May Day, Bomb Bursts, & Happy Secrets: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 16

Now 1 May Day took mother to see the May pole dance at the children’s Play Grove at the Park. It was very close and hot but we enjoyed it immensely

Golden Gate Park Maypoles May Day Celebration c. 1915

Tues May 2 Got a card from Eilene & Frank announcing the birth of their first child a son on the 26 of April They call him Leo Arnold. I wrote to her and mailed it today.

May 4. I have swept and must now go to sewing Mrs. Andersons dress.

May 15 I have been negligent of writing in My Diary. Several important things have happened since my last entry. I finished Mrs. Andersons dress and received 4.00 payment. I received my sample case from the Goodrich Drug Co.

And I sent Eilene her baby clothes. I visited the affiliated college and on Thursday May 11 accompanied the Ladies aid to San Leandro to a meeting at Mrs Weavers. We had a most enjoyable time. I left there at 3 oclock and waited in Oakland at 12 & Broadway for Allie. He soon came taking me out for a very enjoyable ride in his auto.

We went to his boarding place and had a good dinner served by Mrs Crawford herself and afterwords went out somewhere in the city, met Jessie & Sylvester. took another short spin leaving them at the boat house at Lake Merritt.

Lake Merritt Boat House

Then we road around town some more and Allie left me at the station and I came home on the Ferry all alone safe and sound.

Sat the 13 I went down to the church for choir practice. Syl came in late we all passed out the door together after the briefest of greetings.

Frank was waiting up at the corner where the car stops We saw him as we came up the hill. S & J started to walk home and I cut across and spoke to Vestina but didn’t recognize openly, Frank standing in the shadows of the pole, but he took the car after I got on allowing me to board it alone and pay my fare. He then passed through the car giving me an ugly look and stood in the vestibule with the motor man.I was nervous all evening at the church I could scarcely sing and I was afraid of him on the street car. I motioned him to sit by me and he put his thumb to his nose in a sign of insult and didnt come. He allowed me to leave the car first two blocks beyond our street and talked to me in a most insulting manner all the way home. He bitterly resents me going to church at all and for that reason I remained away all day Sunday the 14th which was Mother’s day. Dewey and I went out in the morning looking at flats and Lolita and I went down to

Parkside and saw several cottages selecting one to look up today on the 15th. I went down town to find out that it is not for rent but for sale.

I came home to lunch and after lunch went down and called on F.S. nice as you please where he works and told him about it. Mrs Anderson called to see about her waist and that brings me up to date.

June 1 Mooved to 128 Harold Ave Ingleside.

June 11 Went to Walnut Creek to try out scheme of selling Velvetina. Failed to find suitable boarding place and started home on the following day.

June 12 Here am I at a little waiting station between Walnut Creek ad the next station east of there. In my hurry to get started I got on a car going the wrong way. I do not loose any time but it may cost me 10 ¢ more to get home.

Walnut Creek S. P. Train Depot c 1912

This is a pleasant place , beautiful wooded valleys with rolling hills all around and old Mt. Diablo in the near distance. I came here yesterday by the So. Pacific and will return via Oakland and Antioc. I hope the train hurries I am anxious to get back.

June 12 The train came on time and I enjoyed a pleasant trip and through some most sweet scenery. At Oakland we passed through a beautifully parked residence section.

At San Francisco while waiting at the wrong place for No 12. I saw Mrs White head of our sewing school days, on a street car, The folks were surprised to see me home again and rigged me a little which sounded good to me for what did I care I was home again.

Frank was nasty as is his usual attitude but it would take more than that to drive me away from my children. Mother was glad to see me back.

June 13 Commenced tearing out the clapboard and sink out of the pantry to make a dressing room out of it. It was hard work cutting the door through but I and Lolita did it.

June 14 Finished the remolding of the dressing room which is a wonderful improvement to the house. The next few days were spent quietly at Home in housework.

June 18 Sunday A splendid sunny day. Went to church in the morning transferred at Fillmore and got on a car going wrong way. Got off and walked to church on Octavia. Was a little late, lost my 30 ¢ contribution while waiting for prayer to end. Sat alone in church. Saw S. [Sylvester] sitting alone across the way. After service was over in which Mr Nugent entered by letter. I was first member to welcome him into the church. I then went out to vestibule and asked Mr DeVries if he had found my envelope. He had and returned it to the front of the church and gave it to Mr H.O. Anderson the church treasurer. Syl came up and I asked him “Wheres Jessie” he said I dont know she left before Philathea class closed [Philthea was an international, interdenominational organization of Bible classes for young women in the early twentieth century.] I was worried for a few minutes, til she turned up. She had been taking care of the babies in the nursery. Presently I missed them both and thinking they had gone to lunch before going to the convert in the afternoon. I took my lonely way up the hill past the children’s home think I might walk out to the park became tired and took the 17 car for home. When I came up the steps there was Sylvester looking out the window! When I came in explanations were in order and it was decided they missed me because I had on my new cape. And there —Sylvester says “would you like to go to the concert?” I assured him I would and he went and called up his mother to meet us at the conc. and after a hurried lunch we went. It was a very pleasant trip down and we met Mrs. Miller and Miss Hepron and soon went in. Our seats were on the top balcony and we could hear splendidly. The place was packed full. The music was beautiful. Tina Lerner the great pianist played and I enjoyed every note of her wonderful performances.

