About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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The home a picture in words

January 26, 2021

I want to share a bit more about how we do things with our history projects. My intentions with these studies is to learn about the strengths of our generations before us and what was home.  What did home really look like and feel like. 

When I am reading the old newspapers I often fine offensive articles full of prejudice words against race and there are quite often articles that I can clearly see that are written for the purpose to direct people to live a certain way. 

But then there is evidence that many women do not pay any attention to these things that are written in the newspaper. 

There are not a lot of photos from long ago showing the inside the home because cameras did not have flash for inside other than a complicated type of flash that had to be set up for more portrait. Often the homes we do see are drawn or set up for a magazine as examples of home or photos taken for homes of great worth or advertising to sell their products. 

So what about the average home.  I get more clues from the diaries. 

Our home is our refuge, it is where we nourish and refresh.  It is our choice if we bring the outside world inside our home.  We do not have to, it is a choice.  

Our home is our choice of traditions, our choice of what we eat or how we keep our home. It may not be the home we dream of or where we want to remain but wherever it is that we reside still deserves the same upkeep to make it a home for as long as we reside there. 

One of my 1930s diaries is a partial diary, there are missing pages and ended after only four months. But to me it is a wonderful diary because it gives us a glimpse in this home and any diary or a diary from someone that kept a diary long ago left us a picture in words.  I did research to find why it ended and it was not from tragedy but possibly received a new diary because this diary was written on a very old notations book. The writer was skipping days and seemed to be tiring of writing.

I would like to share what is written in this book.  Also some of you have asked if I could share more of Sarah's diary and I do plan to this year in our studies to continue the diary of Sarah.

This short Diary below was written by Bessie. 

During this time of 1939 it was common for women to pay for help in the home if afforded. A  Mrs. Bower came in to help Bessie with housework and washing.  Mrs. Bower lived about three blocks from Bessie. It was common for women to take work to make extra income, some did washing for others, ironing, cleaning, sewing. Two of my great aunts took in mending and sewing.  Charles Grandmother baked cakes.

My neighbors mother pressure canned vegetables and meat for others during the great depression and in return instead of pay was a portion of the food to feed her family.

January 1, 1939

Coming on Sunday with Monday being celebrated, we had planned on going to Steubenville on Sunday.  New Years Day as we had been invited down to dinner and Henry did not have to return to Cleveland until Monday P.M.  The weather was not at all pleasant to make the trip.  Streets icy and very cold so we all remained at home.  Finished up the Christmas turkey and had a very quiet and pleasant time at home.

Jan 2nd

We did not get up very early, late breakfast and did very little.  Had dinner at 2:30 P.M. and Henry left right after dinner for Cleveland.  Did up dinner work and put clothes to soak as the laundress was coming on Tuesday.  Listen to Radio and was disgusted with the programs so retired rather early. 

Jan 3rd

Were up a half hour earlier than usual as Mrs. Bower was coming for the day.  Did the usual housework.  Received a letter in morning mail from Nell C. Mrs. Thomas was in all evening.

Jan 4th

Dampened clothes and ironed. Was thru early, soaked my feet and they felt much better.

Jan 5th

Annie and I went to Youngstown at 10:30 a.m. did a little 5 & 10 shopping. Went to McKelvey's for lunch then to Warner's to see "Sweethearts" Nelson Eddy and Jeannette McDonald.  It was very good. Returned home on the 4 0'clock bus and later spent the evening with Mrs. Thomas. 

Jan 6th

I had Margaret and Elizabeth down for lunch and we all had a lovely time. They left at 5 and Henry came in from Cleveland at 7 P.M. He always seems glad to get home, brought a nice duck and smoked sausage.

Jan 7th

Nothing doing in particular. Paid the Vindicator boy. Henry ordered 1 ton of coal. We are going to Becks this evening. Had a nice dinner at 5 P.M. and at 7 we started for Warren.  The night was just perfect, not cold nor too warm for a winter night. After driving around some we found the Becks, not having been here since they moved. They have a very nice pretty home and we had a lovely evening and a nice dutch luncheon in their breakfast nook.  It was just 11:30 when we came in the house.  Pretty late for we old folks.

Jan 8th

Had breakfast at 9:00, did up the usual work and then stuffed the duck for dinner and then read the Sunday Vindicator.  Had dinner at 2:30 and at 3:45 Henry left for Cleveland.  Listened in to Uncle Ezra and it was bad.

Jan 9th

Cleaned the cupboard drawers in the kitchen this morning and put clothes to soak. Listened in on the radio in the evening and at 9:30 took a good hot bath and a glass of milk and went to bed.  Oliver sent me a box of brown coconut strap.

