1941 (Dec. 16 – Dec. 31)

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

December 16, Tuesday

Cold, sunny

No mail.  I’ve been working on the Christmas things, and they are very slowly being finished.  Earl wanted to go to the show, so we asked  Whittons and they went, — “Navy Blues” – Nothing extra, and even worse since Martha Ray was in it.  I addressed 67 Christmas cards, guess I’ll mail them Friday.  Jo Anne’s cold is not much better, but she’s taking cod liver and vitamin tablets.

December 17, Wednesday

Cold, sunny

I spent today at Mrs. Boyett’s working on the presents.  Edna got a letter from Daisy, they have gone to Collins, Miss.  Said Davis was on the police force in Hattiesburg.  Earl was late this afternoon, and will be later tomorrow because its payday.  We ought to have $400.60 in the Bank with this pay day.  We have quit getting any mail at all.  I am writing letters today, — Velma, Faye, Mamma, Love, Kidd, Margaret and Marcia.

December 18, Thursday

Warmer, looks like rain.

Washed what things we had dirty.  Mrs. Boyett came and stayed awhile, we are still embroidering.  We went to the show to see “A Yank in the R.A.F.”  I am kinder worried about Earl, he isn’t sleeping as well as he should, and he’s awfully tired when he gets in.  It was late tonight though, after five.  A Christmas Card from Florelle, and a card from Daisy at Collins, Miss.

December 19, Friday

Fairly warm, sunny.

Jo Anne took her presents this morning and we went to town to buy groceries.  I got $7.45, and a $6.50 pr. of Red Cross shoes, a $3.98 velvet dress for Jo Anne, present for Anita, enough stuff to finish wrapping my Christmas presents.  The bus left Jo Anne and I had to go get her.  Talked to the principal, but he was anything else but nice, Cathcart was his name.  I crocheted some, but looks like I’ll never get through with the Christmas things.  Mrs. Boyett and I registered for Civilian defense.  Letter from Daisey, and cards from Bell and Aunt Florence.

December 20, Saturday

Warm and Sunny

Today is our 17th anniversary.  Earl and Jo Anne were determined to celebrate so we went to the show, “Parachute Battalion” and they got me a box of candy.  I had washed and ironed all day long, took down the curtains, besides the regular lot of clothes and was hanging them when John and Rosemary came.  But the tent looks so nice and clean now.  Earl is so good to me, and I’m so scared.  They passed Selective Service – 20 to 45 – this week, and what would I do if Earl had to leave me?  We heard today that Clare Chennault is head of the American Volunteer’s Group action in China.

December 21, Sunday

My intention was a good rest today, and leisure to digest this week’s Time, but after our baths I had to set Jo Anne’s hair which took me til nearly 10:30, then Mrs. Boyett came and I set hers, and before she left Rosemary and her kids came, and stayed till after supper.  We had just straightened up after that storm when Mr. and Mrs. Boyett came and stayed til after Walter Winchell. At last, to Jo Anne’s Ill – concealed displeasure, I got to my magazine, and read til ten, but Earl didn’t feel so well,  so I had to doctor him a little.  Bed will feel really good.

December 22, Monday


The year is almost done.  Life is like the year, never ending in its beginning, running oh so swiftly towards the close.  It seems that Christmas is rushing into me, and I’ve so much to do.  Jo Anne is trying to finish Mamma’s present – her fist handwork.  We went to see “Citizen Kane,” which was a most unusual picture, unusual in photography and in presentation, as well as in morals.  I enjoyed it. Cards from Mrs. Reeves and Miss Willy.  The news tonight was a scoop – Winston Churchill is at the white House to confer with Pres. Roosevelt.

December 23, Tuesday


It has turned considerably cooler, and we went to town, bought Glyn a Christmas present, also one for Barbara June.  I’ve worked all day trying to finish up so I’d have tomorrow to straighten up in, but I couldn’t make it.  We played dominoes at Walter’s and I read to Earl and Jo Anne while he shaved.  We had a letter from Kidd they took Jack to the negro to train.  I do hope nothing happens to him.  Jo Anne is about to finish working a dish towel for Mamma.  Oh, I’m so tired.

December 24, Wednesday


I’ve finished the hand work, and washed all our dirty clothes, ironed, mopped, wrapped, bathed, cooked, — I’ve been really industrious today, trying to impress Santa, I guess.  Earl came and we left at 5:45, got to Pop’s at 9:00 and spent an hour talking to them, then went to Kidd’s.  Mamma and Joe were there, se we talked a long time, and are ready for be, at 12:00.  I’m dog tired.

December 25, Thursday

Beautiful sunny afternoon

But for the dread that hangs over us all about the future, this has been a perfect day –.  We had the Christmas tree, and so many nice things, and Mrs. Trichel, Hazel and Ernest came for dinner, so we had Kidd, Edward, Mamma, Joe, Jo Anne, Earl and me for a table ful.  Velma and Rowland came when we went to Pop’s, and Love, too.  So did Cecil and Sprague.  We went to Margaret’s and May Usher, Melvin, and Miss Mamie and Uncle Bud came out there.  So we pretty well saw everybody, but didn’t leave until nearly 7.  Got here at 10.  So sleepy –

December 26, Friday

Cold but sunny

It took all day today to straighten up, get everything put in a place where we could find it, and clear out the middle of the floor.  Mrs. Boyett, Edna and I went to town, I bought groceries and put the usual $40 in the bank.  Jo Anne wanted to buy a bond, but they didn’t have any yesterday.  Walter had a generator trouble so when they came home Earl fixed two for him, and they came over and played dominoes.  I’m so tired and sleepy I can hardly see straight tonight.  Mrs. Tarver died Monday or Tuesday, Monday, I think.

December 27, Saturday

Sunny and cold

Mrs. Boyett said Mr. Boyett’s foreman fired him last night, she is awfully uneasy, and will be until he gets something else.  We washed all the clothes we had dirty, and Mrs. Boyett came in, had got a job in Area E.  I’m so glad, I don’t know what I’d do here without her.  I went to bed about 10:30 and slept til 12, I was too tired to move.  Wrote to Mamma, Kidd, Minnie Lea, Faye, Dobb’s and Motor Supply, and mailed them.

