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.

August 27, 2008

May 1939

Monday, May 1, 1939

Washed & did some ironing – left over stew for supper – Frank gone for entire evening – I sewed dress – together had wonderful tea

Tuesday, May 2, 1939

Ironed & finished Navy blue dress – Frank a mess – hot chocolate & talked late – He seems to think I don’t love him

Wednesday, May 3, 1939

Cut out silk dress & basted together – bought .99 cent camera [$12.99 today] – Frank out til 4 AM playing bridge – Norma cross

Thursday, May 4, 1939

Had hair cut & set – bought a flower book & some pans – Met Frank at 4 – Saw Show – The Hardy Family – Roast Beef Sandwich – got baby & home

[The film was probably The Hardys Ride High starring Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone and Ann Rutherford]

Friday, May 5, 1939

Letter from Luella – Mothers & Daughters Banquet – got gift for being youngest Mother – Lovely dinner – Frank got me & drove around for a while

Saturday, May 6, 1939

Billy here went to Show – we went to Lanes had ice cream waffels for supper – Got Manny & Virg – Show 3 Smart girls – Russel Lodge Beer

[The film was probably Three Smart Girls Grow Up, a musical starring Deanna Durbin]

Sunday, May 7, 1939

Boy am I tired – dinner out to Mothers and all day took some pictures and slept – made blocks evening & early to bed

Monday, May 8, 1939

Washed & started ironing – scrubed off front porch – finish silk print dress & ironed intil 12 AM. Frank out all night

Tuesday, May 9, 1939

Frank put up screens – radishes have come through – Mother came out went to see Louise Forrest Allen named Baby – Wrote 5 letters to all caught up now

Wednesday, May 10, 1939

Some colored fellow cleaned my rugs for me for 3.50 [$46.00 today] – made a cake and took Norma for walk – Read magazines evening

Thursday, May 11, 1939

Down town got some Mother’s day gifts Bath – Nervous today – Dave here evening we went to Westwood – saw Topper takes a trip & Devil’s Island – coffee

Westwood Theater - Toledo

[Topper Takes a Trip is a comedy starring Constance Bennett and Roland Young. Devil’s Island is a thriller starring Boris Karloff]

Friday, May 12, 1939


Saturday, May 13, 1939


Sunday, May 14, 1939

Mothers day – Went to cleveland

[Note: May 15, 1939 through May 29, 1939 are all blank]

Tuesday, May 30, 1939

Fritz Delores Toots & Howard & Beverly here – ate dinner at Bud & Lukes

[Note: May 31, 1939 through June 14, 1939 are all blank]

August 13, 2008

April, 1939

Saturday, April 1, 1939 – Frank’s Birthday [He’s 31]

31 – Sent Billy to show – took Baby for ride bought her a rocking chair – gave Frank 2 shirts & ties – Show Paramount – Jane Withers & St. Louise Blues – coffee & Sandwiches at Michals

[The Jane Withers film was probably Arizona Wildcat, a comedy/western starring Jane Withers and Leo Carrillo. St. Louis Blues is a musical-comedy starring Dorothy Lamour and Lloyd Nolan]

Sunday, April 2, 1939

Took Billy home – Baby slept there then we rode around looking at new houses – Supper home – made some blocks

Monday, April 3, 1939

[shorthand] Betty came here early so I washed even curtains and hung them outside – Billy went to show – Frank gone til late so I made some blocks

Tuesday, April 4, 1939

While I ironed Billy washed all the windows inside and out I did some woodwork – visited dad in hospital – Show Granada – Taylor

Wednesday, April 5, 1939

Billy helped wax floors then left for home after lunch – lamb chops for supper – Jean stopped over for a minuet

Thursday, April 6, 1939

Sewed all day on blue suit – Walked down to point got some ivy plants – eggs for supper – Frank swell

Friday, April 7, 1939

Frank took his dad to hospital & made me go with him – left Baby with her grandmother – got a pretty Powder Blue hat – Brought Bill back

Saturday, April 8, 1939

Made a cake too Norma out to Mothers for night – Went to Detroit – Chinese food at Pergoda Inn – Show Michigan – Colbert & Amaci Midnight

[Midnight is a comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche]

Sunday, April 9, 1939

Easter Sunday – Breakfast at Dobbs dinner – Went to Zoo to see Bunnyville – Dad sick Norma cross Frank gone even.

Monday, April 10, 1939

Too tired to wash or clean – Ripped Blue skirt apart & put together

Tuesday, April 11, 1939

Frank has cough & sore through so miserable & mean to me

Wednesday, April 12, 1939

Dad is really sick – Mother called Dr. & Dad on milk diet for a good while now.

