Saturday, January 11, 2014

JULY, 1918...

I’m last in a long line of family diarists—at least one in each of the last seven generations, although I’m sure my diaries are less fascinating than those of my forebears. Altogether, I have about twenty of them, dating from the late 1700s until now.

This one belonged to my great uncle, Allen Adams Gould, born in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts in 1887 – an Excelsior Diary for 1918, bound in soft leather; a pocket diary, sized to fit into a man’s jacket pocket.

Captain Allen Adams Gould, Expeditionary Forces, Motor Transport Corps; started his first tour of overseas duty in WWI on horseback, finished his last on a motorcycle...a family story has Allen in a Victory Parade (on Commonwealth Avenue) in Boston; his horse, in somewhat less of a celebratory mood, stopped suddenly and refused to budge – and the parade went on around him!

 There are mentions of 621 Hippodrome, or, simply 621 – revealing a family tradition of identifying places by address number only (the family home was referred to as 1206 by all the diarists who ever lived or visited there!).
621 Hippodrome Building, Cleveland, was the offices of a group of civil engineers – Allen’s job before and after WWI.
Once or twice, he talks about meeting engineers at Peerless, a motor company for which he later worked; while there, he was instrumental in developing the side-view mirror for cars!
          Trips to a Doctor Owens for his typhoid inoculations, trainings, safety lectures.
On the social level?
Lots of dances at the Yacht Club, dinners and parties at the University Club; movies (two starring Douglas Fairbanks); lots of tennis and baseball games and picnics...
          ...and most of the time, he did these things with “Gert.”

I have no idea who Gert might have been, but on Monday, the 29th of July, 1918 -- four months before the end of World War I, Allen wrote: "Overseas orders."

Tucked into this diary, on the same page: a three-cent postage stamp (good for a first-class letter in 1918); a dried, fragmented piece of purple clover, and a photograph of a lovely young woman on a blanket; there’s a horse behind her on the hill; she’s in riding habit.

          And she’s smiling at Allen Adams Gould.



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21 comments:

  1. How amazingto have all those family history!

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    1. It is amazing, Jackie! I'm so lucky...and it's fascinating to watch characteristics pass down through generations. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. You are fortunate to have so many diaries about your ancestors lives. I wonder what happened to Gert.

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    1. I don't even know what Gert's last name was! There aren't enough clues...but I know she did NOT marry Allen; his wife was Barbara, and I remember her well!

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  3. He was quite handsome. It is wonderful that you have inherited so many diaries, Deb. What history and hopefully insights there must be.

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

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    1. They're really fun to read, Kathy. I can remember the family members that were my grandfather's era (Allen was my grandfather's brother); I have photographs of all of them, so there's a visual connection, too. Nice to hear from you!

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  4. You are sol lucky to have these sources of family history, written by your ancestors. Very special indeed.

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    1. And my problem is: nobody in the next generation down has much interest in this...what do I do with them all?

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  5. With diaries back to the late 1700s you have a large slice of social history in your hands,

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    1. It's pretty wonderful, Bob! I can read about my great-grandmother's fight with her shift from wood to coal in her kitchen stove...something we don't think about much. It's fascinating; it's also great fodder for my novel!

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  6. From #19: I especially enjoyed the Art Nouveau cover art and font. Really put me in AAG's time. Beautifully done as always ~ Barb

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    1. Yeah, great graphics, right? Best from #12!

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  7. Wow, I am hoping to land a treasure like this as well. How priceless and wonderful.

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    1. My best suggestion? Start keeping a diary/journal. And don't worry about what you say about people...you won't be around when they read about themselves!

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  8. Hopefully you're not the last diarist in your family.
    I wonder why the clover was significant.

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    1. I seem to be the last (that I know of). I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with all this family ephemera...nobody seems interested!

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    2. Oh! I forgot to mention the clover. I wonder if it was picked in the field where this lady was sitting on her blanket; was it tucked in his diary to remember that particular day?

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  9. I’d be thrilled to find such items in a book on my shelf, but to find them in a diary is exceptional. Are we hoping that is ‘Gert’ smiling away there?

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    1. I'm certainly hoping it's Gert -- I can't imagine it would be anybody else, since she's the only woman he talks about in his diary. Whoever she was, she was one "that got away," as we say...

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  10. What treasures you have in all the diaries. That will give you tons of stories for future Sepia Saturdays.
    Nancy

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    1. I've dipped into them before, and certainly will again! I can't stay out of them. I have another 1918 diary (Allen's grandmother's); she talks about my father being born. It's amazing!

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