Helen's Diary

This is a transcription of some diaries I bought at an antique store near Toledo, Ohio. When the diary starts in January 1937, Helen is a young wife and soon to become a new mother. If you wish to read it, it's best to start with the first post - January 1937 (my oldest post) - and then follow along with her everyday life.

December 30, 2007

March 1937

Monday, March 1, 1937

Managed to work some on books today. afternoon busy – Sparks at convention in Chicago – Evening home.

Tuesday, March 2, 1937

Sure is swell at office without Mrs. Sparks around. through early tonight – Show – Princess – Not so good.

Wednesday, March 3, 1937 - Fire at Criaso [?] plant

Morning off – Big Breakfast. Frank left early to go to court trial – over to Bank – afternoon OK. Harry had supper with us & is staying with us tonight.

Thursday, March 4, 1937

Had Beauty Bath today and also .75 Shortage [$10 in today's money] which Frank Paid. Supper at Bud & Lukes. I’m a nervous wreak – can’t take it.

Friday, March 5, 1937

Well the Sparks came back & somethings up – Stayed until 9:15 o’clock. Honest Frank is getting tired babying me. Ride around & home.

Saturday, March 6, 1937

Got things straightened out fine I thought but about 5 o’clock told I wouldn’t do – cleaned up & we went to Cleveland.

Sunday, March 7, 1937

Not much sleep – Saw Davie & Bee at Gramma’s most of day – tried to see Toots but couldn’t – Went to Mayfair club. Beautiful – Sleep at Davies all our of sorts. Harry Goodelman in way.

Monday, March 8, 1937

Left at 8 o’clock - brought Agnes along – Here at 11. Got some sleep but I’m so worried – perfectly miserable – Bed early tonight.

Tuesday, March 9, 1937

With Frank – Tired & wished I’d stayed home. Supper out.

Wednesday, March 10, 1937

It certainly is a shame that I have to become a Mother and ruin my health – For two weeks [there’s an arrow pointing to the next entry]

Thursday, March 11, 1937

I’ve felt like Hell – 9 months of this – How will I ever stand it. My life isn’t my own anymore.

Friday, March 12, 1937

Went with Frank on his run – Had to rush as we were late so didn’t sew. Dinner at Bud & Lukes – Show Rivolli. Lew Errol on stage.

Saturday, March 13, 1937

Cleaned house from End to End and I was tired when I finished – Home evening – played stickes (4-5-6) with Frank.

Sunday, March 14, 1937

Susan for Breakfast – drove out to Mom’s – told her she might be a grandmother – Ride out to Mels – listened to Radio & home.

Monday, March 15, 1937

Down town all morning – Home at 1 o’clock & started good dinner with new cooker – Show – Come Closer Folks & Charlie Chan at Race track.

[Come Closer Folks is a comedy starring James Dunn and Marion Marsh. Charlie Chan at the Race Track starred Warner Oland]

Tuesday, March 16, 1937

Brushed hair gave myself a nice manicure and dressed up – Soup & Salad for dinner. Out to Mom’s all evening.

Wednesday, March 17, 1937

Suppose to meet mother but she was late and missed her – with Frank – Show Paramount – Maid of Salem – card From Martha Toots and Mom

{Maid of Salem is a drama of the Salem witch trials starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray]

Thursday, March 18, 1937

This has been the sickest I’ve ever been – My head & stomach – Swiss steak for supper.

Friday, March 19, 1937

Spent the day with Mother. Had a bad morning – I certainly have to go through a lot for a baby. Went to Dr. Fisher this evening.

Saturday, March 20, 1937

Not so sick today – 3 o’clock Dr. examination – What wasn’t done to me – afterwards ate very light. My food greatly restricted. Show Paramount Maid of Salem. Frank on Radio.

Sunday, March 21, 1927

Not sick today either. Dr. sure knows his stuff – Went for a ride took Franks folks with us. Supper at Bud & Lukes. Home early.

Monday, March 22, 1937

took all morning to get up – Between dry toast and ½ glass of orange – My meals are all muddled up – Home – Frank gone.

Tuesday, March 23, 1937

Went down town with mother. Bought Purse & gloves & paid for first month of telephone – Had chicken for dinner and stayed home evening.

