My grandmother, Jenny, was married in January 1914. She had her first son, Winifred, the end of September. He died at the age of 18 months. Her second son, Richard, was born 2 months after that (my father). Her third son, Lovell, was born 2 years later.
She raised chickens, sold eggs and vegetables to help make a living. Her husband, Fred, owned a grocery store. Her first diary covered the years 1916-1919.
This diary very loosely covers 1925 to 1930 with one entry in 1939. It was a book that her father-in-law had written a few words in and she adopted it as her own. In 1927 Jenny would be 34 years old in April. Her sons would be 11 and 9 mid year.
March 27, 1925
Hello, here is where I start a Diary or a Memorandum Book. Don’t know just what all I will put into it. Went to Lodge last night. R. NA gave a dinner to the MWA. Sure was tired, but enjoyed it very much. Mama is coming over this afternoon, we just got the things from Fred’s old home place a few weeks ago and this book was in those things. Reading a story by Vida Hurst called Sonia. Real good.
And this is October 2, 1926
I did not get very far with my work in the last year. As I soon forgot my little book and did not write much but here I start again. This is Sat. evening and it has rained awful, it has rained for almost a month in September and is starting again. The creeks are out of (their) banks and all sorts of damage has been done to property alone (in) the country also. In Florida, Mrs. Beck’s father died last night. Lottie’s baby was born September 17. Nellie has been anxiously awaiting the stork. Ted’s 31in Dec.
And this is January 22, 1927
I don’t seem to write, only when shut in by storms. We have 14.4 inches in about a week. Bird & Howard are in Texas and on a trip. Ted’s baby was born Dec. 31. Nellie’s baby was born October 26. Grace. . .
Everyone is laid off from work and not much money in circulation. I had the boys vaccinated on January 6, 1927, had to before they could go back to school. I bought Billy bird before Christmas and Nellie first of Jan. She is setting on eggs, my first experience with young birds. The male destroyed all the eggs, thus ended my first experience with young birds.
Thursday, January 27
Still a lot of that snow on ground and cold at night. I am having Mrs. Moreland fix over a dress, my brown one also. Today is RNA day and have been asked to fill Anials chair. I have been sick almost all week. But feel some better. Sure have had a full week this week and a dirty house.
Sure is nice outside, but the wind is so cold. This is Lincoln banquet for the Soldiers. DOV are giving banquet at church. Had Valentine Party last night, RNA. Bird & Howard are on way from Houston Texas to New Orleans. Mama’s talking of going to Grandpas tomorrow. Birds are laying eggs. I took male out of cage to keep him from eating eggs.
Sunday, February 13
Have 4 eggs in nest, should hatch 27th. It has rained almost all day. It was grand out yesterday, Lincoln’s birthday.
Monday, February 21
One fine day, just a little chillie for a spring day. I am having an appointment for a hot oil this a.m. Will help entertain the Seitions meeting tomorrow at Mrs. Polands. Wednesday is club day and I don’t know when to drop out or not, well I’ll be thinking about it.
A page is torn out.
Sunday, April 1, 1927
Well March I forgot you and did not write anything about you. Mrs. Beck called up at 6 oclock to fool me. Well, this is Pay Day so they say but you could harly notice it. Went to Decatur with the club last Wednesday. Boys have gone to show, their serial. Fred is working later.
April 18 day after Easter
It rained all day. I have 4 baby birds just 2 weeks old. We did not have any Easter duds to wear, had old ones that looked alright. But did go to Bloomington to a fall game in afternoon, much as I do think it is awful to go on Easter. Well I haven’t my house cleaning done. Haven’t had any good weather. The trees are about to bloom. Must get house work done.
Tuesday, April 19
We had a tornado that did a lot of damage to property in East and north of town, tore down fair grounds building. It turned cool and sleeted and snowed some today.
Friday, April 22
It turned cold after the storm and today it snowed for about 20 minutes just peppered down but it melted as it came down, had to bring in all my flowers last night freezing.