Jan 10th

Was up at 7:30 and cleaned out furnace. Got breakfast, did up the usual work, Mrs. Bower was here and did washing and a lot of other work as usual. Mailed a letter to Detroit and a card to Henry. Mrs. B brought me a vat of Kraut.

Jan 11th

Up at the usual time, salvation truck here and gave old rugs with a lot of papers and magazines. Did up the usual housework and dressed up and went to Youngstown on the 10:30 bus.  I paid Annie's and my own bill at Strauss. Got some donuts at McKelvay's  and took the 12:30 bus home.  Had a lunch and dampened the clothes. Will have fried mush for supper and bananas and donuts for dessert.

Jan 12th

We were up as usual and after doing up regular work did the ironing. Rested and after an early dinner listened to Lowell Thomas and then went over to see the Jones family.  

Jan 13th

We had a good time at the  Jones last night.  Came home about 10:30 after having some splendid grape juice and cookies. Always have a nice time over there. Mrs. Jones was having a seige of Grippe but was in the mind.

Jan 14th

Did a little extra cleaning today and some mending. Henry was late getting home on account of a heavy snow storm. He brought some delicious all pork sausage.

Jan 15th

Had breakfast late and dinner at 2:00 P.M.  and Henry left for Cleveland at 2:40.  Looked for Helen and John and Bar up but they did not come. 

Jan 16th 

Cleaned up quite good and did some mending.  My robe came from S H Ward.  I am quite pleased with it. Will put the hem in it in a day or so.  Did a lot of mending for Sue. 

Jan 17th

Up late and did regular work and mended nearly all day.

Jan 18th

Nothing new, just did up the usual work and mended.  Put the hem in my robe and washed out a few things.  It has been quite cold and plenty of snow and much firing of the furnace. 

Jan 19th

Was sure we would get a letter from some of the Clay but did not. A lot of add job mending and am glad of it for my eyes are sore. No one has been in all week and it is too cold and slippery to go out.

Jan 20

Henry did not get home until 7:30 this evening, the driving was hard. He brought home eggs, sausage and bread.  I had creamed beef and boiled rice, celery and banana salad, canned plums and gingerbread.  Sue wanted me to come up for a few weeks.

Jan 21

Up late, not much to do, Henry got a ton of coal $7.47 cents. In the afternoon about 4:15 he went Niles and brought Margaret down for dinner in evening.  We took her home at 10:30.

Jan 22

Up late, dinner at 2:00 P.M. and Henry went at 2:30.  John, Helen and Barbe came up at 5:00 P.M. we had a nice visit. We sent John for icecream and I made coffee and had some cake.  Sat at the dining table and had a nice, good time. They left at 7:30 P.M.

Feb 1

John came up for Annie and I about 4:30 P.M. and took us to their home for dinner and Helen had a nice pork roast and all trimmings and a delicious lemon pie. Little Barbara could hardly keep from telling us what the dessert was going to be as it was a secret and her mother.  Had a nice evening and John brought us home about 10:00.  It was a lovely day and paid the milk bill.

Feb 4th

Went downtown and paid the grocery meat bills.  It was a nice day and enjoyed the little ride down. Henry was home and took me down.  

Feb 5th

Oliver and family were down today and how I did enjoy them.  The children are growing and are so good.  We had a nice stewed chicken and all the trimmings for dinner at 1:00 P.M.  Had a lunch at 6:00 before they went back to Cleveland. It was a lovely day.

Feb 6th

Annie and I went to Youngstown this morning.  Did a little 5 & 10 shopping.  Bought birthday card for Mrs. Gallagher, our birthdays come on the same day February 24th.  

Feb 8th

Mrs. Bower was here today and did the regular washing and a lot of curtains and took the living room curtains to Mrs. Price to do up.  

Feb 9th

We did part of the ironing today and Mrs. Price brought home the curtains today. It is nice to have her so handy.

Feb 10th

Put clean curtains up all over the house and everything is good and clean.  Henry came home as usual and brought some ham.  

Feb 16th

We went to Youngstown, saw Frank Winds, I had a foot treatment the first I had since November. 1937. Bought a small English Ivy plant.

Feb 17th

Henry home as usual, brought home eggs, sausage and bread.  It is our 47th wedding anniversary.  

Feb 18th

Nothing doing but the usual weekend work. Paid the Vindicator boy.

Feb 20th

Mrs. Bower came today instead of tomorrow. Got everything done as usual. 

Feb 21st

Bought donuts from the Church ladies and did some ironing.

