Bernice Forest Diary, 1916 - 1917

September 21st, 1917

I’ve put off writing here so long that I’m afraid I’ve got too much to say and it will more than fill the few pages left. I didn’t want to get a new journal till I went back to school. Since I wrote last, Trilby took a rapid jaunt in the form of a figure eight in our back yard, and the result was that our old rattlety-bang buggy is no more. It’s all into pieces. Also the harness is all broken. Since then we have ridden horseback into town. Lady is back for a winters lodging so we are riding her. Trilby is back at Kelly’s. Mac has gone to War – and we have a new man. His name is Walter Baker but we called him “Chuck” before we knew his other name and it still sticks.

Papa has been laid up for two weeks with a lame back and kidney trouble – combined with business worry. He was in bed flat on his back for almost a week, then he finally went in to the doctor and had six vertebrae put back into place. For a day he hardly knew he had a back, then he went to help thrash beans and over worked and for the last two days has gone back to his cane again. But the beans are all in and there are 31 sacks – and they only planted six sacks. Beans are selling for 17₵ a pound retail. I suppose wholesale they will only be about 11.

One day about three weeks ago, along about Sept. 5, I was surprised by Dan Bennett. Mildred and I had been out hunting for the mules and both had on our overalls. He drove into the yard in a jitney and came rushing up to the door so I didn’t have time to change if I had wanted to – which I didn’t for I’ve gotten used to wearing the overalls and never think of them. However I could see Dan was embarrasses so I excused myself and changed my togs to “civilian” things. We went out on the porch to talk and he asked me to go into town with him, have dinner, go to a show and drive back in the evening. Mother didn’t object so I went and we followed his program. But such a man! As impersonal and cold as an iceberg! He acted as if he was saying “I seen my duty and I done it.” I just wanted to shake him to see if he was human. I don’t think I wanted him to be personal but it was rather disconcerting to have him ignore me completely. I just wonder if he dispises me as much as he seems to. He is going off to War. He has enlisted in the Areo Squadron and is going to fly areoplanes over France some day. I hate to have him go off acting like he does but he thinks I guess, that I’m trying to get on the inside again, when I only want to have him for a friend – like my other men friends. But I guess he doesn’t care for the ”distinction”.

I had a letter from Mrs. Haight last week, saying I could be her assistant. That means $20 per mo.

I also had a letter from Amy saying Ruth Nibler is to be married Oct. 2 to Ray Reitsma. Of all people! I never tho’t Ruth would go back on Lee Moore and here she’s gone and done it. Amy is as disappointed as I.

Amy will have to get a new roommate or room alone now that I have to live downstairs. In her letter today she said she had tho’t of rooming with Ess. I guess I’m a little jealous, for I found myself wishing she didn’t want anyone else and that’s foolish.

Mother came home today with a new evening dress of yellow chiffon cloth for me. I hadn’t even tho’t of it, so it was just such a surprise I didn’t thank her properly. She also bro’t some pink checked material for a little morning dress for school. Both were surprises for I hadn’t planned on getting anything new at all. It’s mystery to me where the money comes from.

Harriet has started school at Ellsworth (on credit I guess) and is staying with Lucille. Harold has gone to Massachusetts to help test the soldiers psychologically – to see what they are good for.

I forgot to say that Sabbath night Dad was so sick he couldn’t milk so Mildred and I broke all previous set rules and regulation of this instruction and tried our hands at it. We had stacks of fun. We didn’t know how to start even. I would have gone at the wrong side to being if it hadn’t been for Mildred. She said she had watched the men and was sure that was the side. At first we neither one could get milk out finally we did – but I think it was main force and awkwardness. My arms and hands were so stiff and sore the next day! Thursday AM Chuck didn’t get here in time to milk so I started but when Dad found it out he came out and took my place.

These are a few of the experiences which go with Ranch life on Southern Heights. We even have to get up at 2:30 AM to run the mules back into the orchard out of the garden and corn.

This must be all tonight.


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