1941 (July 16 – July 31)

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

July 16, Wednesday

Clear, hot

Earl said the paper said the job at Columbus wouldn’t open for another month. It surely does worry me, we need the money. Earl is making the trailer. We went to Ferriday and got some things we needed for it, took Pop. Met Luther and went around to his house a few minutes, they have moved back to town, Bookie had a wreck and broke his leg again. We bought watermelons and ate them at Julia’s with Nelson and Faye. Miss Willy came to see me a little while, she wanted news of the wedding to send to the paper.

July 17, Thursday

Clear and hot

Nelson and family left today, Earl finished the trailer and painted it. It looks really nice, and I’m so glad he made it. I varnished the table top one coat, and painted some on the dog house roof, it was Jo Anne’s job. It’s a horrible color, but Earl said we’d keep it from rusting and paint it again later, when we fix the house. I went to Mamma’s a few minutes, Joe and Pop drank coffee with us. Jo Anne helps me so much, she doesn’t seem to mind washing dishes nor helping in any way. She’s a sweet kid. We have had no mail in several days.

July 18, Friday

Sunny and hot

We started to build the tent today. It has gone very slowly. We got the floor figured out in sections, and put together. Kidd and Edward came pretty late and went to Mamma’s, also to the corn patch for roasting ears. We read “Silver Spoon” before going to bed.

The war news seems about the same. The Russians are fighting, but slowly giving ground, it looks like soon Hitler will have full control. We are waiting to be picked off like Holland, Belgium, and France.

July 19, Saturday

Very hot.

As soon as I could clean up, I went to the shop this morning. We got the tent completed by working all day long, with Joe helping us, too. It was a big job, but I hope now we can assemble it easily. We went to Kidd’s after dark, she said she’d had fever. I wrote a paper for her. Mamma went with us. Carter and Eula May came back. Poor Mamma, I wonder how long, she’s going to have to put up with that. Goodness knows it’s surely not right. I’d as soon die right now as think I had to live a month with Eula May, and she’s been there a month this time.

July 20, Sunday

Rain in the afternoon

Earl decided to work today and give Pop and Oliver the day off. I cooked dinner early, then Julia asked us to eat with them, so we did. We stayed at the shop for a long time, read “Silver Spoon”, and Earl fixed the light on the clock and glove compartment. Then we decided to go get Bep [dog], and did. She’s terribly poor, and ate like a starved thing when she got home. She was glad to get here, too. Julia let Jack [dog] out, so I guess we will keep them both. Earl had a letter from Cecil saying it didn’t look like the Columbus job would open in less than 90 days.

July 21, Monday


We ate dinner at Mamma’s, and Earl worked on Alvin’s tractor all morning. Pop and Julia were here for coffee. Jo Anne found the termites had eaten holes in her baby book. She made candy. I had a letter from Florelle, she wants us to come out there, but I’m afraid we can’t go. I wrote to her, Minnie Lea, Velma, and Fortuny. Earl called Edward and told him to come go to see “Arizona” with us, which he did. Miss Mollie fell and broke her leg today, and her blood pressure is 280.

July 22, Tuesday


Today the news that greeted me when I got to the shop was that Dee Wade had committed suicide. Nobody seems to know why, but the idea is that he and his wife were having trouble. It’s such a pity, he was one of the most pleasant men I’ve ever known, always smiling or joking. You can never tell what troubles are gnawing away at the heart, regardless of what sort of courage one faces the world with. And I can never find it in my heart to condemn a person whose trouble is so great that life no longer has a meaning nor a value to him. I don’t believe it’s the right solution, though.

July 23, Wednesday

Hard rain before we got up, clear afterwards

Earl loaded the trailer with the tent etc., and cleaned out the the blacksmith shop to put it in. It’s been terribly hot today. And Earl and Edward went fox hunting tonight. Got in about 3.  Mamma, Jo Anne and I rode out and listened to the dogs awhile, but the mosquitos were bad so we came in. I’ve read everything in the house, waiting. My, it’s hot all day and all night, too. Saw Burk this morning, he and Augusta had just come from Hot Springs. He said Mary is better, but this is a hard time for her, the anniversary of Roy’s death.

