[Page 1-22 of the diary all entries are from memory regarding March 1912. They were written in a -“Standard Notebook” Then she restarts another installment with page 1-177 Sept 1912-April 1915. Apparently in February 1912, age 27, Elinor became ill enough to be taken to the hospital. It is not clear what her illness was. But it was after this hospitalization that she started to record the diary, starting with descriptions of her time in the hospital and the three women in their 20’s who worked there]
[Tue. Mar. 19. 1912.]Tue.19 March 1912 Well, its just two weeks today [March 5, 1912] they brought me home from the hospital. While there I became acquainted with the two nurses and the cook; All three were bright young girls. The day nures was quite a pretty blond of twenty-two years, whom every one seemed to love. she had an attracktive pleasent little smile and a cheery word for one and all. Something in her appearance call-ed my attention and I desided to study the characters of the three girls. Now my room was the third room from their dining room, but I could hear every word of their conversations when they were at dinner. This would help me to study much better, And I often heard them relating there past
[Tue. Mar. 19. 1912.] Page 2 experiences both joys and sorrows and hear them laugh and jest, just as plain, as though they had been in my room, this for two weeks afford-ed some amusement for me. The night nurse had dark hair and little black eyes, an oval shaped face & sallow complection a very nervous little body of twenty-four years. She seemed ever on the alert for the least sound; when alarmed (she crossed out) reminded one of a wild animal, when cornered by hunters. She moved about with a quick noiseless tread, her presence would awaken me from a sound sleep With a feeling of fear. but when I opened my eyes (it was crossed out), she would say its only I, & sometimes ask, why I didn’t sleep more sound. I told her she looked tired and I believed need rest more than I, to which she answered, Oh, I’m
[Tue. Mar. 19. 1912.]Page 3 so tired I feel like jumping up and down and yelling or screaming, and everything has went wrong today & I don’t believe anything good will every come my way I’m an orphan & every one seems to be more ready to give me a kick or knock than to help her in anyway, she and the day nurse couldn’t get along for some reason, and there seems to be nothing but trouble and sorrow for me and I just feel cross every day. Now I told her the day nurse never said anything against her to me but often said, she though you were not strong enough for the work & that she felt sorry for you & and I am sure
[Tue. Mar. 19. 1912.] Page 4 if you watch and study her you will think better of her. Well I feel sorry for her, She is so nervous, she gave up her work to go to her sister’s home to rest, the day before I came home, she took my address but haven’t heard from her as yet. The Cook was stout & round face rosy cheeked girl of twenty and one years. Who was neither brunette nor blond. She swept & dusted the patients rooms each day a jolly good natured appearing person but two.sided. I gave her an apron pattern for which she was to have given me one of hers, but I never have gotten it yet.) and shirt pattern to be used for a laun-dry bag & a thimble holder crocheted on a chickens wish
[Tue. Mar. 19. 1912.]Page 5 bone, they were made of pink silk with white ribbon drawn around the edge & tied in bows with a loop to hang them up by. the nurse phoned to me yesterday & thanked me for hers & reminding me how carefull I must be, not to catch cold and bidding me come back to see her as soon as I were able. She said there were to be three operating cases for this week; that will mean 24 hrs with out sleep three times this week for her al-though she didn’t mention it.
[Wed. Mar. 20. 1912] Wed.20th A week ago to night I took a relaps & haven’t been gain-ing as rapidly as before. But God teaches to Ask and receive Trust and believe,
Page 6 Mar.Wed.20. and I know He doeth all things well. Received a card from Pa, and one from Audrey today, and wrote five to mail in the morning. Dr. Smith phoned saying he would call tomorrow. Well I’ll be glad to be able to work again.
[Age 27, discharged from Hospital to the Georgia Ave, Black River Homestead, instructed by Dr. Smith to rest and take prescribed medications. Her first try at “journaling” or writing a diary suggests she might be mimicking writers, perhaps with a dictionary at her side.
