The forthcoming series of blog entries will be from a journal written by my second cousin, Beatrice Bryan Denham. She and her husband Earl lived in Sicily Island, LA at the time. Earl managed a garage and she kept the books. She wrote about everyday events and characters that are interwoven with news from around the world at a time fraught with fears and worries, but at a time abundant in the simple pleasures of family and good friends. References to WWII are in red.]
January 1, Wednesday Warm, fitfully sunny.
Nelson and Faye [Earl’s brother-in-law and sister] left at noon today. I stayed at the shop while Earl hunted this morning, but they had no luck. Went to Mamma’s in the afternoon. She is getting no better of her cold than I of mine. Cecil [Earl’s father] came by, said we should come to work, it was worth all it was supposed to be. Herbert Sorey came by late in the afternoon and I got to thinking of what a rascal Uncle Ural is. What a thought to begin the New Year with!
January 2, Thursday Warm, sunny
Old man Squyres died today. I got up at one last night. I couldn’t sleep for this cold, and thinking about Uncle Ural, and coughing, and wrote the story of Aunt Minnie’s Life. I lived again all those deadening, heart-breaking months when she slowly died, and he callously forgot her. I’ve wondered ever since if it is right to ask God for favors. It was wrong in that case. When He spared her a quick death then, while she was fairly happy, we watched her have to spread dying over 2 ½ years, live through Prenties’ ignominous death, killed by a train while drunk; Pauline’s elopement; constant and heartless neglect by Uncle Ural; lack of funds for necessities; and most pitiful,– a desire to make a decent disposal of her property, and not being able to talk or write, or, for the last six months, to see, and being utterly helpless. I try to allow myself such thoughts, it’s all past and gone, and can’t be helped. Wrote Minnie Lea [Bea’s younger sister]. Letters from Minnie Lea and Florelle. Mailed Sears $10.36.
January 3, Friday Sunny, rained in night
Spent morning at shop. Earl was pretty busy. Went to Mamma’s. Jo Anne [Bea’s school-aged daughter] and I went to Margaret’s [Bea’s sister] awhile. Saw good show “A Dispatch from Reuter’s”. England is having some success in Africa, but Germany is massing troops in Romania so it seems the poor valiant Greeks are doomed.
January 4, Saturday Partly sunny
I think I keep taking a fresh cold. I just cough my head off, and Mamma’s just as bad. Earl has been busy. Jo Anne spent the day at Mamma’s. We found a good many Irish potatoes in the ground. So many people are sick with colds. Earl worked a little on his airplane. England claims to have taken Bardia [seaport in Libya], and to have made a wreck of Breman [city in northwestern Germany]. If only Petain [“chief of state” of southern France, coerced there by the Germans through an armistice agreement in May 1940] could find some way to throw France into England’s cause, and out of the German grip! It’s a shame for France to die, as it surely will if England loses this war. Goodness knows what will happen to us.
January 5, Sunday Ugly, cold and rainy.
I didn’t go to Sunday School, I cough so much. Jo Anne didn’t want to go alone, so we went to Mamma’s and brought them back for dinner. Eula May [Bea’s adopted sister] came too, of course. Kidd [Bea’s sister] came, too, about 12; Edward [Kidd’s husband] had already gone hunting. Earl went after dinner, down on Anchor. We rode around a little, took Mamma and Eula May home about 4:30, and went down to see Katherine’s new baby. I wouldn’t go in with such a cold. After supper we went to see “Knute Rockne” which was pretty good.
January 6, Monday Dreary
I stayed at the shop most of the day except for awhile I went to Missionary Society, where we discussed plans from the “Picayune” yesterday and I think I’ll send “Henry” [a story she authored] there. To Virginia Quarterly Review, Charlottesville, VA [a literary publication still in existence]. Probably wasting effort and stamp money. This money business is serious indeed. I am studying short hand again, wish I could write fast enough to take Civil Service in February.
January 7, Tuesday Dreary
Studied shorthand all day, except for a little, while when I went to Mamma’s. Kidd and Edward came by for a little while, on their way to a ball game. The news is scary, looks as if there will be a development in the Balkans soon. The English are making good in Libya. Margaret taught yesterday and today for Rosemary, her kids are sick. I didn’t see Margaret, though.