Monday, January 2, 2017

My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 5

Last month 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.

March 28 - 30,  March 1 - 3

Sun. Mar. 28, 1920
Got up at 8.30 had break
fast went to church.  Ma
and Pa went down to
Nana’s after dinner. I went
for a little walk with Eunice & Rozella
Home all evening played the
Victrola Ma home 8.15 bed at 9.30


Monday 29
Got up at 6.45 went to
school came home at
1.15 stayed home all
the afternoon. Stayed
home all evening and
played games.  Pa over
to Russell’s went to bed 9.45


Tuesday 30
Got up at 7.00 went
to school got home at 1.15
worked awhile and then went
down A&P with Marion
stayed at home all
????  went to bed 9.30

[Note:  On March 28th Gertrude went for a walk with her friends Bertha and Rozella.  I'm not sure of the identity of Bertha.  There were lots of Berthas in the 1920 census of Beverly, Massachusetts, but there was only one Rozella.  According to the 1920 census of Beverly she lived at 431 Elliott Street  (Gertrude and her family lived at 453 Elliott Street).  Rozella was the 17 year old daughter of Joseph and Nancy Brindle.  Her father also worked at "The Shoe", as a Lather Hand in the machine shop.  The Brindles were from England, but their three daughters were all born in Massachusetts.

Russell, her newly married brother, lived in Lynn at this time.  Pa (her father, Arthur Hitchings) probably took a train from Beverly to Lynn to visit Russell on the 29th.

On the 30th Gertrude and her friend Marion went to the A&P, which was a local grocery store.]

[out of order - pages fell from the fragile diary]

Mon. Mar. 1, 1920
Got up at 6.30 had
breakfast  walked to school, got
a ride home.  Home all after
noon went skiing at 4.30 stayed
until 5.30.  After supper
went to pictures with Eunice, Rozella and
Alice got home at 11 bed at 11.15


Tuesday 2
Got up at 6.30 walked
to school and back got home
1.45 had dinner went skiing
all afternoon.  Home all
evening, played Victrola &
studied Ma & Pa over to
Mrs. Butler’s went to bed 10.15


Wednesday 3
Got up at 6.30 walked to
school got there 8.15 got a ride
home.  Home at 1.30. Went skiing
a little while.  Marion up this PM
went down to Marion’s cousins home
at 11.00 went to bed at 11.15 PM

[NOTE:  These pages mention Gertrude skiing.  I don't know where she went skiing in Beverly, but perhaps the local kids just made do on a local hillside.  She mentions friends name Marion, Rozella and Alice, as well as her sister Eunice.  I still don't know who they are (except Rozella).]

March 4 - 9, 1920

Thurs, Mar. 4, 1920
Got up at 6.30 walked
 to school arrived at 8.  Found
a wrist watch on way home.  Got
home 1.45 stayed home all of
afternoon.  Stayed home
all evening and read
went to bed at 9.00


Friday 5
Got up 6.30 walked
To school. Home at 1.45.  Shoe
Struck today at 9am.  Found
The owner of the wrist watch
Home all afternoon
And evening and
Went to bed at 9.


Saturday 6
Got up at 8.00 worked
around the house all the
morning.  Awful storm blowing
hard worse storm they fear
Stayed home all even-

ing.  ???  my bed at 9. PM

[NOTE: Gertrude had a little adventure on March 4th and 5th when she found a wrist watch, and then found the owner the next day.  She mentions a strike at "The Shoe" [Beverly's United Shoe Machinery Corporation].  There were labor problems all throughout the 1920s when the shoe industry began to decline in Massachusetts.  However, "The Shoe" stayed in Beverly until the 1970s, and many members of my family worked there until then.]

Sun. Mar. 7, 1920
Got up at 8.15 took a
bath had breakfast went slid-
Ing before dinner over Crosby’s
Great sliding, all ice.  Went slid-
Ing after dinner.  Good skating
Over there, too. Came home
At 9.30 went to bed at 9.45


Monday 8
Got up at 6.45 walked to
school got home at 1.45
Worked until 3.30 then went
sliding over Crosby’s came
home 5.45 went sliding
after supper too stayed
until 9.15 bed at 10.00


Tuesday 9
Got up at 6.45 walked
to school and back.  Home
at 2.  Ma went downtown.
I went up to Marion’s cousins and
Went sliding, went sliding

After supper went to bed 9.45

[NOTE: I'm amazed at how many times Gertrude went sledding in this diary since the beginning of January! Often several times a day!]

My blog post about "The Shoe" in Beverly, The United Shoe Machinery Corporation:

At the Smithsonian, there is an online guide to the archives of "The Shoe", or the United Shoe Machinery Corporation:    

Part 1 of this series, the first entries of Gertrude's diary in January 1920:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary - Part 5", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 2, 2017,
( accessed [access date]). 


  1. I am enjoying these posts! My attempt at deciphering the handwriting on the 30th: "stayed home all ? evening" and on the 6th: "all evening reading bed at 9:15"

    Having kept a 5 year diary when I was ages 9-14, I know how it is to squish things in and not use punctuation.

    And since there was no Internet, TV or even radio to amuse her at home, it's no wonder that she spent free time sledding, skiing and walking with friends.

  2. Yes, it's amazing how she filled her days with physical activity. And how much she walked. I know some of the places she walked to go sledding were quite far from her house. I wonder if she carried her sled or toboggan all the way!

  3. Thank you for sharing this diary. When I was 15, we walked miles to sled down a big hilly area. We spent much of the short days of winter sledding, skating, etc. Then home to dinner and bed. Winter in Ct.

  4. Are your Simonds also spelled Symonds? I have John Symonds 1593-1671.

    1. My Simonds line comes from immigrant William Simonds (1612 - 1672) who settled in Woburn, Massachusetts.