[This begins a section of the diary describing Elinor trying to work outside the home She is hired Mon-Fri at a boarding house by a family (Mr. & Mrs. S and her mother-in-law). The ailing, elderly grandmother is referred to as “the old lady”. Elinor is fairly critical of Mrs. S. (“…a scolding wife will spoil the best of homes”) but reveres “the old lady”. She complains about the work, especially when she is home sick and has tooth aches, head aches, and a very painful left foot problem. She has a role caring for the grandmother and at one point finds her in dire straits but not dead ” there between bed & commode hanging by the arms was the old lady. the had a stroke & turn black as coal” She would be in her late 20’s trying her hand at working and by description she has learned how to run a house, laundry, and kitchen. The list is long from 2 weeks of work, raisin cake, getting supper, making the starch, doing the wash, dressing a chicken, washing for 9 at home, for 4 at her new job, bathing and care of “old lady”, setting and baking bread, mending, baking 4-layer cake, dish washing, sweeping, dusting, ironing, embroidering, washing kitchen and bathroom floors, answering phone, straightening the house, cooking pan cake, fried potatoes, chicken rolls, baking loaf mince meat pie with icing, baking cup cakes, baked cinnamon rolls, hanging 5 long lines of laundry to dry, frying chicken, baking devil’s food cake, and baking 3 elderberry pies. She has strong opinions about how things ought to be done and does not take criticism lightly. Mrs. S. complained that Elinor’s week old bread was mildewed, not very good, and soggy after storing it in a damp place. Mrs. S. claimed if it was good it wouldn’t mildew. Mrs. S. complains that Elinor’s pie crust is too rich, her biscuits were greasy, and that Mrs. S.’s “pie crust just so it can be cut with a knife, not tuff but just right.” During her work experience there is apparent drama and discord between Mr. & Mrs. S. with arguing, Mrs. saying he is weak and cannot think for himself, particularly about money. He is a blacksmith but has apparent trouble with his business partnership and she is very critical of his role. Mrs. S. complains at one moment and praises at another moment about the same thing. Elinor says she thinks Mrs. S. is going crazy. By Sept 23, after 14 days, she apparently quits (“Well I’m sorry for Mrs. S but I can’t … be pick on all the time …&told her I wanted & expected my weeks pay before my box left the house & she gave it to me & I came home..”.)
[Mon. Sept. 9. 1912] Mon Sept 9. 1912 Page 1. [note this is a re-start at page # 1] Well I have landed in Elyria at last and I dont know, but think I’ll be sick of my job be-fore the week is any where near at an end I haven’t had to do much today, baked a raisen cake & got supper & listened to trials & tribulations all the after noon tomorrow we are going to wash, I know it will be dreadful, for my Miss tress has to take care of her mother in law & she is more helpless than a baby & makes lots of washing & poor thing she cant hear & they don’t use any patients with her at times she had dinner 1-30 & supper 8-20 & a bath before she had her supper & the blessings re-ceived while they gave her that[Mon. Sept. 9. 1912]Page 2 both were more than I will ever be able to decribe. They own a pretty home but a scolding wife will spoil the best of homes I’m not satis-fie here & this is my first day but suppose I’ll have to stick untill I find something better or worse. Yes I do feel home sick tonight, but its no wonder, I were ill before I came this morning & my head feel as though it would split, it achs so hard. Well I must go to bed & see if I can’t sleep.
[Tue. Sept. 10. 1912] Tue.10. We did wash today & had as much for four as we do at home for nine & I dressed chick-en for supper and the Old lady here had to have a lot of care & a bath to night, she’s just as good as she can be, nevery complains, my left
[Tue. Sept. 10. 1912]Page 3. foot is so sore that it looks as though it has been scalded & it hurts me so. Anna was here about a half hour tonight. Well its most eleven oclock & I have got my supper work done bread set & my mending done & ought to have been long in bed. I haven’t written home yet.
