[...the continuing 1941 diary of Sicily Island, Louisiana native, Bea Bryan Denham. References to WWII are in red.]
April 16, Wednesday
Cloudy, but warm. Sun part of the afternoon.
I finished mopping and waxing all the floors, and worked in the yard all day. Got the roses finished up and mowed, raked etc., it needed a second mowing, but I could not make it. Had to leave the hedge, too. I’m surely tired tonight. I wrote Earl a long letter about my trip yesterday, and told him we saw Mrs. Peale, too. I also planned to go back on Friday and wrote Lora to be here at two. Dobbs has the car about ready, but I’m dreading tomorrow, for I’ve got to go to the dentist. Joe has our garden looking awfully nice. If I can, I want to spray our roses and japonicas, they need it badly.
April 17, Thursday
Cool, partly cloudy.
This page of teeth (She wrote her diary in a medical journal and the opposite page was a diagram of teeth) was a fitting coincidence. I’ve been in the dentist’s office all day, and feel perfectly awful tonight. Six cavities and two extractions, and I’m afraid it’s just a beginning. How I dreaded it and with due cause! I guess if I don’t hear from Earl I’ll go back tomorrow afternoon. Love and Snow want to go back, and I guess Lora will. I hope we will stay there this weekend, I don’t feel like it’s justifiable to rush back the next day. Yugo-Slavia’s resistance collapsed today, and the Greek-British line broke in the middle. It certainly seems hopeless. London suffered her worst attack last night.
April 18, Friday
Threatening but no rain.
I posted at the shop, gathered flowers to bring from home, hemmed some of Jo Anne’s too-short dresses. Lora came, and I picked up Love and Snow, and paid the car bill then left. We had a good trip, three hours from Harrisonburg, where I paid taxes. Forgot Kidd’s lessons and the radio. I was awfully glad to see Earl, they are all discussing an hour cut, which will take about $25.00 from our check. And we did want to get rich so fast. Letter from Faye when I got here.
April 19, Saturday
Cloudy, rain in late afternoon.
Wrote Jo Anne, Minnie Lea, Velma and Faye. That just about consumed a day. We bought groceries this morning. Mrs. Talbot lost three trailers today. When Earl and Cecil came in we had supper and went to town, they deposited their checks, and that left us with about enough money to run the coming week, without checking out any. Earl paid his Union dues, – $ 4.00, and that is finished with. I wish we had some idea about how long this job will last, so we could judge how to wisely spend our money. This car is worse than it ever was, I guess we are going to have to buy a motor.
April 20, Sunday
Sunny but cool
We slept late this morning, got up at nine, and Earl helped Cecil level his trailer. I read “Time” and we went to dinner uptown. Cecil went to a Union meeting and Earl and I went over to see Mrs. Bell about this garage we are living in. They seemed very nice, we paid them $5.00 for it until the 15th of May, and after that we have to deal with Jake Dampf. Perhaps we will be able to see further by then. Mrs. Dewitt and Sprague came about 2 pm and we rode around the Reservation. After supper we went to see “Flight Command.” I wrote Jo Anne.
April 21, Monday
Cloudy raw and windy
I should have accomplished a lot today, but I did very little, read some and cut my chambray dress. We went to town, but only to buy groceries. Earl was almost frozen when he got home, he didn’t have on enough clothes. After supper we went out to the Union office, but it was closed, and we came back to La. Tire Co., found Mayo there, Earl talked around his giving me a job, but got nowhere. We read “Murder of the Fifth Columnist” for a while. I wrote Jo Anne, Mrs. Peck, and Florelle and Inez.
April 22, Tuesday
Cloudy, warmer rainy.
Kidd sent the book, so I got up three lessons today. And that took practically all day. I wrote Jo Anne and a note to Kidd. We went to town, Earl got his check for last week, because they terminated him to change his button. He scared me to death when he gave me his termination papers, I thought he was fired for good. This makes $266.79 we have in the bank, but it will take $16.79 for us to live on the rest of this week and next. And there aren’t any more $95 pay days. It will stack up a lot more slowly. We have got to have a few more clothes, too. I want to send Minnie Lea a box.
April 23, Wednesday
Cloudy and cold, rain
I finished all the lessons I had but have done little else. Wrote Jo Anne, and sent Kidd the first two I got up. I cleaned up good, but that only takes fifteen minutes altogether. Sometimes Earl and Cecil say this job will only last about a month longer. I don’t suppose Jo Anne will get to come and stay at all, but she won’t care as long as we are together, whether to home or here. She says Bob left Mr. Coles and she’s worried about him. So am I. I hope nothing has happened to him. He’s so pretty.
