Sunday, December 31, 2006
Marjorie has been wakeful at night all week and I am so tired these days I feel rotten, can’t accomplish anything it seems. Ironed all morning while the boys took turns cleaning windows for me. They used Bon Ami and did a pretty good job of it. Then they cleaned the floors for me, too. I wanted to start the new year clean but for some reason the house gets dirtier with black coal dirt than it ever did before. I hang Marjorie’s diapers over the registers and they are gray. The boys can’t stay clean it seems so I feel so helpless. Aside from that I feel in looking back over the year and considering the way things used to be that we have made fair progress toward beauty and happiness in our home.
(My mom once asked one of my uncle's who grew up on a farm in southern Indiana if he remembered the inside of their house getting all dirty from their coal furnace. He said it didn't. I still think there was something quite wrong with Grandma's furnace, to cause so much indoor pollution. And if they were breathing that dirty air all the time, no wonder she felt rotten!
But, she ends this year in her diary on a positive note, having "made fair progress toward beauty and happiness in our home".
And so tomorrow I'll begin publishing her 1926 diary entries, one day at a time, with my own comments, comments my Aunt Marjorie sends to me (she writes them out long-hand and sends them a few weeks ahead of time), and comments from my mother, Eleanor (the youngest daughter born in 1929). We always welcome any comments that any reader may wish to add, as well.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
It seems that I don’t do anything but clean and iron and the house always looks dirty and always have ironing to do. Mending is stacking sky high and I can’t find time to do more than I have to put on right away, let alone finish the twin’s petticoats.
(Aunt Marjorie commented in her notes to me on the diaries that Grandma is probably behind with everything because of the Christmas holiday. But it does seem she always has ironing to do. Everything had to be ironed!)
Friday, December 29, 2006
Dale better as to throat and fever, but neck all swollen in back due I think to a “stunt” Guy had them try in which the leaders of his neck were strained. Got coke in that left a film of black all over my clean house and the boys get all dirty after playing inside any time.
(I wonder what Uncle Guy had them try that stretched Dale's neck so that it would be swollen?
And I can't imagine having black soot all over the inside of my house. I think I'd try to figure out what was going on with the furnace.)
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Cold and clear
Got up nearly sick with a sore throat.. Had an awful bad night. Baby was nervous I guess, at least wakeful although she didn’t cry, but she didn’t sleep and I had to get up several times and my throat seemed al l swollen and so sore. Dale had sore throat and stick neck all day, a little feverish, and Ned, too. I went to the store and got flannel to make the twins petticoats.
(Marjorie wrote the following about the twins, Martha and Louise, born on Christmas Day to Gilbert's sister Nell and her husband Mike..."I remember Mother making gifts for the twins at Christmas time for a number of years. Uncle Mike was 55 when the twins were born. He was a night watchman at Link Belt at that time, as well as doing a little farming. He lived to be in his 90's. They were very poor. The twins were hard workers and had nice homes after marrying."
I sure hope Grandma and the others don't have long illnesses again like last winter.)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Cold and Clear
Cold wave and we slept late and found the fire burned out. Had a cold time till we got another one started. Got 3 boys off to Sunday School then nursed the fire and got started to Mama’s at noon. All were there but Harry. Had a fine dinner and Mrs. Santa Claus (Mildred) distributed gifts upstairs by the tree. I was well remembered and the boys got lots of nice toys.
(Earlier I posted that I thought Grandma hadn't celebrated Christmas with her parents because she sent the two older boys over there with gifts. I guess I was wrong, and they did get together for a Christmas celebration.
I can't imagine a coke (coal) furnace, and having to constantly add more coke to keep a fire going all through the winter. That must have been tedious, and a somewhat dirty job. I'm reminded of the movie "A Christmas Story" and the scene where Ralphie's father, "the old man", is down in their basement, cursing the furnace, and comes up all covered with soot.)
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Dad left in the middle of the afternoon and Alva Farguar called up just after he left announcing that Nell had twin girls born last evening. We were surprised, not expected till next month and so relieved for Nell is 41 and we were afraid she would have a hard time. All doing well, he said. Was too excited over it to work well but managed to wash and send Dale and Dick over to Mama’s with presents.
(Nell was Gilbert's sister. Grandma wrote the following in her family history:
"In November 1924, Nell married Mike Kelly and helped him make a home for his step-son Robert Wray. On Christmas day 1925, she gave birth to twin daughters, Martha Caroline and Katherine Louise. They moved from Crawfordsville, and lived in several farm homes while the girls grew up. When they were ready to graduate from high school, they were living in Brown County (IN), and the twins graduated from Trafalgar High School. They had prepared themselves to do office work and both obtained jobs at the State House so they both worked in Indianapolis... (Nell) died of cancer of the breast April 11, 1950" The twins, Martha and Louise, both married, and had children and are still living.
It appears that Grandma did not have a Christmas celebration with her own parents, and just sent the boys with the gifts. I suppose this may have been because they saw them more often, and it was probably a special day when Gilbert's father came to visit from Crawfordsville. Today, it seems like people have three and four and more Christmas celebrations with family to make sure they see everyone.)
Monday, December 25, 2006
A lovely Christmas Day. Enough snow to give us a white Christmas and then cleared up. Bess came out. Dad was here and the boys made Merry. After dinner Fred McCullough came to see Bess and brought a five lb. fox of chocolates. We had so much candy and nuts so of course ate too much all but Gilbert who suffered with heartburn and stomach off.
(Grandma recorded at the end of her "book of remembrance" what she got everyone for Christmas. Here's the list:
Dad – socks
Nell – towel set
Mike – handerkerchiefs
Bess – towel set
Aunt Janey – apron
Robert – table croquet
Papa – tie
Mama – lamp
Guy – socks
Ella – towel set
Mildred – bloomers
Onarga – bloomers
Bob – horse shoe game
Don – auto
Bur – socks
Ethel – towel set
Harry Jr. – horse shoe game
Harry – socks
Winifred- handerkerchiefs and garters
Gilbert – desk
Dale – pencil, gun, filecase
Dick - pencil, gun, filecase,
Albert – pencil, gun, filecase
Ned – Kiddy Kar
Nothing was listed next to Marjorie's name, so I assume because she was just a few months old, they didn't bother with presents for her.
And here is what Grandma wrote about what she received from others:
Christmas presents received:
From Gilbert – beautiful table lamp. Mama – runner. Mildred – ship book ends. All of which transform my table to a thing of beauty. Onarga – Pyrex pie plate. Guy – gloves. Bess – stockings. Aunt Hattie – towel. Jessie – handkerchiefs. Dale – cooking spoon and dish and writing book made at school. Dick – beefsteak pounder with card on it written “To Ruth from Dick”. Albert – pretty peach colored handkerchief.
It sounds like they had what we would call an "old-fashioned Christmas", with snow, family, a few gifts and lots of sweets.
If you would like to see a picture of a nativity set made of felt and pipe cleaners given by Albert to Eleanor sometime in the 1940's, go to May Dreams Gardens, where I've posted a picture of it
Merry Christmas to all!)
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Made cake and pies and Dad came in about noon with a big box of potatoes and a roaster from Nell's – her Christmas present. He killed it and dressed it. Had supper and the boys hung their stockings in high expectancy. But after Santa came about 20 of 12 I had to iron each a clean outfit put on tomorrow. So got little sleep. The end table arrived.
(Aunt Marjorie believes the pies were probably mince and pumpkin. "Dad" was Gilbert's father, Nell was Gilbert's sister. She was expecting a baby, so probably wasn't able to come to Grandma's for Christmas.
