Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sunday, January 17, 1926

Sunday, January 17, 1926

Papa and Mama were here for dinner. Of course Papa had to hurry away after dinner. He never stays much longer than he has to. Mama stayed till after the dishes were done. Gilbert and the boys went to Sunday school but didn’t take their usual walk afterward on account of the rain. A good day to stay home and read. I am getting so I enjoy the Sundays at home so much more than trying to go any place. The children are better and I get lots more rest. We have so many good books that I haven’t read yet although I read every day while the baby nurses, it will take me a long time to catch up.

(Aunt Marjorie wrote, "Daddy used to take Ned and me to walk in the park on Sunday afternoons. And Mother spent many Sunday afternoons lying on her bed reading and then napping. She wasn't too happy if we wanted to talk to her during her rare moments of rest."

I think several of us inherited the desire to read, and I remember many long Sunday afternoons lying around reading a book. It seems that Sunday afternoons were twice as long when I was younger! Growing up, we often went on Sunday afternoons to visit Grandma. Sometimes, we brought along a small Hibachi grill and my Dad would grill a steak and Grandma would provide potatoes and salad. Other times, we stayed for dinner, which was usually spaghetti. And I remember that at times when we arrived at her house, Grandma would just be getting up from a nap!

Would any family members like to add to this recollection? Is your memory of visiting Grandma the same? Or do you remember something different?

I would like to get an idea if any relatives (or others) are reading this blog. If you don't know what to put in a comment, just comment and let me know you are reading this, relative or not. And if you don't want your comment to be published, just indicate that in the comment, and I won't publish it. (Comments are moderated so they aren't published until I've reviewed them, so I can 'reject' a comment if you want to remain known only to me.) My guess is there are about 30 people a day who read these diaries... who are you and what brings you back to read more?)

And just in case, Happy Birthday to my nephew Ty, 21 today, a great-grandson of Ruth Campbell Smith.

Now commence to commenting!


  1. Hi Carol: I'm still reading faithfully everyday. I love the posts. What keeps me coming back? Makes me think that maybe this is what life might have been like for my great-grandparents. But mostly, I am just interested in Ruth's family's life. It's like reading a novel.

  2. I love to read about Ruth and her family. Why? I'm not sure. I have always been interested in history in general and my own family history in particular. When I read your grandmother's thoughts, I get an idea of what my grandparents might have thought. I find it interesting to see how things have changed in the last 80 years.
    I also tell anyone who will listen about this blog. I love it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Carol, I visit usually every day or two. I'm certainly not a relative but I AM nosy! I find these slices of life fascinating and I'll be sad when the diaries have all been posted. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    I keep thinking how much fun this is for your family to get some insight into their history. And to know how lucky we all are not to have to work as hard as Ruth did just to keep house and home together. I often think how flabbergasted my mother (who died 46 years ago)would be over the conveniences we take for granted.

  4. sister with the homestead3:27 AM, January 17, 2007

    Hi Carol,

    To answer your question on memories of Grandma's house. I do remember going over there on Sunday afternoons. I remember her bathroom. It had the tub with the feet on it. I think she aways had Ivory Soap in the soap dish (to this day when I smell Ivory soap I think of her bathroom). I remember playing upstairs in the little attic rooms off of the bedrooms. I remember her backyard with all of the plants, the Lily of the Valley on the side of the house. I vaguely remember the pantry, and the porch on the back (where there alot of plants on the porch?). I remember that we fought over the little glasses in the China cabinet (the one with the stars was the most sought after I believe). I was quite traumatized to discover as an adult that these glasses were just recycled jelly jars or something like that -- I had in my mind that these were valuable glasses - lol! I remember fighting with my cousin Maureen over who got to sit in the high chair (she always won because she was 4 or 5 months younger). That house had a lot of charm and character looking back. My last memory of Grandma was of her playing scrabble. She was serious about her scrabble playing!

    Just because you asked, I'll go down memory lane to briefly describe my impression/memory of the uncles; Dale - intimidating, Dick - smart and jovial, playing chess; Albert - sweet (I think I only met him once or twice because he lived in California and I don't think, being a priest, he had much free time to come back often). Ned: laughing, jovial. Seemed to be the one who interacted with the neices and nephews the most; Marjorie - very intelligent, pretty.

    And yes, I pretty much hit the website every day or two, depending on how much time I have. Even though I have a "hard copy" of the diary, I've never read it because the handwriting is hard to decipher --thanks Carol for taking the time to do this blog. Besides giving us all a peak into Grandma's life, thus letting us get to know her better, it makes me appreciate all the modern conveniences!

  5. I found this a week ago, now I'm hooked! My grandmother in Sunderland UK would have been housekeeping and bringing up her children about the same time as this. Unfortunately, i Sunderland at that time life was very hard....of her 7 babies....all boys....only two grew past 3 years old. They died of meningitis or pneumonia.
    When my father was 8 they moved south to Hertfordshire and had a much better life.
    My grandmother was a very intelligent woman, a great reader, writer of letters to newpapers, knitter, rugmaker and cook. She would never use tinned food...always fresh vegetables. I know the babies she lost were not ill cared for as she was so good at looking afterus when we were small. She died in 1966 when I was only 17, but had been ill with her nerves since Grandad died in 1957 so I didn't really know her as well as I'd have liked.
    My sister and I loved to stay with her when we were small. She had had only boys so was delighted with two granddaughters born so close together.
    How many more years of the diaries do you have?

