This blog is mainly taken from my Great Grandfather's diary. In 2012 we are in the year 1915, after completing 1916 in 2010 and 1927 in 2011. 1915 is the year that my Great Uncle Norman was born. 1927 is the year that my Great Uncle Roger, was born. 1916 was the year that my grandmother, Annah Lee was born.

My Great-Grandfather's name was Bonnie Elmore and he worked as a clerk or secretary for the old Norfolk & Western Railroad, based in Roanoke, VA. Mary is his wife. Norman is their first born son. The Raines are Mary's parents. Skin is Bonnie's brother along with Jake.

Bonnie's work associates and friends are also mentioned quite a bit. Bonnie does a great job of blending everyday life in 1915 with the mention of some world and USA history as well. I do know from a quick glance ahead that 1915 is going to be quite different as Bonnie did not write quite as much.

After Bonnie's diary entry, I will occasionally make comments, maybe tell a little about life in 2012, possibly some current events, and some musing about the Christian faith.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The Home computer was in high demand last night as church newsletters and bulletins had to be done, so I missed posting last night and I will try to make up for it tonight. On Thursday, December 28, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Rain-Cloudy. Arose at 7:30 a.m. Made a fire. Got to office at 8:45. Walked over with Miss Shoffner. Poor correspondence. Took dictation from and wrote for Mr. Wiltsee. Aunt Annah went to visit Mrs. Seymour. I shaved after supper. Played with Norman. Ate gelatine. Wrote second time for diaries. Henry Hilton Greider died at hospital. On Friday, December 29, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Sunny-Pretty. Arose at 7:20. Made a fire. No mail much. Got to work 8:40. Wrote for Mr. Wiltsee. Mary and Mrs. Raines took Norman up street and had his hair cut. "Shriners" parade. Pulaski and Shawnee men in office. Mr. Raines gave me pine. Mary and I ate supper up there and I cut up pine. Turned colder at night. Sounds like Grand-daddy is having a hard time getting his diaries in for 1917, which brings me to a reminder that come January 1, we start over with January 1, 1916 as I do not have any other diaries at this time. I think he also had some of what we call today Jell-O. I don't know what he meant when he said poor correspondence. Was there not much to do, or did he perform the task poorly? I am guessing there wasn't much to do. Like today, there just isn't much work between the holidays. Norman finally got his hair cut as the weather cleared up. Bonnie mentions a Shriner's parade. I wonder if they had clowns and little race cars and a funny little car that flips up on it's front wheels when it stops quick? I love those guys. I don't know what kind of pine Bonnie got but he cut it up and there were visitors in the office today. Our family will be going to South Carolina tomorrow to visit the Allens. So, I don't know how much posting will get done, but I will make a stab at it. Have a safe and Happy New Year and leave the fireworks to the professionals!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Pictures

I finally got some new pictures posted. Actually, very old pictures but new to us. Hopefully this will help put some faces to some names that are mentioned frequently by Bonnie. Also, Bonnie mentioned Teeny the other day, I think the Christmas Day post. Teeny was Bonnie's sister and her real name was Christina. I remember my grand-mother, Annah Lee taking care of Christina when she lived at Morningside Manor in Roanoke.

The Hague

On Wednesday, December 27, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cloudy-Damp. Arose at 7:30. Made a fire.Got to office at 8:45. The office force came at 9:00. Wrote Philip Oyler. Rains in afternoon. Not much work. Mary & Mrs. Raines planned to have Norman's hair cut but rain prevented. I wrote Roy Miller a letter today. Germany reserved accommodations at "The Hague" tribunal for her peace representatives to settle the war. This is one of Grand-daddy's entries that includes some World History, which I find rather fascinating. It also forces me to go back and read some, which this occasion did. Bonnie mentions Germany preparing for peace, but I thought that I remembered that the war lasted a lot longer and indeed it did. This German suggestion of a peace conference apparently came after President Woodrow Wilson had written a "peace note" to those fighting in the war. The problem was that Germany was not committed to reparations and so the war continued. Interesting that rain prevented Norman from getting a hair cut. I guess, it was just harder to get around by walking and street car and so the rain made it only harder, thus the women stayed home with the 2 small children. To come back to modern day time and include the faith portion of this blog, I want to tell you a little story about a conversation that my wife had with a hair dresser the other day. The stylist was telling Beth that she and her family had been to a local church, where she indicated that they were members and possibly regular attenders, but she said that every time they went the people were so nice to them and always treated them like it was their first time there. The stylist also went on to say that going to church made her feel so good for the rest of the week. This just brought up so many questions for me. Is it a good thing to go to a church multiple times and yet have the people there always treat you like it is first your time there? Are you going as much as you think you are? Or are the people at that church just not doing a good job of keeping up with prospects and members? After a while I would want people to treat me like I belonged there, I think. And then, I am glad that going to church makes you feel good, it should, but is that really why we go? I am still constantly amazed at how shallow some people's faith is and how little they know about scripture etc. Now, even as a seminary trained pastor I do not pretend to be a great Bible scholar, but I am so thankful for the Christian upbringing that I had for the Bible knowledge that I do have. Also, these kinds of encounters and others like them that I have had recently do serve as a reminder that people are spiritually seeking and that there are open doors out there to be able to share your faith, even to church goers, who may need to grow in their faith! God has placed us in certain places to be on mission for Him. Always be ready to give a defense of the Gospel. Ok, I should stop or this may turn into a sermon. By the way, I got an ipod for Christmas (let's see what that looks like 90 some years from now) and I am excited about the devotional possibilities of podcasts on itunes!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Back to work

On Tuesday December 26, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Mild-Pleasant. Arose at 7:30. I made a fire. Got to office at 9 .m. Mr. Raitt here. Indexed and filed. Gave Capt. Rowan a neck tie. Mr. Schick gave Mr. Raitt and me a cigar. Mr. Schick in a friendly humor. Mr. Bruner in. Also Mr. Burleson. I shaved after supper and read paper. Took a bath at 12 o'clock and retired. Raining. Well, Bonnie went back to work after what he described as a dull day yesterday. There was still some gift giving going on and people seemed to be in a good mood. Not a whole of interest in this entry. Bonnie did seem to stay up late. Today is Saturday in 2009 and we are also getting back to more of a routine but also still enjoying the holiday too. We are going to the theater tonight to see a movie. I think the kids will see one movie and the adults another.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Egg Nog and Grape Wine

