Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Little Diary

I found a diary!  It’s just little, both physically and in number of words, but it’s another small glimpse into the life of my paternal grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer.

Diary Cover 1916-1919 Diary pages 1916-1919

Look at that – she started it when she was single and finished it after she was married. These pages were all loose in “the box” I recovered and I've done my best to put it into chronological order and added comments in [] where I knew something about what she was writing about.

I like to think that this picture was from about this time period.

Loraine c1917

This must be June 22…..morning for Berkeley where I expected to enter summer school.  Irene [Gunzendorfer?] met me at the depot, had lunch at house there, met Hal and crossed bay with her.  Home in eve.  Like the house quite well.  Have my own room. 

June 23 – went down to see Grandma [Rebecca Steen], had lunch there, went to town, saw Uncles Col & Milt [Colman and Milton Schwartz]; met Hazel [Steen, daughter of Samuel and Rachel], had dinner there – came home at 8:30.

June 24 – Went to University but accomplished nothing.  Saw Addie Huff.  This afternoon Hal [Hallie Hitchcock?} and I visited with Grandma.  This eve we went over to Dorothy’s and Chester’s.  A cute place they have.

July 8 – Have not written in my little [even she calls it little] confidant since June 24.  Not a great deal has occurred since then save that I am now regulated in my school……..  Hallie, Ebert [Hitchcock] & I went to the reception but it amounted to nothing.  Have heard from Ernest over the phone and he promised to come out but as yet I have heard nothing from him.  How I wish – but then what is the sense of wishing for things that can never come to pass.  Went to the city today with Aunt Chas. [Charlotte Haley Schwartz, wife of Milton] to see Maude Fulton in “The Brat”.  Just splendid.  Had lunch at the Golden Pheasant.  Saw Geraldine Farrar in “Marcia Rosa” last night.  Quite good.  The city folks have gone to Lagunitas for a couple of weeks.  I know nothing more to write tonight – news is at a premium so may not write again until something comes forth.

Tuesday, July 11 – Erny called up about 6 last night and asked to come out.  So he came.  It was the most glorious night [methinks there are more glorious nights with my grandfather to come later] and after we sat out on the porch a while we went down Shattuck to go to the “movies”.  It was too crowded so we had some ice cream and came back.  Enjoyed each other’s company – will probably not see him again as he is going to Monterey shortly.  Do I still care for him?  Little diary – you above all should know.  God was good to me to let me have him for a little while.

Monday, October 10, 1916 – Decided that I would drop my diary entirely last summer as I had no time to write in but have decided to write in it again.  May write once a week – just to keep account of happenings.  Am working as a bookkeeper for Pacific Fish Co – started August 17 – Ernest broke me in [broke me in – do I want to know what that means?] before he went to Stanford.  I do not hear from him at all.  Our little romance……over my……..

Not sure of the date of this page - call.  My, but it is with everything in the world to be interested in someone and cheer him along dark paths, made so by this terrible war of ours.  We have started to collect Thrift Stamps together and hope for a big collection.  Am now working at the City Hall in Board of Edu and am planning on taking Civil Service in 2 wks!  Here’s hoping I am successful.  Matt and I have some good times together.  He and I went to the Palace the other eve to dance.

Not sure of the date of this page – diary of last year.  I see where it was at its height around this time.  Some one else has stepped in – in the person of Sig Levy [yay – she finally met him!] of Fresno.  Met him at Hazel’s the Sunday before I came home and we have corresponded ever since.  He is a very thoughtful fellow to me, has sent me candy twice.  He probably likes me [that’s being confident] but to me he is only a friend.  He is not my ideal of a man in looks [oh come on, Grandma, he was a cutie!], little diary, but then what are looks if the heart is there?  Nothing exciting is happening in our city and I look forward to no event.  I wonder if I will or shall ever meet a man that I can care for? [hang on, Grandma, I think you will]  It all seems so in the distant future – caring for any one?  Will it ever come?  Will anyone ever care for me?  I doubt it [where’s that confidence?]

November 2 -  Tonight is another merchants’ dance – will I ever forget the first one I went to with Ernest?  And tonight another.  Am going with the folks and do not expect a good time - (I didn’t have it either).

November 12, 1916 – It is so hard to keep up this diary – there is nothing to chronicle – I hear from Sig occasionally.  Have no suitors [I think Sig is trying to be one] and lead a dull life [one thing I know is that her life was never dull].  Chaperoned Maude Albington to Carmel last night.  Met her man Friday night.  Have my evening dress but no place to go to wear it – always the way – I wonder if I will ever see Sig.  Only know him thru’ his letters – why doesn’t he come to see me?

December 10, 1916 – Once more I’ll scribble a few words in here for old time’s sake.  Ernest was down over Thanksgiving.  College has changed him I think.  We chatted a little about college.  He probably should have come over to see me but it stormed the whole time he was here.  Went to the basketball game Sat. night in P.G. [Pacific Grove] – saw Harry – all “dolled up – he said he would call me up when he came home at Xmas.  We’ll wait and see.  Sig wanted to come over for the merchant’s dance next week but I wrote no [why did you say no?]  Had my pictures taken yesterday – now for the proofs.

August 9, 1917 – Dear Little Diary.  Am going to talk to you again.  Was home for three weeks in June and had glorious times and with Harry McMahon.  Have lived in Oak [Oakland] since Jan 8, 1917 – attended Heald’s Business College for 6 months.

