She is writing 5+ page letters to the rest of the family in Cuba, staying up very late, getting up very late. She has her birthday and says her face looks like she is 40 and calls herself an old maid, and receives pragmatic gifts, Elbert paying her doctor bill, sewing fringe from Audrey, nothing from Nellie, and handkerchiefs in the mail from .
The family group at the homestead during this period is Elbert, Audrey, Nellie, Elinor, and Martha. There is a very tense atmosphere described including name calling, fights with Nellie (her 17 year old sister & bed mate) about windows open at night, obligations to eat meal someone fixes for you, power struggles about rules around the house, competitive stubborn episodes between Audrey and Elinor, and threats (Elbert threatens to not pay her doctor bill, and she says she didn’t want him to any way). Elbert tries to mediate and tells Elinor to stay out of the kitchen and let Audrey do the work, and “Keep quite or your knee will never get well.”
She reviews everyone’s experience in school. Nellie went to post-high level and got a teaching certificate. Audrey finished school and took a business course & married. Frank dropped out & married. Neither of them got permission to marry. Elbert, Fred & Elinor all dropped out. Elbert may have had learning disabilities. Fred might have done well but was held back by his father. When the house burned she was sent to live with a Mr. Ward who was a professor home schooling his sons. She ends up living there 2 1/2 years (coming home on weekends) acheiving the equivalent of her 8th grade education.
She is reading books published in early 1900s. including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine about family feuding and choice between family and lover and Quincey Adams Sawyer, a detective novel.
Illness continues. She and Nellie blame each other for sickness. Elbert has rheumatism in his left hip and leg (that will be life-long). The entertainment is the gramaphone, teasing, and playing finch and having cake and tea. Elbert is asked to watch boats for the Bakers, and there is a battle with an infestation of roaches on the boats.]
[Sun. Feb. 1. 1914] Sun.Feb.1. Today has been long & lonesome, we had no company & missed to homefolks so.
[Mon Feb. 2. 1914] Page 126. Feb.Mon.2.Ground hog day & he can see his shadow. Baker came & got water & his mail & wants Elbert to Look after his boat for a few days while he & his wife go to celerbrate her mothers 50th weding anaverser, Casasa & Elsie were here & we all played flinch Elbert was cross & because we each had a cup of cocoa & a piece of cak Elbert was mad about that, I wonder if there is a man in this old world that doesn’t have grouchy spells. Oh.dee.
[“Baker” would be William C. Baker, husband of Emma Baker, parents of Louviere, Melvin, Dorothy, Inez M, and Harry. They are to end up next door to John McKinley Harnish and Nellie when they have Ella Jane as an 8 month old, in 1920. They would have already been married in 1914 for 7 years (Louviere’s age) and they own a boat and enough means to travel. William is an engineer at the City Water Works.]
[Tue. Feb. 3. 1914] Tue.3. This is a beautiful morn just like Spring
[Wed. Feb. 4. 1914] Wed.4. Nellie went to bed before I did, she was apparently angry at every one, gave us each a calling down before she went. The wind had shifted North west & felt as though if might have come straight from Greenlands icy shore. When I went to bed, the room was so cold I shivered, as one might with ezzue, Nellie had opened the west window the width of a pane & pined a towel over it, but the breeze was coming right in, I told her she had better shut it, but she only replyed, you foolish thing haven’t you got any sence ? its a wonder were not all sick with only a crack of the window open at night, we need fresh air, I tried to get Audrey up but, nothing doing, I feel a little afraid
[Wed. Feb. 4. 1914] Page 127.to travel around in the dark with my bad knee so covered up a little more & waited untill the wind was most lifting the bed comfort off, and my head so stuffed up I could hardly breathe, then told Nellie to get up & shut the window, she didn’t want to but I told her I’d push her out of bed if she didn’t so muttering she arouse & closed the window, she took cold.