Wednesday, March 24, 1937

Fixed nails – went with Frank on his run in spite of sick feeling – dinner at Bud & Lukes – soup in eve.

Thursday, March 25, 1937

Thought it was wednesday all day – Had meat loaf for dinner – took short drive saw Franks Folks & home.

Friday, March 26, 1937

Intended to go to church but Mother gone so out there alone all day. Frank very late. Had to call him up – Ice cream.

Saturday, March 27, 1937

Felt lazy all morning in fact every morning – straightened up house and went down town with Frank. Bought some ton [?] Shoes & Easter Plant – Show Rivolli – 2 Wise Maids

[Two Wise Maids stars Alison Skipworth and Polly Moran]

Sunday, March 28, 1937

Easter Sunday – out to Mothers all day – Peanut fed Ham for dinner. Not a bad day in spite of all. Frank played a game all evening.

Monday, March 29, 1937

Cleaned out drawer and filed away receipts – Billie [her brother] staying here – having spagetti for supper – Lot left over – Kids played sticks

Tuesday, March 30, 1937

Billy stayed here today & helped me clean – More of a Bother than a help – Went to a show alone this even. Cloistered

[As near as I can tell, Cloistered is a French documentary from 1936]

Wednesday, March 31, 1937

Billy with Frank today, or at least started with him – came back sick & didn’t eat his dessert – took him home then.


March – It’s been a miserable month – sick all the time

December 28, 2007

February 1937

Monday, February 1, 1937

Spent entire morning trying to find mistake in cash – Evening Frank gone – worked on table cloth until 10:30.

Tuesday, February 2, 1937

Felt sort of rotton all day – Hamburg for lunch & waited until 6:30 for Frank – Supper Bud & Lukes – Show Hideaway Girl

[Hideaway Girl is a comedy starring Shirley Ross, Robert Cumming and Martha Raye]

Wednesday, February 3, 1937

Morning off so stayed in bed terrible stomach ake but in to work by 1 o’clock – Had to walk all over town – Home early.

Thursday, February 4, 1937

Bought hose – after noon terrible – When Mrs. Sparks busy I have a rest any how. Home evening.

Friday, February 5, 1937

Long day. Supper at Smiths. Lamb. – through at 9 ‘oclock – Home and to bed – terribly discusted with Job.

Saturday, February 6, 1937

Letter from Toots – Pay roll – I’m getting all nervous but I don’t let it get to me. Out all night with Joe & his girl Frank.

Sunday, February 7, 1937

drove – In at 4:30 this morning – slept till 12. Breakfast home & also supper – waxed kitchen floor & bath room. Show Rivoli “Once a Dr.”

Monday, February 8, 1937

Well it was a pleasant day – Worked on books all morning & Had hair cut & fixed – evening Home. Frank to basket ball game – sewed.

Tuesday, February 9, 1937

Honeded {?} – Dinner at Healy’s – Beautiful home – Joes mother ill – Home about 11:PM. Straight to Bed – getting tired –

Wednesday, February 10, 1937

Not so bad today – Had a talk with M.S. – She wants me to continue – Show alone Valentine Lowes “Camille” Greta Garbo – Robert Taylor - loved it.

Thursday, February 11, 1937

Worked hard on the books all day but I can’t get any place with them – Supper at home tonight – Bath & wrote up diary.

Friday, February 12, 1937 – Lincoln’s Birthday

late day – Supper at Nicks. Went out to Moms and took the kids some valentine’s – 11:30 before bed.

Saturday, February 13, 1937

Paid 14.00 [$187 in today's currency] – through early tonight – Show Paramount – Loyds of London – very good – home about 9 sewed for a while.

[Lloyds of London is a drama starring Freddie Bartholomew, Madeleine Carroll and Tyrone Power]

Sunday, February 14, 1937 – St. Valentine’s Day

Sweetest husband in the world – got a nice picture, candy & Queen’s Lace Hose – Dinner out. Show - Pantheon - Lee Tracy - Criminal Lawyer

Monday, February 15, 1937

8:30 this morning – funny hours I have – but checked up OK. this evening – had perm - $5.00 [$67 in today's money] crock – Supper Mothers – Very good

Tuesday, February 16, 1937

Bought some things. Pretty Red mat for Bath room – Martha had supper with us – evening Home. Bed early.

