Monday, January 17, 2011

The 1890 Diary of Abba Owen

Newest chapter in an ongoing serialization of the 1888 diary of Abba Owen, daughter of Ypsilanti mineral water baron Tubal Cain Owen and Anna (Stowe Foote) Owen. The Owens lived in a now-vanished house near the current day Roosevelt School building on EMU, where Tubal also had his magical and very profitable well.

Kind readers will recall that Abba let her diary lapse shortly after Thanksgiving. It picks up again in January of 1890, so we now return to see what Abba and her family are up to in the beginning of the year.

Wensday Jan 1st 1890: New Year's day has been very disagreeable as it has rained nearly all day. Grandma and Grandpa were up to dinner and we all went down to their house to tea and spent the evening. We have not had any snow yet this winter excepting a little on Thanksgiving day. Eber went to St. Clair to spend Thanksgiving and Sew and Mrs. Moore came down here. I never saw such a warm Christmas before. Mama and Grandma went out for a walk around the place in the afternoon and went and sat down on the rustic seat in the front yard and the night before Christmas we were down town waiting at Mr. Wallace's for Eber to come with the carriage and we sat down on the chairs in front of the store it was so warm.

Thursday Jan. 2nd: It rained this morning, but this afternoon has been pleasant. Mama and Grandma went to the Parish Aid Society which was to have met at Mrs. Watling's but as she was sick they went to Mrs. Huston's which is next door. Mrs. Burton called this afternoon and left a duet that she wanted Richard and I to play at the next Sappho. Miss Allie Gilbert was at the Parish Aid Society and wore a corsage bouquet of Stock-gillis [?] which she picked in their garden. It seems wonderful that they should bloom in Jan. Papa had a present sent him of 5 nice partridges from Mr. Grady who lives in Caro, Mich. We received invitations to a dancing party at Miss Susie Sander's for to-morrow evening but we sent our regrets.

Friday Jan. 3rd: It has been quite a little colder to-day. Grandma came up and spent the afternoon. Mama received a letter from Mrs. Parsons telling how pleased she was with the silver cup and saucer and syrup cup [that] mama sent her for her 25th Anniversary. Grandma also sent her a very handsome silver berry spoon.

Saturday Jan. 4th: Towards evening it began to cloud up and then to rain. The [was in Arabian?] just came to our house to-day and had things to see which were from Arabia. She was very interesting to talk with. Mama and I went down town this afternoon and Eber made a very pleasant call at the Rectory.

Sunday Jan. 5th: It has been a very disagreeable Sunday as it has rained nearly all day. Mr. Post called this after noon and he is just getting of the the "Grip" epidemic which is going all over. His wife is also very sick with it.

Monday Jan. 6th: To-day ends my vacation as school begins tomorrow. Mr. Suderer came this evening gave me a violin lesson and afterwards we played euchre until train time.

Tuesday Jan. 7th: It has been cloudy all day. I commenced school this morning and there was a very good attendance. Eber went to Ann Arbor this morning did not expect him for the first day. Most all of the students said that [they] had a lovely vacation and were sorry to commence again. Jennie Schuler and Arthur Putnam were married this afternoon at the Episcopal Church. Grandma Mama and I went. It went off very nicely. Mr. [Ipolain?] came from Grand Rapids to marry them and Mr. [Ilovd?] assisted him. The bride and groom start for Manistique this morning where Mr. Putnam is in business.

Wensday Jan. 8th: It is a great deal colder to-day and has been trying to snow all day and the wind is blowing very hard.

Thursday Jan. 9th: Eber went to Ann Arbor this morning and this afternoon Mama and Grandma went to the society which met at Mrs. Cheever's. Mama Grandma and I went over to Normal Hall this evening to hear Mr. Powers, the great elocutionist. He persinated [impersonated] the characters in "David Copperfield" and he was splendid. There were 4 acts and between them they had songs, words by Dickens.

Friday Jan. 10th: It has been a dark day. This afternoon I went down and had my head shampooed. Eber came home this evening and brought Lew with him (they room together at AA) in the evening we had some music and then played pedro. Eber and Rick against Lew and I and we were victorious. Afterwards we had refreshments such as mince pie, cake, and cider.

Saturday Jan. 11: Rained last night and this morning cleared up and sun shone bright. We wanted a turkey for dinner so Rick called them up to the back door and shot one as he could not catch it. Lew went back on the afternoon train. Mama and I went down to L[adies'] Library this afternoon.

Sunday Jan. 12th: It has been a dark, gloomy day and has rained heavy all the time. Grandpa and Grandma were up to dinner.

Monday Jan. 13th: The wind blew terribly all night and it has been trying to rain all day. Eber went to AA this A.M. I received a letter from Nellie Whiting who is in Washington D.C. and answered it right away. Prof. Suderer is here this evening to give our violin lessons. Mr. [Krisbal?] from Chicago was here to dinner.

Tuesday Jan. 14th: It is a good deal warmer to-day. Ebe came home unexpectedly this noon. Mama and I went over to the Sappho club this afternoon at the Conservatory of Music. Grandma was up and spent the after noon.

Wensday Jan. 15th: Eber is sick in bed and has had the doctor. It seems as if nearly every one is having the "Grip," a kind of influenza.

Thursday Jan. 16th: Little flurries of snow all day. Mrs. Pease came over this morning to practice a solo which she is to sing to-morrow night at the Normal Public and I play the obbligato on the violin and I shall also play a solo. Margarete Gilbert made a long call here this morning and also Clara Goodspeede. This afternoon Grandma was up here and Mama went to the Society and I went over to the conservatory of music to practice with Mrs. Pease again. I have not been to school all this week.

Friday Jan. 17th: This has been a very pleasant day. Mama and I went over to the Normal hall at 1 o'clock to try over my piece in the hall but as there was someone taking a lesson on the organ we could not then we went over again about five but they were all there rehearsing for the evening, so Mama and I were coming home in disgust when we met the janitor Mr. Vroman and he said if we would [come] over at six they would all be gone and they would have some matches on the piano so we could light the gas so we came home and Rick went over with us at six and we succeeded in practicing three times and out.

I played "The Daughter of the Regiment by C. de [Beriot?] received an encore and then played "Way down upon the Swanee River." And I also played an obbligato solo for Mrs. Pease. Mr. Pease complimented me and also mama on playing my accomplishment. The rest of the Public went off very nicely.

And with this successful concert we'll leave Abba till next Tuesday. Thanks for reading!

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