got for a graduation present. I want it finished by May 30th.

Grandma’s mother made the dress in only 5 days! . . . and she beat the deadline her daughter imposed by 2 days!

Have Grandma’s plans changed?  On the 24th she seemed certain that she needed the dress by the 30th—now the dress is “ready to wear whenever that time comes.”

Three More Graduation Gifts

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

Friday, May 23, 1913:  It was rather a dreary day today. Got three more presents today. Mother was up to Turbotville and brought them home with her. Wish it would stop raining soon.

John and Sarah Derr with daughter Annie (circa 1900)

John and Sarah Derr with daughter Annie (circa 1900)

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

Grandma’s graduation gifts sure straggled in over a long period of time. She graduated from McEwensville High School on April 23, 1913—exactly one month before this diary entry.

The presents probably were from her grandparents and an aunt. Grandma’s maternal grandparents, John and Sarah Derr lived in Turbotvile.

Grandma also had at least one aunt—Annie Van Sant— who lived in Turbotville. Aunt Annie was grandma’s mother’s youngest sister. She was married to a doctor, but had no children.  Based upon previous entries, I have the impression that Aunt Annie tended to give very nice gifts.

I wonder how many graduation gifts in total Grandma received.  On May 4, she wrote:

Although it is over a week since commencement, I received a present today. Making eighteen in all.

So,  Grandma received at least 21 gifts—the previous 18 plus the additional 3.

Tried to Make Sister Miserable

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

Wednesday, May 21, 1913:  Didn’t feel very well with morning, so I tried to take it out in making Ruthie miserable. Although I don’t I succeeded.

Ruth Muffly

Ruth Muffly

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

What did Grandma do to her sister Ruth? It must have been pretty bad if she admitted that she wasn’t nice in the diary.

Usually when Grandma and her sister Ruth weren’t getting along, Grandma would use her author’s prerogative and blame the problem on Ruth—though Grandma generally called Ruth, Rufus when she was angry.

For example, on October 28, 2012 Grandma wrote:

 Got mad at the Rufus tonight. I think she can be so mean sometimes.

And, on June 5, 2012 she wrote:

Trotted up to McEwensville this morning on an errand for Rufus, the dear little mortal.

Hauling Milk Over to the Spring for Storage

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

Monday, May 20, 1913:  Ruthie and me a nice little wooden wagon in which to haul milk over to the spring, and this would save us from breaking our backs for that can of milk is almost a dead weight.

milk can (photo source: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site)

Milk Can (Photo Source: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site)

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

Grandma’s family had several milk cows. The milk from the cows was put into large cans. The cans filled with milk were then stored for a day or two until it was sold to a dairy or made into butter.

Spring houses were used in the days before electric refrigeration to keep the milk cold. A small building was built over a spring, and the milk cans were placed in the cool water that flowed through the building.

an example of a spring house (This spring house is not on the Muffly farm.) (Source: Wikipedia)

An Example of a Spring House (This spring house is not on the Muffly farm.) (Source: Wikipedia)

I’d have demanded a cart, too. Milk cans filled with milk were heavy. I don’t know where the spring house was located, but it probably was some distance away from the barn.

Did Grandma’s mother take the suggestion seriously—or did the request go in one ear and out the other?

A Celebration of Something

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

Saturday, May 17, 1913:  Went to Watsontown this afternoon. There was a big time going on in there. The celebration of something. I don’t just know exactly what. There must have been at least four or five different bands. I’m pretty tired by this time. Had to do all the milking after I came home.

DSC03659.cropWere the bands marching down Main Street?

Recent photo of the park in nearby Watsontown.Or maybe they were playing at the Watsontown Park.

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

Hmm—Sounds like fun, though  it’s interesting that Grandma wasn’t quite sure what the event was about.

Did her sister Ruth stay at the celebration in Watsontown?

Based on previous diary entries, I think that Grandma and Ruth typically each milked several cows.

They sometimes traded  the milking chore so that one of them could do something else. Grandma might milk  Ruth’s cows one day—and Ruth would milk Grandma’s a few days later.

Flowering Shrubs a Hundred Years Ago

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

Friday, May 9, 1913:  The weather has quite suddenly changed and it is very cold.  That’s all I have to write about.

Forsythia

Forsythia

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

Brrr—cold weather in May is no fun. But even cold days are almost tolerable when I see all of the beautiful flowers and flowering shrubs erupting into bloom. .

Today, I’m going to share pictures of flowering scrubs that were in the April 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.  Some of the plants are still popular today—others I don’t recognize or seldom see anymore.

Weigela Rosea

Weigela Rosea

Tatarian Honeysuckle

Tatarian Honeysuckle

 

White Lilac

White Lilac

Kerria Japonica

Kerria Japonica

 

Has the Meaning of Varnish Changed over the Past Hundred Years?

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

Thursday, May 8, 1913:  Rufus was busy shining up the piano, desk, etc. with varnish. It’s rather difficult to keep from getting in it, and then you have to handle your fingers so gingerly. I’ve been warned several times.

piano

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

The piano was almost new. Grandma’s mother purchased it on March 29, 1913:

. . . Ma bought a piano. I’m so glad for now I can learn to play.

The meaning of the word varnish must have changed over the last hundred years. When I think of varnish, I think of a lacquer; but it sounds like Grandma was referring to furniture polish.

Grandma called her sister Ruth, Rufus when she was annoyed with her.  I can almost see Grandma’s fingerprints on the shiny piano wood; and Ruth’s exasperated expression.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,064 other followers