Friday, March 15, 2013

Bessie Carter Ranney's 1929 Diary - Week 10, March 10-16

(To read entries from my maternal great-grandmother's 1929 diary, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California." All posts are listed there.)
The Players:
The writer is Bessie Carter Ranney, my great-grandmother.  She was 46 at the time of this writing.
Her husband:
Luther Boardman Ranney, my great-grandfather.  He was 59 at the time of this writing.
 Her children:
Kenneth.  He was 20 at the time of this writing.
Alice.  She was 18 at the time of this writing.
Ethel, my grandmother.  She was 16 at the time of this writing.
Viella Crites Hesser, wife of Luther's first cousin, Otho Hesser

Jonathan Elisha "Uncle Jon't" Hesser & his wife, Sarah Catherine "Aunt Kate" Hall Hesser, Luther's uncle and aunt and Otho's parents.
Sunday, March 10, 1929:  "Was rainy off & on.  Went to Sun. School & Church.  Just stayed home in the afternoon.  Lucille came & took Ethel home with her.  Alice & I went to U. of R. Chapel at 4 P.M.  Then home & had lunch.  L. A. & I went to Church in the eve.  Ethel went to Colton with Gerald, Elsie & Lucille."

Monday, March 11, 1929:  "Washed in the forenoon & swept the house.  Luther was home until 11 & worked in the yard.  Kenneth & I worked 1 1/2 hrs. at noon on the yard.  Ironed in the afternoon.  When L. came home the girls & I went up town & got L. a fountain pen for his birthday.  Alice made him a cake & we celebrated for him at supper."
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Tuesday, March 12, 1929:  "Did housework in the forenoon & fixed clothes in the afternoon.  When Luther came home the girls and I went up town."

Wednesday, March 13, 1929:  "Did up the work & made some pies and a cake.  Got up to the Church about 10 and went to Home Missionary & Ladies Aid meeting, went down town & had dinner with Kenneth.  Went back to Foreign Miss meeting.  Then went up town again and met the girls.  Bought them each an ensemble dress.  Ethel went with Elsie to San Bernardino to a show.  Kenneth was gone until nearly midnight."

Thursday, March 14, 1929:  "Worked in the forenoon, washed & put wood pile in the shed.  Luther came home at 11 o'clock & we cleaned the door yard real good.  At 3 o'clock we went after the children then over to City Nursery & got 2 grape vines & a crepe myrtle & Luther set them out when we came home.  Found Laura Dodson here & she made a short call when we came home.  Bruce was here also for his box from the wood shed.  They didn't meet.  Hunter Clark was here to study with Kenneth in the evening."

Friday, March 15, 1929:  "Worked in the forenoon and prepared for trip.  Went after the children at 3, then came home & got wraps etc. and left for El Centro at 3:30 P.M.  Had splendid roads & luck, an awful desert country but fine travel.  Got to Brawley at 6:45.  Went on to El Centro 14 miles but detour & awful road.  Stayed all night at Hotel Panama, fine room & real nice.  Kenneth went to the show but Luther, girls & I got some ice cream & walked the sts. awhile and went to bed."

Saturday, March 16, 1929:  "Kenneth took his civil service exam at Calexico at 8:30 so left for there about 6:30.  Had breakfast there then took him to P.O. & we went over to Mexico until 10 A.M.  Rode around Calexico from then until noon, had a fine ride.  At noon left for Yuma over fine road but awful desert & sand all the way.  Saw lots of Indians in Yuma.  Got dinner & came back to Brawley afraid to stay in Yuma all night for fear of wind & sand so got to Brawley at 6:30.  Went to a picture show.  Stayed all night at St. Regis hotel, a horrid place."

After transcribing these journal entries, my mother and I spent a good deal of time researching the places they visited... especially Yuma, Arizona.  We were curious why they would visit Yuma at all, considering it was 57 miles from where they were.  In 1929, roads were not smooth nor well- maintained and automobiles often had flat tires.  To travel two counties away took the family over three hours.  So why did they add that extra leg to their trip?  Our only theory is that in the 1920's, Yuma may have been a tourist attraction.  There were plenty of Indians there, as my great-grandmother noted.  Also, in my research, I found that in those days, Hollywood stars were traveling to Yuma to get married due to the liberal Arizona marriage laws.  So maybe the family decided since they had already traveled all that way, why not go ahead and visit Yuma?  Once they got there and saw the conditions (wind and sand), they decided against staying overnight there, as may have been the original plan, and traveled back to Brawley to stay.  

But then again, the bigger question would be why in the world did Uncle Kenneth take his civil service exam (which he did in order to go to work with the post office) in Calexico rather than closer to home, such as San Bernardino or Los Angeles?  Perhaps at that time, you took the civil service exam where you wanted to work.  Knowing Uncle Kenneth and his fascination with Mexico, he would have chosen Calexico... the closest place in California to Mexico that he could get.

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