Monthly Archives: December 2013

In a Pickle January 1931

To Continue…
The following story is also true with a little exagerration.

     “Have another pickle” urged Dorthy as she and Helen were doing the dishes in the Walker kitchen.  (they lived on the second floor of … illegible due to water damage)  Helen however didn’t need to be urged to have another one since pickles were her weakness.  She had already had 5 out of a freshly opened bottle and kept having another one until the dishes as well as the pickles were done.
     “I’m glad I’ve got them done at last,” said Dorthy.  “Mother won’t be able to scold me now when she gets home.”
     “I guess I’d better go now,” said Helen looking at her watch.”  “Your mother will be home anytime.”
     “Listen!” said Dorthy as footsteps sounded on the stairs.  “Make for the bathroom quick.”
     Helen ‘made’ for the bathroom & in a few minutes she heard Dorthy and mother conversing.
     “I’m going out with Charly tonight dear,” she heard Mrs. Walker say, “and I want you to get the supper while I have a bath.”
     A bath! (illegible sentence) The bathroom was at the end of the hall so there was no way to escape.  She could just walk out & present herself to Mrs. Walker but this, Helen knew too well would bring Dorthy a punishment and to herself embarrassment.  She looked wildly about her and a glint of hope came into her eyes as she noticed a door that she had not seen before. She made a dash for this and turned the knob.  Much to her surprise the door came open and revealed a closet with few clothes.  She entered this and closed the door just as Mrs. Walker came into the bathroom.
     Then came an endless half hour which seemed to Helen hours.  The air in the closet became very close and she was terrified lest Mrs. Walker should open the door in search of clothes.
     Would Mrs. Walker ever finish? she thought and if she did finish and come to the closet what would she do?  Make a dash for the door or stand there horrified?
     Helen could not make up her mind which she would do but as Mrs. Walker came out of the bathroom and went along the hall just thenit was not necessary to deside. (sic)
     Helen opened the door and waited for a few minutes hoping that Dorthy would come in.
     No Dorthy appeared however and Helen crept cautiously to the door.  Here she stopped to listen and heard Dorthy and her mother conversing in the kitchen apparently eating their supper.
     Helen stuck her head out and fining the way clear she jumped up and raced joyously down the hall and stairs as fast as her legs would carry her.
     As soon as her mind settled down she became quite enraged at Mrs. Walker for taking a bath such an awful time.  When she became very angriest (sic) she vowed she would never again help Dorthy with the dishes and to this day that promise has been kept.

Next week Bernice gets a detention…


School Blues

Sunday Feb 9th
I have not written in this for a long time in story or diary form.  I suppose one of the causes is the fact that I have had the flu and have missed 2 weeks of school.  Thus I have had to do a lot of extra homework.
At school, “all’s well” as usual.  I had a detention from Hatch the other night.  He gives me a pain now and seems to delight in making girls cry.  But he won’t make me.
I hate school now and I never want to do my homework or anything.  I doubt if I’ll pass next time.
I went down to Hart House to see the “Gondoliers” yesterday and enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday March 24th
We have all our exams over and are not doing much at school.  My marks are very discusting (sic) and there are only 2 that I am pleased with, art and algebra.
Composition 68
Literature 66
Geography 66
Algebra 90
Art 70
Botany 65
Latin 77
French 66
Gymn 68
History 68
Standing – 9   %70.5

I have decided that I hate Mr. Ford.  Of all the pains I took with my note book and wrote a page on nearly every city and then I only got 12 term marks out of 20 and Helen Abell got 18.  I won’t say that my writing’s better that hers (b I got higher marks on all my other note books but geography than she did.)  I took the trouble to do mine in red ink and all the other teachers gave me higher marks for my writing than they did her and then he went and gave me –illegible words- old pig.  If I get him in third for English I’m done for.  And how!
I’m beginning to steam my hair and its twice as curly although nobody seems to like it much.  At least they don’t say so.

Next week, Bernice, Nora and Helen have an adventures with a strange man on their street… stay tuned.