[Thrs. Feb. 5. 1914] Mon. & not only gave me a bad one, but added some to her own much to my sorrow. Nellie was so sick, but went to school. Nellie didn’t go to school today. Audrey washed, she ask me if I felt like sudzing & wrinsing & I said I would do it, she was washing on the board, when I finnished what she had ready for me , I got dinner & I ached all over & oh my back felt as though it would break, but I haven’t as much strength in my right limb as useral && told the girls after I had every thing cook & ready for the table, they would have to put them on the table & cute the bread & my the tea to which Audrey spoke up & said, she suposed if they didn’t help they couldn’t have anything to eat, I didn’t look at her & didn’t know she was angry & laughing I said no. well we got thing all done & ready to eat & she said she warn’t going to eat. I ask her what was wrong & she, said, it didn’t matter to me
[Thrs. Feb. 5. 1914] Page 128. & I might as well keep still for she wasn’t going to eat. Well you can only imagine how I felt. she looked as stuborn as any mule you ever saw, but, when everything was cold & Nellie had coaxed & pleaded half & hour or more she came & ate a cold but hearty dinner. Well I helped her finnish the wash & hoped around & got the dishes in the pan ready to wash, breakfast & dinner dishes Nellie took Martha out for a little walk & then she washed the dishes. I sat down just before supper & the girls got supper & when it was on the table A. ask me if I wasn’t going to eat & I said yes, but I don’t feel very hungry but guessed I eat as the old (saying was to feed a cold) then A gave me such a look, fire blazed in her eye & startled me & I left unfinnished the last part of my sentence & ask what was wrong & she said it wouldn’t spite her any if I didn’t eat, but next time I cooked a meal she wouldn’t eat if she was starving & she draw her lips together un-till they were white, I just looked for a min so hurt I didn’t know what to say then Elbert look a me & said, you haven’t got any business in the kitchen & you stay out of it, do you hear? Now I were bothe hurt & angry & then Audrey re-peated what had took a place at noon & that I said no then I said, I didn’t know you were angry & any
[Thrs. Feb. 5. 1914]Page 129. one would have known that heard me, that I was joking & besides & wouldn’t have laughed when I said it, had I ment it. but she only looked more angry & Elbert told me no more nor less then a doz. times to shut up, keep quite, never mind, keep still, it over with & you don’t need to explain, and to stay out the kitchen & let A do the work, she’s doing the best she can & she don’t need your help, Keep quite or your knee will never get well. I told him the Dr. said I might hop around & push a chair If I sat down & rested when I got tired,, but Elbert said, who’s going to pay your Dr. bill I wont if you don’t mind me do you hear? Now I was so angry I hadn’t ought to have said any thing, but a thought of what Ruby had written came to me & I said, I’m my own boss & you don’t need to think you have got me under your thumb if Ruby does that infernel little huzzy, I farly hate the little wrech, I do just as I please & go to the kitchen as often as I please & you, each one can say all you want you might as well talk to a stone mummy. You’ll find out if it takes more than a sore knee for you to humble me & get me just where you want me, Now Elbert once more tossed up the Dr. bill & I told him
[Thrs. Feb. 5. 1914] Page 130. he wasn’t in the habit of paying my bill, & I didn’t care to have him even think of it for that was non of his afares & now so hurt & cried at the supper table & didn’t finnish supper. Oh God, only knows whether I’ll have any nerves left when I get able to walk & the Dr. thinks it will be a year before I can work. I wonder what will (underlined) be next.
[Fri. Feb. 6. 1914] Fri.6. Nellie is 17 yrs. old today, it does seem that long ago, she was running around here a little golden headed girl simeral to Martha I’ve all ways done all her sewing from her long baby dresses to her gowns of today always looked after when I was home from school & took her with me. as often as I could have always spent a great deal of my earnings for her, going without myself, things I often longed for, to see her pleased & happy & have taken as much interest & pride in her a though she were my own, she passed & is in the forth yr. high school, I should like to see her finnish & go to college, all the things I would have liked I have tried to have the others have Gertie didn’t want to go to school & Audrey finnished the grades & took a business coarse & married without asking either mother or father, Frank took part of the grades & quit then he married with out asking father or mother Elbert took part of the grades & so did Fred & I. Elbert was hard to learn & quit Fred liked to study but, pa wanted him to help him so took him from school, but he has studied just the same every since nights the boys are good worker. & good to we girls generally, my health was so poor father wouldn’t let me take the 8th grade, but I took it at Wards, evening with there boys & some besides Mr. Ward was Professer of the graded schools & High school I was there 2 1/2 yrs. but always came home Sat. afternoons & went back Mon. Morn’s. [We have a Ward photo from the 1920s]
Audrey gave Nellie a Jabot & I gave her a collar & cuff set crocheted, Venetian Style. We are getting 4 & 5 eggs a day they are 45 cents per. doz. yet. Oh. Dee.
