By: Darcy B
California, Grade: 3
September 13, 1938
''Jennifer, come here. I think I should tell you the bad news first,'' Momma said sternly. This didn't look good.
''Yes, Momma. What is it?''
''Well, you see,'' Momma said guiltily, ''your father's company went out of business tonight. People didn't have enough money to buy cars anymore.''
''He was - was fired?! From his only well-paying job! Oh, Momma, those people on the street, I never thought we'd be them! I mean, I was sorry and everything for them, but I never actually THOUGHT it would happen to US, who were doing so well in the first place! Momma, that's terrible!'' I stuttered uneasily. I began to feel somewhat sqeamish.
''And what's more,'' Momma said again, dabbing a tear in her eye, ''In about five minutes some people from the bank will be here to - well, to, evict us!''
As if I didn't know enough already! ''Oh, Momma, how terrible! But please, Momma, please don't use the word 'evict'. It sounds SO cruel!''
We stood silent for a moment. It was just to hard to take all this in! I mean, Daddy had a good job with a good pay, and his business was forever going and had lasted so long, well, it just wasn't what I'd expected! You could imagine the shocked and surprised look on my face when Momma told me.
At first I was sad. I would cry and weep in a puddle, and feel sorry for myself. I had doubted this would ever happen to ME, easy-going Jennifer!
Then I got mad. I raged around the house and up to my room and then I just screamed into my pillow on my canopy bed. No one could hear me.
Then I heard a quiet knock on the door. I knew it was Momma's. I know everyone's knock. Momma's is soft, quiet, gentle, thoughtful. Daddy's is pounding, fierce, booming, mad, and Sis's is just in-between. My knock is similar to my Daddy's. That is because I have such a short temper.
''Come in,'' I muttered.
Momma stepped daintily in the room. How could she do this to me?
''Where will we live?'' I asked.
''The men are here. Remember, be on your best behavior,'' Momma said in a cool, pleasant voice, ignoring my question. Why did she have to hide her feelings so much?
''What are we going to eat?''
This time she didn't ignore my question. She just smiled as if she had it all planned out, the meals for the rest of my life.
''See that long, long line?'' Momma said, pointing out my bedroom window. I was going to lose that glassy window that I always adored in just a few minutes!
''We can get free food by standing in that line.''
''There is a soup kitchen at the front of that long, long line,'' Momma said.
I was stunned by this remark.
''We'll survive,'' Momma added just for comfort.
And I sobbed for the rest of the night thinking of my unbearable future.
The Next Day, September 14, 1938
The men let us stay our last night. I kissed everything I was going to lose, my canopy bed, my window, my ruffled rug, my room! Everything!
I am standing in the long, long soup kitchen line right now. It is so boring and all you can do is sit. My legs hurt.
After a long time we reached the front. Daddy trailed behind us.
''It's all my fault! Admit it, Beatrice! I should have chosen a job at the bank! Apparently that's the only job left around here!'' Daddy yelled nervously.
''It's not your fault, Daddy, and it never will be!'' I said.
The soup kitchen was crowded. The chefs were whipping up the not-so-deluxe food in the back. They were so good to the starving world! They made things to eat FOR OTHER PEOPLE when they could just be making it for themselves to live on! And what else, there was no pay in the deal! Now that is courage. They didn't give up, and I respect that.
We sit on the ground, wondering what to do.
I observe the crowd. Nobody is talking, laughing, hmmm... It seems they're all crying! And most are barefooted! There are a lot of dirty children there that have been on the streets for days. I feel sorry for them and think how lucky I am to have this be my first day.
Momma looks sad. Daddy looks guilty. I don't know what I feel inside, maybe mad? Weak? Hopefully this Depression will end soon. And I mean SOON.