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The Diary of Elaina Falan
July 6, 1939
Sunday: For the first time in many years I was full of distress. Mom and Dad had gone to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to try and get jobs, they decided to leave us with the neighbors who seemed to be doing quite well during the economic crisis. Today I had woken up before dawn and I woke up to an empty house, I searched through every room and every closet in the house and there was no one to be found. Then I noticed that the house was empty, no food , no clothes, nothing. I even went outside to find no car. I woke Sarah and told her to wake up the others and get them dressed, while I walked to the food market. On the way back from the food market I slowly realized that the people we depended on most had abandoned us to shelter and fend for ourselves. I came home with a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and five apples to feed my younger brother, three sisters and myself.
Later that day I decided to tell Sarah that we were desperately alone. She took it better than what I thought she would.
"What are we going to do?" is all she asked.
"I don't know." my voice cracked.
I was so scared but I had to be strong for her, for everyone.
When Sarah and I put Johnny, Casy and Sandra to sleep we talked about what we were going to do. We decided to leave once the bank tried to reposes the house. After two hours of talking, Sarah decided to go to bed. For a while I cleaned the house to keep my mind off of what happened today but the weariness seeped through my body, so I to decided to sleep so I could put my mind at rest.
July 10, 1939
Thursday: The last couple of days seemed to be a little harsh.
Monday, Johnny had developed a rash and a fever that would not go down so I had to travel down to the river to fetch a bucket of cold water. I later learned while I was away that Casy had also developed a fever so by the time I got home both Casy and Johnny were drastically sick. After giving them cold baths I decided to go to the Springhill Library and read up on some medical books to see if I could figure out what was wrong with my brother and sister. None of the symptoms of the fever were in any of the medical books so I decided to go to the only nurse that I knew and that would help me. The school nurse lived down the street from where we were staying so I took Casy and Johnny to her house to ask for help. She said they were fine they just didn't have the proper nutrients in them and that they haven't had enough food in them. She asked me if everything was fine and if my parent were well, of course I said that we were fine and my parents were doing very good.
Tuesday, we ran out of the apples and short of milk.
Wednesday, we ran out of milk and bread and the bank had posted a note on the door saying that the house will be repossessed by 7p.m.
Today we are going to start packing and Sarah and I had decided that we will leave Springhill, Louisiana and travel to Baton Rouge. We think that if we travel to Baton Rouge we might find our parents.
Later: Everyone is asleep and I feel really lonely. Not lonely because everyone is asleep but lonely inside because the feeling of abandonment and distress rolled around in my thoughts like pebbles in a can.
Saturday: We left early yesterday morning at the break of dawn. When we started to walk down the street with our few belongings Johnny tugged my shirt and looked at me with his big, round blue eyes and asked tiredly " Where are we going?"
My heart tugged when everyone looked at me with despair. Even Sarah, she is strong but she isn't that strong, she is two years younger than me.
So I said full of enthusiasm to hide my anguish and to reassure them, "To go see mom and dad of course!" and I picked up Casy and we set off. First we set out to the river so we could follow it as far as possible. I remembered in Geography that the Springhill River would eventually lead to Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana.
Later: We found what was left of a tent and I decided that we would stay there for the night. I tried to find dry brush and some twigs to start a fire and cook some of the leftovers we had salvaged from lunch. It started to get a little chilly so I gave Casy and Johnny my blanket so they could have some warmth. Sarah gave the other two blankets to little Sandra. Sandra is only two and she hasn't spoken a word since mom and dad left. I should of saw it then that something wasn't right but knowing my parents, at least thinking I knew my parents, I didn't think they would be gone this long.
July 14, 1939
Sunday: We started off early this morning and I know we are almost there because the sky is brighter at night. We are almost out of food but knowing we will be there soon gives me hope. Today I went through some of my things and I found the oddest thing. I found a letter written from mom and dad after they left to go to Baton Rouge, I opened it and read the letter it said that they had arrived to the city and where searching for jobs. It also said that they were living in a small apartment. When I was done reading it I put it back in the envelope and then my heart jumped. There was an address on the envelope: 621 Redbridge Apartments. I woke Sarah up immediately and told her to dress the kids and get them ready to leave. She looked at me questionably but I answered her question when she saw my eyes shining with excitement. I ran over the hill and I saw what I was looking for the city lights!
Monday: When everyone was awake we started off toward the lights. We finally got to the city and we kept walking until I saw a man on a horse with a badge. I walked up to him politely and asked where the Redbridge Apartments were, so he escorted our little family there. We walked to apartment 621 and I knocked with excitement jolting through every part of my body. A man barely recognizable answered the door .
I asked " Is there a Mr. & Mrs.Falan that lives here"
"Yes?" he said questionably.
"We are their kids, Elaina, Sarah, Johnny, Casy and Sandra are they here?" I asked.
Then he grabbed me in the tightest hug I could ever imagine and he yelled,
A woman walked to the door and started crying full of joy and we all walked inside the apartment and were reunited with our parents.