[Wed. Sept. 11. 1912] Wed 11. Well I over slept & Mrs S. got breakfast & I came done just as they had finished & so after drinking a cup of coffee I washed the dishes, mixed my bread in a hard loaf, swept & done the ironing, had a lunch & made my bread in loaves then baked a four layer cake baked the bread four loaves & got supper took a bath & went to bed at nine-thirty home sick.
[Thurs. Sept. 12. 1912] Thur.12. Arose at five oclock cooked breakfast for Mr. S & packed his dinner, then made toast for Mrs. S. & myself & drank a cup of coffee, washed the dishes swept & dusted. Mrs. S. has gone on a business trip so she called it, up town & over to old Lorain, Well Ive been up to see the old
[Thurs. Sept. 12. 1912]Page 4 lady & she’s sleeping, All’s well. I called ma & they are all as well as useral & now I can rest a little while I guess & the lord knows I feel as though it would do me good its almost twelve oclock. the school children are going to school, the sun is warm but the wind makes one shiver. Guess I embroider a little while. Mrs. S. sent a basket of graps a qt of peaches & half a dozen bannaqnaes for me. Oh yes I got to write a letter now. Well I have finished my letter given the old lady her dinner & ans. telephone & door calls & now have gotten supper Mr. S. came back at six oclock Mr. S came at five-thirty. Tomorrow I have to sweep & I dont know what more.
[Fri. Sept. 13. 1912] Fri.13. Well I have sweep & dusted after cooking breakfast for Mr. S. packing him a lunch & cooking break-
[Fri. Sept. 13. 1912] Page 5 -fast for Mrs. S. We had lunch & then I washed the bath room & kitchen floors, washed & dressed & combed my hair & helped Mrs. S (Lorain Ohio) take care of her mother-in-law rested about 15 minutes & cooked supper, straightened up the house & went to bed. Yes. I set breads.
[Sat. Sept. 14. 1912] Sat.14. Breakfast over for 4 at last mixed my bread dress-d 2 chickens, made beds & helped care for old lady, had lunch for three washed dishes, baked a loaf mince meat cake & frosted it & 12 cup cake mixed my bread in loaves mixed up cinnimen rolls baked bread then the rolls then cooked supper. Mr. S. home 5-35. Mrs S. went to town came home at 6 had supper 6-15 done up work & washed & dressed & went home
[Sat. Sept. 14. 1912] Page 6 talked with Carrie & met her at the waiting room before taking Lorain care. I got off the care at 5th St. Stoped at F. hospital saw Julia, then went to Dr. S. office left my suit case, went down to Opfere & Hursts did my shoping went to office phoned home, pa & the boys all up town. I waited for Dr. & then Elbert met me at the loop & we walked home Nellie was waiting for me Audrey & baby Both a sleep ma & pa both in bed ma came to great me. went to bed 11-30-rose
[Sun. Sept. 15. 1912] Sun.15. 7-30 picked up a few of my belonging & visited & age dinner & I missed Gertie & Frank helped with work went down to Draw Bridge with
[Sun. Sept. 15. 1912]Pa, Ma, Nellie, Audrey & baby, George & Fred on the Not So Bad then I took the care for Elyria & reached here at dusk, had a lunch visited a while & went to bed. my foot is so sore.
[Mon. Sept. 16. 1912] Mon.16 Cooked pan cake & fried potatoes made coffee & gave Mr. S. for his bf. packed chicken rolls & cake for his lunch. went down seller & prepared to wash went up & washed dishes went down & washed a while & Mrs. S. came down I let her get her own bf. & then she helped me wash, we were all through at 1-20 & had 5 long lines of clothes then had lunch tidied up the house & went up stairs & put things to order & I head a noise in the old lady’s
[Mon. Sept. 16. 1912]Page 8 room & told Mrs. S. & I opened the door & there between bed & comode hanging by the arms was the old lady. the had a stroke & turn black as coal, we work with her till 5-30 then I went down & cooked supper took a bath & went to bed. tired? Oh yes,
[Tue. Sept. 17. 1912] Tue.17. We both Ironed after the work was done & after dinner Mrs. S went calling & I ironed till 4-30 rested a few minutes & Fried chicken for supper Anna Jube came just as we were getting the old lady ready for bed. we had little visit & she went home & I went to BED—
[Wed. Sept 18. 1912] Wed 12 [she may have meant 18 here] I was up 4-30-this morn. done the work sweeped & dusted & then cooked breakfast for Mrs. S. my left foot is
[Wed. Sept 18. 1912] Page 9 so sore & swollen I can hardly step on it tonight, fried chicken & cooked supper & now am going to bed my eyes hurt tonight.
