[...the continuing 1941 diary of Sicily Island, Louisiana native, Bea Bryan Denham. References to WWII are in red.]
October 16, Thursday
Rain and cloudy all day.
Today I cleaned up until twelve o’clock, washed, cleaned everything except the floor. Daisy and Edna were going to town and asked me to go, so I did. Daisy and I decided to fix an anniversary supper on the 30th for Edna and her husband. Had a letter from Mamma, she enclosed one from Minnie Lea. Mamma wrote us a nice long one. I hope they are all right, but I can’t help feeling uneasy and wishing I could see them. They’re so good and so very dear to me.
October 17, Friday
Raw and rainy, better in the afternoon.
Had a long letter from Margaret, said Cecil was still at Camp Polk. She is getting along nicely. I do hope she has twins. I had a horrible dream last night, all mixed up with Earl and C.L. I bought tar paper to fix up the tent with, and, I hope, enough groceries to last a week.
It doesn’t seem possible we could spend as much as we do with as little to show for it. This is the 4th time we have put $40 in the bank, and we’ve spent $40 every week. No clothes, very little besides actual expenses. Went to town, the Whittons were all over tonight for a little while, playing dominoes. Germany torpedoed a U.S. destroyer today. We are in.
October 18, Saturday
Today we cleaned most of the day, trying to get everything ship shape in case Kidd and Edward come. I hope they will bring Mamma and Joe. We scrubbed the floor and fixed up everything. Charlie drinks coffee with Earl most every evening, and after he left and we had supper Earl decided to put the roofing around to stop leaks and cold. Walter and Edna came and helped us, and Walter came back and played dominoes.
October 19, Sunday
Hot – cool at night.
I’ve taken a bad cold and after we cleaned up I went back to bed and read Time. Jo Anne has been at a loss all day for something to do, she is tired of reading, and there isn’t anyone to play with. It worries me. I guess I should have taken her to Sunday School, but I really felt badly all day. Earl felt badly, too, and we didn’t go to church. Mrs. Boyett brought Jo Anne some sugar cane and peanuts.
October 20, Monday
Same old round and no mail. Went to town with the Mrs. Whittons. Mrs. Boyett dressed a chicken for me. I was awfully glad to get it but ashamed for her to fix it for me. I made an appointment with the dentist for Earl, he’s been feeling so bum, and thinks it might be his teeth. The dentist pulled one, told him to come back next week. After he got through there we went to see “Underground”, a picture based supposedly on revolt in Germany. If true, it must be awful to live there.
October 22, Wednesday
Earl hasn’t felt very well since he came over here, I’m worried about him. I wish he would see a doctor. His face is swelled today, and has hurt a good bit. Mrs. Boyett and I went to town, and I washed and ironed as usual. Letters from Mamma, Kidd, Julia and a card from Minnie Lea. I wrote Mamma, Kidd, and Dabbs. Earl wants Jo Anne and me to go home Saturday morning, so I guess we will, and get what things we need from there. We read the new Post, until Earl was sleepy and wanted to go to bed. I wish he would get to feeling right again.
October 23, Thursday
Letter from Velma, she is awfully worried about Fery, who is to have an operation this week. She said they might come home this Sunday, guess we will see them if we go home. I’ve been trying to get all the things out to take home, making a list of things to bring back. And trying to leave enough here so Earl will have plenty. I’ve washed all the clothes and ironed them, but I have to get the things from the laundry. They went in our car today, but the Whittons asked me to go to town. I didn’t go, though, didn’t need anything.
Groceries 10/17 – 10/24 $14.85
October 24, Friday
Letters from Inez, Kidd, Minnie Lea and Velma. Inez said she was coming to see me, and I’m so anxious to see her! Guess we will leave early in the morning. Went to town, and got most everything done. Mrs. Boyett came over for a while. When Earl came we took Walter and Edna after their car, and Daisy and Charlie came and talked a while. We put our money in the bank and went to see “Manpower”. Earl made a list he wants me to get at home for him. I’m tired tonight. Bought a Time but never did get to read any of it.