[Sun. Feb. 8. 1914] Sun.8. Nellie & I have been reading The Trail of The Lonesome Pine. Lucia Fletcher came to see Nellie took supper & spent the evening here & Mr Casivi was here an hr. or so after supper Lucia will be 16 yrs old the 19th of A.pril 1914 She is a nice girl and I am sorry for her, she is the eldest of 6 children an am-bitious girl & she has always had to work hard, her father is a drunkard & her mother not far from one & and she takes in washings & Lucia left home & went to work they were so hateful to her, she had just started into highschool & felt bad to give it up, but she bought herself enought for a yr & saved some money & this yr. her folks wanted her to come home, so she came & is going to highschool again
[Sun. Feb. 8. 1914]Page 132. Mon.9. Audrey & I did the washing today I sat in a chair and turned the tub & while Audrey took out the clean & put in more to be washed. I sudsed & wrinsed & I’m so tired I ach, been so sick allday haven’t felt like work.
[Tue. Feb. 10, 1914] Tue.10. Read my book & didn’t work much.
[Wed. Feb. 11. 1914] Wed.11. Darned & mended & cared for Martha as Audrey went to town this afternoon & the wind was so cold she was most froze. Oh Dee.
[Thrs. Feb. 12. 1914] Thurs.12. Well I have read & sewed & crocheted & Mr & Mrs. Baker came back tonight from Bay City Mich. where they went to attend her mothers & fathers golden wedding, they had a glorious good time & so glad they had gone, they were most froze when they got here, its a mile & a quarter from town here & he had two suit cases & her a hand scathel, they came in & got warm & then went down to their boat.
[Fri. Feb. 13. 1914] Fri.13. Well, I got up at 8-30 & have worked all-day, washed the window & chair & mixed up a batch of spong that made 10 loave of bread & a dripping pan & jelly tin of rolls & some odds & ends. Mr. Cassivi was coming tonight, but didn’t for some reason.
[Sat. Feb. 14. 1914] Sat.14. I washed & windows & scrubed the chairs & have felt so ill all week, but guess I get around on one foot to much & my face looks like
[Sat. Feb. 14. 1914] Page 133. Sat.14. an old maid. 40 yrs old. today is St. Valintine Day. Oh. yes. Mr Cassivi stoped inon his way to town, Elbert had gone, Uncle Will & Elsie came, with their music box & Uncle met Mr. Cassivi for the first time. He was here about & hour then went to town to the dance, he always looks so neat & clean. Uncle & Elsie stayed untill 11 oclock & Nellie & I went to bed at 2 a.m. she studied while I sat near & read to keep her company. Oh.Dee.
[Sun. Feb. 15. 1914] Sun.15. We didn’t get up very early & had a late dinner (4-30) chickens 2 noodles gravy creamed potatoes, pickles & all that goes with such a dinner. Mr. Cassivi took dinner with us. Mr. &Mrs. Baker sent us each a dish of ice cream it was fine, it was late (No) early when Nellie & I went to bed, for she & I were reading.
