BC: By: Nicole Cote and Kaitlin Anderson
FC: Mollie's Journal
1: Written By: Mollie Mangold
2: Dear Journal, September 14, 1921 My name is Mollie, and I am 8 years old. I live in a small home in the Bloomfield New Jersey. I live with my mom, my dad, my little sister, Kate, and my little brother, John. I go to Bloomfield Elementary School and I am in 2nd grade. My teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave everyone in my class a journal on the first day of school and told us to write about our lives. We can update it as much as we want. This is my first entry and I am very excited to tell you about my life! My family and I live in a small neighborhood with many kids. Everyday all they kids leave their homes to walk to school together, and then leave school at the end of the day and walk home together. On warm days we all play in the street together. My favorite games are jump rope, hopscotch and playing with my dolly, Kit. The girls usually play this while the boys play ball in the street. My neighbor Sarah, she's 8 and is also my best friend and I always get along and play the best games! in the winter Sarah, always comes over on cold days and bakes with me and my mom or sometimes we will join the others outside in the cold, snow. Sarah, and I just started 2nd grade and we are both in Mrs. Johnson's class. My birthday was on August 29th right before school started this year. For my birthday this year my mom baked me a big yellow cake and we had all my family and neighbors over. Every year I get one big gift and this year I got what I really wanted, a pair of pale blue roller-skates! and I practice with them all the time and I have gotten really good! To tell you a little about my family now my brother, John, is 6 years old almost 7 and he is in the 1st grade at my school. My little sister, Kate, is 3 and she doesn't go to school yet. She stays home with my mom some days and on some other days when mom works, Kate stays with Sarah's mom. My mom is a seamstress and works for the tailor 2 blocks away, she only works 3 days a week but she's very good. My dad works for Ford automobile. Daddy has to drive to work everyday because he works far away. He leaves when we leave for school and doesn't come home until 7pm. Now you know a little about myself and my family, I have to go but I'll be sure to write in you again soon! Love, Mollie
3: my dolly Kit | my new blue roller skates | Daddy's job
4: April 12, 1922 Dear Journal, It's been a little while since I have written but so much excitement has happened! Last fall dad came home with am brand new model T Ford car for the family. It holds all 5 of us comfortably and the coolest part is it's made by the company that my dad works for which means he could have built a piece of our car!! Daddy bought it by trading in our old car, although I have only been in it a few times it is definitely the nicest, newest car ever! When daddy first pulled up in it all of the neighbors came out to admire it, and not too soon after Sarah's family bought the same one! Daddy says it's the most popular car a we are one of the first to have it but in a few years almost everyone will have one! Another piece of excitement I forgot to tell you about was Christmas. This year for Christmas with all these advertisements for all the new items they are selling for not a lot of money my parents bought the family many new things. Mommy got a refrigerator a few days after Thanksgiving because she could barely fit the turkey into the refrigerator. Daddy bought her the refrigerator as a Christmas present but gave it to her early so she could put Christmas dinner into the brand new refrigerator. On the eve of Christmas eve, daddy was home before John and I even got home from school to start all of our Christmas breaks. As soon as I got home mommy, Kate, and I hoped into our brand new car and went to the nicest grocery store in the area to buy the food for our Christmas dinner. We also stopped at the butcher to pick up the nicest ham he had. This past Christmas was the best Christmas yet! Daddy bought the entire family a radio for Christmas! We could not wait to plug the radio in and listen! That radio help my siblings and I get through the cold winter we had this year. On the weekends when it was too cold to go outside and play Sarah would come over, daddy would build a fire and we would all sit around and listen to the radio. Sarah, Kate and I would play with Kit and our other dolls, mommy would knit and daddy and John would either talk or play cards. I