Something Exciting for a Change, April 1931

Sunday morning (before breakfast)
April 19th – I must unload myself first about Grace.  Last Monday night coming home from Guides she was serious positively serious & told me a few thing about her father.  She never told us last winter that he had nuemonia (sic) & it wasn’t until Monday night that she told me.  Then she told me that her father (so the doctors told him) had only a few months to live.  It gave me an awful shock and made me feel quite different about her.
     Second – yesterday we went for a hike to the creek.  We had lots of fun & all fell in several times (especially Marian who afterwards went in wading up to her knees with her shoes & stockings on.)  We played ball & ate & explored & played with our “yo-yos” (the latest fad)

     Third – I must tell you what happened last night.  Something exciting for a change.
     The first scene is in our sitting room where Nora & I were reading before the fire.  The telephone rang & Nora answered it. “Its Helen” she said “she says there’s a man over there knocking on there (sic) door who won’t go away.  She wanted Jack (Bernice’s older brother would have been about 19 at the time) or Daddy to go over but since there (sic) out we’ll have to go.”
     Eager for adventure I jumped up & we both ran downstairs & out the front door.
     From the veranda we could see a man knocking on the front door so or curiosity rising we drew nearer to Abell’s.  The parlor light was on & presently Helen and Bob came to the window.
     “What’s the matter with him?” questioned Nora as Helen stuck her head out the open window.
     “Search me” said Helen “He’s been knocking there for ten minutes now and he’s been saying the strangest things, that’s why I’m not going to the door.”
     The man had evidently heard the conversation and came down the steps to where Nora was.
     He was dressed rather richly, was about thirty years old, and had a old thin knoted (sic) piece of cord around his neck.  As he approached her he held out the two ends of the rope.  “Tie this,” he said thickly, apparently wanted to hang himself on a thin piece of cord about a yard long.  Nora drew back & it was Helen who took the place.
     “Get out of here you big ham” she cried, in the roughest tone she could manufacture.  “Or I’ll lay off and sock you one.”
  “N-now just tie this please” he said holding the ends out to her.  It was then that Mr. and Mrs. Abell drove up in the car.
  “Dad make this big bozo get out of here ” called Helen to her father.
     The man, seeing the car in the driveway, tried to get Mrs. Abell to tie the rope & would not even go away at Mr. Abell’s commands.  This angered Mr. Abell & getting out of the car he punched the man onto the sidewalk & told him to go home.
     The man presently got into a car parked in front of our place & drove up the street.  Here he stopped & Helen and Grace & I going up later found him calmly smoking a cigarette.
Next week Bernice gives her opinions on all her teachers, reveals a crush on a boy, and gives her opinion on all of her teachers.

A Crush, Teachers and The Quire

Sunday April 26, 1931
I have just been to 8 o’clock communion. there were only 12 there amongst whom was my boy friend –G.  Those are his initials.  I won’t write his name.
     I know several things about him although I have never really met him.
1.  He goes to our church & was confirmed same time as I was.
2.  He usually goes to church with a friend of his but the friend was not there this morning.
3.  He goes to Humberside & is in Mr. Devitt’s form.
4.  I think he is very nice.  He is a church goer anyways.
He is terribly handsome escpecially (sic) when he smiles & I think a lot of him getting up so early to go to church escpecially )sic) when he didn’t have any one to go with.  The clock was changed last night so we really got up one hour earlier.

Our Teachers

Miss McCraie -Latin-  I like her awfully well although she is rather sloppy.

Miss MacIntosh -French- I also like her & I think it’s real mean for the boys to make her cry.  She is rather funny though.  One minute she’ll be real mad & the next she’ll be smiling.

Miss McNerre -(I know I’ve spelled it wrong)  She’s nice but I don’t like her much.  She doesn’t even know my name yet.  History.

Miss MacAllister -Gym- I can’t stand her.  I can do everything almost & yet she hardly give me a mark for it. Pig!  She just has a pick on me & anyways her bloomer leg is always showing.  Even in pictures.

Mr. Ford -Geography- I’ve written enough in here about him and nothing is very complimentary either.  He’s another pig.

Mr. Hatch -Art- I like him most of the time but sometimes I don’t.  He’s rather a queer personage.  He’s very strict & yet there is a decided sense of humour about him.  He speaks of things that no other teacher would dare speak of.  He is a fine looking man with an old fashioned moustache.  He is always asking rather funny questions like
-“What is a cow?”
“An animal.”
“Gracious no!  A cow is a cow isn’t it?”

