Monday, November 06, 2017

Aunt Emma's diary … #2

You're right AC. I do have one more highlight from her diary but this will be the last.

I was born on February 15th, 1933 … the youngest of five girls. My mother sketched this picture of me while we were both still in the hospital. We were living in New Jersey at the time, far from elderly & austere Aunt Emma in Brattleboro, Vt. As I mentioned in my last entry I was given many of her diaries after she died and I was pleased to see that I had the 1933 one. 

Of course I was interested in reading what she wrote about my birth. Surely she would wax a bit poetic about such a huge event. I quickly turned to Feb. 15th and was surprised to see nothing written there but the weather report and her expenditure of 6 cents on two postal stamps.

So I turned the page and there it was … not quite the glowing report that I had hoped. Instead she wrote: “phone call from Jimmie this morning told us that Ruth had a 5th girl. Her name is Virginia. We had no idea that Ruth was pregnant”.   

Oh well … as Arkansas Patti commented on my last blog: “Perhaps she left out the good stuff as in those days it might not be seemly”. That is a small comfort but I bet she just left out the “sweet and precious” part that my dad was sure to have said !


Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ginnie, I enjoyed reading this and the previous posts about your very frugal and practical Aunt Emma. Apparently, she was also sparse with enjoying happy family news. I did smile after reading the post about how she saved the toilet paper after a Halloween prank.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Lol. That aunt was really something, Ginnie. 🙂

4:46 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That drawing is a nice keepsake for you.

Today we give such positive reinforcement to children, but some of the older generation believed that the opposite was appropriate -- to keep kids humble and striving, I suppose. Not that this fits Aunt Emma necessarily, but it made an association in my head.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I love that drawing. How wonderful that it has survived. It is just precious. Your Mom was talented.
One sure has to feel for Aunt Emma's rather bleak life. Her life may not have actually been bleak (I mean you entered it in grand style) but her view of it was. So sad.

8:38 AM  
Blogger possum said...

I remember that drawing... as AP said, it is precious.
Of course we will never know what your Aunt really thought about things... it was not in her upbringing to share any of these emotions.
Reading your posts about her made me think of Christina Baker Kline's latest book, A Piece of the World: A Novel, about Christina Olson. As you know, I am involved with the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford that contains many of the Andrew Wyeth paintings (as well as his father, NC, son Jamie, and other relatives) and Christina Olson was the woman in the field in the painting Christina's World, the painting that brought great fame to Andrew.
Christina was a New England spinster born in Cushing, Maine in 1893, I think it was... Having taught a unit on the Wyeth family in high school and elementary school, I knew a bit about Christina's struggles in life thru Andrew's paintings. And even tho Kline's book is a novel, I also know it was thoroughly researched and is probably as accurate or even more accurate than many biographies.
I really think you would enjoy the book as it gives a feeling for that generation of New England women, and a feel for remaining unwed at that time in history. It is not a 'happy' book as Christina had some serious physical issues... she was crawling thru that field because she could not walk, crawling was how she got around and maintained her independence such as it was.
Andrew Wyeth's wife's family had a summer place not far from the Olson's and Betsy Wyeth knew her as a girl - and brought Andrew to meet Christine before she married him.
If you know the Wyeth's or just some of Andrew's paintings, you will have to be pulled into this book and the lives of these people. And in reading it, I know it helped me understand some of my old aunties born back in the 1890s- and their lives that were so foreign to my 'modern' world.

Thanks for your post. I am sure your Auntie was beyond thrilled with your birth and how sad she was unable to let anyone know how much she must have loved you.

8:45 AM  
Blogger joared said...

Knowing my grandmother who was a young woman in the late 1800’s and my own mother, her brother’s and sisters some of whom lived in that period, they could be a very reserved lot. Likely recording any personally revealing thoughts or other matters would not have occurred — just the facts, ma’m. She would likely have had feelings for you, but writing about her feelings seems not to be her pattern, especially if you don’t find her doing so much on others elsewhere.

1:26 AM  

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