Monday, February 20, 2017

My Grandmother's Diary Part 11 (May 9 - 20, 1920)

1920 advertisement for Doan's Kidney and Backache pills

This is the 8th 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.

In these two weeks of diary entries Gertrude was sick with a mysterious illness...

Got up at 9 o’clock had
breakfast stayed home all
morning.  Mr. Lowell stayed over-
night.  Took a walk with Marion
& Annie came home 5.45.  Russ & Ethel
came down but didn’t stay.
Home all evening went to bed 9.30

Monday 10
        Pa’s birthday         Fair
Got up at 7.45 went
To school home 1.15 Went to Salem with Ma
3.45 got a pair of shoes came
home 6.15.  Went out after
supper a little while
went to bed at 10.15

Got up at 7.00 went to
school at 7.45 home at 1.15
Stayed home all afternoon
Went out a while
after supper came in
9.30 went to bed at 9.45

[NOTE: This seems like a normal week for Gertrude with school and errands. The mysterious Mr. Lowell "stayed over", which makes me think he might have been the boarder my mother mentioned.  Marian is her first cousin, Annie must be a school friend.  Russ and & Ethel are her married brother and his new bride. ]

WED. MAY 12, 1920
Sick stayed in
bed all day, didn’t
go to school.  Got
soar throat and head
Parent’s day at the schools

Bed all day not
Much better

Feel a little better
today.  Ethel came
over 9.30  Helen and baby up
Ma & Ethel went to Danvers  John ???
Ellsworth & Rus up to supper

NOTE:   Gertrude's illness is a "soar" [sic] throat and head ache.  The diagnosis seems to be "Tonsilitous" [sic].  Her sister in-law, Ethel, visits, and so does her married sister, Helen and brother-in-law, Ellsworth.  Russell is Gertrude's brother.  John is a mystery. 

SAT. MAY 15, 1920
Lots better to-day got
up went down stairs at
12.30  Laid down all
afternoon have got
rheumatism in my back
and side.  Sick all night.
Mr. Lowell came over after supper.

A little better but still got an
awful pain in my back.
Nana up after
dinner.  Marion
came up to see me,

A little bit better
today after dinner
got up awhile Marian
up to see me at night
ma went to ???

[NOTE: The sore throat and headache have advanced to a backache.  She suffers from this all week.]

TUES. MAY 18, 1920
Not as well today
had to have the
doctor at 2.30
Mrs. Butler over after
supper feel a lot
better now

Better this morning
Doctor came in at 12.30
He thinks it is my kidney
Marion up all afternoon

Not much better this
morning Dr. Didn’t
come in today. Marion up
and Mr. Lowell came over

??? better tonight.

[NOTE:  Finally the doctor is called, not once, but twice.  He thinks it is a kidney problem.  This could be serious in the days before antibiotics, and before pain killers (well... they had morphine in those days).  Poor Gertrude!]

Part One  posted December 5, 2016

Part Two posted December 12, 2016

Part Three posted December 19, 2016

Part Four posted December 26, 2016

Part Five posted January 2, 2017

Part Six posted January 16, 2017  

Part Seven posted January 23, 2017   

Part Eight posted January 30, 2017  

Part Nine posted February 6, 2017

Part Ten posted February 13, 2017


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 11 (May 9 - 20, 1920)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 20, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. Lovely! These remind me of a diary I kept as a young article. Spelling errors included!! (I spelled nauseous "noshis"!)

  2. Ummm. Young girl. Article?? I still can't spell, it seems.