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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 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.

See how much Chizzling you can do Without Getting Caught

Sunday March 18th 1934                                                                                                                                                                       I haven’t written in this book for so long that I ought to have a lot to say.  To begin with last Friday night I was in at Mrs. Taylor’s and the kids got this book & my German reader mixed up with some other books and put them in the book case.  Consequently they were lost for awhile.  Incidentally Mary & Joan between them smashed a china table lamp, a glass and Joan sat on Mrs. Taylor’s knitting needle and broke it.  Great fun.  On Sunday Elizabeth came out.  I went to school Monday (we got off at 2 because of someone’s death) the next 3 days I stayed at home, felt perfectly rotten and went back on Friday. Helen S. did the same thing.  Had to hand in an essay on “My Choice of Profession” -social service work. ahem!  Got 6 out of 30 in another algebra test and we had a history test.  Tests are good for (you)-yah-see how much chizzling you can do without getting caught.

Friday night Jack and I upheld the honour of the Hodgins family by going to the CSC. Morley didn’t want to go and Nora was sick.  It was held at Mrs. MacGammond’s on Oriole Parkway.  What a marvelous house!  Two or three bathrooms and a maid answers the door.  Chuck wasn’t there and neither was the French boy.  Half-Moon was and was there a row? Dad wrote him a letter and he was supposed to disband.  Instead of that he collected the fees first without saying anything about the letter.  Jack and I and June MacCreath (whose father made her resign) were about the only ones didn’t pay fees.  They collected $7.50.  I’m afraid Mr. Moon is going to get into serious trouble.  The two people that I really don’t like now are June and Malcolm.  I actually had two dances with Max and quite a few with Jack McFarlane.  I went and wore my evening dress and half of the kids that wore evening dresses before were there in sports dresses.  Well anyway we can’t go next time so I won’t have to worry about what I’ll wear.

s0071_it10161Last night I was going to do homework but Helen S phoned and she and Margee and I went up to the library.  It just began to pour rain and of course we got caught in it.  Went into Haugh’s after and played court whist.  Grace phoned yesterday.  This morning I was so surprised when I looked out and the ground was covered with snow. Disgusting  and I didn’t go to church either.  Have finished Stalky and co. by R. Kipling.  Great book.

Helen S. and I have decided to go to Europe.  The date isn’t quite settled upon yet.

I’m writing this in a “Place of Places”

Sunday May 20 1934                                                                                                                                                            .     Have had the grandest weekend.  Friday after school Margee & I knitted (Incidentally I’ve ended the sleeves with 60 stitches and have to rip it all out.)  After supper Margee, Betty Harnell & Marion & I played tennis and when it got too dark we went down to the Greeks & had sundaes.  Then we went for a walk & visited Betty’s aunt and she wanted to give us a lemon drink on top of the sundaes but we “just couldn’t take it”.   Saturday Mrs. Hogan took me down to see “The House of Rothschild” a swell picture (George Arliss is going to get knighted for it).  Lunch in the Honey Dew afterwards & then shopping.  She’s a dear, she insisted on buying me a box of candy before we came home & she’s promised me a trip across the lake for the summer time.  It’s nice to have somebody take you places.  Mrs. Speare & she are both so good to me.  After supper I went to a lesson (what a lesson!) and then played tennis.  Elizabeth came out to-night. It sure is a hot day.

Wednesday May 23                                                                                                                                                               .    Played at the recital last night.  Made an awful mess of things (so did Jean for which reason she wouldn’t play the duet with me – was I mad after all that practising (sic) – so Ruth & I played it and got along fine.)

Friday May 25                                                                                                                                                                              I’m writing this in a “place of places”.  At Nobles farm in the kitchen.  We came out here yesterday morning – Ruth, & Marion Farthering, Marg & Helen Smith, Marg Brown and myself on the bus and we’ve been having the grandest time ever since.  We moved all the beds of the old farmhouse into one room and lit the fire and were swell and cosy.  We walked to the village about seven times.  This morning Ruth went home and the rest of us put on our bathing suits and had a sun bath (by rights Helen & I and Marg should be at school).  I am just waiting for Helen to come back from the village with weiners and then we are hiking along the river and back to the old farm house.  The country around here is beautiful.