See, there is a Santa, Grandma wrote in her diary that he came about 11:40 PM! Then she had to iron clothes. There seemed to be no holiday from the ironing!)
Saturday, December 23, 2006
The boys got awfully industrious today. I told them what all I had to do so they pitched in and helped me. Polished the furniture for me while I cleaned the kitchen, bath, and pantry. We got the house clean and in good order. But of course I didn’t get everything done I wanted too, ironing for instance. The boys and I trimmed the tree.
(Always the ironing!
Mom always got us to help clean up the house before Christmas. It probably kept us from driving her crazy while we were waiting for the big day... Christmas!)
Friday, December 22, 2006
Dale and I finished the candy up last evening. It is a great pleasure to Dale to be “in” on it. Not a selfish motive at all. Jack Apple put Dale and Dick “wise” on Santa Claus deal several weeks ago. They were old enough to see through it anyway. But they seem to enjoy it just as much and understand the spirit of it.
(What "Santa Claus deal"? See through what? What could Grandma be writing about??)
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Dale slipped upstairs while Albert and Dick were playing and I was washing and hulled all the peanuts for the candy before Dick missed him. I started to clean furniture. Want to clean the house but the boys dirty it up as fast as I clean. Feel awfully hopeless. Wish I had time to read more. “Little Journeys” are awfully interesting.
(Aunt Marjorie wrote that the peanuts were probably for peanut brittle, another favorite homemade candy.
I'm sure Grandma did find it hopeless to try to keep a house full of 4 boys and a baby clean!)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Went to Sunday School and took Ned. The other three had gone ahead. Gilbert stayed home with Marjorie. Saw Mrs. Wheeler and paid for my Christmas cards. Then I wrote the cards in the evening and got them ready to mail. Then Dale and I made candy and decided about Dick and the box he looked into. Of course, I had to stick to my threat, but don’t want to spoil Dick’s fun so decided not to set out more in it so he can have some kinds.
(Sounds like Grandma decided not to let Dick have any of the candy he found yesterday, but was going to let him have any new candy made since then.
Here's another family candy recipe:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups white Karo syrup
2 cups cream
1 cup butter (or margerine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Cook karo, sugar, half the cream and butter together. When it boils stir in the rest of the cream slowly, but do not allow boiling to cease. Test for a firm ball in cold water (246 degrees). Add vanilla and nut meats. Turn into a buttered metal pan (9" x 13"). When cold, cut into cubes and wrap into little squares of wax paper. I use a 4 quart pan and stir occasionally as it cooks.
Marjorie wrote,"When we were little we helped wrap the caramels. John Morgan asked Mother how she kept us from eating the candy as we wrapped. She laughed and said we watched each other, and no kid would allow a brother or sister to eat anything that he or she couldn't have himself."
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Cleaned house as usual without the usual interference of Jack Apple, who it seems heard about the mysterious box in the pantry that Dick was not to open, so he persuaded Dick to open it. Snooped some himself and then told Dale on Dick with the object of getting Dick into trouble so he couldn’t have any candy on Christmas. Both boys feel it is a low trick.
2 cups sugar (granulated)
2 Tablespoons flour (slightly rounded)
1 cup milk
1 lump butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pie pan with 1/4" +/- cinnamon spread in the bottom)
Have everything ready before you start. Have a clean marble slab or countertop greased with butter, and have a small lump of butter ready to grease your hands when ready to knead candy. Have 2" - 3" cold water in the sink, and have a lump of butter (Mother used to say "size of a walnut") and vanilla standing by the sink. I use a 3 or 4 quart dull pan (shiny stainless steel would scorch the milk).
Mix sugar and flour, mashing flour lumps into sugar with spoon so all is smooth, then add milk. Start cooking while stirring till sugar pretty well dissolved, but never stir once simmering commences. When gently boiling, cover for a few minutes. On my stove, I cook halfway between medium and medium-low to soft ball stage (234 degrees on my thermometer).
Immediately move pan to cold water in sink and add butter. Let it cool a few minutes and add vanilla, then beat (slowly will do it) till it becomes dull & no longer shiny. Turn it onto a greased counter, rub butter on your hands, and knead until you can form rolls (about the size of a roll of quarters) and roll each formed roll in the cinnamon. When firm, store in a tin until needed, then cut into little slices.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Open house at school and kindergarten party, too. So as soon as I got Ned and Marjorie fed and bathed, I rigged up Ned’s old cart and went over to the kindergarten till 11, when Bob Cratchet (Dale) was to appear at school. Then after lunch went back and visited Dick’s room. Dale was a pretty good Bob Cratchet but was a little scared and his voice did not carry well.
(Surprisingly, Grandma doesn't mention in her diary that this was her birthday. She turned 33 on this day. I assume they would have acknowledged her birthday in some way.)
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Fair and cold
Mama came over bright and early to let me go down town and finish my shopping. But I wanted to go to the class party at Mrs. Smith’s, so I hurried home at 2:00 and got the little ones ready. Dick got home from school before Dale and we left him to tell Dale and come when he got home. So we went to the party. Benny Evans brought us all home. Had a good time.
(Mrs. Smith was no relation to Grandma. She was her Sunday School teacher. Sounds like a busy day.)
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Coated my peppermints then made a batch of pink and lavender fondant that I made into creams with nuts on them. Let Dale in on the secret at noon and so after the others went to bed we made a batch of plain vanilla. Dick saw the box on the top pantry shelf and started to look in, so I told him if he did he’d not get any of the contents.
(Aunt Marjorie wrote that Dick was the candy lover in the family!)
Friday, December 15, 2006
Decided I would have to make the candy for Christmas this year to make the money last, so as this is the last week of school had better get at it. So this AM while the two boys were at school and Albert in kindergarten, I made a batch of peppermint. Then ironed all afternoon.
(Aunt Marjorie called me a week or so ago and suggested that I post some of Grandma's candy recipes with the diary, and I agreed that was a great idea. She wrote that she thinks the peppermint candy Grandma made was probably the fondant candy with food coloring added. So, here is the recipe...
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Felt more encouraged today – yesterday I was so blue. I was so joyful Saturday when I bought the desk, then yesterday was so distressed about it, but now I don’t see how he could help being glad about it, for although he needs it, it would be many a day before he would buy himself one. The ElbertHubbard books came.
(Aunt Marjorie commented "David has the Elbert Hubbard books now. I got many an interesting report for school in the "Little Journeys" books. Dale liked them, too, but he let me have them so his wife could have my share of the Haviland china Mother had received from her friends at wedding showers." (David is her oldest son.)
Grandma still had a bit of worry over the desk she bought as a gift for Gilbert, but seemed to have changed her mind that he would like it.)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Cloudy and rain
Collin’s wanted their picture for Mrs. Smith’s album so Gilbert went over and took them but it was really too dark. I was all day getting my work done. Was tired, too. An article by Edgar Guest in the paper on gifts just struck Gilbert. It seems he doesn’t like useful gifts so my heart is like lead. He won’t like his desk.
(The Collin's lived across the street from Grandma. They had two children, a boy and a girl.
I wonder if the Edgar Guest who wrote the article is the same as the poet Edgar Guest? Seems like about the same time period, and he was "a newspaper man".
Remember from yesterday that Grandma got Gilbert a desk for Christmas. I think he probably ended up liking it. She had it in the house until she died.)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Albert and I went to do our shopping after Gilbert came home, but we got a late start and what a mob in the stores! I got a desk for Gilbert and then took Albert to the 5 and 10 cent store. By the time he was done, I could just barely get him some shoes before the store closed. He is the stubbornest kid I have, wouldn’t get what others wanted, but what he would like to have himself.