[Mon. Feb. 16. 1914] Mon.16. Audrey and I have sewed today & crocheted L. Constable sent me a Valentine card & oh, it said A reminder of my love, but the picture of the girl on it looked as though she begrudged it. Mr.& Mrs. Baker, Mr. Cassivi, Lillie & Elsie Wheeler spent the evening here Elsie & Lillie brought over the music box & Mr C. & Mrs. B tried to teach the girls to dance, Elsie had practiced some with
[Tue. Feb. 17. 1914] Tue.17. her sisters but although she is 18 yrs. old she said, when Mr. C. told her to put her hand
[Tue. Feb. 17. 1914]Page 134. on his shoulder, took her other hand in his then put his other hand against her back, she thought she would faint, she came over this noon & told us, but I knew while watching her last night, she said she felt as though she had a sock of elictricity & when they started to turn around quick she let go & pushed him a way, all in a fury, leaving Mr. C. standing with, oh, such a look of surprise then I laughed, Elsie looked at me, smiled. then went to the kitchen, then all laughed but, today, she said she thought he was trying a trick, to whirl her around so. Oh.ho.ho.ho. Mr. Baker stoped & laughed & talk a minute. Audrey & Elbert & I played flinch-then I sat up untill 2-a.m. & finnished the lace for the sleeve on Nellies waist & made the button holes & sewed on the buttons, Elbert treated us to a box of chocolats.
[Wed. Feb. 18. 1914] Wed.18. Didn’t get up untill noon. Wrote five sheets of tablet paper full on each side to Ma, Pa, Fred & Gertie & Frank & Ruby & that all to-day
[Thrs. Feb. 19. 1914] Thurs.19. Well we washed & I turned the tub & shifted the clothes & Audrey sudsed & wrinsed half of them & I the other half & I have been feeling so miseraable for a week or more that I haven’t as much strength as useral. Oh, Dee.
[Fri. Feb. 20. 1914] Fri.20. Elbert has been home three day with
[Fri. Feb. 20. 1914] Page 135.Fri.20. his rheumatism in his left hip & leg. Sewed & crocheted & after supper Elsie & Mr. Cassivi came in & spent the evening Elsie brought the music over & we had a concert untill 10-30 then we each had a piece of cake & cup of tea after which we played finch untill 12 oclock, then all went their way but Nellie & I & Nellie studied until most two oclock then we went to bed
[Sat. Feb. 21. 1914] Sat.21. We received a letter from pa a good one telling us they had bought a goat & 4 hens & a rooster & all about Fred, Frank & Carl go-ing fishing, how they set there trap net made of hen park wire & how the gaitors broke a hole in & ate most all the fish & I’ll just keep his letter so it can go in here. I have ironed & cook & baked & sewed today.
[Sun. Feb. 22. 1914] Sun.22. Geo. Washingtons birthday. Mr. Cassivi is going for a sleigh ride tonight, said his conscience has hurt him. he knew he ought not go but he went & Mr. & Mrs. Baker went down to Saffs. it has been a bad day cold & snowy & to night it’s terrible Mr. Baker came back stopped here an hr. or so, he said he waded snow knee deep & he was most froze & hated to walk up to C’s boat, both boats are alive with cockroaches & they have been trying to freeze them to death, but don’t make much headway. my stomach is all out of sorts & my head achs guess Nellie & I have been up to late nights. she studying & me reading Oh do.dee.dee.
[Mon. Feb. 23. 1914] Page 136. Mon.23. Well we did not wash, A didn’t want to
[Tue. Feb. 24. 1914] Tu.24. We washed & was all through at noon & Audrey went to town Mr. C & Mr B went to town A & B came back together, both came in the front door Baker is a queer man think a lot & says little, but he like to tease so he held out a bag & ask me to have a Kiss Thank you since there candy, beleive I will then he smiled & passed them around. one might he took a plug of tobaco from his pocket & ask Nellie if she didn’t want a chew.
[Wed. Feb. 25. 1914] Wed.25. I ironed some Tue. afternoon & evening & some today & crocheted some. Oh,ho.ho.ha.
[Thrs. Feb. 26. 1914] Thurs.26. Yesterday Mr. Cassivi introduced his friend Mr. Duram a cook & I did all my ironing & all the plain ironing & then sewed & crocheted some. The old man walk here a few mis. from the Satago & Elbert says the old gent think I’m all right.ha.ha.
[Fri. Feb. 27. 1914] Fri.27. Sewed some & helped, cook & bake & wash windows Cassovi & his friend spent the evening here played flinch & had a lunch & it was 12 oclock when they went.
[Sat. Feb. 28. 1914] Sat.28. Audrey scrubed the dinning room & kitchen & I mended & sewed some & baked a cake.