I have decided that I will transcribe my mother Betty Peter’s Diary Dated in 1942 as the pages are starting to get old, and they are getting harder to read.
There may be incidences in this journal that might not be politically correct, but the historical time and context must be taken into consideration. Terms, and sayings may also have different connotations today than yesterday. (ypm)
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Journal written in a Sterling Note Book
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Property of: Betty Peters
460 W. 147th Street, Apt. 63
City of New York, U.S.A
January 2, 1942
As I sit here, I am writing with the “Eversharp” fountain pen that “Unkie” gave me this past X’mas. It is the grandest pen I have ever had. (Costing exactly $8.75) If I ever lend it to anyone, then I’m a bigger fool than you are “Gunga Din.” I am fifteen years old. My birthday is on November 17. I was born in New York City and have graduated from the following schools.
1. P.S. 186 Manhattan
2. J.H.S. 164 or Edward W. Stitt Jr. H. School.
My favorite teachers in P.S. 186 were: Miss Stiber (my cousin), Mr. Shumann, and Miss Kitchelt (whom I had for 2 yrs straight.)
In “Stitt” my favorites were:
Miss Muller-History I
Mrs. Turner-Art (A friend of Mom’s)
Mrs. Hayward-Off + French
Mrs. Glicksberg-Off + English
Mr. Trifon- Science + Newspaper
Miss Labfere-Assistant Principle
I was given a commendation card for excellent scholarship and conduct in 7B. I was given a Mystery book from Miss O’Conner for perfect attendance, all Term and I was given the book “The Devil and Daniel Webster”
From Mr. Trifon for my outstanding work on the school newspaper “The Laurel Leaflet.”
My best pals in Stitt (excluding the one’s I knew before I went to Stitt were:
I am now a student of the George Washington High School. I am attending….
…the (Isham) Annex at 212th St. and Broadway. My teachers are as follows:
Mr. Sidafsky-Geometry (My Best Subject)
Tomorrow I intend to study for the End Term. Math and French Tests.
I now live at 460 147th Street, Apt. 63 in New York City USA. I have lived in Florida with my mother and Aunt Zara and her family for 2 years. The other cities I have visited are Springfield, Cambridge, Clinton, Boston, Worcester (and many other small cities…
…in the states of Mass and Connecticut. Many Small cities in N.Y. State, Jersey City and many small cities in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Penn. Sistersville, West VA, Washington D.C. (our Capital), many cities in North and South Carolina, and a few cities in Georgia. My ambition is to enter the fields of Journalism, Mathematics, Aviation, and succeed in all. I hope someday to buy a 64 acre farm in Mass or Conn for Mommie and Unkie and some day I’m going to take care of them.
All of the things I’ve written in these first five pages pertain to my history and this book is not going to be about what has happened but what is now happening.
The News of the day “in short” sums up to the following:
1. The United States is now at war with Japan, Germany and Italy. Our allies are England, and Russia both of whom were in the War before us. This is the Second World War. The East Coast has not been attacked yet but the Japs. Winston Churchill, the Prince Minister of England (who by the way I don’t like) is making a tour of the U.S. and Canada. He just left the White House a few days ago. I don’t like….
the way he makes speeches. Oh! Well? (Sigh) who cares whether I like him or not. The U.S. (including myself) is growing very Defense conscious. In school we have air raid drills regularly that consists of sitting on the bare floors of the school hall (on our books, of course) for sometimes even a half hour. On every corner of the street one sees air-raid wardens who are identified by the white strips of materials tied around their right arms. I am helping by knitting squares of wool for the Red Cross which will later be sewn together for blankets for our boys at the front.
Mother has been very sick and will soon have to be…..
operated on. She will have two Fibroid Tumors and her appendicts removed. She is a very talented dressmaker. Unkie is in excellent health and his job is a barber supply salesman and grinder. He is now teaching a Mr. Paschall (with whom we spent last Sunday evening, and who has a charming wife) to grind. The Paschalls live at 745 St. Nick Ave. (Anna Johnson’s house).
Though mother was sick, this last Christmas was one of the grandest we ever spent. It is the first time we have not spent X’mas in Jersey with Aunt Ann, Uncle Percy, and Uncle Sam since 1933. It was…
…simply novel. So many presents. I received $6.00, a defense savings book with $1.00 worth of Defense Savings Stamps in it, ice skates, this Eversharp pen, a pen and pencil set, a blouse, three pieces of skirt material, a gold watch (belonging to Unkie’s Mother), lots of hankies, a sachet, 2 bracelets, a pair of house slippers, a bottle of perfume, a pocketbook, 2 pairs of mittens, 1 pr. gloves, and so many many other things that I can’t think of anymore. I gave Unkie three pairs of silk socks, and to mother I gave a pair of house slippers. I am thoroughly convinced that this New Year, 1942 will be the happiest and most prosperous that we have ever had.
Since this time last year, I have made quite a few new friends I will list them here along with the rest of my own personal gang.
