My great great grandmother Neola was born in 1888.
From a very young age she began keeping a journal. These journals, kept year after year have been preserved by my grandmother and handed down to me. I now treasure these historic papers. I was reading through one of them randomly…just exploring..I do that sometimes, rather than read them in order.
This time I chose 1942
The first thing that caught my attention were the four entries in a row when my great great grandmother spent digging potatoes, doing wash, and canning green tomato mince. One day she dug 15 bushels! She certainly was a hard worker. I remember that about her, even later in her life.
The Old Ways
I remember as a little girl visiting her and she would be doing laundry on the back porch with hand crank washer and a wash board, along with that she tended to a huge garden and then cooked us a homemade meal during the visit! She was an astonishing woman and a great cook! No wonder she lived well into her 90s!
I’ve found some particular entries that I want to share from 1942.
Jan 23rd 1942 Neola Kiser Diary entry. Weather fair. I washed, Jake helped Jonnie Rief husk corn and shred fodder. President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met at Casablanca in Northern Africa to make war plans.
March 1, 1942 Partly fair, some snow. Point rationing book number two began. 40 points per month.
May 6th, 1942 Windy and partly fair. Betty (my grandmother who is now 84) went to get beginners driver’s license.
May 15th, 1942 Rained most all day. Went to Bluffton got a new permanent and a new hat. Breiners were over.
July 6, 1942 Very hard rain at night. We plowed up the strawberry bed and planted pickles. Jake mowed hay. Midge and Floyd here.
July 8, 1942 Fair weather. We plowed the sweet clover field. The twins were here in afternoon. We planted potatoes in the garden. French’s here in the evening.
July 24th, 1942 Fair weather. We went to Bluffton in the evening. Rex came home (from the service) at 3 in the morning. I washed Rex’s uniforms and ironed them.
Just rereading these short entries gives me a sweet reminder of what my great, great grandmother was like. I hope these historic papers offer you a glimpse of what life was like in 1942 in the Midwest. It was my great, great grandmother Neola who inspired me as a writer with her writing and journals.