July 24, Thursday

Sunny and hot.

We cleaned up and went to Mamma’s awhile. It’s too hot to do very much. Mamma and Joe are thinking of going to Baton Rouge, I do hope they will. We read “Silver Spoon”, and started “Aloha Means Goodbye”, in the Post. I read “Time” all day.

Japan is moving in on French Indo China, and I am afraid the war is nearer to us than we think. The U.S. began the freezing of Japanese credits this morning, so that means Japan is definitely off the fence she has tried to straddle so long and is in the German camp.

July 25, Friday


Letter from Velma this morning, she thinks they will go to Grand Isle for two weeks. They want us to come down Sunday, but I don’t know that we will even think of it. If Earl would, and hunt a job Monday – but it isn’t going to be easy to know what’s right to do. Kidd came today, we went to see “The People vs. Dr. Kildare” tonight, which was pretty good. Eula May and Carter went to Olla, which they should have done long ago, or down to the camp, one. Now it’s doubtful if they will be gone long enough to miss them. Margaret came by, just got in from Leesville.

July 26, Saturday

Hot and sunny.

Jo Anne and I cleaned up, and when we went to the shop Earl had decided to clean and polish the car, so we went to Mamma’s and got soft rags and worked on it all day long. I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep tonight, we’ve worked so hard. War seems very near, to me. I know there are lots of things that must come first, before the people will be ready, before public opinion has been molded, but a right good incident, manufactured or otherwise, would turn the trick in 3 days.

July 27, Sunday

One of the hottest; cloudy late, but no rain

Earl spent the morning talking to Cecil and John; we all spent the afternoon at Miss Mamie’s. Earl wanted that little tiny organ they used to have, and she wouldn’t let him have it. I’m sorry, it’s pretty, and quite an old relic, Earl has a right to it, but no more than she, of course, so if she wants it, he’ll have to do without it.

We went to Mamma’s awhile tonight. Came home and read “Aloha Means Goodbye”. I curled Jo Anne’s hair, but it simply won’t stay curled long at the time. Poor kid, she wants it to curl so badly, it’s a shame. I wish she could have mine.

July 28, Monday

Hot, no rain, cloudy in the afternoon

Earl was to go to John’s and get the truck to make a trailer, but started to work on Steele’s pump, and has been there all day. Jo Anne and I cooked dinner and stayed at Mamma’s all morning and all afternoon. Earl came just before dark, and he and Jo Anne got the figs off the tree. We read “Aloha Means Goodbye”, finished it and read all but the last issue of “Silver Spoon”.

July 29, Tuesday

Hot, no rain

Earl is still working on Steele’s pump. They had to pull it, and put down another one. We stayed at Mamma’s all morning, came home and read “Me Calls’” and went back to Mamma’s. Old man and Lady Rodriquez came by in the afternoon, also went to Miss Mamie’s. I went to Dick’s a little while, til Earl finished up, and we came home, had early supper, and read the last of “Silver Spoon”.

July 30, Wednesday


They finished the pump today. I spent a good while at Mamma’s, crocheted some on that buffet set. Jo Anne spent the day with Patsy, who has an abscessed tooth. Mr. Chamblers came up and talked awhile, and while he was here, Earl got a long distance call from Rowland, said Earl had been recommended for a job to the Equipment branch of the Minden project by Drexler to a Mr. Grosjean, in charge, and he ought to go to Minden and see about it. I’m too excited to sleep, I hope Earl gets it, Rowland said it might be better than the job he had at Camp Polk.

July 31, Thursday

The hottest yet

Mamma’s pump broke down today, Earl worked on it awhile, we ate dinner there.  Earl had to go to Furr’s and Seal’s, has been busy all day, got too hot and has an awful headache.  I read a new Post story to them for awhile, “Rendevous,” but he soon go too sleepy to listen.  We are thinking of buying Sonny Smith’s trailer, he wants $60 for it, but we could probably get it for $50.  Kidd came home, she’s supposed to graduate next Wednesday, I guess she will go back for that.  I made out bills today and mailed them, cleaned up the desk, etc.



