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,
, was the
offices of a group of civil engineers – Allen’s job before and after WWI. Cleveland
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.
To see what other Sepians have to offer, visit: http://www.sepiasaturday.blogspot.com