On Christmas Day, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Minnie Sullivan and Pete Kitterman married. Cool-Clear. Oysters at breakfast. Christmas Day. Arose at 8:00. Made a fire. Rolled Norman to Grandpa's. Met Mr. & Mrs. Hamilton-Gave Mr. Raines a box of cigars. Mr. Raines took Norman for a car ride. We ate dinner with Mrs. Raines and I went to "American". Teeny, Jess, & Luther went too. Aunt Duck and Uncle Frank up at Loam's. Mama, Papa, Teeny and I ate Loam's. We drank egg nog and grape wine. Dull Day. Wow a wedding on Christmas Day and surprise, surprise, oysters for breakfast on a special occasion. Sounds like it was a pretty eventful day even though Bonnie thinks it was dull. He still got to go see a movie at the American and they had egg nog and grape wine, what more could you ask for. I am guessing that the car ride Norman and Mr. Raines took was on a street car. It has rained all day Christmas Day in 2009. We arose about 6 a.m. Mom spent the night with us. After a great breakfast of sausage egg casserole and orange biscuits, we have been mainly trying to figure out new technology gifts and just slumbering around. Good day really. I will take a little dullness every now and then.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Where's Jake?

On Christmas Eve 1916, Bonnie wrote: Cold-Sleet. Arose at 9 a.m. Shaved. Mr and Mrs. Raines and Harry ate dinner with us. Ethel Wade came over. I went to office. Also to station to meet Jake but he failed to come. Ate supper over home. Papa and I went to First Baptist Church. Fine sermon. Small crowd. Eunice Epperly gave papa a humidor of smoking tobacco. I continue to be amazed at how similar the weather was in 1916 to 2009. They are calling for sleet and freezing rain here over night and into the morning. I wonder what happened to brother Jake that he didn't show up at the train station? Bonnie may have to use that annual pass to go and look for him. Did Jake come back from Selma with Bonnie? I thought he did. In looking back, on the 21st it says that Jake came to the station with Bonnie but it does not say he went home with him. Maybe Jake is still in Selma. I liked seeing that Bonnie and his Dad went to church. There hasn't been much mention of church so far. They went to First Baptist on Christmas Eve and apparently were impressed with the sermon but not the crowd. I wonder who the pastor was in 1916? I know that Bonnie loved his cigars and apparently his Dad did too and the gift from Eunice Epperly was greatly appreciated I am sure. Back to the 22nd and 23rd. I wonder what was the heart trouble that Grand-daddy was having? I believe he was only in his 20's when this was written and he lived to be in his 90's so it must not have been too bad, but we will shall see what Dr. Burks comes up with. Bonnie also apparently wrote a letter to Effie thanking her for her hospitality while he was in Selma. How cool to read that Norma got a rocking a horse and Granny got a high chair. Bonnie got up earlier and stayed up later on the 22nd and 23rd then slept in on Christmas Eve. The gift giving and receiving continued on the 23rd with Bonnie getting a swell pair of gloves from one of his bosses. I got some swell gifts too at work. Some tools and a gift certificate to Buffalo Wild Wings. Bonnie returned the favor with a tie and bought Norman a book too and some candy for someone named Teeny as well as gingham goods. I just think all of this is very fascinating and really put me in the Christmas spirit when I read it last night. I was a little taken aback to read about the specimen being delivered to McGee's which I am guessing is a drug store that may have also served as a lab. I did tell you though that Dr. Burks was going to get to the bottom of this heart thing didn't I? Sounds like a great Christmas. Preparations are in high gear here and the excitement level is running high! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rocking Horses, High Chairs, and Gingham goods

Missed yesterday and really tired tonight, so I will just be posting what Bonnie wrote for the past 2 days and then making commentary later. On Friday December 22, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Windy-Cloudy.. Arose at 7:10 a.m. Mary made a fire. I got to office at 8:30, ahead of other fellows. Got up my mail. Rec'd annual pass for year 1917. My heart acting irregularly and causing me much trouble. Wrote a letter to Effie. Mr. and Mrs. Raines gave Norman a rocking horse and Annah Lee a high chair. Mrs Raines came down after supper. Retired at 11 p.m. On Saturday, December 23, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Cool-Clear. Arose at 7:10 a.m. Got to work at 8:30. No correspondence. Went to Roke. Ry. & E. Co. to pay bill for Mr. Raitt. Capt. Rowan gave me a pair of swell gloves. Swept snow. Took urine specimen to Mc Gee's for Dr. Burks. Bought Capt. Rowan a tie and Norman a book. Went home. Took Teeny a box of candy and gingham goods. Mama, Papa and Teeny went town. Talked Red McDermott. On boy do we have things to talk about!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home Jake!

On Thursday, December 21, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Clear. Arose 7:50. Jake came to station with me. Train 30 minutes late. Talked to Harry and Patsy Craft and Alex Caldwell. Left Clifton Forge at 11:30 a.m. Got Buchanan 1:00. Left at 3:30. Got home on car at 5:00. Met Everett McNeace. Also Jimmy Doughman. Not much snow. I shaved and stayed in after supper. Check Spelling Bonnie and Jake made it home and socialized all the way there I believe. I am glad there wasn't much snow in 1916, sure was a lot in 2009. Roads in the neighborhood are still bad. I went to the doctor today and got a good report. "See you again, next year" doc said, only he is moving to Tennessee!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


On Wednesday, December 20, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote from Selma, VA: Cold-Clear. Arose at 10 a.m. Cut wood for Effie. Went to see Mrs. Oyler. Jake, Philip and I walked to town and back. Talked to Lewis Foster. Went to show. Walked back at 6 p.m. Packed my grip to leave Thursday. Philip and I went to Ollie Smith's for book - also to Roy Duncan's. Called on Denny and Stella from 8 - 10:30 p.m. Mostly Bonnie seems to still be enjoying visiting with other people. He did cut some wood early in the day. We plan on finishing to shovel the driveway today and also walking down to Mom's to visit with her for a while. I have several doctor's appointments tomorrow and Beth needs to get to work so we will be planning an escape from the neighborhood. Roads still have not been plowed and I am not real sure that it is looking real good for today either.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You shave, I'll Shave, We'll all shave

On Tuesday December 19, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Snow. Arose at 10 a.m. Jake and I went to post office and mailed cards. Ate Dinner with John Lawlor. Shaved. Philip Oyler and I went to Theatre and saw fine play Douglas Fairbanks in "The Lamb". Bought a collar. Came to Selma in car. Talked to Luxey Thomas. Jake Shaved. Met Ollie Smith at eventide. Jake stayed with Phil Oyler. Ok, the snow I referenced yesterday, well we ended up getting about 16 inches here in Roanoke in 2009. And the time that I thought I would have today to do more blog posting didn't happen because I got woke up this morning at 3:30 a.m. to assist with finding shelter for people being rescued off the Interstate and then got called in to help staff the Emergency Operations Center and finally got home around 5:30 p.m. Bonnie and Jake are still in the Selma area, where Bonnie couldn't help but to try out the theatre there too and enjoyed a Douglas Fairbanks movie. Other than that the biggest events of the day were going to the post office and shaving. Jake shaved, Bonnie Shaved, I shaved when I got home from the EOC. Anyway, lots of snow here, no church tomorrow for the second week in a row, and very dangerous conditions outside. I feel some football watching coming on strong!

