Old Luden’s Cough Drop Advertisement

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

Sunday, October 5, 1913:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. Am now the possessor of a troublesome cold.

Source: The Etude (March, 1914)
Source: The Etude (March, 1914)

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

Grandma, get well soon!  Colds aren’t any fun. All the corn husking that you’ve been doing on cold, damp days probably made you more susceptible to the germs.

Do you have a sore throat? Cough drops might help.

Fireworks Dangerous According to State Fire Chief

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

Friday, July 4, 1913: Wasn’t much celebrating done at this house today. I saw a balloon go up or rather I saw it after it had gone up. Saw a few fireworks this evening, but that was at a distance.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 2, 1913(
Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 2, 1913)


Says Care Should Be Taken to Safeguard Life and Property on the Fourth

The department of the state fire marshal at Harrisburg has issued the following Fourth of July proclamation:

The Fourth of July, which is and should be a day of patriotic rejoicing has become a day of apprehension and terror to all persons who have any concern for the safety of life and property. It is a day when fire departments in all cities and towns are generally kept on the run. The people have not yet learned the significance of the day in its highest and best sense. They have not yet learned the noise is not patriotism. Other countries show their patriotism in a more quiet manner with considerably less loss of life and property and this country in the earlier days celebrated the Fourth of July by the unfurling of the stars and stripes, a salute of guns, ringing of church bells and patriotic songs and speeches. . .

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

Sounds like Grandma had a pleasant and safe 4th.

A hundred years ago many leaders thought that electric light displays could be a modern replacement for fireworks. You might enjoy reading this post I did last year:

Are Fireworks  Old-Fashioned?

Grandma’s July Poems, 1911 – 1913

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

Monday, July 1, 1913:

The hottest month of the whole year ‘round.

We may surely call July

When the sun shines down and makes us brown.

Then, oh then we often sigh.

(For a day in winter.)

The beginning of this month finds me at the same things I was doing yesterday.


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

In the diary Grandma began each month with a poem. I’ve periodically pondered whether she wrote the poems herself—or got them from some other source.

Over time, I’ve gradually (with the help of some blog readers) come to the conclusion that she wrote them herself. This poem provides even stronger evidence that she wrote them herself.

The previous day she complained about getting a tan and this poem continues along the same vein.

 I’m getting a liberal covering of tan on my arms. As for my hands they experienced that some time ago.

Diary entry on June 30, 1913

I decided to see how Grandma’s  poems have changed across the years. Surprisingly (at least to me) the poems she wrote in July, 1911 and July, 1912 had similar themes to this one.

July 1, 1911 Poem

A whole half year has just leaped by,

And all can now witness the approach of July.

With all its plenty of frolic and fuss,

But beware and be cautious of the sun.

July 1, 1912 Poem

In the shadow of a shade tree,

There the weary often be,

After they have been well roasted,

In the hot sun of July.

Should Daughters Be Allowed to Go to the Beach?

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

June 18, 19, 20:  These days are filled with uneventful proceedings not worth mentioning.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)

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

The summer doldrums continue—and it looks like Grandma didn’t even write in the diary for a couple days, and then just summarized her ennui on the 20th.

Did Grandma ever wish that she could take a fun holiday trip—say to the Atlantic Ocean?  . . . and did her mother worry about “young people today”?

Here’s a fun article I found in the August, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

How Much of This Do You Want Your Daughter to Share?

An Editorial in Pictures

The pictures on this page are taken from photos at the “bathing hour” on various public beaches that dot the Atlantic coast from Cape May to Cape Ann. They accurately indicate the free- and easy-familiarity that is continuous on these midsummer playgrounds from the opening of its season to the close.

Are the situations such as you would wish your daughter to have a share in, such as you would even have your daughter see? Where do you think such easy familiarity between the sexes—between the young of the sexes—leads?  Nowhere, do you say?  Would you be willing for your daughter to take a chance of such familiarity, leading—nowhere?  Yet that is precisely the chance thousands of American parents take when they permit their daughters unrestricted indulgence in the attraction of our public bathing beaches.





Tired From Picking Strawberries

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

Tuesday, June 17, 1913:  A feeling of weariness creeps o’er me, as a result of too much stooping yesterday.


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

I bet that Grandma was picking strawberries again. This is the third June that I’ve posted Grandma’s diary. This post makes me realize how much I’ve gotten into the ebb and flow of her life. She can merely write that she was tired from stooping–and I immediately think, “It’s June so she was picking strawberries.”

Diary entries in previous years suggest that a neighbor raised strawberries for sale and that Grandma was hired to pick them.

On June 12, 1911 Grandma wrote:

Started to pick strawberries this morning. Of course it will mean some early rising and loss of sleep, but just look at what I can earn.

And, the following year on June 10, 1912 she wrote:

This morning I picked berries and helped myself to some. I wonder if anyone saw me. . .

And, on July 1, 1912 Grandma felt rich:

Stopped picking strawberries today. All my earnings, about $4.00 in all, I still have and expect to keep until I spend them.

Didn’t Do Very Much (Again)

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

Saturday, June 7, 1913: Didn’t do very much today, as there wasn’t very much to do.

Recent photo of the stream that flows through the farm Grandma grew up on. The old Muffly barn is in the background--and the cows were probably pastured in this field.
Recent photo of the stream that flows through the farm where Grandma grew up. If you look really hard, you can seen the house and barn through the trees.

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

Sigh . . . Nothing happened,  AGAIN???!!!??. . . Grandma must have done something a hundred years ago today.

This is the fourth day in a row that Grandma either wrote that there wasn’t anything worth writing about or that she didn’t do very much.

There are numerous places throughout the diary where Grandma indicated that nothing happened on a certain day –but  generally this type of entry was isolated and sandwiched between entries of more substance.

What was happening (or not happening) in Grandma’s life  in June, 1913 that made her feel like she had nothing to write about? Was she too tired to write because  she was working very hard on the farm? . . . or was she bored now that the excitement over her high school graduation was long past? . . .or . . .

Made a Fern Wreath

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

Thursday, May 29, 1913:  I was very much disappointed this morning. I had planned where to go tomorrow with a friend and then received a letter saying she couldn’t come. I made a wreath this afternoon and hunted up some wild ferns.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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

It’s upsetting when friends cancel—but at least Grandma came up with a fun activity that hopefully took her mind off her disappointment.

Have you ever seen a fern wreath? I don’t think that I ever have and can’t quite picture what it would look like.  How long would it last?

A hundred years ago Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30, so Grandma may have made the wreath to take the cemetery for the upcoming holiday. I’ve always purchased wreathes to take to the cemetery.  How did people make them years ago?