New Beds and Fine Apparel (But Only for Others)

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

Saturday, October 25, 1913: Ma and Jim went to Milton this morning. They both got new beds. Ruth also has her fine apparel. I am beginning to wonder when poor insignificant me can sport something new.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1913)

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

It must have been a good year for the Muffly’s. It sounds like they felt like they were  “in the money,” if both Grandma’s mother and little brother Jim got new beds, AND her older sister Ruth has nice clothes.

The family just finished harvesting the corn. It must have been a good year. The success or failure of crops means the difference between a good year and a devastating year for farmers.

Poor Grandma–Why didn’t she use any of the money she earned from husking corn to also buy something new?

An aside—I think this is the first time Grandma called her little brother Jim. In the past she’s always referred to him as Jimmie. He was eight-years-old, and must not longer seem really little.

12 thoughts on “New Beds and Fine Apparel (But Only for Others)

  1. I am #7 in our family of 9 kids. Who got new things was a big deal. When school was about to start, some of us got shoes or jeans etc. A lot of my things were handed down. How well the crops yielded was important. btw…it took a long time to not be called Jimmie any more. 🙂

  2. she did get a new dress this year for graduation right? It’s interesting to think of someone getting something new in a year. We sure get a lot of new things in the course of a year in comparison!

    1. Now that you mention it, I think that you are right–the last new thing that she mentioned was a graduation dress (and some graduation gifts) in the spring. People sure got a lot fewer new things back then.

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