Thursday, July 23, 2009

My how times have changed!

If you read my last post, you know that I recently purchased a diary written by an unknown woman in 1952. I began browsing her entries last night and realized how much times have changed!

I have read large portions of my great grandmother's diary from the late 1800's, early 1900's. My great grandmother was a fantastic person and I have wonderful memories of her. She traveled from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon, married and had 5 children on a ranch that she and her husband owned. Due to unusual circumstances, my great grandmother ended up running the ranch on her own. So as I began reading the diary, I expected all of the "feelings" and "emotions" you might think about in doing this, as a woman, in a time where women had no rights. You would be completely wrong. The diary outlines how many men she fed, how much crops were harvested and the costs of things. A typical entry: "10 men fed, half of the harvest done, 1 man dead, Dr visit $2." There was absolutely nothing about who died or why. Did she like this person? Was she sad? Did the man have a family? It's not that my great grandmother was cold or hard. In fact, she was quite the opposite. Another entry I recall: "Train to World's Fair $1. Lunch .10, souvenir .02." Did they have fun? What did they see? Who went with them? But for people of this era, things were just....different.

But 50 years later, it seems that not much had changed. This anonymous diary is very similar. "July 8, 1952: Sprayed dandilions here and at CR. Cut some of our lawn. Shower and some hail. hi 92. got haircut $1.15. Mr and Mrs. Haas of the Springs were here today" Who are the Haas'? Why were they there? Did they have a nice time? Did she like her haircut?

Today, we rely on feelings and emotions. Could you imagine spending time writing down the weather without how you felt about it? If I were the writer of my diary today the entry would look more like this: July 8, 2009: Worked on the yard until it began raining. Gosh, will the rain ever stop? It makes me so depressed to not be able to spend time in my garden. The hail was coming down and I had to run outside and make sure that I put the cars back in the garage so that they wouldn't get damaged. Since it was raining, I was glad that I had an appointment at the salon for a cut and color. Mandy did such a great job and my hair looks FABULOUS! Justin and Monica came over. I can't believe that they are still married! He is such a jerk! Why would she put up with him?

I guess somethings are better without the emotion.


  1. I FEEL pretty good about your blog today. I just wish I had gone and got my hair cut and styled for $75 because the Haas' are coming for dinner.

  2. I've never read an old diary so didn't realize they wrote with such lack of feelings and emotions. Very interesting!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  3. That is so interesting. I've read a diary by a male relative but thought it was so clinical because it was a guy. Who knew that we had changed so much in the past 100 years. Makes you wonder if they were just too busy to record their feelings or if they didn't have the same self actualization that we do now about our feelings.

  4. Paper was a luxury, in part I think the straight forward diary entries were to conserve space. Life was hard and you did what you had to do, it really didn't matter whether it was fun or you had a good time. Responsibility was key, staying alive was key. People didn't smother people with compliments and good wishes. I've read several old diaries, factual things is what I've read. People were more straight forward in the dealings with others, you said what you wanted without trying to be politically correct, without wondering if they would need a counseling appointment if you hurt their feelings etc.

    Have fun reading
    Traveling Suitcase