Tina Lerner, Russian- American Pianist

After the concert was over they escorted me to the Market St car No 17 and I came home alone dreaming all the way of the magic of music and kind hearts and ideal weather combining to make a perfect day. May I enjoy many others.

The week following was very commonplace. I wrote to Eilene urging her to come west,

F. and I continue to disagree he stays out late very night and comes home to a cold dinner the worse for drink. On Sunday the 25 he went up county and got a quantity of old brass which he sold for over $100. We had a quarrel when he came home, He used language which I did not propose to take so I wrote Jessie Kendrick to come and get mother and I wrote Allie to find a couple of rooms so I could go and live with him.

When Frank saw I was in ernest he came across beautifully although I was in no mood to accept his overtures. I refused for a day or so and finally agreed to accept his gift of $30 dollars to buy some things which I need badly enough.

June 30 he gave me 30 dollars to pay for 15 rent- 10 to Jessie and 5 for mother. He got himself 1 suit of clothes 2 suits of underware and a hat and pair of shoes etc. so peace reined for 1 day.

Sat July 1 Jessie & I went shopping and I spent some of my money for underware a hand bag a back comb etc.

Sunday July 2 I paid and was too sick and late to go to church. I cried bitter tears and Frank went away some wheres. We are not suited to each other. His is dissatisfied with me and I with him. J & S went camping.

Mon July 3 Lolita & Dewey & Milo went camping (to join Jessie and her crowd). I did house work and made a piece of lace the 5th since I came back from Walnut Creek.

It is late 10 or nearly and Frank has not showed up for dinner. Mother and I are alone. Tomorrow is the the glorious 4th of July Independence Day.

Tues July 4. The children spent the day at Lagunitas camping and enjoyed it very much. Grandma, Frank and I spent the day quietly at home working about the house.

The remainder of the week passes uneventfully. I worried about money as ever yours truly.

Sat had a big row about it Frank sent out letter.

Sun July 9 Quarreled about him presuming to send a man out with cloth for suits when I’d rather pick them out myself. Words led to bitter accusations and he dressed up and went out for the day. I got on some way. Always dissatisfied wouldnt go to church.

Then he came home and asked me to go with him to church. It was then too late so we stayed home. He is very good or very bad spells.

Mon July 10 was quiet and uneventful.

Tues ” 11 I did a big wash and Ironed and put away all of it. I cleaned house and did some sewing.

Wed ” 12 I cleaned house and did some sewing.

Thurs ” 13 Am mending and picking up rags. I hear the paper mills need then will try saving them for awhile. Between sun morning and today I mended 20 pairs of hosiery. Albert came over for lunch. He gave me 2 letters from Agnes to read. She is anxious for his return to Minneapolis.

Jessie bought her a new green hat. I gave her my brocaded ribbon to trim it with. It looks real well on her.

Fri July 14 I got a letter from Jessie Kendrick today. She writes real hopeful and reassuring. She is a good sister. She wants some of us to bring mother home. We’ll see about it.

J 15 Went marketing with Allie before he had to bid us good bye to go to Oakland. Met Mr & Mrs car in the market.

Sun 16 Went to church alone came home with Jessie in the morning. In evening went to church with Frank. He left immediately and waited out side. I was angered at him and told him he had punished me through Jessie long enough. He said I couldent run him etc etc same old story over and over again.

Allie started for Portland on his auto trip.

Mon 17. Uneventful notorious day . lots of wind and fog. Makes this place and ever changing scene. Went shopping and got a $4 corset.

Tue 18. I forgot to mention that I made the dress Eilene gave me for Christmas last week. Today am not feeling well.

Wed 19. Came unwell spent most of the afternoon in bed. No pain just overwhelming drowsy and dull.

Thur July 20 Feeling better. Washed . Got letter from Allie.

Fri 21. Dewey got a letter from Leo who is back in Mp’ls. He sent the chess game which they have been playing since dear knows when, nearly 20 years. Dewey is confident he will win.

Sat 22 Preparedness Parade during which a bomb burst and killed and wounded quite a number of people. None of my family or friends were hurt. God pity the victims and the one who caused it. [The Preparedness Movement Advocated entry into WWI. The parade began at 1:30 p.m., and 36 minutes later a bomb went off in front of the Ferry Exchange Saloon at the southwest corner of Stuart and Market streets. The bomb was in a suitcase and was set off by a timing device. The suitcase was loaded with nails, bullets and dynamite. Ten were killed and 40 wounded, It was the worst attack in San Francisco history.]

Steuart & Market Jul 22, 1916
Preparedness Day Parade Bombing. Elevated view west to windows blown out of building, ambulance, crowd.

