1941 (Aug. 1 – Aug 15)

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

August 1, Friday

Terribly hot

I’ve been crocheting.  Went to Mamma’s twice.  Earl decided we’d go to Baton Rouge Sunday, asked Pop and Julia if they wanted to go.  He’s been awfully busy all week.  I think he will go to Minden Monday.  Mamma had a letter from Minnie Lea, Lorraine is going to stay with Bruce and Mary while she is in the hospital.  I do hope she will be all right after it’s over, and not have to have any operation.  Ted and Hazel are having another baby, too.  Miss Mollie came home from the hospital today.

August 2, Saturday

Hot but cloudy

We got things lined up to go to Baton Rouge, Julia cooked two chickens, and I got cheese & pimento, cakes and tomatoes.  Rowland called Earl, told him the man he wanted to see would be in Minden Monday, so Earl is going up there.  We also told Rowland we were coming down tomorrow.  I had just sent a wire when he called. We washed the car and fixed up everything to leave.  Oh, how I hope Earl gets the job!  It seems like a dream for us to be hunting a job, and to get on that may lead to somewhere seems even more fanciful.

August 3, Sunday

Rain all morning, sunny afternoon.

We left here at 5:15, got to Rowland’s at 8:05.  Had the very nicest day imaginable, because Velma decided she’d call Nelson and ask them out in the afternoon, and they came, also Quitman and Essie, and Jewel and her kids.  But to have the feud end between the R.C.’s [Rowland] and the N.O.’s [Nelson] was more than worth the trip.   Rowland was so glad, and I’m sure they all were, I do hope nothing will come up again to keep them from being at least on speaking terms, it’s such a terrible way to live like they’ve been doing.  We got home around ten, Jo Anne and I both have taken bad colds.

August 4, Monday


Earl and Carter left for Minden at five, took Joe as far as Ruston to see Mrs. Kiper.  I went to Mamma’s to canvas the living room, but felt so badly, and it was so uncertain about how long we’d be here we decided not to do it.  Edward came after Mamma and she went home with him.  Earl came about 9:30, saw the man, but couldn’t get any satisfaction out of him, he told him, he was too early yet.  Earl is afraid the job won’t pay very much.  He was awfully tired, and discouraged, too, I guess.  Said he left a message for the man to call him at Sicily Island, he couldn’t get any satisfaction out of him, and didn’t think it worthwhile to stay in Minden.  I hope he will go back Wednesday, when Drexler is there.

August 5, Tuesday


We slept late, Earl worked at the shop and late in the afternoon he put creosote and black oil on the blocks of the house, hoping to get rid of these termites.  We went down to Kidd’s and stayed til about ten o’clock.

August 6, Wednesday

I mailed the check to Commercial Security for $175 on the car, which only leaves that same amount left to be paid.  I wrote to Minnie Lea and Velma, and didn’t nothing much the rest of the day except crochet a little.  Earl had to go to Peck’s, so Jo Anne and I went with him.  Mrs. Peck loaned Jo Anne seven more books, so she won’t be a problem any longer.  We read “Let the Gun Talk” by Lucian Cary.  Kidd and Edward were here for a little while, she looks terribly badly.

August 7, Thursday


Undoubtedly this must be our age of Distemper, (foot line).  Mamma is sick today, stomach upset.  Earl is worried and unhappy over this job business.  I do wish he’d go to Minden tomorrow, but he won’t.  Jo Anne and I went to Mrs Peniston’s, we hunted a negro for Kidd, but failed to find one.  I had a letter from Velma today that Earl said was a since as any Bippie ever wrote.  I made two crochet medallions.  I’m so anxious to get settled on what we’re to do, this suspense is nerve racking to Earl as well as to me.

August 8, Friday

Hot.  90 degrees at dark

It’s so hot I haven’t done a thing today except what I just had to. Earl worked at the shop, Jo Anne played with Patsy, and we went to Mamma’s after coffee.  Wrote to Aunt Leona, and crocheted three more medallions.  Mamma feels better.

Mussolini’s oldest son was killed in a plane crash yesterday.  But his son is no dearer to him than all these others father’s sons, whom he has helped to bring to death.  We took Mamma to Kidd’s for a while, she looks better.