Wednesday, February 17, 1937

Slept morning off – Tonight fight so Frank gone – Frank would – surprised by Charles Mathias stoping over – cleaned rug & chair.

[Charles Mathias, age 27, was originally from Michigan and worked in an Auto Factory in Toledo in 1930]

Thursday, February 18, 1937

Another evening home – nuthing exciting and Bed early.

Friday, February 19, 1937

can’t seem to get Book balanced and it worries me – Home directly after work all tired out – Balancing hard.

Saturday, February 20, 1937

$1 raise got $15 today [$200 in today's money] I’ve got to save my money for a new stove – Show Rivoli & liked it very much. Drinks at Johny Thom

Sunday, February 21, 1937

Cleaned house this morning – Dinner at Edison – Home again and worked on Books until late then Bed.

Monday, February 22, 1937

Sort of a busy day for Monday – went out to Moms on street car – terrible cold – Swell supper – Home late & tired.

Tuesday, February 23, 1937 – B.B. today

Today’s the day. Had shower on Dorothy Bennra. 18 girls here. House sure full – Mother made all my eats – Lovely party.

[Possibly Dorothy Benore, 1916-1980]

Wednesday, February 24, 1937

Frank not feeling well. Cleaned up mess – made work on time – Had to walk over to Federal Building again. supper at Bud & Lukes – Home for eve.

Thursday, February 25, 1937

I’m a fool to work for Sparks – I’ll lose my whole self individuality & my Health – Show – Paramount – Car night

Friday, February 26, 1937

can’t write much when you work at Harper – all day you work & evening you sleep – Supper at CafĂ© Club. a long 8:30 night.

Saturday, February 27, 1937

No raise today $15 just the same. Afternoon slow – Show – Rivolli – 3 Smart Girls. liked very much – Home Bed early.

[Three Smart Girls, a musical, was the first major film of Deanna Durbin]

Sunday, February 28, 1937

Straightened up house – dinner at Edison. I had driving lesson – Show – Paramount “one in a Million” – excellent

[One In a Million is a musical comedy starring Sonja Henie and Adolphe Menjou]


Feb 2 – [shorthand]

December 27, 2007

January 1937

Friday, January 1, 1937 – New Year’s Day

We were up long enough to clean up house & went back to bed. Dinner at Bud & Lukes [restaurant] – over to see Helen & Louie. Decided to tell Henry to go.

Saturday, January 2, 1937

Went down town with Jane. Bought house coat. While F. having car oiled. Resaw show on East side. Hot dogs. Evening told Harry & Mildred to leave.

Sunday, January 3, 1937

Up early – eggs for breakfast – cleaned up. Lunch at Nath thalons – Went to Detroit with Manny & Virginia [friends of Frank’s] – through Museum. Dinner at Kosher Restaurant & Greystone dancing.

Monday, January 4, 1937

Went to town in morning. Paid rent – furniture, coat and got groceries. Stopped at library and got some books on cooking – Frank gone for evening.

Tuesday, January 5, 1937

Went with Frank on his run – Did some shoping in morning. Stuffed pepers for dinner – Re covered desk chair to vanity bench. Joe Healy here.

[Joe Healey, the son of Irish immigrant parents, was born in 1912 which make him about 24 at this time.]

Wednesday, January 6, 1937

Dorothy Stone told me about job but I didn’t apply for it that’s 2 I’ve turned down – Received letter from Toots. Stayed home this evening. Bed early.

Thursday, January 7, 1937

Picked up around house – I never seem to get much done – Spaggetti & Hamburg for supper – Mary Jane over. Both of us went to Show - 2 features – That Girl From Paris – We who are to die. Very good.

[“That Girl From Paris” is a musical comedy with Lily Pons and Jack Oakie. Lucille Ball has a small part. “We Who Are About to Die” is a prison/crime drama with Preston Foster and Ann Dvorak]

Friday, January 8, 1937

Went with Frank around his run – Sewed most of the time – Evening Show – Jean Arthur & George Brent - More than a Secretary – Very good. Noble Sisters on stage – Supper downtown.

[“More Than a Secretery” is a romantic comedy.]

