[...the continuing 1941 diary of Sicily Island, Louisiana native, Bea Bryan Denham. References to WWII are in red.]
September 1, Monday
We got up at 4 this morning, got ready by five, and went to Mildred’s. There were fifty six at the picnic, and we had a very nice time. Mr. Tucker didn’t know any more about a job than he had known though, and we are no closer to work than before. Thank goodness the car is paid for though, which makes everything much easier than it was. So many people were at the picnic – Tuckers, Sid and Buck Smiths, Demaggios, Ed Smith and Ed Guss, Sonny Smiths, Sumners, John Crawford, Yelvie Bondurant, Joe Enright, Leo Hardin, Carter, Red Francis, Owens and Irma’s and Ethel’s families, Coney’s, Orrey’s, another of Tucker’s sisters, Albritton.
September 2, Tuesday
I cleaned the house, Jo Anne did the dishes and we had just finished bathing when Mrs. Peck came. She brought me a book to read and I sent Barbara Jane four, she’s sprained her ankle. We went to Mamma’s, and stayed awhile. Jo Anne had a crying spell because she wants to be grown, and she is still a child. We had a long talk, but I don’t feel like I did her much good. She feels like I can’t understand and that discounts anything I might say. Hubert Garner was here for coffee. We read all the continued stories in the Post and Country Gentlemen.
September 3, Wednesday
Rain, much cooler
Patsy spent the day with Jo Anne. I finished the Post, and went to Mamma’s. Two years ago today the war began; it has now completely enveloped Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. And with the passage of the new tax bill, there will be left no American who does not feel its scourge. What foods, medical care, even luxuries to make life more pleasant, could have been furnished the world’s millions with the billions which have been squandered on this awful denizon (?) of War!
September 4, Thursday
Kidd came before we finished cleaning up, asked us to supper tomorrow night for Edward’s and Mamma’s birthdays. Also said Nita is coming Saturday, and asked us to go to Alexandria with her to meet Nita.
Earl worked on Mamma’s pump, but didn’t do it any good. Joe is turning corn, and was completely exhausted when he came in. I read Time today, and it must be simply awful in France, where there is no unity, and even one’s own family may be in favor of Vichy France, or outright German collaboration.
September 5, Friday
Hot and clear
Joe had cramps all night, didn’t get up til noon, but he felt well enough to go with us to Kidd’s, for Mamma’s and Edward’s birthday supper. We enjoyed it, and it was grand to celebrate it. We got the car note back from Roland, have to change some of it and go to Monroe, and then to Shreveport, I guess. Earl is talking of going on to Texarkana, Monday. Oh, how I wish he could get something else good to do. We are going with Kidd to Alex tomorrow to Meet Anita, and Mrs. Aplin is to go, too. I wish Love would come back, and would help Mamma with Jo Anne when we leave but there’s no telling how long she will stay in Leesville.
September 6, Saturday
Letter from Florelle. Earl took us to Harrisonburg and we left to go to Alex about 9:30. After dinner we window shopped, and we got Edward and Earl a letter opener, one a sword, the other a rifle with bayonet. Also got two patterns, a book “Bambi,” and pair of shoes for Jo Anne, and a piece of punt for Mamma. Anita has grown awfully tall, and is very thin. Myrtle didn’t meet her at all, didn’t see her. I don’t understand how a mother can so neglect her own child, the kid has not clothes, their shoes are too little, and she looks really badly, but Myrtle hasn’t seen her since March, not even written to them.
September 7, Sunday
Earl worked all day, Alvin made him mad this morning, and he said he was going to straighten up. This water question once and for all, so Alvin came over and we finally threshed it out, he paid his interest in it for the eleven years’ water bill he owed. Kidd, Nita and Edward were at Mamma’s for dinner, and Jo Anne and I went over there and we stayed until nearly dark, then I came home and pressed what clothes we had that needed it, so we could go to Shreveport with Earl tomorrow. We took Bep and Tuffy to Mamma’s and ate supper there, came home about nine and I packed our suit cases, but Earl and Jo Anne both went to sleep before I could get through.