Friday, December 18, 2009

#14 to Buchanan

On Monday December 18, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Snow. Mary made fire. Arose 8 o'clock. Annah Lee vomited freely. I played ball with Norman. Borrowed Harry R's traveling bag. Went over home and ate lunch. Jake and I left Roanoke on #14 at 12:10. Engaged room at Buchanan. Walked around to C&O sta. Friendly hotel clerk at "Central". We ate lunch Mary fixed. Phil Oyler & boy took us to Selma in automobile. Got there 9 p.m. Lots to talk about today. Let's start at the top. Cold and Snow in Roanoke in 1916 and cold and snow in Roanoke in 2009. In fact, the storm in 2009 could be of historic proportions with a possible 20 some inches. As I write, it has been snowing since about 2:15 p.m. and we have a good 5 inches already. Not sure how I feel about reading that my Granny was vomiting freely. Yesterday we read that Norman was pretty sick, must have given it to his sister. Norman is apparently feeling better as he played ball with his father. Maybe it will go away quickly. Bonnie must not have been too concerned as he played ball with Norman, packed for a trip, went to his parent's house, and left. So Bonnie and his brother Jake left on a train out of Roanoke just after noon and went to Buchanan, which is ironic. Buchanan is a small town in Botetourt County and is where I currently pastor a small church. It looks like they got a room to kill some time at the Central Hotel and also ate lunch that was packed by Mary who is at home with sick kids. I am not familiar with a Central hotel in Buchanan but I may ask around to some church members and see what comes up. I have no idea who Phil Oyler is, but I did discover that Selma is near the present day Clifton Forge which would have been correct in going the direction of Buchanan. It took awhile to get there, but in early auto, and on the roads between Buchanan and Clifton Forge, not too surprising. I am still not sure of the purpose behind the trip. My best guess would be to visit family and/or friends. We'll see how much snow we get overnight. Being really snowed in tomorrow may mean more than one blog post tomorrow, if the power stays on!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oysters and Sweet Milk

On Sunday December 17, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Moderate. Shaved. Arose at 8:30. Made a fire. Went to creamery for qt. of sweet milk. Rolled Norman up to Mrs. Raines. Ate dinner at home. Mrs. Raines came down. I got articles at Johnson and Johnson's. Went over home and ate supper. Everett was there and gave mama $5. I read Washington Post. Oysters for breakfast. Norman pretty sick Went home at 9 p.m. Nothing real outstanding today. It was a Sunday and there was lots of eating and the family seems to still be gathering supplies for Christmas. While in the 2000's in Roanoke we know Johnson and Johnson's as a lens maker, it was apparently some sort of grocery or general store in 1916. Grand-daddy still reads a good bit and stays up with current events, like yesterday's mention of the death of Professor Hugo Munsterberg, noted psychologist. Today it was the Washington Post, I think when he has mentioned this before it was in conjunction with being at his parents house. Maybe they had the subscription and Bonnie had to go there to read it. Oysters for breakfast again. Norman seemed to get sick quick, hope he is feeling better soon. The big news here in 2009 is the weather forecast. Calling for over a foot of snow over the weekend, maybe as much as 18 inches. Winter storm warning are in effect. It may mess with some plans but I am excited about it and looking forward to it as long as the power does not go out, then that would be miserable. Tomorrow is the day that Bonnie is supposed to take a trip to Selma. Will see what happens.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


On Saturday, December 16, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Very Cold Wind. Prof. Hugo Munsterberg died. Arose at 7:30. Mary made fire. Very intensely cold today. Completed indexing and filing mail. Got cheque cashed for Mr. Raitt. Went to Johnson and Johnson's for Rhubarb and oil. Talked to Steffey. Mr. Divers worked on our cut-off. He broke both of them. Mary and I ate supper at Mrs. R. Went to American. Took Norman on Car. Professor Hugo Munsterberg was a well known psychologist who participated in some high profile court cases around the turn of the century. I am sure Grand-daddy knew him from all the reading that he did. I am thinking Johnson and Johnson's was a grocery store. It is mentioned again later and it appears that the Elmores are gathering needed items for Christmas. I see that Bonnie did "just call the man" someone who came over and looked at that stuck water cut-off, and the man apparently broke both of them. They must have been really tight. Again, Grand-daddy goes to the American theater but doesn't tells us what he saw this time, but Norman did get to ride the street car. Sounds like the Elmores had a pretty busy day and so did the Clingenpeels. My water seems to be working ok, but I do have a car that won't start. I know, I need to just "call the man".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Fierce Wind Blew...

On Friday December 15, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Snow-Cold. Arose at 7:20. Mary made a fire. First real snow of the winter fell. Mr. Schick went to Ingleside on #1. Wrote for Mr. Turner. Received calendar. Mary and Mrs. Raines went to Y.M.C.A and shopped. Bought goods for Norman's overcoat. I played ball with Norman after supper. The snow had melted by night. A fierce wind blew all night. Nothing new here about the Selma trip. Interesting that the ladies went shopping at the YMCA. I didn't know that was something to do. I am guessing it was something special for Christmas and that the ladies were shopping for Christmas gifts or materials to make gifts like Norman's overcoat. We have had snow and wind and ice already this year in 2009. We went to Rachel's choir concert tonight. The choirs did a really good job, but the distractions in the auditorium were many and varied: a not working sound system, crying babies, waving parents, wandering toddlers, foreign speaking loud talkers, and a stench in the lobby...and a partridge in a pear tree! Wow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Call the man

On Thursday, December 14, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Cloudy. Arose at 7:30. Mary made a fire. I got to work at 8:40. Right busy all morning. We were all "turned" up on account of not finding letter, files, and blueprint. I tried to fix the "cut-off" at noon, but it was too tight. Wrote Effie, advising her of time Jake and I would come to Selma. Ate supper at Raines'. Played ball with Norman until 9:30. Shaved. Sounds like somebody lost some things at the N&W offices and maybe the whole office got in trouble for it. That leak or whatever it is, is still going on. You know I am not real handy when it comes to things like that either. In the words of Andy Griffith, I think Bonnie should "just call the man". Ok, so now we know that Effie lives in Selma and Bonnie and his brother Jake are going there on the 18th. I have no idea who Effie is or where Selma is. I thought it was in Alabama. Office Christmas party tonight for us. Nothing real fancy mainly just enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

World War I and Get Your Own Shoes!

