1941 (Nov. 1 – Nov. 15)

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

November 1, Saturday

First frost of the season.  Cold and clear

Letters from Lil and Edward.  The men came and hooked up the heater, but made a mess of the hot plate. Earl came in, said “Let’s go home,” – he wasn’t allowed to work Sunday, so home we went right away.  We got to singing “Old Black Joe” and I thought of C.L., and how he loved to sing the old songs and it ended my happy mood. The dead would not like casting such shadows, but somehow sadness comes easily to me lately, happy moments are always followed by sad thoughts.  It was so good to get home again and find everybody all right.

C.L. Guice and family, Summer 1941

C.L. Guice (my grandfather and Bea’s first cousin) and family on a trip to the Smoky Mountains (May 1941, four months before he died)

November 2, Sunday

Sunny and warmer

Earl and Edward went huntin, Kidd came up pretty early.  We ate dinner at Mamma’s went home and to Julia’s, got off at 4:15.  The woods are still green and pretty, there’s been no frost at home.  We got turnips mustard and radishes out of Joe’s garden pecans, etc. and Mamma fixed us milk and butter.l  I was awfully glad Earl got ot go home, it’s his first visit in nearly two months.  John Crawford said he was coming near the end of the week.  We got back to Minden at 7:45, and to bed we go, but everything is surely messed up for tomorrow.

November 3, Monday

Sunny, pleasant

Today has been a busy day with me, I moved things around to get the heater a safe place, washed, ironed, mopped and worked hard generally.  I’m tired right now, but Earl is shaving, so I guess we will get to bed soon.  Velma wrote Fery had her operation and is doing very well.  Letter from Momma, too.  Earl played dominoes with Walter til I was too sleepy to think.  I helped him, and he beat Walter two games straight.  Edna parched peanuts, so we ate during the game, too.  Mrs. Boyett was here awhile.

November 4, Tuesday

Threatening rain, not cold.

I suppose this has been a day just like my days usually are.  Earl went back to the dentist and Charlie and Daisy came over and stayed awhile.  Germany has torpedoed another boat, the day before the sinking of the Reuben James. This must be about 12 so far.  I think they got 22 in the last war before we went in.  Just anything can happen now, and it seems to me we are going to have to fight in the Atlantic and Pacific simultaneously.  This war keeps one’s spirits at the lowest ebb constantly.  I wrote Mamma, Velma and Lil. [Woody Guthrie wrote a song titled “The Sinking of the Reuben James“.  Although Bea mentions other boats being sunk by Germany, the Reuben James was the first U.S. Navy ship sunk in WWII.]

November 5, Wednesday

Cold and rainy

We got no mail today, but the package came, and I think we are all “heeled” for winter.  Earl has everything he will need now, and Jo Anne has all but a nice dress.  I didn’t get anything except a slack suit, it hasn’t come yet, and some ski boots.  If we don’t go anywhere I’m all right, but Earl really needs a suit and I an outfit.  It probably would be good policy to buy now, by next winter we are sure to be at war, and probably can’t buy good things any more.  We read the Post, –“The Phantom Filly, and will go to bed early.

November 6, Thursday

Clear, windy and cold.

Today has been a Jonah to Jo Anne, — I put two sweet sandwiches in her lunch and two meat ones in her Daddy’s; she forgot to take her gym shoes; she lost a tassel off her new boots; worst of all, got an F on physical education on an otherwise grand report.  I tried to tell her it didn’t matter in the least but she can’t bear to have it there.  Earl has felt badly all day – earache.  Jo Anne forgot her homework, and when we went to get it the building was locked.  We finished reading “The Phantom Filly.”  My slacks came.  I spent most of the day at Mrs. Boyett’s taking up Earl’s new pants in the waist and letting down Jo Anne’s in the legs.

November 7, Friday

Cold, but beautifully sunny

Today is my birthday but nobody knew it until Earl happened to ask what date this was after supper, and of course I had to grin and give myself away.  We went to the bank and he and Jo Anne decided we’d have to celebrate, so we went to see “Dive Bomber” and they bought me a box of candy.  We didn’t get any mail, but I started trying to write something to try for Harper’s prize.  “My Great Aunt Jessica,” – a story of Jose’s life I intend it to be.  O how I wish I could do something worthwhile.  It is so discouraging to be always turned down, and to wish so much to accomplish something.  I got the new issue of “Time,” but haven’t had a chance to read it.

November 8, Saturday

Cold, but sunny.

