Sister Visits Washington, DC

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

Monday, June 9, 1913: Our dear Ruthie left this morning for Washington DC. Wonder what I will do without. She won’t be home for a week at least. I surely will be lonely while she’s gone.

Am fixing my last summer’s white dress. It got too tight around the waist. Isn’t that a calamity?

Post card of US Capitol, Washington, DC (circa, 1913)

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

Even today, trips to Washington, DC are often considered really special trips. I wonder why Grandma’s sister Ruth went to DC. Was it a holiday trip with friends?

. . . Or maybe the trip was work related. Ruth was a teacher at a one-room school house—maybe teachers were able to take trips to DC for professional development reasons.

Post card of Union Station,Washington, DC (circa 1913)
Post card of Union Station,Washington, DC (circa 1913)

In any case, Grandma sounds bummed. Is she most concerned about the extra work she’d have to do (there were definitely more cows to milk twice a day without Ruth, and probably lots of other additional chores). . . or about being lonely without a sister to talk with?

And, any day is a bad day when you realize you’ve gained a few pounds.

27 thoughts on “Sister Visits Washington, DC

  1. Yes, those extra pounds are indeed “a calamity”! Although I’ve never used that expression, it certainly is appropriate.
    It sounds as though Grandma was really going to miss her sister…. you know how siblings can be: can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. (Oh wait, maybe that’s MEN…!)

  2. A tough day all around. Your grandma and Ruth must have been good friends (most of the time), with maybe a tinge of jealousy? And gaining a few pounds too, especially when waists were supposed to be tiny, must have been a calamity indeed.

    1. Your comment is a good reminder about how this was still the era when tiny waists were highly valued. I’ve seen a few articles in magazines about the dangers of corsets–and I think times were slowly changing; but that said, the magazines were filled with corset ads and women were obviously trying to achieve tiny waists via diet and other means.

    1. I hadn’t thought about it, but you might be right. The one-room school houses were grades 1-8. And, I think that it was a big deal when someone graduated from 8th grade back then since this was the end of their education for many students. Itmake sense that the recently graduated 8th graders might have gone on a trip to DC with their former teacher.

    1. I agree! It’s interesting from a historic perspective that women have been worrying about their weight for at least a hundred years.

  3. I think she misses her sister and she probably feels a bit down because she would love to go along.

    1. I’d guess that she took the train the entire way, but am not sure. I think that there was pretty good rail transportation from central Pennsylvania to cities in the region a hundred years ago.

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