18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, May 2, 1913: Dear old Ruthie went to Sunbury this morning and isn’t coming home until tomorrow night. Rather miss the kid, too. I’m afraid I’ll soon have to begin to watch cows for that time is now at hand.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I can’t believe it, but I may know why Grandma’s sister Ruth went to Sunbury. I think it was to attend a teachers’ meeting.
Sometimes I’m amazed how the pieces fit together. There is a photo in The History of the McEwensville Schools 1800-1958 of 12 women who attended a teachers meeting in Sunbury in 1913. One of them is Ruth Muffly—so I’m speculating that the reason she went to Sunbury on this date was to attend that meeting.
Ruth was a teacher at a nearby one-room school-house. The other two women who were identified in the photo were Rachel Oakes and Blanche Bryson. Both are mentioned in the diary. They were friends of Grandma and Ruth—as well as teachers.
Sunbury is about 15 miles from McEwensville, and it is the county seat of Northumberland county. The meeting probably was held to provide information and professional development for the teachers at many small schools scattered across the county.
Ruth wasn’t exactly a kid–she was 21 and three years older than Grandma.
Grandma often got annoyed with Ruth—but almost immediately missed her when she was gone. Was it because she had to do more work—or was it because she missed the companionship?
Maybe Grandma wished that Ruth was at home to help watch the cows. During previous summers Grandma often mentioned needing to watch the cows so that they didn’t escape from the pasture and get into the crops.