Oakland, August 14, 1917 – was surely a very lucky day for me – I was offered the secretarialship at Heald’s where I attended for six months.  A very good position for a beginner, and never realized that I would ever be offered that place.  And Sig proposed to me.  [YAY!]  Told me how much he cared for me [see, someone would care for you] – loved me [awwww!] and hoped I cared a little for him.  I was very cold [temperature cold or distant cold?] and listened to him appeal without sympathy.  The next day he left for home [maybe with a broken heart].  Forgot to state that he was here for nearly two weeks and I saw him continually.  The day he left I met him and he bought me flowers.  When he finally told me good-bye I knew I cared for him and had a crying spell at home [I wonder if he was crying?].  To cap the climax the ticket he bought and presented to me won $1 – so we each have a buck piece of 50.  Funniest thing in the world how I should care for Sig after having trouble and not liking him at all [what’s not to like?] – But funny things come to pass it seems.

September 4, 1917 – We received long letters from Hazel today from NY which told of the wonderful time she had while there.  The dear child is receiving no more than she deserves after her years of hard work and I only hope that everything is successful.  Yes, my little [and we all know he WAS little] Sig is very attentive and I hear from him regularly.  He likes me and I like him but the war will interfere with us and if we should ever plan on anything, the plans will be upset – He is the dearest boy.  Have taken charge of my position since Thursday, Aug 30 and like it very much.  Shall only chronicle important happenings from now on.

October 31, 1917  - Well, at last Mary [Pittman Salterbach?] has announced her engagement.  Wrote it to me today and I phoned my congratulations tonight.  Think of it, little diary, my life-long pal engaged to be married,.  Can it be possible?  And we used to wonder who would be the first of the three of us to go.  Don’t expect my time to ever come tho’ if I would listen to Sig’s pleas it would be right now [listen, Grandma!].  He’s a sweet boy, I love him terribly much but can’t promise anything as yet. [but we know you will, Grandma].  He surprised me on the 13th of this month – saw him Sat eve and Sun Mother met him, too. Still hear from him twice a week – He phoned the other night – Do wish he would come up again as I want him muchly [FINALLY!].  I can’t realize that I like him so much after detesting him at one time.  And he’ll have to go to war soon, too.,  Heartless world.  No more tonight diary – all I know is that I’m lonesome for Sig – why or wherefore I don’t know.  Have worked at Heald’s 2 months!

Nov 18, 1917 – Well I have two invitations to dinner dances – one for 27th at Palace and one for 29th at Granada.  …..of us are going to the Granada – Melvin Schwarzbaum is to be my escort.  Sig wrote and wanted to know if I would go to the Shriner’s affair at Palace.  Haven’t decided yet [you need to GO!]  Mother is here again.  Came Wed – We have an auto at home.

April 10, 1918 – Cannot seem to keep my little dairy up.  It is many months since I chronicled anything herein.  Sig and I are still lovers [!!!] and love each other dearly.  Have seen him very often lately.  He enlisted in Aviation, was accepted and is now awaiting his…….

Oct 20, 1918 – Sunday – Sig graduated from the ground school at Berkeley Friday and has a bad cold so is in the hospital for a few days.  As soon as he comes out we are going to announce our engagement, I hope.  [YES!]

Tues – Oct 29/18 – Sig and I have announced our engagement – think of it!  I have found that he is the man for me [took you long enough].  I have a lovely ring – which I had to buy by myself [now that’s sad] as Sig is in quarantine.  Took it to Berk and he put it on my finger [romantic].  Our romance has surely been an odd one.

Feb 23, 1919 – Sig and I were married on this date at Hotel Oakland at a very nice afternoon family wedding.  Girlie [hmmm, not sure who that was] was my only attendant.  I wore flesh gorgette beaded and a maline hat to match.

Feb 28, 1919 – Arrived in Fresno today after a nice little honeymoon of four days to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.  We stayed at the Potter Hotel in S.B. and had a lovely time.

And that’s the end of the diary.  I don’t think this was her wedding photo based on her description but maybe it was one of her ‘evening’ dresses.

Loraine Wedding

Grandma, I know the diary was little but I love reading about how you met Grandpa, his proposal, and finally, your marriage.  Thank you once again for being a packrat!


  1. Broke her in??? Oh my gosh. If that means what it sounds like, it surely puts things in perspective. A strange perspective. Your grandmother was a tease, I think. Her longing for Sig and then playing hard to get sounds like a heroine in a Victorian novel.

    I'm glad she was a packrat too -- she left such an interesting paper trail.

    1. I agree, she was a tease. Broke her in - lalalalala, I don't want to hear that or even think about it.

  2. Debi! How fun for you to have found this diary! It's truly a treasure. It's interesting to hear how life was back then, isn't it?

  3. Debi,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Oh, I loved this post! Such fun to find. What a treasure!

  5. I enjoyed reading every word of your grandmother's diary. What a sweet things to find!

  6. Debi.. LOVED reading this! Thank you so much for sharing. I did a bit of looking around and, as I suspected, "broke me in" would probably be similar to showing someone the ropes... or orientation so to speak. Maybe he had experience at the company she was working for???

    These diaries are such treasures!!!