A Little More About “Tweet”

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

Sunday, September 13, 1914: Went to Sunday School this morning. Was up at Tweet’s this afternoon, and went to church this evening.

Wesner's Dairy Milk Bottle
Wesner’s Dairy Milk Bottle (Photo Source: Worthpoint)

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

Tweet was the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma’s who was occasionally mentioned in the diary. Based on the diary, and other sources, here’s what I know about her:

Helen was three years older than Grandma. Helen never married—and worked on her family’s farm and in their small dairy processing plant that produced bottled milk. She died in 1976 at the age of 84.

Anyone with the nickname of Tweet had to have been a fun person. Here are two previous diary entries that mentioned Tweet or the Wesner’s.

On December 6, 1913 Grandma wrote:

The whole family was invited out for dinner today. We all went except Pa. It was up at Tweet’s place. We had something that I always had a curiosity to know what they tasted like. It was waffles.

And, on January 3, 1914, Grandma wrote:

Made a call this afternoon, so that the time wouldn’t be so tedious. I’m wishing and longing for a sleigh ride, now that there is sleighing.

Ruth and I went up to Wesner’s this evening. There were some other girls there too. Renewed my acquaintance with a former school mate whom I hadn’t seen for over three years I guess, until I saw her on Christmas eve. Had a good time.

Photo of Ruth Muffly and her Students

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

Tuesday, September 1, 1914:

The summer flowers we bid adieu

To brighter days and balmier hours

There short brief life is well nigh spent

For with the summer goes the flowers.

It seems rather lonesome here without Ruthie, but still have enough to take up my time.

Source: The History of McEwensville Schools by Thomas Kramm (Used with permission)
Source: The History of McEwensville Schools by Thomas Kramm (Used with permission)

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

It was the first day of school for Grandma’s sister Ruth. She taught at the Red Hill School during 1914-15. This school was at the south end of McEwensville. It was a different school than where she’d previously taught.

Whew, it looks like Ruth had 9 boys, and 1 girl in her class. I bet she had a handful.

Monthly Poem

For more information about the poem on the first day of each month see this previous post:

Monthly Poem in Diary

Influence of Seasonal Variation on Health

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

Monday, April 20, 1914:  There really isn’t much to write about.


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

Yesterday, I shared information from a book published in 1914 about the relationship between weather and health. Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some more from the book about the relationship seasonal variations and health.

At low temperatures, but more especially at high temperatures, the relative humidity of the atmospheres plays a most important role in determining the healthfulness of the climate of a locality.

The seasonal variations alone in the temperate zone are of great influence upon mortality aside from the general climatic conditions of a locality.

Mild winters and cool summers both lower the mortality, the former exerting a special influence upon the aged, and the latter upon the young, more particularly the infantile population. A cool, damp summer is always accompanied by a low mortality.

Season has also an important influence upon the character of the prevalent diseases—intestinal diseases being most prevalent in summer and respiratory diseases in winter.

The Principles of Hygiene (1914) by D.H. Bergey, MD

Parcel Post Packages Sold at White Elephant Sale

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

Saturday, April 18, 1914:  Went to a social this evening up at town. Parcel post packages were sold at an auction. I bought a package, which, when unwrapped disclosed a handkerchief. That wasn’t a misfit, but there were some that were more. Who ever heard of a man wearing a sun bonnet or an apron? Well that’s what some of them got.

Milton Evening Standard (April 28, 1914)
Source: Milton Evening Standard (April 28, 1914)

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

Wow, occasionally I just tingle, when a post pulls together like this one did. I never would have guessed that I’d find a newspaper story about this diary entry—

Several weeks ago, I was browsing through old Milton Evening Standard microfilms at the library looking for interesting stories and advertisements that I could use on days when Grandma didn’t write much—and suddenly this column jumped out at me. Grandma attended the party described in the paper!

Parcel post in the US began in 1913—and apparently it was such a cool thing that people had fundraisers with White Elephant sales—but with a twist. Instead of bringing the wrapped items to the party, they mailed them via parcel post.

Two days before this entry, Grandma mailed several packages that apparently were sold at the party:

Went up to town this afternoon to mail some parcel post packages. Oh dear me, and it cost eleven cents . . .

April 16, 1914

Social News

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

Tuesday, March 31, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Milton Evening Standard (March 30, 1914)
Milton Evening Standard (March 30, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t’ write anything a hundred years ago today, I’ll share the social news for McEwensville.

McEwensville was (and still is) a small town. Two friends of Grandma’s were mentioned in the newspaper: Rachel Oakes and Helen (Tweet) Wesner.  I don’t think that Grandma attended the party that Rachel helped organize—at least the diary provides no indication that Grandma was at a party on the previous Tuesday.


Christmas Eve Service at the Lutheran Church

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

Wednesday, December 24, 1913:  Went to Watsontown this morning with Pa on the big wagon. This trip finished my Xmas shopping.

Ruth and I went up to McEwensville this evening to attend the Christmas services in the Lutheran Church. Was pretty dark coming home. Discovered on the way that I had left my umbrella behind me. Hope I get it again.

Messiah Lutheran Church, McEwensville
Messiah Lutheran Church, McEwensville

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

Grandma generally attended the Baptist Church, but Messiah Lutheran Church in McEwensville apparently held a Christmas Eve service each year that community members attended. Grandma also attended the Christmas Eve services at the Lutheran Church in 1911.

(An aside: Grandma’s future husband, Raymond Swartz, attended Messiah Lutheran Church—though he and Grandma weren’t yet an item when this diary entry was written.)

Christmas is a time for memories. I’m going to reprint part of the post that I did on Christmas Eve, 2011 below. It’s equally relevant this year, and I thought that you might enjoy reading (or rereading) it.


When I was a child I regularly went to candlelight services at Messiah Lutheran Church  — the same church Grandma attended on Christmas Eve a hundred years ago.  I wonder if the services have changed much over the years.

In the middle part of the last century, I remember singing wonderful old-time carols at the candlelight service —We Three Kings, Joy to the World, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels,  . .. . ..

We’d end with Silent Night after all of the lights had been extinguished except for the candles we were lighting.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know why, but I have strong memories of one year when an elderly woman didn’t extinguish her candle at the end of the service, and took the flickering light out into the cold night.

I remember asking my mother why the woman didn’t follow the directions—and my mother said that the old lady was remembering Christmas’s from long ago and that we should let her be.  I looked at the woman and could see how happy she looked as her face was illuminated by the flickering light.

I hope that I have equally wonderful memories of Christamases past when I am her age.

Visited Old High School

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

Friday, December 12, 1913:  Not as a pupil, but as a visitor, I entered again the dear old M.H.S. this afternoon. The school room looked the same as in those by gone days when I myself was a pupil and a blockhead (sorry to say, but I am the latter yet.)

Recent photo of building that once housed McEwensville High School
Recent photo of building that once housed McEwensville High School

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

Grandma graduated from McEwensville High School the previous spring. She probably went back to the school to see a Christmas show put on by the students.  In previous years Grandma participated in the shows. For example, on December 15, 1911 she wrote:

Our entertainment is over at last. That dialogue went off alright. I didn’t forget any of my part although I was rather doubtful about it. . .

The McEwensville Schools had a high school on the second floor and a primary school on the first floor. The show may have included students from both schools. If so, Grandma’s little brother Jimmie probably was in the show.



You ARE NOT a blockhead! Don’t put yourself down.

PLEASE—THINK POSITIVELY ABOUT YOURSELF.  You are darn smart—I can tell that even a hundred years later from reading your diary.