Grandma’s April Fools’ Pranks

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

Wednesday, December 16, 1914: <<no entry>>

Photo source: The Newspaper
Photo source: The Newspaper

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

Another day with no diary entry . . . sigh. . . so I’ll continue the story about Grandma’s sense of humor when she was an older woman.

My aunt mentioned in yesterday’s post that her mother (Grandma) always enjoyed a good joke or story. She also told me how much Grandma enjoyed playing pranks on April Fools’ Day.

There are several versions of the April Fools story (or maybe Grandma did similar pranks a couple different years). Here’s how my cousin Anne Marie told the April Fools’ day story in a guest post several years ago:

One April Fools’ Day Grandma took an old newspaper from her basement and carefully glued all of the pages together and quietly placed it in our newspaper box. I can still hear Mom laughing when she tried to read the paper that day and it didn’t take her long to figure out who the prankster was.


How to Participate in Grandma’s Bake-a-thon

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

Saturday, December 5, 1914:  <<no entry>>

Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Grandma’s growing up. We’ve followed her life daily for the last four years—but she’s slowly losing interest in writing in her diary, and it ends on December 29, 1914. I’d like to use some of the remaining days of this blog to give Grandma a wonderful send-off to live the rest of her life.

So many wonderful memories of my grandmother are linked to food—and I think that if she was still around that she’d enjoy hearing other people’s stories of a holiday treat that they associate with one of their ancestors.

To celebrate Grandma’s transition to the next stage of her life, I’m organizing an event: Grandma’s Bake-a-thon.

To participate in the Bake-a-thon make an old family recipe, and share the story of why this recipe holds special memories for you.

You may want to tell your family and friends the recipe’s story; or share the recipe on your blog or Facebook page, in your Christmas letter, or by writing a comment on A Hundred Years Ago–whatever is most meaningful to you.

If you’re not a baker, you don’t need to actually make anything—just think about a favorite holiday treat and the person that you associate it with—and share the story.

Let the Bake-a-thon begin!

Memories of Baking Cookies with Grandma

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

Friday, December 4, 1914:  Nothing much doing. More later on.


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

As the holidays approach, I’d like to share a memory that includes both my mother and Grandma.

Mom always organized a cookie-baking party on an evening a week or so before Christmas. Each year my brother and I rushed to finish our farm chores so we could eat an early supper—and then bake cookies. Following the meal, we washed the dishes while Mom went to get Grandma, who lived in a bungalow two miles away.

Soon Grandma would be struggling through the kitchen door carrying a huge basket filled with cookie ingredients—walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, flour, baking chocolate—and her recipes.

We’d sort through Grandma’s (and my mother’s) recipes, and try to decide which cookies to make. Many of the recipe cards indicated that the source of the recipe was a great-aunt, cousin, or other relative.

The decision about which cookies to make required a discussion not only of the merits of each perspective recipe, but also of the person who originated the recipe. Should we make Great-grandma’s filled raisin cookies? (“Dad always loved them.”) . . . or that wonderful Sand Tart recipe that came from someone who was a neighbor of my mother’s 40 years ago (“Don’t know whatever happened to her, but she was a wonderful cook.”) . . .

Ah, the memories. . . I could go on and on.


Grandma’s diary ends on December 29. Over the past several months readers of A Hundred Years Ago have made many wonderful suggestions about how to send Grandma off to live the rest of her life.

I’ve decided to go with a Bake-a-thon because baking cookies with Grandma holds special memories for me and I know that the older version of Grandma loved our annual cookie baking party—so I think that she would have enjoyed a virtual Bake-a-thon.

Come back tomorrow—and I’ll share details about how you can participate in the Bake-a-thon.

Making Handkerchiefs for Xmas Gifts

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

Wednesday, December 2, 1914: Am making handkerchiefs for Xmas presents. They are to be real nice and fancy, with edging of my own makings on them.

tatted handkerchief

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


The handkerchiefs sound lovely. Do they have a tatted edging? Tatting is so delicate and beautiful. I have vague memories that your married sister Besse showed you how to tat last summer:

Besse was trying to teach me tatting today. Am awful stupid about it, but still I persist in trying to make the stuff. It takes some patience.

June 11, 1914


December’s on the Way

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

Tuesday, December 1, 1914:

The Twenty-fifth is near, December’s on the way,

And thoughts of presents nice and dear fill every passing day.

‘I wonder what I’ll get’ is what we often think

Until the day has dawned again all rosy and pink.

The last month of the year. I must hurry and fill up the remaining pages of this diary by writing silly nothings in it.

Brought my dress home. It suits me to a T. Ma doesn’t seem to like it very well, but maybe she will when she sees it on me.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

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



In any case—Even if you think your words are silly, please be generous with them. Someone will care about them someday.

P.S. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your mother will like the dress after you model it for her.

Monthly Poem in Diary

Grandma began each month of the Diary with a poem. See this previous post for more information about them:

Monthly Poem in Diary

Thank You!

I’d like to thank all of you who took a moment yesterday to write a comment about why you regularly visit this blog. I’m amazed by the varied reasons that you visit—and I’m humbled by your kind, heartfelt words.

And, I think that Grandma would be absolutely astounded that so many of you read her words and story—and , I also think that, in her quiet way, that she’d be thrilled that people still remember and care about her a hundred years later.

Why do you visit A Hundred Years Ago?

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

Monday, November 30, 1914: <<no entry>>


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

A few weeks ago Dirndl Skirt made the following comment:

. . . For all the work you put into this, it might be nice to get personal feedback as to why people connected with it. And a bit of introspection on the part of your readers’ would probably reveal some interesting observations as well, for you and for us.

And, I’ve been really curious ever since.

So since Grandma didn’t write anything a hundred years ago today, I’d like ask you a question:

What brought you to A Hundred Years Ago? . . . and why have you kept coming back?

Took Photo of Sister and her Friend

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

Sunday, November 29, 1914: Rufus had company today. Took their pictures over on the new bridge.

Recent photo of a small bridge near the Muffly farm
Recent photo of a small bridge near the Muffly farm

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

Grandma—Do tell, was your sister Ruth’s company male or female? (It’s been a long time since you’ve called her Rufus. Are you just a little bit jealous?)

And, did you take their picture on the bridge that goes over the creek that flows by your family’s farm? I can picture a really old bridge. Maybe it was new a hundred years ago–though I suppose that it’s been replaced several times over the course of the last hundred years.DSC04313