L.M. Montgomery's home,  1933
L.M. Montgomery’s home, 1933

L.M. Montgomery lives in Norval and I was disappointed in her house.  I haven’t seen her yet but we expect to see her in church on Sunday.

Saturday May 26                                                                                                                                                                           .      3 o’clock day light saving time and I am reclining in a deck chair on the lawn in front of the house waiting for Helen & M.B. to return with Dora, Eileen Lawson & Marg Sinclair (Pen ran out).   We had quite an eventful hike yesterday.  Met a swell (devastating) looking boy named Ed Hoare and his two dogs.  He was hunting.  We took his picture and then he sort of stuck around so we had to invite him to stay for supper.  We are going to send him his picture.  Last night Helen, M.B. & myself went into Norval for chocolate bars. (Swiping milk & fisherman on the bridge and garden) and this morning Helen & I had a swell time paddling around the river in Mr. P.’s canoe.

Monday May 28                                                                                                                                                                      .     Well I’m home again & it’s not much fun.  We came home on the 10 o’clock (standard time) bus.  We had to wait for the 3rd bus and even then it was so crowded I had to sit on Marg’s knee all the way home.  Saturday night did some shopping at Norval and then had to sleep 3 in a bed.  Sunday morning we went for a breakfast hike.  We came home early on purpose to go to L.M. Montgomery’s church so imagine how mad I was when a lady told us that they were having church at Union that Sunday.  So I didn’t see her after all but I saw her son who is sort of a sap.  We went swimming both Saturday and Sunday and we had Sunday dinner out on the lawn. You should have seen us hiking along the road to Norval at 9:30 (St. T.) with all our luggage the poor bus driver nearly had a fit when he saw it all.  He asked us why we didn’t charter a bus.  There were just ten of us.

Smith’s have got a dog about the size of a flea.  Got an invitation to Peggy’s graduation to-day.

So we Walked over and began Eavesdropping

Monday July 30 1934                                                                                                                                                                           .     Last night Van came over also Grieve, Sharpe & Nig Hawkins.  Storm – and we had to move all the beds into the living room.  This morning I went for a long walk by myself.  When I came back Ken Beatty, Sharpe and Van were here.  I wish I could convey to him that I don’t like him. Last night he said “Sharpe’s going home on Monday then there’ll be clear sailing for Van Egmond.  That’s just where he’s wrong.  I will not go out with him again.

Wednesday Aug. 1                                                                                                                                                                    Half our holidays gone!  Avoided Van last night – Ken went out with Isabelle.  To-day Tony Phillips took us down to Snowden’s beach.  We met a bunch of boys from Lucan.  One of them Spencer  was my father’s 3rd cousin.  Soup & Hamilton have gone to Seaforth.  Stuarts are coming out to-day and Chapmans are going home.  Was talking to Doug and Jim Swift on the beach this afternoon.  To-night I went to the dance.  Had a swell time.  Ken and Helen had a blow up.  Thank goodness.  He’s too good for her.  We all came home on MacKellar’s truck.


A 1930's Photo of kids on Bruce Beach, north of Bayfield.
A 1930’s Photo of kids on Bruce Beach, north of Bayfield.

Thursday Aug 2                                                                                                                                                                          .     Awoke with the rain pouring in on me.  In the afternoon Grieve made a date for me with Stan Hays, Pete’s cousin — not as dumb as Pete but terribly dumb looking.  We were supposed to go canoeing at 6:30 p.m. but the canoes were all locked up by then so we couldn’t go & Frank & Stan came over to tell us.  Stan kept saying to Frank “well let’s go” so I didn’t think he wanted me, so I said I was going down to see the sunset & asked if anyone was coming.  He didn’t come so I started off alone.  Followed by Joan.  We walked down to the pier, met Eve & Jack Ferguson and Ken and Isabelle–then back home and down to Mustard’s.  As we were walking past the boy’s tents home we heard Stan and Frank talking so we walked over & began eavesdropping.  Stan was swearing terribly at somebody so I thought it was me so I went in and apologized.  However it was really Dolly he was mad at.  Joan & I had a good laugh.