5: In March we celebrated mommy's birthday and Daddy took the entire family out to the theater. We saw Charlie Chaplin, it was so much fun, mommy got us all dressed up and daddy bought us each a small snack when we got there. We were not the only ones who had fun every now and then, since daddy's job was doing so well mommy and daddy would go out with the neighbors or with friends from daddy's work to go dancing. Although I was always supposed to be asleep by the time they got home I would wait up in my room for them. Long after I was sent to bed I would here the car pull into the driveway and listen as mom and dad would exit the car laughing loudly as they walked into the house and up to their room. Since things “booming” as Daddy says meaning that all the companies are doing really well right now so Daddy decided to invest stock in the stock market. Daddy says he has money in Ford automobile because he works there and also in the Steel Industry because it is doing the best. Daddy's really excited about his investment because he says it will make us some extra money. Things have been great lately, mommy and daddy have great jobs, we have the car and the radio, I have Sarah and my siblings and all the other neighbors and I cannot wait for the springtime has. Love, Mollie | new radio | New refrigerator | new Model T
6: January 30, 1930 Dear Journal, As I told you before my father worked for the automobile business which brought in a good amount of money. Along with that he also invested a lot of our money in the stock market. Because the money was so good my mother didn't have to do much, but to stay busy she was a seamstress. However when the stock market crashed everything went down hill. We lost everything. All the money we invested was gone, along with everyone else's. Because the economy was so bad, that meant not many people would be spending their money. This meant that no one was looking to buy a car anytime soon. However my father would go to work everyday hoping to have some kind of sale. As the days went on, the hope began to die more and more. On most days he would end up coming home early from work because the dealership was dead. No customers, no sales, no money, meant no job. About three months after the stock market crash my father was informed that he would be losing his job. Then two weeks after that my mother was released from the tailors. The downfall in the economy led to the rise in job losses, including my mother and fathers. However it was no surprise when they lost their jobs, as hard as it was. We had all been expecting it for weeks. It was only a matter of time. But the real challenge was preparing for it. How do you prepare a family of five to live a normal life with no source of income? You don't.
7: My father and mother knew that soon after the stock market crashed, it would only be a matter of time before they lost their jobs. What they weren't prepared for was how hard it would be to keep all our belongings. With out any steady source of income it became very hard to pay all the bills. We first started by trying to sell as much as we could, but it just wasn't enough. With out the bills being paid our family knew we all had to do what ever we could to make money. John and I both tried to get small jobs to bring home some money for the family. Dad also tried to get small jobs from anyone but it was very difficult because he was not the only person looking for a job. Daddy would get small, everyday jobs but nothing that brought in enough income to pay the bills. It killed my father to know he couldn't provide for his family. Without having anywhere to go, we found ourselves living off of what was in our home in the quiet of our neighborhood. It was horrible. It was nothing like our old life. I was terrified we would move to these places called "Hoovervilles", where all the homes were hand made by the people who lived in them. The houses was made out of anything people could find on the street. Cardboard, crates, and scrap wood, it was not safe. Everyday I would just pray we would not end up there. To avoid this from happening Mom decided to open our home up to two tenants. Since we have a large home now Kate and I share a room while a tenant lives in Kate's old bedroom. Mom also converted the extra living room into a bedroom for our other tenant. These tenants pay rent and we house them and feed them dinner. This will give Mommy work to do and we make money off the rent. Love, Mollie
8: May 8, 1930 Dear Journal, Things have been crazy lately and it's been one of the worst winters ever. Moms afraid they will turn off our heat and electric because it's so hard to handle the bills. Although we all love the new radio Daddy will not let us turn it on because it uses electricity. We get all of our news from the newspaper which John is able to get for dad because he helps deliver them. Mommy and Daddy were beginning to get very angry with our president (Hoover) because he is not helping anyone I would hear them say. Mommy and Daddy both lost their jobs and it was beginning to be a struggle to put food on the table for the entire family and all the tenants. We ration all of our food and now Kate and I share a bed with john just to keep really warm at night. The election of 1933 is coming up soon and I’m really hoping Franklin Roosevelt wins because that's who Daddy says should win. Every night daddy reads the newspaper too us about his campaigning telling us how Roosevelt will make things better. I hope every night that