1941 (July 1 – July 15)

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

July 1, Tuesday

Sunny and hot.

Jo Anne went to Vacation Bible School, and as soon as I finished cleaning up I went to Mamma’s.  Earl had already gone.  He and Carter worked all day, got the cold water lines run, but no hot ones yet.  Oh, I’m so glad it’s being done, I’ve surely wanted them to have water in their house long enough. I wish we could fix the commode, but I guess we will have to be satisfied with this awhile.


July 2, Wednesday

Earl worked all day on the water system at Mamma’s, and I tagged about after him.  They got the hot water almost finished, but it will take a little while in the morning to finish it up.

July 3, Thursday


Rowland called Earl this morning about a car, so Earl and Carter finished the water system about 11, and we began getting ready to go to Thibodaux.  Dave Clark and his family came by, but we got off at 2 after eating dinner with Mamma.  Visited May Usher a few minutes, and also Nelson and Faye.  The car was considerably more than we wanted to spend, but Earl said it was a good buy, and if we can sell ours it won’t be so bad.  It was $650, we paid $300 down, and want to pay the rest before 60 days to eliminate the carrying charges.  It was after 12 when we got here, in Thibodaux.  We are going to Grand Isle tomorrow.  Saw Kidd on the road.

July 4, Friday

We left about nine and drove down to Grand Isle, got two rooms in a private home, and went sight seeing.  It was too hot to swim, so we went to the docks and hired a boat which took us out beyond Grand Terre, where we looked at the old Fort Livingston, built during the war of 1812, and now partly in the sea.  We saw porpoises swimming about, and surely did enjoy the ride.  Later we went swimming, but Jo Anne enjoyed it most of all.  She really learned to take the waves as they came.  It’s a nice place to stay awhile, we met the Easterly’s down on the beach.

July 5, Saturday


We swam early, stayed in a long time since there was no sun.  Jo Anne and I were sick in the night, but seem to be all right today.  We also went back in this afternoon, with the Easterly’s and got a pretty bad scare when we found ourselves too deep.  It’s lots of fun swimming where the waves break.  We have had a real nice time all the trip, I’m so glad we came.  I think both Jo Anne and Earl enjoyed it immensely, and I always love to see them do things they enjoy.  We will swim early, and leave early in the morning.  The sunset was beautiful today.

Sunday, July 6


They all went swimming this morning but Velma and I stayed and packed up, got ready to leave. Easterlys left, too, Earl and Rowland helped them get the trailer out and going. We left Grand Isle around eleven, got to Thibodeaux about two, but ate dinner in Golden Meadow, wasted a lot of time. Brought Elaine and Lily Belle up to Baton Rouge, came on out to Quitman’s, where we’re going to spend the night. The car seems to be all right, we will conclude the bargain tomorrow. We hated to leave Grand Isle, we all enjoyed it, but Jo Anne especially did.

Monday, July 7

Sunny and hot.

We came into town and fixed up the papers on the car, notes of $175 for Aug. 7 and Sept. 7, and left it to be gone over. We visited Aunt Leona a good while in the afternoon, Anna, Anna Bess, Anna May, Dollie, and Tom came in while we were there. We also went to Jewel’s, and found them living in a negro cabin, just about so bad as they’ve ever been. Came back by Quitman’s and decided to spend the night with C.L. When we got out there, Kidd had been calling us, so we went to the University, she had letters from Margaret and Florelle for us. I am going to be glad to get in bed, I’m tired tonight.

Tuesday, July 8

Sunny and quite hot.

