16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, May 28, 1911: Ma and Pa went away to store all day. Tweet was here all night and staid till evening. Went to Sunday school this morning. Carrie was over this afternoon. Heard this evening of the arrival of a girl cousin born on May the 18th.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
From reading the diary—I now know that “Tweet” was Helen Wesner–with a nickname like Tweet she must have been a blast as a teen. I just knew her as an elderly woman who had never married.
Grandma and Helen would see each other on Sunday’s for much of their lives. After Grandma married, she attended Messiah Lutheran Church in McEwenville which was the church Helen attended.
When I was a child in the middle of the 20th century, the children’s Sunday School classes were in the basement, but the adult classes were spread out in various corners of the main church sanctuary. I remember that sometimes my Sunday School class would end before the adult classes, and I’d come up the stairs into the narthex and peek through the doors into the sanctuary.
There were four adult classes: the men’s class, the women’s class, and the old ladies’ class, and the old men’s class. (Maybe the classes had another name—but I always called them the old ladies’ and old men’s classes).
I can remember Grandma and Helen sitting in the old ladies’ class. It was a small class—maybe seven people on a good Sunday—most Sunday’s there probably were about 5 people. My memory is that all had gray hair, wore loose-fitting dresses that seemed to lack any sense of style, and were bent over in weariness.
After reading the diary—I now wonder what those elderly women talked about on those Sunday mornings.
What do people talk about who’ve known each other for most of their lives? The good old days? . . their families? . . . gardening? . . . their health? . . . their deepest secrets (which may not really be secrets to people who’ve know each other for 50, 60, or 70 years)?