May 20, 1851

Play

1851

Tuesday 20th  Washed the front entry windows

& front chamber and put the room in order, have

not been idle but cannot see much that I have done.

Have ripped the pieces of the carpet that formerly

belonged in the parlour and have it already for the 

sitting rooms  Susan runs wild with the other 

children.  I do hope after house cleaning is over that

I shall attend to her better and make her sew.

Rain this evening

Spring cleaning continued today with window washing and carpet rearrangement, the latter a seemingly endless task. Evelina, thrifty housewife that she was, reused old pieces of carpet in new places. The parlor got the newest and best carpet while the less formal sitting room got the recycled floor covering. By ripping, cutting, cleaning and placing, she did the recycling herself.

If Evelina was all about working, her daughter Susan was all about playing. Running “wild with the other children” probably felt pretty good to the nine-year old girl, who was enjoying a week of no school.  Her mother might have wished to make her sit and sew, but the fresh air and companionship of friends from the village was too much fun for Susie to resist.

In this diary entry, Evelina expressed something close to dismay. She didn’t feel she was accomplishing much, either in her housekeeping or in her management of her daughter.  Part of this feeling might have stemmed from memories of her own childhood on a farm where everyone, young or old, had chores and responsibilities. There was always work to be done, and playing instead of working was a rare option. Perhaps Evelina looked at her carefree daughter with puzzlement and guilt.  Susie should be working and it was probably Evelina’s fault that she was playing instead.

 

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