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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Conduct in Question

A Day in the Life: May 17th

(Aged 14)
Wea.  rainy                                 SUN. MAY 17, 1896               Ther. 

Went over after grandma.  Ma + I went to church. Ma has either hid or burnt it up pa’s tobacco.  Unkle Gib, Aunt May, Luella, Frank + the baby was down.

(Aged 16)
Wea.                                           TUE. MAY 17, 1898               Ther.  80

Went to factory.  In P.M. went hunting but didn’t kill much.  Ma + Rollie went over to Ezra Thayer’s to see the new baby.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             WED. MAY 17, 1899               Ther.

Drove Effie’s horse to school and her, Aunt Maryann + Ma took mine to go to town to get Effie’s teeth.  Pa came up and got into my trunk and read all my letters while we were all away but thought they were all right.  Pa says I can go to Mable White’s on Saturday.

Actual Cass Farm Lock.  Was it the one on Allen's trunk?

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              THU. MAY 17, 1900                 Ther.

Planted potatoes.  In eve Alice Warn + I took a drive.  Got home at 12 o’clock.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              FRI. MAY 17, 1901                Ther.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                               SAT.  MAY 17, 1902             Ther.

Gail halled (sic) 6 load of manure + went to Falconer about 3 o’clock.  Alice went over to pa’s.  Chas.  Slater + I fixed fence between Joel + I in A.M.  In P.M. I went up to Jim Fuller’s + got a heifer calf for $1.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              SUN.  MAY 17, 1903                  Ther.

Stayed at home Pa + Ma came up.


Editor's Note:  At 17, Allen appears the accommodating son, nephew and cousin by switching horses with the ladies so they can get Effie's new teeth.  Very gentlemanly.  However, when all this good will is playing out Frank is home ransacking Allen's personal letters.  What is he worried about finding?  And why wasn't Allen enraged when he found out his privacy was so violated?  This is a very telling entry.

First of all,  the prolific letter writing of the White sisters has piqued Frank's curiosity.  It seems Mabel has invited Allen over to visit but Frank is uncomfortable with what message that might send.  I feel like Frank was questioning the motives of the Whites more than of his son.  Was he worried Allen might become "trapped" by the one of the White sisters and prematurely engaged?   In the end he finds the letters hold no suggestion of peril and he tells Allen he can go.

I wonder if Frank felt shame or justification in his actions.  And as for Allen not reacting as I would, is it because he ultimately gets what he wants and is permitted to visit Mabel White?  Or is it because he really has no secrets to hide.  Maybe he was disappointed in his Dad but just not angry.

And yes, the irony is not lost on me that I feel ashamed of Frank's actions when not only am I reading Allen's diary entries, I am sharing them with an audience.

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