Sunday, December 28

Cold and Sunny

I worked on a jigsaw puzzle.   John came over and stayed awhile, said Ray Randall got killed in a car wreck Christmas Eve.  John got me a Time and I spent most of the day reading.  JoAnne was lonesome.  There isn’t much for her to do.  When Earl came we finished working the jigsaw puzzle, and I read to them.  “Trouble is My Master.”

Monday, December 29

Sunny and cold.

I’ve felt so rotten today, but had to go get a ham for lunch and some bread and milk.  I mailed letters to Marcia and Velma, and wrote to Daisy.  Edna had a letter from Daisy, she seemed to think Tucker had gone to New Orleans and all his men would be called in about a month.  We went to Shreveport and Earl and Walter went to a meeting, it was nearly 11:30 when we got in, and both Jo Anne and Earl are going to hate getting up in the morning.  I put fastenings on Jo Anne’s new dress today, and I must do some patching as soon as I feel better.

Tuesday, December 30


Only one more day in old 1941.  And what a year!  We just listened to Columbia’s round up of the twelve months, and saw how we have each month come closer and closer to war, until in December we find ourselves all in, where we should probably have been before if we had been better prepared.  And what changes have come to us!  In January we were living normal lives, as we had for sixteen years, home and work settled about us.  Today the house is empty and desolate, and we have been living in a tent for nine months, more or less.  But for the first time in our married lives we’ve paid off our debts and have a little money in the bank.

Wednesday, December 31


What a way to spend the last day of the year!  Crocheted a little, read a little.  Letter from Kidd.  Eula May has come to Mamma’s to have another baby, and we’re all furious.  She hasn’t the consideration of a goose.  I wish we had never seen her, she’s been nothing but a misery and expense since the day we laid eyes on her.  Earl and Walter went to Shreveport.  I worked the other jig-saw puzzle.  We aren’t going to watch the old year out, Earl will be tired when he comes in.


1941 (Dec. 1 – Dec. 15)

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

December 1, Monday

Cloudy and cooler.

Mrs. Boyett and I washed all our clothes today, and I’m about all in.  She made squirrel gumbo for me, and I worked on that coffee table mat, so it’s completed.  We played dominoes with Walter.  Had a letter from Kidd.  Earl got the paraphernalia for the urine test from the life insurance company.  Today for the first time it seems Russia has the Germans retreating, while England has the same fine luck in Lybia.  This war has got to be routine to us, since we are not yet experiencing the awfulness nor the heartbreak of it.

December 2, Tuesday

Warm, partly cloudy

Had a letter from Faye and wrote to Mamma and Marcia.  John, Mrs. Boyett and Edna have all been here today, also Mrs. Brown, but I ironed all the things I had, and we went to town, I had several little things to do.  We read “The D. A. Cooks a Goose” tonight.  Earl got in a little earlier.  England isn’t doing so well in Africa today, but the Russians are running the Germans in Russia a little.  The days drag so, I am embroidering some trying to line up a few things for Christmas.  I wrote to Faye, too.  Mrs. Boyett sent Jo Anne candy, and a bowl of chili, which she enjoyed.

December 3, Wednesday

Cloudy , warm

I had to go to town for a few things, and that takes the most important part of the day.  I started a new piece to embroider, when I’ve got magazines just crying to be read.  Earl went to get a haircut, and we saw “Sun Valley Serenade.”  It was fair.  Sonja Henie is so innocent and fresh looking and skates so well the show would be bound to enhance its value on her account, but the plot was more than thin.  It’s a rush to get to bed early enough to get eight hours sleep.  We got our Bank statement, — have saved $320.00.

December 4, Thursday

Warm and sunny

I have felt simply awful all day, embroidered over to Mrs. Boyett’s nearly all day.  I didn’t feel like going to the Bank with Earl and Jo Anne, so they went, and Walter came and played dominoes.  We got a card from Cecil saying the baby came Tuesday, the 2nd, a boy, named Dewitt Lee, weighed 8 ¾ pounds.  I’m so glad it’s over, and I do hope they get along nicely.  I surely would like to go home and see them, but guess we will have to wait til Sunday after next.  Oh, I do hope they have good luck with this baby.

December 5, Friday


I ordered Christmas things $41.12 today, which is almost everything except Jo Anne’s – I wrote Margaret, Mamma, and Aunt Leona.  We bought the weeks supply of groceries, and I went to see about Daddy’s hat.  Also got Time and read the most of it.  We read the new Post, and Earl came in with a headache, so we are turning in early.

December 6, Saturday

I washed all the things we had dirty this morning, and after I got cleaned up, started to work on that embroidery.  I don’t believe I’ll ever get it all done by Christmas but I’ll try.  I’ll be glad when the things come so I can tell what I have, and still have to get.  Rosemary came last night, so she’s been over several times, and after supper she and John both came, we went to town and to the show, “Buy Me That town,” – not much.  We enjoyed it though, but its surely put us into bed late, nearly eleven now.

December 7, Sunday

Cool and sunny.

Today I cleaned up early and Mr. and Mrs. Boyett, Jo Anne and I rode up to Haynesville, — the country was so pretty, — dark green pines and the flaming red of gum and sumac, then all the varying shades from bright yellow to deep brown, it was such a peaceful happy looking country that I felt happier than for a long time, then when I came home I thought of the beautiful music we often have on Sunday afternoon, and turned on the radio to hear, “Japan has bombed the Philippines and Hawaiian Islands,” – such a rude awakening to cold reality.  Its WAR now, to the death.  This is no longer an oasis in a world of war, its total, and there’s no telling where it will end.  I could cry my eyes out.

December 8, Monday

Cold, but sunny

Today Mrs. Boyett came over and we listened the whole day to the radio.  To Roosevelt, when he asked for a declaration of War against Japan.  I wanted Earl and Jo Anne to hear it so badly, and when they came home, the school had had a radio, so Jo Anne heard it, and the company put the speech on the public address system, so Earl got to hear it, too.  Somehow I only feel numb, and as if I were having a nightmare, and will soon awake.  We are entering on very dark days and perhaps years.  We were born too early or too late, — war in our childhood, wildness and shifting sand in our youth, depression and war in our fruitful years.  What a life of varied emotions and experiences we will have!  Letters from Mamma, Margaret and Velma.