(Albert is 5 1/2 years old at this time, and perhaps didn't quite get it as far as giving people gifts. For those who are reading who might not be completely familiar with the family, Albert grew up and attended Harvard University, converted to Catholicism and became a Jesuit priest. He spent most of his career teaching philosophy at the Univ. of San Francisco. More info is on the March 16th diary post and I added a picture of him in the 1940's on the picture blog.
Eleanor has the desk Grandma got for Gilbert. For awhile, my brother had it but then Mom (Eleanor) decided she would like to use it for awhile. So I went after work one day to his house to get the desk. I remembered it as quite a massive, oversized piece of furniture, and wondered how my brother and I would get it loaded onto my truck. When I got to his house, he had already moved the desk downstairs. Turns out, it was much bigger when we were little kids visiting Grandma!)
Monday, December 11, 2006
The babies and Dick a little better. Finished my ironing and started to clean the upstairs. Didn’t get done as much as I expected though never do anymore it seems. Suppose I expect to do too much, having the baby to nurse too. But I don’t begrudge the time she takes she is such a little jewel. Dale and Dick went down town to do their Christmas shopping.
("Finished the ironing", until the next day and the next load of laundry, I suppose. Dale and Dick, being 9 and 7 years old, were probably quite anxious to get their Christmas shopping going. And we are all still amazed that at their age, they went down town in Indianpolis by themselves to shop. As Grandma wrote a while back "such little men".)
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Mama came over and I didn’t get to my ironing till after noon. Ironed till 6 and didn’t get done. The two babies and Dick nearly sick with their colds. I believe I have been having the house too hot for their good, so am going to try to keep the temperature lower.
(More ironing! If someone asked me what was the greatest innovation of the 20th century, as far as helping women advance in life and have more options, I would say permanent press fabrics. Otherwise, we would all be at home ironing most of the time.)
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Cold and cloudy
Went to P.T.A. at the school, left the children all at home. Marjorie didn’t sleep as I expected but the boys wheeled her and fed her a bottle and I guess didn’t have much trouble to keep her from crying. Ned is nearly sick with a cold today and Marjorie’s eyes are still bad.
(I assume Grandma was not gone for long. Dale, the oldest is 9 years old. Today, we would not leave 5 children ages 9 - newborn home alone. Is it because the world is not so safe now as it might have appeared to be in the 1920's or because children are not so mature?)
Friday, December 08, 2006
Cold and cloudy
I ironed most of the day. Marjorie slept all day. She has been sleeping all night too lately and I hope she keeps it up. It certainly is a joy to have her. She is so sweet and good. Laughs and coos so happy when she is awake. She has quite a cold in her head though and can’t seem to get rid of it. Ned, too. It worries me.
(More ironing! I will probably not iron as much in my entire life as Grandma ironed in a week!
And they did seem to catch a lot of colds.)
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Put in the day doing the work I should have done the last of the week and washing, too. I cleaned up the windows and scrubbed the floors and cleaned pretty good in general. Baby slept most of the day and stayed awake all evening till 10 o’clock. She has cold in her eyes that keep them red and mattery.
(Grandma has to clean the windows a lot, primarily, we believe, because of the coke furnace they used to heat the house.)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Cold and cloudy
Dale and Dick went to Sunday School and Gilbert and I cleaned the house and babies up and then went to the folks for dinner. The boys cut up Jack so we brought them home early. They prefer teasing Winifred and never gave her one moment’s peace. Ned took a shine to the Edison and wanted me to keep it going. We had our pictures taken.
(We've already determined that "cut up Jack" or "tear up jack" which is in other diary entries means they made a mess of things. Marjorie said Grandma used to say that a lot. I would guess with four active boys, it was as good a description as any for how they played.
The Edison is a hand-cranked record player. It is still in the family, but needs some repair, which we will take care of over the holidays.
Getting your picture taken in the 1920's was an event and I have posted one of the pictures that I believe was taken on this day, at this link. This is also the first picture of Marjorie as a baby that I am aware of. You would have to just a magnifying glass to see her in this family photo!
And, regular readers will recall Winifred, Harry's daughter. Her picture is at this link.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Got as much done as I could and let the rest go and went downtown to do some shopping as soon as Gilbert came home. It was the first he had kept Marjorie but with the boys’ help he got along all right. I did a lot of Christmas buying and got Albert underwear.
(Through the diaries, I've learned that Gilbert often worked on Saturdays. He was an accounting clerk at the gas company. I would assume that since Marjorie was their 5th child, he would have experience taking care of babies!)
Monday, December 04, 2006
Had planned all fall on going to the bazaar at the church but it was so rainy I gave it up and ironed till 2:30 when the sun came out and I packed up the kids and went. As soon as we go there, Ned began to cry. He never let up until I carried him. I tried to see the things. I wanted to do some Christmas shopping, but gave up and came home with Nola Peggs and found later his shoe tongue was wrinkled and hurt him.
(Still so much ironing. Grandma never seemed to be done with ironing.
It was nice that Grandma and the kids (which I assume is Ned and Marjorie) got a ride home with someone instead of having to walk or take the bus. I can imagine Grandma trying to carry a two-year old and a baby. Maybe Nola helped with the baby, too?)
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I ironed all morning. Then took the three little ones to the Kindergarten mothers’ meeting. Had a nice time. They all behaved even Marjorie, who made lots of admirers. I won the prize, a book of Mother Goose rhymes, for a guessing game. Took the bus and the street car to go but walked home and carried Marjorie.
(This would be for Albert's kindergarten class. Apparently, the kindergarten class did meet at the elementary school. Marjorie wrote, " I wonder if Albert's kindergarten was the same place Eleanor went, acorss 16th St., from the Community House at Brookside Park? Bus and streetcar meant it was probably a long walk home."
This further confuses me because previously Grandma wrote about sending Albert (age 5) there on his own. I would hope those were short bus/street car rides, so that the walk home wasn't as far as we might think.)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Mama came over. I had lots of odd jobs but felt I didn’t get much done. With some one talking to me all the time I get nervous and make poor head way.
(Since there is not too much in the diary for today, I’ll digress and get everyone caught up on the story of Aunt Hattie, who is mentioned a few times in the diary, and her daughter, Edna. Aunt Hattie was Grandma’s father’s sister. About her, Grandma wrote the following in her history:
“…Harriett (Aunt Hattie) was married to George William Krenning, a prosperous dry goods merchant, whose parents were pioneers who owned the ground on which General Wayne had built his “Fort Recovery”. It was not there when I was little, but later was rebuilt on the original spot, and still stands. To this union were born three children, Edna, who survived both her parents, Alice Krenning Mohr who died after a long illness on Feb. 20, 1908, and George Campbell Krenning who was one of the executives for Western Electric and lived many years in Hew Haven, Connecticut. He had one son, who died in infancy, so no grandchildren survived in the Krenning family. Uncle George died December 6, 1906 and left the community as one of its most distinguished citizens, having been active in the Congregational Church as well as in business and community affairs. Aunt Hattie lived to be over ninety, and when she died on April 15, 1943 was Fort Recovery’s last pioneer resident.”
From census records, we also learned the following:
George Krenning’s parents (Benjamin and Elizabeth) came from Bavaria and he was one of two sons. George was born in May 1854.
Hattie (Harriett Theressa Campbell) was born in February 1853
Their children were: Edna was born in December 1877, Alice in March 1881, and George Campbell in December 1889.
Edna lived all her live with her mother, Hattie, in the house in Fort Recovery, Ohio. As noted in Grandma’s history, Alice died in 1908, and George married and moved to the East Coast.
In the 1930 census records, it was noted that Aunt Hattie’s house was worth $3,050 and they had a radio set. Edna was still living with her, and is listed as having a job as an Editorial Critic for a Publishing House.
