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.

May 30, 2008

May 1938

Sunday, May 1, 1938

French toast for Breakfast – took Manny & Virginia home – stopped at Cealias then over to Shermans – Ride & brought them back with us – custard pie & tea – Have sore jaw

Monday, May 2, 1938

Washed lamp shade & Babies clothes – cleaned house & got cleaned up myself – head hurt all day – Frank going to get new car – Reginia & Charly over evening

Tuesday, May 3, 1938

Washed windows and got ready to wash – New washer arrived also – New Chevrolet car – Terrece green – took ride out to Mothers & back

Wednesday, May 4, 1938

Sore mouth can hardly eat – Washed clothes and curtains – Dave here for supper – F & D put up some screens – Ride down town & custard

Thursday, May 5, 1938

Ironed cleaned house – Frank took us along – Dorothy & Jim Baron here evening – gift for Baby – cute little dress – played cards & had lunch

Friday, May 6, 1938

Ironed and ironed – made a cake – Billy here for supper – Joe Healy & girl friend here – Beer – so tired couldn’t keep eyes open

Saturday, May 7, 1938

Went down town – got high chair pad for Norma – she is such a little doll – I idolize her – Show with Frank – Joan Blondell in Theres always a woman

[There’s Always a Woman is a comedy/mystery starring Joan Blondell, Melvyn Douglas and Mary Astor]

Sunday, May 8, 1938

Mother’s day – gave mother 3.41 worth towels [$43.89 today] – Made cake for Mother Sherman & gave Pocket book – Supper at Mothers – Howard & Neva & folks out for evening

Monday, May 9, 1938

Finally finished ironed – Norma an angel all day – rolled over by herself today – So darling – She makes me glad – Frank playing bridge – I’m all tired

Tuesday, May 10, 1938

Beautiful day – took Baby over to Regines for 2 P.M. feeding & then walked to point – Bought Blue water pitcher & linoleum – Max & Clara over evening – painted bath

Wednesday, May 11, 1938

Had womans Guild here – Wonderful all made a fuss over Baby – Mrs. Schudel gift (dress) for N. – 11 people here – I felt fine and mighty pleased with day – Show with R.S.

Thursday, May 12, 1938

Didn’t have to make Br so didn’t get up then wasted day Reading Sing Sing nights – Cream Tuna & Potato Pancakes for supper Frank gone – I cut grass & wrote letters

[Sing Sing Nights by Harry Stephen Keeler was published by E.P. Dutton & Co. in 1928]

Friday, May 13, 1938

Burned milk already – washed clothes – turned nice – Dave D here for supper had – meat loaf & mashed potatoes – Show – Avalon – with Franky – First 100 years & The last gent

[The Avalon Theatre opened in 1935. It was located on Monroe Street and Smead Avenue. The theatre closed in 1955 and has since been demolished.]

[The First Hundred Years is a comedy starring Robert Montgomery and Virginia Bruce. The Last Gentleman, from 1934, is a comedy starring George Arliss and Edna May Oliver]

Saturday, May 14, 1938

Rainy day – made an apple pie – got groc fixed Franky home early had lunch – argued about money again – always we fight over money

Sunday, May 15, 1938

Somewhat peaceful today but F. gone for evening with Charly Swartz – took Swartz ride afternoon in Pouring Rain all here for supper evening – I’m sprinkling clothes & rugs

Monday, May 16, 1938

Dorothy Bennra phoned – tried to get ironing done – Frank played gulf – had supper at 9 O’clock – discusted doing dishes at 10 O’clock

Tuesday, May 17, 1938

Finished ironing – walked to library with Regine got a gang of books – Dave here evening got Swatz’s & Ganch’s and to show – State – Joy of living Irene Dunne – Rained hamburgs

[Joy of Living is a comedy starring Irene Dunne and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.]

[The magnificent Toledo State Theatre! 2000 seats on one level and housed a Marr & Colton organ of which many recordings survive. Farewell concert on the organ in 1971, theatre subsequently boarded up/abandoned. The years that followed were not kind: gang activity, vandalism, scene of a tragic murder, and finally in 1995, despite local efforts to find a developer to restore, was torn down.]