December 9, Tuesday

Cold, sunny

I worked on the Christmas presents, then went to town and mailed letters to Mamma, Margaret, Velma, Mrs. Peck, Kidd and Love.  Ate sandwiches with Mrs. Boyett, then when I went for the mail my package with the Christmas presents in it had come, so she came over and we opened it.  Most other things I ordered came.  I guess I’ll try to wrap them right away.  Mr. and Mrs. Boyett came over and waited to hear Roosevelt talk.  It’s so depressing and unreal.  Had a letter from Florelle today, Al (?) is out of the army, but of course he will have to go right back.  She seemed awfully blue and discouraged.

December 10, Wednesday

Cold, sunny

I spent the day at Mrs. Boyett’s working on Christmas presents.  Had letters from Love and Julia.  Poor Love, she is worried sick over the war, and thinking her boy may have to go.  Julia didn’t have much to say.  Jo Anne came home with a sore throat, so we went to town to get something to mop it with. Earl read the new “Trouble is My Master” in the Post to us.  The war news is not encouraging. The Japs have landed troops on Luzon.  Oh, what will all this war turn out to be!  It’s so discouraging.  They are going to register from 17 to 44 for military service, to 65 for Civilian Defense.

December 11, Thursday

Cold and raining

Jo Anne wasn’t able to go to school, so I’ve embroidered and she’s read, most of the day.  Germany and Italy declared war on us today, which is a good thing, there will be no more hedging.  Letter from Marcia, they have had another death in her family.  And a letter from Daisy, also one from Mamma.  I wrote to Florelle, Minnie Lee and Daisy.  Earl was tired when he came in, but he went to the Bank.  I ordered Jo Anne’s Christmas things.  We made candy for the lunches.

December 12, Friday

Cold and raining

I went to town and bought groceries and Christmas wrappings, then spent the rest of the day getting my packages wrapped. Everything I ordered came except Jo Anne’s dress.  Still I have nothing for her.  Mamma said Earl’s “Audubon’s Bird Book” came.  I think I’ll go home Sunday.  Mrs Boyett went today.  I’m still working on those presents I must make, but it’s so very slow.

December 13, Saturday

Cold, but no rain.

The war news is getting a little more encouraging.  I took Mrs. Boyett and Edna to town, and I bought Jo Anne’s teacher and two friends presents.  We finished wrapping them all today, and I got together the thing I wanted to take home.  I guess Jo Anne and I will go home.  I read “Trouble is My Master” to Earl and Jo Anne.

December 14, Sunday

Cold, but sunny

Jo Anne, Mrs. Boyett and I left at 7:30 this morning.  We stopped in Monroe for her to see her sister, then stopped a few minutes at Lil’s.  When we got home, Mamma went to Kidd’s with us.  Joe said he’d rather stay by the fire and read.  We had dinner there, Jo Anne rode the horse, and we went to Margaret’s – The baby is pretty – she looks well, too.  We went to Julia’s and to our house a few minutes, and got a away at 4:15.  Stopped at Lora’s a few minutes, got here at 7:45.  Gee I’m tired, but I was awfully glad to get back, it may be a tent, but ”home is where the heart is.”

December 15th, Monday

Cold, but sunny

Washed, ironed, mopped, cleaned generally.  Letters from Velma and Faye — I started fixing Christmas cards.  Tonight Mr. and Mrs. Boyett came over, and so did Edna and Walter, to listen to Roosevelt talk. It was so late before he came on, –10 to 10, that they all left but we stayed up to hear him, he was part of a program on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights.  Earl Walter and I played dominoes after the others left.  The time is getting awfully short, I’m afraid I won’t get it all done for Christmas.

1941 (Nov. 16 – Nov. 30)

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

November 16, Sunday

Sunny and warm

We decided to go back to bed after Earl left, and I read “Luck of Scotland.”  About ten we got up, dressed, and I had made the beds when Lil and Al came.  I was glad to see them, Sundays are so long.  We fixed sandwiches for dinner and went to Belle’s spent an hour or so then drove about town and out to Barksdale Field too late to go in.  Earl had already got home and washed the dishes when we finally got home. They stayed a little while. I made coffee and sandwiches again for them.  We sat around and talked til after Walter Winchell, now we’re ready to turn in.

November 17, Monday

Warm and sunny

Mrs. Boyett and I washed clothes this morning, then she spent the day with me.  We didn’t get any mail. Daisy asked us to go to town, but I didn’t need anything so we didn’t go. When Earl came he suggested our going to Carter’s, so we did.  We didn’t stay very long though.  Didn’t have anything to read either, so we decided to go to bed early.  Jo Anne says they are going to have Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

November 18, Tuesday

Sunshine and cloud, much warmer

Mrs. Boyett and I went to town early, came back and made coffee.  I cleaned up everything, and read awhile.  Went to the house for the mail and had to wait nearly an hour and a half, but got a letter from Mamma and one from Mrs. Peck.  I started looking for Christmas things, but haven’t had much luck.  After supper we went to Mrs. Boyett’s a little while.  Seems from the news that Germany is about settled in the Crimea, Japan is blustering, and will probably do more than that before it’s all over.  This world certainly seems to be in a mess.

November 19, Wednesday

Cloudy, intermittent showers.

John came today, brought us turnips, potatoes, radishes, milk, and butter from Mamma and Joe and coffee and letters from Pop.  John went on to Shreveport, and came back about the same time Earl got home.  We had supper, and went over to Charlie’s to talk awhile, borrowed their cot, and John is going to sleep over here tonight.  I’ve tried to figure on Christmas, but I didn’t get very far with it.  I wrote to Motor Supply about our refrigerator which has gone bad; to Sears, completing the roof payments; to Wes, sending Earl’s Masonic dues and to Prudential paying this 4th quarter premium.

