A Little More About “Tweet”

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

Sunday, September 13, 1914: Went to Sunday School this morning. Was up at Tweet’s this afternoon, and went to church this evening.

Wesner's Dairy Milk Bottle

Wesner’s Dairy Milk Bottle (Photo Source: Worthpoint)

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

Tweet was the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma’s who was occasionally mentioned in the diary. Based on the diary, and other sources, here’s what I know about her:

Helen was three years older than Grandma. Helen never married—and worked on her family’s farm and in their small dairy processing plant that produced bottled milk. She died in 1976 at the age of 84.

Anyone with the nickname of Tweet had to have been a fun person. Here are two previous diary entries that mentioned Tweet or the Wesner’s.

On December 6, 1913 Grandma wrote:

The whole family was invited out for dinner today. We all went except Pa. It was up at Tweet’s place. We had something that I always had a curiosity to know what they tasted like. It was waffles.

And, on January 3, 1914, Grandma wrote:

Made a call this afternoon, so that the time wouldn’t be so tedious. I’m wishing and longing for a sleigh ride, now that there is sleighing.

Ruth and I went up to Wesner’s this evening. There were some other girls there too. Renewed my acquaintance with a former school mate whom I hadn’t seen for over three years I guess, until I saw her on Christmas eve. Had a good time.

Household Hints and Tips from Ladies Home Journal Readers

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

Friday, September 11, 1914: Nothing doing.


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

Since Grandma didn’t’ write anything of substance a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some hundred-year-old household hints and tips from the April, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.  The hints were published in a column called “What Other Women Have Found Out.” It’s basically an old-time version of Hints from Heloise.

The Ladies Home Journal Readers’ Exchange encouraged readers to submit helpful hints; and, according to the magazine “a crisp dollar bill is paid for any idea accepted.”

What Other Women Have Found Out

When Making Muffins or Cakes in muffin-pans or rings, if there is not enough of the mixture for all of the pans you may prevent the empty ones from burning by filling them with water.


When Straining Soup set a coarse strainer inside a fine one and pour the liquid through both; thus you will avoid clogging the fine one with pieces of meat and broken bones.


burlap bag b

Play Aprons for Children may be made most satisfactorily of burlap. An ordinary feed-bag will do. Fold the material at the shoulders and cut a kimono slip apron having a square neck large enough to permit of dropping the apron over the child’s head. Do not seam it, but bind it all around with some bright-colored material and fasten under the arms with large buttons and loops. These kinds of apron require little washing, as the coarseness of the material prevents the dirt from sticking to it. Such aprons will protect the children when playing in the sand or dirt, or making mud pies.


Use a Fork in Mixing Pie Crust and in mixing baking-powder biscuit, if you wish both to be praised for their lightness.


Children’s Collections, however dear to them, are often a great bother to the mother. She dislikes to destroy what the child has taken so much trouble to get together, yet there are few houses big enough to hold all that a child can accumulate. One good mother, who had nearly exhausted all the places she had for storing treasures committed to her care, has two deep drawers made under the framework of an old-fashioned high lounge. These deep drawers the children have in which to keep their collections and no one ever interferes with the contents of them. The house has been much neater and the children are proud of having a special place for their possessions.


Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Almost Half the Pictures Were “No Good”

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

Wednesday, September 9, 1914: The last of my pictures came today. Of the seven that were taken while we were at the Falls, three were no good.

old folding  Brownie camera

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

Poor Grandma– It sounds like a near disaster if 3 of the 7 pictures were “no good.” Maybe the mist (or the lighting) at Niagara Falls affected the pictures.

Even though it hasn’t been all that long since I had a camera that used film, it seems like a vague memory. Some things have changed for the better!

Stores Closed on Labor Day a Hundred Years Ago

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

Monday, September 7, 1914:  A foolish girl I was today. Took it into my head that I wanted to go to town to buy some things this afternoon. Well I went. Rode in with Pa. While on the way I thought it will be altogether useless, as the store would not be open since it was Labor Day.

Recent Photo of Watsontown

Recent photo of  downtown Watsontown

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

Labor Day? . . . Oh, of course, this was the first Monday in September in 1914. This year Labor Day was on the earliest possible date; in 1914 it was the latest possible date.

Stores are open around here on Labor Day.  In 1914,  it must have been a bigger deal if stores were closed– though it apparently was a bit random whether schools were open. In 1912, Grandma wrote:

Had to go to school, even if it is labor day. We had this day off last year. . .

September 2, 1912

Took Trolley to Montandon

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

Sunday, September 6, 1914:   The whole family spent the day down at Aunt Lizzie’s. Ruth and I went down on the trolley. I took my camera along and had a shot at the crowd in the afternoon. Walked out from town this evening. Felt that I was benefited by my jaunt for I had eaten too many good things for dinner.