August 9, Saturday

Jo Anne and I cleaned up the house for Sunday, I ironed all we had that needed it.  Had just got my bath and clothes on when Mrs. Kiper, Bob, and Theodore came.  I made coffee, but they didn’t stay very long.  Read Edgar Allen Poe and crocheted awhile. Mamma was ironing when I went over there, so I helped her, and crocheted afterwards.  Earl is getting things together to go to Minden.

August 10, Sunday

Hottest day yet

Earl has spent nearly all day at the shop.  Velma wrote that they are going to be at Decimal until Wednesday.  We read awhile in the afternoon, went after Mamma and Joe and went to Kid’s awhile.  They came back to Mamma’s and we all ate supper there.

August 11, Monday

Hot, cool shower in the afternoon,

I woke up at 1:45 and never could go back to sleep, so I got up at 4:00, and Earl left at 5:00 for Minden.  He took clothes, bed, etc., said he was going to stay until he got something worth having.  Poor pig! He hated to go without us and believe me, we hated it, too.  I wrote Velma and Florelle while Jo Anne went back to sleep.  Mamma, Joe and I almost canvassed the living room at Mamma’s today, Kidd and Edward brought dinner, but they didn’t stay, both were sick, they said.  Thank goodness Eula May and Carter left today, supposedly for good.

August 12, Tuesday

A little cooler.

Letter from Earl today.  He had good luck in finding his men Monday, but he’s to see another one and he was out of town.  My! How I hope he lands something soon.  And how I do miss him!

We went to Mamma’s about nine, and worked like pups all day long, but we finished the room.  Mamma and Joe were tired, too.  The parlor looks really nice though. Jo Anne and I came back by Pop’s to tell him that we heard from Earl.  I read the Post awhile, but I’m so tired bed is the only place for me.

August 13, Wednesday


No letter today.  Oh, I do hope Earl was too busy to write, had too much to do getting lined up.  This job business is serious.  Jo Anne and I went to Mamma’s, we cleaned up the living room and it looks awfully nice, there’s not a wrinkle.  Kidd and Edward came by, were astonished that we were through.  After dinner we went back home and rested, then to Mamma’s again and clean up her room, figured on papering it, but we haven’t decided definitely.  Kidd is going to buy Mamma a linoleum rug to put in the parlor.

August 14, Thursday


I began mopping the house this morning when Annie didn’t show up, swept down all the walls and gave everything a pretty thorough cleaning, but Kidd and Edward came after I had begun mopping, brought paint and wanted me to come on to Mamma’s so we did, painted all the woodwork in the parlor and Mamma’s room.  Mamma is going to order canvas and paper for her room and if we can, we will do it.  Jo Anne and I had gone to bed, I with “Time,” and she with a book, when someone knocked and Earl was at the door.  And were we glad to see him!  Seems like about half of myself is dead when he’s away. [I love this about them!]

August 15, Friday


Today has been a real scorcher.  Earl went to work, and when Jo Anne and I finished cleaning up we went by the shop, picked up Earl and Pop, and took them to Mamma’s to show them our work.  It really does look nice.  Had a letter from Bessie, and also wrote her, I thought it might be possible for Anna Bess to get a place here.  Read “Time.” Buck and Mildred came by, we went to the camp, they are expecting Mr. Tucker and the rest of the gang for a fish fry tomorrow and asked us to go.  We went to the show, “Wagons Roll By Night.”


1941 (Jan 22 – Jan 31)

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

January 22, Wednesday

Cloudy all morning, afternoon sunny

Jo Anne is sick with a sore throat today. Joe’s fever was 100 degrees this morning, so Dr. gave more tablets.  Tonight it is 101.  I’m so worried about him but Dr. Gordon says he doing all right, it will take time and lots of nourishment.  I’m going to take a specimen to him in the morning for Jo Anne, her eyes are swelled.  Kidd and Edward were here today.  Tobrak fell to the British today [Tobruk in north Africa had been in the hands of Italian forces], and Churchill made a speech to Parliament [This date is only a little more than halfway through the “Blitz” when the German Luftwaffe bombed the city of London and other cities and towns in England between September 7, 1940 – May 10, 1941. At the beginning of the Blitz during the Battle of Britain, London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights.]  Civil War seems raging in Rumania.  Letter from Velma, and I wrote her, Minnie Lea, Red, Aunt Florence, C.L., Lil and Edward cards to let them hear from Daddy.

