19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, April 4, 1914: My bouncer of a cousin Alma came over on the train this afternoon. All three of us went to a play up town. Didn’t get to bed till after 12, and then I had to sleep on the rail, it was rather fun though. Wonder I didn’t roll out.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
When I first read this diary entry it didn’t make any sense to me. What the heck, did “bouncer” mean? Did I transcribe it incorrectly—even though Grandma wrote the word clearly?
Then I googled “bouncer archaic definition”, and discovered that an archaic meaning is:
bouncer: One who bounces; a large, heavy person who makes much noise in moving.
Wow—Now that I know the meaning, what a descriptive word! I suddenly can almost picture Alma in my mind.
I think that Grandma and her sister Ruth shared a double bed during the months when the weather was cold. I suppose that Ruth, Alma, and Grandma all squeezed into the bed—and that Grandma was so far to the edge that she was right against the side rail.
Now that I think about it—most beds no longer have side rails; but I guess that metal bed frames hadn’t yet been invented a hundred years ago.