My Soldier Boy & Divorce: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 22
Jan 1 1918 May the year be a happy one. I finished work, began on Mon.
Jan 2 got letter from Jessie Sat and saying she would be over Sun.
Jan 3, 4, 5 Ordinary housework.
Jan 6 Jessie came over . Worked hard, washed curtains in kitchen Syl [Sylvester] came in evening.
Sunday Jan 7 F.S. [Franklin Stewart MOSIER] began the morning by his usual insulting language only a little word pointed which I took guilty saying but little on account of the day and J & S [Jessie & Sylvester] being here. They think I should leave him and be done with it all.
Monday Jan 8 Jessie & I called on Mrs Fryer. She entertained is beautifully and was so glad we came. She proved to Jessie that F.S. statement concerning Joe and I was absolutely false.
Tues. Jan 9 Baked bread and ironed some, in forenoon. Washed clothes in afternoon with Eilene’s able cooperation and all nervous and upset.
Wed Jan 9 [?] Answered Allie’s New Years card and wrote to Bro. Hod. [Her brother Horace] The day is sunny and pleasant. I will work on a quilt I’m repairing. (9:30 oclock) did quite a lot on the quilt—fitted Lolita’s dress that Eilene gave her washed and wiped the supper dishes, made the bread and now I am finishing up my writing preparations and going to bed. I brout in the wash which dried beautifully. Every thing is calm but would have liked to have gone to an entertainment at the Church to night but gave it up fearing to start trouble again and now to bed.
Jan 10 Baked bread in morning worked on a quilt all the rest of the day.
Worked on a quilt all the rest of the day. One quilt made of Lolita’s old gingham dresses helped out with the new scraps and 9 piece blocks. Looks better than I thot it would.
Frank came home broken hearted he lost $4.50 while fixing the car and lost and forgot it and eating his dinner which he did. Dewey brought home his wages and believe me it was gratefully received for I was literally down to my last cent which I gave the bubs[?] Dewey is now getting 2.00 per day which is a little more than Lolita gets. There is quite a rivalry between them and Milo is out of work. F.S. Talks of quitting his job. No rain yet. Bacon is 60 cents a lb sliced.
Jan 11 This has been a notable day in the family. Milo and Donald Shaw went down and enlisted in the aviation corps today. He is so proud and happy. O but I hope it will last. I don’t know just when he has to go. I got a letter today from Jessie. She wants me to come and see her and help make a quilt.
I sewed and washed some today. Weather is still fair with no rain which is sadly needed. Milo and Don went to Poly technic school to see a friend today. Milo went to to Ingleside this evening. Lolita expected Charlie this evening.
Jan 12 Milo got his few belongings together that he thot they would et him keep and went down town to keep his appointment with the recruiting officers and has not returned. It is now 10 oclock in the evening and I suppose my little Milo, boy is a sure enough soldier boy by now. God bless you my soldier boy. O but I’d like to see where they have sent him. Seems so sudden and final. Frank quit his job and was in time to see him off. He cried but Milo and I didn’t O no, not us, but I think the tears dripped down inside. It rained nearly all day, a blessed much needed rain.
Jan 12 No word from Milo. How I would like to hear from him. It is an open question whether I go to Jessies or not but finally decide to go. After a very pleasant trip across the bay listening to some native Hawaiian music I arrive in Hayward. Morning cool and sunny and a 3 mile walk ahead of me due north with the sun hot on my back. Got to Jessies and S met me down by the big tree, I was glad to get there and rest and eat the good lunch she set out for me. Later in the day they go to see a thousand baby chicks.
Mon July [January?] 14 Aftermath: feeling bad, tired out, blue and anxious about Milo.
15 feeling rested and better raining a little. Started a knit wash rag.
Wed 16 Goergous weather, beautiful view. Jessie did her washing. I helped some and knitted a little. Mrs Westlund called, had a pleasant afternoon. The pigeons are cooing and the chickens are having a noisy session previous to going to roost. Evening draws on a peace. A meadow lark is whistling his exquisite notes. Childrens high pitched voices resound up and down this beautiful little valley peacefully lying between its protecting hills.
Jan 17, 1918 Another wonderful day but we need the rain instead of sunshine. Arose early as usual and after breakfast mixed Jessies white and raisin bread helped with the egg and tied some on her comforter.
Fri Jan 18 A quiet uneventful evening.
Sat Jan 19 Sunny cold and windy Jessie went to Oakland to meet Sylvester and left me sole in charge of the poultry ranch. I fed and watered the hens and pigeons and goat and gathered the eggs in the evening got me a little dinner and kept a lookout for the dear chilluns”. Esther and Herbert drove out in their auto and soon after that J & S came. We had a late supper of ham and eggs and retired for the night.
Sun Jan 20 – Got up first made the kitchen fire and while the rest got the breakfast I got ready to go to Hayward to take the street car for home. Herbert was going to H to meet Mrs. Miller so I rode with him at 10:45. Arrived in S. F. after a pleasant trip, found every one well at home. F. S. grouchy and fault finding giving me his usual certain lecture for the days ending.
