January 1934

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Mama 1917

1st New Year’s Day. Wash day. Everybody going to bed early tonight. Mariella was home all night last night and back on duty at 1 o’clock this p.m. Friends in today. Francis Louie Johnson, Bud Peterson, and Telander. Chick – board $ 2.00

2nd – C.W.A. $ 11.25

6th – Saturday noon – It’s been a bad gloomy week. Ed worked Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was his regular day off. He went to work Friday but it was so muddy that they came home. He is working today. I’ve been sewing this week. I made two dresses for Julia – a green wool & a white silk, and I altered a coat for Virginia. Mrs. Meier V’s coat $ 0.50, Julia $ 4.00. When Ed came home from town this evening, he brought oysters & crackers and we had soup, just by ourselves. It was awfully good and we enjoyed it even though we were alone.

7th Sunday night – 10 p.m. While Ed is getting the wash water I’ll scribble a little. I think this has been an ideal Sunday. It’s been a bad day and we have been in the house all day. I got up at 6:30 and got Chick off to work. Jimmie went to Sunday school and I just got dinner and that’s all today. Made beef roast and potatoes, peas, cottage cheese, dill pickles, jello, devil’s food cake, and coffee. This afternoon I read a fairy story to Jimmie and Teddy, then took a nap. Ed slept all afternoon. I woke up in time to get Wayne King at 5 p.m. Tonight Judge Adams was in a while this evening. Then we listened to Eddie Cantor and he was good. Now I’m going to make some coffee, eat some cake, and go to bed.

Tuesday – 9th – Chick $ 2.00

Monday – 8th – C.W.A. $ 15.00

Friday 12th I have been busy this week. Washed Monday and Tuesday. Went up town Tuesday and bought a radio lamp and mirror. Wednesday I cut out & got Virginia’s silk dress ready to fit. I got material to trim the dress Mrs. H. gave me for Xmas and have made it. It’s sure pretty. Thursday night I went to a card party at the High School as Mrs. Heflin’s guest. Mrs. Ingels and Mrs. Dennis were her other guests. We had a nice time.

13th Saturday Chick $ 2.00, C.W.A. $ 15.00, Mrs. Meier $ 1.50

16th Tuesday – Jimmie and Teddy have both been sick with colds. Jimmie and I went up to Mama’s Sunday night for a while. Ray was there. Monday I washed and Mariella came home about 4:15, and stayed until 9:30. Then we went to bed.

17th Wednesday – Teddy and I went up town this morning. I got him a little light blue jersey suit and some buck-skin shoes and hose to match and he looks too sweet for anything. I also got a lace table cloth and buffet scarf and I’m just crazy about them. I’ve wanted a lace table cloth for ages I think and I’m just thrilled to death to think I finally have one. I took Teddy and went to the St. Francis Hospital this afternoon to see Dorothy. She looks pretty good and thinks she can go home Friday.

20th Saturday – Chick $ 2.00,  C.W.A. $ 15.00. Last Thursday, Teddy and I went to visit Mrs. Leach. We found her not feeling very well. Mr. Leach is looking pretty good. Friday I stayed home all day. I washed some fancy work in Lux & worked on my bed spread. Friday night Esther and Bert and their kiddies came over. Ed worked Friday until 4:30. They started working 8 hours a day and 3 days a week until further notice. They are making a lot of changes. Letting out some men and taking on others who have more dependents. Today – Saturday he went to work again. The weather stays pretty warm for the work. Ed has only noticed the cold 2 days since he started. I have been busy in the house all day. Chas took me up town at 1 o’clock and I got the groceries etc. Tonight Ed went to town and I bathed the kids and have got them in bed.

Sunday January 21st. Another Sunday at home. Fixed dinner and napped all p.m. We had roast pork, potatoes, lettuce salad, jello and cream pie today. Mariella came in a few minutes this evening. We turned on the radio at 5 o’clock to get Wayne King and listened to it all the rest of the evening. Heard Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers.

January 22 – Monday – Not a very good day, so I didn’t wash. I finished my bed spread and stamped a pattern on my pillow cases that Julia gave me Thanksgiving. I got the pattern from Mrs. Heflin. This is a funny day. It was raining and sleeting when I started writing and now the sun is out as bright as can be. Temperature is up to 46. Ed is working today.

January 23 – Tuesday. Washed today. Ed went to Peoria with Henry. He bought himself a hat and he looks swell in it. He brought me two house dresses. They are both nice and fit fine. He saw Argus’s while there.

January 24 – Wednesday – Ironed this morning. Went to the Group meeting at Mrs. Dunn’s this p.m. Took Teddy. He looked cute in his new blue suit and buck skin shoes. The ladies all thought him a darling. Mrs. Heflin came over and spent the evening. It rained all evening. I helped her fix a slip.

