‘The sun is shining’: Final words from Fannie Destin’s diary
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth and final article from the diary of Fannie Destin, a daughter of Leonard Destin, who is regarded as the founder and namesake of Destin. Fannie was 11 at the time of this diary. Read previous diary entries by clicking on the link at the side of this page.
7/1/1881 — Very nice day. Wind blowing from the north. Felt sick before breakfast, but I drank some coffee then felt good. Today Mother and Hattie are washing our clothes. Leonard went over to the island to get some wood. Father is at the back garden. I do not know what he is doing. George not back. Hope he’ll be in tonight. Glad to see him. Read lesson. Began to rain very hard. Wind from the northeast.
7/2/1881 — Nice morning. Father not fishing. Read my lesson. Mother washing clothes. Hattie helping Priss. Father is opening barrels and I don’t know where Leonard is. Brother George not home yet. I went in the large house and wrote my composition. After dinner read a little. It is cloudy, and there is no wind at all. Wish it would rain. We have plenty of figs.
7/3/1881 — Pleasant morning. Mother, Andrew, Alfred, Leonard and myself went to the back garden and caught fish on a hook. Hattie cutting up corn to cook for dinner. Sun is shining. Yesterday evening we went in bathing. I enjoyed it very much. We all ate dinner. Now I’m reading. I ate some figs and watermelon. It’s raining a little but not much. About dark, Mother and the crew went to the back garden to fish again.
Pulling Up Grass
7/4/1881 — It’s sunny with a shower. Wind is from the north. After breakfast did my lesson for Aunt Ellen. She said I wrote a very nice composition. Mother, Priss and Hattie are getting dinner. George in from Pensacola. We had chicken, greens and other things for dinner. It’s a fine day. Read lesson to Aunt Ellen. Mother and Hattie sewing. Alfred and Andrew pulling up grass. Father reading.
7/5/1881 — Very nice day. After breakfast we did lessons then helped Priss get dinner. Still warm weather. Not much rain. Hope it gets cooler. Father fishing so George can go to Pensacola. Today Aunt Ellen washed clothes. This afternoon my sister Jane who I love very much came to see us. How glad I am to see her.
7/6/1881 — Sun is shining. Wind blowing softly from the north. Did my lesson. It’s warm weather. Helped Priss with dinner. Having plenty of figs but mulberries nearly gone. I will be glad when the peaches are ripe for I like them. They’ve very nice when cooked. Hattie has beautiful flowers — they are in bloom. Read lesson. Wind is quite strong from the west. George is not back from Pensacola yet.
7/7/1881— Very nice morning. I read my lesson to Uncle Elias then helped Priss. When we are getting dinner a large schooner came to the back beach landing and anchored. When cooler they came walking up to our house. I know some of them. Late in the afternoon they said they would go to their boat and eat supper. Then they came up and played the fiddle for a dance. Enjoyed it so much. Wind from the west.
7/8/1881 — Sun shining brightly. Wind from the north. Read my lesson to Uncle Elias then helped Priss. My sister Jane is with us yet. Mr. Woodward, her husband, is at Pensacola. Brother George came in last night. Very glad to see him. Wind from the north yet. Green corn is all gone I am sorry to say. Read lesson to Uncle Elias. Wind is blowing from the west quite strong.
7/9/1881 — Very nice morning. Read to Uncle Elias. I helped Priss. Wind is blowing softly from the west. It has not rained in some time. I wish it would. All the vegetables might die. Oh, how happy I am today. It’s Saturday and tomorrow is Sunday (no lessons). My sister Jane has two children, Eddy and Freddy. They’re here too and good children. After dinner read to Aunt Ellen. Wind is blowing quite strong. Sun is shining bright. We need rain.
7/10/1881 — Wind is from the north. After breakfast came in large house and read to myself. Very pleasant day. Sun shining brightly. Went and sat in shade of the large fig tree and marked on my slate. Then I played awhile with my brothers and nephews while Mother, Hattie and sister got dinner. Having plenty of figs to cook and eat. Then everyone, Leonard and a man named Charley and myself went over to the island. I saw many sand crabs and caught some. Brought them home but one bit me, and it hurt very much. Mother helped George cook some fish for supper.
7/11/1881 — This morning is very nice. Read lesson to Uncle Elias. He said I read very well. This morning I wrote about a big dance. It’s still warm. So warm yesterday. I went in and helped Priss. Mr. Woodward came from Pensacola. Very hard rain. Mr. Woodward left with his wife and children. They live about 75 miles from here. I wish they lived closer. The peaches are beginning to get ripe. Plenty of figs and watermelon. Read to Uncle Elias. George went to the post office. He only got papers. Wind is from the west.
7/12/1881 — Very nice morning. Father is fishing Wind is from the north. Read to Uncle Elias. Now studying geography. Got my lesson. Sun is not shining. But it is still too warm. I’d rather it be raining. Afraid all vegetables will die if it does not rain soon. Read to Uncle Elias. Wind is from the west.
7/13/1881 — The sun is shining. Wind from the north. But before long it turned cloudy. Then it rained very hard indeed and wind was from the west. Did my lessons and helped Priss. Read to Uncle Elias. We have plenty of figs and watermelons. It’s now cloudy (but) probably no more rain today. We have very few mulberries left. I’m getting tired of figs. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of peaches. Read to Uncle Elias. Wind is from the west.
7/14/1881 — Sun is shining. Wind was from the north. Read to Uncle Elias then helped Priss. I wish for cool weather again. Hattie has some flowers called zinnas. Priss cooks figs almost every day. After dinner I came in and read my lesson to Uncle Elias. Wind is from the west.
7/15/1881 — Very nice morning. Wind is from the west. Uncle Elias said I get my lessons well every day. We’re having warm weather. I wish it would rain and make it cooler. The mulberries are all gone, but we still have plenty of figs. I get my grammar lessons. Aunt Ellen is very kind to me. Wind blowing quite strong from the west.
Marlene Womack is a local historian and author living in Panama City. She writes a weekly column for the Panama City News Herald about the history of the Florida Panhandle.