Ok, didn't get a chance to post yesterday as we were busy getting ready for the church to come to our house for a Christmas party and I got called out on a fire. Today there is no church as there is ice, so I will try to catch you up and do 2 posts at once here. On Tuesday December 12, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Snowing. Arose at 7:30. Mary made a fire. I walked to town with Bob Bob McLellan. Got to office at 8:45. Indexed and filed. The German, Bulgarian, Turkish and Austria-Hungarian nations today offered peace proposals for the ending of the war. Mrs. Raines came home from Richmond and Norfolk. We ate supper there. Aunt Annah came home with us. Very cold after 6 p.m. The interesting history tidbit that I had mentioned before is this mention of an offer of peace to end World War 1. I can't find much about this on the History Channel website and I don't think it was accepted. Glad to Have Mrs. Raines home again. Very cold and also winter weather here in 2009 as well. On Wednesday December 13, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Cold-Flurring. Arose at 7:20 Mary made a fire. Got to work at 8:35. Went out to Mr. Schick's house and got his shoes. Gloomy cloudy day. Got 2 cigars from Joe Milan's. Ate supper with Momma this evening. Tried to cut off water but failed. Jake agreed that we should go to Selma, VA on Monday, 18th. This was an intensely cold night. Oh, the things a Secretary must do sometimes! Now how did Mr. Schick forget his shoes this morning? It is so cold outside. Maybe he wore boots to work and then needed shoes. I think Bonnie was regular customer at Joe Milan's. Candy, newspapers, and cigars seem to be regular purchases. Did Mrs. Elmore have a leak of some sort? If she did, Bonnie could not get the water cut off. Jake, is Bonnie's brother and I am not sure what is in Selma, VA on the 18th. Maybe they were going to purchase a secret Christmas present for someone. I sure hope it gets warmer here too Grand-daddy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lash Brow Ink

On Monday December 11, 2009 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Raining. Arose at 7:20. Mary made fire. Beat the force to the office. Received "Lash-Brow Ink" Used for first time tonight. Paid taxes for Capt. R. and gas bill for Raitt. Mr. Raines went to "White Ash" blowout. Talked to Lester and Calvin Bernard. Also, Lutie Steffey over the phone. Partly indexed. Shaved after supper and played ball with little Norman. Mary feeling tired and "all in". Apparently Bonnie got to work early and beat the rush. I have no idea what Lash Brow Ink was. Was it make up? Was it ink that he used to write this diary? I also have no idea what a "White Ash" blowout is. I am finding out that there is more that I don't know than I know. But that is where you the readers come in. If you can help me out all, please make a comment at the end of the blog post for today. It's the little pencil icon. It sends an email to me and if the comment is not rude or snide then I will publish it and we can get a discussion going about some of this stuff. If you are so inclined. I like seeing that Grand-daddy played with the kids in the evenings. Mary is apparently still struggling with the pregnancy. There is some cool history stuff in tomorrow's entry. Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Life with Bonnie!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Train trip

On Sunday December 10, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Chilly. Annah Lee is 11 months old today. Arose at 8 a.m. Left on 11 o'clock train for Blue Ridge to spend day with Andrew and Lena. Andrew and Luther met train. We looked over the farm and ate dinner. Introduced to Mrs. Lynch. Andrew, Luther and I went to The Tower. Ate supper. Mr. Raines and Aunt Annah dined with Mary. Mr. Raines got eggs at Rocky Mt. I came home on #5 with Harry and his crowd from Hopewell. My grandmother, Annah Lee turned 11 months old on this date in 1916. There is a lot in this entry that I do not know anything about. I don't know who Lena, Luther, and Andrew are. I know where Blue Ridge is if it is the same one. I don't know what The Tower is or was. And I have no idea who Harry and his gang from Hopewell are. I am afraid I am just not much help on today's entry. I do know my Dad's name was Andrew. Could that have been some sort of a name sake? Well anyway. Cold and windy here today. We have leaves to get up still and the church is coming over here on Saturday for an open house. Beth is off tomorrow and I have to work late tomorrow night. Home early today due to a pastor's meeting today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Saturday, December 9, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold-Windy. Arose at 7:30. Mary made fire. Wrote letters for Turner. Went to N.E. Bank & got cheque cashed for Mr. Raitt. Got 5 cents worth of candy at Joe Milan's. Norman is 22 months old today. I cut wood after dinner. Went to see "The Valiants of Virginia" at "American" Theater. Got hair cut. Mr. Raines gave me an N.W. lock for stable. Aunt Annah came down at 7 o'clock. Got letter from Lena from Blue Ridge. May not spend much time on commentary tonight. Wednesdays are really long days. Bonnie does mention the American Theater in Roanoke which was a very grand theater at the time. Unfortunately it is no longer standing. I have posted a picture of the theater though on this page. I will continue to hunt for others that may be better. Incidentally, Nelson Harris, former mayor of Roanoke and pastor at Virginia Heights Baptist Church published a kind of picture history book of downtown Roanoke that uses old postcards to show some of what historic Roanoke looked like. I have a copy and if you are interested in this kind of thing, it would be a good buy. "The Valiants of Virginia" was a movie that came out in June 1916. I found some about it on the Turner Classic Movies website, but nothing that really struck a chord for me. It was windy in in Roanoke on this date 2009 too. I also got a hair cut the other night. And, I am not sure about this reference that Bonnie makes to an N.W. lock and a stable. I get the N & W lock, but where is the stable? Bonnie lived at 828 Jamison Ave. S.E. at the time of this writing and even in 1916 I am pretty sure it was more of a city housing area, with no room for a stable. Where did the Raines live and did they have a stable? Uncle Roger, I may need some help again. Joe Milan's is mentioned again which was a tobacco, newsstand, candy kind of store in Roanoke. I bet Bonnie got a whole handful of candy for 5 cents...today, not so much. I guess since Bonnie cut wood after dinner he treated himself to a movie. My boss, Mr. Huffman, as Bonnie would have addressed him also started a blog today. There is a link to his blog on my page. Glad I could be so inspiring! Good night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