January 23, Thursday


Daddy’s fever stayed off longer and didn’t go quite as high today, so we feel he’s getting better.  Kidd had a wreck with a school truck this morning didn’t hurt her at all, but damaged the car pretty much.  Edward came after Earl, and we went down and got it at noon.  We went to Ferriday to see “The Ramparts We Watch,” news reels from 1914 through 1940.  It was most interesting.  We took Wed Ogden with us.  Redfield and Uncle Ernest came back by for a while this evening.

January 24, Friday

Beautiful, sunny and warm, but rained last night

Joe is doing nicely, highest point of fever today 100 degrees, and he didn’t have it very long.  Oh, I’m so thankful, he surely had me scared.  Earl has so much to do.  I wish he had some decent help.  I wrote Minnie Lea, had a letter from her, too, and she was awfully worried about Daddy.  I’ve written her every day, so I guess she is easier now. Had a letter from Velma.  I answered a letter I’ve owed Faye for a good while.

January 25, Saturday

Warm and sunny, Regular spring day

Joe had a pretty bad day today, fever 101 3/5 degrees all afternoon.  I was terribly worried til I talked to Dr. Gordon, he said quit worrying, it was just going to take time and care.  Minnie Lea sent a telegram, said let her know about Joe at once, she planned to leave Akron tomorrow night.  We wired her he is better, no need for her coming unless she just wanted to, but I’ve been wondering if it wouldn’t have been kinder to let her come on home. Curtis’ drug store robbed last night.  Cecil and Margaret were here for supper tonight, left about ten.

January 26, Sunday

Joe was better today than he’s been since he was first sick.  Kidd and Edward spent the day, Earl and Edward went hunting.  We bathed Tuffy.  They got 10 quail.  Lil and Aunt Florence came for awhile.  We had a hard rain in the night, everything was soaked.  Somebody robbed Dewitt’s store last night, they arrested Gertrude Week’s boys.

January 27, Monday

I’m so happy tonight I can hardly write.  We had a phone call from Western Union.  Minnie Lea [traveling from Akron, OH] was in Chicago wired us to meet here at 6 p.m. tomorrow night in Delhi.  I went and told Mamma.  Daddy had no fever today, had night sweats last night, and I had to go to Wisner and Ferriday before I finally got the medicine Dr. Gordon wanted.  Edward and Kidd were here this afternoon.  Earl is terribly busy, and Jo Anne has an awful cough, as well as Mamma.  I wrote Velma, and mailed a letter to Minnie Lea before her wire came.

January 28, Tuesday


Joe has had no fever.  I got Edward to go with me to Delhi for Minnie Lea.  Oh, my, I was glad to see her!  And Mary Ellen’s first words were “Where is Earl?”  Her suitcase didn’t come, guess we will get it tomorrow.  Kidd was at the house when we got home, and Earl had just come, too.  Oh, it’s grand to all be together again, and have Daddy getting well!

January 29, Wednesday

Cool, but sunny

Mary came home with me when I left Mamma’s this morning, and played with Tuffy.  Joe has had a pain in his side and is worried about it.  Margaret was here this evening while Minnie Lea was, and we all went back to Mamma’s.

January 30, Thursday

Warm, pleasant and sunny

Joe is still suffering a good bit with his side, but Dr. Gordon says it is a neuralogic pain and not serious.  Jo Anne coughed all night.  Minnie Lea and Kidd at dinner here, Minnie Lea’s suit case came.  Kidd and Edward are moving into Boatner’s house, renting theirs.  Old man Ed Dayton died last night.  Minnie Lea and I took the kids to Natchez this afternoon, got shoes for her, Earl and me.  We stopped by to see Lucille Levy, found her in the hospital.  Joe feels better tonight.

January 31, Friday

Warm and sunny

I’m so glad we’re having nice weather while Minnie Lea is here.  I wish it would last until Joe can get up and get some sun. Mr. York came to see him today.  I had to go to Wisner for Earl this morning.  Mrs. Peck came to see Minnie Lea. There was no school today, Minnie Lea and AI and the kids, went to Kidd’s. It’s a nice house but I’d hate to move out of mine into someone else’s – Helen, Hazel, and Bec Glasgow came to see Minnie Lea tonight.  I made out and mailed all the bills, – $1400.00 worth.  And we can’t even collect $100 of it. We went to see a “Lum and Abner” picture last night, but only they made it worth seeing. [Lum and Abner were an early radio comedy duo. To hear them being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, listen to this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__IB7CNz438&feature=endscreen&NR=1 .]

1941 (Jan. 1 – Jan. 7)

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.