(Continued from 1945 Banister Daily Diary Part 4: Friends, Neighbors, and Family)
Hello! If you are reading this post, hopefully that means you also read parts 1 through 4 of this series on the 1945 Banister Daily Diary.
In case you missed it, part 1 discussed the personal lives and daily activities of Floyd and Lala Banister. Part 2 focused on their sons, Gerald and Jim. Part 3 described some interesting entries on the murder of Senator Hooper and the final days of WWII. Part 4 covered their relationships with family, friends, and neighbors.
As I read the diary for the first time, it occurred to me that there are many things I just didn’t know before I read it, such as the cost of everyday items in 1945, what a typical day might look like for my ancestors, or in particular, life and work on a farm.
This diary is full of interesting little facts if you look closely enough. I learned that for the Banister family, a 10# bag of sugar lasted 6 weeks. At one point, the family had 6 TONS of coal delivered to the house.
When Floyd bought lunch and dinner while at work, he paid 17 to 20 cents per meal, which is less than $3 per meal today. In one particular 7 day stretch, Floyd worked 67.75 hours and earned $82.62 for his efforts.
I also learned that words I thought I already knew could have a very different context from the norm. What does it mean, exactly, to “draw” corn, hay, or manure? How does one “dump” oats, anyway, and why would you do it? I still don’t know the answers. If you read part 2 of this series, you will remember that trapping and selling “rats” actually means to trap and sell “muskrats.” What a relief it was to learn that rats is also a nickname for muskrats!
Most importantly, I learned that Floyd and Lala Banister worked as a team with each other and with their sons. They closely followed events in the lives of their family members. They helped and supported one another, whether to get the chores done, go hunting and fishing, or just have fun. They also made a point to open this circle of teamwork and friendship with extended family and neighbors.
Floyd and Lala worked hard. They were honest. They were focused and diligent. They paid attention to details. They learned about the world around them. They were frugal. They helped others and accepted help in return. They loved their family. In short, they were good people.
Thank you, Floyd and Lala, for sharing a record of your lives with us. It was good to meet you and it was good to remember you.
Ideas for Future Research
I am a strong believer in brainstorming ideas for future research. A record like this 1945 daily diary is no exception! Yes, it is full of information, stories, and facts, but there is always more to be found to flush out and fill out those stories.
Nearly all of the information I shared in this blog series comes directly from the diary, but I did look up a few details in other sources. For example, I double checked the names of aunts and uncles mentioned with family records I have already collected. The Jackson city directory confirmed residence and employment status for both Banister families and Dora Shaw in 1945. An inflation calculator helped me understand how much items would cost today compared to their 1945 prices. The 1940 census clarified where Floyd and Lala lived in relation people mentioned in the diary, such as the Cockroft and Anderson families, and even Mother B and Charles Banister.
If I wanted to flush out the stories and information in this diary, what could I do next? Here are a few ideas and questions:
*Figure out all the farm terminology I don’t understand
*How did one wash laundry in 1945?
*How common was it to lose all one’s teeth before the age of 50 at that time? What were dentures like in 1945?
*How does one trap a muskrat, anyway?
*Research the lives of extended family members mentioned
*Read about the assassination of Senator Hooper. Map out the location compared to the Banister home.
*Study the events leading up to the end of WWII. How did this affect everyday Americans?
Thank you for reading my series on the 1945 Banister Daily Diary! I hope you found it entertaining and informative.
And remember, just when you think your research is done, think again! Ask lots of questions and keep digging for answers to make your family stories come alive!
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