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.

A Break for Yours Truly


Editor’s Note; So much of Bernice’s journals at this point in her life are about her high school life.  Attached is a photo of Humberside Collegiate, circa 1921.  It probably had not changed very much in 1934.  The architect was James Ellis, famous for his contributions to ‘the Junction’ region of Toronto.

Wednesday Jan 23rd 1934                                                                                                                                                         Jack smashed his toe at work.  Dr. says he can’t go back for a while he doesn’t know whether its broken as he can’t take an x-ray till the swelling goes down.                                                    Is broken.

Monday Jan 29th                                                                                                                                                                Went over to Anna’s and Elizabeth’s apartment Friday after school.  After supper Peggy Reynolds came down. I’ve promised to phone her as she won’t phone me. I stayed all night and came home Saturday morning.  I was very displeased with my dress but Mother fixed it over again and now it looks swell. Elizabeth is going to the Huron Old Boy’s with us.  I went to church yesterday.  Finished “Wuthering Heights” the end was much better than the rest of it.  To-day its just freezing out if it wasn’t for my muff I don’t know what I’d do.  We had a smart aud. (auditorium) this morning (illegible words) in Deutsch test.  I’d better get at my home work now as I have tons of English to do.

Tuesday Jan 30th                                                                                                                                                                   Had to read a part in Caesar to-day.  Started laughing and made a perfect mess of it.  In Algebra period Pills told me if I put the wrong thing down I’d come up after school and write it out 50 times.  Sweet little lad.  I already had the wrong thing down but I got it crossed out before he saw it. What a break for yours truly.  I had a perfectly terrible history test to-day.   He never tells us when there going to come.  Besides that he has the sweetest habit of coming down and standing right beside us.  I guess he think our intentions aren’t altogether honourable.  I worked hours trying to get my English finished up last night. Got it finished too. Mother didn’t get my shoes so I suppose I’ll be able to skip school and go down to-morrow afternoon.  I simply have to get a pair for the Huron Old Boys Dance.

Take it From Me

Wednesday Jan 31st 1934                                                                                                                                                      M      Mother and I went downtown this morning.  Got my shoes also an Alice in Wonderland thing for my hair.  The office phoned up to-day and said all 8th periods were cancelled.  A few minutes afterwards phoned up and told us to be there to-morrow at 8:30 because they’re having moving pictures in the Aud. at three.  Ho Hum!  And it’s so cold.  How shall I ever get up at 7:15.  The wind is roaring around the houses to-night and I’m just about frozen already.  I had to translate “Mailied” in German to-day.  It was rather funny.  Got our history marks back.  He said he’d burned the papers so I immediately began feeling gay thinking that he’d read the first few and then chucked them all in the fire they were so bad. No such luck he just burned them to avoid taking the trouble to give them back.  Lazy creature.  I got 55.  I dunno how.

Saturday February 3rd                                                                                                                                                                                   T    This is the morning after the night before.  I went to the Huron Old Boy’s dance last night.  Had a swell time.  Among those present was Mr. Wren. I wish he’d been dancing then I could have told the kids at school that I had danced with him.  Leonard Brown was there.  I sure wouldn’t know him.  Aunt Jean and Uncle Andy were there also Elizabeth and Anna. Met the Wilson boys.  They are very nice, both of them.

Sunday Feb. 4th                                                                                                                                                                    o       For some unknown reason I’m disgusted with everything to-day.  Blue I guess.  I’ve tried reading a book, listening to the radio and writing a letter.  But I can’t seem to stick at any of them.  Guess I’ll sit down and mope for the rest of the day.

Tuesday Feb 6                                                                                                                                                                        a       Had Mr. Wren in to teach algebra.  I was sent to the board in three periods today. Record breaking.  Mr. Moon phoned Mom up to-day.  He’s going to give a party at his house for the young people of the Huron Old Boys on the 23rd.  Which is a very good idea.  Take it from me.

I Want to Listen to Rudy
Rudy Vallee

Thursday Feb 8 1934

Terribly cold out 20 below.  If it wasn’t for my muff I think I’d just about pass out.  So far however the muff has saved the day.  That certainly was a most good buy. I have to say my oral on Monday.  Some fun eh?  I do dread it because I’m sure to make a fool of myself like I always do.  To-night there is a fire in the grate & the sitting room is very popular.  I want to go down and listen to Rudy but I don’t think even he can get me out of this cozy place.