Mr. Kinney -Funny looking.  Quiet.  Nobody will do anything he is saying.  I feel sort of sorry for him.  Algebra

Stuffy (or Mr. McGinnes) He is always yelling at us if we talk.  An old hen but rather nice.

Miss Mitchell (English) She is extremely clever & knows all about words.  I admire her but am not particularly fond of her.

Our Quire
     Anyone reading the following descriptions will certainly end with the opinion that our quire is composed of freaks.  (which they are)  Grace & I often laugh over them & I’m sure if you could see them you would too.
     There is “Beaky” so called because of her long, pointed beak-like nose.  She is to me the most maddening person in the quire.  Every time the quire gets up to sing she faces the congregation.

Dear Me, What was I Made For?


I am sitting in Mrs. Taylor’s by the radio listening to an oriental chant, while from above come the childdren’s (sic) voices.

I have been reading “Emily of New Moon” a lovable book by a lovable author.

I am awfully tired from playing baseball I suppose.  I know I’m no good at it & yet I keep on playing & trying.  That is the silly part about me.  I don’t know when I can do a thing & when I can’t.  I can’t write & yet I think I can.  I’m not clever & I can’t go in for acting because I’m not strong enough & any ways it’s not very respectable.  Dear me what was I made for?  That’s what worries me.  I know that I want to be an authoress but alas I don’t know any big words.  Helen wants to be a writer too and I feel it in my bones that she will be one & a successful one at that.  She’s awfully clever & knows what every word there is means.  I do not think its fair that she should be blest with everything.

The truth is I’m j____________ of her.

There! It’s out & it’s the truth.

I wonder if I’ll ever get fatter.  It hurts me so when people (especially ones I like) are always saying how skinny I am.  Skinny what a horrid, hateful word & yet I get it thrown at me everyday.

If my legs would only get fatter & my cheeks more coulourful (sic) I think I would be almost satisfied.

Do you remember a long time ago, L.P., when I got 2nd prize at Brownies for my poetry.  Since then I have made very little effort to write more poetry but I have decided to try again & L.P. I request your advice upon such an important matter.

“I think you have some chance, but only some.”

Well any ways that some encouragement so I shall try but only my best get in this book.

The other day Grace told my fortune.  I am going to have 3 children, (although I don’t see how I can since I have no intentions of getting married)  I am going to be very famous. (I doubt it.) and at one time in my life I’m nearly going to die.

My life is going to be thrilling isn’t it?

I have to laugh over Marion Little busy body!

The other day Betty and her  were coming down some stairs  when they met a man carrying  -illegible words- he turned to Betty & told her to be quiet & not wake up the baby.  Alas for Marion, she would have benefited muchly had she minded her own business, for the next minute she was sprawling at the bottom of the stairs & the baby was trying to see how loud it could scream.

Next week…..General Musings



A Picnic Adventure


     As I sit here in bed I can feel the cool, refreshing lake More breeze with its lovely, soothing honey smell.

I am tired oh so tired and it doesn’t vanish at the thought of church parade tomorrow or the fact that my homework isn’t done & that my practising (sic) is simply isn’t.

To these things there surely must be some deadly weapon & there is.  We went down to Sunnyside today.  It was thrilling of course & we enjoyed ourselves very much but I still long for the roasted… (-so sorry, but the remainder of this sentence is completely illegible due to water damage.)


Wednesday May 12

I am sitting in the sun room thinking how beautiful is the amber sunset before me.  It is very quiet out for a city all the trees are still & only occasionally can I hear a bird chirping.

I have been busy writing poetry.  It is rather silly poetry so I won’t put it in here. I but if it is good enough I’ll put it in “Odds and Ends” when I finish it.

Our exams start on the 28th.  Happy thought.

The Guides had another church parade last Sunday & the minister preached on Mothers.  (for Mother’s Day)

Saturday June 6

A rainy Saturday nothing more detestable I don’t think.

We had planned to go to the farm for a swim in the Humber but alas with rain & cold our pastime was turned to lighter things such as paying cards & fighting.  First Marion’s mother turned the carpet so we wouldn’t get it dirty.  Imagine!  I was discusted.  (sic) you’d think we were two year olds.  Fist fighting came in & Betty got hold of Marion’s shoes.  Then Marion sat back & sulked while Bety made the shoes dance & then put them out in the rain.  Of course Marion was enraged & went to Helen’s veranda here soon dispersing because Billy was asleep & we were too noisy.

