Painting: Friedrich Eckenfelder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s Flash Narrative is based on Harriet “Hattie” Whitcher’s diary entries from April of 1923 and is excerpted from her words (read the full entries here). At the time, she and Will lived on a farm about a mile from Spencer, Nebraska. This snapshot of their life shows us their daily activities and simple joys, all through Hattie’s unique way with words. Before getting married, Hattie had worked as a dress-maker, and you will note that she spent much of her time making clothes for herself and Will. Lazzes, 3 Legs, Biddy and Duke were the Whitchers’ horses. Read more Flash Narratives based on Hattie’s Diaries.

I Nearly Went the Trip

Near Spencer, Nebraska, April 1923

Harriet1. Easter Sunday. I just read and did a little work after.

2. Cloudy and cold north wind all day and a few drops rain. The men butchered in a hurry.

3. A bright warm day. Will cut hog so I could handle. I put up curtains in south room and started to render lard.

4. Was cloudy in night and early morning but bright day and cold, so I started to cook meat but didn’t have to worry, also baked bread.

5. I washed clothes and finished canning meat and mince meat. Mrs. John died at Norfolk Monday morning of pneumonia.

6. I ironed in morning and in afternoon mended Will’s overalls and in evening felt bad and so tired.

7. The men cut poles and wood and I was so sick, stayed in bed all the afternoon.

8. Lazzes threw Will, skinned his face, hurt finger and shoulder and hip. Billy Knoll came for Lazzes and he got away again, but Will rode peaceably in evening.

9. Will went to Spencer to see Doctor about finger, and his little finger on right hand is broken. He took eggs, got 21 cents per dozen.

10. I sewed on suit all day and got so much finished, as I didn’t get dinner.

11. I still sewed on suit this day.

12. I baked bread, churned butter and took jars to basement and in afternoon started a waist.

13. Dr. Hines came to see if Biddy was stifled. Will drove 3 Legs alone in evening on disc. I put hooks and eyes and buttons on suit.

14. A dust storm during midday, could hardly face it and quite cold, but evening better. I finished jacket and made petticoat and hemmed skirt.

15. We went to William Dreher funeral. He died at Dallas, South Dakota, very suddenly.

16. Will harrowed then went to feed yard to see about buying heifers, but nothing doing.

17. Charles got water for me to wash clothes. They dried in a hurry on account of dry wind.

18. Charles had runaway with Biddy and Duke, but jumped so O.K. The men hauled poles in afternoon. I sewed a little, made bread and butter.

19. Wind blew so hard from southwest, Will got plow ready and started to plow on B.’s but it wouldn’t work.

20. Will did up chores and got alfalfa for cows and some fox tail to cover the corn, also took cows over the river, as was cold towards evening and damp, different than last couple of nights, for was so warm had to put sheets on and used oil stove yesterday.

21. Will did up chores, got cows over the river and some alfalfa, then wagon ready. He helped Ableidinger haul hogs to Bristow, and came back at 5 p.m. and went to Spencer. I cleaned a little wood work in kitchen and put part curtains back.

22. Sun shone at rising and a couple of times early morning but cloudy all day and cold and sprinkle in afternoon.

23. Charles dug closet hole partly and Will plowed. They got trees to set out in yard. I sewed buttons and fixed a little mending, wasn’t very pert.

24. Charles got south of house ready for Will to plow, which he did all day, and Charles set out trees. I fixed things a little and cleaned stove.

25. A regular rain until evening, first of season, and I caught enough water to wash clothes. Will after supper sat down to read. I looked over his shoulder. He turned quick and knocked my chin with his shoulder. I nearly went the trip as couldn’t breathe, talk or swallow.

26. A bright day but a little cool on account of dampness but breeze dried clothes I washed with first rain water of season, it frosts every night.

27. Will plowed all day. I didn’t do much as was tired from washing.

28. A nice day. Chas plowed where Will couldn’t with gang plow.

29. Was a beautiful day. We went to Wards for water and posts, and had dinner, rested, did part chores, drove up to McDuffees, stayed until 9 p.m.

30. A bright day but southeast wind started to blow hard about 10:30 a.m. and a regular dust storm in afternoon, that is dust would come in streaks and towards evening began to cloud. Will got smoke-meat in for me from hole and I wrapped it. Mr. C. Johnson was buried at Spencer this afternoon.