Friday, January 14, 2011

A Diary

My maternal grandmother, Ethel Ranney Tapley, kept a diary for all of 1933 and part of 1934.  It is small and red, with "Five Year Diary" in gold across the cover.  We've all seen the type... each page has a date at the top with five sections per page to write a four line entry for that day for five years.  I have had this diary in my possession for several years, and now that I have this blog, I think it is high time that I transcribe it.  This first entry will catch us up from January 1 - 14, 1933 and then I'll post each weeks' posts once a week.  *Please note that all misspellings and punctuation and/or grammar errors are my grandmother's.  I will not attempt to correct what she has written.  If I don't include an explanation of who someone is that she refers to, then my mother and I do not know who they are. 

She would have been 20 years old when she started keeping this diary.  She lived with her parents, Luther and Bessie (Carter) Ranney, her brother, Kenneth Carter Ranney, and her sister, Alice Lucille Ranney.  They lived in Mentone, which is in San Bernardino County, California.  They had family (the Hessers and the Coopers) and friends in the area:  Redlands, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa. 

Inside the front cover, my grandmother wrote her name and location:

"Ethel Ranney

The first page is just lined with no date at the top.  Here it appears that she did a synopsis of important dates for the years.  For 1933, it reads:

"March 2 - The banks closed indefinitely.
March 10 - Had a worse earth quake that we've had for 18 yrs.  Several were killed at the beachs. 
March 14 - The banks opened today.
April 17 - Alice got her diamond.
April 22 - I got a permanent.
June 21 - Earl in accident - 3rd degree burn.
June 28 - Earl died 3am.
Sept. 4 - Kenneth got married.
Sept. 16 - Alice got married."

So it appears that 1933 was a momentous year for the family.  Two weddings in one year.  Let's see what else happened.

Sunday, January 1, 1933:  "H {her boyfriend, Avery Hazel Plumlee} & I went to Baumans to New Year's party last night.  Had a flat tire.  Went to S.S. - Hazel & Herman {Alice's boyfriend} stayed to dinner.  H & I went to Luciles and played bridge."

Monday, January 2:  "Herman went home about 12:30.  Went to Coopers then to Hesser's.  Bernice came after Sch and brot Scalackies.  We stayed for supper at Hesser's."

Tuesday, January 3:  "Mama & I washed.  Hazel came over in the evening."

Wed., January 4:  "Mama & I ironed.  H. & I went to Yucaipa in the afternoon.  H. patched our tire.  H. & I went to Dietrichs & played cards."

Thurs., January 5:  "Calvin Coolidge passed away.  Alice & I went down to Keeney's camp this afternoon."

Fri., January 6:  "Dad, Mama & I went to town & got the rent & nearly bought the stores out.  H. came over in the evening, we played cards."

Sat., January 7:  "Went to Yucaipa this morning.  H. left for Barton Flats this afternoon with Herman.  We spent the evening with Balls."

Sun., January 8:  "Mrs. Cooper went with us to S.S. & church.  Coopers & Mr. Trowbridge were here to dinner.  Cathearts & Mrs. Barnett called in the afternoon."

Mon., January 9:  "Mama & I washed.  Went to Yucaipa.  Lucile came up & I went home with her.  We went to the show in the evening."

Tues., January 10:  "Lucile & I didn't get up till late.  I came home about two pm.  Hazel came back from the mountains.  Otho {Otho Hesser, her father's first cousin} called."

Wed., January 11:  "Hazel came over about 1:30 pm.  H. & I went to Yucaipa & fixed a tire at Clints. Folks took Coopers & went to a church supper.  H. & I stayed home much to everyone's disgust."

Thurs., January 12, 1933:  "Herman Wallon & family came over in the afternoon to find Hazel.  Hazel came over about five.  We went to Dietrichs & played cards."

Fri., January 13:  "Mama & I washed & ironed.  Mr. & Mrs. Ball came over in the evening.  Lucile & Clint came over for a little while.  Lucile & I had the gigles."

Sat., January 14:  "We went to San Berdo.  Got the licence & pair of shoes.  Went to Holts to See Laura Dodson.  We had to wait 2 hrs. for them to get home."

I find this so interesting!  A peek inside their life in 1933.  I love it!  Look for another installment next week!


  1. Sounds like she had a lively social life!

  2. Yes, it does, Kristin! I noticed that the first time I read the diary through. I guess without TV or the Internet, people had to actually visit with each other in person! LOL You'll also see as I go along that tires were not very well made at that time - they got flat tires constantly! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Ok, I'm jealous! How cool to be able to read through her day to day life. Too bad she didn't keep it for a few more years. I wonder if any of my ancestors kept diaries - and if they did, where are they? I sure don't have them :(