Another Possible Reason for Being Sick at Heart

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

Wednesday, July 16, 1913: Nothing doing.


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

Two days prior to this entry Grandma wrote that she was sick at heart over something.  Other readers and I speculated about what she may have been sick at heart over–and we thought that maybe she liked a guy and he didn’t return her interest.

Another possibility—

Grandma’s two older sisters both got teaching jobs in nearby one-room school houses after they graduated from high school.

Grandma graduated the previous spring, She has never mentioned in the diary that she hoped to become a teacher—yet it seems logical that she may have wanted to become a teacher. Could Grandma have been sick at heart because she heard that she didn’t get a teaching position that she really wanted?

30 thoughts on “Another Possible Reason for Being Sick at Heart

    1. Since I don’t work very far ahead, little things in the diary surprise me like everyone else. However, in this particular case, I do know enough about my family history to know how it turned out. It’s always difficult to know when to share this type of information–but whether or not she became a teacher will become clearer in the upcoming weeks. 🙂

    1. I agree–she probably was really stressed that she might have to spend much of her time helping with the farm work if she didn’t get a job. There were so few careers open to women back then. . .

    1. I don’t think that teaching jobs paid very much back then–but since there were so few jobs available for women back then, I bet that competition was very intense for some of the positions.

  1. Sick at heart is such a sad expression. And if she was so deeply sad, it was likely too difficult to write down what was troubling her and see it there in print to stare back at her. Your speculation that the loss of a desired teaching career could be the source of her heartsickness seems plausible.

    1. You might be right. It makes sense that the thought of having it in print staring back at her might have deterred her from writing down the details.

    1. You’re right, I do. I never knew the diary existed while she was still living, but I’ve also wondered why I never even thought about asking her lots of questions about her younger years when I had the chance. I guess that I was just too young to be interested in such things back then.

  2. She did graduate from high school and she has never mentioned her hopes for the future. I bet the future is on her mind. And the options for young women were so limited in those days.

    1. Wow, it’s really cool that your husband’s grandmother and my grandmother were about the same age, and keeping diaries at about the same time.

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