To night the sleet and snow pelt the windows with such terrific force that it seems almost deafening, while only yesterday morning as I dressed before the open west window I could see the woods nearby and hear the birds twitering and larks singing, the sun was shining warm and bright and all the out door world seemed to have awakened to the call of Spring, but today a cold March wind
[Wed. Mar. 20. 1912] Page 7. Mar.Wed.20. with sleet and snow causes the earth to groan and shudder. I’m wondering what the poor little birdies will do to keep warm, for I have most all day beside the fire.
[She seemed to burden herself with expected “proper” activities (sewing, crocheting) and to always helping her mother and to always providing nursing care to family members. Her schedule seems to be erratic, getting up “late” frequently. She starts giving gifts at a young age (for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries) usually gifts involving sewing or cooking. and through that practice, following a script or lifestyle she has learned. However, and this should be emphasized throughout the diary, she has a camera and takes many of the family pictures, capturing a much deeper sense of how it was to live then and there. She even talks about developing some of the pictures herself. So we can certainly forgive the poor quality and thank her for maintaining such a life affirming past time. ]
[Thurs. Mar. 21.1912]Thurs.21. Dr. came this after noon. He said he would have to send me back to the hospital if I didn’t take life more easy. I wonder. Well let me see, all I’ve done today has been a little reading, sewing, crocheting and take pills, Oh yes, I took care of my own room and helped ma do dishes, doesn’t seem as though that ought to hurt me, it is raining tonight
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912] Fri.22. Everything is a glare of ice out of doors this morning. Didn’t get up untill ten
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912]Page 8 oclock, for I sit up with Nellie, and read or write while she does her school work. she doesn’t like to be alone. [Elinor is 12 years older than the “baby” of the family and takes pride in helping to raise her and in her advanced schooling motivation. Pa doesn’t approve of “his girls” being educated, especially beyond 8th grade. However the girls each pursue it. Elinor has to be home schooled the last 2 years to 8th but achieves it with the help of Professor and Mrs. Ward in Berea Ohio where she stays during the week. There is also a story that Pa does not allow curtains in the house but that would not be for religious reasons, so maybe just because it is too frivolous. Anyway, Elinor does make curtains at the homestead and then in her own home on Hahn Rd after she marries]
I crocheted on the pillow top, I have been mak-ing for Audrey and George for there weding present I have croched a pillow top for Frank and Ruby. I crocheted a square with a wreath of roses in it and in the center I put. (Wed July 27th. 1911) For Frank and Ruby & for Audrey and George I put in the center (Wed Oct 6th. 1911.) I made a pillow tick of white muslin & filled it with cattail down, then made a plain pillow cover of old rose poplin, with hem of ruffle
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912]Page 9 Mar.Fri.22 brier stitched with No.50 white thread, the same as I use to crochet with, then I fasten with needle and thread the crocheted square to the top of plain cover thus forming a pretty wedding Gift.
Elinor’s sister Audrey is the first to marry in 1915 and move away from home, the Georgia Avenue homestead, to Ashtabula, Ohio at 18 years of age. They have Harvey and Martha’s first grandchild who generates a flurry of photos and uplifted spirits. The marriage ends soon however, and Elinor attends legal proceedings about custody and alimony. This marriage is also described by Elinor as physically and verbally and psychologically abusive to Audrey. See the image below which seems to suggest fragility.
A letter came to ma. from Audrey this morning, say-ing, George has been in bed I have felt stronger today, but had my nerves shook into a volcanic eruption the last thing tonight by accidently answering the phone, Yes, I a fright late this after noon and now I think I’ll go to bed and try to quite my nerves, And may God watch over and take care of me His humble servant girl. The sun has shone all day and everything glitters and sparkles, the branches
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912]Page 10 of the trees, the weeds and bushes look as though they were full of stars. Tonight we have a pale moon, throw- out a flood of shimmering light, making a picture to behold.
Elinor’s brother Frank marrys Ruby Gillmore in 1911. (The Gillmore family lived nearby) and they had a child Evelyn the next year. The diary suggests that Frank ended up with more money than the other children and Ruby’s clothing suggests that as well. It may have come to him through Ruby. Frank leaves but only moves his family up the street, also on riverfront property. So Elinor’s childhood family starts to empty the nest with Fred, Audrey and Frank gone.
