19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, October 30, 1914: Tis the last of the month e’er I take it into my head to jot down a few more items. In the meantime I have replenished my pocketbook. It was entirely empty. Taking that trip did him up entirely. My last payday was last night. I just finished rolling that one bill (not a little one) in with the rest awhile ago.
Mollie’s little calf weighed 160 pounds so that helped considerably towards filling up the yawning gap in my pocketbook. So much for financial circumstances and my rough hands.
Ruthie Dearest is going to a Halloween masquerade dance tonight, but I’m not cause I never learned to dance. I had thought of going and making a brave attempt at it, but my courage failed me. Was afraid I’d make some awful blunders.
Maybe Grandma’s sister Ruth wore a witch costume to the masquerade dance. (Source: Ladies Home Journal, July, 1914)
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Welcome back! We missed you. It sounds like you worked hard in October—but a least your pocketbook is full. The trip to Niagara Falls in August sure did a number on it; but, in my opinion, the trip was worth every penny.
P.S. You should have gone to the Halloween masquerade dance. I bet a cute guy would have been willing to teach you how to dance.
Grandma probably was paid for helping with the corn harvest. On October 11, 1913 Grandma wrote that she received $12 as part of her pay for husking corn.
And, on October 18, 1913, she wrote:
At last my job is finished. I call it about 600 bushels more or less. This will add some to my spending money.
Grandma’s cow, Mollie, had a male calf on September 16, 1914. When Grandma sold a calf in 1912 she wrote:
Sold Mollie’s calf today. It wasn’t a very big one and I rather feared my fortune would be pretty small, but after all it weighed one hundred and forty-four lbs. Received a neat sum of $11.56.
December 27, 1912
Based on these previously diary entries, I’m guessing that Grandma made at least $24.00 from harvesting corn, and at least $12.00 from the sale of the calf for a total of $36.00.
According to an online inflation calculator, a dollar in 1914 would be worth $23.81 today. So if Grandma received $36 in October that would be worth about $883 today. It sounds like her pocketbook was probably nice and fat.