19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, June 29, 1914: Nothing much to write about.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I thought that you might enjoy reading some more hundred-year-old advice from an advice columnist called “Aunt Harriet.” It was published in Farm Journal.
A girl writes me that in her neighborhood “every boy who walks beside you or talks to you a while is a beau.” She goes on to ask how boys and girls, from fifteen to twenty, should act toward each other.
Is it not strange that the freedom which young people enjoy nowadays should not include the liberty of a natural friendliness between young men and women, the right to enjoy each others society without the comments, criticism and conjectures of the entire community?
You much realize that one of the phases of adolescence is the curiosity regarding the other sex; tis is a normal condition, worthy of consideration and not to be laughed at. Unconsciously, each seeks his mate and an unfettered choice is impossible in a narrow-minded community.
In choosing a garment or piece of furniture one rarely takes the first that offered; others must be seen for the sake of comparison. How much more important is the choice of a life mate, and yet people would restrict that choice.
Of course, I shall be misunderstood, but again I maintain that the happiest condition for young people is a community where they may gather together for all wholesome diversions, and where a boy can walk home with one girl today and call on another tomorrow, without being considered a “flirt”, while his sister has like privileges, without reflections on her character.
If the parents are sensible, they see that no one young man absorbs all their daughter’s time, until he is an accepted lover. As for the gossips, remember the old motto, “They say! Let them say!” In other words, why care?
Farm Journal (August, 1914)
You may also enjoy these previous posts that contained advice from Aunt Harriet: