Faith & Fury: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 15
There are no entries from Christmas Day 2015 until Valentine’s Day.
Feb 14 1916 Valentine’s Day. But no Valentines for me I guess. I must make this entry fill a period of 6 weeks the intervening time between Christmas and Valentines Day.
In many ways it has been the most enjoyable time for me. I have not had any dress making to do which has given me a good rest. I have crocheted a couple of yokes and a couple of sets of edgings. Read the Seawolf [Jack London novel] courtesy of Sylvester Miller and did a little home sewing. The charm of these few past weeks has been chiefly caused by my reflected happiness in Jessie’s little romance. Which seems to be flowing along smoothly since her father agreed to let him come to the house.
I received $5 from Eilene with which to purchase a layette and I must get busy with it. On the other hand I have been tormented with a never ending string of bill collectors which I have not the money to satisfy. Because Jessie and Dewey Albert have been out of work all winter.
Mother [Millie Lulu (COATS) PADEN] is still with us. Sylvester gave his mother and me a ticket each to the Wagner Memorial Performance at the Cort Theater. Yesterday I met her for the first time. She is a pleasant and agreeable little body.
Last night I attended Church and sat between S And J [Sylvester and Jessie] to my chagrin and also amusement. It was all J’s fault. We listened to an interesting sermon heard a lovely solo and walked home through the panhandle. It was a glorious evening and long to be remembered . Word came from Leo this morning that he might ship his Lynotype to Colorado and might possibly come with it.
I made a beautiful middy blouse for Lolita smocked gingham light blue and white piped in blue. She is pleased
Feb 15 The most notable happening today was the Valentine Party at the church.It was beautifully decorated with hundreds of hearts and mottoes appropriate to the occasion. Mr Mahan was “Loves policeman” and Sylvester Miller was cupid. Ice cream and cakes decorated with red hearts cut out of red jello. Lolita and I walked home “on the run.” and got into bed about midnight.
Feb 16 Spent most of the day resting up.
Feb 17 Jessie & I did a big wash and usual ordinary house work and now at 9 oclock are in the parlor playing the piano and writing in my diary. Got a letter from sister Jessie today and enjoyed it very much.
F.S. has taken to dressing up and going out evenings without saying by your leave to anyone.
Mar 11 The past two weeks was spent in lonely house cleaning and trying to make 1 dollar do for two in paying bills which are all over due and in doing a little family sewing. Am getting on slowly in a baby bonnet at present .
Feb 22 Was ill but managed to get Jessie ready to go to Big Lagoon [in Humboldt County] with Syl and his sister and bro. on a camping trip which they all enjoyed immensely.
Mar 4 Lolita’s 15th birthday. The girls in her class gave her a fine surprise of a party which we all enjoyed.
Mar 5 Went to communion at church in the morning and was calmed and benefitted by the services.
Mar 6 A memorable day washed in the morning and went to consert practice in evening. Will take part in the consert if I keep my health and spines.
Mar 7 Tuesday Open House at the church went with Lolita. F. S. sore about it. Never seems to fall in with or approve of my plans and actions. However well I do not plan to oppose him or antagonize him purposely I shall act according to my own judgement in the future on matters pertaining to my own affairs.
March 8 & 9 Sewing principally
Mar 10 Syls Birthday. Jessie assisted in a little surprise part at his own house.
Mar 11 Sat Today just remembered is registration day the last– must dress and fly or cannot vote at the coming election. Jessie has gone to get Lolita some shoes. I finished Lois silk dress $4.50. Just returned from registering. Frank and I nearly missed it but got there in time. good night.
Sun 12 (Mar) Frank and I went to church at the Christian Church to her K.C.B a writer of a unique column in the Examiner speak. His name is Kenneth Carrol Beaton a Canadian Americanized or I might say Western United Statesized Altho he seems to have been pretty nearly all over. He told in slow hating speech much after the stye of his writings how he came to do so much philanthropic work. It was interesting in the very extreme. He is a man confessedly out side the Church and its influences that has led a fairly decent life took his pleasures along the way dancing a little smoking a little etc.
He said his first charitable act was to treat the Old People of the Kenny Home [Presbyterian Retirement Home] at Seattle to an outing. This was done by a direct appeal to the people who donated the necessary autos food etc. This led to others and always furnished the desired material for his writings. People have accused him of selfish and egotistical motives but he says what do the cripples and orphans a care so long as they had their outing and pleasure. He advised people when they were moved to do a kind deed to go ahead no matter what others might think and say. Much good has resulted from the small beginning and shows small acts of kindness lead one to greater ones til the good can hardly be estimated. He is a small man well set up a serious thoughtful face with kindly twinkle about the eyes. It was evident he felt himself out of place as his attitude was a trifle constrained as if he were on the defensive but determined to conceal nothing. As a consequence his little talk was not very complimentary to himself and denounced the hoards of wealth and said the day was coming when it would be a disgrace to be rich whole people starved for the want of money.
He is a very warm hearted straight forward manly fellow that loves humanity which includes children, and animals. Such as Ben Hur the kitten he rescued and keeps in his apartment. He shows us things and conditions in the downtown district in such a touching and personal way. They are soon reminded like fixing a clock in front of the Koehlers and washing street lamps which caused him inconvenience and chagrin. Also the mine hole in the street telling it in such droll dolorous way the authorities had it fixed at once. It is quite evident that he has the power to get at mens hearts and appeal to their better natures as few are gifted with. He says its all selfishness for he didn’t give the quarter he’d lie awake worrying about the one that asked him for it until he felt like hunting him up when he gave anything it gave him the greater pleasure so he was selfish. The Bible says the same thing What a pity there are not more unselfish people like that. When he finished the Minister said any one that was capable of doing so much good surely couldn’t be very bad. Frank and I walked home through Laurel Hill Cemetery [Closed and graves moved in 1939] . It was a grand beautiful spring day and long to be remembered.
After a light lunch Mother and I took a long walk in the park and saw some of the animals and the colonial room in the museum. Coming home we met Mrs Barber and her daughter Ethel. We had a light dinner and I went to church at our own place of worship the First Baptist and enjoyed a good sermon on the war by a sub Minister, Mr Hill from Berkeley. Same stereotyped phrases. I went to sleep twas a long day. I came home alone and found Jessie and Sylvester home ahead of me.
Our Syl seems to be quite devoted to our Jessie. Frank chooses to be jealous of him and Joe Richardson because once in a while I speak a pleasant word to them. They both always treat me with great respect.
Mon Mar 13 Today I finished the little baby cap for my first grand child and made arrangements to make a house dress for a lady next door. I hope things pick up and times get better. Its awful to be unable to pay your house debts. In the evening we went to concert practice and got along very well with it. I walked home with Jessie and Sylvester. and went straight to my room. Frank chose to be ugly and made sarcastic comments about Sylvester & J. which is absurd and ridiculous to mention and never would have entered the head of a sane person. The truth is that he has been spying on us all coming home from church together hoping to discover something and failing at that has worked himself up with a passion of rage and jealousy until he is almost a mad man. He called S. low disgraceful names and swore to “get him’ “put him in the hospital” and Kill the —–. The children want me to leave him.
Life with him has become an intolerable burden.
Tues Mar 14 Went down to church and worked with Ladies Aid on the new vestments for the choir. It is evening and Lolita just came home from Fryers. I made arrangements to make a suit for Maxine Lichestine today.
Mar 15 The middle of the mo. already. How fast time is speeding us toward the grave oblivion and forgetfulness I wonder. I believe my conscious spirit freed will go on unfettered expanding , developing living and experiencing the delights I am denied here on earth. This foggy morning inspires introspective thoughts. My life in being spent in one sordid wrangle after another with my husband over nothing in particular. Always he chooses to fancy himself neglected, abused and unloved. He certainly magnifies the ego, Selfish to nth degree.
This morning told me Jessie had to go. I told him that would be a pretty way to treat a child and that I would go myself as soon as I could. He replied that as soon as I went she would go too. He again accused me of not wanting him to go to church which is not the case but no amount of argument will change his mind. He says he dislike Sylvester and wont have him coming here. But in truth he would dislike any other man the same. Jessie is 23 years old on the 30th of this mo and certainly is old enough to receive company. She is a very discreet and proper acting girl and modest and refined to a degree. Mr Miller treats her with respect as he does all other women and there is absolutely no reason why Frank should act as he does in threatening his person.
I confess here I don’t know the solution what I should do or how to act but this much can do, and that is “Ye next thynge” and thats what I will proceed to do. The days work is all before me demanding my attention and the lovely California out doors calls alluringly. I can glance out my front windows and see the Eucalyptus waving and swaying sturdy and majestic, graceful and strong with an air of lofty indifference or reserved aloofness from the petty trivialities of the human life seeking rest and recreation under their protective branches. There is something reassuring and strengthening imparting new courage and hopefulness in the soul attuned to their harmonies.
Tues Mar 16 Spent the day in trivial household duties baked bread and rolls, mended and sewed a little took a lonesome stroll around the panhandle and home to bed.
Mar 17 St Patrick’s day . A fine bunch of carnations came to Jessie from whom? I think its quite a safe guess. At present she’s crying in her closet. Why I wish I knew. Poor girl she takes everything so seriously.
Dewey gave me $10 to apply on the bills. Good old Dewey may God keep the dear heart He gave him.
I am fixing over a black skirt and find 32 is a fearfully tight waist. I fear me muchly Im growing stought [stout]. The day has has clouded over and is colder again.
Frank and I went to the Haight St, Motion Picture show and enjoyed a fine film. Mice & Men with Marguerite Clark as Peggy after we came home enjoyed a sociable evening and slept well and peacefully.
Mar 18, Morning found us thrashing out same old question. Its solution seems as far remote as when we first began discussion 1/4 century ago. Frank dont like it because I can enjoy myself away from him. That I can enjoy the conversation of other people. And he wont want me to go places with out him and he doesnt want to go with me to conserts and speaking. I always behave myself and have nothing to be ashamed of and cant see the harm of being pleasant to Jessies friends . Further I cant see why I shouldent take part in the concert the church is getting up.
I want to, the Choir leader wants all the singers he can get, And the church need the money that will be taken in. But I am satisfied Frank doesnt want me to be in it by the way he acts. Cheerful till I tell him I going and glum when I start and sarcastic and insinuating when I arrive home again. Its the same way when I go anywhere without him but he will hardly ever go with me. When I ask him to accompany me he’ll make some trivial excuse because he really dont want want to go and saves his anger till I get back. Its a awful life to live. Jessie had a good time at the church last night
Albert came over and came home with J & S. Frank doesn’t know they were here. I did not see them. Jessie is making a pineapple cake for a surprise party tonight. I made 3 pies and bread.
Sun Mar 19 Frank had to work today so I got up early and helped him off. It rained by spells all day and so we gave up our plans for a little family picnic out at the park. In the afternoon Albert and Sylvester came to dinner. I was too tired to go to church in the evening. J & S went to Mrs Mooning to see their wonderful new baby boy David Livingstone Moonie their first.
Mon Mar 20 This day is another link in my very long chain of troubles that will live in my memory as long as that memory may last. He had read in the church index that the concert practice would be held on Tuesday so were taken completely by surprise when Syl came n after dinner and said it was a mistake. So we hurriedly dressed and accompanied him to church.
