Didn’t Do Very Much (Again)

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

Saturday, June 7, 1913: Didn’t do very much today, as there wasn’t very much to do.

Recent photo of the stream that flows through the farm Grandma grew up on. The old Muffly barn is in the background--and the cows were probably pastured in this field.
Recent photo of the stream that flows through the farm where Grandma grew up. If you look really hard, you can seen the house and barn through the trees.

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

Sigh . . . Nothing happened,  AGAIN???!!!??. . . Grandma must have done something a hundred years ago today.

This is the fourth day in a row that Grandma either wrote that there wasn’t anything worth writing about or that she didn’t do very much.

There are numerous places throughout the diary where Grandma indicated that nothing happened on a certain day –but  generally this type of entry was isolated and sandwiched between entries of more substance.

What was happening (or not happening) in Grandma’s life  in June, 1913 that made her feel like she had nothing to write about? Was she too tired to write because  she was working very hard on the farm? . . . or was she bored now that the excitement over her high school graduation was long past? . . .or . . .

28 thoughts on “Didn’t Do Very Much (Again)

    1. I think you’re exactly right. Of course a hundred years later we want to know about those everyday things that everyone did every day. 🙂

    1. I’m still trying to understand how a young woman must have felt a hundred years ago after high school graduation. The options open to her were so different from today.

  1. Bless Grandma’s heart. Don’t you find that writing often goes in cycles? She kept her journal for herself. She wasn’t a blogger, and would have been amazed that one day her words would go around the world in an instant, available to anyone who knew the magic words, “ahundredyearsago.com”. She might have written differently if she had known that. But then, this would be a different blog. Helena gave in to the temptation all writers face: feeling that it’s not worth writing anything today. So glad, Sheryl, that you are a daily writer, and we get to share your thoughts!

    1. She would have been amazed that her words are read a hundred years later. I want to think that, in her quiet way, that she would have been pleased.

      In some ways it would have been nice if she’d had a sense that someone would read it someday so that she might have provided more detail–but then, as you said, it would be a different diary and the natural way that she expressed herself would have been lost so I’m glad she didn’t know. 🙂

  2. Actually I wish I can say I did nothing today – sounds like a nice easy life. But in reality I am sure she did plenty but did not think it worth while to write down all the every day tasks that needed done. Although I think we would have all enjoyed reading about them.

  3. I always look back to times like this era,when Helena grew up, as being ideal for filling with meaningful activity, as we now have so many mindless distractions to keep us from being fully creative. Apparently hindsight is always 20/20. You are helping her, picking up the slack, and expanding your horizons yourself through this endeavor. I’d like to think that this is all part of some greater plan, that this project has become part of your path. When she flags, you step in and help her. Your input here is just amazing; you’ve become a truly adept archivist and “history detective”!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I have a lot of fun pulling the things together for this blog. I’d never though of my role exactly the way you described it, but it resonates with me.

  4. It’s the latter I think. All the excitement of Grad, now it’s all done. Sort of like the sugar rush you get from the chocolate bar and then it’s just an empty wrapper.

  5. Helena was still a teenager, and she may have had her moods where some days just didn’t seem special for her very own reasons. She may not have written about those reasons because she felt they were hers and she didn’t want anyone to find out about them.

    I think after high school graduation, the elation eventually recedes and everyday life with all the humdrum activities resumes once more in the forefront of things.

    It might have been something like that going on in her way of looking at things.

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