DSC03708.cropped b

Grandma would have ridden the trolley from Watsontown to Milton, and then continued on to Montandon. (Postcard Source: Milton Historical Society)

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


What a fun Sunday! It sounds like an almost perfect day.

Aunt Lizzie was a sister of Grandma’s father, Albert Muffly and a previous diary entry indicated that she lived at Montandon. I’m not sure who she married. Montandon is located about 8 miles southeast of the Muffly farm.

Montandon map

Recent map of the area

I’m amazed at all the transportation options that were available in a fairly rural area a hundred years ago. Back then there was a trolley that ran from Watsontown to Lewisburg with stops at several intermediate locations including Milton and Montandon.

Apparently Grandma and her sister Ruth walked a mile and a half or so from their farm near McEwensville to Watsontown, and then boarded the trolley. Probably the rest of the family traveled via horse and buggy.

Hundred-year-old Advice: What Should I Feed My Family?

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

Saturday, September 5, 1914: Ditto

vegetables 1

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

The previous day Grandma wrote, “Nothing much for today.” Since nothing was happening in Grandma’s life I thought you might enjoy some quotes from an article on nutrition in the July, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

Since the members of the family have to be fed three times a day for each of the three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, how to feed them is a subject worthy of consideration, is it not?

The very best meal planning, of course, is that based on a thorough knowledge of human nutrition, but we housewives cannot all of us get that accurate training. The thing to strive for in feeding your family is what is called “the balanced rations.” Adults and children have very different food needs, brain workers and body workers have still different ones, and surely I do not need to tell you that the sick and the well require diets of quite opposite character.

Muscular work demands energy-and-iron-producing food, such as meats, starch-producing things, sugar, and fats. Therefore you are safe in letting the man folks have their buckwheat cakes and sausages, and pie and doughnuts in reason. Children need bone-and tissue-building foods, so see to it that they get plenty of milk, eggs, cereals, vegetables and fruit, with meat and sweets sparely. Brain workers need easily digestible foods and a lighter diet than people who work with their hands. Give the invalids mainly nutritious liquids, and your boarders whatever they want.

None of this is so difficult as it seems, if you keep in mind that certain kinds of food have uses for nearly all of the family, and can be served for general consumption at the general table. The foundations of all living tissues are in milk, eggs, cheese, meat, legumes, nuts, and cereals. This gives you a basis to go on, and you can add to the list foods for special needs and vary the menu with great variety. Keep in mind that the greatest medicinal agents are vegetables and fruits; include them in the family dietary the year round and you will not go far astray.

Quinces for Sale

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

Friday, September 4, 1914: Nothing much for today.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to finally post something I wrote in September, 2011, but never posted. The story is about quinces. At the time I planned to buy some quinces, make some quince jelly, and then include the following story in the post. But I couldn’t find any quinces that year, so I never used the story.

And, in 2012 and 2013, I again scoured farmers markets and farm stands looking for quinces—but never found any, so I again never used the story. This year, I once more haven’t found any quinces, but I decided that it’s a memory worth sharing even if I can’t tie it to a recipe. Here goes—

Grandma never learned how to drive—and after she became a widow when she was in her early 70s, family members took her shopping, to appointments, and to church. Each Sunday my uncle brought her to church in McEwensville, and my family took her home.

One Sunday that stands out in my memory is a crisp, sunny late summer or early fall day when we drove past a weathered house on the way home from church. A woman, whom I’ll call Flora, lived in the house.

Grandma noticed ripe quinces on some small trees in Flora’s overgrown yard, and said, “I wish I had some quinces. I’d like to make some jelly.”

Several days later my mother stopped at Flora’s and asked if she could buy some quinces. Flora never had much money,  and she happily sold Mom a grocery bag full of quinces for several dollars. Mom took the quinces over to Grandma’s and was astonished to see freshly filled jelly jars–jars filled with homemade quince jelly– on Grandma’s kitchen counter.

Surprised, Mom asked Grandma where she had gotten the quinces. Grandma said, “Oh, I walked over to Flora’s and bought them.”

We were amazed that our elderly grandmother had walked two miles or so to buy quinces, and then lugged a heavy bag of them home.

The next Sunday Grandma said, “It’s strange how everyone’s giving me quinces this year. Marjorie [her daughter] brought me some yesterday.”

A few days later we drove by Flora’s house. There were two  large hand-painted wooden signs in her yard that said Quinces for Sale. Three people seeking to buy quinces apparently led Flora to think that there was a market for them—and she probably never realized that they all were for the same person. I wonder if she sold any more after the signs went up.

After looking for quinces for four years now, I wish that Flora and her quinces were still around. I’d be her best customer.


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