Saturday, January 9, 1937

Cleaned house thoroughly – Bath and ready to meet F. Down town supper at Taffetta – then show Myrna Loy William Powell After the Thin Man. Simple loved it.

Sunday, January 10, 1937

Always up late. Bacon & eggs B. gave each other a facial. Bath and went visiting – First saw Shermans then home. – Had supper there. – Radio programs - Harry & Mildred left today.

Monday, January 11, 1937

Washed misc. & hair – The days go by so fast – Swiss Steak for supper. Answered Toots letter. – Frank gone for evening. – I hate to be alone.

Tuesday, January 12, 1937

Ironed today and fixed blue dress - Veal chops for dinner & who sees more shows than us. Granada – Green Pastures & don’t know what else.

[“Green Pastures” featured Old Testatment bible stories portrayed by an all-black cast]

Wednesday, January 13, 1937

Went with Frank on his run – Hamburgs for lunch – Soup cake & coffee for dinner – Pasted ads in scrap book – took Bath & to Bed.

Thursday, January 14, 1937

129 lbs – decided that I really should reduce – Planning how. Liver & onions & Beans & Baked apple. Show Pathanon – Saza Pitts

[ZaSu Pitts was appearing in a mystery called “The Plot Thickens” around this time.]

Friday, January 15, 1937

With Frank today – stopped to see Dora Aument & she suggested that I see Mrs. Misch about Job – tried to. – ate down town & show Paramount – Charly Chan.

Saturday, January 16, 1937

Town early – waited until 11: to see Mrs. Misch – no use – stopped at Binzers and then tried for another Job at Harbor Method. Home Evening.

Sunday, January 17, 1937

Manny & Virginia Married. What a Sunday - cleaned house & moved furniture around especially Piano. - Supper cold & no Frank - Mother and Dad over for evening played fonton.

Monday, January 18, 1937

Down to see Mrs Sparks at 10:30 - Starting work next Monday but stayed today long enough to catch on to some things. Show - Dick Powell - Gold Diggers of 1937.

Tuesday, January 19, 1937

Stayed home and worked very hard washing windows. Supper home. Frank gone for night evidently – not home at 10’oclock.

Wednesday, January 20, 1937

In to Shop at 11 and didn’t do anything out at 3 to Federal Bld. finding out about Social Sec. Bus. Evening with Mary Jane

Thursday, January 21, 1937

There’s too many things that I have to learn in this business. With F until 3 then into Shop for 1 ½ hr. Ate out and spent evening home.

Friday, Janauary 22, 1937

Went around with F brobably be the last time I’ll have a vacation. In shop 3 to 4. Evening Show. Ina Ray Hutton terrible.

Saturday, January 23, 1937

Mary Jane’s Birthday. At Shop all morning made a lot of mistakes but think I’ll live through it – afternoon & eve – home – Enjoyed myself resting.

Sunday, January 24, 1937

Breakfast home did some odds & ends around house & fixed up clothes – Dinner at Manny’s & Virginia’s swiss steak – ate too much.

Monday, January 25, 1937

First day of new Job on my own. Can’t make up my mind weather I like it or not – Supper out & worked most of evening on books. F gone.

Tuesday, January 26, 1937

I don’t know but I’m afraid I don’t like this Job. I can’t give up yet – Show tonight – Granada – White Angel & Sing Baby Sing

Wednesday, January 27, 1937

Brushing and hair fixed today – looks very nice – worked on books for awhile – Home evening.

Thursday, January 28, 1937

Had a Beauty Bath today – liked it real well – First evening nothing planned & Joe H. comes over – He doesn’t know when

Friday, January 29, 1937

What a day – from 8:50 to 9 PM. Cash didn’t check and had to stay. Frank waited for me – supper with Dora Aumend – Joe H. stopped in [“Joe H. stopped in” is then crossed out]

Saturday, January 30, 1937

Through work at 5:30 & had to wait until 6:30 for Frank. Show Paramount – Three men on a Horse very good – Hot dogs & home.

Sunday, January 31, 1937

Bacon & Eggs for breakfast – cleaned house – F. gone – Sirloin steak for dinner – Drive to Tremont saw folks – Howard & Neva.


1937 – January 8, sick