Tuesday, May 29

A Line a Day


Recently I picked up this day journal at a local antique store - I couldn't resist. The diary was kept by a woman in my town from 1915 through 1919. These two post cards, blank, were also in the diary. There are only 2-3 lines per day as that is how the journal is set up, but it's really interesting to read in of itself, nevermind that she went to school (for teachers) at the college blocks away from my house and visits parks that are still around today. I have gathered that she isn't all that young, maybe mid to late 30s. She has some daughters, one of which lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Literally, a quarter of the entries include a note that someone she knows or someone she knows of in the town has died, which I thought was so weird. She often wakes up at 4am, just to start house chores or whatever and she always mentioned that laundry and gives a number in parenthesis after. For example, "Washed (75)". Did she wash 75 items? Why note that? No idea.

One night I read all of 1915 and jotted down some highlights:

• February 23, 1915 
Tue. School again, but I am too dull to amount to anything. Heard a robin twitter on my way home."
I liked this entry because it's no different than something I would note in February, or when spring is approaching...


• April 24, 1915
Sat. Hot. up at 4:30. Washed (98). Did nearly all ironing. Colored man moved lawn and put in screen. Early trees in bloom. Took off underwear (???). Asparagus up. 


• May 7, 1915
Fri. Rainy. Alice went home at 11:36 taking her mother with her. 'Lusitania' torpedoed at 2:30 this P.M. off the coast of Ireland. Belle Saunders' husband drowned."


• May 23, 1915
Sun. Rainy. Ruby & I to Grand Rapids on new electric road. Left at 8:35 & arrived home at 8:10. Fine time.


• October 10, 1915
Sun. Called at Mrs. C's on way to church and found her dead. Called help. They took her to the morgue. To Allan's to baby's birthday dinner. 


• December 15, 1915
Wednesday. Busier than two bees. 

22 comments:

Lisa said...

an incredible find, lauren - it gives me chills to see her handwriting, as i'm sure it does for you, possibly walking the same paths that she did in the park near your home.

Mel said...

I love this. I'm so glad you didnt pass it up. That's a book worth reading again and again. Makes me want to have A Line A Day to keep notes from my own life.

Lenora Jane said...

How awesome. I've got some day journals in the collections at the archive where I work, and it's always interesting to see how people record their own lives--one guy I've got noted the lateness/earliness of the town coach relative to the train stop every day for about two months! Feels silly to read but when you think about how important that'd be in, say, December...

One of my good friends works at a secondhand store and we were just discussing the other day how they're never sure what to do with journals that get donated to them--I kept trying to make sure she understood that they could be important as historical artifacts.

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Holy moly--what a fantastic find!

eatingsweet.com said...

this is incredible--thanks for sharing!

"took off underwear"...hahahaha! worth noting, indeed.

Angela Barnes said...

What a precious gem you've found yourself!

Sadie Rose said...

wow! so cool. i wonder why she notes that she took off her underwear...do you think it's because they wore it for days at a time?

sheila said...

love the robin segment. pretty amazing. love that, 'fine time'.

Wild Tea Party said...

It's like olden day twitter! Love this so darn much.

cara said...

a wonderful find, such an neat thing to have. oddly enough, her penmanship is exactly the same as my grandmother's.

'did nearly all ironing'...sounds familiar!

tiphaine said...

How wonderful !

Amanda / Rust Belt Threads said...

wow, what an amazing find!

Miss Emmi said...

"Took off underwear" - what?! HA! I can only dream of finding something like this one day...

Teresa said...

WOW! That is such an amazing find and peek into your local history!

I think I need to say "Busier than two bees" more. :)

Emma said...

OMG this is so cool especially because I've been keeping a journal with the exact same concept for 1 and a half year now (I found it at the gift shop at NYC library)... It's cool to think that someone might find my journal one day and wonder about some of the things I wrote.

Erin said...

Oh my goodness, this is incredible!!! What an interesting thing to find, I love that you can really get a sense of her personality and her lifestyle with just a few sentences. Often I put of journalling because i feel I don't have enough to say, but this is inspiring. Thinking of starting something similar.
Thanks so much for sharing. What a treasure :)
xErin

anodetoreverie.blogspot.com

Susan said...

Maybe 'took off my underwear' means she took it off by herself, without help to get unhooked, unbuckled and whatnot?

Such a lucky find!

Esz said...

Please post more! I love things like this. Have you read/seen Her Five Year Diary? Similar thing but from the 60s.

The underwear thing is most curious. Teehee

joolee said...

WOW, fascinating!! found a woman dead? what in the world... do post more interesting entries!

Anonymous said...

Wondering if she worked with or for the elderly? Or for a church who visited people in their homes? Might explain the high number of deaths mentioned. Would love to hear more. You should contact the History Detectives.

CamMi Pham said...

This is an amazing find. I love when there is a history attach to an object. It feel like you can connect to it. Love the vintage look too

x
Cammi
http://www.cammilicious.com

Jean Jean Vintage said...

I need to hold this in my hands.

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