[Thurs. Sept. 19. 1912] Thurs.19. The same old story swept dusted baked devil food cake and three elderberrry pies cook four meals & scrubed the kitchen floor. Mr. & Mrs. S. went to the fair this after noon & it rained hard & Mrs. gave Mr. S the greatest call-ing ever for leaving her talk-ing & running around with other men, instead of waiting for her to gossip, Mr. S. called it instead of talking asking her to the art hall & so forth. he’s he easyest man that ever walk-ed the face of the earth, no question of his own, no head on him, and what would she look like if she were in his place Oh, she never saw such a man.
[Thurs. Sept. 19. 1912] Page 10 received a card from pa saying he ma Fred & Elbert Mr & Mrs. Krantz & Mr. & Mrs Harris were at Put in bay Well my tooth ached so hard I was oblidged to waken Mrs. S. to find some dope for it, but it ached so hard I was most crazy & didn’t get Mr. S. his breakfast, but arose at 7 put the house to rights & then cooked breakfast for Mrs. S. my tooth still bugging swept up stairs and dusted Mr. S. came home said he was going to the fair & Oh, of all the blessings great & small, he received them all, he ask Mrs. S. to go & she wouldn’t go for I had said I was going to have some thing done to my tooth this after noon or tomorrow & she said I had better have it done to day for she wanted to go to church Sun. morn & Sun after noon she wanted to take
[Thurs. Sept. 19. 1912] Page 11 some pictures & she want me here, so if she went to the fair I would have went home Sat. night & came back Sun night & that she didn’t want for some reason she doesn’t want me to have any time for myself that she can’t have her say about, well I went home couldn’t get my tooth fixed till Sat. morning, so I stopped at Dr. Smiths a minute & then at Auntie Dudeans & then went home. Nellie Audrey & George were just eating supper the baby lay in her cab cooing, so I sat down & ate my supper with them. We visited untill 9-10 & went to bed then Nellie & I talked till late for my tooth ached so I couldn’t sleep & when I did sleep I talked aloud to Nellie telling her I didn’t like Boarding house fair, she ask me why
[Thurs. Sept. 19. 1912]Page 12 and I told her the lights all had to be out at 9 oclock, but I play a joke on’em one night & didn’t fill the lamps, then Nellie ask me what happened & I told her the lights went out & the boarders went to bed & we gorls went to the Kitchen & laughed & jollied & had a nice time, then Nellie ask, well how many girl were there? and I mumbled a dozen names or so and Mon-tana Hillabrant. Well that the first time I ever talked to anyone in my sleep it has always woke me up be fore if anyone ask me a ques-tion. I half realized Nellie was talking to me and that I were talking to her, but didn’t know what I was saying, but this morn when she ask me, what I was doing
[Thurs. Sept. 19. 1912]Page 13. last night I told her I knew she was asking me questions & that I were ans. but couldn’t remember much about it. then she told me
[Sat. Sept. 21. 1912] Sat.21. I left the girls this morn. Nellie went to the end of the St. with me didn’t get back here till after 1 oclock had my tooth treated twice & ate dinner with Anna J & Clara. B. & cooked supper & Mrs. S. put the four loaves of bread in a damp place & because it mildewed she said it wasn’t very good bread anyway that it was soggy, it was baked a week ago today & was nice & she said so, but now its me to blame because it has spoiled. I told her she said it was good bread & that they all enjoyed it & she said she thought it was but good bread wouldn’t mildew.