January 25 – Thursday. Home all day. Nothing special happened. Thursday night Ed and I went to the club dance. Had a good time. There was a good crowd and good music – Doc Hunt’s. We went with Pardu’s. Chas kept the kids. When we got home we found a bunch of boys here with him. Don Peacock, Bud Peterson, Francis and one of his school mates.

January 26 – Friday. Mrs. Argus is here from Peoria. She spent the day with me. We had salmon loaf, browned carrots, peas creamed, lettuce salad, beet pickles, mince meat pie and coffee for lunch.

January 27 – Saturday – Ed is working today. His check came this morning. C.W.A. $ 12.00

Total for January $ 83.25

Please note:  C.W.A. stands for Civil Works Administration. It was established by the New Deal during the Great Depression to create manual labor jobs for millions of unemployed. The jobs were merely temporary, for the duration of the hard winter. President Roosevelt unveiled the C.W.A. on November 8, 1933. It ended March 31, 1934. To get unemployment, you had to work. This is very different compared to the current unemployment system of 2012.


Grandma Effie’s First Entry


Susan Effie Martin – Circa 1906

December 31, 1933

Maybe I’m growing old or funny or something, but here I am doing the thing I’ve always wanted to do but have refrained from because it seemed sort foolish, but now it seems sort of sensible – to keep a day book. So here on New Year’s Eve, while sitting here waiting for New Year to come in – just Ed and I alone (the children are in bed) my memory goes back the events of this past year. Such a year. So many things have happened. The depression has lasted so long and everyone down to the bottom and thru it all so many events in our lives. The passing of our dear Papa. Mama’s operation & Ed operation. Many things to tear our hearts, yet some bright spots thru it all. A New Hope rising with the new year (as President Roosevelt says “A New Deal”). Not much money – but more than in 1932. New friends – Argus’s whom we have enjoyed and become such close friends with. We have had such good companionship with only to loose them, for just this week they moved out of town – yet we have determined to not lose each other. Well, who can tell what this year will do for us all? Where will we be?

I’m going to make a note here of our earning etc of 1933 – so we can compare it with 1934.

In January, there wasn’t any work at the Boiler Shop, but Ed was lucky enough to be called on the Jury so I made note of it. January Jury $ 25.10 (the 10 cents was for car fare).

February – Ed helped invoice a bankrupt lawyers property in Galva, Illinois, $  2.00

Papa died on March 1st at 2:30 am. Then on March 28th Mama went to Chicago for an operation on her eyes, which saved her eyesight. In March, Ed worked a little at the shop, $  11.68. He put a lock on a door for Mr. Emmerson. $  2.00.

April 1st – Chas was called to work at the R & K Steady employment. April 15th Mama came home from the Hospital in Chicago. Ed cleaned up Pursell’s lawn, $  3.60. Boiler shop, $  1.37.

In May nothing – no shop work – no money.

June – Boiler Shop, $  11.28. Jimmie and Teddy were quarantined for Whopping Cough.

July Boiler Shop, $  2.00

August Boiler Shop, $  13.48. Having run up a big bill at the Public Service – Ed started working for the company, helping to tear up the old Inter-Urban track to Galva, Illinois – to cut down our bill. He started working on August 9th and worked every day when there wasn’t other work. It was hot, dirty work and awfully heavy. Ed had worked in his garden all summer so he was pretty well tempered to the heat.

September Boiler Shop, $  11.43. On September 20th while working on the Inter-urban track Ed hurt his side and he had to have an operation for double hernia. He was operated on Friday 29th at 8:30 a.m. On Monday October 11th Dr. White brought him home from the hospital. He got along fine and began to pick up and is now looking fine but is unable to do heavy work. The insurance company for the Public Service payed him twice a month. October Insurance Company, $  32.24. On October 20th, Mariella entered training in the Public Hospital. She likes the work fine.

November Insurance Company, $  53.14. On Thanksgiving, Chas bought a goose and we had a nice dinner. Julia and Mama came out and ate dinner with us but we missed Papa so much. That nite Ed and I went to the Good Government Club dance and had a lot of fun.

December Insurance Company, $  37.71. Ed registered and was chosen as one of the C.W.A.  workers. He went to work on December 16th and drew his first pay on Christmas Eve, $  15.00. So at last he has found some work, enough to carry us thru the winter we hope and are surely thankful. He is flagman. Baker Christmas gift, $  10.00. We have had a good Christmas and the kiddies are happy. Jimmie went to Sunday school today. Callers in our home today were Dickie, Leo Argus, Don Peacock, Bud Peterson, Hub Kildow, Fred and Henry Ortsebid. Fred & Henry are here with us now to watch the New Year in. Mrs. Golden, $  0.50 (not sure what this was for, but we guess it was for some sewing).

Total for 1933 was $  232.53

Please note:  The Inter-Urban track was the old railroad tracks. Ed was tearing up these tracks by hand, which was terribly hard work.