September 8, Monday
We left home around six, had to wait about an hour to see Mrs. Woods, get our papers straightened up, and Earl decided it would be better to have our speedometer fixed here in Monroe, because we’d have to wait somewhere anyhow. Met Ernest Kiper and talked to him awhile. We ate dinner in Ruston, went on to Shreveport, and back to Roy’s, where we spent the night. The army was passing right in front of the house, and we sat up til one o’clock watching them. There were jeeps, armored trucks, a sort of cross between a truck and a tank, and several sizes of tanks, motorcycles, ambulances, wreckers, all types of armored equipment, moving south for a battle with the Blues: we saw soldiers constantly, it was all most interesting. My greatest consolation was that so far, it’s all sham except the training.
September 9, Tuesday
We came to Carter’s for breakfast, Earl went in at the plant and saw all the Camp Polk bunch, then we went back to the Union office and spent the day. Clark never did come in. Earl feels terribly badly because they haven‘t given him work, it’s awfully discouraging. It’s depressing to go to the Union office, see all those men sitting helplessly around, waiting and wishing to go to work, and can’t even see the man to get “no,” much less “yes.” We brought a little boy (man) home from the office who is broke, says he’s been there six weeks, and he’s more despondent than Earl. We will stay at the Mason’s tonight.
September 10, Wednesday
We sat all day at the Union office waiting for Clark, I read the two continued Post stories to Earl and Jo Ann, crocheted, and we killed time every way we knew and were so very discouraged after talking to Clark late in the afternoon, but we were so persistent that he finally have him an order out as a mill wright. Jack Hale told Clark so many nice things about Earl Clark couldn’t very well not send him out. He got his August union stamp, too, and we brought the little Martin boy back out with us, I’m sure he’s broke, and still not on. I hope he gets on soon, there’s nothing any more wearing than this waiting.
September 11, Thursday
I wrote Mamma and Pop this morning, it’s so cool it’s uncomfortable. Earl left at seven. When he came in about 4:45, he said he’s got along nicely, made 5 hours today. I think it’s decided that Jo Anne and I go home in the morning and move, be back Sunday morning. We listened to Roosevelt’s speech tonight, and we are undoubtedly quite as near to war as I expected that we were. We went to town and bought groceries, something to fix lunch with, took Lawson Mason and the two little girls. The day wasn’t as long as I expected it to be, I’ve read, slept and crocheted some more.
September 12, Friday
Jo Anne and I left at 7:15, after Earl had gone to work, and made pretty good time. Looked at the trailer camp we expect to move into and got mixed up in army maneuvers, too. Stopped at Lil’s about an hour, and got home at 12:05. Found we’d just missed Flossie, Herbert, and Mrs. Hobgood. Ate dinner at Mamma’s and came home to pack up. I got a lot done, but I’m so tired. Delita and Kidd came by for awhile. I got all our dirty clothes washed, and worked til after nine marking off the wool comfort Mamma is making for us. She gave it to us Christmas, and it is surely pretty.
September 13, Saturday
I pressed all we had washed yesterday, went to Mamma’s and packed all day. Kidd and Edward came right after dinner, and Edward and Joe loaded the trailer. Pop and Julia brought us coffee, Margaret came for a little while. Cecil and John got terminated Monday, rehired Thursday, after they had moved home. We decided to leave about seven tonight, and came by Jena, Winnfield and Ringgold. It was a real trip, trailer driving was new to me, but we made it all right. I don’t know what I’d have done without Edward. We got to Mason’s about one o’clock, to find Earl has to work tomorrow.
September 14, Sunday
Cloudy and warm
Edward and Mr. Mason have certainly worked today. They got the tent up and the top on by noon, screen and all. Then Edward hung the door, and put up two of my shelves, we hung the curtains, and moved everything in. It’s still pretty well messed up, but I guess I’ll be several days straightening up. Earl put the wire in as we could get lights. We ate supper after Mrs. Walter Whitton left, up town, and hunted something to fix lunch with. I am certainly ready for bed this night, and awfully glad to get settled once more with Earl making some money.
September 15, Monday
Cool and cloudy, shower at night
I’ve felt so tired today I’ve accomplished very little, but did get the things put out of sight, and the clothes washed. I mopped the floor, and cooked supper, too, besides writing to Mamma, Pop, Minnie Lea, Velma, Faye and the Commercial Security Company. There is a fair little store with meat counter and milk across the street, which is a good thing, since Earl has to take the car. We went to town and got a few little things we needed, and came home too late to do anything. Sat in front of Whitton’s trailer and talked a little while, but I’m glad to get to bed, I’m so worn out.
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