he will because I get scared listening to mommy and daddy talking about trying to find work, money, how they will pay for things, or even get food on the table. Sometimes I even hear mommy silently crying into Daddy's shoulder as daddy tries to sooth her. Since John and I have small jobs we work very hard to do good jobs or even work harder than normal if possible just to make the most money possible. Every night we come home and put our money in jam jar with a hole in the lid. Mommy says this money is never to be touched unless it was an absolute emergency! John and I had it almost filled halfway with penny Nickels and dimes, until one day I came home and all that was left was one penny. I saw mommy sitting at the table asked her what the emergency was and where all the money went. She just pulled me in tight for a hug and told me to go up to my room with my siblings. Later that night I heard mommy and daddy speaking and mommy said she went to pay for the groceries and had not money because they spent it all on the bills and that our 2 tenants are 3 months behind on rent. Mommy was scared that if nothing happened anytime soon we would have to move out. Oh how I want Roosevelt to win! Love, Mollie
9: Jar of coins | Listening for news on the election
11: March 21, 1931 Dear Journal, I felt the need write in you in the hopes of getting my feelings out. Sarah and her family had to leave their home. Mommy said that the bank took their home away and said hopefully they will be back soon. Mommy wouldn't tell me where they were going but when I asked Sarah she didn't know either. I cried for days as they took as much as they could carry with them out of their home and moved away. I asked mom if they could live with us but mommy said no. Which I later found out was because the bank sent us the same letter saying if we didn't pay soon the same thing would happen to them. Mommy says this means the bank is “foreclosing” on their home. This means no one will be living there unless the bank can sell it. I really hope the bank doesn't sell it and Sarah can move back in soon. I soon found out that Sarah wasn't the only one that had to leave her house. Soon at school more and more children had to leave. Some kids stayed in their homes but had to stop going to school because they were needed more at home. Our fun neighborhood has turned into a sad place with many empty homes and sad family's struggling to work. Many of the fathers along with my own try to find jobs anywhere they can but it is very hard. The other day mom and I had to take a long walk to the town to run some errands we took a long way off the main roads and out of the cold but what we saw on our walk scared me most. They were villages in the valley of homes built out of scrap parts, with hundreds of people living in them. These people all looked sad, dirty, and sick. All of them fighting for food to stay alive. Mommy says they are called “Hoovervilles” after President Hoover because of him these people have to live here. This is probably the most frightening thing I have seen so far and all I can wish for is that Hoover won't make me live there! I am very scared now and the election is not for another year but we are all hoping it will be Roosevelt with the win just to get Hoover out! Love, Mollie
12: June 5, 1931 Dear Journal, Although the times have been hard we have all stuck together as a family working together to get through this difficult time. We all take part in taking on some sort of job. Every day my father wakes up early before dawn to go down to the docks hoping to pick up any small job he can find. Some days are better then others, but when he can find a job we know we will be able to eat that night. On days that he can't he offers his service up to anyone he finds going from shop to shop, house to house, offering any kind of work, or any amount of money. My mother still works as a seamstress, just not as professionally as before. She sews for anyone that is willing to pay, which is very few. She takes what she can get, and works very hard, especially having to take care of my younger siblings too. Even my little brother is helping out delivering papers around the town. As for me I had to drop out of school to work. Every morning I walk 4 miles to the richer part of the area and offer up my work to a family friend for money. It kind of is an awkward situation, because they are family friends, but I wouldn't expect them to just give me money with out work. My purpose is pretty much to be a maid. I do any chores they tell me to do no questions asked. I work from 8 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock at night. Yes the hours are long, but the money is worth it. The only benefit is that I do get to eat lunch, but sometimes I feel guilty. Although it feels great to eat a meal at least once a day, it hurts knowing that my family may not. Love, Mollie
13: John selling newspapers | Daddy trying to get a job
