This year of journal entries is remarkable for its echo of our present economic dilemmas. The Great Depression is what we all fear now -- its echo comes in every newspaper. For those coming to these entries for the first time, Beulah (64), married to Sam (60), was my paternal grandfather. Their children were, in order, Bruce (32, my father), May (28, husband Murdock, called "Doc"), Glenn (30, wife Elsie) and Seth (25, the pilot bachelor). The family had moved from Brandon, Manitoba, to Portland, Oregon, with every expectation of prosperity at last. Now they are in serious trouble as the folding camp trailer business is failing and all but Bruce are dependent on it. The first glimmering of today's Social Security are appearing. This is a very tightly knit family because of decades of bare survival as homesteaders in South Dakota and Manitoba. If they'd had cell phones, they'd have been on them all the time.
Jan 1 New Years Day. Ironed nearly all day. Bruce having holidays yesterday (Mon) & today. In evening Sam and I drove to Glenn’s and did a little grocery shopping. Amt.$2.87. (.10 comp books) Bruce and Seth went skating . Men worked in Kozy Kamp factory as usual. Ted Coleman has been at work since Dec. 1st, ‘34. Sam continues at work on his patent paper. Busy at them since December.
Jan 2. Washed white clothes this morning. Also Bruce’s blanket. Set bread last night and expect to bake this eve. Sam went to the bank this AM via Glenn’s store and Elsie went with him to buy paint or varnish at Fuller’s on 42nd and Sandy. Brot me my grocery allowance for Jan. (his and mine). He paid $15 for the groceries purchased at Glenn’s last evening as we had not the change then.
Jan 3 Very foggy for a short time this morning. Coldest last night this winter so far. 29 deg. above. Must take up glads & dahlias. May came up with Sam who took Seth to work, then drove car back to shop. Listened all morning to organizing of new 1935 (74th) Congress tomorrow. Welcome Pres. Roosevelt’s message at about 9AM. Highlights in new session seem to be 1. Reorganizing Recovery Plan. 2. The consideration of the Soldier’s Bonus. 3. Employment and Old Age Insurance. How they will be handled so as to bring employment to idle workers remains to be seen. Some say three doors are open: Socialism, Fascism, or the improvement of Capitalism to produce a better equalization of Buying Power. (“Townsendism” or Plain Americanism!)
Jan 4 Warmer today -- rainy. Listened this morning to Pres. Roosevelt’s message to Congress. He stressed the policy putting those on Relief rolls to work at useful work as receiving a supply of unearned “relief” reduces efficiency, lowers “morale,” and destroys American initiative.
Sam took Seth to work and May returned with him to do some of his “patent” papers. Baked bread for second time this week as the folks like it better than Baker’s bread (for a change anyway). Took up bulbs last eve. Bruce and I drove down to May’s last eve where Bruce gave her some typing to do and to have some barber work done. Returned by Glenn’s store and bot groceries. (2.32) Today when Sam went to the Bank he bot ground beef. (.15) Bot two loads of wood yesterday and the second one was delivered today. ($3.50 each, $7 total) Seth and Bruce both out this evening. Bruce at the Multnomah Club. Seth? Rec’d a nice letter from Mildred (Cochran) Crowley this morning, thanking May and I for flowers sent to Cora Xmas. She has hopes for Cora’s recovery.
Jan. 5 Sat Men didn’t go to factory this morning -- altho Bruce went to his work. Just had chili bean soup and applesauce and fruit-cake for lunch. Mended my hose and made cretonne chair cover for wicker rocker. Did regular work but not much “Saturday” work. Late in PM Sam and I drove to May’s and on way back stopped at Glenn’s and did Sat. shopping. Bot groceries amounting to 2.63.
Jan 6 Rainy today but mild. Bruce, May & Doc went downtown or somewhere to “movie” last eve, dropped in while Seth, Sam & I were having supper of hamburger & “waffles.” Bruce had been to the shop fixing his car and was at May’s for supper.
Today has been quiet. Arose rather late, worked “butter,” had breakfast about 11AM and spent rem. of day preparing dinner of beef stew, dumplings & vegetables, combination salad and mince pie!
Jan 7 Washed in AM - May returned with Sam, after he took Seth to work at shop, so she could finish his typing on his “Patent” mss. as he wanted to prepare them for Billyou soon as possible. Rained frequently during day. Ted returned from his weekend visit at Noma’s this morning. Said he breakfasted at 5AM.
In evening Bruce went to say “adieu” to May, Doc, Glenn & Elsie as he and Mr. Ludwic expect to start for Idaho to attend the Wool-Growers Convention which convenes at Boise City on Thurs. with the 10th inst. After that Bruce will probably remain a while to sign up sheep-men and Mr. Ludwic will return to Portland some time soon. Rec’d letter from Bro. Bert this morning, acknowledging Christmas pkg. In eve mended Bruce’s hose and did his ironing.