We had an evening of hard work practicing and walked home through the Panhandle of the Park. I was extremely nervous but did not betray it. When we neared Ashbury we saw Frank cross over toward Oak St. As we crossed Fell St. I said “you better not come in tonight Syl” He replied “all Right” and I came right in and Jessie and Syl walked up the street and over into the Park again. F. Came right back and looked all through the house and said It was good Sylvester had not come in or he would have brained him. He watched for them awhile and then came and delivered himself thusly. You can leave the place as soon as you want to. Ill make no further effort to stop it. Albert was right when he said this family had to break up. It wouldn’t Have hurt me so much if you had walked ahead to make me think you came alone. I’ll get me a room downtown and you can get Albert to come back home and I’ll keep away altogether this is no place for me. “If you prefer his company to me its all right.” Weeps undresses for bed. Lights pipe smokes awhile and dresses himself.
I told him I had no notion of trying to get on with $10.00 per week. I let him talk and said little or nothing. I was and am too discouraged and heart sick to know what to do. It seems more than human nature can bear. Well I went into the front room and he followed me and we sat there in silence for awhile. Jessie was eyeing me the davenport reading her bible she had come in about the time her father was redressing himself. Finally I went to my room and Frank followed. We went quietly and subdued. He had talked himself out and I did not care to get into controversy with so irrational a creature. The alarm seemed to awaken me immediately after it was so soon after I had fallen asleep. Frank seemed inclined to make up but for what? Only heap abuse on me the slightest little thing I do. O I’m so weary of it all.
Mar 21 I went down to the church to help sew upon the robes for the choir. It was a long hard day and I came home with a nervous headache. Jessie and mother had dinner ready I took a nap bound my head up in a cold towel are and helped do up the evening work. Wrote up my daily chronicle while Jessie played straight through her stock of music and now Ill go to bed and thank God that gave me the day asking his protection for the night and trust in the Father of mercies to take care of me in the future as he has in the past.
[Mar] 22 A very busy day. We washed clothes and in the afternoon I finished another gown for the choir. Grandma was working on a little pillow slip all day for Eilene and she made a pie and a batch of biscuits for dinner. It is now 9 oclock and Lolita has not come home yet. “Alls quiet along the Potomac” Guess I’ll ” go to bed in”
Mar 23 Lolita arrived home safely. Jessie and Syl and they came in and S stayed awhile. Frank nor I knew of it till Lolita told me. As it now stands S seems the most gentlemanly of the two.
Mar 24 Frank threatens to renew his attentions “to every woman he sees.” I let that pass and said nothing. He weeps because I would rather occasionaly sleep in the morning then have relations with him and may be when Ive answered him shortly and sometimes for no apparent cause. I used in the early years of our married life cry bitter tears with cause enough and he had little sympathy for my weakness till gradually I quit it. Is it any wonder I hate to see him forever weeping. If I was false to him like he was to me there might be some excuse but all I ask is to go to church and sing in the concert and meet friends of both sexes without exciting such unreasonable opposition and such mad jealous rages. It is weakening my nervous system little by little but surely and certainly is it right or fair?
I went down to the church yesterday afternoon and worked with the ladies on the robes rode home with Mrs McCarthy on the street car. I brought another robe home which mother helped me finish today.
I am discouraged about our financial affairs . We owe so much and have made such a small income. I must find something to do.
(Later in the day) Well I found plenty to do Jessie & I swept and dusted everything but the kitchen and and left that til after dinner when Lois came in and right out to the kitchen and never went into the other rooms at all there by seeing the only dirty place in the house. Such is life.
She kissed me on the cheek and gave me a ticket to the Mansfeldt club concert on 12th of May in the Palace Hotel. [Hugo Mansfeldt was born in Germany in 1844, a student of Franz Liszt, he was a pianist, taught and held concerts widely in the San Francisco Bay Area. He died in 1931] O! But my O! me I’d love to go and enjoy it. I am afraid Frank will be crabbed about it just as he is about every single thing I do. He has dressed up and gone out for the evening not saying where or why. Of course when I go out I tell him very sweetly all about before hand tacitly asking his permission and I go with an uneasy feeling of being watched and spied upon all evening. Jessie is looking for Sylvester this evening. Suppose they meet. They did not meet! Peace reigns.
