The Old Year is Vanishing Forever

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

Tuesday, December 31, 1912: Poor old year, how sad that you must die tonight and vanish forever into the gloomy past. Otherwise this day was the same as others. As I think of the approaching tomorrow, I wonder what that year will bring to me. I leave no deep regrets for this dying year, and though I have done things I ought not to have done, I hope they will not occur again to mar the beauty of the year 1913.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1913)

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

Does age affect how we think about the past?  I don’t think of the past as gloomy—though it gets murkier as time goes by.

New Year’s Eve is a good time for self-reflection. I love Grandma’s cautious optimism—and am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing marred 1913, and that it proved to be a beautiful year.

Holly caricature

17 thoughts on “The Old Year is Vanishing Forever

  1. I wonder what things your grandmother did that she considered inappropriate. Has she mentioned if her diary had a lock on it? Evidently she didn’t write down what she considered were her mistakes over the past year. Would we consider them inappropriate in today’s world? I ponder about issues I frown upon that are embraced fully and even worshiped as an art in today’s pop culture. However, on the opposite side, neither of my grandmother’s ever owned a pair of slacks or jeans–let alone wore a pair of them. They would have been appalled to see such casualness in a place of worship, a funeral, and numerous other places I can think of.

    1. After Grandma died her children found the diary and circulated it amongst the relatives so they could read it. When I had the diary I made a copy of it, and then passed it on. I remember that it was just written in a composition book type of notebook. There was no lock.

      On Sept. 16, 1912 Grandma wrote: “I don’t feel very good these last few days. I don’t know but I really think that it is likening to be near a grape vine. Alas all mortals have to suffer for their errors.” That is probably one of the errors she referred to.

  2. I like how she expresses the New Year dying..I never thought of it that way. Since her memories won’t die, I hope she eventually had a better outlook on the old years. Her memories of the years past are alive and well thanks to you. Can’t wait to read about what she does in her New Year.

  3. She sounded a bit depressed, don’t you think? I’m always full of hope for the new year and what it has to bring, I wonder if it was the times or what? Happy New Year to you and a great 2013!

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