My grandmother, Lina Dreher, was sixteen when she kept this diary as she worked in the family bakery. I have not changed any of the vernacular though some of it may be politically incorrect today. …
My grandmother, Lina Dreher, was sixteen when she kept this diary as she worked in the family bakery. I have not changed any of the vernacular though some of it may be politically incorrect today. She also mentions siblings Em, Hattie, Tillie and Joe.
Went collecting today [money owed from people who are on credit]. Either Tillie or I have to do it every week for Papa never gets any time.
We have the cream and soda now. I guess we’re the best customers. I ate about five dips of ice cream! And we sent a quart home. And the others [her siblings] helped themselves quite generously, too. We sold nine sundaes and sodas altogether.
Coming to the store this morning, I saw a colored man stop to take his shoe off. I could see all his toes, his stocking had so many holes in it. He knew I could see him, but he didn’t care.
About 5:15 o’clock A.M., I saw a little Italian newsboy start out with his papers. He was walking in his sleep and he stumbled over a crooked sidewalk and then awoke and almost touched his nose to the ground trying to see where the trouble lay.
Joe works in [Thomas] Edison’s phonograph factory. He has a night job and earns $10.50 per week working five days a week with a couple hours off for eating and relief. I wish I had it like that. Why, I’ve been working over a year and a half for not a cent of pay. [Her father was notorious for not paying the girls].
Another miserable hot day after which a shower seemed to cool the atmosphere. I walked back and forth about eight times. First to get here in the morning, then to bring Em [who has tuberculosis] some soda, then to get some money from home, then to carry an order, and a few other times, the reasons for which I have already forgotten.
Walked all the way from Eagle Rock [Reservation, West Orange, NJ] to home [Orange, NJ] today [about five miles] and all around the park. We went rowing for an hour. It was grand! Joe took a few of the landscape through a pair of opera or field glasses and he could see Coney Island and a few of the large buildings around there. Got home pretty late and tended the store and then washed the dishes and cleaned up for Ma, and then went to bed.
Now Papa is mean, but he pays our rent for us, that is $26 a month. But he’s forever begrudging us the place. He lives behind the store in one room and never comes home, only once in a while to see Em.
Now we have all to do to make both ends meet home and we don’t know how we’ll make out in the store for there is only a small income and quite a little expense. And he [Papa] goes and buys two glass display cases for the windows at $15 a piece! I think that’s foolish.
I got Hattie to take out a [library] card. She now can get books to suit herself. She’s taken “The Pay Envelope”. Tillie has “The Ghost”. Joe’s reading a story in the journal called “The Ghost Breaker”. He says it’s a Pippen! [Highly admirable]. Now you can very nearly tell how our tastes differ by the names of the stories.
Em has received so many bouquets from her shop mates [before she came down with tuberculosis, she worked in a florist shop]. To pay them back, we made a cake worth $20 and we will send it to the shop to be divided amongst them. There are about thirty people so I think each will get a reasonable size piece.
Was just about to close the store tonight when ten people came in. They each wanted an ice cream soda. I was all alone at the time and I had to call Papa up to help me for there are only five chairs at the counter and the room with the tables was pitch dark. So he had to make a light. This is the first soda rush we have had so far. Got home after eleven o’clock p.m. just in time to jump in bed.
To be continued…
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here