Snapshots and Stories:
June 1, 1909
Frank and I have just finished discussing our day. He is tired and has just rolled over to sleep as I write this journal entry. Today was a good day.
I awoke just after 6:00 AM today and arrived downstairs just in time to help Mary, one of the hired girls, finish breakfast. She is a good worker, the daughter of a needy member of our community. Frank knew that the family needed a little extra money, so he hired her as "house help" for the summer. Mary is good, but she could be a better cook. I will have to continue to help her get better.
Frank and the girls, Isabelle and Gertrude, came down an hour later and had breakfast with me. After our meal, Frank read Chapter Five of Revelations to the family before going to the office. Frank and I have decided that I will teach our children at home instead of sending to them to the public school. I am grateful that our girls will learn to read and write from their mother. I am also grateful that I will be able to instruct them on the Christian Faith in addition to their schooling. Frank tells me that the townspeople are not excited about my home schooling the girls, but he thinks it will be best.
After the reading from Revelations, Frank went on his way and the girls went off to play. The ride to the office takes only five minutes. Some mornings Frank will have Jack harness two horses to his buggy, but this process takes twice as long as saddling the horse.
I then had time for my morning devotions. Todays Bible passages dealt with serving your fellow man. I think I spent more than an hour praying today, longer than usual, mainly because I prayed for Mr. Followell, who was kicked in the head by a mule. Frank telephoned me that day to assist with stitches, but I could not and sent Mary in my place.
I am so glad we and many of the rural areas have telephone service. Our telephone was installed shortly after the house was built. The operator keeps careful tabs on Frank, knowing where he is at all times. If a patient needs him, they only have to pick up the phone and contact the operator, who in turn, contacts Frank whether he is in the office or on a house call.
After devotions, I spent two hours in the garden weeding and watering. This years garden looks very good. I am expecting a good canning season later this summer. It is very important that the hired girls and I keep the garden and do a good job canning for the winter. One never knows what hardships lie in the depth of winter. The Keane family was quarantined last winter, making outside contact with the town virtually impossible. A good supply of canned goods was essential in that instance.
Frank did not come home for lunch today, instead telephoning and asking that I take lunch to him in the office. I asked Mary to feed Isabelle and Gertrude while I took Frank his meal. The office was particularly busy today, mainly because of an outbreak of the flu. Frank thought that he might not make it home for supper.
I spent the afternoon sewing and praying. Isabelle ripped her blue dress and Gertrude needed a shawl for her bed. Usually it takes me an hour to make one medallion or section of the shawl, but today I was able to work especially fast, completing two in just over seventy-five minutes.
Isabelle and Gertrude are still too small to begin piano lessons, but love to tinker on the instrument. Gertrude will begin schooling with me in the fall. I have started with her in secret, knowing that Isabelle will want to "play school" with her older sister. I am very proud of the girls and hope that they will eagerly wish to learn.
I spent about an hour pruning my flower garden and picking the right combination of roses for the dinner table. Some of my plants in the parlor, a fern and a spider plant, were looking a little withered, so I placed them on the porch. I warned Isabelle not to kill them. That child has a mean streak in her. She loves to break or "kill" things with Franks hammer to see what makes them work.
Mary spent her day cleaning the house, starting in the sitting room. One never knows who might come calling on any given day. I make it a point to keep the house clean at all times. Having hired girls around allows me time to spend outdoors with my garden and flowers.
Mary and I started dinner around 4:00 PM. We began by killing, plucking and cleaning two of our less productive chickens. When the chickens stop giving eggs they usually end up dinner within a week. These were still plump and tender. Potatoes were from last years garden, kept in the cellar over the winter to keep from spoiling. Canned beans from last years garden and fresh lettuce from this years garden rounded out the meal (it is still too early for many of our gardens vegetables). We did have radishes from the garden, because they are the first to grow in the spring.
I telephoned Frank at the office around 5:45 to remind him of dinner at six. He said he would be running late and would eat when he got home. No need to bring his meal to the office, he said.
The girls and I ate with Mary around six oclock and had all the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned by seven. Frank arrived home at seven-thirty, ate, and went back out for house calls.
The girls had some time to play before their baths at eight. After bathing, we said evening prayers and I put them to bed. They are so vibrant and loving. I wish their father could see them growing up as I do, but I know he loves them and wants to provide for them. Besides, his patients need him. I try my best to be both father and mother to the girls, but at times I can see their disappointment. They love their father dearly, as I do, but do not understand his commitment to his practice.
I heard Franks horse in the yard around 11:00 PM. Looking out the window I could see his faint lantern lighting his way. Both man and steed were tired and hungry from the long evening. Frank visited four families after dinner while out on house calls. Thankfully, Jack, Franks hired man who helps with livestock and the crops, stayed late working on some horse harnesses and was able to put up Franks horse. Jack is a great friend to Frank, and I am thankful for him.
After a quick snack of bread and honey by carbide light, Frank came upstairs to bed. Frank loved the latest "technology" as he called it and had the carbide lights installed in our home. They shed much more light than lanterns or candles, but cost much more. They are still no match for Mother Nature and the sun.
Our usual bed-time conversation consisted of his patients and our family. Mrs. Willimington was due to have her baby any day now. Frank hoped that they would have a boy, as he always does. Having two girls himself, Frank hopes that our next child will be a boy. I really want to give him a boy, but feel that I can raise girls a little bit better.
Next month will be our fourth year in this home. It is truly our dream home. Franks practice is soaring and I hope to remain in Greentop for many years to come.
I finally turn out the carbide light around midnight.
A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Master of Arts