[Sat. Sept. 21. 1912]Page 14 and my pie crust is so rich she can’t eat it, she says she makes her pie crust just so it can be cut with a knife not tuff, but just right. I baked biscuits for supper they both said they were fine & after they had ate the most of them said they never ate much biscuite that were to greesy, well I’m looking for work & wont stay here only long enough to fine an other job & hope that wont be long. Carrie Masten Called me over the Phone tonight & I talked with Mrs. Lapp in Fre-ricks hospital to day she has typhoid fever & has been there three weeks and she likes Anne. Well I must go to bed, but Ought to write some letters & Post cards to night. Such is life.
[Sat. Sept. 21. 1912] Page 15. and Mr. S. had to take another lecture tonight because he’s so easy & hasn’t a business head & ought to come home & ask Mrs. S what he should do & now he will lose all more than likely. Mr. S. is a black smith & was in pardner with another man who sold out his share to another Mr Haun & now it seems, the man of whom they rent the shop wants Mr. S. to pay the rent that his first pardner skipped out & left. but his contract was fixed so he didn’t need to pay only his half & tonight when his land lord told him he guessed he (Mr. S.) would have to pay the rent the other man left un paid, Mr. S. said he supposed he would, So his wife must once more scold him, for she
[Sat. Sept. 21. 1912] Page 16 has never seen another man like him & she expects to go crazy yet.
[Sun. Sept. 22. 1912] Sun.22.I arose at 7-30 and prepared toast & milk for breakf Mr. S is ill, two step, I believe. Mrs. S. didn’t go to church & its raining I have a chicken dressed & cooking for dinner. Mrs. S has amused her self watching to see if Mrs. Sumers went to church. Mrs. S. calls her old belzybub & says Mrs. Summ. never goes to church only to show her pretty new clothes and that she’s & old devil of the worst stamp & to hear Mrs. S. stell it she is perfect and if she isn’t she has an exeuse that it was an imposible-ity to be. she doesn’t like it because Mr. S. praises my cooking, she says no one can cook to please Mr. S. as well as she can.
[Sun. Sept. 22. 1912] Page 17 well of all things I’d like to know what will happen next. We had breakfast 9-15 and Mrs. S. told me no hurry about dinner, to but the chicken on to cook at 1 oclock and I did but there was hardly gas enough to keep one burner going, so , consequently the chick-en wasn’t done untill 2-10 & then the gas went out & Mrs. S. came done to informed me that she had told me last night that the gas was going to be turned off, well, she was in her room reading to Mr. S. aloud and I didn’t hear her, for I sat in my room writing & my door was shut. and why didn’t she tell me, when I ask what time she wanted dinner. I’d like to know she went up stairs & told Mr. S. & he came down if we were going to have
[Sun. Sept. 22. 1912] Page 18 dinner and I told him. I didn’t know the gas was going to be turned off & that Mrs. S. should have told me, when I ask about get-ting dinner & that I wasn’t a bit to blame & he said he didn’t care he would just as soon have bread & milk but she is another Mrs. Spray. We had a finnish about that mouldy bread this morn. she said good bread ought never to spoil, but I told her I never see any bread yet that wouldn’t mould if it was kept in a damp place & that, that bread was fine as any body need ask for before it spoilt, she done it up in two table cloths & plac-ed it in a bucket & put a cover on it & then blamed me, because it spoilt. Oh she said her bread was al
[Sun. Sept. 22. 1912]Page 19 yellow & that she used 2 yeast cakes for four loaves of bread & today she said her bread was always light & spongy & she nevery kneeded it untill it wouldnt take more flour. & when we ate our dinner she remarked, how light my biscuits were even now they were old. Well I wonder what will be next Mr. S. has gone to town & it is & has rained all day. Mrs. Miller & her daughter Ethel came in to spend the evening just as I was finishing the supper dishes & Mrs. S. showed me how to play the Graphone & so after playing a dozen pieces with out making any mistakes & the company gone, she told me the floor didn’t look as though I had dusted, I don’t know what to think, I beleive she’s loosing her mind. Oh, dear.
