Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lola's Diary, Part III

Greetings everyone. I know I said I'd probably be going on a road trip today, but we had torrential rain over night, and it's still drizzling here. Probably by late afternoon or early evening it will be clear, but I don't feel like starting a trip to the coast when it's cloudy and rainy...anyhow, I did have a nice, if fairly low-key birthday. Had dinner with Mom at Chuy's, and while I probably had too much to eat it was VERY tasty as always. It's the only place I've found here where I can get good New Mexico style Mexican food (and there is nothing wrong with traditional Mexican food either, it's just not my favorite.) Anyhow, road trip will start tomorrow...and I have off until Monday, so it's not like there's any huge rush. Also, happy International Caps Lock Day. (I have no clue what that is about but it sounded kind of cool.) And without further ado, here is today's entry from 1944:

March 23, 1944

Today is William Earl's birthday. He was born March 1920. I'll never forget the day Earl and I took him home from Mama's. We had no car and we carried him in his bassinet, made from a large laundry basket with a handle on each side. We were so proud of him. That night when I realized it was up to me to care for him - I felt so helpless - but we managed. He was a beautiful child and the pride of our life. I'll never get over the stark grief we experienced when he was killed January 21, 1931. If he had sickened and died I feel we would have been more reconciled but to be snatched from life by a stroke in the head by a cruel little boy seemed so needless. It has been thirteen years - but I still grieve for him and suppose I always shall.

I don't know exactly what happened, but I think William Earl got struck in the head by a rock that was launched in a slingshot by some other kid; and while Lola never forgave him I doubt the other kid meant to do any lasting harm. He may even not have been aiming at William Earl, for all I know. It was kind of a freaky accident since I think it struck him in the temple where the skull is very thin. A blood clot developed and they didn't see a doctor right away because there didn't immediately seem to be anything wrong with him...he even went to school the day after it happened although I think he was already having headaches. I'm not sure if, back in 1931, there would have been anything they could have done or not, even if they had gone to the hospital right away...but by the time he collapsed that day at school, it was too late.

I brought my lunch to the office today and am here alone. It is a beautiful day and I let Mrs. Parmer off to go home and do some needed work. Our office is now in the same office with Mr. Barton and Mr. Migell - and we help them out by taking messages, payments, etc. We moved in here January 1, 1943 and like it fine - it was so lonely by ourselves. Credit business is off now and we are not busy. The government has made merchants quit selling things on installment without as much as 1/3 down. They have also passed Regulation W which freezes an account if it is 60 days past due. All accounts bought in March must be paid by May 10 or the merchant cannot sell to the customer on credit until the account is paid. Of course there are some evasions but on the whole the merchants have been honest about it.

Lola was in charge of a credit bureau, which her husband had managed until he passed away. I don't know exactly how it worked but back then there was not the equivalent of a Visa/Mastercard system like there is today...I think credit was handled by each individual merchant, and Lola's business would verify whether people were creditworthy or not and as well as manage some of the payments. She was pretty successful with it, and continued running the business herself until she retired in the late 1960's and sold it off. She would have liked for my father to taken things over, but he ended up getting his degree in engineering and wanted to pursue that as a career instead.

Today Mrs. Buckingham, who is 76, went with Geneva to Dallas. She is going to a specialist about her head. There is a place on it that has given her quite a bit of trouble and we are worried about it - we fear cancer.

Tonight is Charles's night to work. He works part time at Brooks Drug Store and makes all his spending money. He is a sweet lamb and has never given me any trouble - nor has Wallace. They are the pride of my life and of course life would not be worth living without them. They mean everything to me and to Mama.

OK, that's the end of the entry and all for today. A lot of Lola's diary entries are not too long...but this means that I'll be able to update my blog more often, even if they are shorter posts, since they don't take very long to transcribe. Hope everyone is enjoying them so far, and I'll see you all...whenever I get back from my road trip.



A cup of Jo said...

Happy Birthday!
Have a fun & safe trip.

Anonymous said...

Poor Lola; to lose a child is one of the hardest things to bear.

It is amazing to think how much things have changed since Lola wrote this entry - how vastly improved medical care is... and how screwed up our credit system is (because we don't have people like Lola, sitting in little offices, making sure we can *afford* our credit, let alone make the payments, and keep the system "honest").

Suldog said...

I am really enjoying these entries a lot, Chuck. How hideous to have a life taken from you because of such a thing. And then to have to live with it, I suppose, is the worst part of it. Death is relatively quick, but grief is not.

Suldog said...

Oh, and Happy (belated) Birthday!

Merujo said...

I hope your road trip is finally underway -- we have the rain now. :)
I'm really enjoying these entries, Chuck.

Chuck said...

Jo - Thank you! I did have a good trip.

Thimbelle - Yes, things have changed enormously since the 30's, haven't they? Not always for the better.

Suldog - Glad you have been liking them. Yes, I think dealing with death is never easy.

Merujo - It was a fairly good road trip aside from traffic jams. Glad you've been liking the entries!