Monday, December 19, 2016

My Grandmother's Diary - Part 3

The Hitchings Family
The parents are Florence and Arthur Hitchings.
The children are (left to right):  Gertrude (the baby) b. 1905, Eunice (on
father's lap) b. 1904, standing Russell b. 1897,  Hollis, b. 1903 (with toy),
and Helen, b. 1900 (in chair).
There were two more children born after this photo -
Gordon b. 1907 and Mildred b. 1909

Two weeks ago I started to scan and transcribe my grandmother's tiny 3" diary and publish those pages on my blog.  Gertrude Hitchings was fourteen years old, and kept this little diary for the year 1920.  You can read the first installment HERE.  I'll be posting sections of this diary every week for Amanuensis Monday. 

January 28 - February 2, 1920

Page 10
Wed. Jan 28, 1920
Got up at 7 went to
school, home 1:15.  Home all
afternoon.  Went down Ella’s 3:45
Went sliding after
supper down Eastern ave came
home 9:00 went to bed at 9:30.


Thursday 29
Got up at 7 went to school
got our report cards today home 1:15
Home all afternoon and
stayed home all the
evening and read
went to bed at 9:15


Friday 30
Got up at 7 went to school
home stayed home and
worked all afternoon.  Went
sliding over to Friend street
Home 8:45 bed at 10:00

[Notes:  On the 28th Gertrude went sledding on Eastern Avenue, not far from where she lived on Elliott Street, and not far from the golf course where she usually sledded.  I wonder if she stayed home on the 29th to read because of her grades on her report card!  

On the 30th she went sledding on Friend Street, which is contiguous to Elliott.]

Page 11
Sat. Jan. 31, 1920
Got up at 7:30 had break-
Fast work around the
House all day.  Mr. Lowell come
Up at five and stayed
Until 9.  Eunice gone down to
Helen’s.  Awful cold tonight. Bed at 10


Sunday, Feb. 1
Got up at 10 had break-
Fast.  15 below this morning.
Went sliding after
Dinner over to Friend
Street.  Went sliding all evening
Came home 9:15 went to bed 10.


Monday 2

Got up at 7:00 went
To school.  Awful warm
Today.  Home all the
Afternoon.  Went sliding after
Supper.  No good sliding came
home 8:15 went to bed at 9pm

[Note:  Eunice is Gertrude's older sister by one year.  She went to Helen's house for a visit- Helen is the eldest sister who was married and had three very young children at this time.] 

February 2 - February 8, 1920

Tues.  Feb. 3, 1920
Got up at 7.00 went to
school.  Mildred is
awful sick.  Home all
afternoon and home
all the evening and
studied went to
bed at 9.15

Wednesday 4
Up at 7.00 went to school.
Mildred is awful sick
had to call Dr. Hyendian [sp?]
last night 2 AM she was unconscious
Went sliding at 4.15.  Went
sliding over Giles Ave after supper
Home 8.45 bed 9.30

Thursday 5
Got up at 7.  Terrible
Storm today no cars couldn’t
get to school. Home all day.
Trains late Pa & Russel home.
8.15 storm awful now and ???
Went to bed at 9.30 PM

[Note:   Mildred is the youngest sibling in the Hitchings family.  In last week's transcription she came down with mumps.  It must have been a very serious case, and she was extremely ill.  I'm sure that it was very scary in 1920, before antibiotics and modern medicine.  Does anyone know the name of this doctor in Beverly in 1920?  I checked the censuses and city directory, but can't figure out the surname.

It looks like a big snowstorm hit Beverly on Feb. 5 and 6, that left the city without trolley cars, trains and school for several days.  According to some reports I saw in newspapers online, the storm hit the northeast between February 4 - 7 and left 13" in Boston and 17.5" in New York, with very high winds.  It is a good thing the doctor arrived to treat Mildred before the big storm hit Beverly!]

Fri. Feb. 6, 1920
Got up at 7.30.  No cars to-
Day, didn’t go to school.
Mildred is some better to-
Day.  Rain and ?? all day
Went over to Mrs. Butlers
All afternoon.  home all evening
went to bed at 9.45

Saturday 7
Got up at 7:30.  Snowed
hard this morning there
has been no car today
Worked around the
house all morning.  Mildred is
better.  Went down A& P with
Ethel & Eunice went to bed 10.15


Sunday 8
Got up at 9 took a bath
Had breakfast at 10.  Men are
Digging out the car tracks.  Took
a walk up to see the big drift up
Danvers. Home all evening
and studied went to to bed at 9.00

[Note:  Thankfully, Mildred seemed to recover from her terrible illness with mumps.  The big blizzard still affected school and transportation all week.  The "A&P" was a big grocery store on Cabot Street when I was growing up in Beverly in the 1960s.  I don't know the location in 1920, but it must have been near Elliott Street (walking distance) since the trolley cars were out of service after this blizzard.   Gertrude mentions the "big drift up [at] Danvers" (the next town), which must have been quite a sight if she took a special trip to see it!] 

For photos of the big blizzard February 4 - 7 in Massachusetts and New England, see this link:  

Read Part 1 of Gertrude's diary at this link:

UPDATE 20 Dec 2016 8am - Thank you to reader Sandra Steele DeFord who identified "Giles Street" for me on the February 4th diary entry.  She also sent a list of names of physicians from the Beverly death records Jan - March 1920.  What a great idea!  I'm thinking that the doctor who was called to treat Mildred for her mumps was Dr. Hyman Yudin, a Latvian immigrant who lived on Rantoul Street in Beverly.


Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary - Part 3", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 19, 2016,  ( accessed [access date]). 

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