I have this awesome resource: the diary of an Iowa farm wife from 1928-1931. She doesn’t write much in her daily entries; they’re usually less than three sentences, but taken in aggregate over the years they paint a fair picture of life on a farm.
Some days are more exciting than others, though, as witnessed by this succession of entries:
Sun. Oct 21: Cloudy cool day. We went up to mama’s and spent the day. The road gang that are grading the road getting ready for the paving moved in yesterday PM and we spent most of our time watching them. It is a regular little city. They are camped on Will A’s place.
Mon. Oct 22: Dandy day. Mon took a grist up to BO and I went along to mama’s. We fixed my coat and did quite a few things. Mon dug a pit for their gas tank at the camp. He broke the car and Millard didn’t get it fixed so Millard started to bring us home and he run out of gas over by Harold’s and Harold [not my Harold, the diary writer’s Harold] brought us the rest of the way. Didn’t get home until about 6.
These excerpts tell us a number of things about farm life. One, life is pretty monotonous so watching a road gang get ready to pave is high entertainment. Two, family is clearly important as this woman visits her mother two days in a row (although, maybe it’s because the road crew is there?). And, three, farmers were helpful, offering their services to road crews (digging a pit for the tank) and each other (Millard taking them home when their car broke, and then Harold taking them the rest of the way when they run out of gas).
I realize that I’m making Rose and her Harold a bit too solitary in what I’ve written so far. Time to work in some town folk, I think. They can be a little quirky, too, as some small town residents tend to be. That will be the challenge since I’m not really a small town girl.
Any of you have suggestions about quirky small town neighbors?