From Rulaf Fuller's Diary
As Rulaf Fuller owned and operated his Union City Grocery store on South Main Street, he also wrote about his daily life in his diary. About one hundred years later, his descendants, who now operated Young Hardware Store, found the diary.
Rulaf kept a running commentary about the piano and the musical lives of his children in his 1883 diary. The handwriting is faded, but his love of music and the pride he takes in his children's musical lives are as alive as the day he wrote them.
On September 18, 1883, Rulaf notes that Charles Church came in to see him about a piano and the next day Mr. Church returned. On Monday, September 24, Rulaf had decided for certain. He says that Mr. Church came up and "we ordered a piano for him." When Belle Fuller played and sang for her family on Columbus Day, Rulaf noted that "she is a splendid player. It made me feel good."
Then the next day Belle got sick and in the days that followed, she was so ill that Dr. Sherwood, the family physician, was in constant attendance. By the end of October, Rulaf and his wife Alduretta, had to have Belle's hair cut off and hire a woman to come in and help take care of her.
Tuesday, November 6, 1883, was an especially frightening day for Rulaf. He writes that "Belle is so bad Dr. Sherwood, Dr. Bonsteel, Dr. Abby was in most all day."
Many of the friends and neighbors of the Fullers came int o see Belle too, including Mrs. Treat, Mrs. Sproul, Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Buth, Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Church.
During the first few weeks in November, 1883, Belle's condition rose and fell like the movements of a symphony. Rulaf says on Friday, November 9 that "I am beginning to feel the effects of Belle's sickness." The next day he notes that Alduretta was feeling the same way."She has been up more of less every night and day since Belle was taken sick."
A tiny grace note of hope sounds in Rulaf's entry of Wednesday November 12. He reports that Belle sat up some "and played a little on the piano today."
Belle celebrated her 15th birthday on Tuesday, November 20, 1883. Rulaf and Alduretta gave her a pair of bracelets and a plastic pocket book and Mrs. Ackerman gave her a gold pen and pencil holders. Mrs. Thompson gave her a hand glass. But most important to Rulaf, Belle had improved so much that by the following Wednesday she sat up, and she and Alice "played on the piano some for the first time since she had been taken ill."
Rulaf's diary for 1884 also reveals the importance of music in the Fuller household. Rulaf says that on April 16, 1884 that "we had our piano tuned today." On May 7 and 10 Anna Conway and the Daemon family came and played for him and on June 3, the music teacher came.
A study of Rulaf's list of expenses also shows that music appreciation did not come cheaply even in 1884. Belle and Clara's music lesson usuallyran about 50 cents apiece and a sheet of music cost 25 cents. Tuning the piano cost $2.50 and Willie's music lessons cost $1.00. It also cost a dollar to send Belle to the singing school.
But Rulaf reports the expenses matter of factly. His appreciation of music and pride in his children are evident when he writes, "Belle is gaining and she is a splendid player. It made me feel good."