17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, June 12, 1912: I’m mad at that Ruth tonight. She goes away and leaves me with the milking.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I wonder if Ruth ever did the milking for Grandma when Grandma went somewhere. Grandma complained several times in the diary that she had to do the milking for her sister Ruth —but she never wrote that Ruth did the milking for her.
My guess is that both of the Muffly sisters benefited from trading chores—but that Grandma didn’t think that it was important enough to mention when she was the one who got to go somewhere and miss the milking
When I was a child growing up on a dairy farm, my brother and I often informally traded barn chores so that one of us could do something else. I’d do his chores one day—and he might do mine a few days later. We never kept track of whether one of us did the chores less often than the other—but my sense was that it balanced out pretty well over time.