October 25, Saturday
Jo Anne and I left at 7:25, after we got everything cleaned up. At 10:45 we were in Sicily Island, 144 miles. We stopped at Lil’s, but only lost about 10 minutes, she wasn’t there. Inez hasn’t been here, I’m so disappointed. We ate dinner at Mamma’s and I went to the shop, cleaned up and posted. Kidd and Edward came, and we all came back to Mamma’s. Westbrook came by, too, and after supper we went to Margaret’s, but she wasn’t at home, so we stopped and talked to Mrs. Dewitt awhile. Mamma has practically made Jo Anne a dress this afternoon. I made out bills tonight. I surely do miss Earl. I know he wanted to come home, too.
October 26, Sunday
Cooler, rain in the afternoon.
Mamma spent the morning making Earl a cake, and doing the rest of the machine stitching on Jo Anne’s dress, because she said the ox was in the ditch. We went to the shop and visited with Margaret and Cecil, went to our house, but it looks so lonesome and neglected it makes me sick. We ate dinner at Mamma’s, packed up, and left at 1:45, stopped 30 minutes at Lil’s and got back to Minden at 5:45. Earl had eaten supper with the Whittons, Edna was sick. We went over there and talked awhile, got everything put away enough to put down the beds. I’ll have a job with it all tomorrow.
October 27, Monday
Turning much cooler.
I washed but didn’t get to iron, and Mrs. Boyett and the two Mrs. Whittons went to town with me. I paid the rent, and made arrangements for gas to be installed. We went to see “Our Wife”, which was rather entertaining, hurried home to hear Pres. Roosevelt. It certainly does bring us face to face with facts to hear him talk and to realize that we are certainly going to be fighting very soon. Moscow is bound to fall, and it looks like Hitler will acquire world domination much sooner than anybody could have expected unless we decide to go all out for his defeat, and quit this everlasting stalling.
October 28, Tuesday
Cold, about 50o.
It has been so uncomfortable in this tent today. I have done little except try to stay warm. I read Time and cleaned and cooked, went over and drank coffee with Mrs. Boyett, put the sleeves in Jo Anne’s dress. The gas man came and brought the meter, but so far we haven’t got it hooked up. Earl got his boots tonight, and we read “Prescription for Murder.” No mail. I wrote Mamma, Velma, and ordered the things from Montgomery Ward, some velveteen for a jacket for Jo Anne, cloth for that comfort, and some for Mamma’s living room curtains.
October 29, Wednesday
Cold but warmer.
We have about completed plans for the supper tomorrow night, have our place cards, napkins, table decorations, the menu about worked about worked out. I wrote to Kidd, Minnie Lea, Inez, and Marcia today, and have been studying Montgomery Ward for some winter wearing apparel. The man still didn’t hook up our gas today, and Walter came over, wants us to use the same meter because they don’t know when they will be able to get one. Earl went to the dentist and got three fillings, now he’s got his teeth all in good shape. Wish I was sure mine were as good. We finished the “Prescription for Murder” story in the Post.
October 30, Thursday
Raining and much warmer.
The Whittons didn’t work, so we postponed our supper. Its been an awfully nasty day. I suppose this is intended to be written in diaries, but this morning we were drinking our coffee together, Earl still in bed, when he said, “Sugar, I’m thinking you are going to be a pretty old lady, too.” Now what nicer compliment could a seventeen-year-married wife ask from her husband? Letter from Velma. I’m still pouring over the catalogs. Went to see “That Hamilton Woman,” and two cops stopped us, told Earl he was drunk, that he was staggering. I guess his boots being new and it raining and muddy he must have slipped. We had a time convincing them, and then got a very poor apology.
October 31, Friday
Cold and rainy
I went to town with Mr. Boyett and her husband, we got groceries and clothes for Marie. Edna and Daisy got back, so we all had supper together, not all we had planned, but we had the cake and at any rate it did very well. Earl, Jo Anne and I went to the Bank, barber shop, etc. I’ve been trying to decide on what to buy to keep us all warm, I guess I’ll order it, seems to be a pretty good selection, and I can’t find anything in Shreveport when I go. Besides, it’s easier to buy like this if you can get what you want. I wrote to Mamma but haven’t mailed the letter yet. I wish we’d get a little mail, did get a letter from Velma yesterday, she’s still worried about Fery.
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