C.L. with my mother at their place – c.1935

I thought we were going home early this morning, but Earl got to fooling with C.L’s garden tractor, so Marcia and I decided to go see a table Beverly [Kate’s husband] had made Kate [Marcia’s sister], and on to town for a pair of shoes for me. We got the play board for the bridge table, and went to see Sis. Fooled around at C.L.’s the rest of the day, left them at 6:00. Had to drive both cars, Earl said Jo Anne should have been twins, so we’d each have a daughter to ride with. Jo Anne said it was my fault she wasn’t, that I could have borned two as easy as one. We stopped at May Usher’s, got home at 10:45. Ate supper in Natchez. Trip cost $25.00.

July 9, Wednesday

Sunny and hot.

I’ve cleaned and put away all day, and the house still looks like a wreck. Went to Mamma’s and Julia’s, and fixed dinner, washed underclothes, took clothes to Liza, and have been busy the whole day with no results. Well, I guess that’s a cross section of life. Wrote Minnie Lea, Velma, Florelle, Marcia, and asked Fortuny for the ninety eleventh time to send my manuscripts back to me. We went to see Edward awhile tonight, took Mamma and Daddy. Burk is getting better but is still in the hospital. The pipe for Mamma was $16.26.

July 10, Thursday


Margaret came this afternoon and asked me to go to Monroe tomorrow. I guess I’ll go, I want to get Sprague a wedding present. We spent a good while at Mamma’s, I wrote Easie and Aunt Leona. Seems as if I’ll never get all the letters written.

The Battle of Britain is rather quiet, but the Battle of Russia is raging. Russia is bound to lose, but at least they’re putting up a fight. England is bombing German and French cities pretty briskly, seems as if she is just beginning to take the offensive.

July 11, Friday


Went to Monroe, got a beautiful pair of pillow cases for Sprague. Mr. Dewitt got a suit to wear to the wedding. We stayed till about 1, but I didn’t buy anything except a belt for Earl and some ribbons for Jo Anne. We were in a terrible rain coming back. I left my dress and Earl’s suit in Wisner, guess I’ll have to go after them tomorrow.

July 12, Saturday

Cloudy, no rain

We cleaned up good for Sunday, I got everything ready for our early departure tomorrow. Kidd and Edward came in this afternoon, we went to Mamma’s and stayed most of the time. Kidd and Mamma went to Wisner with me after the clothes. Daddy spent the day, and is to stay the night, in Winnsboro, visiting friends and Aunt Florelle, who has been sick. We tried to get Mamma to go to Harrisonburg but she wouldn’t, decided we’d take Pop and Julia. We stayed til about ten, at Kidd’s, came back by the Holy Roller church and watched them awhile. Today was Aunt Minnie’s birthday.

July 13, Sunday


We got up early; Cecil, Margaret and Mr. Dewitt went with us to see Sprague and Hazel married. It was a beautiful home wedding, Hazel looked awfully pretty. Cecil said all the bosses were terminated Saturday, and it undoubtedly won’t be long until the other job will begin. Nelson and family came this afternoon, we went to Wisner to see “Ziegfield Girl” – fair. Edward took our old car, said he’d try to sell it if he could. We need to get rid of it as soon as possible. Everything is going up, especially groceries.

July 14, Monday


Earl went to Leesville after the tent lumber today, got in at 12:30 tonight. Said they had a nice trip. Nelson went with him and Carter. He said it seemed the job will open this coming Monday. I washed and ironed, and spent a while at Mamma’s. I wrote Florelle, and must try to do the posting at the shop tomorrow. Faye was here a little while. Mr. Dewitt was out here with no way to get home, so Jo Anne and I took him out there.

July 15, Tuesday

More rain

I’m afraid the cotton will ruin, it’s raining so much during the blooming season. I posted at the shop, got everything straight so far as I know. Jo Anne, Patsy and I went to Harrisonburg to get tires for a trailer, Earl has been working on one all day long, so far it’s cost us $12. I do hope we get orders to go to work Monday, it’s awful waiting and nothing coming in, but all you’ve saved going out. Wish we could sell our old car, that would make us certainty of the payments on this new one. Went to Mamma’s, but didn’t stay very long.