  6. I found this over the summer and I keep coming back mainly because I am just fascinated by how much has truly changed! I always loved novels, especially when they are at some point in history and have some truth to them. This is pure truth with history! Just like another commenter (lostroses) said, I'll be sad when they're all posted.

  7. Hi Carol,
    As a genealogist I wish I had a diary like this. I enjoy the glimpse into life during this time.

  8. Hi Carol.
    I've written to you before about the location of your grandmother's house when I first found your great blog.

    I am particularly interested in these memoirs because I live in Indianapolis and am fascinated to read this account of life in your grandmother's day.

    You do a great job in this blog and keep up the great work!


  9. Carol,
    I read the blog every single morning. I enjoy reading it because it puts a different spin on my memories of everyone in the family. It is fun to read about them as children and then know what they grew up to be. It makes the circle of life thing come alive. I am going to encourage my daughters to do something like that if and when they have children.
    The things about Grandma's house that I remember are the ivory soap smell, the towel in that bathroom that had no end, the small basket of toys, the books I liked to borrow, the little rocking chair that sat in the dining room, the african violets, the "queen chair" in the living room, the back yard with all it's plants, the old fashion kitchen with the gas stove and Grandma making things. Several of the plants in my garden are there because Grandma had them ( lilly of the valley, lilacs, snowball bushes) I remember a lot of things that would take to long to tell.
    Kathy, the older sister

  10. Hi Carol,
    I'm just a stranger who wandered by and I've been reading for a few months now - you emailed me on my blog once when I linked to you. I just find it fascinating to read about your grandmother's day to day life, and learn about what's different and what's the same as I go through my days now. You know, sometimes I forget how long ago this was written, and find myself wanting to drop by and watch the kids for awhile so Ruth can get a break! Thanks again for sharing, and I hope you keep it up as long as possible.

  11. I, too, am an avid reader. I started reading at a young age, not that I was good but because everying one else in the family read. I don't read to learn but I read because I enjoy the stories. Today my favorites are "The Cat Who-----series by Lilian Jackson Braun. I love cats and mysteries which is what this series is all about. I call them clean family murder mysteries (not too much blood & guts and no sex) I also like Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Ann Clark, & dozens others. I remember my Grandmother as a white haired, petite person who at one time (during World War 2) had a boarding house room down the street, and would walk up the block to have dinner with us. She loved getting on the bus in front of the house, going downtown to buy 10 cents worth of nuts, getting on the bus and coming back home. I guess she didn't buy much each time for then she wouldn't need to go back down town the next day. For a short time she lived with us & then went to Ohio to live with her son, Uncle Guy. That is where she was living when she passed away. I was about 17 when that happened. Her name was Nancy Elizabeth, but I think she was called Lizzy.

  12. Carol, Ruth's diary had me hooked from the first glance, too, partly because my grandmothers were mothers of young children at same time, but in the Chicago area. I pop in every couple of days, too.

    Sis with the Homestead and kathy - your answers made me laugh, but with tears in my eyes... for my sister and me the soap that brings the memories is not Ivory, but Cashmere Bouquet. And as the oldest grandchild, I can remember the old kitchen in the basement - a more modern version on the main floor was all the younger cousins knew.

    Carol, although nostalgia and interest in genealogy and history may have brought many of the diary readers here at first, some of us have just kind of fallen for Ruth herself. What an arduous life she leads, but she keeps going forward and she keeps writing!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  13. Laura, Ruth's great-granddaughter4:26 PM, January 18, 2007

    I read this every morning before I go to my classes. I love reading about my greatgrandparents and get-uncles and aunt. I would love to have something like this to read that included my grandmother (Eleanor)and my mom (Kathy). I also really enjoy reading the comments made by my relatives that are still living, especially when they have their own stories or memories to add to the entry.

  14. Okay, I feel compelled to comment as well. I think many months ago I referred to my self as the 3rd sister so I'll keep with that.

    I remember the soap smell at grandma's house but I thought it was Dove soap. I also remember the bathroom with the tub with feet, the towel with no end and all the space it had (at least it seemd that way when I was young). I also remember the braided rugs that she had in all the main rooms and the picture by the stairs with the girl in the grassy field. I loved all the cubby holes upstairs and the chinese checker had little drawers to keep the marbles. I also remember the oragne table in the kitchen and the old fashion flour bin and gas stove (we also had an electric stove).

    I try to read at least a couple times a week or more often if I have a chance (I always catch up on what I didn't read.) Thanks for being faithful in posting a entry every day.

  15. I don't even know if you are still checking on this blog any more. I found it when seeking out the life of women in the 1920s. I have a box of minute books from the 1920s to1970 of a Sunday School class made up of elderly women. They were very hard working, thrifty, and faithful to the church. I wanted to know what their lives looked like during this time. Your blog is the closest I have come to finding something. I am trying to read the entries on the same date, only 80+ years later.

  16. And here it is, more than a year after dkzody's comment, and I'm reading through Ruth's diary entries. I read a few each day. I enjoy the entries, your comments, and those of relatives and others. I notice that Annie of Austin researches old census records. I'm not so far from Austin (Texas) myself, living in a small town not far outside the city limits.