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Back Bay Wildfowl Guild Memories: julia dewitt’s journals

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this week we’re heading back to julia dewitt’s journal entries.

Monday, February 26, 1917 (Julia is just 14 years old)

I knew almost all of my lessons. I caught the 3:15 car home. The Belgian relief Community met at our house. Nine members were present. They made skirts for the Belgian’s, and everyone gave some money, tea and cake were served. I tried to do some of my lessons. I received a letter from Aunt Julia Coppe’. She is 92 years old. Elizabeth came home late as she stayed at school to practice basketball.

Saturday, March 3, 1917

I made a lot of different cooked and uncooked candies, which I sold to benefit the soldier’s fund. Miss Brickhouse came down to spend the day with us. She is Amelie’s English teacher at school. This is Amelie’s last year. We had a nice dinner. Two little girls spent the day with Caroline. Amelie made a nice cake for Peter’s birthday. Elizabeth went over to play cards at Cornelia’s house. I did some of my lessons before supper. Then we went to Mary and Bessie Dickerson’s to practice.

Friday, April 6, 1917

“Good Friday”, WAR!!! War was declared against Germany. It is a very cold day. Mama picked some flowers and went to Norfolk to put them on Papa’s grave. I made some hot cross buns and Hity sold them for the Belgian relief. I made a lot of candy. Mama came home late. John and Cornelius caught some fish and sold them for their “Mite Box” church missionary fund. After supper Mama, Amelie, Elizabeth, Katrine and I went to church services. There were right many people there as on the beach two house parties were taking place for Easter. The service was so impressive.

Thursday, May 17, 1917

It is “Memorial Day” so we had holiday. I worked some in my garden. Katrine and Harriet went up to Miss Baker’s for the night and there they went to a little dance. I cooked dinner and supper as Virginia was off. Dinner was baked macaroni, biscuits, meat, etc. Supper was soup, potatoes, biscuits, peanut butter, meat, and loaf of bread. I wrote to Mama and received one from her.

Fast forward now to June 1923. Julia is now 20 years old and unaware of the impending disaster that is approaching.

Friday, June 1, 1923

It is Hity’s birthday, she turned 18 years old. Cornelius, John, and Hity went up to school on the 7:32am. Elisabeth went to town on the one o’clock car to see Mama at Mrs. Townsends. Mama was preparing to leave with Dr. Strickland because she has had a nervous breakdown. She must be under his care until she improves. We are very upset, but we’ll try to remain cheerful as we feel she will soon be all well again. Elizabeth did some shopping and came home with Hity and Mary Nixon, who will be here for the weekend. Hity had a nice birthday, but we missed our dear Mama. Hity 1got some stockings, hairnets, and barrettes. Jean Tate and Elizabeth Ulrich were also here for supper. The boys of Galilee church gave a minstrel show, which we all went to, it was very good.

Saturday, Junre 2, 19231

Uncle Andre phoned and said Mama was better. He will try to phone us twice daily. Hity and Mary Nixon were asked to come and help serve at Miss Coskin’s and Mrs. Henderson’s luncheon at Sea Pines. She was giving it to the teachers of Norfolk. They had a delicious luncheon and got home around 6:30 PM. At 8 they went to the Dealfonte opening with Paul and Caroline. Dick, Cornelius, and John went somewhere else. Uncle Andre phoned again at 8 and said Mama was doing nicely but could not see anyone at the present. I wrote to Amelie. Aunt Carrie writes she will be here tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 1923

The children went to Sunday school this morning but came back within half an hour. I went to church. Aunt Carrie got here at 11:00 o’clock from Washington, DC, but did not go to church this morning. She looks the same as last year. Mama had a good night. Mr and Mrs Nixon, Winnifred and Frank, came down with their little son to pickup Mary. Mary is certainly a nice visitor to have, she is also very musical. Cousins Florence, Cousin Louis, Mr and Mrs Raper and family (little girls) came down to go bathing and stayed only a little while. Tony Cronenberg came up to see us. He has not been here since he left for Colorado where his sister, Annette, died.

Monday, June 4 1923

Hity had a hard time deciding what to get in the clothesline for her graduation. Uncle Andre phoned again and said Mama is doing nicely. John Smith spent the day with Paul and Peter. During the afternoon Peter Burnett, Harry and Miss Betty Poindexter came down. Carter drove down in a beautiful Packard machine with Uma Sloane. They stayed long enough for Carter to go bathing. John went back with them, and will spend the night at this Betty’s, Harry’s aunt. After supper Aunt Carrie, Elizabeth, Paul, Peter and I went for a walk.

Keep it in mind, at ages 21 and 20, Elizabeth and Julia are now the heads of household while Mrs de Witt recovers from her illness.


We will continue this series in the next newsletter.

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