Why Wasn’t Grandma a Teacher?

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

Wednesday, September 2, 1914: It need not be recorded for there is nothing important to write.


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


You sound a little down. Yesterday you wrote that you missed your sister Ruth now that school has begun, and she is teaching at Red Hill School. And, your little brother Jimmie probably also started school—so it’s just you and your parents on the farm.

Your oldest sister Besse also was a teacher before she got married. Did you ever want to be a teacher like your sisters?

You’ve never written anything about seeking a teaching position. . . so maybe I’m letting my imagination run wild. However, you graduated from high school, so it seems like you’d be qualified. What happened? Didn’t any schools offer you a job . . . or did you decide that you preferred to stay home and work on the family farm?

19 thoughts on “Why Wasn’t Grandma a Teacher?

    1. You may be right, though I hope not. It seems like it would be sad if her parents discouraged her from getting a job so that they’d have more farm labor.

    1. There were two schools in McEwensville–which seems kind of amazing to me since it is such a small town. Jimmie went to the McEwensville School which was the same school that Grandma graduated from in 1913. There was a grade 1-8 school on the first floor and a high school on the second. Ruth taught at a one-room school called Red Hill School at the southern edge of town.

    1. You’re probably right that there weren’t as many teaching jobs available as there were people who wanted to be teachers–yet Grandma’s sister Ruth taught at 3 different one-room schools over the course of 3 years. So it seems like there was an almost constant churning of teachers. I think that young women often left the jobs to get married–and then that would lead to lots of shifting of teachers as people sought jobs closer to their homes, or that they perceived to be better for one reason or another. It Grandma wanted a teaching job, it seems sad that she never got one.

  1. As I read your comments, I also wondered if thre are hints in future entries about whether Grandma had a job -other than being a wife and mother in years to come?

  2. I wonder if maybe she had dreams of doing something different with her life, maybe she wanted to be a photographer which was one of many jobs not suited for a woman. It must have been difficult not to have had many career opportunities. So what was her dream? Seamstress? Could be there were no openings at local schools for another teacher. Maybe nothing appealed to her and her goal was to have her own home and family. Which in my opinion is still the greatest job any woman can have. 🙂

    1. My guess is that her goal was to get married, and have her own home and family–though in hindsight I know that that she’s not going to get married for another 6 1/2 years–so she had plenty of time to do something else first. 🙂

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