[Mon. Sept. 23. 1912] Page 20 Mon 23. Well after making pan cakes for breakfast I finally starting my washing & had it about half done when Mrs S came down, she said she didn’t feel like washing & I told her as I did last week that if she didn’t feel good I’d do the washing, for she always washes out her mothers clothes, I could never was them I have some sores on me now from scratches the old lady gave me & I’m having a time to heel them up. Mrs. S. said she liked to make her own starch & so when she insis-ted on helping to finish the washing & told her to make the starch if she would rather & I’d do the rest, she
[Mon. Sept. 23. 1912] Page 21 made the starch & sards & rinse part of the clothes & we were through before dinner. I got din-ner & all went well untill we were most through. then I said I guessed I’d Iron & she said she was tired & I said yes so was I but I wanted to get through & she said she didn’t feel like paying me 3-50 & doing half the work her self, well I told her, I would do all the work if she would let me, I had told her I would & always ask every day for more to do than she would give me to do, so I’m sure I’m not to blame for what she wouldn’t let me do. Well she change the subject & said I had to after noons & evenings off & she ?never?
[Mon. Sept. 23. 1912] Page 22 let a girl have only their evenings & that she was-n’t going to pay me for time I didn’t work so after talking untill I was so vexed I couldn’t reason any longer I phoned & had my box took to the waiting room & & on my way Mrs. Miller came over? to talk to me greatly supprise that I were leave-ing, but after I told. her she said I did just right. for Mrs. S. had told her a dozen times or more that she liked me & that I did my work just right to suit her & kept
[Mon. Sept. 23. 1912] Page 23 so much baking done up that she didn’t need worry if some one came in unex-pected for dinner or supper. Well I’m sorry for Mrs. S. but I can’t live in a jacket & be pick on all the time so, I called home from the Nickol Plate Depot & Nellie & George came to the farey boat & ma & Elbert came from Vermillion where they left pa & Fred on the Not So-bad Mr. & Mrs Krantz & Harris came to Lorain with ma & Elbert they had been to Put in bay on a fishing tripe & ma brought a black bass home she caught. that weighed three lbs.[Tue. Sept. 24. 1912] Tue.24. We had a lot of little things to do & a lot of ironing. some graps ? to can
Oct 1912 [error -its still Sept, 1912]
[Tue. Sept. 24. 1912] Page 24 & Aunt Edie came for dinner & is going to stay un-till tomorrow after noon. Well we have got pretty well straightened up & my tooth is just more than buzzing tonight.
[Wed. Sept. 25. 1912] Wed 25 We finished ironing. I baked eight loaves of bread & my tooth achs so I’m most crazy. Aunt Edie went home tonight I sent a bowl to Georgia. I had gotten for her birthday the 16the of Aug.
[Thurs. Sept. 26. 1912] Thur 26. I have done a big white washing to day & baked a five layer cake with lemon jelly filling & my tooth has ached all day just hard enough to be agervating Oh dear. Oh dear.
[Fri. Sept. 27. 1912] Page 25 Fri.27. Well I washed the colored clothes & helped cook & sweep & haven’t had time to say my soul’s my own & tomorrow’s Sat.
[Sat. Sept. 28. 1912] Sat.28. Well I set bread & so with all the other work I have been busy today, had 11 loaves of bread & the tooth ach allday. Gertie come home tonight from Rochester.
[Sun. Sept. 29. 1912] Sun.29 George Carlisle’s mother & brother came this morn from Ashtabula, she brought the baby a pretty crocheted bonnet, well it’s been the same old story cook & eat. [note: Elinor’s sister Audrey married George Carlisle]
[Mon. Sept. 30. 1912] Mon.30. Four weeks ago today Gertie came home from Wellington We washed today & my tooth is still busy. Oh. dee.