1941 (Sept. 16 – Sept. 30)

bea-bryan-denham-230[…the continuing 1941 diary of Sicily Island, Louisiana native, Bea Bryan Denham. References to WWII are in red.]

September 16, Tuesday


Wrote Marcia and Florelle, read “Time” all morning.  I wish we had a way to get to town, everything is closed by the time we get there in the evening, and I can’t even mail my letters.  Earl screened the front of the tent this evening and put up my other shelf.  He tried to fix the iron, but the element wasn’t right.  In a few more days we ought to be fairly well straightened out.  We have got to buy chairs, a rug, some paint, and a folding outfit in which to hang our clothes.  I think I can make the tent pretty nice if I could go to Shreveport for two or three hours some day.

September 17, Wednesday


This has been a terrible day for me.  I’ve felt awful all day long.  I stayed in bed most of it, but when Earl came I had fixed supper and we went to Minden, swapped irons, and decided to see Clark Gable in”They Met In Bombay.”  It was nothing, hardly light entertainment.  Jo Anne has been pretty lonesome today, there are no children her age, and she doesn’t care much for spoiled ones, anyway, so she doesn’t have much association with them.

September 18, Thursday


Today we washed everything that was dirty, and when I started to iron the iron wouldn’t heat. Mrs. Gorey was over here, and offered hers, so I got the clothes all finished.  Read an old cheap novel “Jungle Captive” by E.M. Hull, in the afternoon, simply because I had nothing else to read.  It wasn’t diverting in the least.  After supper we went to town and swapped for a new iron, then drove down to Roy’s a few minutes.  Earl fixed the funnel in the floor for me when we came in, after we had watched the stars awhile.

September 19, Friday


Today was pay-day, Earl got $30.94 for 2 ½ days last week.  We went to town and cashed his check, bought groceries.  School will begin Monday, I guess Jo Anne will go.

September 20, Saturday


We fixed up a place to iron and I crocheted the last medallion for the set, washed and put away everything.  When Earl came we played dominoes awhile, read the Post stories and went to the store.

September 21, Sunday


We only fooled around today.  Mrs. Whitton and I took Glenn and Jo Anne to the park and let them play, also to the school house to see it. We drank coffee with the Whitton’s (Charlie) when Earl came in.  I got a nice letter from Mamma, Mrs. Culbertson brought it down, We read the rest of the Post stories.

September 22, Monday


C.L. (my grandfather) and Anna Claire (my mother)

Jo Anne went to school today, so did I and stayed until 12, when they let them all come home.  Around three Mr. Culbertson came, said I had a long distance call.  It was Edward, Nelson had called him and told him C.L. died today.  Earl hasn’t come in yet, and I don’t know what to do.  Poor boy, he had just got ready to live, it is terrible.  And his poor kids will never know what a Daddy means.  Marcia must be completely bewildered.  Edward is taking Mamma and Joe down.

September 23, Tuesday

Clear, hot

[Nothing else is written for this day.  The photo to the right was taken in May of 1941.]

September 24, Wednesday

Rain, Gulf storm

The last days have been a kind of nightmare of long grey roads stretching toward something I didn’t want to reach, yet which I found myself frantically trying to get to.  The pity of young death, of young families torn and the aching hurt is always more than I can bear if I’m not personally concerned, and C.L. is the nearest to a brother I ever had.  Poor Marcia, she loved him to the exclusion of any other interest, and the little girls are too young to realize what is it means to them.  Though children suffer far more keenly than grown-ups realize, as Anna Claire, “Why couldn’t God let my Daddy live to be an old man like Uncle Joe?”  Their hearts will ache many a time for him.

September 25, Thursday


Jo Anne went to school today, I wrote Marcia, Faye, Mamma and Velma.  Then washed all our soiled clothes and pressed them.  When Earl came we went to Roy’s and got other references.

September 26, Friday


Jo Anne started to school, decided she was sick and didn’t go.  I was terribly angry with her when I found that she wasn’t actually sick, and disappointed, that she’d pretend to be something she wasn’t.  I know it’s hard to change schools when she knows not a single soul, but she needs some adjustments like that, she hangs too closely to grown-ups, and it will be good for her to learn to rely on herself, and make her own way among strangers for a little while.

September 27, Saturday


I did nothing today except read “Time,” rinse out the clothes Earl wore yesterday, and sit around talking.  I bought $6.64 groceries and had a band put on Earl’s watch.  After supper we talked to the Whittons awhile, and read the Post story –

September 28, Sunday


The big “Red” and “Blue” battle ended today, and there has been a constant sound of guns, planes, and of equipment being moved all day.  We did nothing all morning, sat and talked to the Whittons all afternoon, and when Earl came home and got his supper and bath, we went to Church with the Walter Whittons.  It was right enjoyable. I had a letter from Velma, but nothing from Mamma.

September 29, Monday


Paid the rent, $2.50, and washed, ironed and cleaned.  I had supper ready when Jo Anne came, helped her with her lessons, and after Earl came we rushed and left at 6 o’clock to go to Shreveport to the circus [Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey}.  The traffic was awfully heavy, but we made it fine, and I think Jo Anne thoroughly enjoyed it all, but most especially the horses, The crowd was immense, and Lt. Gen. Ben Lear was there, but we didn’t see him.  We saw the famed apes, Gargantua and M’Toto, and very good tight-rope, acrobatic and animal acts. It was after twelve when we finally got home.

September 30, Tuesday


The days are so much alike. Only mail helps.  Mamma and Kidd both wrote today.  Lil said Marcia had her mother with her, which is good for a little while.  I wrote Mamma, Kidd, Minnie Lea and Marcia.  There is nothing to change the monotony of the days, I guess I should try to make Jo Anne’s dress, but I dread making it on my fingers.  We read “District Attorney,” and sat out on the grass talking to the neighbors until around nine o’clock.  Jo Anne got her lessons.  She seems a little better about school.


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