“Going on an Errand for Myself”

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

Monday, July 31, 1911: I went to Watsontown this afternoon, but it was no pleasure trip, for I had to walk on the way, simply a mere matter of going on an errand for myself.

Recent photo of downtown Watsontown

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

The Muffly farm was about 1 ½ miles from Watsontown—so it probably took half an hour or so to walk to town and another half hour to come home. The road was dirt—so on this last day in July it probably was a hot and dusty trip.

In 1911 Watsontown had a two block long downtown area with stores, restaurants, bars, hotels—and an opera house. Several previous entries in the diary indicated that Grandma ran errands to town for her father. This time she says that she went on an errand for herself. I wonder what she needed. I want to imagine that she needed ribbons for her hair . or maybe stockings . . .or some other grooming supply deemed essential by a teen who has a crush on a guy (see the entries on the previous two days)—but I’m probably way off-base.

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