On Friday, December 8, 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm - Sultry. Arose at 7:20. Mary made fire. Got to work at 8:35. Mr. Schick came in from West Va. Wrote letters for Mr. F. P. Turner. Mary feeling badly. Re-bound agreements. My c&0 pass arrived. Sprinkled rain at night. I rolled Norman up to see Grand-pa at 7 p.m. Also shaved. Aunt Annah came down and stayed with Mary until 8:30 Pretty moonlight night. As I have mentioned before, handwriting is different in 1916 than it is today. Probably it was better in 1916 and we have fallen out of practice of reading it because so many things are done on a computer these days like this blog. What's funny is trying to make out some of Bonnie's words and also the context they are used in. In today's entry, in his handwriting, it sure did look like Grand-daddy was saying his cropass had arrived. I had no idea what a cropass was...even did a Google search and still came up with nothing. Then I figured out that Bonnie was talking about his C & O pass. C & O being a railroad that traveled this area in those days, C & O stood for Chesapeake and Ohio. So his train pass arrived, not his cropass or his compass, but his c&0pass. Also it took me a minute to figure out Re-bound Agreements. I wasn't aware that Bonnie played basketball and even if he had what kind of agreements are there about rebounds in basketball? Then I figured out that he probably had put back into book form or Re-bound some railroad agreements at work that day. Language, and how it's usage changes over the years is sure a funny thing. Hope Mary starts to feeling better soon, remember she is pregnant with "Baby" Jane. Also, just a little heads up for the future. When we start with January, we will be going back to January 1916 and not January 1917 as I do not have that diary in my possession. So, we will be going backwards a little bit for a while. We will not get to hear about "Baby Jane's" birth in February of 1917 but we will get to hear about the birth of Annah Lee, my grand-mother, on January 10, 1916. I'll remind you again when we get there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Shoe return

On Thursday December 7, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Arose at 7:30. Mary made a fire. I got to office at 8:45. Ordered diaries for 1917. Also calendars. Read book on "Panama Canal". Took Mary's shoes back to store. Aunt Annah came down after supper. I rolled Norman up to see Mr. Raines. I read "Pictorial Review". Came home at 8:30. Read paper at 9 p.m. Today is widely known as Pearl Harbor Remembrance day. To put things in perspective, Pearl Harbor was 68 years ago and in 1916 they would not have even known what you were talking about as that day, that was to "live in infamy" was still 25 years away. So we are dealing with 93 years ago here if my math serves me correctly, which often it does not. Yesterday I told you that I would never think of buying shoes for my wife without her along, well guess what Bonnie had to take those shoes back to the store. Wrong color? Wrong size? Too much money? I guess we will never know. Good to know the calendars and diaries have been ordered for the new year. The new desk calendars at my office have been handed out and other calendars are also being ordered. Bonnie still seems to be the prolific reader. I don't read that much, but I may try to get back to a book tonight about Washington's Crossing of the Delaware during the Revolutionary war. Again, that interest comes from the Clingenpeel and Meyerhoeffer families whose ancestors were Hessian soldiers in that same war. Bonnie didn't mention a haircut or a shave today, but I am headed for a haircut from my wife. It doesn't take as long as it used too. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mama Gets a New Pair of Shoes

On Wednesday, December 6, 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm, Windy. Arose at 7:20. Mary made fire. We ate dinner alone today. I indexed and filed filed office mail. Bought Mary a new pair of shoes. I shaved after supper. Pretty moonlight night. Norman fell upon stove and burnt his wrist and little finger. Mary bathed it in soda. Mr. Schick left on #3 for W. Va. on Co. business. Wow. Lots of interesting stuff here. The first thing to appear is just that Bonnie and Mary ate dinner alone on a Wednesday. In past days we have seen so much about the different friends and relatives who stopped by, visited, etc. that it is a little odd not to have that today. He did mention yesterday that Mrs. Raines was away, so maybe that was it. The next item of interest would be the new pair of shoes. I am sure that was a big deal in 1916 and obviously it was as it got mentioned in the diary entry for today. Now, I would never attempt to buy a new pair of shoes for my wife, especially with her not being along which is what it sounds like in this case. Again, this makes me wonder things like what they were like, how much did they cost, and why did Bonnie buy Mary a new pair of shoes? Was it a gift? Was it out of need? I kind of wish I had this diary of Bonnie's long before now and that I had been interested enough in it to either talk to Nanny and Grand-daddy about it themselves or at least my grandmother, or Uncle Norman. This makes me think that maybe some 90 years from now, do you reckon that my great-grandchildren might be sitting around some kind of a computer reading...maybe this...oh my goodness...and wondering about details of my life? My point is that life is short and so we need to talk to the people we love while they are here with us. Tell stories for goodness sake about what things were like "back then". I think the passing on of stories is maybe a lost art form, but something that people are very much interested in. People's craving for stories shows up today in reality TV and celebrity worship and gossip publications. People still love a story. I try and use them in my sermons all the time and people tell me that is one of the things they enjoy. I know I still enjoy stories, hence this blog. I know that just last night, my family stumbled across "old" pictures and videos of when our kids were younger and we all got the biggest kick out of seeing what we looked like, how the house had changed, what we were doing, etc. That's family history, that's stories and I find that rather interesting. Now Bonnie writes something that could not have been better suited to a blog about Family, Faith and Fire Safety (and no I didn't know this was in here when I named the blog). He tells about Norman getting burned on the stove and Mary putting soda on it. Again, Norman is their oldest child and is now somewhere a little over a year old. I bet that hurt and I bet he learned not to do that again. I am also certain that it probably scared Mary to death. Now, as a fire safety educator you know that I have some commentary on this one. Please keep small children away from the stove and oven by at least 3 feet. Remember me telling you about the 3 feet from the heat song? Also, we now know that the best way to treat a burn is with cool water for 3-5 minutes. If the burn seems more severe then call 911 and again please be careful with your home heating this winter. Mr. Schick is I believe a co-worker and apparently got on a train to West Virginia for N & W business. Have a safe trip Mr. Schick.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bill Collectors