Last Wednesday Mr. Dance drove Helen A., Marion, Margee, Betty, & I out to the Huber (by their farm.)  We took our lunch & wore or bathing suits under our dresses.  After lunch we took a sunbath having been particularly not to go in till an hour should pass.  It seemed ages but when it finally did pass we swankered down to the river.  we plunged in and had a great time while the boys played ball.

After swimming, being thirsty Margee & Helen & I borrowed the boy’s bicycles & went to the farm to get a drink.  Coming back however we felt particularly gay & decided to ride along the country road for awhile.  It was awfully thrilling & exciting going up & down hills with over hanging willows, & maples or poplars making beautiful paterns (sic) on the road.  Escpecially (sic) going up a hill you didn’t know what was before you just as going around a bend.

Then suddenly all the beautifulness came to an end as Helen fell & I swerving out to miss her fell & cut my hand and knee.  They hurt terribly but of course it couldn’t have been something desent (sic) like breaking my ankle or something.  No body ever thinks anything of a cut knee but if you have a broken ankle its quite different.  But then I’m running off of my story.  When we reached the car Marion & Betty had gone to get our things & the boys were sprawled leisurly (sic) on the grass waiting for their bicycles.  We got a drink & then along came Marion & Betty.  They were both looking mad at each other & all Betty had was her bag while Marion had all our things besides the rug & hers.  Did I say all?  Not so.  Alas they had left my coat & towel behind.

I just stood there & looked.  My knee was awfully sore & to think I had to walk all that way back.  Well it was my turn to be mad & believe me I was.  I called them a few names but not having time to waste I started on.

Then Ross came up.  He said he’d ride me down the road to the field so I wouldn’t have so far to go.  Of course it was very kind of him and I appreciated it very much but why couldn’t it have been someone more romantic?

When we got there he offered to go down to the river with me and help me find my coat.  But I said no & went myself.  I found my coat, my towel, & Margee’s socks and saw something that wasn’t particularly nice so I wont’ record it.  Then I acted the fool & went up the other way to meet the car never thinking of Ross that Ross would be waiting for me.

Of course Mr. Dance was ready to go and I would have had to go back to get Ross had not George greatfullly (sic) offered to go after him on his wheel.

It certainly was an eventful day but I’m quite sure we all enjoyed it.       _________________________________________________________________________

We have had all our credits & I have passed in them all except Botany.  (I don’t know the result of it yet.)

(I forgot to record with the picnic that Betty lost her watch, but found it again.  Also earlier in the day at dinner time Betty tried on her last year’s belt.  It was terribly tight & poor Betty couldn’t get it off.  we were laughing so hard that we couldn’t assist & Betty grabbed for the knife but Helen came to & helped her before the deed was done.)

