Carl and Edna M. Berg [nee Parkins] 1921 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG HARDSCRAP PENNSYLVANIA COUPLE LIVING ON LOVE
Roscoe, Pennsylvania 1921 Soft Cover Good+ Manuscript
On offer is an enchanting diary written in 1921 by a young woman named Edna M. (Parkins) Berg of Roscoe, Pennsylvania. Edna married Carl Berg on October 13, 1920. So, at the time of writing this diary she and Carl were still newlyweds and very much in love. Uniquely, this diary is written by both Edna and Carl. Carl would sometimes jot a little love note to Edna in her diary and on days Edna wasn't feeling well he recorded their daily activities. Very full, approximately 95% filled with entries judging by their activities I'd have to guess they were in their early twenties. Edna recorded her birthday as May 23rd and Carl's birthday as November 15th, but she failed to mention their ages. On the evening of June 10, Edna was very sick and Carl called the doctor who determined Edna was pregnant as is revealed by an entry written by Carl on June 11th: "Edna very sick. Dr. came. He told us we were three. We went to Indian Head p.m. but it didn't help Edna." Throughout the remaining year Edna quite often felt sick. But, she also expressed her joy at expecting a baby. This diary is the truly a work of love the the expressions of both, Edna and Carl. Edna expressed her sorrow each time Carl went-off to work, as well as her excitement each time he returned home. And, Carl quite regularly returned home from work with a bouquet of flowers or a box of candy for Edna. Edna referred to the evenings they spent together alone as 'dates.' They seem to have been a well-suited couple and very much in love. The pages of this diary attest to their 'love story.' Most of what Edna wrote about was (of course) her love for Carl and her daily activities. Although she and Carl had very little money (struggled to put food on their table and counted the days before Carl got paid again) Edna seems to have been content to be a housewife. She busied herself with household chores, but she also enjoyed cooking, baking, crocheting, and sewing. She made curtains for the windows and also made shirts for Carl. She also made nightgowns for herself and baby clothes for the child they were expecting. On occasion she made clothes for 'the kiddos,' who I believe were her Nieces and Nephews. She also went berrying and used the berries to make pies and jellies. Laundry, or 'washing' seems to have been a tremendous chore for Edna. Which, she generally soaked and washed by hand unless she visited a relative to use their 'machine.' But, it seems Carl quite often got up early in the morning to do the washing before Edna was even awake. What a guy! But, he also quite regularly washed dishes, swept floors, and helped with the cooking. I can't be certain of where Carl worked or what his job was. It seems his job sometimes required him to be gone overnight. While at other times he seems to have had time to go home for lunch, or meet Edna in town for lunch. But, Edna made one reference to him telephoning 'the dispatcher,' so perhaps he drove a bus, taxi, or delivery truck. Aside from his job he received lessons in the mail and studied at night. So, I assume he was taking a correspondence course of some kind. I also think he may have been a veteran because he attended an occasional veterans meeting and went to the Marine Hospital. Whatever Edna and Carl lacked financially they were more than compensated for in way of good friends and a large, wonderful, family; who they quite regularly got together with for holidays, picnics, and outings. Or simply for an evening to play cards and dominos. They seem to have enjoyed overnight guests, as well as they enjoyed visiting the homes of their friends and family, where Edna sometimes sang and entertained at the piano. Aside from their activities with their friends and family they were also quite actively involved with their Church and attending Church Socials. And, as a treat (and when they could afford it) they sometimes went out to dinner or to see a play or movie. Edna kept an accurate account of their expenses and of the items she purchased. This diary doesn't contain much in the way of historical importance, but it provides a wonderful glimpse into the personal lives of a lovely, happily-married-couple, struggling to build a future in 1920's America. Here are some partial entries from Edna's diary: "Florence and Dudley came down for Military Ball at Wm. Penn Hotel. Boys did not wear uniforms. About 1500 present. Wore my wedding dress"..."My Carl is the sweetest kid what is"...."Ironed. Carl called me at noon to come down to the city at 5 o'clock. Bought a bedroom suite. Beautiful thing. The first thing towards our little home"..."Was examined by Dr. Sawyer this nite. My womb is twisted clear around. Told us operation or pregnancy was the only thing. Hurt awful with little thin tube. We are glad to know all about it"..."Carl and I had date until Florence came at 7:30. Carl left for Detroit. Miss my Carly."