14: October 18, 1931 Dear Journal, As I wrote before things were hard but we were doing whatever we could with what we had. Because money is very tight, we cannot afford to buy things that are not absolute necessities. I feel horrible at times because, since my brother is growing, we cannot afford to buy him new clothes. We have to take any donations we can get, and sometimes he even has to wear someone my clothes. When he grew out of his shoes he had to walk around in just socks for a whole week before we could find him a new pair. Fortunately since my mother is a seamstress, if we ever get any holes or rips she can sew them up good as new. Especially my dad's clothes. He is getting all sorts of holes from working down at the docks. Although living here is probably one of the worst part of all this. I just hope everyday that things will turn around. Food is our main concern and struggle. Everyday when we all go to work, our main goal is to bring enough money home for food, and maybe a little extra to put on the side to help get us out of here. On days that we don't have much to eat, I make sure my brother and sister have enough before I can even touch my food. I’m fortunate enough to get a meal at work, so I have to make sure everyone else is fed too. It makes me so sad to see my fathers face when we don't have a lot. I can tell he blames himself for all of this, but I try to tell him that we aren't the only ones in this mess. I try and stay positive for the family. I know we will get out of this one day. I know we will, I just know it! Love, Mollie
15: Kate and John
16: Franklin D. Roosevelt
17: July 11,1933 Dear journal, To start off on a good note, Roosevelt won!! He also promised to make as many changes as possible in his first 100 days in office. So far he has been loved by the American people as well as my parents. The letters from the banks stopped and thanks to the Civil Works Administration (CWA) Daddy was able to get a job for part time. This job was offered through president Roosevelt's New Deal program which provides many other programs along with the CWA to all Americans. Daddy's new job helped my family pay bills and get by. The CWA is a program that provides jobs to anyone who needs one. My Dad signed up for this program and he helps in the local area creating parks or maintaining bridges. Thanks to Roosevelt's creation of this program Daddy is able to work, and make an income. Although Daddy now had a job we could still not catch up AND maintain paying the bills so my parents went to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), where they present families with money to help them pay their bills and stuff. With this extra boost of money my parents were able to get back on track with the mortgage and all the other bills. I also read in the newspaper that Roosevelt has come up with a program called the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which gave loans to people toward homes. I am really hoping Sarah's family hears about this program and moves back in next door. Oh how much I miss her! Although things are still hard at home and we do not waste ANYTHING no wasting of food, electricity or heat, because moms says that's money we do not have to waste. So far Roosevelt's doing really well and sure is a hit in my house hold; hopefully my next entry will be just as positive! Love, Mollie
18: Civilian Conservation Corps Logo New Deal Advertisement
19: November 19, 1933 Dear Journal, Thanks to Roosevelt things seem to be headed in the right direction. Thanks to the CWA Dad is bringing in a pretty good income for mom. Unfortunately mom cannot help Dad very much with the income situation because the programs in which Roosevelt created did not cater much to women. This was the problem with Roosevelt's programs they had limits as to who qualified for them. Most of these programs were for young, white, men which discriminates many people. Although this wasn't necessarily beneficial to my family in particular, it did help our tenants out. Since our tow tenants were 22 and 25 they were young enough men to qualify for help from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the National Youth Administration (NYA). Both of these programs helped young, unemployed men. They gave these men jobs planting trees, building bridges and building roads. Thanks to these programs our tenants were able to start making enough money to start to pay back their over- due rent. Although Roosevelt's programs did not directly help us in this case it did help others, which in result helped us. With rent almost all caught up on Mommy was able to keep food in the refrigerator and handle all the bills. Every month when a big bill would come in we would still have to scrap around to pay it in full but at least we were paying it. All thanks to Roosevelt and his New Deal programs my family is finally starting to get back to normal again. Love, Mollie
20: Kit Kittredge Doll. Digital image. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.
21: Hoovervilles. Digital image. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.