On Tuesday, December 5, 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm all day. Arose at 7:20. Mary made a fire. Got to work at 8:30. Wrote up Expense accounts, Board Bills, and I&Co. bill. Went to station to pay for birth of Mrs. Gilliman. Mr. Raitt stopped chewing tobacco. Mary had some trouble with Dr. Payne's collector. I went to Dr. Payne's office about it. Aunt Annah spent night at Mrs. R and will stay while she's away. Sure hasn't been warm here in 2009. Cold and Snowy today which makes it very pretty. Sure would like to know who Mrs. Gilliman is and why Bonnie was paying for her birth and at what station? My curiosity is also aroused at the trouble Nanny (Mary) may have had with Dr. Payne's collector. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Bonnie went to Dr. Payne's office about the matter. I suppose it's a good thing that Mr. Raitt, who I am deducing is a work associate, stopped chewing tobacco. As promised, photos will be coming soon to the blog and I will continue to try and find some more information on the people who are regular mentions in Bonnie's diary. We have already heard about Blaine and Jake on several occasions and with a little help from Uncle Roger, who is Bonnie's son, I have found out that Blaine and Jake are Bonnie's brothers. As they are mentioned again in the diary, I will try and share more of these 2. Uncle Roger does point out a couple of good points. One, he was not born until 1927, so what we are reading about on this blog currently is still 11 years before his time. Also, the family did not own a motor car and so visiting relatives who lived more than walking distance away was difficult and so Roger says he would not have known many of these relatives if they "had passed him on the street". Caleb's basketball team lost 2 games today, but played well. Sermon is done, "Angels and Shepherds" from Luke 2: 8-14. The message of the angels was personal, was praise, and was about peace. "Pray for peace people everywhere..."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy Day

On Monday December 4, 1916, Bonnie wrote: Cold-Cloudy. Arose at 7:30. Made a fire. Worked steadily all day. Capt. Rowan here all day. Mr. Eiffert returned "When a Man's a Man". Wrote up records of service for Relief Department. Wrote letters to Lena and Dr. Hugh J. Hagan. Shaved after supper. Ruined small pictures pasting them in my album. Feeling poorly. Retired at 10:30. I worked steadily all day today too, didn't take a lunch and didn't get to work out. Sounds like Bonnie could have used some lessons in scrap booking. We went as a family tonight to see a play called "Papa's Angels" at the Attic Theater in Fincastle, a touching Christmas story. The whole family is excited about the possibility of the first measurable snow fall of the year tomorrow. I read an interesting article about Christianity today from Esquire magazine. I am not a normal reader of the publication but a well known preacher by the name of Rob Bell posted on his Twitter account and that is how I came across it. It talked about how Christians should be showing more of God's love to the world so that people are fascinated about faith instead of frightened by it. I thought it was well stated and posted it to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but didn't get much response. I also had a great meeting at work today with the director of Camp Roanoke about the possibility having a fire safety related camp for kids there this summer. It sounds promising. Also looking forward to watching the Carson-Newman Eagles play in a football playoff game tomorrow on ESPN. My sermon still needs a little work too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another car

On Sunday, December 3, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Frost, Cold. Arose at 8:00 - Mary made fire. I rolled Norman up to house 10:30. Mrs. R and Aunt Annah went to Leslie's! Ate dinner at Raines and read paper. Went to Roanoke Theater to Elks Memorial Services. Went to office. Went over home and ate supper. Read Washington Post. Came home on car at 9:30. Beautiful moon light night. Retired at 10:30. I don't have a lot of time to comment tonight either, but yesterday Grand-daddy mentioned getting to ride in a motor car. That was a big deal in 1916 and today he mentions coming home by car. I believe that was the street car or trolley car, which was fairly common for Bonnie as he often took that to and from work. I drove about 360 miles today in my motor car, to and from Richmond for a meeting at the state Baptist office. Now Caleb and I are off to the Vinton Christmas parade while the girls are headed to Applebee's for a youth council meeting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Motor Car

On Saturday, December 2, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold and Clear. Arose at 7:30. Made a fire. Rode up town in Peter Guerraut's motor car. Wrote 3 letters for Mr. Turner, Bridge Engr. Went to Bank for Mr. Raitt. Paid Bills. Jess went to dinner with me. We went to show. Mrs. Raines repaired, cut-off, and put up small shelf. I went to St. Chas. Hospital at 6 p.m. Paid Dr. Burks $7.00. Walter Onenchain buried this p.m. Took bath at night. Been a long day and I need to get up early to head to Richmond for a board of trustees meeting for The Religious Herald. Good night.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Suicide by Acid

On Friday, December 1, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold, Windy. Arose at 7:45. Made a fire. Paid some bills. Got my checque cashed. Mary got a ham from Sam Thompson today. Deposited $5.00 in the bank today. Talked to Wooldridge (sp?), Walter Obenchain committed suicide by drinking Carbolic Acid. Paid some bills. Mrs R and Mrs. Leslie and Lavonia Drewry came down today. I shaved after supper. Capt. Rowan came to the office. Wow. The most shocking thing in today's entry is that a friend or acquaintance of Grand-daddy's actually committed suicide by drinking Carbolic acid. How terrible. It makes me think that terrible things happened in 1916 just like they do today. The only difference is that in today's world information travels so much more quickly and there is just SO MUCH information that we hear about a lot more than we used too. Bonnie mentions paying bills twice today, maybe he had a lot of bills, but he did still have $5 to put in the bank. I wonder if Sam Thompson was Sam the butcher? As Grand-daddy records making a fire every morning it reminds me that home heating is a leading cause of fires especially during the months of December, January and February. If you heat with a wood stove or a fire place please be careful. If you use a space heater of any kind be sure and keep combustibles at least 3 feet from the heat! There is a song and a dance that goes along with 3 feet from the heat, but I will spare you the torture.

Monday, November 30, 2009


On Thursday November 30, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm, Sultry. THANKSGIVING DAY Arose at 8 a.m. Oysters for our breakfast. Papa came over at 10 a.m. and he and I went to see Mrs. Mullins. I carried Norman up to Mrs. Raines. Papa and I went to the office wrote a letter to Blaine. Went to see Capt. Rowan. Met Miss Fox, Proffit, Neville. Ate Dinner with Loam at Mama's. Ate supper at Raines'. V.P.I beat V.M.I in football. Really not much has changed it seems like when it come to Thanksgiving. Now I didn't have oysters for breakfast the other day, but if I had it would have been fine. Mostly it seems like Bonnie did lots of eating and visiting with family and friends. He does mention the V.P.I. vs. V.M.I. football game. Today we know VPI as Virginia Tech and this game vs. VMI in the early 1900's was quite the tradition as I understand it. It was held in Roanoke as a kind of neutral site and it was a day full of parades and pageantry and oh yeah a football game. It was THE event in Roanoke on Thanksgiving Day. Another sign of changing times, my daughter needs the computer to finish homework, so this will conclude today's post. We'll start Bonnie's December diary tomorrow. By the way, pictures of some of those mentioned in this blog from 1916 will be coming shortly!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