Aunt Marjorie sent me the following information about a visit to see them in 1938.
“Edna was Aunt Hattie’s daughter, Mother’s cousin. When Uncle Guy & Vangie (his second wife) took Mother, Eleanor and me to Fort Recovery on July 4, 1938 (I think it was just before I started high school), Edna was living there and her mother (Aunt Hattie) reproved her for talking too much and Edna meekly stopped talking. Edna must have been in her 50’s. Some years later, Edna was put in an asylum for a while because she tried to strangle her mother.”
Since we know Aunt Hattie died in 1943, it could not have been too long after this visit that this event with Edna occurred!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of cousin Edna to post, but I do have this picture from 1924 of several people sitting on the porch of Aunt Hattie’s house. Perhaps one of the women is Edna?
(Many thanks to Annie in Austin for the census record information!)
Friday, December 01, 2006
Gilbert fixed the washing machine last week, so I washed all the baby’s things and our sleeping garments that weigh so heavy. Mama wanted me to go to the O.E.S. bazaar but I just couldn’t get my work done in time. I wanted to finish my waist so I could go the last of the week.
(Marjorie provided more information on how they used the washing machine to wash clothes.
"Mother had a roller-type washing machine. She had 3 galvanized tubs to rinse the laundry. She could open the drain in the bottom of the washing machine, but the large rinse tubs had no drains. She used a bucket and dipped out the water to the floor (there was a drain in the basement floor) until there was only a little water in the large galvanized tub - then she could tip it over and let the rest of the water run out."
It sounds like washing clothes was a completely manual effort. Wash the clothes, rinse them several times, and run them through the rollers to get the water out of them. It must have been a lot of work to do the "heavy" laundry like blankets, flannel garments, etc.
O.E.S is Order of the Eastern Star. I provided information about that with this diary entry and this one.)
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Put in the day sewing. Cut out waists of the two remnants I got Friday and with the skirt Bess outgrew and gave me, I expect to have a decent costume for all the going I’ll do. Have so much sewing to do and the mending has stacked up till my sewing machine is snowed under.
(To clarify, a "waist" is a type of shirt, I think without shirttails to tuck in.
Bess, Grandma's sister in law, must have had trouble with her weight.
So much sewing. Grandma sewed most of what she and the boys wore, it seems.)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Had so much to do that I didn’t get bathed and ready to sit down and rest till five o’clock. While we were eating dinner, Guys drove in for a few minutes to consult about Mama’s Christmas present. We are going together to get her a lamp.
(Seems even Grandma started thinking about Christmas fairly early on. "Guys" refers to her brother Guy and his family.
And haven't we all had days when we had so much to do, it took basically all day to get it done!)
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Put in a big day of course. Saturdays are always hard it seems. Had ironing to do after everything else and had to go to the store for a pattern so didn’t get dishes and bathing done. Felt lucky that I got the boys all scrubbed.
(Marjorie wrote: "Saturday was always bath day. We had to light up the water heater to have warm baths."
Some days, you just don't get everything done, even today, with our "modern conveniences" which Grandma would marvel at. To bathe everyone, she had to light up a water heater and warm the water. Her iron was heavy and not some "teflon coated" easy glide iron. Going to the store meant either a walk of a few blocks or a street car ride or bus ride downtown. Dishes were all washed and dried by hand. And she needed a pattern because she made most of the clothes they wore.
I hope Grandma was able to take catch up on her own bathing by the next day!)
Monday, November 27, 2006
Clear and cold
We discovered Dick’s shoe were clear out and as there was a sale at Goldstein’s where I could get him a pair for $1, I took him and went. Ned went too for the bus ride. I put Marjorie to sleep and left her with Dale and Albert. Was gone an hour and a half and she never woke up. I ironed all afternoon. Got me two remnants of silk for a waist.
(Marjorie noted that when their shoes were worn through on the bottom, they used the cardboard strips that came in the boxes of Shredded Wheat to line the bottom of the shoe, to cover the hole. "Clear out" might also mean that Dick had outgrown those shoes. I used this site to calculate that those shoes would cost $11.14 today. That's still a fairly cheap pair of shoes.
This is the first mention Grandma made of leaving Marjorie with the boys. Dale was 9 years old at this time, Albert was 5. Dale had already skipped a grade in school, so may have been more mature than most 9 year olds.)
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Thanksgiving. Gilbert put in the morning with the boys cleaning up the yard. Papa and Winifred came for dinner as Mama went to Elwood. Winifred fed Marjorie while she was awake and regretted when she went to sleep. In the evening the boys went to the show. It would have been a gloomy evening if Gilbert hadn’t been here.
(Even in 1925, the movie theater was open on Thanksgiving.)
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Preparations for Thanksgiving took up the day. Mama came over to “help”. I had a cake baked and four pumpkin pies. She helped me wash up the dishes but didn’t get done till Mrs. Collins came and stayed an hour or so. So I didn’t get the frying, ironing, etc. done till evening. I ironed what we would need after supper.
(They must be expecting quite a few people for Thanksgiving - 4 pies! And still that ironing needed to be done, holiday or not.
Marjorie wrote that she remembered Grandma baking mince meat pies, too. And that she always cleaned out the china closet (cabinet) before Thanksgiving. We don't know if those were the dishes she wrote about washing or if she washed dishes from all the baking.
The china cabinet was in the dining room and is now in my youngest sister's living room. Grandma also had a clock on top of the cabinet which chimed every half hour. My older sister has it in her family room, but it no longer works. I had the clock for awhile but traded it to my older sister so she would stop trying to claim a purple vase, which I coveted. I now have the purple vase! We all seem to have something or other from Grandma that we cherish.)
Friday, November 24, 2006
My cold seemed a little better today and Marjorie’s too. Here’s hoping we continue to improve. Marjorie is getting cute. Beginning to coo and laugh when I talk to her and her face lights up as if she was going to speak.
(Not much to add to this middle of the week diary entry. Might be a good day to tell you about Grandma's cousin, Edna, but I'm still gathering some information, so it will be a few more days before I am ready to tell her story.)
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Cold and clear
I had to take Marjorie’s baby bunting back and get some wraps that fit her closer and change Dick’s pants for an 8 year size so Bess helped me down as she went home. I wanted to look around at the pretty things but Marjorie got to crying and was pretty heavy on my arm, and Ned wouldn’t go without my leading him so I came home as soon as possible and spent the PM in bed. My cold so bad.
(Sounds like not too good of a day, that Grandma had her hands full, and then some, plus another cold or maybe the same cold she had before.
I was thinking about what Grandma would think if she walked through a Walmart or Target today about what all we have available to buy now. Or if she went to the local mall, what she might think of the number of stores.)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Cold and cloudy
Bess didn’t stay for dinner but went to Hankin’s. We had just gotten up from the table at 2 o’clock when Mrs. Kaser called up. They and Salys’ were coming over. I hadn’t bathed yet. Marjorie had slept all morning and hadn’t had her bath yet. Gilbert had to shave, so believe me we did some hustling and were all ready in apple pie order (except the kitchen) when they arrived. Marjorie K. brought our Marjorie a dress.
(Seems like they went from a few weeks ago having no visitors, to having several families come to see them at once.
I haven't heard the phrase "apple pie order" before.
According to Aunt Marjorie, Kaser's were neighbors from when they lived on Euclid Ave. before they moved to Rural St. Marjorie Kaser was a playmate of Dale's, and Aunt Marjorie believes she was named after this friend.)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Fair and Warm
Gilbert is going to take Dale and Dick down to get them some pants anyway so we let them take Albert and walk to the plant and meet Gilbert and go from there. They had a big time. Got Dale a lumberjack, too. They are not handsome, but warm. Dick’s pants are too large. Bess came after supper for a weekend visit.