Wednesday, May 18, 1938

Wasted day Reading – phoned Mother and grandpop’s coming tomorrow so guess I’ll go out home for day – got so many things to do – moved Bedroom furniture

Thursday, May 19, 1938

Made milk and did br. dishes before we left – out home all day & supper – dad brought me & grandpop home – Frank played ball – Beer & all to Bed – grandpa tired

Friday, May 20, 1938

Baby to Dr. – 2nd diphtheria shot – two trips to Beverly – brought Bud & Bill back – Ride evening – Norma is too lovely – weight today 16 11 – me 145

Saturday, May 21, 1938 – day of engagement

[shorthand] felt miserable – got up late – made cake – lunch and went to bed afternoon – evening – State – Girl of Golden West and Mr. Motto – had to make milk again

[The Girl of the Golden West is a musical starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Mr. Moto is a “Charlie Chan” type of film series starring Peter Lorre. The installment she most likely saw was Mr. Moto’s Gamble]

Sunday, May 22, 1938

Moved rugs around – Kids a pain – Bill [her brother] Jealous of Bud – Frank a dear feeds Baby most of time – I’m so thankful he helps – Saw Louise & stopped at Dot & Jims

Monday, May 23, 1938

Cleaned basement and washed all of Baby’s things – Rained all day so had to hang in Basement – Roast for dinner – Baby crying won’t go to sleep

Tuesday, May 24, 1938

Washed regular wash & got most of it ironed and put away – had left overs for supper – Frank had to get folks he played ball – Norma too sweet

Wednesday, May 25, 1938

Didn’t iron but went along with Frank at 3 when he finished ate at Toffet took Baby along- Have cut out Normas 10 o clock feeding

Thursday, May 26, 1938

Run on numbers – 513 lucky – went along with F – didn’t get home until 8 oclock – Baby cried but OK at last – of course F had to leave for evening – every night

Friday, May 27, 1938

Cleaned house – fixed wiring on sweaper would love to have a new one but can’t – F making 65 a week [$836 today] and we have to pay it all on Bills

Saturday, May 28, 1938

Made a cake & apple pie – Frank took me to store – got Baby car hammock & new porch chairs – Rained so rushed home – Frank out for evening

Sunday, May 29, 1938

Late Br. franky played ball – after noon Regine C & Lenard here – Ride over to Sara Selhomer to see Dave & Bee – Mother & father & brothers here for supper – Bed at 9 – so tired

Monday, May 30, 1938

Waffels for breakfast – Reginia here to eat with us – Dave & Bee – little gary here – afternoon Regine & I saw Birth of a Baby at Rivolli – Made me want more Babies

[Birth of a Baby is a drama starring Eleanore King and Dick Gordon]
[The 2455 seat Rivoli Theatre, located next to the Palace Theatre on St. Claire Street opened during the ‘20s. It closed in 1968 and, along with the Palace, was razed in 1969.]

Tuesday, May 31, 1938
Gave Norma Sun Bath and went to library – home & took some sun myself – Norma sick about 7 after feeding & through up all over


May 21 – [shorthand]
Norma weighs 17 pounds
Me 147
Frank 165

May 28, 2008

April 1938

Friday, April 1, 1938 – Frank’s Birthday [he’s 30]

Had chicken soup & chicken – made a cake & gave Franky cigarettes – so tired didn’t go out I’m very pleased with new house. Everything clean & bright

Saturday, April 2, 1938

Virginia came out with Frank – made lunch – went to store – Manny out evening – they played cards – I slept – I’m so tired at night I can’t keep awake

Sunday, April 3, 1938

I wish I didn’t have to cook Sundays – Virg & Manny polished furniture – I put a lot of things away – Vivian Elmer John & Amelia out – dead again tonight

Monday, April 4, 1938

Cleaned up some ironed some – Hamburg for supper – Secretly I wish I was working again – or maybe I don’t but too much house work – Franky out

Tuesday, April 5, 1938

Regine Swartz & Baby visited me – took Norma to Dr. Weight 14 lbs 2 oz – She is so darling – ate at Edison left baby at Shermans – Franky out even. wrote letters

Wednesday, April 6, 1938

Got new laundry tubs so did laundry – wish I had a washer – good supper I ate like a pig – I got to lose about 10 pounds – bed early

Thursday, April 7, 1938

Ironed 2 pair curtains – got cool – looks like I’ll never get through around here – lamb chops – trouble with sink F. tried to fix it – couldn’t

Friday, April 8, 1938

Did the whole weeks wash by hand – had light supper – Franky got Bill [her brother] so we went to Westwood theater saw Miriam Hopkins in Wise Girl (cute) Very cold

[Wise Girl is a comedy starring Miriam Hopkins and Ray Milland]

Saturday, April 9, 1938

Went down town but so crowed didn’t get much done – Billy stayed with Norma – My feet hurt – got kitchen curtains & bottel sterilizer – Sent Bill to show evening

Sunday, April 10, 1938

Took short ride – ice cream cones – hamburgs for lunch – Billy along – evening – show Palace – a Yank at oxford – Beef Barbeques at Bud & Lukes

[A Yank at Oxford is a comedy starring Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan and Vivien Leigh]

Monday, April 11, 1938

Billy here – ironed & washed some – Frank took Bill home & stayed out half of night – I went to Bed early since I was dead tired – never seem to get setteled