[Some of her descriptions are naïve. Even in her late 20’s there is not much to write about. She frequently describes herself but overall sounds like a much younger girl exaggerating emotions (nerves shook into a volcanic eruption), and giving minor aspects in her life more descriptors and detail than warranted. Some of the events relayed are directly copied from advertisements or news articles.
Fred and Gertie have gone to a St Patricks social given in the Delaware Ave M.E. Church Sun. school
Mar.Sat.23. rooms this evening. Oh, me. Games, Music & Refrishments were enjoyed by
the young folks last night, Miss Marry Snyder’s Art Gallery being of great interest, having placed a Blarny Stone at the en- trance, to which kneel make a wish and kiss before entering the gallery. First glance one beheld, The Horse Fair not a picture but a dish of shell-ed corn. Next. Cast Up By The
Fri. Mar. 22. 1912]Page 11 Sea. A pretty sea shell ans-wered this. After a bath, this inscription, written on a slip of paper was laid on A Bath towel, as were all others. The Swimming Match, represented by a glass of water, where up on a match was swim-ming. A Bit of
Old Ruin in China, was an amusing sight. An old china plate with the decoration partly worn off and a crack china cup with out a handle. The Aurora A Bronzed Loin Penny Bank, Tax on Tea. Tax laying on dry tea in a saucer. The charge of a light brigade, A little heap of powder a match near by. Washington’s Bust, shown on a two cent stamp. The Seasons . A little salt and pepper. The
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912] Page 12 Trapper. A Mouse Trap. Sweet Hearts. Two heart shaped cookies hid together. The bust of a Great Commentator. Was a large potatoes broke half into. The Last chord, A Book. Pleasant Reflections. A Looking Glass. The Acrobat. A glass tumbler. Deer in Winter. Straw Berry. This was a more elaborate Art Gallery than the young folk expected to see, or at least one that proved very fasinating. And I believe I have enjoyed it as well as the most of them.
Well I done my duties today but have felt any thing but well. Didn’t get to sleep until three oclock this morning, and have been having nervous chills all day, Ma and Nellie have gone to town to meet Pa.
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912] Page 13 Gertie took cold and is ill today. Fred has a boil on his neck. Frank came home this morning and he and Elbert went duck hunting up the river. Frank shot and brought home three ducks. Snow and ice have been thaw-ing fast today. A bit of news from our evening paper: Mr Green was seeing his lady friend home from church last night, when a dog bit him on the Public Square, and that Mr. Jones, while harnesing his horse was kicked just south of his corn crib. A boy threw a tin can and cut Mr. Pike in the alley. Mr Jelly fell from the roof of his house and bruised him on his piazza. Great is it not. Eight oclock Fred and Gertie have gone to bed, and I’m
[Fri. Mar. 22. 1912]Page 14 waiting for the folks, ten oclock, the folks have come, I have a lunch with hot coffee and tea ready for them,
Sun. Mar. 24. 1912] 2012.March.Sun.24 they brought sausages for lunch. and fruit,
twelve oclock, Fred went over to Frank’s for dinner. Ma, Elbert, Gertie Nellie and I were home to visit with pa, it has snowed hard all day and a cold wind blows tonight. Pa tells us Uncle Jack’s folks all have the gripp. and the horses have the distemper the little lambs arriving by one’s two’s and three’s and no one to care for them, neighbor all around are having cold’s and gripp. Aunt Cornealia and Aunt Marinda have gotten all moved to town at last.
[The mention of Cornealia and Marinda bring up Elinor’s patrilineal ancestry. Cornealia is the wife of her uncle Harvey Luther, son of Lyman Bonney. Miranda must be Lyman’s daughter (1839-1913) in her last years rather than Lyman’s wife who is already gone. It’s not clear what “moved to town” refers to.]
[Mon. Mar. 25. 1912Page 15] 1912 Mar.Mon.25. Fred and Elbert have gone to church.
