October 30th 1929
Today was my last day: to play with my friends, to go to school and to stay in a home. School today was different than usual; all the rich parents and kids were looking at me in an unnatural way and I watched them glare at me whilst they whispered. During break time, I heard the teachers talking about a stock market crash and that President Herbert Hoover was useless! I wonder if this is another cause that father hasn’t got a job. One of my friends, Sarah, didn’t come today and another, Martha, told me that her older brother said that an economic downturn has begun. I don’t know what that means but I shall I ask Anne later on this afternoon.
Home was very gloomy-I could tell everyone was unsettled. Father had been up to the farmers but unfortunately the farmer had not been able to afford his own food so we were left with nothing to eat. We now can’t afford to feed ourselves and father can’t pay the rent so we will have to move out earlier today. I did ask Anne what ‘economic downturn’ means: she told me that it is when financial problems occur and that leads to communities slowing down economically. Ma asked father if she should work however father has said that it is wrong for women to work when the man in the house isn’t.
Father seems to be awfully distressed; it perhaps might be because father’s friends have still got jobs. They work in highly rich offices and so I don’t think they will interfere with our family or get involved to help us out. Gran used to say that if men were unemployed or lost their job then they should feel ashamed of themselves as they have become a failure and their status has fallen. I don’t know if father’s status has fallen but I know that he shouldn’t feel ashamed of himself as it isn’t his fault at all. It is that President Herbert Hoovers fault like the teachers said at school!
At this very moment, I am packing all of my pictures and memories that I have of this home and of school. We are only aloud to pack a limited amount of things so I decided to pack my pictures (as I said), my favourite clothes and shoes and of course you.
It is time to move out so I best go and until tomorrow my special friend.
31st October 1929
Let me tell you about my new house, it was built by father and a few other kind men.
First of all, we were going to live in a crowded apartment which wasn’t especially nice at all. But then a clever man shouted out that we should build our very own houses which we would call Hooverviles after our miserable President Herbert Hoover who caused all this to happen! It took 15 hours for father to create but it looks good compared to the other huts around.
The house is not like our home but I think you and I can get used to living around here. Don’t you think? Hooverviles are not like houses at all they are small like wooden sheds, I just call them houses so I feel like I am at home. Even if ma, father, Anne and me have to sleep together on the floor, it doesn’t matter I am sure that we will make this house into a home and make it bigger as the weeks and months go by.
The weather here is bad and ma says that if the weather continues to produce strong wind then the hut might come down. I hope that this doesn’t happen and if it does than we will just have to be without a roof until father repairs it. There really is no protection from bad weather like this, our small community packed with tiny houses might even get destroyed and damaged! Oh God, save us from this terrible weather to come!
Ma and Anne have made friends around the town and at times the town gets together to share food. The food is bits and pieces of bread and soup sometimes we don’t get to eat but when we do we make sure everyone has something as we are all equal and deserve to have the same amount of food. Unlike the rich people, who ignore you if you are homeless or have a lower status than them. Discrimination has become more common nowadays and father has told us all to keep no notice of the foolish rich people who carry on with their everyday lives. Everyone is friendly around here and I too have made some friends- Samantha and Natasha are sisters and let me play with their dolls and toys.
I asked Natasha, who is 2 years older than me, why this happened to get a clearer view of why father lost his job. She explained to me that everything was going to become alright and that I shouldn’t worry about everything as I wouldn’t understand.
As father doesn’t have a job he goes round helping others build Hooverviles. He would’ve asked money from them to do so, but as they are poorer than us father told ma not to think about it. It can be lonely here at times but I just wonder around the town or help father build objects for the house. I miss my school and friends dearly but I am going to have to get used to not being with them as this is my life now.
Today is Halloween and every year we celebrate it but as we have become poor I thought to not mention it to ma or father. When I came back for dinner today, Anne (as I knew she would) had asked ma if we could celebrate Halloween surprisingly ma said we could. Even if we were poor we could still celebrate Halloween with the bits and bobs that we had around the house and ma insisted that we did.
Anyway before I go out to scare other kids around the town, I am positively certain that everything will become better and I will pray to God to make lives better and to make this town a steady home to live in.