Tuesday, April 12, 1938

Work or no Work decided to take a walk with Baby – went to hardware store and got some misc. leftovers for dinner – Show with Regine at Westwood

Wednesday, April 13, 1938

Did most of ironing and took Baby for walk – went to library – got Book for Making friends from Dan Carnige – evening home moving furniture around

[The books was most likely “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie]

Thursday, April 14, 1938 – Mother’s Birthday [She’s 40]

Had folks and kids here for dinner – ham & cake with ice cream – they left about 8:30 went right to bed – I have to stay up late & get up early

Friday, April 15, 1938 – good friday

Billy here – he’s certainly a good brother – got hair cut – cleaned house & washed – Show – Paramount – In old Chicago – met Frank & had to wait while he finished job

[In Old Chicago is a musical starring Tyrone Power and Alice Faye]

Saturday, April 16, 1938

Managed to get down town by 1: P.M. Bought baby Blue coat & hat 2 dresses – for Easter – Wish I was thinner – Frank in Bed & me up – 1:00

Sunday, April 17, 1938

Easter Sunday – up late but managed to get out for ride – Stoped at Dot & Jims but not home – over to Sherman – left baby while we went to Edison for supper

Monday, April 18, 1938

Wash Babies things – guess I’m always making milk or something but love Baby so – Frank out evening – he is terribly groutchy

Tuesday, April 19, 1938

Baby has cough and so had to keep her in – plenty of work for me inside – So many things I’d like to do but feel guilty if I even sit down.

Wednesday, April 20, 1938

In the house all day so made F stay home while I went to library – Would like to read lots of book but how can I

Thursday, April 21, 1938

Reading Victory of England – like English History very much – Have so much to do and yet I fiddel around – I don’t like work all the time – Never done – down town – Baby at Mothers

Friday, April 22, 1938

Washed everything including sheets – thought I’d never finish – soup & egg mess for supper – Frank played ball awhile - Read & fixed curtains

Saturday, April 23, 1938

Stayed up from 6 on – ironed – Babys new Bed & high chair came – N just wont stay under covers – She is such a darling – Bed early – Wish I was never tired

Sunday, April 24, 1938

Cleaned house – Mom & Pop stoped & took us for ride up to Brian – saw Baby lambs & calfe – almost as dear as Norma – all here for supper – all tired out

Monday, April 25, 1938

Washed Babies things – made apple cake – Norma is so dear – Harry Sherman [Frank’s 23 year old brother] stayed with her while we went out – I saw show with RS at Westwood (good)

Tuesday, April 26, 1938

Sitting on porch in Sun – Beautiful day – Baby ate lunch in her new high chair – walked to store & saw Regine for a while

Wednesday, April 27, 1938

Walked over to Mae Riman’s – She had lunch for us and came home about 3 - Borrowed Jewish book from her – Sent Frank to library for Prodigal Parents – Sinclair Lewis

[Mae Riman was born January 12, 1905 and died in Toledo January 28, 1970. She was widowed at the time of her death.]

[The Prodigal Parents (1938) by Sinclair Lewis, a disappointing satire that pokes fun at the radical offspring of another Babbitt-like hero.]

Thursday, April 28, 1938 – Billy’s Birthday [Her brother Bill is 12 today]

Took exercises and felt guilty because I couldn’t see Bill – Read book every chance I get – Round steak for supper – Eat too much

Friday, April 29, 1938

Washed Babies things – took exercises and Bath – took Norma to Dr. – Weighs 15 lbs 11 ounces – had diphtheria enouckulations – hamburger for supper – ironed some evening

Saturday, April 30, 1938

Baked strawberry short cake & pie – fixed light supper – Virginia & Manny here & stayed night – played pitching ball in waste Basket in living room

May 26, 2008

March 1938

Tuesday, March 1, 1938

Worked all morning on budget – spent $167 last month [$2149.00 today] want to cut down on all expenses – argued most of evening because of not enough money saved.

Wednesday, March 2, 1938

Having so much trouble with my breast – don’t think they will ever heal – Letter from Sara & Sam [Frank’s sister] Never seem to get work done it seems.

Thursday, March 3, 1938

Managed to get out this evening – Lova Austin over – stopped at Dr but too busy so saw Show – lets Sing again – Fannie Brice – Judy garland

[Let’s Sing Again is a film from 1936 with Bobby Breen, the child singer, and Henry Armenta. Allan Jones, Judy Garland and Fannie Brice starred in Everybody Sing]

Friday, March 4, 1938

Billy [her brother] came down so we went to Dr. & had foot taped up – Went to hospital & saw Virginia & Manuel – Ginny not so good – brought ice cream

Saturday, March 5, 1938

Made a cake and got ready for town – got a new dress shoes hose gloves and everything – even music $28.00 all together [$360.00] – cleaned house late.

