Introduction to the Diary


December 8, 2009       

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After someone is gone, it is most of the time difficult to know a lot more about their lives than what they told us while alive.  Going through Mom's home has been sad but somewhat an adventure.  Just like after Judy's Mom died, there are so many things discovered that make you wish you could have ask about or known what importance the item was to the family. The many pictures have been such a treasure from both of them.

The purpose of this page it to share an item that we never knew existed for the 60+ years we knew our Mother.  She grew up during the Depression and there were the stories about her family life during that period but never did she have complaints and usually talked about the fun of extended families getting together to visit or play cards or prepare meals.  There were also the stories about our Grandfather farming during that difficult period and how our Mom and her sisters worked with him because it needed done and they had an abundance of girls.

We discovered her 5 Year Diary that started on January 1, 1935 and ended December 31, 1939.

This was a difficult time of the Depression and still not a prosperous time especially for a farmer.  The diary depicts her life starting as seen through the eyes, or the pen, of a 16 year old Indiana farm girl in High School and ends with her marriage in1939.   I found a website that gives a great summary of that period.  Come back and check it out after reading some of the diary.  For many of you it will give the explanation about the "free show".  Of course that is later in the summer months when the weather is better.

That little book had to be a good friend for her to be so disciplined to make entries almost every day during those years.  Even if it was only to record her famous "Did nothing" that she continued to use as a description for the rest of her life.  I sometimes, and especially after reading her activities, think that really referred to not going somewhere.   There were periods where she also would leave many days blank.  You wonder why and would have been a good question to ask.

The first page has written on it that it was a Christmas present from her sister, Nevelle, in 1935 but I could give her a hard time if she were here by asking how she started the diary on the first day of January 1935 if that was true.  I assume it was Christmas 1934.      

Would she want me to publish these?  Probably not, but I want to share with you because it gives the feeling that she is still with us.  I think there have been books published with much less information than is contained in her diary.  I thank her for doing it.

I had some doubts about hurting the bindings of the diary to properly scan the pages but decided that having the opportunity to share it was more important than any damage. 

I will divide them up into groups of about a week at a time.  The structure of the diary is that the same page had all five years on it.  Takes some moving around to follow in same year. You'll see.

As you read through these pages I challenge everyone to record all the movies she attended.

I could not believe how many times they "went to the show" and in how many different towns. 

She refers to several family members and in most cases there are pictures of them on the list under her picture on the front page.  That little space for that day went from blank to mundane (ironed) to historical (flood worse) to family tragedy (Nevelle passed away about 6:00).

In 1939 she started referring to our Dad and mentions him hauling livestock.  A picture is below.  Pretty classy outfit and truck thanks to the Potter Brothers.  

The Diary

Weekly List

Fern Bush, driver, Potter Brothers Transfer
Dana, Indiana Late 1930's




Weighing a big catfish caught in the Wabash. Grandpa died a few days
later from a ruptured aortic aneurism. July 8, 1967


Charles P. and Vivian Stewart family-Married 1911
Newport, Indiana

About 1918 (Grandma holding Louise)



Early 1920's (Louise on the right)


Nevelle died in the big heat wave of 1936 of pneumonia



Late 1930's
Maxine, Louise, Helen
Harry, Vivian and Charlie Stewart




50th Annivesary-1961