Mon Jan 21 – Allies 28 birthday feel downhearted after a sleepless night. Baked bread and started a crocheted edge on a handkerchief for Eilene’s birthday. Milo came over to call.
Jan 22 – Household routine
Jan 23 Wed. – Called on Mrs. Fryer. She said she had been sick and was better and was going to sell her furniture at auction the next day.
Thurs Jan 24 – I went over to Mrs. Fryers sale. It made me feel sad to see her house broken up. Met Mrs. Mansfelt —the noted music teacher and had lunch at Mrs. Jays who asked me to come and see her again. I came home and went out again, calling on Mrs. Ross and getting a crocheted yoke to do over and bought some bread.
Fri Jan 25 – Washed cloths
Sat Jan 26 – Finished washing and cleaning up house
Sun Jan 27 – Milo came home on a visit from the Presido [Presidio] where he is stationed as a rookie in the medical dept. He has a very bad cold and looks bad. I hated to see him go home.
Lolita showed her father some cloths Mrs. Fryer gave Lolita that had belonged to poor dear, sweet Lois which made him so mad that he is taking out on me.
He is sullen and morose. I am nervous with apprehension. Lolita and Charley went to church. Milo is sick of a bad cold and sore throat. I hated to see him go. I went to bed at about 11 oclock and then Frank began abusing me about going to Fryer’s sale, abusing me with the most shameful and violent language, accused me of being too familiar with Mrs. Fryer’s Bro which of course is untrue.
He became threatening and menacing until I became frightened and got up and dressed. He had already got up and dressed, so I went to packing up. Finally he calmed down when he saw he had me properly humiliated and turned off all the lights. I went into Lolita’s room and slept or rather laid awake with her.
Jan 28 – In the morning he came into the parlor where we were lying in the davenport bed and said he would go in a week if I stayed. I refused. Again he came in to say he must go to work and to come into the kitchen where it was warm to talk it over.
He seemed to think it was all my fault. I said very well then you’re the finest man that ever was but I don’t want any more of you. For 28 years you have made my life miserable and I was going to quit and he better be sensible and not appear if I should apply for a divorce.
He said now that he knew I wanted the divorce so I could marry again he would tell a story in court that would disgrace me so that no man would have me. I said “so you would tell a disgraceful story in court about your children’s mother would you. He guessed that he would. In reply I said, “ I’ve got your measure at last. I don’t have to have a divorce but I’m going to go.”
He begged me to stay and take care of the children.
I reminded him of the times past when he used many times to say If you don’t like it here you can go, and move, to quick to suit me. I can get plenty of women that’ll take better care of the children than you do and you cant have them. Your not fit to be the mother of nigger babies”! And he said that was when they were little but now you have them all turned against me.
He knew I never would leave the poor little things and so he could talk big but now they are all grown up, the youngest, Lolita, will be 17 in March and they are all of them tired of hearing him revile and insult me every time when loses his temper which is every time I leave the house to go anywhere.
After all this he came to kiss me good bye. I didn’t return it but said, “so I’m disgraced am I.” He turned away, wiping away his tears. When I went to finish packing I found he had unpacked most every thing I had packed before.
Soon he returned. ( I was weeping into my coffee and choking down some bread and butter.) and said he didn’t want me to go away without any money and gave me $5.00 which he had to borrow. He probably thought I would relent. It had the use and I’ve forgiven him 70 times 7 already. My health is broke. I’m nervous and dispeptic [depressed] bitter and morbid all because of his unjust treatment.
The scene I have just described is mild compared to some I have had with him for many times he has grabbed me and shoved me against things and called me every vile thing he could lay his tongue to. He has a most amazing vocabulary of rough language. I am ashamed to write it down.
He went away again and Eilene went out to call up Milo and Jessie. She found Milo better and could not get Jessie on the phone so I decided to go anyway. I took the crocheted yoke I fixed for Edith over to Rosses and Eilene and I went down to Sabins jewelry store on Fillmore St and got our pins that were being mended and I got the ring tightened on my watch and bought a new black silk ribbon gold mounted for it, so I can carry it without fear of losing it. We then came back home and finished packing up my things and then started. I had a safe and uneventful trip over. Was fortunate in getting the same car that Syl was on and also the Doran girls. Their parents were in Hayward to take them home so they asked me to ride as far as their place which was or is almost all the way. Jessie and Mother Miller were preparing their dinner when I came and were surprised to see me. I told them how matters stood and they said I was welcome to stay and we decided I should do up some sewing for them.
Jan 29 — They haven’t got the material so I spent more of Tuesday in crocheting a border on a handkerchief for Jessie.
Wed Jan 30 – Cold frosty morning Jessie is writing home inviting them all out here Sunday to a birthday dinner for Eilene.
Thu Jan 31 –Getting ready for company
[Editor’s note Milo was my grandfather. He did not end up serving in the Army aviation Corps but as a medical corpsman. Since he met my grandmother upon his return from France, that is a good thing—otherwise I might not be here to write this!]
Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.