Monday, June 12, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 27 November 23 – December 31, 1920

1975  Gertrude (in the blue dress) celebrating
her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband, Stanley Allen,
and all seven children

This is the 27th and the last blog post with transcriptions of my grandmother's 1920 diary from Beverly, Massachusetts.  For 27 Mondays in a row I posted a small section of this little diary.  My grandmother's name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 - 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street in 1920.  Her diary is a tiny 3" book with minuscule handwriting.  It has taken me a long time to transcribe, and the book is very fragile.  It has missing and torn pages, and the end of the book is gone.  This is the end of this project with these December 1920 pages.  You can read the first installment HERE.

TUES. NOV 23, 1920
Up at 6.45 rained hard
all day didn’t go
to school.  Home all after
noon at 4 went down to Helens
took car of Clemont.  Ellsworth
brought us home in the auto
went to bed at 11.30

Up at 6.45 went to school
had short periods home
at 12.15  home all afternoon
Mr. Lowell over.  After supper
Played cards with Mr. L.
Pa & Eunice.  Bed at 10.25

Up at 8 stayed around
the house all day it
snows hard. Russell, Ethel
and Mr. Lowell over all day
same all evening bed at 10.

NOTE:  On Tuesday Gertrude watched her baby nephew, Clemont, son of her eldest sister Helen, who had just turned 1 year old.  Her brother-in-law, Ellsworth, brought her home.  Wednesday was a short day at school because Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Gertrude didn’t mention the holiday at all, but she said it snowed hard, and her brother Russell was there all day with his new wife, Ethel, and the boarder Mr. Lowell.

FRI. NOV 26, 1920
Up at 7.45 got an awful
cold stayed home all the
morning.  After dinner
took a walk up the store.
Stayed at home all the
evening and read
Went to bed at 7.45

Up at 7.45 stayed around
the house all the morn
ing and all the afternoon
Mr. Lowell over.  After supper
we went over to Mrs.
Butler’s and played cards
Went to bed at 11.

Up at 8.45 stayed home
all morning  Helen, Ellsworth
and Baby up all day. After
dinner went to walk with Ida
???[missing]  Ma went to ??
?????[missing] Bed at 9.00

NOTE:   Gertrude is home sick with a cold on Friday, but on Saturday she went to Mrs. Butler’s house, the neighbor, and played cards.  On Sunday her sister Helen, brother-in-law Ellsworth and their baby, Clemont, were up to visit.  She went for a walk with her friend Ida.

MON. NOV. 29, 1920
Up at 6.45 school all the
morning home at 1.15
After dinner Eunice and
I walked up to Ethel’s
and back stayed home
all evening studying
Went to bed at ??? [missing]

Up at 6.45 ???
??? had a ??? home
at 1.15 stayed at home
all the afternoon and
all evening ??
Went to bed at 10.30

Up at 6.45 went to school all
Morning home at 1.15
Stayed at home all after
Noon rained all day. ??
All evening and tatt [missing]

NOTE:     Most of the text in this section is missing.  Gertrude was at school, and went to visit her sister-in-law Ethel with her sister Eunice.  The last thing I can read looks like she was tatting again.  She loved to knit and tat, and mentioned it many times through out this little diary.  It’s difficult to read these last pages.   All the pages from December 2nd through December 19th are missing.  It would have been fun to read about Christmas 1920!

MON. DEC. 20, 1920
Up at 6.45 went to
school all morning home at
1.15.  After dinner went
skating up to “blackbird”
great skating.  Went skating
after supper up there
Went to bed at 10.30

Up at 6.45 went to school
had a ?? class ?? home at
1.15 went skating all afternoon
and all evening up to
blackbird  home at
10.  Went to bed at 10.15

Up at 6.45 went to school
all morning.  After dinner
Eunice & I went to Salem
shopping.  After supper
went skating home at 9.45
[went] to bed at 10.

NOTE:  I’m not sure about the reference to “skating up to “blackbird””   There was a pen business named Blackbird in the Beverly City Directory (F. H. Blackbird)    It appears it must have been a very cold December if they were ice skating already!    

WED. DEC 29, 2910
Up at 8.15 stayed home all
the morning.  After dinner
went sledding over to the links
also went skiing over the meadow
after supper went sledding
over to ??? until
9.20 Went to bed at 10.

Up at 8.30 stayed home [all]
the morning. After dinner
Sybil & Hilda come up went
sledding over the meadow but
it was not good.  Went sledding
after supper over to the golf
links.  Went to bed at 10.

[Update:  Thanks to reader Laurie Stevens from Beverly for helping with the transcriptions of this page!]

Up at 7.45 stayed home all
morning and worked.  Stayed
around the house all afternoon
Ida came over.  After supper [missing]
To the Logan’s New Year’s Party
??? [missing]

NOTE:  More skating, sledding and skiing.  It must have been an early winter in Beverly.  Gertrude mentions sledding on the golf links.  They lived on Elliott Street, near the United States Shoe Corporation golf course, which is now the Beverly municipal golf course.  There was a party for New Year’s Eve.


This is the end of Gertrude’s diary, but not the end of the story.  Three years later, in 1923, the Hitchings family moved from Beverly to nearby Hamilton, Massachusetts.  Gertrude never finished her last year of high school because of this move.  However, on Valentine's Day 1925 she had married the boy next door, my grandfather Stanley Elmer Allen (1904 – 1982).   They had five boys and two girls who all grew up in Hamilton on Roosevelt Avenue.

Stanley worked at several estates in the area, and then spent 40 years working as a glazier for the US Shoe Corporation in Beverly, the same place Gertrude's father had worked as a draftsman when she lived in Beverly.  Both of my grandfathers and two great grandfathers worked at "The Shoe".  My other grandmother, Bertha Wilkinson,  worked there as a "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II, but my Nana, Gertrude, stayed home to watch her seven children.  My father worked at "The Shoe" as a security guard to help pay for college.  Many other uncles and cousins worked at "The Shoe". 

Gertrude died on 3 November 2001, she was 96 years old and out lived her husband by nineteen years.  She had seven children, twenty nine grandchildren and thirty five great grandchildren who all called her "Nana".  Up until she was in her eighties she still knitted mittens and other items for everyone in the family each Christmas.  

You can read my "Surname Saturday" post for the HITCHINS lineage here:

You can read my "Surname Saturday" post for the ALLEN family here:  

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 25, Part 27 November 23 – December 31, 1920”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted May 29, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. I know where Blackbird pond is in Beverly. I love ice skating there. Thanks for the diary stories.

  2. Well done, Heather! Especially the last part. Glad you got some assistance.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading these!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it.

  5. What a wonderful story that little book told and such a treasure for you. So happy you found it and shared.