November 20, Thursday

Cooler, threatening

John went to Shreveport again, but didn’t get anything definite, though Owens was encouraging.  Earl said he was really tired, had a headache, too.  John ate supper with Charlie and Daisy so Earl lay down and rested for an hour.  Then we all went to see “Nothing But the Truth”, which was quite good.  I sewed a little on Jo Anne’s dress, we went over to Edna’s for awhile, but didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in any special way.  But there are plenty of things I’m truly thankful for — parents, sisters, good in-laws, America, all the many things we take for granted.  And for freedom from debt, for a good job, even if it does mean living in a tent.  And for Jo Ann, bless her dear little old heart.

November 21, Friday

Warmer and still cloudy

Jo Anne and I went to town with Daisy, Edna and Glen went, too.  We got a permanent for Jo Anne, but I don’t like the way it looks.  I bought groceries for the week, sent $3 to Mamma, she bought more wool for Jo Anne’s comforter.  John came in about 3:30, got his orders to go out tonight a t 12 o’clock.  Daisy and Charlie knew of a trailer at Dozline, so Jo Anne and I went with Earl, John, and Charlie to look at it.  That one wasn’t so good, but they told us of one at Sibley, so we went over there and John bought it.  I had a card from Minnie Lea, but that’s all the mail.

November 22, Saturday

Rain all night and all day

Earl went to work in our car today, he was afraid Walter and Charlie wouldn’t work and sure enough they both came in about ten.  Charlie and Daisy went to Baton Rouge and the other to Nacogdoches.  Jo Anne and I read, and about three (o’clock) Eunice Garrison, and Cora, and her husband came, wanting to know how to go about getting him a job.  They stayed til around five, and when Earl came they had told him to take Sunday off, so of course we wanted to go home.  We got to Sicily Island about nine, went to Pop’s awhile, then to Mamma’s. They are all alright.  The dogs and Tuffy both look pretty and fat.  It is nearly eleven so we’re off to bed.

November 23, Sunday

Gloomy and cold.

We cleaned up in the house and went down to the Gillis place to hunt Jo Anne’s cow, didn’t find her.  Came back to the shop and found May Usher and Melvin.  They had three of Dot’s puppies, one for Edward, one for Cecil and they kept a female.  They are beauties.  We went on to Margaret’s. Mrs. Summers had just come spent about an hour.  Margaret expects to go to the hospital any day.  Came home and ate dinner, Kidd and Edward were with us, and after dinner Marcia and the children came.  Cecil, Mr. Dewitt and Sprague came, and Cecil rode part of the way back with us it was the first time Earl had seen Cecil since we came to Minden.

November 24, Monday

Beautiful, but cold

Letter from Florelle. Mrs. Boyett came over before I got this messy place clean and I also washed all the under clothes.  It was a job.  Mrs. B Edna and I went to town and went we got back we found that Daisy and Charlie were back and fixing to move to Baton Rouge. Charlie has a good job with Tucker a shore job but they have hopes of a longer one.  I hate to see then go, but if they can do better I don’t blame them.  They ate supper with us, and we went to the show to see “Wild Geese Calling.”  There was very little of the books charm it was sordid and cheap and the book was pretty good.  It’s awfully cold tonight.

November 25, Tuesday

Cold, but the sun is beautiful

Daisy and Charlie got off at 1:15 today. They drank coffee over here and Charlie shaved with Earl’s electric razor.  I was awfully sorry to see them go.  No mail came.  John came over for a little while and so did Mrs. Boyett.  After supper Walter and Edna came and played dominoes.

The English seem at last to have taken the initiative in Africa but they’re having a pretty tough time.  Germany seems to have renewed her attempt to take Moscow before settling down for the winter. I’m writing Minnie Lea, but I’m still worrying over what to get for Christmas for the family.

November 26, Wednesday

Warmer, but still cold.

I decided to make a coffee table doily for that crochet I’ve got, so I sewed them and made the picot part.  Mrs. Boyett wanted me to come over there, and I stayed nearly all day.  We took Walter to town after Earl came, came back and read “Bright Danger.”  Earl peeled and broke sugar cane and pecans, so we ate until it’s time to go to bed.  We had a letter from Motor Supply saying they’d exchange the unit in our refrigerator for $5.00.  Its lonesome since Daisy left, it’s awfully lonely up here, anyway, but I guess we’ve no kick if we can save anything.  Buggs Doniphan has a 2 1/2 # daughter I hear.

November 27, Thursday

No mail, we went to the bank when Earl came home, and Walter came over so we played dominoes until its bedtime.  I’ve done almost nothing today, worked on that piece of crochet.  I washed all the clothes this morning, and as a result have a backache.

November 28, Friday

Warm and sunny.

We went to town early and I bought all the groceries for next week.  Looked for the Christmas things, but didn’t find anything.  It was pretty late when we got back, so I ironed all the clothes I had washed yesterday.  Read to Earl and Jo Anne tonight, put olive oil in her hair, so I could wash it early in the morning.

November 29, Saturday

Warm and sunny.

I asked John if Jo Anne and I could go home with him in the morning so I could make bills.  Then I decided to go to town and get some things for Mamma, so did, and it was pretty late when we got back.  I got letters from Mamma and Velma, and when Earl came he had been laid off til Monday, so we decided to go home.  We got home about nine, went to Mamma’s awhile, and on to Kidd’s spend the night, and Earl and Edward are going hunting.  It’s nearly twelve, and time to go to bed.  Wrote to Velma.

November 30, Sunday

Warm, beautiful

Jo Anne and I got up early and went back home, got the books, and Mamma and Daddy.  Earl and Edward went hunting, got back about noon.  I finished the bills about one, we had a nice enjoyable day, left and came back to Sicily Island where we visited Pap and Julia awhile, and spent about an hour at home.  It’s very little pleasure to go over there, I feel awful.  I’m going home and clean it up Christmas week, yard and all.  We got back to Minden about 7:30, and we’re all worn out.

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.

1941 (Oct. 16 – Oct. 31)

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

October 16, Thursday

Rain and cloudy all day.