April 24, Thursday
Dreary and dull, but no rain.
Margaret went home again this morning. I had a lonesome letter from Jo Anne, bless her heart! How glad I’ll be when we can keep her with us. The days are so long. I sewed on my dress, and fixed hers with the chickens on it. Went to Mrs. Boyett’s and did the stitching. After supper we went to town and got groceries, mailed a letter to Jo Anne, and we went to see “Honeymoon for Three,” but where it got its name was a mystery to me. We got to bed about ten. I wanted to finish reading the Post story, but Earl is shaving so we will read it tomorrow night.
April 25, Friday
Sunny and warm, a welcome change
Letter from Jo Anne. I finished my dress, sewed all day over to Mrs. Boyett’s. Ate dinner with them. I haven’t got the fastenings on the blouse. Cecil got some of his teeth filled, and Earl got initiated into the Union, and paid dues through May, but they told him he’d have to pay 2% on all he’s made since he started work. Such graft! We got groceries and came on home, saw Albert Earl on the street. I wrote Minnie Lea. The English are evacuating Greece, there is no good news anywhere anymore, — they just don’t seem able to beat the Germans. Undoubtedly they haven’t the necessary supplies to fight. http://worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com/2011/04/day-603-april-25-1941-anzac-day.html
April 26, Saturday
Dreary morning, sunny and warm afternoon
I washed and ironed the things I had dirty, and made buttonholes and sewed on buttons for my blouses. Mrs. Boyett came over and said they were going home, too. I sat with her awhile hemmed her dress for her. Letter from Jo Anne. I had supper ready when Earl and Cecil came, and we left at 5:30, had all the dishes put away. Got home about 10:00. Earl stopped and got a hair cut, so we had a pretty nice visit with Jo Anne, Mamma and Joe before going to bed.
April 27, Sunday
Cloudy, and cool. Light sprinkle.
Carter and Eula May were at home when we got here, we all had breakfast, and went to the shop. After coffee we went to our house for awhile. Looked at the yard and garden, and I swept the dust off the porch. I made out bills and posted, and after dinner Earl went back to the shop to check up on the car, and Edward, Kidd, Mamma, Jo Anne and I rode down in the swamp hunting Hannah. Jo Anne cried when we left. I felt terribly like it myself, but somebody has to keep a level head. Virginia Quarterly Review returned “Henry,” too. We got to Leesville about 8, but it was after nine before we got supper and straightened up.
April 28, Monday
Sunny and cool. Rain late in the afternoon.
I scrubbed the stove and cabinet top in the trailer today, and had my bath early. We went to town at nine o’clock. I mailed my letter to Jo Anne, and when we got back I went to see Mrs. Ball, and found they are moving tomorrow. We got a ticket for parking wrong, got to go to court at 1:30 tomorrow.
John came home with Earl and Cecil, and we went out to a place to look for a tent. Found one, but I don’t know whether we will buy it or not. It’s twenty-five dollars. We may all move out near the Reservation [Camp Polk], if we do buy it. Oh, there isn’t a thing good in war news. I believe England is going under.
April 29, Tuesday
Dull and cool, rain in the afternoon.
Letters from Jo Anne and Florelle. I went to court with my ticket and the man cancelled it, without asking even a question. We went out to the other trailer camp, and decided on a place to put the tent then came back and bought it. It is really too small, but we had to have something we could move about. I’ve to make out lists of groceries and other things we must have, and get settled about it all. And to go out there we are going to have to take typhoid shots or I’d be scared to live there. It’s a regular “Grapes of Wrath” place and I’m not sure I like it at all.
April 30, Wednesday
Cloudy and cool, no rain
No letters today, wrote Jo Anne and Florelle. Went to the camp and saw to the setting up of the tent and came back, bought groceries, and went to ask the health department if Peterson’s camp was clean, etc. They said it was a good clean camp so I guess we will move Saturday if we don’t go home, or Monday if we do.
Earl says a 40 hour week is here, they won’t get to work even this Saturday. If we can, we want to get straight on his day off. Poor England, to me it looks like certain defeat. Germany seems preparing for invasion by demolishing all the ports. We heard Roosevelt tonight, opening the sale of Defense stamps and bonds.