(Marjorie noted "Did the boys walk from home to the gas plant? It must be almost 2 miles, at least! They had to cross 10th St., Michigan St., & Washington St., - heavy traffic!"
It seems that the Smiths were going on a bit of a spending spree these last few days. Even if Gilbert wasn't so good at getting the right sizes, at least he was an involved father.
Bess, as you will recall, is one of Gilbert's sisters. Here picture is posted at this link.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The boys wanted me to go to school and visit. Dale didn’t insist but Dick cried when I told him I couldn’t. This is education week and all mothers are supposed to visit. So I bundled Marjorie and Ned up and took Albert, too, and walked all the way over there and back carrying Marjorie. A big job but felt repaid when I saw the glad look on Dick’s face and heard the good reports from both teachers. Had so many compliments on my family.
(According to Marjorie, the school was 5 blocks from their house. That's quite a distance to walk carrying a six week old infant and guiding a 2 year old and 5 year old along with you. Since this was a Friday, I assume it was the last day of "education week" and so she had to go on this day, or risk disappointing Dick.
The boys always did well in school. In fact, early in elementary school, Dale was allowed to skip a grade.)
Sunday, November 19, 2006
An eventful day. The World Books came. There was no kindergarten so Albert had a big time looking at pictures. Also the buses started running and Ned had to watch for them although he was nearly sick. Gilbert opened an account at Goldstein’s and got Ned a new outfit and Marjorie, too. Ned looks beautiful in his, but Marjorie’s isn’t what she needs, I’m afraid.
(Encyclopedias! I'm sure they were well used by the boys.
As for the buses running and Gilbert buying clothes for the children, Marjorie wrote the following "I thought we always had buses running past our house! I don't remember Daddy (GIlbert) ever buying clothes for us girls. He apparently flunked in that respect.")
Saturday, November 18, 2006
We are all about sick with these colds or maybe I had better say the babies and I. The three older boys are a trifle better but it is bad anyway as the babies take so much care when they feel bad and I feel bum, too. Mama was over today and turned up the hem of a house dress for me that I started to make before Marjorie was born.
(More colds, they seemed to catch a lot of colds.
Another item I've never owned is a house dress. I assume this was "casual clothing" for wearing around the house, much like our jeans and t-shirts today or maybe like sweat pants and sweat shirts. Although today we'd leave the house in jeans and t-shirts without a second thought, generally in the 1920's, I don't think anyone would leave their house wearing a "house dress".
Did anyone notice that with the new version of Blogger, I figured out how to post some pictures on the sidebar? I thought it would be nice to see Grandma's picture as you read the diary, as a reminder that she was quite real, along with Gilbert and the boys.
With just a few sentences each day, she has given us much insight into what her life was like. Has anyone considered doing the same, writing just a few sentences a day, to leave for their grandchildren to read some day?)
Friday, November 17, 2006
Put in my spare time mending and got all done but the stockings and they are a hopeless mess. Most of them look like they would go to the rag bag.
(Mending? I don't know when was the last time I had to mend anything, yet it was almost a daily task for Grandma to mend something. Could be just part of having 4 boys running around playing outside? And does anyone have a "rag bag" anymore, or keep a box of buttons? I know Grandma probably kept everything and anything that might be useful at some time.)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Marjorie is six weeks old today so I feel as if I were about back to normal. She is as good a baby as they ever get I believe and although she and I both have colds, I think we are doing fine. I got out my machine today and began to unload my mending off of it.
(And life continues… more mending to do, more colds (seems like they had a lot of colds).
By the way, I’m going to find a picture of Grandma’s cousin, Edna, because I have more info to provide about her, but don’t want to do so until there is a picture of her to refer to.)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The last two Sundays were beautiful days and we expected callers but no one came and today was cold and cloudy and Papa came and Morgan’s with their children. I had been having a little soreness in my throat, but after I talked to them so much my throat was just raw.
(Per Marjorie, the Morgans were John & Aunt Grace, who were life-time friends. Their children were Janet (who was Dick's age) and "Johnny Bob" (who was Albert's age).
Finally, some callers! I'm sure it was a nice 'bonus' that the Morgans came and brought their children for the boys to play with it.)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Marjorie didn’t sleep well and fretted till noon when I gave her a dose of castoria which eased her and put her to sleep. Then I had so much to do and didn’t get all done.
(Grandma had noted before in her diary about using Fletcher’s castoria to cure whatever ailed her children.)
(Note on the blog. I have updated to the new version of Blogger and cleaned up the sidebar. If you post a comment, you will notice that it is more secure when you do so. Also, with this posting, I am trying out the feature to post at a future date/time automatically.)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Cleaned windows and swept the ceilings, etc. till noon then Marjorie fretted the rest of the day and I didn’t get half done what I wanted to. Her bowels are so sluggish.
(When baby’s fuss, nothing else gets done. It’s a universal, ageless truth, I guess.
Seems funny to think about someone sweeping their ceilings. Marjorie wrote me that she can remember the long-handled brush that Grandma used to get cobwebs off the ceiling. It was only used for that purpose.
And, I thought that Mrs. Little, who came to stay with them to help during the 1st few weeks after Marjorie was born, cleaned all the windows before she left? I believe my mom when she says that the soot from all the coal furnaces got on everything, including the windows. I don’t want to even say when I last washed windows at my house!)
Sunday, November 12, 2006
It was a big job but I got my ironing done in one day – and put away, too.
(Marjorie sent me a letter with comments for most of the November diary entries. For today, she noted that she thinks Grandma was still sending the laundry out to be washed at this time. The “wet wash” as Grandma called it, would deliver the laundry to her still damp. She still had to hang it all to dry and, of course, iron everything. But at least she didn’t have to wash the clothes.
Marjorie also confirmed in some other information that Grandma had a roller-type washer, so she did have to stand there and wash the clothes. It was time-consuming.
We’ve noted before that Grandma spent hours and hours washing and ironing their clothes. Marjorie also commented that Grandma was "very particular about her laundry".)
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Mama came over to day and kept Marjorie while Ned and I went shopping down Tenth St. for shoes and a corset.
(A corset sounds like a most uncomfortable garment!
By the way, the reason Grandma probably didn't mention this was "Armistice Day" or "Veterans Day" is probably because 1925 was in the early days of this becoming a legal holiday.
"The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples."
Armistice Day became a legal holiday in 1938, then I think became Veterans Day in the 1950's.)
Friday, November 10, 2006
I ironed yesterday a little and today finally got caught up. The first time the ironing basket has been empty since I took charge again. Mrs. McDowell came to see the baby. Marjorie is so bright and strong for her size. Can almost hold her head up now. Is so good since I’m giving her a bottle, too.
(All seems to be going well for Grandma and the baby Marjorie these days.
FYI, I am looking for a picture of Edna (Grandma’s cousin) to post with the other pictures so that when I provide more information on her, there will be a face to put with the story.)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Just as sure as I begin writing Ned comes along and starts to climb on my chair. He surely is a little darling these days. Tries to talk a little. Repeats words after the boys but doesn’t put them together yet. He gets himself understood so why should he? Mrs. Smith called this PM. She makes me feel proud of my flock.
(Mrs. Smith is no relation to Grandma. Aunt Marjorie sent me the following information about her:
“Mrs. Smith was Mother’s Sunday School teacher since she was a kid. Mrs. Smith never had her own children. I remember her buying hair ribbons for Eleanor & me. I remember sitting on the front steps playing jacks with her chauffeur (Luther). When Daddy died (1937), Mrs. Smith sent Luther and her car to take us to the funeral, to the cemetery and back home. I imagine Mac & Marguerite (also close friends) took part of the family.”
