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.

September 18, 2008

July 1939

Saturday, July 1, 1939

Down town afternoon exchanging nighties & nail polish – Went to the zoo Play “Swing Mikadoe” – Later Kin Wa Loo’s for chow Mein

[The Swing Mikado is an operetta in two acts with music arranged by Gentry Warden, based on Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera, The Mikado. It was first staged by an all-black company in Chicago in 1938.
The Swing Mikado was a production of the WPA's Federal Theatre Project. The production was conceived, staged, and directed by Harry Minturn, with swing re-orchestrations of Arthur Sullivan's music by Warden, and starring Maurice Cooper as Nanki-Poo. After a five-month run in Chicago, the production moved to Broadway where it had a run of 86 performances.]

Sunday, July 2, 1939 – Birthday [she’s 23]

Picnic at Gem beach with Cealia & family – lovely coke [cake?] – Frankie gave me some beautiful gifts – cosmetics – beads – Manicure set – purse & 2 nighties

Monday, July 3, 1939

a Relief to be alone – Billy gone – mended a few things – left N with Shermans & had dinner at Williams – bought a frying pan with Birth day money from Mom

Tuesday, July 4, 1939

Frankie picked some cherries & I made 2 pies – Manny & Virginia here for supper – Norma wouldn’t sleep so took a ride & took them home

Wednesday, July 5, 1939

Up early for a change – Breakfast alone – Mending some things at Mothers – So we left Baby ther & took a swim at Scott Park

Thursday, July 6, 1939

Grampa here till afternoon – Frank accidently kicked toaster so I fixed it – took him for ride around river – light lunch

Friday, July 7, 1939

Glad to be alone for a change. So hot couldn’t do anything – Frank is a dear – helpes with everything

Saturday, July 8, 1939

Ironed out some pieces this morning under fan – Billy came out so we went to show – “Maisey” & drove around

[Maisie is a comedy starring Robert Young and Ann Sothern]

Sunday, July 9, 1939

Got up early to take Billy home – had waffels – home rest of day – looked at houses – cut grass & tree

Monday, July 10, 1939

Had a huge wash but it dried in a couple hours this evening – then painted cubbords

Tuesday, July 11, 1939

Finished ironing by noon – sewed on Voil dress – Regine & Charlie over – Mother & dad over – very glad to go to bed

Wednesday, July 12, 1939

Had a permanent – Never expected to live through it – Show with Frank Juarez with Betty Davis & Paul Muni

[Juarez is a historical drama starring Paul Muni and Bette Davis]

Thursday, July 13, 1939

Cleaned out cubbard – Norma still a little sick

Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15 are both blank

Sunday, July 16, 1939


Monday, July 17, 1939

[shorthand] felt pretty miserable so didn’t wash. Billy with F.

Tuesday, July 18, 1939


Wednesday, July 19, 1939

Washed clothes and sweltered

Thursday, July 20, 1939


Friday, July 21 – Thursday, July 27, 1939


Friday, July 28, 1939

Virginia & Manny here for supper & night – played cards & had ice cream – Frank

Saturday, July 29, 1939

Virginia here morning – took her & Mother Sherman for ride afternoon & home – evening bath and bed early –

Sunday, July 30, 1939

Drove out to Mothers & saw Howard & Neva – left early stopped at Cealias – Dave watched Norma so we went to the Show

Monday, July 31, 1939

Up early and got washing out of the way ate out to Bud & Lukes – gramma Overmeyer here for visit took to Mothers

[Grandma Overmeyer is Helen’s mother’s mother – Lillie Nesbitt Overmeyer, born January 1, 1871. She was 68 at this time.]

September 5, 2008

June 1939

[Note: May 31, 1939 through June 14, 1939 are all blank - presumably because she was moving to a new house]

Thursday, June 15, 1939

Mother kids & all over at New house – cleaning – Mrs Brown watched Norma afternoon – so terribly tired

Helen's new house:

Friday, June 16, 1939

Busy moving things all day – worked until midnight carrying things – then ride for hamburg & rested

Saturday, June 17, 1939

Moved to 4029 N. Haven hot and sticky. Soon as Frank got home we went to Toledo Beach – home late hamburgs

Sunday, June 18, 1939

Father’s day – cigars – Darwin & Bill both here – had steak dinner – kids did a lot around the house – took home

Monday, June 19, 1939

[shorthand] – did washing and streighting up house – Walked to store for groceries

[Note: June 20 & 21, are both blank]

Thursday, June 22, 1939

Luella & Bill over for rest of week – Went down town & got material for blanket – Show – “goodby Mr Chips”

[Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a drama starring Robert Donat and Greer Garson]

Friday, June 23, 1939

Worked on quilt some – Luellea & Bill went visiting we went to bed early since we were so tired – too many arguments

Saturday, June 24, 1939

Luella & Bill here until afternoon than left for home – we are certainly glad to get to bed early

Sunday, June 25, 1939

Took Manny & Virg to Gem beach – Norma is just crazy about it. Supper at Virginias – terribly hot & tired.

Monday, June 26, 1939

Worked all day & night on quilt – but will be able to finish it Tuesday

Tuesday, June 27, 1939

Virginias Shower – played cards – she received Several blankets – very discouraged after wards got a cup of coffee

Wednesday, June 28, 1939

Billy came out to help me wash & had a big one – Took a ride P.M. Storm – Hamburgs & frosted Malted milk

Thursday, June 29, 1939

Ironed until 3 – Swimming at Scott Park – Supper at Mothers drove out to Luna Pier and Villa & El Dorado – 2 drinks & waffel – fun

Scott Park:

Friday, June 30, 1939

Finished ironing by noon – walked to stores for groc – back late & Frank worried to death – Sent Billy to show


Norma 25 lbs Me 152