..."Got special delivery from my Carly, the sweetest. He still loves his wifey. I wish he would come home. Most lonesome nite I ever put over"..."My Carl is coming today. Made Pauline nighty, cleaned up the house. Came home at regular time. Talk about glad to see him. Brought me chocolate Easter egg. We talked and spooned and talked and _____. Never going away from me again"..."Married five months today"..."Went to N.E.L.A.'s dance in the evening. Mart and wife were along. Jim Bogne came in later. Fine dances and good orchestra"..."Had a good night's rest and feel much better. Carl is the sweetest hubby ever was"..."Six months since we were married and happy as can be. Was going to celebrate by going to a show, but rained and was miserable, so stayed home and loved"..."Carl and I went to country and got sweet williams for Aunt Sara, Mrs. Mason, and ourselves. Homer and Mary, Jean and baby were here when we came back. They stayed until 11 o'clock. Both took bath then to bed to dream about snakes, but Carl won't let them bite me"..."Carl and I got home at 7:30 and ate dinner. Then I took sick at 9:30 and we were both up until two. Mrs. Mason brought up Jamaica ginger and hot water bottle"..."Went to bed about nine o'clock. I had the blues, cause Carl was leaving in the morning"..."Slept with Florence. Missed my Carl muchly"..."Met Carl and came home with him. He is sweeter than ever, and I love him. We loved all evening"..."I washed all of the blankets with Aunt Janie's machine, and my dirty clothes"..."Made strawberry shortcake and prepared for dinner. Gail and Brice came at 5:30. Had Mason's victrola and had a good time"..."Still very sick and all alone"..."Florence is here now. It's nice to have company. She and Carl took a walk, carried me water, etc. Gail and Brice were down. Florence homesick for Dudley"..."Dudley came in the evening and stayed all nite. He and Carl slept on the floor in the living room"..."Dudley and Florence are cook. Dudley left at noon. They have it bad but no worse than us. I can't stand any loving now"..."The hottest day I ever put over. Carl and I were on the floor and everywhere. He was in the bath tub most of the time"..."Another boiling hot day. 104 in the shade and no shade. Everybody going to a picnic but we must stay home. Carl got watermelon and anything I wanted. It was awfully noisy, then Andy had to shoot the revolver"..."Mrs. Bengle came down and introduced herself. Went home and brought us a big dish of beans, bread and butter for lunch. Sent down beets and steak in the evening. There is always a good Samaritan".."The lady brought me jello with whipped cream. Later in the day cottage cheese and beans. I feel much better already"..."Carl has a big carbuncle on his bumpter. Doctor was here and is going to lance it tomorrow nite"..."Mrs. Bengle brought me down hash and beans. I vomited the hash. Carl had carbuncle lanced this evening. Poor kid didn't sleep a wink last nite. He could hardly walk. It made him sick to have it lanced".."Carl went as far as Brownsville. Dudley went on down with him. I hated to be separated from Carl, for I love him more every day".."I can't wait to see my hubby tomorrow"..."Got Carl a nice lunch, corn and beans, ham, fruit, etc. My but he enjoyed it. I ate at the table for the first." An entry by Carl: "Edna and I were house hunting again. We looked Smutz Aptmts. over again. We liked them very much but rent was $37 per. now. Too much for us. I have made up my mind that if I ever get out of this town I'll never come back to live. We're getting sicker of this place every day. But, we musn't grumble. It might be worse. Carrie heard of a house and we went to look at it but it was not for rent. Nothing new. Edna and I still love. Five more days til payday." More partial entries by Edna: "Made my first little doll dress. It sure gives you a loving feeling. It makes