Feb 24th

This is my 72 nd birthday.  Had two dollars from Annie and beautiful birthday cards from Detroit, Wheeling, Cleveland , Youngstown and a beautiful old Ivy plant from Cleveland. Put the $2.00 towards a pair of blue bedroom slippers to go with my new blue robe. Henry came home as usual, brought ham and eggs and bread. 

Feb 25th

Paid the Vindicator boy

Feb 26th

It is a terrible day. Hate to have Henry drive back to Cleveland but can't help it. 

Feb 27th

Wrote to Nellie, had no special news to tell her but I expect she was glad to here from us.

March 2nd

Walked down town to pay the monthly bills. Did not see anyone I knew.

March 3rd

Henry came home today as usual. Not much news.

March 5th

The Beans were up today, they had been up to Warren and stopped on their way home.  Barbara is growing fast.  Mrs. Thomas came in after Church. 

March 7th

Mrs. Bower was here today and we are clean for another week. 

March 9th

We spent the evening with Mrs. Thomas. Millie Thomas was there also and we had a very pleasant time. 

March 10th

Henry came home as usual, always glad to come, looked tired. 

March 14th

Annie and I went down to Youngstown and did some shopping - Easter cards and we had lunch at McKelvey's . 

March 16th

Mrs. Jones - Blanch and Grace were over all evening and we had such a nice time, I made cocoa and had wafers and cheese.

March 23

Margaret Robbins came down this afternoon. I made waffles for supper and had fruit salad and coffee, took her to bus.  

March 26th

Mr. Patterson was in for money towards flowers for Mr. Peirson's mother who died last night.  Contributed .50cts. The neighbors on our square gave the same. Oliver and Virginia and Jack came over from Sharon for several hours. They came down this morning to spend the day with Sue's folks. She had a bad cold so she did not come.

March 27th

I cleaned the cupboards in the kitchen and the stove burners before the kitchen had the spring cleaning.  I also cleaned the medicine cabinets in the bathroom. 

March 28th

Mrs. Bower came today and cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms.

March 29th

Mrs. Thomas was down for the evening. She does not look very well, I made cocoa and had crackers. She stayed until 10:00.

March 30th

Cleaned more drawers today and other small jobs.  

March 31st

Henry came home, brought home eggs, bread and hot cross buns. Sue had a bad sore throat.

April 1st

Paid bills as usual on the first of the month. Has been a very gloomy day, rained nearly all day. Henry is washing his Corduroy Hunting Coat, he surely does provoke me.

April 2nd

It has been a very nice day. John, Helen and Barbara came up this afternoon and we had a nice time.  They were all well. Henry left at 4:30 for Cleveland. Annie and I listened to the radio, was discussed with it.  We had a lunch of corn flakes and milk and locked up the house. I took a bath and was in bed at 9:15.

April 3rd

Annie and I went to Youngstown this morning. I bought a new spring hat which I badly needed. Also rayon tea rose suit and some bird seed and two Easter cards. That is nine all together. will mail them Wednesday evening. Had lunch at McKelvey's.

April 4th

Mrs. Bower was here today. Washed and gave the back porch it's spring cleaning. Had a letter from Sophia.  In bed at 9:00 P.M.

April 5th

Did up the usual housework and dampened clothes.  Listened in on the radio. Nina was in for a short time. The Darro's have sold their store to Mr. Mudling. Annie is cleaning her room and I am cleaning out the desk and table drawers in the living room. 

April 6th

It was very cold here today. We ironed and I did some mending.  Did not feel very good and went to bed early.

April 7th

Cleaned up the house good and it being good Friday we listened to some services and singing appropriate to the day.  Henry came down in good time, had a splendid fish fry dinner, also a good apple pie. We received some very lovely Easter cards. 

April 8th

Did nothing special today. Listened to the National Barn Dance the second half hour was quite good, Easter Hymns. 

April 9th

Easter Sunday.  Watched the Easter Parade coming from the Churches and there were a great many people out in all colors of the rainbow wearing gowns, coats and hats. Green was particularly the dominating color for Men's suits and hats. We did not go out, had a nice Chicken dinner and had our first strawberry shortcake. I am tired and will retire early.

April 16th

Oliver and family were down all day and we had a real nice time. They left for home at 7:30, Henry following them. 

April 18th

Mrs. Bower here and washed and did a little cleaning.

April 21st

We went in to Youngstown today, had shoes re-heeled an a foot treatment and lunch at McKelvey's . 

May 14th

Mothers Day and Oliver was here alone. Sue and children were at Sharon. Oliver brought lovely pictures of the children. He has a new car and we all went down to Poland and called on Mrs. Fitch. She certainly does hold up splendidly over Hanks Death. 

This the end of this Diary, Grandma Donna

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