A Ghost Story, School Results, and a Swim

The Ghost in Lawson’s House
     (The following story really happened & was when we were small enough to believe is such spooky things as ghosts).
     We were having a lovely time playing “prove it” in our backyard when Nancy, Jean & Marg came & asked us to go up and play in Lawson’s house. Now Lawson’s house was next to Yaneths & had been vacant for several weeks.
     We started cantering in, Mary first, when suddenly, we heard an unearthly moan, and Marg screamed that she had seen a ghost.  We all made a dash for the door & thanked Heaven that it  was not yet gotten dark.  Young as I was I thought it was only a imagination on the part of Marg.  I got the other kids around to the front of the house with me to peak (sic) in the windows.  We slowly crept up the steps to the veranda.  (We needed to go no farther however for) On the veranda looking through the window we got the shock of our young lives.  We stood there white faced & motionless not daring to move less that awful thing should suddenly jump through the window at us.  There it was plain as day, all white & spooky standing in the middle of the parlour floor waving a sword.  At the sight of the sword our legs took immediate action & in a few seconds we had somehow landed on the street and were chatting nervously.  Then Betty burst into tears & ran home.  We didn’t take much notice of her however and soon began edging to the window again.  We had just got there however when Mrs. Colston –illegible words– walked right in the front door and up to the ghost.  Then she pulled at its whiteness & off came a sheet and there stood Nora. (Bernice’s older sister)
     Well, when we saw Nora there, Mrs. Colston wasn’t the only one that was mad.
Tuesday June
     Morley (Bernice’s younger brother) didn’t pass & it’s his second year too.  He’s awfully disappointed because he expected to. But  as Hr. Haugh said “Nobody’s got to do anyth
    “There’s only one thing anybody’s got to do in this world and that is to suffer there (sic) own results.”
     Well Morley’s suffering his plenty but I’m praying & hoping that he’ll pass up at Humberside because Mother is awfully disappointed too.
     This morning however better news came in the paper.  Nora passed her honour course, got second highest in her class, and came -illegible words- was wondering what she would have come had she had decent health.
     But those things are not important to the wonderful time we had Saturday.
     Morley, Lloyd, Pooly, Bruce, Gordon Haugh, Margee, Betty, Doris and I went to the farm in the morning.  Marion Hough drove us out.  Four in the front seat & six in the back.  I don’t know how we ever piled in but somehow we did and we had a jolly time going out.
    Mr. Griffith doesn’t like us going to out there any more because he’s afraid we’l let the cows out, so Marion drove us up to the woods and we got out there.
     We girls got our bathing suits on here while the boys went farther down then we went for a swim.
Next week, a dance, boys smoking and a tattle tale…

A Fire and a Dance

Sunday.  October 18.  1931.

I now resume my diary having been greatly inspired by Helen’s.  I slept at her place last night & she read me some of her diary  & some stories.  She really (sic) very good at writing.   We were writing stories this morning.  Her’s was “If” & mine was “The Way of the World.”

Yesterday Betty, Helen S. & I went to the show.  We saw “Transatlantic” a very good picture only it didn’t end rightly.

Helen has made me love Carlyle & I’ve never met him.  From what she says she likes him as well as Embry.  Embry is awfully nice but I think I like Carlyle better.  Helen read me a letter from him which was very nice.


Fire!  Fire!  What a magic word it is & always brings a thrill of excitement.  I have just been over to the park where one of the main buildings of the forest school was all ablaze.  To begin with Mother & I were sitting in the sitting room Mother reading the papers & I dutifully looking up French words in the French reader.  How I love French!  Sudenly (sic) we heard a clanging & sirans (sic) blowing & rushing to the window saw the beautiful park in red & golden flames.  It was really very tragic & I rushed downstairs and out.  Here I met Margee & Betty & we rushed raced over to the park to join the excited group of people that were crowded around the burning flames.  The firemen were there fighting the flames & as they gradually got them out we returned home.  How can I ever settle down to Latin & French after that I don’t know but somehow I’ll just have too.

Undated Entry

I had the kids in to dance Friday night because every one but Jack & I had gone up to Seaforth & the boys smoked.  Somebody told Mrs. Dance & Mrs. Dance thought it her duty to inform Mrs. Poole that Gordon smoked.  Mrs. Dance did so & Mrs. Poole was justly shocked & raised the roof.  Of course every one wants to know who told Mrs. Dance but silence seems to be golden.

Mrs. Dance told Mrs. Walker the other day that “she didn’t want Marion to go around with those older girls because they did was parade up & down the street & go into each other’s homes & raise the roof.”  Apparently Mrs. Dance’s viewpoints of us have changed.  When Marion first started to go with us she was always saying how glad she was that Marion had got in with us.  You can calculate the rest for yourself but there’s one person I cannot stand & that’s ______  ______ do I have to tell you?

Editor’s Note;

This is all that Bernice had written in this particular journal.  There are a few short essays, or as she calls them, ‘compositions’ included, but no more journal writings.  At this time, we have not found a  diary for 1931.  She either dropped the habit, or that journal has been lost.  The next notebook begins sometime in 1933, but water damage has made the first quarter of the booklet illegible.  The 1933 entries end on June 16th.  She begins again January 15, 1934, and by coincidence it is at this point that the water damage is no longer an issue.  So next week, we continue Bernice’s journals in 1934.  She was 16, turning 17 in the summer.

This Silly Diary 1934

Editor’s Note; At this point in the journals we leap ahead to 1934 where Bernice is still in high school (Humberside Collegiate) and by my estimation she is in grade 11.

