Over the last half dozen posts, I’ve transcribed Dr. E.A. Harper’s letters. Based on his writings, the reputation doctors enjoy for inscrutable handwriting is well deserved. I thought I’d take a break, and move to another voluminous writer, my grandmother. As I rummaged around the storage chest for her missives, I happened upon a diary by her brother, C.E. Blanc. Be careful what you wish for.
Just as when my complaints about stairs in Florence yielded mountains of stairs in Rome, so I have gone from the frying pan to the fire. Hanuman sits behind me, chuckling. He does this often, usually just before I get what I deserve.
To assist me in my transcription, I’ve decided to use Apple’s Pages word processing program and the enhanced dictation plugin, a 1.2 GB download. Born Clarence Eugene Blanc, April 5, 1892 to Rev. Francis Lewis Blanc and Ella E. Worth of Knoxville, TN, he was the third of eight children. His diary begins with the date of April 13th, 1913 and an inscription from his sister, Flora: “With the best possible wishes for these years and all the years to follow, from your sister.” F.L.P.
12:15 AM. Happy new year to my Clarence May this be the brightest and happiest year you have ever known. I got dinner at (?) and then took bills to Miss Eaton.
1914 a fine day today so good to be together. And then I’m back by its light it was a fine heart and I strolled around wow Lola God dinner. Lola got a little tired. The folks were gone so we enjoyed and studied some. After dinner Lois and I went out to country. Ourselves had– one – 11.? Space I love my iPod 365 mixes club on car then took a long hike, Watch the moon rise over stronger than I did a year ago. I want to do better in every way this year.
1918 A beautiful day and the smoothest sea we have had on the trip as I begin this new boots for a new year. This is a strange New Year’s Day have a good? Embroidered, swimming today on ship at five New Year’s dinners turkey and all fixins played games in social hall till 830 on the deck till 1030.
1919 New Year’s Day doesn’t seem much like it viewing better than a year ago, sleepy from being up late last night. Nettie Holmes in and watched me give Alma her bath. Took a short nap after breakfast. Wrote a letter home before tea – before dinner and after no mail. Dallas missing and Mr. boss went down to wait for the boat. First evening alone in a long time. I came over at seven to say (?) And felt better but teatime. Over to see Mrs. Hudson after Miss Geisenferier had been there been there all day long. As I had the goose cooked I had Hardee’s and Grandma, Grandpa out to dinner we played a little Roots in eve; but all were glad to get to bed early.
1914 After breakfast at 7:30 Alicia got it, she is much better. Finished her letter and mail and a note to?. Went into B. A. and did several errands. Paid served assessment. It is awful lonely and hard without any (1 – 11). Foggy all day and put ad in Times, something for work started a letter to Loa before dinner, had soon using after dinner.
1915 Didn’t get up till late I worked out at U of R and Went to bed after studying my song and in my shop. I’m glad Loa likes my hat a fine day today. Went to downtown with Loa, SS lesson, then went down alone, met with Roger, bought a derby, came home.
1918 Arose at six and didn’t go back to sleep good nights rest. So good to have portals open and so little motion. Moved to cabin 34 call Think we will like it better. Water came in porthole in afternoon and soaked things. We read song in Mary Gusta(?). Took a map in my room and C played Victrola to me. Played shuffleboard for the first time. Whole crowd told stories all eve on deck.
I worked on flannel dress for Alma and finished it in eve after dinner. Some? After dinner to visit but we got to bed early.
1914 Foggy all day. Went downtown did some errands, at job this afternoon. Quite mild tonight but foggy. Put ads in Holly. Citizen, the Inquirer and sub for both ads are for work. Found a dear letter from Ina Poor girlie is lonely I sure miss her. Painted a little.
1914 S. S. and church A.M. Rev. Carl Williams spoke. We home and had a few minutes together. Mr. P had Mr. and Mrs. Parker to dinner. Ina and I read some, I am so glad we are together. She was in Missions “& inside the Cup.” Then started for a walk, so much to see. Visited Mrs. McNair and Laura(?) Clark. Went to B.Y.P.U. then (1918) didn’t come up on deck till after breakfast. Nice bright day but a good swell. Didn’t sleep well because of swell, porthole closed. My arm quite lame from shuffleboard. Finished writing up day in Honolulu. Started to read “The Rosary,” Clarence joined me in reading it and we go so interested. Hard to walk on decks, such a swell. We went down to bed at 9 & read. Tried to sleep together but no use.
Baked a cake & frosted it.
Griffin & Linsley called about 5 P.M. Latter leaving for home tomorrow.
19(14) S.S. & church this A.M. This afternoon we went for a drive over to Griffith Park in the auto, Ag, Al & I. It was a beautiful day but awful lonely. I wrote to Ina. Went to C.C. at 6:15.
1915 Read some in my Psychotherapy(sic) book. Went to library after school – looking up (?) in Logic this AM. At 1 P.M. (?) bibliographies for Sociology topics. S.S. super at 6:30 then and went out to U. of R. Had Sociology Things lecture by Williams. Home at 9, studied, seemed natural only I wish we had another week. Cool this P.M.
1918 Passed imaginary dateline and lost this day. Funny thing.
19(bottom section of diary page) A most busy morning. Dhobi brought washing. Philemon made a cake. I was getting Clarence’s things ready (to) go to Calcutta. Had to rush after breakfast but got him off in time – he sent me back a line by a coolie. Putta(?) left about 2. Miss Nichols came at 1:30. (?) steamer with folks for Jura go by about 4:30. Witters & Steffins came in after dinner and we enjoyed Roots untill 9:30. (?) communion Sunday. C brought Alma to church. After church, we went over to see Mrs. Hutton and (?). After breakfast, I went to bed and had a good nap. C went to station with Dr. W. to meet Mr. Dudley and we all had tea together at Witters. He left in evening for Golgoleat(?). Went to Witters and (?). After dinner I wrote letters & I started one for home. Bed (by) 10.
The diary seems to have at least two authors and three independent story lines: 1914, 1915, and 1918. Most interesting to me is the ship journey from the West Coast of California to India. I’ve decided to discontinue use of Pages narration – it seems to have a proclivity for choosing profane words when it transcribes. I will continue to augment this post over time with the contents of the diary. For now, however, I need to rest my eyes, soak my head, and wrestle Hanuman — he’s still laughing.
Thanks for reading.