Sunday, March 6, 1938

Worked like the duece until 2 o’clock – Dolores Betty Howard & Toots here – out to Mothers for supper – home about 10 P.M. – Baby so fussy today

Monday, March 7, 1938

Didn’t accomplish much today – took a walk to A& P store so tired tonight – Frank out for evening – Toots and I listening to radio – Wrote letters

Tuesday, March 8, 1938

Toots and I having a fine time – roast lamb for supper – Meyer here for supper – Toots and I went to Rivoli saw Young China on Sarah [?]

Wednesday, March 9, 1938

Hurried with Babies bath so we went down town – bought Norma buggy & 2 new dresses – rested some afternoon and all played cards evening

Thursday, March 10, 1938

Toots went with Frank on run – got baby buggy today and so Baby and I went for a walk – saw Mrs. Hickey – Frank played bridge out

Friday, March, 11, 1938

Had hair waved – afternoon and made cake to take along – Toots also made sponge cake – Went to see Virginia brought Manny home for night – green ice cream

Saturday, March 12, 1938

Rushed through morning – Toots helped went to Cleveland – arrived at 6. supper at grandmothers – Evening at Fred’s & Delores – Feed Baby at 11 & back to Delores for lunch

Sunday, March 13, 1938

Baby fine all night – out to see Dave and Bee – dinner at 1:30 at Luellas – came home in 3 hours – Baby is so darling – evening had snack and read

Monday, March 14, 1938

So tired from trip – moved Bed room furniture around and did wash.

Tuesday, March 15, 1938

Took Baby to the Doctor and he says more to eat for her – bottled milk more cereal – Will I ever live through these hours of work – Frank out half the night tuesday – terrible Electrical storm

Wednesday, March 16, 1938

Another rainy afternoon – started to iron but too tired – My feet and back and my eyes so tired – I hope I never have any more babies

Thursday, March 17, 1938

Franky home late so much trouble with work – Had Miss Austin stay with Baby and went to show – Hurricane at World – Frank not feeling good.

[The Hurricane is an action film starring Dorothy Lamour, Jon Hall and Mary Astor]

Friday, March 18, 1938

Went down town – got new hat & things for Baby – Beautiful day – Mother & I took walk – Frank harder than Hell to get alone with.

Saturday, March 19, 1938

A Beautiful spring day – Franky rushed home and we went for drive – visited Shermans and drove out in West Toledo – Went to bed early.
Sunday, March 20, 1938

Thought I’d never get through day – Went for drive stopped at Ganches [Manny & Virginia] to see Virginia – light lunch at home and Read – Franky sleeping

Monday, March 21, 1938

Beautiful day went for walk over to Violets & Aunt Claras – Baby very good – home in time to clean up – Went to see Tobacco Road (took Mother) liked it very much

[They may have seen the play Tobacco Road, since it wasn’t adapted as a movie until 1941]

Tuesday, March 22, 1938

Washed clothes and cleaned house – Worked so hard all day – letter from Toots – had omelets for supper – went to bed about 9 o clock

Wednesday, March 23, 1938

Wrote letter to Sam & Sara – Baked a cake & muffins – Maccorni for dinner. I never get anything done – Bed early – Franky to bed early too – I would like to paint

Thursday, March 24, 1938

Its always noon before I get started even – Lova stayed with Baby while we went house hunting – stopped at Max & Claras – Stopped at Lauras – afternoon

Friday, March 25, 1938

[shorthand] have a sore throat but stomach hurt worse – ironed all day – Frank not home for supper out looking for a house – Went to Bed early feeling so miserable

Saturday, March 26, 1938

Mom & Dad got new Buick – Went out with Baby afternoon looking again – found a place we like if we can only get it. It will be swell – My throat very very sore

Sunday, March 27, 1938

Frank brought me some throat tablets and it helped – Max and Clara here – Mae & Phil here – supper alone – Evening – Manny & Virg – Aileen & John – played cards cake & ice cream

Monday, March 28, 1938

Still don’t know if we can get place on Lyman Rd. – I’m in a nervous stew – Washed some curtains – Frank gone evening – practiced piano for change

Tuesday, March 29, 1938

Going to move tomorrow – Mary Jane over afternoon helped me – Evening Virginia & Manny helping – I hope I don’t move again what a mess but we are getting a nice place

Wednesday, March 30, 1938

Mother & Dad down – terrible time with movers – 23.75 – [$305.00 today] rained – got out here about 6 – stayed at Mothers for night – Franky & Brothers came out & put furniture in place

Thursday, March 31, 1938

What a day – got stove connected gas on & telephone is La 6360 – chop suey for supper – ran sliver in finger & had to have Dr. taylor cut it out – Mary Jane here