I am happy that both my mom (Eleanor) and Aunt Marjorie are adding comments and sharing more info about the people mentioned in the diaries and their own recollections of growing up. Without their additional comments, we would not know who people like “Mrs. Smith” were.
By the way, there are a few references earlier about Grandma’s cousin, Edna. She visited on October 11th to see the baby. Marjorie provided more interesting information about her, which I will share soon.)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Cold and Fair
A beautiful sunshiny day but so much colder. Last evening it was so warm that we didn’t have many covers on the beds and it turned cold in the night with a strong west wind and the boys slept cold and didn’t tell us till morning. They got damp yesterday and I’m afraid they are in for bad colds. One would expect visitors on a day like this but no one came.
(Marjorie commented that it was unfortunate that her father (Gilbert) did not drive due to his shorter right leg. Otherwise, they could have been the ones to go and visit others, versus waiting at home for friends to visit them. It would have been too expensive to modify a car so he could drive it. so they never owned one. Per Marjorie, when Gilbert walked, he led with his left leg, and drug his right leg up behind him. He wore a special shoe with a built up sole on his right foot to make up for the shorter leg.
They used a coke furnace to heat the house, so it could be they let the fire burn out when it was warmer and then had no heat when it got colder. I’m not sure why those sleeping downstairs wouldn’t have felt the cold the same as the boys sleeping upstairs.)
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Gave Marjorie a bottle every nursing time after she finished nursing and she slept better and was just fine. I don’t want to give up nursing her but it seems my milk is not sufficient any more. She hasn’t gained a great deal so I have to feed her I guess. This was a rainy day and the boys didn’t know what to do with themselves.
(I have found in reading the diaries that the boys generally played outside year ‘round, regardless of the cold, but rain did keep them inside. )
Monday, November 06, 2006
Marjorie was still fussy and I decided she must be hungry, so gave her the bottle oftener. Mama came over to go to the milliners to get a hat and I went too and struck a bargain. Got a $10 hat for $5. She had so many pretty ones it was hard to decide. Gilbert worked late and it was a good thing, Marjorie was so fussy.
(I used an online calculator to determine what that $5 would be today. It told me that what cost $5 in 1925 would cost $54 dollars today. I just can’t imagine that Grandma spent that much money on a hat and considered it a bargain.
Before she got married, Grandma worked as a milliner in a hat shop, so maybe she just had a greater appreciation for hats?
Someone posted a comment the other day asking if Grandma had a husband (a comment I couldn't post due to Blogger database issues.) Gilbert is Grandma’s husband. The reason I don’t call him Grandpa when I write about him is because he died in 1937, so I never knew him, obviously. It didn’t feel right to call Grandma by her name, Ruth, as I wrote my thoughts, so I choose to refer to them as Grandma and Gilbert. I hope that hasn’t been too confusing.)
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Tried my best to iron but Marjorie was fretful all day, and I didn’t get any more ironed than we will actually need before Sunday.
(Remember that ironing was something Grandma had to do nearly everyday for nearly everything they wore. No 'wash and wear' back then.)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Didn’t get a lot done today, my back still bothered me. Marjorie is pretty good these days. Sleeps most of the time – in my bed at night. Ned is a little man now days. He takes his nap upstairs alone in his bed and at night lets me turn out the light and go down stairs. He is getting so fat and rosy again, such a beautiful baby.
(Ned is 2 at this time.)
Friday, November 03, 2006
Election day. Had a worse back ache than at any time yet. Lifted Ned last evening and something seemed to give away. So had to take it easy. Mrs. Burns and another lady came in a machine and took me to the polls. It was a lovely Indian summer day. Mrs. Collins came in for a little while.
(So, Grandma’s first day out after having the baby appears to be to go to the polls to vote. I had noted on May 5th that women were given the right to vote in 1920, just 5 years earlier than she wrote this, so I would guess Grandma wasn’t going to miss voting for anything.
Today, people take the right to vote so casually, yet here just two generations back from me, Grandma would remember a time when women couldn’t vote!
I assume Mrs. Collins watched the baby?)
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I ironed quite a bit after I got my house cleaned up. Mrs. Little came after some quinces for a friend. She wanted to see the baby, too. She said this seemed like home to her. She liked it here. Poor woman! Life has not been very joyful for her. I hope my boys do not grow up to be such disappointments.
(We will never know Mrs. Little’s story and what it was about her boys that was such a disappointment. Were they in jail, mooching off of her, hobo’s or what? We don't even know her first name. Well, at least Grandma finally had someone visit!
I remember Grandma having a small quince tree in her back yard when I was little. I wonder if it was the same one.)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
A lovely day. I was in hopes someone would come to see us but not a soul came. Where are all our friends? Have we got any left? How easy we are forgotten when we stay home a while. I am so happy over my little girl. I want to show her to everyone, but no one comes to see her and I haven’t clothes to get out yet.
(Grandma’s lament, no visitors. I’m sure she was feeling quite isolated after so long at home. No TV, obviously, and no radio for diversion. It must have been quiet, except for when the four boys were running around and the baby was crying.
Marjorie wrote me a note with a comment for today, saying she’d bet that Grandma had not lost her extra weight yet. She probably didn’t have anything she would consider decent enough to wear to go out anywhere, especially on Sunday. People dressed up more “back then”, I suppose, and though we would run out in jeans and an old sweatshirt and think nothing of it, I don’t think they thought that way in the 1920’s.
I know my Mom (Eleanor) always dressed up if she was going to downtown Indianapolis until maybe the late 60's. She told us that the 1st time she wore slacks downtime, she hurried around, hoping she didn't run into anyone she knew.)
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Baby has kept me up every night this week so I can hardly drag. She is a little darling but she likes the bright lights too well. The boys had a big time this evening. Dale went down town and met Gilbert and went to the show. I have been having pains in my bowels last night and today – so severe! I have no appetite and afraid to eat, but how can I nurse my baby?
(Grandma seems to be wearing down with the baby’s mixed up nights and days and to be sick on top of it all, it must have been a trying few days. Her choice of words, "can hardly drag", says so much in so few words.
See comment from Eleanor yesterday on how they went 'trick or treating'. It was more like 'trick or visiting'. She said they were invited in to have some cake or cookies or other treats wherever they went, so they didn't go to very many places in an evening.
My Dad talked a little about Halloween in the country when he was growing up. Something about about tipping over outhouses. I assume he personally didn't engage in such mischief!
I woonder if they had "tricking" like that go on in the city, too?)
Monday, October 30, 2006
Albert dressed up in the yellow clown suit I made for Dale’s kindergarten party 5 years ago and wore it to a party at kindergarten. He has been talking about it all week. Dale went to a party at the church from 6 to 8. He dressed in his black suit with long pants and Eton vest and Negro false face. Looked cut and had a good time. Dick went to the show.
(More snow and it wasn’t even Halloween yet. I don’t know if anyone has noticed that Grandma always included a word or two about the weather each day in her diary.
It appears they did dress up for Halloween, at least to go to parties. Dale might have been influenced in his costume by Al Jolson. Albert sounds like he was a typical five year old, all excited about dressing up for Halloween. I wonder if the older boys also went trick or treating back then?)
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Harry and Winifred called this AM before Ned had his breakfast eaten. He sleeps late these mornings. Had quite a visit with Harry who leaves this PM for Florida via Memphis. He goes from there by auto with some friends. It will be a lovely trip. He seems to like Florida and almost gave me the fever. Lots of people are going there and some are making money.
