Shopping Saturday–April 1, 1911

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

Saturday, April 1, 1911:

Oh the dawning of April so warm and so bright

Recalls to our minds a glad welcome sight

Of seeing spring hats

Both large and both small

Quite ready for buyers to make them a call.

April fool’s day: I went to Watsontown this afternoon to do some much needed shopping. Rastus went to Milton, and didn’t get home until six o’clock, so I had to do all the milking.

Recent photo of downtown Watsontown. The same buildings probably were there a hundred years ago when Grandma was shopping. (I apologize for the poor quality of this photo--I shouldn't have taken it at dusk-- but it's the only one I have of this scene.)

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

Throughout the diary there is a poem on the first day of every month. I’m still trying to figure out whether Grandma copied these poems from some source or whether she composed them. Previously I thought that she just copied them—this month I’m inclined to think that she composed the poem since both the poem and the entry discuss shopping.


A hundred years ago today Grandma was probably fretting about how much money she had spent on wedding and commencement gifts.

Grandma had  received an invitation to her friend Edith’s wedding.  And, her sister Ruth was graduating from high school—as well as other people she knew.  On March 28 she wrote, “I got an invitation to the commencement today, and now I’ll be in for getting another present. Alas my pocketbook.”

In many ways the young woman who wrote the diary seems very different from the elderly grandmother that I remember—but this is one place where I can really recognize my grandmother. She always tried not to waste money—I’ve even heard people say she was a tightwad–and both in her youth and as an elderly woman she would have worried about her “pocketbook”.


It’s amazing how many different names Grandma used when referring to her sister Ruth–Rastus, Rufus, her highness, etc. etc. In today’s entry Grandma’s upset that her sister didn’t get home in time to help milk the cows–therefore she’s Rastus.

One thought on “Shopping Saturday–April 1, 1911

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