Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Uncle John

Wed., August 23, 1933 - Cloudy this a.m. but cleared up in the afternoon.  Ola and family came in this morning to spend the day.  Ola was helping unload gravel down town.  I went home with them this evening and took our washing along.  Annie and I are going to wash together tomorrow.  Mom has to work at Kochs' tomorrow and at H. E. Simans' Friday.
Thurs., August 24, 1933 - Today wasn't such a nice wash day; no wind to blow out the wrinkles in the clothes.  Edwin came down to help Ola.  When Mom was coming after me this evening something broke in the car and now it won't run.  Edwin, Florence, Louis and I went to the dance Bob Fenske was giving at Hoskins tonite.  The boys and I stayed at Meta's place all nite.
Fri., August 25, 1933 - Came home at 7:00 just as Mom left to go to Simans'.  I slept some more this morning.  Howard came after me to go to lodge tonite and took me home afterwards.  We had some good watermelon for lunch tonite.

I guess I never hung enough wet clothes on the clothesline.  I remembered too much wind wasn't good as it could damage clothes.  I never thought about just enough wind to help with wrinkles.

I just realized I had not commented on here yet about Uncle John passing away.  As much as his family likely wished he could go back to how he was and to stay with them longer, I am sure he and Aunt Helen are sharing drinks and hearty laughs in the hereafter now.

It's not the greatest photo, but I think they'd get a chuckle out of it.  Everyone is so serious here, even Bill while in the midst of a silly gesture.  Grandpa looks downright gloomy.  Or disgusted.  Gotta love this family!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A few questions

Sun., August 20, 1933 - Cloudy and rainy.  Alma came up this explain her absence last nite. She had been to Rabe's and they thought it too muddy to come to town.  Howard came about 11:00 causing me to rush to get ready to go on the Rebekah picnic.  We went to Norfolk to the park south on 13th Street.  Started raining just as we finished dinner.  We went to the Walkathon Marathon this afternoon.  It's disgusting to me.  All they did was walk 45 minutes and rest 15 minutes and so on.  At different times the contestants would sing or talk a few minutes.  I got home about 7:30 this evening.
Mon., August 21, 1933 - Still cloudy and rainy.  I found my flower garden quilt and started working on it again.  Aunt Emma, Uncle Max, Sophia, Hilda, Ola, and Louis were here this afternoon.  Aunt Emma brought some cucumbers and we gave her come tomatoes.  I got a letter from Mildred Andersen today inviting us to a wedding dance they're giving for Walter Nelsen this Friday evening.
Tues., August 22, 1933 - We had quite a bit of rain today.  Mom went to Koch's to do some canning this morning.  I worked on my quilt.  Mom and I read this evening before going to bed.

I have some questions here:

1.  Grandma apparently misplaced a quilt she was working on?  That seems a bit hard to believe.  I thought at such a tender age, that she would be quite organized and totally incapable of losing a quilt-in-progress.  She would have to be my age, at least, before she started misplacing things.

2.  I wonder who Walter Nelsen was marrying since the dance was apparently only for him.  (I'm being silly on this one.)

3.  Wait.  What?  Grandpa was early, or Grandma was late getting ready for something?  Sorry, but neither of those situations makes any sense to me whatsoever.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer school

Thurs., August 17, 1933 - We had a Theory test today and a "follow directions" test in English.
Fri., August 18, 1933 - The last day of summer school!  I checked in my books this morning and got my refund from the office, $2.50 on books, and 40 cents on the locker key. I met Alma at the Court House.  We talked to Miss Sewell awhile.  When we got to Aunt Mildred's a photographer was there taking pictures of the baby.  Alma, Mom and I stopped down town for a malted milk before we came home.  Early to bed this evening.
Sat., August 19,1933 - I spent the day in playing lazy.  I slept late this a.m., had a nap this a.m. and this afternoon.  I went down town to find Alma to go to the show with her.  Before I found her Howard found me.  We went to the show at Wayne, Richard Barthelmess in "Heroes for Sale."

I think I would like this movie.  From wikipedia:

     A veteran of the Great War, Thomas Holmes (Richard Barthelmess), struggles to make his way in civilian life in almost every way imaginable. In the opening scene of the movie, Tom and his friend are on a mission to gather intelligence by capturing a German soldier. Tom's friend, the banker's son Roger Winston (Gordon Westcott), in terror, refuses to leave the shell hole so Tom volunteers to go alone.