Jan 8. Bruce left this morning soon as he could finish his packing after breakfast. Expected to join Mr. L. downtown. Sam went downtown after taking Seth to work to turn in his revised patent claims to his attorney so I have been alone nearly all day. Sam was here for lunch. Baked cake at suppertime and have put in day at odd jobs. Shook dirt from my bulbs down in basement. Sam had a little fire adventure in the basement last eve. as the ashes in the barrel had been smouldering for some time evidently, nothing serious but had to use water freely. [This made a great impression on everyone. At 5103 the furnace ashes were put into big closed metal pails left over from painting the house.]
After Bruce left this morning, upon entering my room to do the work there I was pleased and “touched” to find a lovely photo of him standing on my dresser! He had stepped in and left it there when I wasn’t looking. It means a lot to me. Rec’d from Mrs. Williamson this morn, Jan 8 ‘34 amt on her note $80.00 Canadian.
Jan. 9 Spent most of the day mending Sam’s short gray overcoat, sewing on buttons, mending snags, sewing up rips and button holds. [sic] Cooked beans for supper.
In evening Glenn came up and he, Sam and Seth went to the Auditorium to see a wrestling match afer reading for a while and “tuning in” for the 8 o’clock news I lay down on the davenport and napped until the Richfield news was over. I was just turning off the switch when I caught Hughy Long’s name in the announcer’s voice so waited a moment and found the LA Senator was about to treat us to some of his oratory from Washington DC so I tucked myself up under the rug again and listened to the famous “Kingfish” for half an hour, talking about his “Share the Wealth!” program and advising his listeners to form clubs to push the idea which has several objectives.
1. Graduated Income taxes.
2. Free Education for young folks.
3. Work for everybody & everybody work.
4. Incapacitated cared for as a public charge.
5. Old Age retirement on pensions to insure comfort.
6. Prevention of accumulating mammoth fortunes but opportunity of accumulating sufficient.
7. Stimulation, not curtailment of production.
8. Money forced into circulation so consumers can buy necessary products thus stimulating industry and employment.
Sam and Seth brot groceries from Glenn’s. 5# sugar .24, roll waxed paper .08, 4 C. milk .24 = $.56
Jan. 10 Grew quite chilly last night in the night. Froze quite a little. 2 or 3 deg. frost. This is the second freeze of the winter by our thermometer. Washing blankets and bed spreads today. Heated water with fire in kitchen incinerator and ironed Monday’s wash this afternoon. Letter from Georgia Coleman this morning in reply to my Christmas pkg.
Jan 11 Finished hanging out bedclothes washed yesterday. Hung up bedspreads out on line at first as the sun was shining but before long it clouded over and sprinkled quite briskly for a short time so I hung them on lines on the porch alongside the blankets. Quite cool during earlier half of day but more moderate in PM. Letters today from Tom [Sam’s brother in SD] and one from Mrs. Cole. In PM I ironed shirts, etc., washed yesterday which will lighten the laundry for next Mon. In evening Seth went to dance. I started letter to Jean [Sam’s sister in Oklahoma] and wrote receipt for Mrs. Williamson’s draft of $180 rec. Tuesday.
Jan 12 Rainy today. Sam arose as usual and did some writing. “After” a 10 o’clock breakfast, Seth took him to the shop to get some papers. Since then Seth took the car for minor repairs to the starting gear. Read quite a lot in Alice [Roosevelt] Longworth’s book so I could take back books to Library. Amelia Earhart Putnam landed safely after an 18-hour flight from Honolulu today at Oakland Airport, CA. She encountered fog much of the latter part of the flight but her radio kept her in touch with the world. We are waiting to hear the “Bonus” debate over KGW before doing our shopping at Glenn’s. Later Congressman Patman, I think, rather had the best of the Bonus question (Affirm.). Went to Glenn’s do our shopping, found May and Doc there as the girls had been sewing on Elsie’s new brown batiste dress. Upon “pressure” we remained for supper. Returned home in time for the Richfield news, found Seth had retired. Groceries amount to $4.76.
Jan 13 More or less rain today. Sam started after breakfast to do some demonstrating with the Junior Kamp but learned over the phone that the prospects had given up their notion of buying at present, so he and Doc went to see Frank about coming to work, deciding to let him know later if they could afford to hire him, sales not having begun yet. Seth went skating in the forenoon and Sam brot Glenn & Elsie up with him. They left Elsie to sew while Sam and Glenn went back to the fctory to take a sort of inventory of mechanical implements after which they were all here for dinner. In evening I finished my letter to Jean which I began on Friday. I also started copying Tom’s last letter so I could send the original to Jean.