Thursday, April 13, 1939

Washed clothes and hung them outside – Walked down to point & got Birthday present for Lennard – Dad still quite sick

Friday, April 14, 1939 – Mother’s Birthday [She’s 41]

Washed my hair & Norma’s – Supper out to Mothers – gave her an electric clock – Dad is sick in Bed – Stomick trouble – serious

Saturday, April 15, 1939

Rushed around to get ready for Lennard’s Birthday Party – he was 3 years old – Frank went to bed early - Billy and I went to show at Westwood

Sunday, April 16, 1939

Pretty nice day in places – delisous spring chicken for dinner – Frank very sick yet – made & took over cake to Shermans – Stopped at w’olks

Monday, April 17, 1939

Rained all day – sewed & cleaned out drawers – rest of chicken for supper – Frank had to get New glasses – Norma broke them

Tuesday, April 18, 1939

Washed Bathroom – Baby got into spry can & was she a mess – Had supper at Edison – Norma at Shermans for awhile – Bed 9 PM

Wednesday, April 19, 1939

Sewed all day mostly on pink slip at last I’m satisfied with it – Walked down to point with Mrs Brow – Still weigh 150 lbs

Thursday, April 20, 1939

Left Norma with Mother and went down town – got a robe and more dress material – Frank throat is still sore so hes so cross

Friday, April 21, 1939

Took Blue dress apart & put it together again pretty soo I can start on new dresses – Sewed 2 rows of blocks together Bed 9 o’clock

Saturday, April 22, 1939

Walked down to point & got groceries – afternoon with Frank am catching a cold – Many & Virg here all night – played cards – midnight bed

Sunday, April 23, 1939

Manny & Virginia here – ride after Breakfast and after chicken dinner – they stayed here while we went to the show – Paramount – Yes My darling daughter

[Yes, My Darling Daughter is a romantic comedy starring Priscilla Lane and Roland Young]

Monday, April 24, 1939

Wonderful day – Washed – cleaned up house & yard – Bath & went along with Frank to deliver hits – cold much better – Even got Sunburned

Tuesday, April 25, 1939

Did all of ironing and walked to point – Bacon & Tomatoe Sandwiches – Frank went down town for evening – made some blocks & went to bed early

Wednesday, April 26, 1939

Sewed all day – making over & mending – Went around run delivering hits – Stopped at Mothers for awhile – Frank so honary

Thursday, April 27, 1939

Worked out in yard til noon – afternoon Bath & cleaned up left Baby with Shermans & had supper out to Edison – Frank out all night

Friday, April 28, 1939 – Billy’s Birthday [Her brother Bill is 13 today]

Walked to point & got Bill some pajamas had hair set – lamb Chops for supper – terrible – Rode out there & got Bill – He went to Show

Saturday, April 29, 1939

Billy & Frank doge up garden planted seads – Evening went to show – Valentine Kid from Texas

Sunday, April 30, 1939

Bacon & eggs – Bill helping – Frank did garden – hurt F’s finger – Nice Sunday dinner – Billy went to Show – We went for ride – Frank took him


Norma has 10 teeth

just like pearls

[There’s a sketch of a dress, and next to it she wrote:] Navy blue cotton dress – made price .75

August 7, 2008

March, 1939

Wednesday, March 1, 1939

Have terrible cold – finished ironing this morning but canceled sewing class – Strawberry Short cake for supper – played checkers & bed

Thursday, March 2, 1939

Feel slightly better took walk with Baby to point with Mrs Herrald – Frank couldn’t stay home had to go away – Sewed – Bath

Friday, March 3, 1939

Down town on Radio interview – lunch with Martha at Williams – Show – Pagmallion – Met Frank at 4:30 – Supper at Fireside – Baby up every hour

[Pygmalion, based on the George Bernard Shaw play, stars Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller]

Saturday, March 4, 1939

Made some beautiful curtains – cleaned house – Betty here so we went out – corn beef sandwiches – Show – Gonga Din at Panthan – Waffels

[Gunga Din is an adventure film starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.]

Sunday, March 5, 1939

Up early to lanes – Eggs for lunch – Rode around afternoon – Supper at home – listened to all good Radio programs & sewed blocks together

Monday, March 6, 1939

Letter from toots she is going to move by herself – Washed afternoon – liver for Supper – Frank gone evening so late

Tuesday, March 7, 1939

[shorthand] Frank had to monkey around – ironed and felt miserable – Browns have new radio – went up to see it – Norma still don’t sleep

Wednesday, March 8, 1939

Finished ironing – finall cleaned house – Sewing class – played Honey moon bridge rest of night – Sort of fun

[The name Honeymoon Bridge can be applied to any adaptation of Contract Bridge for two players. There are several versions. All of them use a 52-card pack, with suits and cards in each suit ranking as in Bridge. Scoring is the same as in Rubber Bridge.]