Sat Mar 25 Busy day cleaning and baking. Syl came up early in the day and he and Jessie went down town and got their pictures taken (I think). Then they returned and hurried preparations to go on a little week end camping trip with some of his sisters friends.
Sun Mar 26 I had planned to bake some lunch and go out to the park and eat it and listen to the music. Now mother says she doesn’t feel like walking. That upsets all my plans again. Seems as if I’m getting used to it Just sticking round at everyone’s beck and call with no say at all in the matter, I wonder what individualities are made for any how & I always to be “the least of these.” It is bright but cool today Would enjoy a brisk walk out doors.
Mon Mar 27 A very blue day altho not a work day. All my cares and responsibilities seemed to weigh me down with a load to heavy to rise up under, I had decided to give up choir practice and told Frank if asked why I should tell them. I was lying in bed early in the evening when he came in mad handed me a quarter 92 bits) and asked “what for?” and he said for carfare to go to church with so he seems to be willing I should go avoiding I don’t walk home with Jessie and her escort. Very well then I’ll go and ride. (Later) came home about 9:45 on car and went to bed at 10. Frank came in later and said he’d been to the Movies. J & S came in soon after not I did not molest them.
Tues Mar 28 Am feeling fine after my rehersal last evening but blue over a shortage of money this week. I do need it so badly. I must sew on Eilene’s little dress today. Beautiful Spring morning. Plenty of housework to do to day. Am mailing a letter to Eileen.
Thurs March 30 Jessies 23rd Birthday. On account of an empty purse I could give her nothing. Sylvester gave her a nice French Ivory comb and Brush. And Agnes and Mrs Davey each a crocheted yoke, which were very nice indeed. They got some pictures taken but as she thinks they are poor she wont give me any.
Fri Mar 31 Last day of Old Man March. Rather blustery. Lois Fryer gave a party to her young friends Milo, Lolita, Jessie & Syl went.
April 1 Milo & Dewey both succeeded in fooling their gullible (old?) mother much to their delight and my discomfiture.
A 2 Monday I cut out Mis Hazel Browns blue suit tonight. I expected to go to choir practice, but my loving partner spoke so brutal and insulting about it I gave it up, and fitted a jacket instead.
April 4 The time passes day after day they slip along draging out their weary lengths and again how swiftly were speeding on.
I arose at a few minutes before six and got breakfast for Frank & Milo put up their lunches and saw them off to work. I then ate my breakfast of dry crust and scrambled egg & coffee. My digestion is very bad. I bloat up with gas which impedes my circulation. My hunch is either too hot or cold, also my feet. I am troubled with obstinate skin disease which has been bothering me about 10 years. Dr Mary Whetstone of Minneapolis diagnosed it as psoriasis her treatment did not benefit me . When I started to do up the morning work I discovered ink spilled on the parlor carpet. I got into a row about it with the girls. I hate rows. I’ve learned they leave me depressed.
The varnishers are at work on the front porch. The upper flats are being renovated don’t know whether they intend to do our flat or not.
Last night was open house at church. I wanted to go but was afraid to broach the subject on account of Franks quick temper. I am sick and tired of his unreasonable rages.
I sewed until 9 oclock and went to bed to suffer with cold until 1 oclock. I have $10 worth of sewing in the house and must quit writing and get at it.
Sat April 8 Since writing Monday I have with Mother’s help supplemented by Lolita’s assistance, accomplished a weeks housework and finished Mrs Browns suit for which I received $7.00. I am going down town with Jessie as soon as I can get ready.— came home about 10. Got some spare ribs for sun., him some notions and a hat for Lolita.