Jo Anne, Mrs. Boyett and I went to town this morning, I bought groceries for the week, I hope.  It took almost all morning to get them and put them away.  Mrs. Boyett fixed a chicken for me, so I cooked it for supper, and read to Jo Anne and Earl.  We didn’t get a bit of mail.  I worked some more on my story, but I’m afraid it will be like all the other things I’ve worked so much on.  It sounds easy but it is most difficult.  Earl and Jo Anne tickled each other til I was afraid our home wouldn’t stand it any longer.

November 9, Sunday

Still cold

We were lazy today, didn’t get up til about ten, after I had got Earl to work.  Then we went to take a bath, and the water got really cold after we had soaped our heads. There was nothing to do but finish, but it wasn’t pleasant.  We took Jo Anne’s bicycle and had the tires aired, and she rode a good while.  I felt so badly I just lay down in front of the fire and read.  When Earl came we had supper and read some more.  This surely isn’t a very stirring life.  We will be regular old clods soon.

November 10, Monday

Cold but sunny

All of today I’ve tried to write, tried to complete Chapter One.  What a fake I am!  I can’t write it.  I’m only good for nothing.  I had a letter from Minnie Lea today, haven’t heard from home since we left.  When Earl came he wanted to go to Shreveport to a union meeting, asked us if we wanted to go, so we didn’t and spent the evening at Belle’s and Sidney’s.  Had an enjoyable evening. They have a pretty house, and are expecting a new baby.  Aunt Florence is going to live with them.  The baby is not any time soon.  They promised to come see us soon, she has been sick ever since she became pregnant.  Bed 10:45.

November 11, Tuesday

Warmer and sunny

Mrs. Boyett came over and made me wash my clothes at her place, but it took most of the morning.  I stopped to hear Roosevelt. [Roosevelt’s Armistice Day address] We went to town and found all the stores closed, no mail delivery.  I have read over Chapter One, with intense dissatisfaction of course.  I can’t do it.  We went over and looked at some new trailers that are beauties, but of course our tent is quite good enough for us.  When Earl came Charlie drank coffee with him and they said “When Ladies Meet” was a good show, so we went.  It was full of laughs, but Joan Crawford is so vulgar and cheap looking I don’t like her shows.

November 12, Wednesday

Beautiful, but cold, cold

I fixed the clothes to iron, and cleaned up pretty well, but we decided to go to town so Mrs. Boyett and I went and got back to get the mail. We had letters from Mamma and Love.  I was so glad to get the letters.  Love said she was going to send me a cake.   I am awfully afraid I’ve lost Love, in spite of the fact that she said she’s still my Love.  But the jobs they have are most likely permanent since they’re working for C & M.  Charlie came over and showed us the plan for his new shop.  I hope he can make it work out as he hopes.

November 13, Thursday

Cold, but beautiful

Edna came over and wanted to go to town, so I wrote to Mamma and Margaret, and mailed them when we went.  After we got back we waited for the mail, and got letters from Velma and Margaret.  Margaret said they had kept Cecil on, he still likely be there until March.  I guess they won’t come on over her now because it’s so ear time for the baby to come.  Mrs. Summers is coming to stay with her.  When Earl came we decided to go to the show, and asked Daisy and Charlie.  It was “Hold Back the Dawn,” and was pretty good.  I didn’t touch the book today.  I’m afraid I can’t do anything about it.

November 14, Friday

Perfect Day

I bought next week’s groceries, put Earl’s check in the bank, and mailed letters to Minnie Lea, Velma and Julia.  Kidd and Edward sent my fountain pen, and Love sent me a birthday cake.  And was it good!  Jo Anne said what we needed now was ice cream.  It was sweet of Love to do that for me.  I cut it and made coffee, Daisy, Edna and Mrs. Boyett came over and ate some with me.  Then I gave Earl and Charlie some when they drank coffee.  We played dominoes with Charlie and Walter, and Daisy and Edna parched peanuts and made candy, so we had a right enjoyable evening.

November 15, Saturday

Sunny and warm

We cleaned up and Jo Anne read most of the day, we had good baths and washed our heads.  I sewed some.  Mrs. Boyett and Daisy were here for a while.  I wish there was something to do that is worthwhile.  Instead I wash and iron, cook and clean up, and never feel as if I‘ve done anything at all.  I read “Time” today, too.  Letter from Kidd, but not much in it.  Earl had his bath and I read to them the Post continued stories.  We are turning in early tonight since there’s nothing else to do.


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