(Is Grandma writing about the beginnings of the great flight of people from the cold midwest to warm Florida?
Grandma wrote in her family history that during World War II, Harry was living in Denver and Winifred (his daughter) came to live with him. In Grandma’s own words…
“They rented an apartment and were keeping house when Winifred received the news that William (her husband) had been killed in action in north Africa. The shock caused her to mis-carry twin boys at seven months on April 3, 1943. They were all right apparently after two months in incubators and were able to leave the hospital. She named them Bruce Jordan and Brian William. They proved to be indeed a blessing for both Harry and Winifred, for, before their birth neither had a happy life, but now they had a reason to make a home. Neither liked the cold weather of Denver, so they went to Miami, Florida and lived (there) until Harry retired from the printing business. He had always felt as though he would like to live in the country so he bought a small pecan farm east of Monticello in northern Florida. The crop the first year was very good, but it turned out to be the only good crop that they had, so after a few years, they sold the farm and moved to Tallahassee where the boys would be close to good schools. “
FYI, Harry divorced Mabel, Winifred’s mother, in 1926.)
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thought maybe Mama and Harry would come over today but they didn’t. They went to Brownsburg instead of going yesterday as per schedule, but Guys’ were at Kempton to Dorothy Smith’s funeral. She was killed in an auto accident Saturday night at Purdue. Such a lovely girl, I feel so sorry for Betty.
(I am fairly confident that Dorothy Smith was no relation to Grandma. Neither Eleanor or Marjorie know who she was.
Grandma hadn’t really gotten out much in the last several months before the baby, Marjorie, was born. From what I can tell from her diaries, she had only so far been to her mother’s since the birth, and that’s about it. I am sure she was quite stir crazy and welcomed any company at this point.)
Friday, October 27, 2006
Cold and cloudy
Regular December weather. Baby kept me up till 3 o’clock last night and I feel like the last rose of summer today. Took a little nap this afternoon but the children running in and out kept me from getting much rest. Of course, the baby slept all day.
(I love the description Grandma made for how she felt… “the last rose of summer”.
Sounds like a typical day for a busy mother, trying to get some rest while her baby sleeps through oblivious to the havoc she causes when she stays up all night!)
Thursday, October 26, 2006
We got up and found the ground covered with snow and it snowed really hard for a couple of hours and then cleared off. The sun shone and by noon the snow was gone except in shady spots. Harry enjoys (?) this weather so much. Baby kept me up till midnight last night.
(Snow! The earliest I remember snow covering the ground was October 18th, but like this snow, it soon melted. Indeed, I don’t think her brother Harry enjoyed this weather at all. More on that in a few days…
Of general interest regarding the diaries, Marjorie (the baby mentioned above) has recently sent me several notes via the US mail after reading through some of my comments, and I’ll be adding her insights to future posts. She doesn’t have access to a computer, so her daughter has been printing postings a few at a time for her to read. Marjorie also noted that I’ve mixed up some of the history, especially in regards to Grandma’s brothers and who was married to whom, so I’ll be going back and correcting those entries over time, just so the record is accurate. In one of her comments she mailed to me, Marjorie wrote:
“I always figured if Grandma didn’t want people to read her diaries, she should have gotten rid of them. When Ned was about 15 and I was 13, Dale forgot to hide his diary when he had a girlfriend (Ginny) in Pennsylvania. Ned and I were laughing hysterically about Dale and Ginny “melting in each others arms” when Mother caught us, grabbed it away, and gave us a tongue-lashing. I was never aware Mother kept a diary until she died and we found them when we cleaned out her house.”
I’m looking forward to more insights and comments from both Marjorie and Eleanor!)
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Cloudy and cold
Papa phoned all of us to come as Harry was there so Guy drove over after me and the babies. Bur’s came down and the “gang was all there”. Writing with baby nursing and Ned climbing over the arms of my chair makes writing difficult. Baby slept all the time we were at the folk’s when there were so many there to nurse her for me.
(Harry, Guy, and Bur were Grandma’s three older brothers. The "babies" are Ned & Marjorie. I am assuming that the others (Gilbert, Dale, Dick & Albert) took the bus.
Sounds like they had a nice, impromptu family gathering, an opportunity for everyone to meet the newest family member, Marjorie. And Marjorie slept through it all!)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Baby’s naval has been running a little and seemed to be sore but is much better today. She slept pretty good and I had a big day’s work if she isn’t three weeks old. I did as much as usual cleaning, etc. and baby’s washing and ironing besides.
(Sounds like Grandma was doing well, going full-steam ahead, just three weeks after having the baby, keeping up with her housework and everything else. Her general outlook, reflected in just a few sentences each day in her diary, also seemed much brighter during this timeperiod.)
Monday, October 23, 2006
Fair and cold
Winifred was going to come and finish my ironing but got sidetracked out at Katherine’s. Baby fretted all morning and I sure did need her to hold her but she didn’t come till 2. Mama and Mrs. Hoffman came then, brought baby a Tom Tinker doll. I just had gotten the boys cleaned up and the house straightened and Gilbert was late and had a time getting supper. Harry came.
(Winifred is Grandma’s niece, and I think most of the time she lived with her grandparents, Grandma’s parents. Harry is Winifred's father, Ruth's brother. Does anyone know what a Tom Tinker doll looked like? My Google search did not come up with much.)
(I finally found some info on Tom Tinker dolls. Here’s a website with a picture.)
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Fair and cold
The boys were out of school on account of teachers’ convention and they surely did track mud in. I ironed all morning and got most of this week’s rough dry wash done – all I had to have. Then I brushed up the house, got lunch, put Ned to sleep and then Anna and Betty Jane came and brought baby a hood miles too big for her.
(Interesting to note that even "back then" they had the occasional extra day off from school when the teachers had a convention to attend.
What is "rough dry wash"?)
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Baby fretted all day and slept but very little. Had an awful time to get anything done. One good thing is that she sleeps fine at night generally and I just feel grand. Never an ache or a pain. Don’t expect to get much done for a while but try to keep things up and feed the baby.
(It sounds like Grandma had the right attitude, and didn't worry about other things not getting done, while she took care of the baby. But she did work hard before the baby was born to get the house all deep cleaned and had Gilbert paint a couple of rooms, so perhaps she just had the "usual" chores to be concerned about... cooking, washing clothes, ironing clothes, ets. It is good she was feeling so grand.)
Friday, October 20, 2006
Baby didn’t sleep so much today but she didn’t do bad. Mama came over for a little while. It was our wedding anniversary. Ten years – five babies. Doing well enough!
(Grandma wrote the following about her wedding when she wrote a family history:
“Gilbert was twenty-six and I was approaching my twenty-third birthday, and we both felt that we were old enough to take the final step toward matrimony. Except among the very rich who had church weddings, it was the custom to have weddings at home with invited friends and relatives present. All but one of my friends had home weddings, so we were married in front of the flower decked mantle at the end of the long living room of my father’s home at 3916 College Avenue, in the evening of October 20, 1915. Dr. Philputt performed the ceremony and my little nieces, Mildred and Onarga were flower girls, and carried baskets ahead of us as we went down the stairs and across the room to the tune of the wedding march played on my little piano by my good friend from Kempton, Jessie Cunningham. After the refreshments, I changed from the oyster-white crepe dress trimmed with pearls, to my “going way” suit of rich-looking taupe gray, wide wale kind of corduroy that I had hired a dressmaker to make for me. In fact, at my mother’s insistence I had hired both of the outfits to be made, so spent money that I had not intended to, which we could have used later, but we said “after all, one is married only once in a lifetime!” Our friends Anna and Ray Mock helped us slip away from the crowd and took us in their car to our new home at 3466 Salem St. We had bought the necessary furnishings on payments, and had the house ready to occupy, so hopefully and happily we started housekeeping although we found that we were in financial difficulties almost from the first.”)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
On my own today. Marjorie and Ned both slept till almost 10 o’clock and I had all my work done by that time. Baby was good till supper time and then she fretted and I had trouble getting supper as I am afraid to let her cry. She slept all night last night, only waking once to nurse. A little flurry of snow fell this PM.
