[…the continuing 1941 diary of Sicily Island, Louisiana native, Bea Bryan Denham. References to WWII in red.]
February 15, Saturday
Beautiful, sunny and warm
Rose woke me this morning to tell me Love [Bea’s cook and housekeeper] had gone to Leesville with Snow. I surely do hate it. I’m going to have a time keeping house without her. I hate cooking worst of all. [We will see how much she hates to cook. She references this fact more than once in the following diary entires.] I hope they make some money out of it, and she gets a good job. I washed Jo Anne’s hair, bathed Tuffy, pressed all the clothes Love had washed, and washed underclothes, besides house cleaning. Jo Anne washed dishes. My! I’m going to hate cooking again!
February 16, Sunday
Sunny but cold
Jo Anne and I went to Mamma’s, I thought I’d fix dinner when we got back. Earl came in to say Edward and Max were at the house for dinner, and to go hunting. When I got here they had made coffee, fixed all they could find and while I was dressing to go hunting, they ate. Jo Anne caught the bus and went to Kidd’s. We got 5 quail, quit hunting about 4:30. I was completely worn out. Mrs. Laura Kincaid was visiting Daddy when we got home, Lil and Mamma had gone to Kidd’s but came in a few minutes, and we made coffee.
February 17, Monday
Cold, but sunny
Minnie Lea said they had a nice trip, saw Ted and all the others she wanted to see. We went to Lil’s and spent the day, Minnie Lea, Mamma, Mary, Jo Anne and I. We went to Kidd’s for a bird supper, Herbert and Jessie stopped by a few minutes and saw Minnie Lea.
February 18, Tuesday
Sunny and warmer
Minnie Lea packed and went to Glasgows awhile. We all ate supper at Mamma’s. Kidd and Edward came too, in the afternoon. I’m having a time with this cooking business!
February 19, Wednesday
Rain and gray
Mamma and I took Minnie Lea to Delhi to catch the I.C. [Illinois Central Railroad] into Jackson [Mississippi]. Went to see Aunt Airle a few minutes. I surely hated to see them leave, Mary wanted to stay in Louisiana, but said she was going after her Daddy. We got home about one. Earl got the finance company’s check on Edward’s car. We read the Post serials “Sundown” and “Thirty Days Hath September.”
February 20 Thursday
Rain and colder
When Earl came home, he said Kidd had called, wanted us to come down there. I hated to get out, it was so bad, but Earl thought she had a job for me, so we went. There is a vacancy in the Triple A offices and Edward had talked to the man, he wanted me to come see him. Their new furniture has come, and is real pretty.
February 21, Friday
Dreary and cold, but cleared at noon
I went to Harrisonburg but Shelwick had come to Sicily Island. Mr. Seal stopped me, told me to just mail Shelwick the application, said he was on the board. Earl was awfully busy. I started cleaning out the pantry, it’s in an awful mess. Earl had taken a sore throat, I’m afraid he’s in for a cold like we’ve had. I read an “Earthworm Tractor” story to them, and Jo Anne got her homework done.
February 22, Saturday
Rainy and disagreeable
I finished the pantry and lined up tomorrow’s food problem. Went to Mamma’s two or three times. Jo Ann had Maxine to dinner.
February 23, Sunday
Dull and dreary.
Earl never has a day off any more, and he has been so busy he needs them badly for rest. Jo Anne and I took Mamma and Joe to Kidd’s and Edward’s for the afternoon. Then Earl, Jo Anne and I want to see “Comrade X” in Ferriday. We are seriously debating going to Leesville [for work]. We have got our affairs in pretty good shape, by the first of the month all our bills will be paid except the $200 [$2928.50 in today’s money] we owe Gulf [Oil Company].
February 24, Monday
Minnie Lea wrote that she got home [to Akron, OH] to zero weather – not quite, -16 – And of course Bruce was awfully glad to see them. Earl’s throat is some better. Mamma is working on Mrs. Peck’s quilt, and Joe is staying out of the weather.
February 25, Tuesday
Dark and dreary
I stayed at the shop all day. Most of the salesmen came on Monday and Tuesday, so that’s Earls heaviest days. I washed underclothes and got dinner. I have got to mend and try to get our clothes in shape to go to Leesville, if we go. Tonight we finished “Sundown.” Ursula was here today with a scheme to pay out the picture machine with slot machine per cents, but I don’t believe people will allow it.
February 26, Wednesday
Rained in the night, Dull and gray.
Jo Anne said some kid told her that Margaret was at home sick. The war news is mostly blistering, but when Spring comes, I’m afraid to think what it may mean. Wonder how long we can stay out? The “Land-Lease” Bill is sure to pass. “The World Today” broadcast from Manila, tonight. [Columbia Broadcast Systems’ “The World Today” was one of the first radio news programs. Edward R. Murrow, one of its primary broadcast journalists, began broadcasting from Europe in 1940.]
February 27, Thursday
Helped Mamma quilt awhile, and Joe walked down to the shop for the first time. Martin told me about an instructor’s job in a training school that he thought Earl might get and we went to Jonesville to see about it, but it wouldn’t pay. Margaret went with us. When we got back we went down to Dobb’s and offered him the shop, but he didn’t want it, we aren’t getting along very well with getting away.
February 28, Friday
I mailed bills, went to Mamma’s to Mrs. Peck’s, cooked dinner, and got a list made of our debts. Kidd and Edward were here awhile. We can pay all the current shop bills, but will still owe Gulf and for our roofing. Oh, I hope we go, it will be awful leaving Jo Anne, and home the pups, everything, but we need to make some money if there’s any to be made, and if we could both work, we could accumulate something pretty quickly.