On Wednesday, November 29, 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm, Cloudy. Arose at 7:20 a.m. Mary made fire. Got to work at 8:40. Very cloudy today. Read paper. Got our checks. I ate supper over home. Jake and I walked over together. I carried Capt. Rowan's check. Mama showed me letter from Blaine about about Ronk's bill. I shaved at night. Read the paper. We retired at 11 p.m. Payday right before Thanksgiving, that's how it worked at the county in 2009 too. Again nothing real remarkable. I still need to find out who some of these people are like Capt. Rowan and Jake. We got a lot done today around the house with Christmas decorating. Small crowd at church today, 1st Sunday of Advent. Remember not to overload electrical outlets with too many Christmas lights or run extension cords under rugs etc.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


On Tuesday, November 28, 1916, Bonnie wrote: Frost, Foggy. Arose at 7:20. Made a fire. Walked up street with Minnie Sullivan and Lilly Bishop. Got to work at 8:40. Busy all day. Mrs. R and Aunt Annah went up to Louis'. Austin is sick. I got papers at Mrs. Raines. Wrote on book for Mr. W. P. Wiltsee, read some in afternoon. I indexed and filed mail in morning. Read after supper. Retired at 10:30. Nothing real remarkable today. Same in 2009. Running errands, some more decorating to come. Sermon tomorrow is "God's Christmas Preparations"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bushman and Bayne

November 27, 1916, a Monday, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Frosty cold. Hot in afternoon. Arose at 7:30 a.m. Mary made a fire. I ate stewed oysters for breakfast. Mr. Schick came back to the office. Francis X. Bushman and Beverley Bayne here today in person showing "Romeo and Juliet". Dr. Lawson examined Mary this morning at Jefferson Hospital. I gave Jake my gray trousers. Wrote Effie. I shaved after supper and played with Norman. Bushman and Bayne left. Bushman and Bayne were pretty big silent movie stars in 1916 and apparently in 1918 it was revealed that they were having a longtime affair. They were traveling together in 1916 in Roanoke, VA. They later had a child together. Bushman was married 4 times. We got up a little after 4 this morning, "Black Friday" and went and did a little shopping, ate breakfast at Famous Anthony's and are home now decorating for Christmas. Along the fire safety line: the Wal-Mart I was in today supposedly locked doors with customers inside which is a fire code violation and the Toys-R-Us in Roanoke was rumored to have been shut down by the city fire marshal due to over crowding.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kids, kids, kids

On Sunday, November 26, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold, Clear. Arose at 8 a.m. Mrs. Raines came down. Also Ethel Wade. Dr. Burks came down to see Mary at 1 p.m. I went by the office. Saw Jess. Got prescription filled and went over home for supper. I rolled Norman up to Mrs. Raines. Papa ate supper at Doris's and went to church. Jake gave me striped tie. Mrs. Raines came down at night. Mama gave me bottle of "bitters". Ok, after visiting with my mother today I have figured out a few other things. Bonnie is about 25 when he is writing this. His oldest son is Norman who is 21 months, his next oldest child is my grandmother, Annah Lee, who is 11 months old at this writing and Mary is pregnant again with "Baby Jane" who is born in February of 1917. It is hard for me to picture Gran-daddy as a 25 year old, as when I knew him he was already rather old. Apparently, Mary may not feel well, or is just getting a check up from the Doctor (tomorrow she also makes a visit to the hospital) and also I think Bonnie is still not feeling well, hence the bottle of "bitters". Today, in 2009 it is Thanksgiving. In 1916, Thanksgiving did not happen until November 30. Apparently in 1916 Thanksgiving was on the last Thursday instead of the 4th Thursday as today. We will just have to wait to see what Bonnie, Mary, Norman, and Annah Lee did on Thanksgiving in 1916. We have enjoyed a wonderful meal today of Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, carrots, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. We are getting ready to take a walk. We are awaiting Amy, Paul, Autumn and Drew's arrival for left overs and then we will get down from the attic Mom's Christmas decorations before we leave.

Books and Movies

I didn't post yesterday as I just ran out of time, so I will try and post 2 diary entries today to stay on schedule with Bonnie. On November 25, 1916 a Saturday, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold, Clear. Arose at 7:30. Made a fire. Got to office at 8:50. After puzzling and worrying about "When a Man's a Man", Mr. Raitt brought it down. I loaned the same book to Mr. Eiffert in Valuation Dept. Made up payrolls. Cut wood after dinner. Mrs. Miure came down at 2:30. I went to St. Chas. Hospital. Also Mr. Raitts went to "American". Alright, there were a couple of puzzling things about today's entry and after some research I have figured one out and one is still a mystery. Interesting that Grand-daddy went to the office on Saturday. The first mystery really had to do with his handwriting. I had a hard time making out the title of the book that he was worried about, but again with Google help I was able to figure that out. Apparently the men of the area had quite the book exchange going. Again, no TV so entertainment after work was reading, movies, visiting, etc. I have noted that the 2 books Bonnie mentions both have had to do with being out west. The western part of the US must have still been somewhat of a mystery and a dream and something to fantasize and write about. Now for the second mystery that remains unsolved. Bonnie says he went to St. Chas. Hospital. I am not aware of any hospital in Roanoke by that name and while he did travel by train a good bit, tomorrow's entry has him back in Roanoke. So, I don't think he would have gone to Missouri and back in the same day. He could have been referring to a movie because in the next line hem mentions that "Also Mr. Raitts went to the 'American'", which was a grand old theater here in Roanoke that has long since been demolished. I may seek some help on these kind of mysteries from either Roger, who is Bonnie's son or from Nelson Harris, a Baptist minister and noted Roanoke historian. Today is Thanksgiving. We are at Mom's house today. Very thankful that she was able to get her heart artery cleared up with a stent! Another post maybe later today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


On November 24 (a Friday), 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Arose at 7:20. Mary made fire. I got to work at 8:35. Corrected specifications for Mr. Wiltsee. Wrote a letter for Mr. Turner. Read "American" Magazine. Talked to Mr. C.M. Steffey on Nelson St. at 5:30. Bought second suit of underwear. Mary and I ate at her Mother's. Came home at 8:30 p.m. I won't elaborate much today as I am tired from Mom's hospital stay, but interesting that Mary made the fire today, I think we will see that they often take turns, maybe a week at a time. Also, that Grand-daddy felt the need to record his underwear purchase! Did he really only have one "suit" before that? Like I said before, times were different and maybe he means something different than what we call underwear today. Maybe it was long-johns. No real world events recorded today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wilson wins

