18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, May 7, 1913: Haven’t done much today to make this entry interesting. Besse was out here this morning.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Besse was Grandma’s oldest sister. She was seven years older than Grandma—and would have been 25 years-old in 1913.
The diary and other sources provide lots of clues about what Besse was like.
Besse was married to a butcher, Curt Hester; and lived in nearby Watsontown.
According to the History of the McEwensville Schools, 1800-1958 by Thomas Kramm, Besse Muffly was a teacher at the Red Hill School, a one-room school house at the south end of McEwensville, from 1906-1909. She probably quit teaching when she got married.
Besse and Curt occasionally came out to the Muffly farm on Sunday afternoons. For example on March 2, 1913 Grandma wrote:
Went to Sunday School this morning. Besse and Curt were out this afternoon.
Besse also came out to the farm alone sometimes. For example, she helped with the cooking and serving when the threshers came:
Was in such terrible trepidation this morning, lest I would have to miss school and help Ma with the work, but Besse came to my relief. So glad I was. I missed those stacks and stacks of dishes for dinner, but have to confront them tonight.
Several places the diary mentioned Grandma, Besse, and their sister Ruth having fun together. For example, on April 15, 1911, Grandma wrote:
Besse was out this afternoon. We three kids went for arbutus and I got some this time.
Besse had also faced some difficult times. The previous year she had a baby that died shortly after birth. On April 9, 2012 Grandma wrote:
I was an aunt for one brief half a day yesterday, but didn’t know it until this morning. I was so disappointed when I heard it was dead. My little nephew was buried this afternoon. The baby I never saw. I feel like crying, when I think I am an aunt no longer.