WWII Diary, 1941

Elsie Walker was born in 1892 in MInnesota. She and her husband Ralph Everest moved to Cathlamet, Washington in 1926 and it was there that the diaries were written. In addition to other content the diaries were peppered with quips and amusing clippings. Here’s an example:

“A committe of admirers of the president was trying to decide where to place a statue of Roosevelt in the capital.
They decided it would not do to place him next to George Washington, because Washington wouldn’t run for a third term.
They decided it would not do to place him next to Lincoln, because Lincoln was known as “Honest Abe.”
The committee was very much in a quadary, but after careful consideration, they decided to put Roosevelt’s statue next to that of Columbus, because:
Columbus – Did not know where he was going,
Did not know where he was when he got there,
Did not know where he had been when he got back,
And did it all on borrowed money.”

More from the diaries……..


January 3: Dark, cold, stormy

January 6: Roosevelt speaks to congress – is stirring. Speed in arms program urged.

January 29: Mama died 15 years ago today. Long letters from Jean, Marie and Florence.

February 18: (news article)
All along the Oregon beach clear skies and a warm sun greeted the first week-end
visitors Saturday.

February 20: Hard rain in California. War with Japan in offing –

February 28: Bulgaria surrendered to Nazi Germany.

March 16: Beautiful day. Walked…. went to show in the evening. Passenger wreck due to sabotage in Pennsylvania.

March 28: (news article)
“This is a big news day–one of the biggest in recent months. At least three stories on this page report events that will go into the history books: the revolt in Yugoslavia, the government’s unprecedented action in ordering a strike ended, and the completion of action on the British aid bill.”

March 28 (news article)
“Many men are worried because they think the world is going to the dogs. If the dogs thought this, they’d be worried too.”

April 6: Showery – up late – went to show “Nice Girl” with Deanna Durbin. Turned hem in dress. Coffee.

April 10: Nice clear day. Cool breeze, quiet at office.
U.S. takes over Greenland & Iceland-air bases if needed, to be built there. 35,000 ton battleship, U.S.S. North Carolina commissioned. First in 18 years, 17 more to be built.

April 14: Early fog, washed and baked rolls and cinnamon rolls. …. Britain fleeing Greece.

April 16: Beautiful clear cool A.M. Raining hard at 3:00 P.M. Letter from Jean…
Earthquake last night in Mexico – bad.

April 28: Early fog – hot by 10:00 A.M……Lindbergh gives up reserve officers rank – Resented rebuke of President.

May 24: Beautiful day. I cleaned house all A.M. ..Britain’s mightiest battle ship – Hood blown up and sunk. Hit by German guns.

May 26: Nice day – home at 3:10. Nazi ship (Bismark) hit – Crete line broken by Nazi. Bismark big German ship.

May 27: Ironed after work. Listened to President Roosevelt speech. National Emergency declared – Many call us “In State of War.” Listened to round-table.

June 4: Beautiful day. Washed, scrubbed and baked bread. Ex Kaiser Wilhelm of
Germany died in Holland (in exile). Ruler during World War No.1.

June 19: Made raspberry jam. U.S. Consuls ordered out of Germany.

July 25: Busy at office. Japs (Japanese) on rampage. Assets in U.S. frozen.

August 28: Stayed home all A.M. Work at 6: P.M. U.S.O. open – entertaining soldiers.

September 23: Lovely day – “Dinky” Brownie’s calf born. Quiet at office and in town. Events in world hectic.

October 16: Rainy day. Fall of Moscow – or surrounding. Baked gingersnaps & made apple sauce – just visited in evening.

October 29: Lovely day. My day home. Air manouvers begin.

November 13: Hard rain, wind & electrical storm in evening. Lights out….

November 14: Earthquake in Los Angeles – bad. British aircraft carrier “Ark Royal”
sunk near Gibraltar. Marines called home from China.

November 23: War raging in N. Africa.

December 7: Heavy fog. Japan declares war on U.S.A. Bombs Honolulu, Manila, Iceland. West Virginia (U.S.S.) reported sunk – others of fleet also. Nation on war basis.

December 8: Intermittent rain and sun. Manila bombed – Guam, etc. First blackout all along Pacific Coast. Planes sighted off San Francisco. I used roofing paper to cover windows – only used kitchen in A.M.

December 15: Storming hard…..went to lodge…birthday and Christmas party. War worse all over.. the axis seem to be ….in Russia… Neary 3000 men lost at Hawaii, 4 ships. Brother Billie died at St. Paul N.P. Hospital.

December 31: Clear – hight wind cold – Nearly froze at office. Married 28 years today.
Fireman’s dance – quiet New Years on West Coast. Manila about to fall.

Finis 1941—-

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1 Response to WWII Diary, 1941

  1. Jan says:

    Sue I really like this format for sharing Elsie’s diaries. As I was reading a couple of interesting questions came up. Wish she was here to tell us! One is that I notice she doesn’t write about her job working for the phone company, but maybe it would be “went to work, came home.” The other is that she really seemed to be a voracious reader of the news and thought enough of events to be sure to note them in the diary. Of course WWII would be of major interest, but even events far removed from life in Cathlamet sometime get a mention.
    And lastly, it’s somewhat surprising to find family events like the death of her brother, Bill tacked on other bits of news.
    Perhaps she was a “shy” commentator as she’s more likely to record an event than make a personal comment about it. In any case, she seemed to be intensely interested in recording the events of the day.
    These are wonderful. Glad you are putting them up to share and the bits and pieces of family news give us more clues and a great way to check the accuracy of our genealogy databases for dates! Jan

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