The Choice of Friends

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

Sunday, March 16, 1913: Went to Sunday School this morning. Was over to Carrie’s this afternoon.

Grandma would have walked over this hill toward McEwensville to reach the Stout home. A hundred years ago the road was still dirt.
Grandma would have walked over this hill toward McEwensville to reach Carrie’s home.

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

Carrie Stout was a friend of Grandma’s who was often mentioned in the diary.

Here’s what a hundred-year-old book had to say about the choice of friends:

The Choice of Friends

All of our greatest intellectual leaders, from time immemorial have been unanimous in their teachings that one of the most important elements in the molding of the mind and character was the nature of our friendships.

Tennyson says, “I am a part of all that I have met.”  The immortal bard puts it, “It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught, as men take disease from one another; therefore let men take heed of their company.”

A friend should be congenial, with similar tastes, opportunities, and training: frank in criticism, yet sympathetic in spirit; loyal and staunch in adversity, and one who disseminates an atmosphere which is broadening, elevating, and uplifting. Such a friend is to be desired and to be sought after.

Physical Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911) by Anna M. Galbraith

10 thoughts on “The Choice of Friends

  1. I guess that’s where the old saying: “You’re known by the company you keep” originated! It’s nice that you know where Grandma’s friend lived, so you know the route she would have traveled to visit her.

    1. They lived within a couple miles of each other their entire lives. They both married farmers who lived near McEwensville. I don’t think that they spent as much time together as adults as they did when they were young, but I think that they remained friends.

  2. I’m glad you came by my blog today because it got me thinking about this one. It turns out that my setting had email notifications for your posts turned off! Not sure how that happened, but I’ll be getting them now. I do love that last paragraph, and I may use it as I work on a story character who is a best friend.

  3. I love reading the texts with guidance, advice, manners, etc. from years past. We take some of this stuff for granted today, expecting children to learn it all on their own. Considering how much time is generally spent watching TV, it seems like it would be a better idea to be a little more direct about teaching the positive stuff.

  4. Hey! Anna!
    Not sure I “disseminate” “an atmosphere which is broadening, elevating, and uplifting”, but I have my reasons, and my friends do that for me anyways. 😀

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