Thursday, March 9, 1939

Mother here all day we walked to point – my feet hurt so glad to get home again – Frank went out all night playing bridge

Friday, March 10, 1939

Down town – Bath, hair set – Purple cow hamburg – bought material for 2 dresses & slip – Mother’s for Supper – home early

Saturday, March 11, 1939

Made custard pie – rode all afternoon with Frank Norma so cross – cutting a lot of teeth – home together & bed early

Sunday, March 12, 1939

Over to see Max & Clara – Stopped to see new brick home – Dora Aumend & Earl over stayed for supper and evening – played rummy

Monday, March 13, 1939

So tired this morning could hardly get up – Washed afternoon – took Bath and took Baby outside for walk – Went to bed at 8:30 Both of us

Tuesday, March 14, 1939

Mother came over today so I could go to Singer – learned how to put in Zipper – Beautiful day – Frank gone so I figured out Budget

Wednesday, March 15, 1939

Put sleeves in dress – Walked down to Singer ate at Meinerts – finished hem – Frank wants it shorter so I’ll have to re do it

Thursday, March 16, 1939

All day putting in hem – hamburg loaf for Supper – Sewed on blocks – took Bath & mad Frank mad at me – Norma cross

Friday, March 17, 1939

Went out to Mothers worked on blue suit Dot over – met Frank at 4:30 Show Valentine – Stage Coach – good – Barbeque at Bud & Lukes

[Stagecoach is a western starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor]

Saturday, March 18, 1939

Finished blue suit fits pretty good – Frank got us about 4 – terribly cold when we got home plants froze & everthing – Bathe & bed

Sunday, March 19, 1939

Cleaned slightly – Ride took Cealia home and home afternoon – Ride when Baby woke up – Donna Jean Marrage here – We saw Kentucky at Westwood

[Kentucky is a horse racing movie starring Loretta Young and Walter Brennan]

Monday, March 20, 1939

Washed with Baby upstairs in Playpen and she kept crying – it made me so nervous

Tuesday, March 21, 1939

Ironed and walked down to point

Wednesday, March 22, 1939

Surprised that mother here all day – Went to Singer afternoon & Evening – last lesson – Bacon omete lunch afterwards when Reds stopes in

Thursday, March 23, 1939

Dishes and dirty house – Walked down to point with Mrs Brown – Frank polished trunk of car – Warm 70 degrees outside

Friday, March 24, 1939

Down town all day – got blouse shoes & had a bath – Jean making Norma knited coat – Frank sore because I left watch with Willis

Saturday, March 25, 1939

Couldn’t manage to do anything this morning – Norma so cross – Ride with Frank afternoon – Betty here P.M. – Saw Padrewsky & Mosketters – Chow Mein at Recreation

[The Three Musketeers is an action film starring Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers]

Sunday, March 26, 1939

Took baby and visited at Manny’s & Virginias Brought Baby home for nap later on Ride cake & ice cream for supper – Bed at 9

Monday, March 27, 1939

I thought I would lose my mind with Norma getting into everything – did finish wash – Walked to Mienerts – fish for supper – Frank gone even

Tuesday, March 28, 1939

Frank bothered me until almost 11 only did part of ironing – letter from Luella – answered this P.M. – Walked down to Mienerts with Regine

Wednesday, March 29, 1939

Frank left late again – cleaned house finished ironing – did 18 blocks & sewed them on – Frank gone to basket ball game – Raining and cold

Thursday, March 30, 1939

Got work all done so Norma with Cealia and went with Frank – Supper at Bud & Lukes – made 18 blocks today – Norma so glad to see us

Friday, March 31, 1939

Left Baby with Mother and went down town had hair set & Bath bought shoes – Stopped over to Jeans house – Baby cried she just daresn’t be like that

August 1, 2008

February, 1939

Wednesday, February 1, 1939

Cleaned house baked cake made dessert and took bath – Singer class cut out part of my dress – Raining terrible snow & raining can’t get out

Thursday, February 2, 1939

Figured up budget and will have to spend less – Sending electric sissors back – Frank not home until late – worked on sewing

Friday, February 3, 1939

Frank so cross resents my reading book – down town had bath and hair set bought some yarn to start 2nd afghan

Saturday, February 4, 1939

Still reading Book “and tell time – didn’t do much else – Rode around Frankie’s run – Betty here – Saw show trade Winds & Dramatic School – Baby cried