Going ahead and posting tomorrow's post a little early, as Mom is having a heart test tomorrow and I will be with her all day. On Thursday, November 23, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Rain -Foggy. Arose at 7:30. Got to work 8:50. Wrote Descriptions on Lewis Creek Branch. Mr. Schick left for Philadelphia to attend an Alumni dinner. Mr. Hughes sent congratulations to President Wilson on his re-election. I bought a jar of cold (satin) cream. First Application. Mrs. Wingfield was buried today. Rained all day. We all laughed at jokes in book. I am guessing the Lewis Creek Branch has something to do with the railroad and Mr. Schick is one of Bonnie's bosses as he is mentioned quite often in the diary. Here again we have mention of some big world events at the time. I think Grand-daddy is referring to the Mr. Hughes who lost the election to President Wilson, or else it was a Mr. Hughes at the railroad. The election of 1916 is the one where it was VERY close and the newspapers had given the election to Hughes, only to find out in the morning that Wilson had won. If you were to read in Bonnie's diary earlier, you would also read that Bonnie thought Mr. Hughes had won the election too. As a side note, President Woodrow Wilson's birthplace is in Staunton, VA, only about an hour north of Roanoke. And Staunton, is also the home of my mother. I am a little stumped by the cold cream, unsure what that was for. I also don't know who Mrs. Wingfield was or what jokes were laughed at in what book. Random thoughts that will keep me in line with the title of this blog: Family: my interest in my genealogy has led me to discover that my father's line of Clingenpeel's and my mother's line of Meyerhoeffers were both descendant of Hessian soldiers, German soldiers who fought in the American Revolution on the side of the British. I know, wrong side, but apparently they both liked it here, deserted the Hessian army and stayed here in the grand ole USA to raise families. Families which, later in 1967 came together as a Clingenpeel and a Meyerhoeffer and got married. This has produced a great interest on my part in the American Revolution and I have been doing some reading on that history and may write about that at some point. Faith: Great crowd at church today. God is at work in Springwood Baptist Church and I am excited to see where this goes. Springwood sure seems to be a place where people with some very real problems come and meet Jesus and then it is our hope that if we are obedient to God's plan that they will leave from Springwood and spread God's love. Today, there were some new faces, brought by people who have recently met Jesus. That's good stuff. Also, there has been lots of discussion at work recently on matters of faith that I have been able to contribute to and God has made me aware of several others who may be spiritually searching. Fire Safety: The holiday season is upon us and unfortunately it is also prime time for house fires. Please...if you are cooking this week... pay attention and don't leave cooking unattended on the stove! Cooking is the number one cause of house fires in America!

Meet Bonnie

On this day in 1916 in Roanoke, VA B.W. Elmore wrote: Chilly and cloudy. Arose at 7:20 a.m. Made a fire. Got to office at 8:45. Have severe headache today. Emperor Franz Josef of Austria died at age of 86 years today. Went over home at 5:30 and ate supper. Papa returned $4.00 of the $6.00 that I loaned him. I left Mama's house at 8:35. Took box of candy home. Loaned Harry Raines "winning of B.W" Several things I should point out here. I am going to try and write exactly the same way Bonnie did, so some expressions etc. may sound odd and I am working from his hand written diary, which is in a small book and so the handwriting is much different than today's, so I may occasionally mess something up, if so please feel free to point it out to me. Bonnie was a secretary for the old Norfolk and Western and Railroad which was headquartered here in Roanoke. I have been told that it was not uncommon to have male secretaries during those days. He was a very meticulous kind of guy as you can tell by his posting of times and attention to detail, which made him a very good secretary. We will see more about this in coming days. I find his diary to be such a treasure because he writes of simple things like who made the fire today and yet also tells about things going on in Roanoke and the world. In today's post we read about the death of Franz Josef of Austria. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia (my how times have changed since 1916), I was able to tell that Franz Josef played an important part in World History and his death came during World War 1. So, when reading Bonnie's entries, we must keep in the back of our mind that a world war is going on. I also was curious about what was loaned to Harry Raines, who were Bonnie's in laws. Bonnie's initials were B.W. but surely there was not a book about him. Again, after a little research I found that there was a popular book about that time called "The Winning of Barbara Worth" thus the B.W. The book was published in 1911 and a movie was made from the book in the 1920's. So, grand-daddy was a reader and as we shall see he also enjoyed going to the movies. I am guessing that in the 20's he later went to see the movie by the same title as the book. Also, another little tidbit. Bonnie didn't always go straight home after work. Not that I think he was doing anything that he shouldn't have. He usually tells us what he did right here in the diary, like stop by the news stand, see a movie, etc. Times were different then, no TV, and apparently Mary (Bonnie's wife, we called her Nanny) took care of most of the care of the children. Remember Annah Lee is 11 months old and Norman her older brother is still at home too. I just thought it was interesting that on this night, Bonnie went to eat at his parent's house, stayed for 3 hours, and then took a box of candy home. Ooops, stayed too long maybe? Think he knew Mary was going to be a little upset? Also, it just dawned on me that Grand-daddy had a bad headache today and ate cheese last night. My dad, Andy, used to get really bad headaches and the doctor once told him they were cluster headaches and could be caused by eating too much cheese and/or chocolate. Andy loved cheese too. I didn't have any cheese last night, but I did have some chocolate, no headache today though.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Tuesday, November 21, 1916 in Roanoke, VA according to Bonnie Elmore (My great grandfather): Warm and clear; Arose at 7:30, made a fire, got to work at 8:30. Read "American" magazine. Also wrote a letter to Denny Lawlor. Got my haircut. Mrs. R and Aunt Annah and I went down the street at 8 p.m. to Democratic parade. Pretty bum affair, but a very large crowd on the street. I stopped by Joe Milan's and read awhile came home at 9:20, ate cheese. Mrs. R is Mrs. Raines and was Bonnie's mother in law. Aunt Annah is who my grandmother is named after and Annah Lee (my grandmother) was now about 11 months old. Joe Milan's is I think a news stand and tobacco shop that used to be in Roanoke. I like to eat cheese too. I am guessing there are many things that get handed down from generation to generation. So far today, I have been to church and prayer walked the church with the deacons, got gas in the car, started a load of laundry and now we are off to pick up Caleb from basketball practice and help my mother with some chores at her house. Gospel sing later tonight at church as a fund raiser for a church member who has cancer. Possibly more about that later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Faith, Family, and Fire Safety

This is my very first blog post, so we will see how this goes. Some posts may seem to be random, but I hope to focus on matters of faith, family, and fire safety and some history discussions too. I have my great grand-father's daily diary from the year that my grandmother was born. I hope to share some of his thoughts. And, it is his journal and the realization that lots of my ancestors kept a daily diary that have led to me to start this blog. Stay tuned