Friday August 3                                                                                                                                                                       .     Went canoeing to-day also Grieve and Min too.  Stan took me to the dance at night.  He’s a swell kid.  I wish he weren’t so homely.  Grieve says he (Stan) thinks a lot of me. He would!  Rode home in McKellar’s truck.  Nig going to Toronto so I sent a note home with him.

They Nearly Drive Me Crazy

Aug 1 Fri.  Watching the (Niagara Falls) Review very carefully now for a place to live.  Told Gert we would be  leaving the first of Sept.  Jim & I had our first party to-night.  I love my lazy happy life.  Had very good eats I thought.  Bea & boyfriend, Norma & Owen came.  I am going to like them. 

I made my $14.00 do for 11 days & am quite proud of myself.

Aug 2 Sat.  Nora, Mother & Dad & Aunt Mary came to-day.  We had dinner & drove to Queenston.  Jim & I climbed monument.  Bought peaches on way back.  Had tea on Terrace, then they left, leaving Nora for the week.

Aug 3 Sun.  We all read & went swimming.  Intended again to go to church but stayed swimming too late & my hair was too wet.

Aug 4 Mon.  I got up & did the washing.  Being a holiday, Jim landed home about 2 p.m.  We went swimming for the rest of the afternoon.   Gorgeous day.  Nora found a room & we all took a moonlight walk along the beach.

Aug 5 Tues. Nora & I walked up along the river to-day.  Perfect day for walking.  we went right along the river & had to wade quite often.  I found $2.00 on the road.  Went to library at night.

butlers_burial_ground_thomas_butlerAug 6 Wed.  Nora & I walked to Butler’s Burying Ground.  Quite a long walk there & back but a very quaint one.  Another nice day for walking.  Swam in the aft.  All read at night.

Aug 7 Thurs.  Nora & I did Fort George to-day.  Very interesting & very well rebuilt.  Went to Oban Inn for supper, delicious meal.  My first meal out since married.  Very annoyed at Jim who was supposed to take us to Queenston.

Aug 8 Fri.  Jim in such high spirits this morning couldn’t possibly be mad at him.  Nora left on 11:50 boat.  Terribly hot.  Ironed this aft.  Jim & I went swimming to-night.

Aug 9 Sat.  Jim & I went swimming in the aft & did the shopping & went to the library at night.  I’ll be glad to get out of this place, the children are such cry babies, they nearly drive me crazy especially the one in the tent outside our window. 

Aug 10 Sun.  Betty & Art & the Baby came to-day.  Baby certainly adorable & very good after seeing what is around here. So nice to see Betty again.  I do miss her very much.  They left on 7:00 boat.  J. & I went for a walk along the river.  Very clear night.

Aug 11 Mon.  Getting up at 7 for the next two weeks.  Foreman on holidays. Got my washing done.  Went to the Falls after supper to look at apartments.  Saw only one flat & didn’t like.  Went to see Mrs. Henderson & Mary Cameron.

Aug 12 Tues.  Very cold & windy to-day.  Felt sick all aft.  Tried to eat my supper but could not.  Left table crying –first since married & then was sick at my stomach & felt rotten all night.  Wrote Jack this morning.

Aug 13 Wed.  Jim got his own breakfast this morning.  Very good to me when I’m sick.  Didn’t get up until noon.  Don’t feel very peppy.  Got box of chocolates from Nora.  Had fire in fire place to-night.  Very cozy.

Aug 14 Thurs.  This morning very very sick.  Had diarrhea & sick at my stomach.  Some combination.  Didn’t get up until four.  Couldn’t even make it up town so Jim had rotten dinner.

Aug 15 Fri.  Jim had flat tire this morning.  Didn’t leave until 9:15.  Supposed to be there at 8:00.  Got a letter from Mrs. Milne to-day.  Jack’s memory returning.  Feel better to-day, but still weak.