Gertie doesn’t feel is well tonight Gertie doesn’t feel any better Pa and the boys have been to town, pa hired a dray to bring his trunk and bagage home from the Electric package. Will Coals and His father were here to tell us Uncle Mort Mastin [paternal grandfather, born Lorain, died Michigan] died yesterday and Aunt Hat [unclear who this is though it sounds like it might be Mort Mastin’s wife] is quite ill. Rosie Coals is dead, Mercy me, I dread to think of tomorrow
[Tue. Mar. 26. 1912] Tue.26. Frank called Pa and Ma over there this morning at three oclock, Ruby had been ill since twelve oclock, pa came home for breakfast, I done part of the work and got dinner
[Tue. Mar. 26. 1912]Page 16 1912 Mar. for a week and she has been up day and night with him and wished some on could come and help her, pa went back to gilmore’s and told ma about Geo. Ruby has a nice baby girl Ma and pa came home, pa packed his suit case and has left for Ashtabula to help Audrey and take care of Geo. Gertie is terriblily ill today; I hope every one feel [Pa feels compelled to go to his daughter’s home to help with the care of her husband who has typhus. It seems odd he would do that and he stays a long time there. At other times he seems to go to Wellington and stay for long periods, possibly for work.}
[Wed. Mar. 27. 1912] Wed. 27. better tomorrow. Im weary. I have been on my feet to much today trying to help ma for she is almost tired out, she washed to day and I have done the house work and took care of Gertie, she feels a little better but is in bed, she
[Wed. Mar. 27. 1912]Page 17 1912 Mar. has the gripp and has it bad, she coughs untill she is sore and lame all over, Nellie took dinner with Gilmore’s today,
Ruby and the baby are doing nicely. As Ruby is the only child her baby will more than likely be spoiled, Ruby was eighteen last June. Didn’t hear anything from Audrey today. It is raining. Oh, ho.
[Thurs. Mar. 28. 1912] Thurs.28. Gertie and Ruby are better, but George, poor boy has the typhoid fever, so pa wrote in this letter he sent to ma this morning, and that Audrey and Geo. were both happy when he walked in, Audrey has been up day and night & hasn’t had her cloths off for a week, Poor Audrey this is
[Thurs. Mar. 28. 1912]Page 181912.Mar.Thurs.28. the first real expierence she is only nineteen and Geo. is twenty. Elbert work for Spadman today, Frank was home today, Fred went to prayermeeting. Ma, poor dear ma has gone to bed tired out. It’s been raining a little alday, but it’s coming down hard and steady tonight. I sent a card to Georgia Rosencrane and one to Hazel Dupont. today. Nellie is going to bed, so am I.[Georgia Rosecrane is her maternal aunt’s (Edith Bonney, then Breckinridge) daughter who lives in Oberlin.
[Aunt Edith is Harvey D.’s sister and seems to play a leadership role in the family. Georgia would be her daughter who married an Ed. Rosencrane and lives in Oberlin. So she is Elinor’s cousin.]
[Fri. Mar. 29. 1912] Fri.29. Nellie didn’t go to school.for its been pouring rain alday. Ma and pa are tired, I ironed part of the starched pieces. Gertie doesn’t seem any better. George is better.
[Sat. Mar. 30. 1912] Sat.30. 1912. Well we have been trying to get straightened up
[Sat. Mar. 30. 1912] Page 19. today; Nellie and I have been ironing but didn’t get it all done. Sun has been shining warm and bright today Elizabeth Thomas called on me this after noon and brought me two books to read. Ma and I are ever so worried about Gertie. Geo. and Ruby are better. I am going to bed for it’s 11-55 Oh. Mercy me.
[Sun. Mar. 31. 1912] Sun.31. We think Gertie is a little better, How glad I’ll be when summer comes and we all get well again. It looked pleasent out of doors untill noon, then shortly after it begin to rain. Well this has been a long day to me.
[ note: this is the last entry in this “Standard Notebook E” Elinore switches to single paper 8.5X10? , the first page is labeled Page 13. ]
[Sun. Mar. 31. 1912] Page 13. Sun.31. Well Gertie is some better we think today. Looked pleasant out of the door untill noon when short-ly after it began to rain it’s been a long day. Oh how glad I’ll be when summer comes. If I am only get strong.
To day is the beginning of Nellies week vacation. She & I read alternately the Book, David Copperfield. evenings, about which she is to write a theme.