Today I cleaned up until twelve o’clock, washed, cleaned everything except the floor.  Daisy and Edna were going to town and asked me to go, so I did.  Daisy and I decided to fix an anniversary supper on the 30th for Edna and her husband.  Had a letter from Mamma, she enclosed one from Minnie Lea.  Mamma wrote us a nice long one.  I hope they are all right, but I can’t help feeling uneasy and wishing I could see them.  They’re so good and so very dear to me.

October 17, Friday

Raw and rainy, better in the afternoon.

Had a long letter from Margaret, said Cecil was still at Camp Polk.  She is getting along nicely.  I do hope she has twins.  I had a horrible dream last night, all mixed up with Earl and C.L.  I bought tar paper to fix up the tent with, and, I hope, enough groceries to last a week.

It doesn’t seem possible we could spend as much as we do with as little to show for it.  This is the 4th time we have put $40 in the bank, and we’ve spent $40 every week.  No clothes, very little besides actual expenses.  Went to town, the Whittons were all over tonight for a little while, playing dominoes.  Germany torpedoed a U.S. destroyer today.  We are in.

October 18, Saturday

Today we cleaned most of the day, trying to get everything ship shape in case Kidd and Edward come.  I hope they will bring Mamma and Joe.  We scrubbed the floor and fixed up everything.  Charlie drinks coffee with Earl most every evening, and after he left and we had supper Earl decided to put the roofing around to stop leaks and cold.  Walter and Edna came and helped us, and Walter came back and played dominoes.

October 19, Sunday

Hot – cool at night.

I’ve taken a bad cold and after we cleaned up I went back to bed and read Time.  Jo Anne has been at a loss all day for something to do, she is tired of reading, and there isn’t anyone to play with.  It worries me.  I guess I should have taken her to Sunday School, but I really felt badly all day.  Earl felt badly, too, and we didn’t go to church.  Mrs. Boyett brought Jo Anne some sugar cane and peanuts.

October 20, Monday


Same old round and no mail.  Went to town with the Mrs. Whittons.  Mrs. Boyett dressed a chicken for me.  I was awfully glad to get it but ashamed for her to fix it for me.  I made an appointment with the dentist for Earl, he’s been feeling so bum, and thinks it might be his teeth.  The dentist pulled one, told him to come back next week.  After he got through there we went to see “Underground”, a picture based supposedly on revolt in Germany.  If true, it must be awful to live there.

October 22, Wednesday


Earl hasn’t felt very well since he came over here,  I’m worried about him.  I wish he would see a doctor.  His face is swelled today, and has hurt a good bit.  Mrs. Boyett  and I went to town, and I washed and ironed as usual.  Letters from Mamma, Kidd, Julia and a card from Minnie Lea.  I wrote Mamma, Kidd, and Dabbs.  Earl wants Jo Anne and me to go home Saturday morning, so I guess we will, and get what things we need from there.  We read the new Post, until Earl was sleepy and wanted to go to bed.  I wish he would get to feeling right again.

October 23, Thursday


Letter from Velma, she is awfully worried about Fery, who is to have an operation this week.  She said they might come home this Sunday, guess we will see them if we go home.  I’ve been trying to get all the things out to take home, making a list of things to bring back.   And trying to leave enough here so Earl will have plenty.  I’ve washed all the clothes and ironed them, but I have to get the things from the laundry.  They went in our car today, but the Whittons asked me to go to town.  I didn’t go, though, didn’t need anything.

Groceries 10/17 – 10/24         $14.85

October 24, Friday


Letters from Inez, Kidd, Minnie Lea and Velma.  Inez said she was coming to see me, and I’m so anxious to see her!  Guess we will leave early in the morning.  Went to town, and got most everything done.  Mrs. Boyett came over for a while.  When Earl came we took Walter and Edna after their car, and Daisy and Charlie came and talked a while.  We put our money in the bank and went to see “Manpower”.  Earl made a list he wants me to get at home for him.  I’m tired tonight.  Bought a Time but never did get to read any of it.

October 25, Saturday


Jo Anne and I left at 7:25, after we got everything cleaned up.  At 10:45 we were in Sicily Island, 144 miles.  We stopped at Lil’s, but only lost about 10 minutes, she wasn’t there.  Inez hasn’t been here, I’m so disappointed.  We ate dinner at Mamma’s and I went to the shop, cleaned up and posted.  Kidd and Edward came, and we all came back to Mamma’s.  Westbrook came by, too, and after supper we went to Margaret’s, but she wasn’t at home, so we stopped and talked to Mrs. Dewitt awhile.  Mamma has practically made Jo Anne a dress this afternoon.  I made out bills tonight.  I surely do miss Earl.  I know he wanted to come home, too.

October 26, Sunday

Cooler, rain in the afternoon.

Mamma spent the morning making Earl a cake, and doing the rest of the machine stitching on Jo Anne’s dress, because she said the ox was in the ditch.  We went to the shop and visited with Margaret and Cecil, went to our house, but it looks so lonesome and neglected it makes me sick.  We ate dinner at Mamma’s, packed up, and left at 1:45, stopped 30 minutes at Lil’s and got back to Minden at 5:45.  Earl had eaten supper with the Whittons, Edna was sick.  We went over there and talked awhile, got everything put away enough to put down the beds.  I’ll have a job with it all tomorrow.

October 27, Monday

Turning much cooler.

I washed but didn’t get to iron, and Mrs. Boyett and the two Mrs. Whittons went to town with me.  I paid the rent, and made arrangements for gas to be installed.  We went to see “Our Wife”, which was rather entertaining, hurried home to hear Pres. Roosevelt.  It certainly does bring us face to face with facts to hear him talk and to realize that we are certainly going to be fighting very soon.  Moscow is bound to fall, and it looks like Hitler will acquire world domination much sooner than anybody could have expected unless we decide to go all out for his defeat, and quit this everlasting stalling.

October 28, Tuesday

Cold, about 50o.

It has been so uncomfortable in this tent today.  I have done little except try to stay warm.  I read Time and cleaned and cooked, went over and drank coffee with Mrs. Boyett, put the sleeves in Jo Anne’s dress.  The gas man came and brought the meter, but so far we haven’t got it hooked up.  Earl got his boots tonight, and we read “Prescription for Murder.”  No mail.  I wrote Mamma, Velma, and ordered the things from Montgomery Ward, some velveteen for a jacket for Jo Anne, cloth for that comfort, and some for Mamma’s living room curtains.