January 15 1934

I haven’t written in this silly diary for so long that I feel quite a stranger.  I’ll just state a few facts and maybe someday I shall write an account of camp.

I spent the summer in Seaforth.  Had a swell time and two weeks of camp out at Bayfield at Deer Lodge with Mrs. Chapman as chaperone.  Met Jim.

Joan and I spent most of the time in Seaforth at the tennis court. (Doug and Stan.)

Returned to school in September.  Have Missed the odd day but got along fine.  Put in the same class with all the same teachers.  Which isn’t so good.  Got my exams ok (ex P.T.) Algebra still a big trouble.

Christmas – Aunt Mill came over and Vipper (our new Kitty who was found out in the garage on Sunday morning.  He is a yellow-striped) was with us so it was a very jolly Christmas.  Nora has her graduation pictures and they are beautiful.  I was sick with the flu for most of the holidays but managed to go to the show and see “Little Women”.  A swell picture.  Too bad there aren’t more like it.

New Year’s Eve I expected to spend quietly at home on account of my cold but the gang came in and we had a party.  Everybody was here and it was quite a reunion.  Even Windy managed to get down before before it was over.  George was in from the country to stay (for good.)  Helen A. & Margee weren’t here New Year’s, Bert and Mrs. S. came over.  Went over too (sic) Abell’s at night.

School again! but I didn’t start back till a few days later and my cold came in handy as I got out of my oral but not for good.  Grace & I went and saw “Bombshell” Friday night and on Saturday night Windy and Lloyd wanted me to go to the Parkdale with them but I didn’t go.  Rather nuts I’d say.

Wednesday Jan 17

They were taking moving pictures down at the tank to-day. We went down for swimming period but could only have the shallow end of the tank.  I didn’t go in.  Just as the boys were going in the bell rang.  We thought they’d let us stay and watch them but no such luck.  Mr. Wren showed us the door and gently told us to scram so thinking that we weren’t exactly wanted we rambled up to algebra period.  the old guy popped a test on us and believe it or not I got 20 out of 20.  Still a mystery.  Have been in a very bad temper all day.  Guess I’ll see if can sleep it off.  Oh by the way have joined Young Peoples.  Went last night with Margee.  I don’t like it as well as I did at first.

Isn’t that life for you?

Friday Jan 19th 1934
We had swimming to-day the water was grand.  Don’t feel any bad effects so far but will probably begin feeling to-morrow.  Mrs. Taylor phoned this afternoon and asked me to come in.  I said I would, not having been asked anywhere else.  After that the phone rang three times each time an invite for me to go out and I had told Mrs. Taylor I’d come in there. Isn’t that life for you?  After school Grace and I walked out Runnymede and did some shopping.  She sure can talk.  I can’t get a word in edgewise or any other way for that matter.  I intend to write up “camp” in this diary if I can so to help me I got some old letters from Margee.

Editor’s Note;
She did in fact write up “camp” in this diary.  Sadly, it is written on the pages with the water damage. From the legible bits, it sounds like she had a wonderful time.  Camp, to her meant something quite different than it does now. As near as I can tell, ‘camp’ meant several kids from different families staying together at a place called Deer Lodge in Bayfield.  One or two adults would act as chaperone, and it seems as though the kids were mostly of adolescent age.

Monday January 22nd
Saturday morning I took my lesson (piano). Yesterday Anna and Elizabeth came out for supper.  We had a lot of fun.  I’m going there next Friday.  Was sick in school this afternoon. The usual thing.  Roslyn and I went down to the medical room but Miss Thompson wouldn’t let her stay.  There was another girl down there.  At the end of the second period who should land in but Helen Tenute and Ruth Scott.  It’s a small school after all.  We had a regular reunion.  Helen had a tooth ache and Ruth had cramps or sompin’. (sic) We got a big laugh out of Helen’s story about her mother although it was an awful thing. Mrs. Tenute had a tooth ache so she went to the dentist.  It was before she got married I guess.  Anyways the crazy sap went and pulled every one of her top teeth without gas or freezing. She just about passed out. He was tight. (drunk) She sued but that wouldn’t bring back her teeth.  That struck Ruth and I as funny although it sure wasn’t.  We laughed so hard we thought sure Miss Thompson would come in and send us back to our classrooms.