Sun Morn April 9 Sunday Morning work and plenty of it to put everything in order, We are a disorderly bunch. Jessie is off to Sun school. Lolita didn’t go. Milo is out in Marin Co woods somewhere fishing etc. and F. S. is putting in a toilet for somebody somewhere. I’m through ironing and almost through the rest of it. Dewey is preparing to take his bath before going over to see Allie [eldest son Albert] at Oakland. Allie is the happy possessor of a second hand Owen [ a touring car] which he has acquired at the price of about $300.00. He is real puffed up over it. I finished Miss Brown’s suit and it gives satisfaction. I am to make a silk for her.
April 27 1916 It is 3 weeks since I entered my last items in these pages. I worked very hard before Easter sun. I made a shite serge coat for Maxine Lochtenstein $3.00 and a white suit and helped Mrs Ross with her skirt for $6.25. I trimmed Jessies and my hats, Bought Lolita one.
We practiced long and hard for our concert and it came off beautifully I have a picture of the choir.
Frank was very ugly about it all. Easter Sun was a most beautiful day J & I sang in the Choir. We wore the new robes and somewhat amused at each others appearance. I have been corresponding with a firm of Druggists in Omaha Neb for a position as a traveling salesman. I think I’ll get it soon. Most anything would be better than this awful shortage of money. Leo writes that he is working at Teluride, Colo. His deal with Grand Junction fell through.
Lottie Paden died April 11. She was younger than our Jessie and was the wife of my youngest brother Louie and the mother of two sweet little girls Ruth and Lois. She died of consumption [Tuberculosis, the leading cause of death in the 1900’s] brought on by a bad cold.
On the 25 Jessie and I climbed up to the top of one of the twin peaks. There is a magnificent view of the city and surrounding bay region the Golden Gate and the Presidio and the Pacific Ocean.
Apr 26 We visited a skin specialist at the U.C.H. [University of California Hospital] and had my skin trouble diagnosed it is psoriasis said to be incurable non infectious and not not transmitted from parent to child. I am taking treatment for it.
Today on the 27. Mrs Lichenstine brought her suit to fix. I mailed the answers to the questions in my application for a traveling position and did a very big wash, am very tired. It is now nearly 8 oclock and Frank has not come home to dinner yet.
Uncle Petty made a short call on us today. Then he went to Oakland to see Allie. He has a new job at Antioc [Antioch]
Jessie has gone to her bible school. I am cold and will retire for the night.
April 28 Friday This has turned out to be a most beautiful day. In the morning I was sick and altogether tired out. I became discouraged and went to bed. I could not sleep and got up and tied my head in a cold cloth. Then Albert and Uncle came I took off the cloth to welcome them. They came in his car. Uncle was very much pleased. We got them some lunch and afterward Allie drove us in the park. We got a flat tire and while Allie went for a patch, I lay down in the sun and rested. My headache left me and by the time he got it fixed up I was good as ever. I enjoyed our beautiful ride around G.G. P [Golden Gate Park] very much. When we returned Jessie called up Sylvester and he said he would accompany them to Antioc where Uncle has a position at a Hospital. Allie will drive them over. I hope that they have a safe trip. F.S. has not returned from work yet. Lolita will go up and get some stuff for their lunches tomorrow.
Apr. 29 30 Sun Usual routine went to choir practice came home alone and found F.S. lately arrived silent and morose.
Frank went and got a horse and buggy came late to break fast. Would not ask me to go for a ride but bitterly complained of my “treatment of him” calling me his usual choice collection of epithets and deriding the church using every vile language in describing it and belittling my membership therein.
He seemed most miserable and offered the use of the rig to the children who did not seem to want to go. (Dewey & Lolita) the others being absent. I offered to get up and go with him but he said he would not take me (now). So he took back the rig and now blames me because we dident use it. On ac. of his crazy actions I missed both services at church and was call to task by Mrs. Anderson whom I’m sewing for on her first visit.
Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.