Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thursday, December 31, 1925

Thursday, December 31, 1925

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.


  1. There could have been problems with the furnace. It was a big old clunker. Also the windows didn't fit all that well and upstairs in the bedrooms we would awaken to frost in the room on a cold day. Our mattresses were thin and on very cold nights we would layers of news papers between the blankets to help keep us warm. So with loose windows and faulty furnaces it's amazing she did as well as she did.

  2. Carol, I'm looking forward to reading 1926! I've been mesmerized by this diary since I discovered this blog a few months ago.

    You've inspired me to consider doing the same with my mother's diaries, though she was not as faithful a reporter as your grandmother. Her entries were sporadic but I'm thinking about it anyway. But that means I'm going to have to search the storage room for the diaries which may be a big stumbling block!

    Thanks for all your work on this fascinating site!

  3. Happy New Year, Carol! Ruth's diary has become addictive for a lot of people, including me.

    Did you happen to see the 1900 House series on PBS a few years ago? A modern family tried to live in a house set up to simulate life in 1900 England. The mother nearly went crazy with the coal dust. So maybe the farm experience is less relevant than the English one, even though the farm was geographically closer. In a coal-heated urban environment wouldn't the air be worse because all the houses would be using coal?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose