18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, September 1, 1913:
Another month to greet us comes.
September with her golden scenes.
Is here once more to tell us that
Tis not for long e’er autumn intervenes.
Again and yet again comes the opening of school. Again chimes the dear old bell in the belfry of the ne’er to be forgotten M.H.S. No more can I respond to its summons. No more can I hasten back to my beloved studies and bury myself in their wisdom. No more can I taste of the sweetness of school days. There are indeed past, but their memory lingers still.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma, I can feel your pain. Last spring you were thrilled when you graduated from McEwensville High School (M.H.S.). It must feel really strange for school to start and no longer be part of it.
When the school bell rings, I bet it really hurts that you didn’t get a teaching job. But, I don’t know that for a fact since you’ve never mentioned it in the diary.
I’ve speculated that you tried, but failed, to get a teaching job at a nearby one room school house since both of your older sisters became teachers after they graduated from high school.
During your school years, you worried so much about your grades. Weren’t they good enough for you to get a teaching position?
Well, I checked the school’s grade book, and discovered that your grades weren’t fantastic, but they were darn good. (See note below about how I found the grade book).
Most of your grades were in the upper 80s and you had some in the low 90s. Arithmetic was your best subject–across the year for Arithmetic you averaged 91 3/7. I love how your teacher calculated the average using a fraction. I don’t understand why you didn’t get a job.
Does life seem to be passing you by? . . .No job. . . .and, no boyfriend. A hundred years ago women often got married in their late teens and early twenties. Some of your friends probably have serious boyfriends and are looking forward to marrying soon, but you don’t have a boyfriend or prospects for an early marriage. . .
Hang in there . . . my crystal ball tells me that you’ll get married when you are 26.
Sometimes I’m amazed to discover information and artifacts that I’d assumed were gone forever.
The readers of this blog are wonderful . Janet Shuman put me in touch with her mother-in-law Jane Shuman who had the old grade book from McEwensville High School. I almost shook with excitement as I flipped through the pages—and found my grandmother’s grades. Thank you, Janet and Jane!