I Hereby Declare my Independence: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 12
Tues Sep 1 1914 Just a year since I started this interesting chronology of events as they pertain to me. It has been a swift year to pass through, very tamely passed as the record will show… I have been pensive and sad, hopeful and glad by turns, but through it all upheld by a wonderful faith that strengthens me ever anew. This is my thought for today. I will look ahead with a steadfast hope and an abiding faith in God’s promises to his children.
Wed Sep 2. Did a 2 weeks wash and the usual housework. Uncle gave me a new brass washboard and brought home some veal for dinner. First sunny day for a long time. Sent back Mrs Dotens mail and got a letter from her.
Thu Sep 3. Went down town and made some payments. Saw Joe Knowls picture [Knowles Naked in the Woods] which was quite wonderful in its way. Saw about Jessies picture didn’t get much satisfaction. Came home and cooked a good dinner of veal chops potato soup etc.
Fri 4 Freidmans mooved to Oakland. Beautiful morning. Swept the entire house. Mable call late in evening to see about a new suit. Will write to Goldie and Uncle P.O. instructions.
Sat Sep 5. Usual housework consisting of cleaning and baking. Lolita and I drove to 12th and Market to see the Barnum and Bailey parade which was all we expected and more.
Saw Frank to his working place in the lumber yard of Dolan Wrecking Co. he was just finishing his lunch. Lolita played with some kittens and we took the car for home disappointing experience. When we arrived home we found a card from Uncles dresser saying he had left for Concord on the Key West Train at 1:30 We were very depressed at his sudden departure.
Sunday Sep 6. Picked crab apples in forenoon. Fixed Mables Pique vest in afternoon. Poor Mable has had another quarrel with her folks which resulted in bruised arms.
Mon. Sep 7 Labor Day, Washed clothes in morning prepared to go to stadium to hear Gov. Johnson speak. But no Mr. Mosier wasnt going to no stupid speeches and races. So we spent a most miserable afternoon and evening. 10:30 Just finished a letter to Albert. F.S. is asleep on the couch in the back bedroom. I should worry.
Tues Sep 8 An eventful day which began with welcome Sunshine which lasted the day. Spent the whole morning at various household duties Ironing sweeping and dusting. At noon Mable brought her suit for me to make. Mr Dwyer had previously called to see about some “valuable papers” which were missing from Mrs Dotens things. I assured him they were not here. I cut Mables suit. And was doing fine when Albert and Dewey walked in. Such a surprise had to finish cutting suit. —hard work Jolly Dinner. Bed time. “Lolita and J” “Pa and Allie”. “Milo & Dewey” goodnight.
Sep 8 to 12 Worked on Mables suit finishing it Sat 12. Recd $5.00 Washed boys things and other necessary household duties. Enjoying Deweys society.
Sun Sep 13 Mable came to show off her new suit. She is well pleased. Dull day spent at home merely existing.
Mon 14. Dewey is well established at Polytechnic High School. He is growing and gaining weight. Milo and Lolita have started their fall work at Crocker Intermediate School in good earnest. Lolita is making especially good progress as evidenced by her report card. Nothing of speceal interest marks the passing days which come and go in joy or woe but each so like the other as to make a separate chronicle of them all is dull reading.
Albert and I visited the park on Peace Sunday and enjoyed the varied programs an immense throng turned out. [In the fall of 1914, Wilson issued a presidential proclamation designating Sunday, October 4 as a day of prayer and supplication for peace in Europe.] We also visited the art studio and arranged about the pictures. Jessies has been delivered.
Sep 21. Feeling unusually miserable and unwell am not neglecting my household duties. However, Sometime during this week Albert and I climbed telegraph hill and took a snap of me on that wind swept height. I bought some outing flannel to make Dewie boy a shirt which he is wearing at school now.
Sat Sep 26 I had a most harrowing experience. I went down town to send the Forrester dues. While I was filling out the order blank the window closed. I returned at once without sending the money, in a turbulent frame of mind next morning being sunday.