the little thing seem real and its daddy dearer. I am afraid this dress will be worn out before the time comes"..."Married ten months today and just as happy as we were ten months ago." Entry by Carl: "No kidding. Edna commenced to talk about anniversary present. Edna is still as big a kid as ever, and a dear too. C. M. B." Edna's entry Dec. 24th: "Got up at 7:30 and river is nearly over the bank here. Susannah and is talked quiet for awhile, then Robt. helped me to the station. Saw Jean M. Kiddies had about all the work done, so I got dinner and baked cakes. Florence and I went to Charleroi and shopped. Got Pauline's violin, comb, and stockings. Had lunch at Wagner's. Carl was there when I got home. We played Santa Claus. Had a nice time"...(Dec. 25th) "Children got up at six. All pleased with their gifts. Jas. brought Ray down at nine and he and Elsie came about one." "Carl and I read in the evening. I went to sleep and he awakened me at 10:30"..."Carl has had cards and letters from all his old pals"..."Gail and Brice came in p.m. and left baby here while they went up Arch St. to look at house. We made fudge and chatted when they came back"..."Ironed until 9:30 then took sick and lay down until 10:30. Felt better so after lunch finished ironing, cleaned and pressed Carl's blue trousers, made ginger cakes and cleaned up. Gail and baby came in eve. Gail and I went over to the house. Carl cleaned the bedroom. They left on 10:30 car, then Carl shaved, bathed and I took a physic." These are but small samples of the wonderful entries made by Edna and Carl in this diary. But, I want to leave the best of them for your reading pleasure. The following is a partial list of Edna's expenses mentioned in her diary: Thread .20, Clothesline .25, Belting .25, Teapot .59, Milk Bill $1.33, Bananas .30, Sugar .50, Spuds .16, Rent $13.50, Satin .50, Tomatoes .25, Towels .58, Gingham .75, Train Ticket .60, Chicken $1.48, Meat .40, Bread .13, Oranges .63, Eggs .45, Butter .06, Turnips .68, Lettuce .15, Pancake Flour .35, Telephone .05, Tea .15, Corset $1.39 The following is a list of names frequently mentioned in Edna's diary who were people either related or closely associated to Edna and Carl: Mother Berg (Carl's mother), Daddy Berg (Carl's father), Aunt Sara (Waddle), Aunt May, Aunt Janie, Aunt Sadie, Uncle Jake, Uncle John, Uncle Robert, Dudley, Florence, Jacob, Dora, Earl, Marie, Elma, Isabelle, Elmer, Ben, Charlotte, Elsie, James, Pauline, Robert, Jim, Annie, Neal, Carrie, Gail, Brice, Mabel, Irene, Mildred, Olive, Barbara, Lizzie, Violet, Kenneth, Margaret, Althea, Verna, Aaron, and many others. The following is a partial list of some other names mentioned in Edna's diary: Olie Barber Taylor, Homer Waddles, Sara Waddle, Harvey Klugh, Jean Murphy, Jim Bogne, Mark Simpson, Alex Gray, Mart Towles, George Maines, Wilda Cook, John Craig, Ralph Sliger, Walter Fricks, Nell Fricks, Mary Timlin, Lida Pritz, Virginia Hamiltion, Besse Langford, Brice Colbert, Claude Witt, Ray Hall, Mrs. Jacobs, Mr. Rankin, Sister Elis, Mrs. Mason, Rev. McKelvy, Mrs. Gator, Mrs. Reed, Dr. Sawyer, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. Ray, Mr. Aaron, Mrs. Bengle, Mrs. Curtis, Mrs. Welling, Miss Painter, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Rush, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Chris, Rev. Hutchinson, The Browns, The Andersons, The Millers, The Hohnshergers, and many others. The following is a partial list of names of stores, restaurants, and other places of business mentioned in Edna's diary: Wm. Penn Hotel, Rosenbaums, Marine Hospital, Smiths, Raufmanns, Schmidts, Shomers, Blackstone Theatre, and others. The following is a partial list of the names of cities, towns, districts, and other areas mentioned in Edna's diary: Roscoe, Pittsburgh, Dormont, Scottsdale, Greensburg, Charleroi, Connellsville, Brownsville, Whatmough, Union Town, Woodlawn, Allenport, Hazelwood, Homewood, East Liberty, Highland Park, Indian Head, Poplar Grove, Whistle Park, Shady Grove, and others. This diary is approximately 3 1/2" x 6" and has a burgundy, leather, cover. There is some wear to the cover and some of the pages have yellowed. There also appears to be a stain on the edges of some of the pages, but the binding is tight and the pages are free of tears. Most of the entries were written with pen and ink. Edna's handwriting is quite good and easy to read. Carl's handwriting is not as good as Edna's, but is still legible.