     He captures a German but is apparently killed; in fact, he has only been wounded, and the Germans take him to their hospital to recover. His friend Roger Winston returns to the safety of American lines with the captured German soldier and is rewarded with a medal for it; his feeble efforts to refuse credit are dismissed as modesty, and he comes home a decorated hero. During Tom's captivity, German doctors treat his pain with morphine and he becomes addicted to the drug. After Tom returns from the war, Roger offers him a job at his father's bank out of shame.

     But Tom's addiction costs him his job. Exposed as an addict, confined and cured in an asylum, he comes out in 1922, unemployed and alone; his mother has died, apparently of shame and grief, while he was away. Heading to Chicago, he happens upon an apartment over a diner, run by kindhearted Pop Dennis (Charlie Grapewin) and his daughter Mary (Aline MacMahon). Tom finds a job in a laundry, and a romance with Ruth Loring (Loretta Young). Always the go-getter, Tom makes good, better than the other drivers on his route, and earns a promotion. A fierce radical inventor (Robert Barrat) devises a machine that will make washing and drying clothes easier, and Tom induces his fellow employees to raise the money to pay for patenting it. The laundry company adopts the machinery, but only on Tom's stipulation that none of the workers at the plant lose their jobs because of it. Success and marriage are his. Then the president of the firm, the kindhearted Mr. Gibson (Grant Mitchell) dies. The new ownership decides to break the deal and automate the laundry, throwing most of its employees out of work, Tom included.

     Furious and resentful, the fired employees march on the plant to destroy the machines, as Tom does his best to stop them. In the riot with police that follows, Ruth is killed trying to find him, and he is arrested as a ringleader of the mob. Tom is put away for five years in prison; in the meantime, the invention he helped finance continues to sell nationwide, throwing countless other people out of work. When Tom gets out, it is 1932, the heart of the Depression. Unimaginably rich, he refuses to take the proceeds, which by now amount to over fifty thousand dollars. Instead, it goes to feed the endless line of hungry and jobless that come seeking a handout at the diner that Pop Dennis and Mary run. When "Red Riots" break out, the local city "Red Squad" arrests Tom and drives him out of town.

     Without work, at the mercy of a society in which unemployed men are turned into hobos and every community orders them to keep moving on, Tom finds himself in one hobo shantytown, next to Roger, his old army comrade. Roger Winston, too, has been ruined; his father stole from the bank and when exposure came, killed himself. Roger served time in prison. Now neither of them has any prospect, any future. The difference is that Tom, in a stirring speech, asserts his faith that America can and will restore itself, that he can lick the Depression. Still driven on by authorities, with no prospect in sight, he marches ahead, determined that this is not the end. And back at the diner, the line of needy continues to stretch down the street, all of them being fed by the funds he provided, and on the wall a plaque honors him for his gift. The movie closes with his son looking at it and declaring to Mary that when he grows up, he means to be just like his Dad. The message is clear: a hero in war, Tom is a hero still.

I note the running time of the movie was 76 minutes (some of the original has been lost).  That's a lot of stuff to have happen in that amount of time.  Wikipedia describes the movie as "haunting and powerful."

Glad for Grandma that summer school is over.  I didn't go to summer school my first two years of college and ended up kicking myself for not doing so once I did start going.  I liked having fewer classes to concern myself with and really liked the compressed time from start to finish.  We got down to business and got things done.  I particularly enjoyed my accounting class.  Had I taken it sooner in my college career, I might well be an accountant right now.  But, c'est la vie.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Goodness sakes!