Saw Bird & Howard here (for) my birthday. Bird gave me a night gown, Fred gave me a raincoat, got a card from Ethel. More cold.
She read Hildegarde, a story that she said was not good.
No one has a wonderful marriage all of the time. In May she writes that, “I am experiencing some dark moments,” because of her husband. She goes on to say, “I don’t dare to say a word, just nurse my awful humiliation and grin and bear it. What have I done to take it all. Sometimes I think the way is rough. But I must be on the right road or it would be easy. I feel I must write it, I cannot talk to anyone of it.”
Boys have been fighting all week. Vacation time. Almost on the outs with neighbors over them. Have also tried their hand at smoking. Well I have had my hands full all week.
My, I lost this book.
“I just noticed that May 28 and Dec. 2 were in here. I sure have been through the worst part of my life in those days. It would never have done to write all then. This is vacation week after Christmas.”
Wednesday after Xmas it has been nice and warm but it is turning cold, the wind is high and it is raining, gloomy. I haven’t my wash done. Grace came over to Ma’s Xmas day and Bird & Howard were here that day. Lottie came over awhile after dinner. Charley was here making life miserable. Well, the people are all miserable because we all indulge in too much sin.
She continues to write off and on. Finally on Memorial Day 1928
“Boy this is some book, just read it and if it doesn’t sound as if I only used it to wirte troubles in it. I guess I do, but one has to put them somewhere. I may (be) right putting them here. But I do not write down half of them.”
This was our burglar experience, we have had others, but this one was the boldest. Phone range at 3 oclock. I answered was told there were burglars in store. So I told Fred and he asked me if I wanted to go too. Of course I did. We dressed quickly and as we drove up in the car, saw about 6 men standing on front porch. I was a little scared, but on second sight noticed it was home fellows. Proved to be Scott Lynch, Scot Phamie and two of the men on the gang. My first sight of the real burglars. Well, one was dressed in a cap and overalls and jacket from the store. Tatem came up on the porch about that time. They took them up to jail. The others had gotten away. Well, when they talked of taking them to jail, I thot (thought) I would never seen the inside of a jail. I thot (thought) I would go and see what took place. Tatem had to knock on the door and wait for Mr. Crumb to come and open the door. We stepped inside of Crumbs office and the boys were searched. I never thot (thought) so much could be stuffed away into pockets and shirts. One of them did not have anything on him much, they seemed so young and looked half starved. I sure felt sorry for them. But they did not seem to expect any sympathy from any one. They were taken to such cold cells and locked behind bars. I sure feel I would like to talk to them. They did not get to eat what they stole and no doubt were awful hungry. I came on home and Fred and Tatem went on out to East yards and looked for the other 4 fellows, one being a black. Fred and Tatem captured the other 3 about 30 of 5 oclock. All this time it was pouring down cold rain. You would have thot (thought) it was February instead of June. I got out my fur coat and wore it over there. I shudder to think if they had been armed and someone had of come upon them, they surely would have opened fire and me not even scared to go. But they did not even have a knife.
This is Monday morning and I was too sleepy and tired to try to wash and my what a windy cold day. We have a fire in the furnace. I felt miserable yesterday all day. We had a hunch something was going to happen, even spoke of it. Well the boys want to see them and see what a real live burglar looks like. My I thot (thought) when I looked at those two young lads, I wonder if they have a mother or did they ever have one and under what conditions were they reared.
Sept 3, 1928
Boys started off to school. Lovell in 4A and Richard 6B. They are glad to start again.
We have had a wonderful vacation. We have gone to wood and timber a lot all summer and Pa has been a model husband. Dad and we went hunting and picked about 4 gallons of black berries, lost about ½ gallon on running board, forgot to put them in. Had some wonderful fishing trips. I have 10 birds now. Bird & Howard moved up here sometime this summer. They moved up here before we knew they were coming almost. Well old book, if I had written down all the good times I’ve had now, would not be so blue on the other pages for I have seen the world through rose colored glasses this summer only not much cash, but I don’t care if alls well.