October 29, Wednesday

Cold but warmer.

We have about completed plans for the supper tomorrow night, have our place cards, napkins, table decorations, the menu about worked about worked out.  I wrote to Kidd, Minnie Lea, Inez, and Marcia today, and have been studying Montgomery Ward for some winter wearing apparel.  The man still didn’t hook up our gas today, and Walter came over, wants us to use the same meter because they don’t know when they will be able to get one.  Earl went to the dentist and got three fillings, now he’s got his teeth all in good shape.  Wish I was sure mine were as good.  We finished the “Prescription for Murder” story in the Post.

October 30, Thursday

Raining and much warmer.

The Whittons didn’t work, so we postponed our supper.  Its been an awfully nasty day.  I suppose this is intended to be written in diaries, but this morning we were drinking our coffee together, Earl still in bed, when he said, “Sugar, I’m thinking you are going to be a pretty old lady, too.”  Now what nicer compliment could a seventeen-year-married wife ask from her husband?  Letter from Velma.  I’m still pouring over the catalogs.  Went to see “That Hamilton Woman,” and two cops stopped us, told Earl he was drunk, that he was staggering.  I guess his boots being new and it raining and muddy he must have slipped.  We had a time convincing them, and then got a very poor apology.

October 31, Friday

Cold and rainy

I went to town with Mr. Boyett and her husband, we got groceries and clothes for Marie.  Edna and Daisy got back, so we all had supper together, not all we had planned, but we had the cake and at any rate it did very well.  Earl, Jo Anne and I went to the Bank, barber shop, etc.  I’ve been trying to decide on what to buy to keep us all warm, I guess I’ll order it, seems to be a pretty good selection, and I can’t find anything in Shreveport when I go.  Besides, it’s easier to buy like this if you can get what you want.  I wrote to Mamma but haven’t mailed the letter yet.  I wish we’d get a little mail, did get a letter from Velma yesterday, she’s still worried about Fery.

1941 (Aug 16 – Aug 31)

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

August 16, Saturday


Today is Jo Anne’s birthday, and the picnic just suits her.  Tucker and Julia, Lillian and Sidney, Annie and Edward, a Mr. & Mrs. Vance White, Mr. and Mrs. Major, Mr. and Mrs. Orrey, Mildred and Buck, Sonny and Mickey, Cora and Ibo, Alice and Pluto, and the rest of their families were all here. We went to Ibo’s, had a nice day altogether.  Letter from Florelle, and Velma, and Velma sent Jo Anne a birthday card and a dollar.  She had a nice birthday and a good many presents.  We ate supper at Momma’s, and came home to read “Let the Gun Talk.”

August 17, Sunday


I cleaned up, even put wax on the floors, because I couldn’t seem to get to them before, and Earl had to work anyway.  Lil and family came in the afternoon, so did Kidd and Edward, and we all went to the Lake and swimming, then had supper on the bank. We had a nice time, Mamma and Joe also went with us.  Poor Earl, it was two o’clock tonight when he got through with that tractor. The papers are full of discussions on the meeting last week of Roosevelt and Churchill.  This war situation continues to look worse and worse, as Russia gives ground.  Poor people!

August 18, Monday 


Kidd and Edward came this morning as I was dressing after having cleaned up.  We went uptown and Kidd got Mamma a pretty blue rug for the parlor, after we ate dinner here we went over there and put it down.  I helped Joe paint some on the ceiling, and we straightened up the parlor.  Mamma made out the order for the canvass and paper for her room Earl, Jo Anne and I went swimming just before sundown, and read “Attack Alarm” in the Post just after we had supper.  It’s a scorching night.  I wish we’d hear from Minnie Lea, I’m worried about her.

August 19, Tuesday

Cloudy and hot

Jo Anne got Patsy to spend the day with her, and we went to Mamma’s early.  I finished painting the ceiling at noon.  We read the new Post issue of “Let the Gun Talk,” at noon, and I felt so bum I stayed in bed until five o’clock.  When Earl came we decided to go on down to Kidd’s, pick them up, and go to D.T.  The people out there seem to be a better class than we have had for tenants yet.  They have a right good crop.  We came back to Kidd’s, ate supper, and Edward and Earl went fox hunting, got home at two.

August 20, Wednesday


I’m awfully worried about Jack [their dog].  He seems to have something wrong with his back and won’t eat, can hardly get up.  He’s so pretty. I do hope he’s not going to die.  The new Montgomery Ward Catalog came today, so Jo Anne and I have been looking at it all day, everything is advancing in price. Oh how I wish one of those jobs would open up!  We are going to have so much piled up we will never get out form under if it doesn’t break soon.  Mr. Chambless came down and talked awhile tonight, he’s interesting.  We read “Attack Alarm.”  Kidd and Edward didn’t come today.

August 21, Thursday

We took Jack to the Vetinary, he didn’t know what was the matter unless Jack had had a lick.  He wouldn’t give him anything.  “Time” came, and I was reading it this afternoon when Ruth came.  Rowland and Velma were at Pop’s.  We went over there and later all went swimming except Velma and I, we fixed a supper to take to them after a swim.  We went down to Kidd’s a little while, and by Mamma’s too.  The paper and canvass for her room has come.  Guess we will get to it Monday.

August 22, Friday

Getting warmer

We all slept late this morning, fixed dinner, etc.,  — I’m so blooming awkward about cooking.  We just sat around mostly and talked all day.  Rode around awhile after it got cool, took Julia, went to Catherine’s, and after supper Kidd and Edward came.  The men went fox hunting, and the women all went to see “Here Comes the Navy” – Then we came by where they were hunting, and all got in about twelve.  Letter, long awaited from Minnie Lea, — she said she was feeling pretty useless, especially since they aren’t through with the house.