Sep 27 I arose sore at heart when I accidently shut the cupboard door and forced the clock out the opposite side breaking the glass. The gathering storm broke in all its fury. F.S and I were wrought up to the rupturing galling ties. I took a walk in the wild N.E. part of G.G. Park [Golden Gate Park] and read several chapters of the Lady of the Lake. [A narrative poem by Sir Walter Scott set in the Trossachs of Scotland: Loch Katrine, Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle.
Returned home and went to bed. The children went to the beach and Pops cooked lunch after which we settled down unto our respective domestic grooves outwardly tranquil.
Albert has obtained work as a machinist at $3.50 per da. He will send Jessie money to buy her ticket with. He commenced work Oct 1 and is getting on real well. He went down town Sat to buy some wearing apparrel. F.S. Went to call on his one time friend Mr Ben Nox of the Smoke shop.
Sun Oct. 4 Spent the day very quietly and pleasantly at home. Spent Mon tue wed and three all usual work
Oct 8. Just a year since we mooved into Rosses flat. They had invited us down and we all went excepting Milo, they didnt know it was the anniversary. Received letters from few and Jessie announcing Leos engagement.
Oct 9 Spent most of forenoon will write to Leo and Jessie. Recd the oval glass for Jessies picture.
Oct 27 Since writing these notes I have been very busy woman. I made 2 dresses for Lois Fryer for $5.00 and a beautiful party dress for Mabels sister. Mrs Alma Hall for which I received the sum of $5.00. This money I spent for necessities as they arose but principally to bail out Eilenes portrait which has been finished for some time.
Last Sunday Dewey, Frank and I visited the fair ground and enjoyed some excellent music. The grounds were bathed in the wonderful sunshine that sometimes graciously shines on our fog permeated atmosphere and the day was one long ideal dream. No peevish petulance marred the day and we returned in the evening to a hot dinner which was started before we arrived by Lolita.
Albert Lost his job and has been studying cartooning for a week or so. seems to have some talent and is eager to get booked for a stage cover. Hope with all my heart he succeeds. I got a nice letter from Goldie and answered it. And am sending our Lodge dues today.
Oct 27 Ended the day with a quarrel over money matters.
Oct 28. Proved to be a very distressing day in which friend husband, told a deliberate lie about an address which I had copied off a card I found in his pocket and which I later saw him erase. When questioned about this he said he did not erase it that it was not erased and that he could tell me all about it. It was where they and delivered limber he said. I went to the place No 3196 San Jose Ave. No lumber was in sight and the place appeared from the outside to be a very cheap roadhouse. [bordello] He accused me of mismanagement and driving him to steal all of which are untrue. I mended and pressed Lois blue serge today. It is now bed time. F. S. is in bed Albert at cartoon school., the others about the house. I have Jessies and Eilenes pictures. They look quite companionable on the wall. Sunny
[“In 1913, at the urging of women’s groups and religious anti-vice crusaders, the state legislature enacted a Red Light Abatement Act. Eleven of twelve San Francisco legislators voted against it. The law provided for the forced closing of property used for the practice of prostitution. Houses of prostitution were the practice, with legal challenges made by property owners, and “tolerance”based on bribes to city officials. In 1915, prostitutes in San Francisco lost their protected area when the mayor ordered that prostitution laws be enforced throughout the city.“]
Oct 29. Spent day dawdling about the house, dull in the very extreme
Oct 30 Friday. Received long looked for letter from children and Albert and collaborated on a lettergram to the children, Leo Jessie and Eilene in Mplis [Minneapolis] to urge Jessie to go to Neb on the 1st as originally planned so that she will be that far at least on her way. This is beautiful sunny day. am breaking bread and working over a rain coat Mabel gave Lolita. Friend Husband and I had a calm talk on the advisability of separating and decide it would be Best to see the children out of school and able to care for themselves. He had said that the address on the card I found in his pocket on Oct 27, was that of a Dago. [Italian slur]
Yesterday Tonight he said it might have been stove fittings they sent out there and that he had never been there and knew nothing whatever of the place or its occupants. Said he supposed it was Dago because it was a Dago settlement. Protested with tears, his innocence of wrong doing. There is something back of all this.
Oct 28 Oct 29 After deliberating decided to send lettergram advising girls to go to Neb. which we did they receiving same Oct 31.