Ruthie Sumpter- I name her first because I saw her a short while ago and she is the freshest in my mind. She is one of the best looking brown skin girls I know. She lives in my house and goes to my school. We “Discovered” each other last summer, and her personality grows more and more interesting every day. She is sweet, smart, and stunning. I hope to be her pal forever.
Lois Mc Calla- is one girl who’s friendship I am going….
..to strive to make stronger every minute. She is the most charming, delightful kid I’ve met in a long time. She is “in there,” “just my speed,” and someone I couldn’t help but have fun with.
Ernestine Reynolds is perfectly swell. I met her through Miss Mary Lee. She went to Stitt. I like her very much and my one regret is that she lives so far away, 138th Street. I never seem to see her. She is very brilliant, a member of the “Arista.”
Barbara Davis is a girl I have known ever since I was about 7 years old. She and I “grew” up together. She has lots of personality,….
…and is liked by everyone (especially the boys). Her hair is as beautiful as her disposition. Well aw riet!
Muriel Arrington I have always considered my “kid sister.” She is as close a friend as I can ever hope to have (when it comes to feeling at home in my presence.”) She and I have had a gay time together and even though I get mad with her sometimes she’ll always be my favorite “sister.”
Betty Washington, a new arrival to the city is another girl who wants to become a Journalist. We had a fine time corresponding when she lived in Chicago. Now she’s in the big city and I…
….find that our opinions clash a bit, however she’s a nice kid and my adopted (purely voluntarily) “cousin”.
Margaret Dickson, (whom I put last only because I thought I had put her name among the first) is the girl I’ve known longer than any other of the names so far mentioned. We were babies together and she used to go with mother and me to visit my grandmother in Sistersville, West Virginia, up until I was about three. I understand her more than she does herself and I am only one of the many who admire her talents for drawing. She attends the High School of Music and Art. I call her “Peggy”, “Stinky” and “Monkey face.”
The seven girls I have just mentioned are my best friends. Of course I have many more acquaintances, but these seven are the ones the people speaking of counting on their fingers. When it comes to boys, I have a more difficult case for the simple reason: I am only fifteen years old and truthfully boys don’t interest me. Oh I know lots of them! But I haven’t bothered to cultivate many of them as personal friends. I don’t yet keep company and have definitely stepped off of the “gang” I was in last year for my own private reasons. However just to have some sort of a record, I will write down the names of the boys I have met in my fifteen years that I have liked the best.
They are as follows:
J. J. Johnson-A boy who lives in Springfield, Mass. I can’t write much about him because I haven’t seen him since I was 12 yrs old. I think he’s one of the swellest fella’s I ever met. He is messy looking (with all this “nearer my Got to thee”) And the day I spent with him in the country (of course I saw him lots of times afterwards) was the most delightful, fun packed occasion I ever spent with any boy. I hope to see him again soon.
Lloyd Rogers, in his day, was swell, gentlemanly and a perfect friend, but now he’s just a drip and that’s about all I can say.
I have never invited Bobby McQueen to my house alone because I’m not the kind who try to steal my best friend’s (Barbara) boyfriend. I’ve known him a long time and have always liked him very much. He goes to Clinton, the most popular High School around where I live, and I have been thrown with him in every imaginable occasion. He’s a square!
Last but not least Billy Cumbo. Though he is my age, I consider him a nice little boy. He has had a crush on me since Lloyd’s Party last May and if only he was a little taller and a little more manly, I might kinda like him. The only thing that’s really wrong….
with him is that he follows Jimmie Thornton’s footsteps like a shadow. It’s alright to have a “drip” for a friend but to ape his “ickyness” is insane. Billy could be swell if he’d only be Billy. I have written just about everything about everything and am beginning to get “Writer’s Cramp”, so I will just end this introductory part of my little “On the spur of the moment Diary.” or “The Necessary material for my Autobiography-if I ever write one.”
If I find there is anything important that I’ve left out (except the fact that my father and mother are divorced, and that he…
…doesn’t contribute a penny to my up-bringing) I will mention it later in this book.
MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
(at the end of the year I’ll check the ones I’ve kept).
I pledge that in the New Year 1942, I will
1. Develop Speed (in everything I do).
2. Make a 100% effort to go to Sunday School every Sunday unless my reason for not being present is a good one.
3. Communicate regularly with all of my friends and relatives (by writing if personal visits cannot be frequent.
4. Organize my studies, business, and music so that they will be accurately taken care of before I (?) ……
5. Keep all of my clothes and other things laundered.
6. Keep all engagements on the minute so as to lose the reputation of “always being late.”
7. Have not a “little” but a lot of fun.
8. Keep my appearance in A no. 1 shape.
9. Not get fat.
10. Be very thrifty and buy lots and lots of Defense Savings Stamps.
11. Develop my personality 100%.
12. Be broad minded on all necessary occasions.
13. Get to bed before 10:30pm (Starting with January 3rd).
14. Keep my nails looking beautiful (for a change.)
15. Remember my duties to My God, My Parents, My Country, Myself.
© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved