Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hazel's Diary

When I was a child, I thought of my Aunt Hazel with almost the same reverence that I had for the princesses in the fairy tales I read. She was that beautiful and that kind.

Hazel was actually my great aunt by marriage to Loren, my grandmother's younger brother. Part of the enchantment might have been that we didn't see them often. We lived in Missouri, and they lived in the Washington, D.C., area. My uncle worked at the Pentagon. Family legend has it that in the course of his job, he designed a turret on the tank that brought down the troops of Rommel, The Desert Fox.

When Hazel died in 1991, at the age of 86, we learned that she had kept diaries fairly consistently since the time she was a schoolgirl. Most of the entries are mundane, describing her activities for the day, what they had for dinner, what movies they saw, etc. All of them, though, offer a glimpse into her life, her love for her husband and especially for her mother, Sadie (whom she nicknamed Sado in the diaries). A glimpse into the past in the simple words of one American woman.

The photo above was taken in 1942. Here are the entries for just a few typical days that year:

Mon-May 4
Hot & sultry. To Hecht's this AM to get my mother some pajamas & our cards. This aft - Mary Peck, Moran & Thurston & I went up to the Girl Scout place on Stafford and registered for our sugar ration cards - L, Boots (her dog) & I - to P.O. before supper to mail our packages for Mother's Day. For short ride - Home for supper. Letters from our moms - Reba Bailey left today for San Diego - 3500 miles.

Tues - May 5
Stayed home all day. Ironed. Made bran muffins tonight. Bee in. Washed head.

Weds - May 6
Corregidor fell today! Spent 2-1/2 hrs. at Red Cross this aft - Rather chilly. Letter from Sado.

Thurs - May 7
I loved today. It rained & rained & how the good old earth needed it! Stayed home & studied & embroidered. Finished "Dragon Seed" by Pearl S. Buck. Didn't care for it. Bee in this aft. Sweet Mother's Day cards from my Mom. Loren sold our 1936 Lincoln Zephyr today to Stewart Motors: 6th & New York Ave - Check for $141.64 - They "absorbed" a $25.00 repair bill. The check will buy Defense Bonds.

Fri - May 8
Chilly this AM. Seems strange when I realize we have no car. But with gas rationing & no more tires there are hundreds who'll give up cars before war's over. Had phone service continued. Card from Sado - She was in Excelsior Springs, Ark., on convention From Tues till Thurs - Worked at Red Cross from 1-4. Made 50 4X4 Surgical Dressings.

Hmmm. Seems like war affected the average citizen in this country more in 1942 than it does today.


  1. Glad you enjoyed your visit...and from the dream you described you would probably truly love where we live. BUT! The nearest grocery store is thirty miles away and to do any *real* shopping we have to make the ninty mile trip into Sante Fe! Other than that, life here is truly heaven.

  2. I loved 'Prodigal Summer' and have appreciated everything of Barbara Kingsolver's I have read! If you would like to email me privately my address is


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