Nov 3. Got letter from Mrs. Neuman saying girls paid their dues and would leave in a week.
Nov 4 Got a letter from Leo saying he would send the girls as per order. Am spending the week at home duties and resting up a little.
Nov 7 Sat. Got letter from Eilene signed Mrs F.J. Hoffman saying she was married in St. Paul on Wed Nov 4 to Frank Hoffman. Seems queer and unusual some how the fourth child to marry first. We all approve of her choice and hope their lives together will be very happy and prosperous.
In the afternoon Mrs Fryer called and invited me for a long auto ride. I and the children had just finished the Sat work so I accepted and we went clear to San Mateo and back without mishap. Getting lunch at a cafeteria down town on our return. Most enjoyable ride.
Sun Nov 8 Tired and sore muscles. Sad about loosing Eilene my little lass? out of the family. Stayed at home.
Mon. Nov 9. Spent most of the day reading paying bills and doing housework. Got coat of Mrs Fryer to make over for myself. Made a dandy coat. Spent Most of the week working at it. She gave me a white dress to make one for Lolita and one for Lois out of. She furnishing the required material to complete them both. I almost finished Lois’s during the week.
Sat Nov 14 I did a big wash with Dewey good help. Most splendid good boy to work. Felt quite bad and chilly in afternoon but recovered after. He made me comfortable by a fine fire in the cook stove. Good Boy. In evening I shortened 2 pair of black bloomers for the children, Josephine and Betty Richardson. And bought a pair for Lolita, from Mrs Fryer which she had bought for Lois and were too small.
Sun Nov 15 This proved to be a very pleasant sunday spent quietly at home with the family. I darned 3 pair of stockings and shortened a pair of can. Trousers for Dewey to wear at basket ball Mighty handy they proved to be at that, We are nearly to the bottom of dear old uncles trunk and how useful the things in there have proved to be. This is the last day of my natal year . Tomorrow I will be 47 years old and I must say it I don’t feel or look it my hair is a little darker but not gray and the wrinkles have mercifully kept away so I welcome my birthdays which bring added experience but leave little impression of their passing. It is 9 PM and I shall soon go to bed to rest for the morrow’s duties.
Dec 31 1914 This is the last chance I shall have to write that date. It is 6 weeks since I set my hand to this page.
Nothing of Great Importance has transpired to mark the even tenor of our daily lives. Things have gone much as they always do. I have spent almost all of the time at home working early and late at my housework and sewing. Without the kind neighborly Mrs Fryer next door I believe at times I should go distracted, She is so strong minded and self reliant she inspires me within me something of the same splendid qualities. I begin to see things in a different light and have come to the decision that no man or woman has the right to spoil my life and why I have submitted to be dominated by a selfish and arrogant and often cruel nature, is more than I can make out.
Too meek to take a stand for my rights as a human being I’ve been obliged to starve the higher and better instincts in me without a protest hardly because indeed my dominant was low and coarse a and ignorant. Do I peer into the misty fog of the future and catch a glimpse of light, hope, happiness and freedom. I hardly dare trust myself to look again lest the vision vanish. I pray God to give me strength to stand for my personal rights and I hope the dawn of the New Year now so soon to come will bring me as opportunity to live progressively, optimistically joyfully and free. What a word . No black slave ever suffered his bondage more keenly then I. Nor did shackles clank more cruelly galling than mine.
For a quarter of a century I have not dared to voice my own thoughts regulate my own personal affairs or exercise the least bit of personality with out exciting the most violent outbursts of resentment rage and fury in my husband, that swore to love and cherish me. I have submitted to every kind of abuse and humiliation and Now on the Close of the old Year and the beginning of the New I hereby declare my Independence and am prepared to fight for it if necessary and to maintain my own individuality at any cost, even to going out into the world alone to find it if it becomes necessary. Perhaps I shall find it a difficult role to play but nows my chance to prove I am a true daughter of a veteran. [Her father James Lewis Paden; Union Army Civil War veteran] It is nearly 12 oclock and Lois, Lolita, and Lulu (myself) are holding a watch meeting.
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