Friday Feb 9                                                                                                                                                                              .     Still terribly cold.  I took my lunch to school to-day.  First time this year.  I’m glad I took it instead of buyng it.  What a line up.  I think the whole school stayed.  I’m in at Mrs. Taylor’s there’s a nice fire in the grate thank goodness.  Old Tammecock (spelling?) just about took off my head to-day.  Wouldn’t have been much of a loss.   You should see some of the crazy hats the boys are wearing to school. Oh well they serve the purpose.  One kid came with  (she did not finish this sentence)

Monday Feb 12                                                                                                                                                                       .     Last night the family, except the boys went to tea at the Mils.  Met some of my relations I’d never seen before.  I was terribly sick this morning. I just about thought I was going to pass out.  However I’m still here & feeling somewhat better.  Mr. Moon phoned the other day.  They’ve decided to form a Huron Old Boys Young People society.  A smart idea.  We are going to meet at Moon’s a week next Friday.  I was supposed to give my oral to-day & have missed it for the second time.  Is she going to (be) suspicious?  She’d better not take off any marks any ways because I  have been sick both times.

Wednesday Feb 14                                                                                                                                                               .     Valentines day but it doesn’t seem to mean much to me.  I went to school to-day & believe it or not (this one should really be sent to Ripley) Mrs. Lynch had a box of chocolates there & she treated the class to them.  Each had one!  Was I surprised!  & considering that I didn’t have my homework done.  Was my face red!  She’s a Catholic & I guess she doesn’t eat candy in Lent.  It must be something although it was very good of her to give them to us. Speaking of Lent reminds my that I’ve decided to go to church every Sunday in Lent.  I don’t think I’ll give up anything I’ve given up too much already. (please don’t ask me what ) I was informed by most of the class that I have to five my oral “the next time I appear in English class”  sounds as if she’s kind of mad.  Oh well I shall go & do a bit of explaining & everything will be smoothed over — I hope, am hoping & do hope.

I Seem to be Coming up in the World

Thursday February 15th 1934                                                                                                                                                          .     A  belated valentine arrived to-day from Jim. But he still owes me a letter.  Well I gave my oral at last.  all the kids said I wouldn’t  be there to-day but I fooled them.  Outside of the fact that I draped myself over the front desk and fooled with the ink well the whole time & hardly looked at the class at all.  I got through it not too badly. Miss Stock got mad because I was talking and wouldn’t play the gramophone & made us work instead.  Gosh what am I coming to?  Nana and I went down to the Royal York to see the Cambell (sic) Soup broadcast & did we have a time getting there.  (ask Nana for particulars)  It sure is a snooty place down there. I guess I’d better struggle away with algebra now.  I actually got a question right in school to-day.

Wuthering-Heights-Book-CoverFriday February 16                                                                                                                                                                         .      Algebra test to-day!  (I think I’d better leave out particulars)  Betty was supposed to give her oral but absent.  Give the kids something to talk about besides me.  Her second time too.  I’m reading a smart book “Christopher & Columbus” very amusing.  Also have just finished reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin. Am trying to improve my reading. I mean to read better books. Miss McGonigall read my book review on “Wuthering Heights” and said it was excellent. I seem to be coming up in the world.

Monday Feb.19.                                                                                                                                                                            .     Weekend terribly dry but I got a lot of homework done. Got algebra test back to-day. I got 6 out of 30. Well well! I went down and worked it out on his board after school & I did pretty well too. Baldwin got 8. Imagine him beating me. That’s what hurts.

Sunday Feb 25.                                                                                                                                                                         .      Friday night Morley myself Nora & Mother went up to Moon’s. (in Seaforth) It was Mr. Moon’s idea to form a Huron Old Boy’s Young People Society but Mr. Moon went too far so there was a row about it and it was called off till next fall. We expected when we went to Moon’s that it would be just a party to get acquainted but instead of that he sent all the old people out into the kitchen and started organizing a club which he said wouldn’t have anything to do with the Huron Old Boys just at present but later on they would come to us with open arms. Yeah I see them. Anyway I had a swell time. There were about 25 there. I was very much taken with Kay Campbell. Also I liked Margaret Pringle & Max and Charlie Bennett (Do I like doughnuts dunked? Ask him.) Jack Moon, personally is a pain in the neck. I went to church this morning with Nana.