[Trade Winds is a comedy starring Fredric March, Joan Bennett, Ralph Bellamy and Ann Sothern. Dramatic School is a drama starring Luise Rainer, Paulette Goddard and Lana Turner]

Dramatic School:

Trade Winds:

Sunday, February 5, 1939

Out to Mothers all day – kids Frank & Dad went skating – Howard & Neva there for supper – made 11 blocks for my afghan hope to finish

Monday, February 6, 1939

Washed finished book & made an apron out of old skirt – Frank not home for supper but home early – He always wants to play games

Tuesday, February 7, 1939

Did ironing and walked to point – Snow hard to push buggy in – cube steak sandwiches – ripped rug apart & took bath

Wednesday, February 8, 1939

Moved furniture all around & cleaned – fixed nails and gave Norma bath – Sewing class – got everything cut out – Stopped at lanes for Soda

Thursday, February 9, 1939

Mother and Dad here for supper – afternoon went to slip cover demonstration – had steak & ice cream & cake – Frank out rest of evening – playing cards 2 AM

Friday, February 10, 1939

Sewed – Furnace went out – walked to Lanes with Baby but so cold came right back – Frank went to YM – Brought Dave home had Hot Choc

Saturday, February 11, 1939

[shorthand] felt so miserable all day didn’t do anything – Betty here evening so we went out with Many & Virginia – Jessie James Show – Kin Wa Low’s & Purple Cow

[Jesse James is a western starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda and Randolph Scott]

[…the great bandleader, Paul Spor is inviting girls to hear his band at the fabulous Kin Wa Low's Restaurant and Nite Club.]

Sunday, February 12, 1939 – Lincoln’s Birthday

Got up & dressed early Went to store before lunch – home rest of day – played chess & amused Frankie

Monday, February 13, 1939

Washed through early so cleaned up house – I wish I had more time to play with Norma – Walked down to the point – tired

Tuesday, February 14, 1939 – St. Valentine’s Day

Ironing done early so took Baby out – Bacon & Tomatoe for supper – Frank gave me 3 pairs hose Fannie Farmer candy – clock – gave him green shirt

Wednesday, February 15, 1939

Made a chocolate cake & Jello – cleaned house – Sewing class – Phil Riman – Benny Svinetski [?] – Played chinese checkers & served lunch

Thursday, February 16, 1939

Cleaned & figured up Budget – Norma cross – Have so much to do I feel honary – Bills all coming due

Friday, February 17, 1939

Down town most of day – Bath paid Bills and got pinking shears & several materials – tired & scrapping with Frank

Saturday, February 18, 1939

Bill here – did Shopping morning – Baked beans for supper – went to chinks for 10 PM sup with Manny & Virg – they came home for night

Sunday, February 19, 1939

My own fault Manny & Virg here all day leg of lamb for dinner played bridge all evening – took them home about 10 – tired & discusted

Monday, February 20, 1939

Took all day to get laundry ready – Washed night after supper – didn’t mind Frank helped with dishes – Made 1 block – tired out

Tuesday, February 21, 1939

Baby took 2 naps today so I managed to get the ironing done – Frank not home until Midnight made about 12 Tan Blocks

Wednesday, February 22, 1939

Head ake in the morning – Walked to lanes while Baby slept – had liver & Brussel Sprouts – Sewing class – Worked whole evening on neck

Thursday, February 23, 1939

Cleaned house cleaned Bedroom window – Mae Riman stopped in Baby very sweet – tonight have her hair curled – Frank gone with Manny to YMCA – Sewing

Friday, February 24, 1939

Decided rather late to go with Frank – took Baby out to mothers & had hair set – Supper in Maumee at Cosy Corner tea Room

Saturday, February 25, 1939

Made a lemon pie – Invited Regine & Charlie over but they couldn’t come so we ate popcorn & beer by ourselves – Sewed some on afghan

Sunday, February 26, 1939

Felt ambitious – got Shermans over for chicken dinner – listened to Pederwski on Radio – Very snowy – tried to learn some bridge

[Ignacy Jan Paderewski (November 6, 1860 – June 29, 1941) was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat and politician, the third Prime Minister of Poland.]

Monday, February 27, 1939

Betty sick with the flu so have to stay home tonight – Did wash afternoon while Baby naping (Tues) left Baby with Mother saw Blackstone

Tuesday, February 28, 1939

Ironed afternoon but didn’t finish because I feel so rotten (Mon) Frank gone evening – went to bed early but baby up twice


Norma is cute but she bothers me – eats messy doesn’t get any more teeth and wakes up so many times a night