Naomi Wonderlich THE 1928 DIARY AND TRAVEL JOURNAL OF THE YOUNG TEENAGE GIRL NAOMI WONDERLICH OF RICHLAND IOWA
RICHLAND IOWA COLORADO SALT LAKE CITY UTAH 1928 Good+ Manuscript
On offer is a super piece of Americana being a handwrittenmanuscript diary that records the daily thoughts, feelings and adventures of a teenaged girl who leaves Richland Iowa on June 26, 1928, and spends the summer in Colorado with a visit to Salt Lake City Utah, returning home on October 4. At first one thinks the author might have been pregnant, as she made reference to her uncle bringing pickles to the Fourth of July picnic "to suit my taste" and another reference to a friend making the horrid mistake of asking about her stomach but such does not appear to be the case. The diary was written by Naomi Wonderlich, whose uncle published the Richland Clarion newspaper in Richland Iowa, and in addition to writing over a hundred pages about her trip, Naomi submitted regular reports about her journey to the Clarion, which were published under the title "My Trip to Colorado." It is clear that Naomi was a wonderful writer. Naomi averaged more than a page per day of closely written entries on 5 1/2 by 8 paper. She starts her journal commenting on the frustrations of watching a fellow traveller play with the windows on the train, unable to decide whether she wanted them up or down, and then moving from seat to seat. Her conclusion to her diary is perfect: "At last my train came. I tho't it never would get started. At last we reached Osky (Oskaloosa) and before I got off I saw the folks. We talked pretty hard and try as I would, I didn't go to sleep any on the road home." In between, she travels to Grand Junction Colorado, goes to a lakeside cabin with her aunt and uncle, travels around the area by car, walking and horseback, visiting neighbours and making many friends, and then embarks on a side trip to Salt Lake City to visit the Mormon tabernacle and to hear the choir. Then she returns to Colorado, takes a brief job as a nanny and housekeeper for a local family who needs help, and then returns home. She receives letters from home at every stop, along with copies of the Clarion which include her articles, and has a wonderful experience. Some of the places she mentions include: Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Douglas Pass, Meeker, Trappers Lake, Fruita, Loma, the 101 Ranch, Rifle many, many more. Naomi recorded names of people she stayed with, met at parties, stopped to visit with on the road, and talked to on the train. She was very interested in other people, and this comes across in her writing. Here are some snippets: Terrible disturbance last night when some kind of an animal crawled across Alma's and my bed. I was so frightened I trembled. We called fro help but no one came. Finally our courage grew and grabbing the first blanket and giving it a shake I rushed outside with Alma following close with the next blanket. Couldn't find the matches so had to arrouse Aunt M. When we returned to the wigwam we could find no trace of anything. Poor frightened little chipmunk, I'll bet, and he was more afraid than us. Before that disturbance, Alma made a sad mistake by asking me "is my stomach in" that's as far as she got, for we giggled. She really meant to be kind and was only asking if her elbow was punching me in the stomach. Surely was funny when it happened. we therefore christened our wigwam Giggle-wam." "Rowed over close to the boys and they followed us. I actually wished one of them the luck of falling in the water, for they were both standing up in the boat casting and of course acting everything but sensible. They kept tagging and all of a sudden one (dark hair) turned the most graceful flip-flop and landed in the water head first. He came up pretty quickly and had his head first that time too. The seat in the boat broke while he was standing on it and trying to push with an oar, the boat off the shore or rocks we were a mighty tickled bunch. I was the only one lucky enough to see the whole performance." Got up at 7 and wrote some more. Had breakfast and then started out to see the sights about 9. Stopped and window shopped quite a while. Went on to Temple Square into the Information Hall and registered. Went then to the museum there. Saw lots of Indian mummies. Then got in a gruop being taken on a sight-seeing tour. Went into the Chapel, then the tabernacle and were told about the Temple. It was then nearly time for the Concert, so we began looking for Browns. Watched the doors quite a while then went in. I sighted Aunt Maude and Omar almost at once so we went over to them. After the recital of the music on the pipe organ we started the hunt for Uncle Ross. Finally found him. Omar's shoes hurt him so Uncle Ross tried to fix them then we went to the Cafeteria for dinner. Uncle Ross was determined to foot the bill. We had a very enjoyable meal. Naomi's diary includes her time as a nanny for Margaret Elaine McIntosh, who was born on 17 Dec. 1925. She very much enjoyed her time in the McIntosh household, particularly because of Margaret's grandmother, Mrs. Adams. All of the pages are in perfect condition, and are written on in pencil or ink (majority are ink). The handwriting is very legible, and at the back of the 120+ pages there is a month by month accounting of all money spent from the time she left until the time she returned. She also made note of every expenditure, down to ten cents for a pair of sodas being sold by boys at one of the train stations. This is truly a wonderful account of 1920's America.