Wed., August 9, 1933 - Rained a few minutes this morning about 5:00.  I took my sign-out sheet to Mrs. Coyle.  I'm glad there is only one more to take to her.  I worked at the library until 3:00.  Got a letter from Alma.  This evening Gerald and I worked jig-saw puzzles again.
Thurs., August 10, 1933 - We had a Theory test today.  I worked late at the library tonite.  This evening Gerald and I played Pinochle.  We had some ice cream that Uncle Chris brought from town.
Fri., August 11, 1933 - Quite warm today.  I came home from school early.  John took me to the train this evening.  The Walkers weren't at the

There Grandma goes again, stopping without completing a sentence.  Also, we have no diary entries again until August 17th, which is only a five-day hiatus.  Incidentally, there are five more hiatuses in 1933.  Spoiler alert -- we don't know what Grandpa gave Grandma for a Christmas present.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A different NRA

Sun., August 6, 1933 - Got up just in time to go to church with Mom.  Slept most of the afternoon.  Howard came before I was ready this evening so I had to hurry.  I drove to Wayne.
Mon., August 7, 1933 - Uncle Chris doesn't go to work now until 10:00 because of the N.R.A.  I bought some school material from a Harter representative at school.  We had to wait until about 12:30 at the Campus Inn this noon before there was room for us.  I got a letter from Mote asking me to spend this next weekend with her.  Gerald and I worked jig-saw puzzles tonite.
Tues., August 8, 1933 - My walk to school this a.m. rather tired me.  I worked in the library until 5:00 this afternoon.  Wrote to Mom, Howard, and Mildred W. this morning.  I finished my jig-saw puzzle soon after supper.  Went to bed at 9:00.

Being rather confident that the National Rifle Association had nothing to do with when Uncle Chris went to work, I looked up other NRAs and found (via wikipedia) the National Recovery Administration, to wit:

     The National Recovery Administration was a prime New Deal agency established by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in 1933. The goal was to eliminate "cut-throat competition" by bringing industry, labor, and government together to create codes of "fair practices" and set prices. The NRA was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and allowed industries to get together and write "codes of fair competition." The codes were intended to reduce "destructive competition" and to help workers by setting minimum wages and maximum weekly hours, as well as minimum prices at which products could be sold. The NRA also had a two-year renewal charter and was set to expire in June 1935 if not renewed.

     In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared that the NRA law was unconstitutional, ruling that it infringed the separation of powers under the United States Constitution. The NRA quickly stopped operations, but many of its labor provisions reappeared in the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), passed later the same year. The long-term result was a surge in the growth and power of unions, which became a core of the New Deal Coalition that dominated national politics for the next three decades.

     The NRA, symbolized by the Blue Eagle, was popular with workers. Businesses that supported the NRA put the symbol in their shop windows and on their packages, though they did not always go along with the regulations entailed. Though membership to the NRA was voluntary, businesses that did not display the eagle were very often boycotted, making it seem mandatory for survival to many.

The things you learn snooping in your grandmother's diary.  Also, I would love to lay hands on any letters Grandma wrote to Grandpa during this period.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Back at it, sort of

Thurs., August 3, 1933 - Cleared up a little today. I
Fri., August 4, 1933 - Still cool enough so I had to wear my jacket to school today.  This evening Uncle Chris, Aunt Mildred, Gerald and I played Bridge.  Uncle Chris and I won 2 games and the others won 2.  I made some fudge, after that Gerald and I stayed up until 1:00 putting a jig-saw puzzle together.
Sat., August 5, 1933 - Really hot today.  I worked in the library until 5:00.  Mom met me at the train.  Howard came up this evening.  We went out to Ola's for a few minutes then started to a dance south of town.  It started to rain hard when we were a mile south of town; we turned around and when meeting a car just about slid into the ditch.  Howard had to put chains on before we could go on.

Grandma apparently was so unused to writing in her diary after her short hiatus that she quick before finishing her second sentence.

I looked up Bridge to see if I could find anything interesting to share, and I did not.  Lots of information, to be sure, but none particularly fun.  To me, anyway.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Here we go again

Mon., July 24, 1933 - We had a test in History, it didn't seem so bad but I suppose I won't get such a good grade.  I was up at Mary's room at noon and at 3:00.  I took Florence and her slippers down to the Shoe Shop when I went down town after school.  Gerald, Uncle Chris and I played Pinochle.  Got a letter from Alma.
Tues., July 25, 1933 - Florence didn't go to dinner today, she was ill.  I bought a meal ticket at the Campus Inn.  I studied at the library until 5:00.  John, Gerald and I acted foolish this evening as usual.