August 23, Saturday

Hot again

Julia asked us all to dinner so we spent most of the day there, I crocheted a little bit.  Margaret came on the bus, and we took her home, then went to H’burg, visited Laura McLaughlin and found Edith there.  Came home, went to DeLita’s and Mrs. Coan’s, then after supper to Miss Mamie’s and to Holy Roller Church, then rode about Wisner.  Rowland and Velma hadn’t been there in a long time and enjoyed seeing the changes that had taken place.  We also went by Kidd’s a few minutes.

August 24, Sunday


Velma and I fixed dinner, asked Pop and Julia.  We picked a bucket, the first, of scuppernongs [muscadines] for Mrs. Anderson.  Delita came and asked us all for coffee so before Rowland and Velma left we all went up there, had a right nice visit.  After they left we went to Mamma’s, Emma had been there.  We went to John’s, but he wasn’t at home When Kidd and Edward came they brought Mamma and Daddy, May Usher and Meloin came by, too.  Mamma and all ate supper here.  We want to go to bed early so Earl can get off early in the morning.  Shut Bep up.

August 25, Monday

Hot.  Light shower

Earl got off at five, I went back to bed when I should have been cleaning up, and finished last weeks Time.  Then when I did get up it was so late I dint’ get to half clean up, so I hurried over to Mamma’s and we worked like Turks getting room papered, but it does look awfully pretty.  Kidd came late in the afternoon and helped us finish, then Jo Anne and I went home with her, to spend the night, I’m going to help Edward with an abstract he’s making for D.T.  My how I miss Earl!

August 26, Tuesday

Mostly hot, light shower in afternoon

I went to the office with Edward, stayed an hour, then took Kidd to Ferriday to the doctor.  Mrs. Peck came in while I was there.  We got back a little before twelve, and I looked through records all afternoon with no luck.  We had just got home when Earl came, he had no luck either.  Man told him it would be two weeks more.  We stayed til after supper and came back to Mamma’s so Earl could see the room.  It looks awfully nice, Mamma had cleaned it up and Daddy is going to put baseboards around it tomorrow.

August 27, Wednesday


Alvin and Lil Guice Walvoord

Alvin and Lil Guice Walvoord

C.L. and Marcia Guice

C.L. and Marcia Guice

Jo Anne and I spent the whole morning cleaning up, got our bath and dinner, and had just lain down when C.L. And Marcia [my grandfather and grandmother] came by on their way to Lil’s [C.L.’s sister].  I heard yesterday that Oswald Henry died Sunday, and was certainly sorry.  Oswald had one of the most pleasing personalities I’ve ever known, Goodness knows why he went berserk these last two years and ruined himself with drink.  Nelson and Faye came with C.L. and Marcia so they went with us to Kidd’s, and we had supper there, Earl, Jo Anne and I read Attack Alarm when we got home.

August 28, Thursday


Faye was here this morning.  I helped her pick scuppernongs [muscadines].  C.L. came and ate dinner with us.  [C.L. died  only three weeks from this diary post at the age of 36.  It is the last time that Bea Denham would see him.] We went to Mamma’s too.  I read Time, and Kidd and Edward came, Edward to go fox hunting, so when Cader and Mrs. Aplin got here, we let the men go to the fox chase and we all went to see “Power Drive,” a very good light show.  Earl thinks maybe William Peck will buy our car, the old one.  I do hope so, I’m so anxious to get rid of that last note.  Then I guess we can manage the rest somehow til Earl gets work.

August 29, Friday

Plenty hot.

Jo Anne and I went to Harrisonburg about ten o’clock, which was a s soon as I could make it, with cleaning up to be done first.  We worked on the abstract for D.T., and finished it up, but still could not find about 25 years between 1819 and 1846.  I wish I could work in the Clerk’s office, it’s very interesting work and I could find out so much I’d like to know.  Letter from Velma.  Jo Anne and I went to Margaret’s and she surely looks as if she is going to have twins, she’s huge, with three months yet to go.

August 30, Saturday

Cooler morning and evening, Hot midday

Worked at the shop all morning making bills and posting, in fact it was 4:45 when I finished and came home to wax the floors.  Card from Lillian inviting us to another picnic with Mr. Tucker and crowd.  Letter from Florelle.  She’d been to Leesville and didn’t come on to see us.  Kidd and Edward were here for dinner, she’s better.  We went swimming close to dark. Card from Lil asking us to supper Sunday night, but I wrote her we couldn’t make it, I don’t’ feel like it.  Went to Mamma’s too.

August 31, Sunday

Cooler, Cloudy

Jo Anne and I cleaned up and hung the curtains this morning. Cecil and Margaret came and stayed awhile.  Earl worked nearly all day.  Roy Strickland came with Carter, bought our old Ford, or bargained to, with $25 down.  That certainly does relieve us, because it clears our car completely, and we’ve nothing left to pay except $45 on this roof and life insurance.  Oh, I wish Earl could go to work right away.  If he were working, we could go on and pay these bills, but as long as he’s only making expenses, we are afraid to spend all we have.  Saw “A Woman’s Face” to night.

1941 (Oct. 1 – Oct. 15)

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

October 1, Wednesday


This has been a long hot day, but I’ve been right busy.  I did the usual housekeeping chores, cut Jo Anne’s dress, and started sewing it by hand.  It will be quite a job, but I guess I can make it.  Went to town with the Mrs. Whittons, and helped Glyn and Jo Anne get their home work.  Roy and Floris came just as we finished supper, but didn’t stay so long.  We started “Botany Bay”, and read the rest of “District Attorney” – No mail.  Everybody’s forgotten us.

October 2, Thursday

Hot, but cloudy partly

I was sick this morning, stomach upset and feeling pretty badly, but a little girl brought me a letter from Mamma saying Minnie Lea’s baby has come, a boy, on Sept. 26, and that made me feel well again.  A letter from Velma, too – I’m so glad about the baby.  I wrote Lil, Florelle, Pop, Mrs. Peck and Commercial Securities.

October 3, Friday


Well, one day is so like another that there is practically nothing to say.  Get up in the morning, make coffee, fix lunch while the water boils.  Fix breakfast while Earl dresses.  Get Jo anne off to the bath house, and clean up the beds, make room to eat.  Wash, iron, fix supper and wait for Earl and Jo Anne.  Roy was here tonight, said he was going to send Commercial Securities a check for the balance he owed them.  We went to town, deposited $40.00 and went to see and Andy Hardy picture.  Took Mr. Luther with us, somebody ran over a soldier, Roy’s car was parked there, but we didn’t stop.  An ambulance went out after him.