Sun Jul 23 A somnabulis day [sleepwalking] I couldent get around to go to S. S. Frank went to work. Jessie and Lolita to Sunday S. I finished my letter to Allie . D [Dewey] is writing to Leo and will mail them both. I should love to go to church but on account of F.S. attitude I do not like to. Same Dull existence from which I pray to be delivered. At 12 Frank arrived. Jessie and Sylvester were sitting on a bench in the basement to avoid his wrath. Too bad I dont like this way of treating such a nice boy like he is.

Mon July 24 Dewey’s birthday. He is 19 years old so he says. I have not looked it up. Milo and Jessie will select a present for him later in the day. I have just come from watering the garden and Milo and I set out a lot of lettuce, I will work on babys coat today.

Milo fixed me some pearl jewelry very nicely. he is learning fast. He found a beautiful little stick pin for Dewey at a pawnbrokers shop , A dainty gold crescent with a ruby centered flower. Good taste.

Frank arrived about 11 oclock. J & S came home from B. [Bible] Class meeting.

Tues July 25 This morning Jessie was up and dressed when I came down to get breakfast. She seemed in a most exalted state of happiness laughing and cutting up with the boys, Milo & Dewey. After breakfast she called me upstairs and wanted to know if I could keep a secret. (hmm me? The Sphinx is a tattler compared to much. So I get the secret! “Sylvester and I are engaged to. Its just a year ago today that we started to go together.” O yes I remember. They took me in my little gray ? up to hear Billy preach. O but the time flies. I cant make it seem like a whole year. And so they are engaged to marry. My dear joyous happy Jessie and my sober serious joyful, jovial Sylvester. That called me mother at the picnic at Fairfax last fall and when “called” for it said so earnestly “May be she will be some day” and my heart goes out to them may they always be so radiantly full of the joy of living. May they always be faithful and true each to the other. This is my prayer for them.

Then she kissed me and ran off to join her lover for a walk to the beach before breakfast. She did not eat with the rest of so of course he will treat her to that happy repast at some of the beach restaurants. Happy youth.

From our west upstairs window I look out over the roofs of the little cottages that this part of S.F. is principally composed of out beyond to the wooded slopes west of Ingleside terraces to where ever changing never the same old Pacific ought to be and behold it has vanished. Nothing remains but a dull gray pall what does not resemble the usual misty fogs at all, the sky and sea are one apparently. Idly looking I noticed something of white between the trees and interestedly watched it sink out of sight when another one appeared I knew what it was, Foam capped breakers. I never knew one could see them in that spot. And to think that that was all that was visible of the big ocean. As I write this Milo came puffing up the stairs to say he had just come in from long walk down the beach and he thought he had found some gold. He gathered up some to the rich looking sand by a cliff and brought it home. The little shiny flakes look like the real stuff. [Mica?] He will test it and see, He said there must have been a storm at sea for great quantities of kelp, a seaweed was washed ashore.

We have had lunch and I must change my dress and do something. Go down town maybe. Later went marketing got some groceries and came home alone.

Wed July 26 Jessie reported her movements yesterday. They went to the beach, Then to Millers. Mrs Miller got their lunch. Then they took her to Hayward to see some country property. Mrs. Miller likes my Jessie and says Syl is a good boy when told of his engagement, but says he’s financial difficulties they tell her. They’ll have to wait and she promises to keep their secret so there you have it a very sweet 4 cornered secret.

Wed July 27 Finished Baby Hoffmans little corduroy coat.

Friday 28 Did a great big wash mostly alone. Ironed part of it.

Sat 29 Jessie Lolita Grace & I baked cleaned ironed and mended . S came up in evening and he and J went to register. I spoke only formal words of greeting on account of others being Present!

Sunday 30 None of us went to church today. Foggy and quiet. No sun paper came. Must buy one of newsey. Jessie went to local Presbyterian church. Lolita to same Sunday School. She wore her gorgeous new burnt orange sweater. I paid my last $5.00 for.

Mon 31 School commenced with Milo at Poly and Lolita at the Crocker they have the school childrens books of street car tickets at 2 1/2 ¢ each.

Aug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Usual and dull repetitions of many others. Cold foggy and altogether uninspiring but warmed nevertheless with my Jessie happiness. I crochet her lace for a pair of pillow slips and she makes herself a pink yoke in mile a minuit. She starts to work for Pragers [Department Store] as salesgirl (or lady).

Aug 6 Remained at home

“ 7 Received word from Allie that he had gone from Seattle to Miles City on a pass and would not come our way to take grandmother home which upset us some. Dewey and Jessie each want to take her home. Dewey has a new job driving Dolans motor truck at $2.00 per day and thinks he’ll keep it awhile.

Aug 8, 9, 10 Same as all the others, got letters from Leo and Eilene some where around these dates, Did my wash and came sick about the 11th Ironed and cleaned house very tired and played out by Aug 12 which wound up a week of hard work.

Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All RIghts Reserved.

2 Comments on “May Day, Bomb Bursts, & Happy Secrets: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 16”

  1. Thanks. I love seeing little tidbits about my grandmother Jessie. I wish there were more details. 😀
    Sent from my iPad

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