I have only two days here because Grandma took another hiatus from her diary in 1933.  Staying out late with Grandpa, I suppose.  With all this going on, I decided to look for an article about dating/courtship in the 1930's.  Michelle Cox, writing for "Daily Urbanista" did not disappoint:

     Dating and romance in the 1930’s, while all about “having fun,” was decidedly a more formal affair than it is today. However, the 1930’s saw a departure from the stiff Victorian and Edwardian systems in which a young man “called upon” a woman to whom he was attracted. This involved him going to the girl’s house, sometimes by appointment, to sit with her in the presence of her parents or a designated chaperone in order to get to know her better.

     Obviously, no physical contact of any kind was allowed unless stolen in the rose garden when the chaperone was perhaps distracted. The lower classes, however, often times did not have the actual space to entertain potential suitors and therefore often met outside the home, popularizing the concept of “going on a date.”

     However, the devastation of WWI paired with other economic and social upheavals such as Prohibition, the women’s rights movement and the Great Depression brought a change in some of the more strict rules surrounding many societal norms, dating and courtship included. The concept of “calling upon” a girl by the upper classes began to give way to the “dating” practices of the middle and lower classes, which involved getting to know each other at a movie or a dance. The increasing popularity of the automobile also made it possible for young couples to get away from the confines of home and the pesky prying eyes of the chaperone. Dating became a more relaxed activity and the concept of “having fun” entering the equation, though the ultimate purpose in these endeavors was still to find a marriage partner. Going on dates to dances, soda shops, theaters, and restaurants – depending on what one could afford – became the norm.

     That being said, what was acceptable and expected was still very different from today’s standards, especially for (who would have guessed?) the woman.

     Men in the 1930’s were still supposed to be as chivalrous as they had been in previous decades. However, it was their responsibility to plan, execute and pay for the evening out. All of the usual niceties and behaviors were still expected as well, of course, such as offering the lady his handkerchief or his jacket if she shivered or even mentioned the weather in any way, getting the door for her, holding out his arm for her as they walked (lest she fall), and even by insisting on walking on the side nearest the street, clearly the more dangerous position. Men’s fashion at the time furthered the image of the man as the responsible protector. Suits were cut to suggest a large, upper body, with coat collars coming down to form an attractive “V-neck” and shoulder pads added to emphasize a masculine, square appearance.

     Women’s fashion, correspondingly, suggested a more lady-like appearance than the decade previous; the short boxy, androgynous dresses of the flappers giving way to a more curvy style that accentuated the female form. Softer fabrics and styles which hugged the figure, such as the bias cut, became the rage, as did the disk-like hats tilted to one side instead of the cloche hats that hid the forehead. Hairstyles became softer and more feminine as well.

     A woman’s rules on a date were much more explicit than a man’s, as illustrated by this article originally published in in Click Parade magazine. Whilst on a date, the magazine suggested that the woman should follow these handy guidelines:

1. Don’t keep your date waiting. Finish all of your dressing in your boudoir, not in the hallway or front room while he is waiting.

2. Don’t tug at your girdle; if you need a brassiere, wear one! And don’t wear wrinkled stockings.

3. Don’t use the car mirror to check your hair or make-up.

4. Don’t sit awkwardly or appear bored.

5. Don’t display vulgar habits, such as chewing gum.

6. Don’t smudge his handkerchief with lipstick.

7. Don’t talk while dancing; it is distracting and annoying.

8. Don’t discuss your gown or clothing at all. Conversation should flatter him; only talk about things that interest him – not fashion!

9. Don’t caress or touch your date in any way! No hand-holding in public, and do not allow his arm to be around your shoulders during a film.

10. Don’t cry or be sentimental or attempt to get him to talk about his feelings; this is distressing to him.

11. Don’t be “familiar” with the waiter or any other man besides your date; give him your undivided attention.

12. Don’t drink too much alcohol or be silly; this will humiliate him.

     I don’t know about you, but we’re certainly glad we don’t have to abide by these 1930s dating tips for women.

     The 1930’s were definitely an interesting time in history. Caught between the World Wars, they had their own sense of time and place. Gone were some of the more hierarchical rules surrounding courtship and romance, and, though certain societal expectations remained, a new sense of gaiety and fun was evolving. To modern eyes, however, the thirties still look charmingly old-fashioned, and, well, maybe even a bit quaint.