What did you think about and worry about when you were ten? You all had the same fifth grade teacher who you all liked. Did you worry about school, did you think about current events, did you think about your future careers, or did you and your friends talk about love, marriage, and children?
In 1940 and 1941, Grandma and her friends wrote primarily about their future as wives and mothers. Are you all horrified that this topic consumed more pages than any other subject?
July 1: Jean now/Jean forever/Carey now/But not forever-Your chum Phyllis (Phyl)- Don’t you just love the use of the word chum? Does anyone ever use that term in reference to a friend anymore? Maybe we should try to resurrect that word in the same way Aunt Ellen and I are trying to bring back “feeling groovy.”
June 26: May you live long and be happily blessed/With twenty children/Ten on each knee.-Eleanor Crane
I need to do Eleanor Crane’s family tree and see just how many children she ended up having. Fortunately, Grandma ignored that advice.
Undated: Aunt Ar just can’t keep her paws from Grandma’s book. Lucky for her, she grew up to be the best daughter of us all.
2 in a car / 2 little kisses
2 weeks later/ Mr. and Mrs.
March 10, 1941: First comes love/Then comes marriage/Then comes Jean/Then a baby carriage.—Barbara Merchak
This is a classic. I believe I used to jump rope to this cute little rhyme.
July 1, 1940: When you get married/And your husband gets drunk/ Come over to my house and sleep in a trunk—Your pal, Carlyle Breiding
This is a shocking statement, based upon their ages! Oh, Mom! Did you know what a poor example you are setting for your future grandchildren?
June 9, 1941: When you get married to your husband/Do not work too much/ And don’t get sick or drink too much.–Goodbye sweetheart see you next September—Your friend May Anne Avallone
There they go again! These fifth graders are certainly interested in drinking! Little did these innocent children know that just 6 months lafter these words were written, many of their older brothers would be going off to war.
June 26, 1940 (Morristown, NJ): Hair was made to comb and curl/Cheeks were made to flush/Eyes were made to flirt with boys/and lips were made to “Oh hush.”–June Ratley
I will discuss at a later date, all the boyfriends Grandma had as a high school student just four years later. Based on this book, it is not at all surprising.
June 26, 1940: To have enough room in this book for you and your lover/ Poor little me has to write on the cover.—Barbara Morrison
Notice the telephone number: “0437W”- 5 characters — That’s it! Now we need to dial ten in so many places. (Not at my house yet!)
June 20, 1941: May God and His Blessed Mother protect and bless you now and always.
I will have to ask Grandma if she has any stories about sister Caritas. Some of the nuns she was quite fond of. One sent her off to deliver a note to another nun, and I believe that Grandma peaked out it. Uh oh!
When these words were written in this book, no one knew how much their world would be changing in a very short time—rationing, war, death. I am glad they had this time of innocence.