Monday, February 13, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 10 April 27 – May 8, 1920

Idlewood Lake in Wenham, Massachusetts
This is the 10th installment of my grandmother's diary from 1920.  Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 - 2001), and she was living on Elliott Street in Beverly, Massachusetts.  The diary is a tiny 3", and every Monday I publish a new section, with transcriptions of the tiny handwriting.  You can read the first installment HERE.  I'll post more of this diary every week for Amanuensis Monday.

TUES.  APR. 27, 1920
Got up at 7.00 had breakfast.
At 10 o’clock went down
town with Eunice did an errand for
ma, home 11.30 had dinner at
12.30 stay around the
house all afternoon.  Mr. Lowell over
Went out a little while after supper bed 8.15

Got up at 8 o’clock had
Breakfast.  Home all morning
knitting & sewing.  Mrs. Butler over
after dinner.  Took a walk with
Gordon and pa up Elliott St.
Went out a little while after
supper played game went to bed at 9.

Got up at 7.15 stayed at
home all the morning.
after dinner took a ride with Bob
up N. B. [North Beverly] and Danvers.  Went out a little
while after supper but it rained
went to bed at 9 o’clock

[NOTE:  There are several mysterious characters mentioned here – Mr. Lowell again (who I figured must be a teacher and a former boarder at their home according to my mother), Mrs. Butler, and who is Bob?  Gertrude underlined his name several times in her diary. My mother thinks Bob was someone's boyfriend, possibly Eunice's boyfriend?  Eunice was 15 years old, her brother Gordon was 12, and Millie was 10 years old.]

FRI.  APR. 30, 1920
Got up at 7.30 went
downtown with Gordon.  After
dinner went to ride with Brick,
Bea came down, we took a ride
down to Helen’s.  After supper
took a walk came home
and went to bed at 10.15

Got up at 7.30 had breakfast
worked around the house all morn-
ing before dinner went down ???
came home played ball.  After
dinner went up woods got some
flowers then played ball.  Marion up
after supper Mr. Lover went to bed 10.30

Got up at 8.30 had breakfast
Bea went home at 10  Hollis went
with her.  Mr. & Mrs. Earley & Russell
and Ethel down.  After dinner went to
walk with Etta and Mildred.  Home all
the evening bed at 9.30.

[NOTE:   More friends – Brick, Bea and Marion are friends Gertrude mentions many times.  Helen is Gertrude’s married sister, who lived nearby with her young family.  Hollis is Gertrude’s 16 year old brother, Mildred is little sister. Etta was her grandmother.   Russell is her married brother and Ethel is his new bride.  Mr. and Mrs. Early are a mystery.]

MON. MAY 3, 1920
Got up at 6.45 went
To school home at
1.15 had dinner went to
ride up Wenham with Bob and
Marion.  Home all evening
Ma down town.  Went
to bed at 9 o’clock.

Got up at 7.00 went
to school home at 1.15
had dinner.  Home all the
afternoon  Ma came up.  Belle
came up to supper.
went to ride over N. B. [North Beverly]
with Brick.  Went to bed at 9.15

Got up at 7.00 went
to school.  Home 1.15 Helen
Nana and Mable
up took the baby out all
afternoon.  Ellsworth up to
supper home all the
evening went to bed at 9.45

[NOTE:  When Gertrude mentions “dinner” she means lunch.  Supper was the evening meal. Bob’s name is underlined again.   Belle is her mother’s youngest sister, who was unmarried at this time.]

THURS. May 6, 1920
Got up at 7.00 went to
school.  Home at 1.15 Ethel
over she and ma went to
Danvers after dinner home all
afternoon alone.  Hollis took
me to the Waldorf Lynn to
the show.  Went to bed at 12.

Got up at 7.00 went to
school home 1.15.  Went
up to Idlewood with Bob
and Eunice came home
5.45 had supper.  Stayed
Around the house all evening
Alone went to bed at 9.30.

Got up at 7.30 had
breakfast worked all the
morning and all after
noon.  Mr. Lowell came
over this afternoon.  Bowers
over after supper. Bed at 11.

[NOTE:    The Waldorf Theatre in Lynn, Massachusetts was a movie theater operated by Warner Brothers Studios.  It opened in 1889 first as a theater, and in 1920 as a movie house.  It was closed in 1956, and demolished in 1965. 

Idlewood was a lake in Wenham, Massachusetts, now called Pleasant Pond.  You can see a 1990 video of an oral history project with a gentleman reminiscing about Idlewood Lake in the 1920s at this link (skip up to minute 34 of the video):   Apparently it was quite the recreation area in the early part of the 20th century with a dance hall, and boat rentals, accessible by trolley (street cars) from Beverly.]

The entrance to the Idlewild Lake park in Wenham, Massachusetts


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 10 April 27 – May 8, 1920", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 13, 2017,  ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. What a beautiful post - thanks for sharing. Very nice photos

  2. That teeny diary is so cute. She would never have imagined that it would become so famous!

  3. Interesting about Idlewood/Pleasant Pond!