Gardia Reta Peaker Bailey Diary, 1936-1940
The five year diary of Gardia Reta (Peaker) Bailey documents life in the western United States during the Great Depression. The family lives in a trailer and stays at auto parks, such as the Wallow Saw Auto Camp, on the West Coast including in the state of Washington. Included in the diary are various pieces of ephemera including news clippings and photographs as well as notations about family members and birthdays. The diary mentions the family traveling to sell Reta's handmade baskets, illnesses such as mumps and small pox, boat rides on the Columbia River, traveling through Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, trips to Portland, fishing trips, dances, trips to the ocean, having a float in a parade, and giving birth to a stillborn baby.
A partial transcription of the journal entries provided by the seller:
"May 13th, -18th, Left Stevenson Washington. Went to Goldendale. Had a nice place to camp. Veona and Jerry have mumps….Sold baskets. Had good luck. Kids feel better. Faces sure swelled….Goldendale Wash. Sold baskets. Another good day. Nathan is sick. Maybe he has the mumps….Left and went to Toppenish Wash. Met Jim and Etta again. We all went to Sunnyside Wash….Sold baskets today. Pretty good. All still in Sunnyside Wash….Left Sunnyside. Went to Pasco Wash. Camped by river. Sure is hot weather." (By the end of May they are in Idaho, still selling baskets. On June 14th they arrive in Ontario Oregon. Stay with friends, have a big "rabbit feed.")
"July 1st – 3rd, So cold we put the stove in the tent. Fire feels good. Sold baskets in Emmitt. Good. Left a noon. Went to Huntington Oregon. Camped on hill…..Sold in Huntington. No good. Left for Elgin Oregon. Austin went to town, fell on torpedo. Ha! Ha!....Stove in tent again tonight. Kinda chilly. Sold today. Good here. Kids all fixed for fourth. I miss Nora today. Last year in Scott's Bluff. Wonder if she misses me." (Back into Washington state. Travel over toll road to Walla Walla Washington. They arrive back in Kelso on August 1st)
"March 19th – 21st, I'm starting to move into trailer today. Won't be long now till it's done…Finished moving into trailer today. Slept here last night…..Oh Yeah? Moved trailer down to Star Auto Camp today. So quiet here. I'm so tired tonight."
"July 4th, We sure did celebrate. Drank beer with gypsies. Had lots of fun and beer. Took pictures."
"November 1st – 2nd, I'm not so good this A.M. Dr. Freeman was here. They took me to hospital. I was so sick…..Our little girl was born dead last night at 10:15. Dr. Henderson took care of me. Dr. Freeman was ill."
"September 26th, I washed and baked bread. Sure hot. We heard Hitler's speech from Germany."
- Bailey, Gardia Reta Peaker (Creator, Person)
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- Gardia Reta Peaker Bailey Diary, 1936-1940
- Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository
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