(So far, so good for Grandma, now with a two year old and infant to care for, along with three older sons (ages 5, 8, and 9) and her husband, Gilbert.
Did you catch that about snow flurries? Seems a bit early for that kind of weather!)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Gilbert and the boys went to Sunday school and I bathed the baby for the first time. She is so good to bathe. Seems to enjoy it. Mrs. Little left after dinner. Gilbert took the boys to the park and while there Mac and Margaret came. Then Mac went and got the boys and just got in when Burs drove up with Mama and Winifred. Bee and her baby and we had a full house of all of us. Baby kept me up most of the night.
(Mac and Margaret are close friends, Mac was the nickname for Everett McMillan. He knew Gilbert from when they were growing up, and also worked at Citizens Gas co. “Burs” refers to Grandma’s brother, Bur and his family, and Winifred is Grandma’s brother Harry’s daughter, who seemed to always be living with her grandmother (Mama, Grandma’s mother). I don’t know who “Bee and her baby” were.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Mrs. Complin came over in the morning to see the baby and brought a pair of stockings. Mildred came in the afternoon and brought a pretty little handmade dress. Mrs. Little washed windows, took the screens out, and cleaned everything up for me so as I wouldn’t have to do it soon after she leaves me. Fancy Mrs. Deamer taking that much interest!
(I am wondering if Mrs. Deamer was someone Grandma had hired in the past to come stay with them when she previously had babies? Maybe she didn’t have her come back because she wouldn’t do things like wash all the windows? That was sure nice of Mrs. Little! I'd love it if someone washed all my windows for me.
Who is Mildred? Who is Mrs. Complin?
FYI… I have been posting the diary entries early in the morning for awhile. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will not be able to do so, but promise I’ll get it done by midnight or the day after.)
Monday, October 16, 2006
It seems so good to be up again. Mama came over for a little while. Marjorie’s naval is not healing right and bleeds and stands out a little. Papa came out to see it and said he didn’t think it would be serious but gave me a tab to bind against it to hold it back. I’m afraid to let her cry and I didn’t want to spoil her but how can I help it?
(Remember that Grandma’s papa was a physician, and he seemed to be the one to treat the family’s various ailments and illnesses, even though his was a “women’s doctor”.
My mom always said you can’t spoil babies by holding them!)
Sunday, October 15, 2006
My first day up. Ate breakfast in bed and got up while the boys were all gone and Ned asleep and such a surprised look on their faces when they saw me up! They all seemed so glad. Bless their hearts. I felt fine and didn’t even have pins in my feet when I got up.
(I guess new mothers did stay in bed for 10 days “back then”, as this was the 10th day since Marjorie was born. And just like that, Grandma is up and moving again.
I am sure the boys were wondering when life would get back to normal.)
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Nothing happened to break the monotony of the day in bed. The baby sleeps for hours in the daytime but at night she wants to look at the light and grunt and root around. She isn’t bad – never had the colic but being awake that way keeps us from sound sleep. I can doze in the daytime now, but Mrs. Little has her work to do then and can’t nap.
(Grandma should have gotten up to break the monotony of lying in bed! Grandma was fortunate to have Mrs. Little around so she could stay in bed like that.
Typical baby, Marjorie had her days and nights mixed up, it seems.)
Friday, October 13, 2006
Cloudy and Warmer
Mama came out and was here about three hours and a half but didn’t see Marjorie at all only as she lay asleep. Then she took the boys down to get Albert some new shoes and they brought him home. Poor little Ned is so forlorn since I am in bed especially when the other boys are gone. He has gotten so he doesn’t want Mrs. Little to do anything for him, and when she does, he cries like his heart would break.
(I can't believe how long Grandma spent in bed after having the baby! Without Mrs. Little, she would not have been able to do this.)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Rainy and dark.
Baby had a fretful night of it and this AM we found two big white sores on the roof of her mouth. Poor little thing! This was the darkest, gloomiest day. I couldn’t see to read or do a crossword puzzle even and I lay most of the time with my eyes shut, so Mrs. Little wouldn’t talk me to death. All her family troubles and aches and pains are so tiresome.
(For some reason, I am amused to think of Grandma lying in bed with her eyes shut so that Mrs. Little would think she was asleep and not talk to her.)
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Rainy and cold
Gilbert, Dale, and Dick went to Sunday school but didn’t see any of our particular friends. After dinner, Edna came and brought Marjorie a dress and petticoat. Then Guy drove in with the boys and Ella. Brought Marjorie a blanket, comb and brush and some old comforts, etc. Papa and Mama came too and Guy took them all out to Mama’s for supper.
(They attended Central Christian Church, which was near downtown Indianapolis and a fairly large church, so it would not be surprising that they didn’t run into any of their “particular friends”. Sounds like a typical Sunday with some visiting and all. Mrs. Little was still there, as far as I know, so I assume she was doing all the laundry, cleaning and cooking for everyone while Grandma continued to rest.)
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Fair and cold
Marjorie kept us awake till 2 last night, the first time she has been bad. She cried at breakfast time (for her Daddy’s benefit) but slept most of the day till supper time. I thought some one might come to see me this PM but no one came. It is so tiresome in bed. Ned is my only amuser but he doesn’t talk much.
(Grandma seems a bit bored staying so long in bed. The baby was 5 days old).
Monday, October 09, 2006
Cold and cloudy
A long day. Mama came but nothing else happened. Gilbert took supper at the Severin with the community chest workers and heard several good speeches and enjoyed it.
(Please go back and read comments for October 5th. Marjorie left us a comment on that post last night with more info on her birthday.
Grandma seemed to be a bit bored with resting in bed all day!)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Fair and cold
Lying in bed is getting tiresome since I feel all right again. The after pains have about left now. Ella and Don came for a little while towards evening. The Sunday school class sent flowers this AM and Mrs. Hunter called up, all of which helped to keep the day from being too monotonous.
(It almost sounds like Grandma was getting a bit ansy with all her rest? I recall the earlier diary entries where she was tired and that's all she wanted to do was rest. I hope she used some of the time for reading, which is what she wrote she wanted to do before.)
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Fair and cooler
Mama came over and reported numerous comments of folks she had called on the telephone. Winifred came out after school and sat and held Marjorie till Mama had to make her go home. She is wild about the baby and never got to hold one before. Ned is crazy about her and every time he comes in the room, wants to “hee it”. Her kidneys didn’t act till this PM.
(Winifred would grow up to have her own babies, twin boys, in fact.
I think some people might be surprised, but they did have telephones. Alexander Graham Bell invited the telephone in 1876, so it was not a new technology in 1925.)
Friday, October 06, 2006
A long day. Mrs. Little got done with her work in good time. The baby slept all day, and nothing much happened, but the boys want to hover over the baby all the time and watch her. We decided on a name this evening – or rather the boys named her Marjorie and Papa named her Ruth, so that’s her name.
(I can just imagine the scene in the small bedroom that Grandma was probably in, just off the front room of the house. Four boys, ages around 9, 8, 5 and 2 all hanging over a little bassinet with their one day old baby sister "Marjorie Ruth" lying there, and all trying to see her at once.)