October 4, Saturday

Hot, shower in afternoon

We went to town with Whittons this afternoon, fooled around about three hours.  When we got back we had a letter from Mamma, and one from Margaret.  The doctor told her she wasn’t going to have twins.  Cecil is still working at Camp Polk.  I had hoped Kidd and Edward would come and bring Mamma and Joe, but I guess they aren’t.  Earl had a fever when he came home tonight, felt awful, didn’t eat a bite of supper and I had cooked chicken, too.  We can’t get a Post for this week, got one for next , but that leaves us wondering about our stories.

October 5, Sunday

Cloudy and cool, slight shower

Jo Anne and I both had an attack of dysentery today, she was worse than I.  Earl went to work, but I know he didn’t feel very well.  They didn’t pay him all of his check, missed last Sunday.  He complained to the proper authorities so I’m hoping he will get it straight.  We didn’t even have a story to read tonight, decided to go to town and get a coke.  Earl met a man he knows and he had another man with him who turned out to be from Jonesville, named Richards.  We took them riding a while, they were lonely and had no car.

October 6,  Monday

Hot, shower in the afternoon

Jo Anne still was upset today, and since she said she wasn’t able to go to school, I didn’t make her go, not being about to tell just how badly she felt, but she could have very easily gone.  We went to town in the afternoon, saw a doctor about those shots for diphtheria again and about typhoid shots.  Also complained to the Health Unit about these toilets out here.  When Earl came we went to town again, and to see “Blossoms in the Dust.”  It was a good show had some of the cutest babies imaginable in it, but we’ve had too sad and experience to be completely sympathetic to it.

October 7, Tuesday


I got Jo Anne off to school today in spite of her objections, washed the dirty clothes and tried to work on our family tree, with very little accomplished.  Went out and talked to the Whittons and while I was out there, saw a trailer that looked much like Mrs. Boyett’s come in.  Finally saw her, and went over and spoke to her.  I am so glad they’re here, it’s awfully lonesome with as few people you know, and more that you know intimately.

October 8, Wednesday


Passed the morning in the usual manner.  Went to town with the Whitton’s, and when we got back had a letter from Kidd.  She said Mamma had sent my comfort by Carter, so as soon as Earl came and we could eat supper we went to Doyline and got it.  It’s the prettiest one I ever did see.  Everybody raves over it.  Now I’ve got to get Mamma to fix the other one for Jo Anne.  I hope I can keep it from getting dirty in this tent, but that’s going to be a problem.

October 9, Thursday

Rainy and threatening

Letter from Florelle

Charlie Whitton was sick today, so he and his wife left, and Edna came over here and spent the morning.  I enjoyed talking to her, she’s had a hard life in a way, in the worst way, the way it hurts her pride.  I hope all that is over for her.  We went to school, and Jo Anne’s teacher said Jo Anne was an excellent pupil ( I knew that!) and she enjoyed teaching her.  A class of Jo Annes would be a teacher’s heavenly dream, only she’d better not be lazy, they’d work her to death.  We played dominoes with Walter Whitton and Mr. Luther til nine.

October 10, Friday

Rain in the night, considerable wind; cooler.

I wrote Mamma and Florelle today, and went to visit Mrs. Boyett a little while.  Crocheted some, and did the regular work. I am planning to go to Shreveport tomorrow.  We went to town when Earl came, his check was $10 short this week, and they paid him the $15 he was short last.  We went to see “Shepherd of the Hills,” it was only fair.  I got a “Time,” too.  I’m afraid it’s only a matter of days until Germany will have Moscow in her hands.  It’s dreadful.

October 11, Saturday


We left as soon as we could get ready, went to Mrs. Boyetts aunt in Shreveport, then finally found Belle’s house, but nobody was at home, so we came on to town and did our shopping, which was quite unsatisfactory.  Our chairs are to be delivered sometime next week, and that’s about the only purchase I made of any consequence.  Our radio has gone hay-wire, I suppose we will have to send it to Dabbs.   We took it to town, but the man was out of reason about it.

October 12, Sunday

I read” Time” today.  Mrs. Boyett came over for a while, and I had a nice long letter from Mamma.  Wrote to her, Minnie Lea and Kidd.  I’ve felt wretched all day long, this last day business is quite as bad as the first.  Jo Anne has been playing with Barbara June back of the camp on some sand hills, seem to have been having a good time.  The Whittons have been gone all day.  We all went to church tonight.

October 13, Monday

Cooler, sunny

I had a lot of clothes to clean this morning, and it took a good part of the day to wash and iron them.  Mrs. Boyett and I went to town, mailed letters and bought groceries.  I had a letter from Kidd, Velma,, and a card from Julia today, which helps a lot when you’re homesick.  When Earl came he wasn’t to go to a Union meeting, — rather he thought it would be good policy to go, so then he and the Whittons went, and the women wet to the show, “Bad Men of Missouri.”

October 14, Tuesday


This morning we found that Belle and Sidney had come last night while we were gone.  Earl seems to be feeling better, but Jo Anne doesn’t.  She is too edgy and nervous.  I had letters from Kidd and Fay today.  Kidd said Miss Lula Garner died Saturday.  Faye said Marcia [my grandmother whose husband died three weeks earlier] was going to make an apartment in part of the house and rent it so she wouldn’t have to be alone.  Poor Marcia.  Without Earl I’d be completely useless.  As it is I’m only useful to him, seems like I can never accomplish anything on my own merits.  I wish I was some good, but I’m not – nothing whatever can I accomplish.

October 15, Wednesday

Rain in the afternoon

Mrs. Boyett sent us some fried apple pies, and they were surely good.  Didn’t get any mail.  I was busy most of the day, but goodness knows what I did besides write letters.  I mailed seven tonight.  Earl, Jo Annd and I went to town and got a Post, and Outdoor Life, and Agatha Christie mystery, and a Mickey Mouse for Jo Anne.  We read “Botany Bay.”