This is the artwork in my exhibit that made me feel the most bleak as I was creating it. A constant theme throughout Dale’s diary entries is that of hunger and the struggle to find enough food to survive. When writing about this, her words reflect despair and exhaustion. She worries for the health of their children and she expresses her concern about how thin her husband Guy was becoming.
When the Randalls moved to the High Prairie region in 1920, they were among the first very few white settlers. The First Nations people of the area befriended the Randalls and helped them by giving them any extra fish and wild meat that they had. They also provided them with an understanding of the land and climate.
We put on the last tame chicken to cook – must depend on rabbits & partridges now if we can’t get moose.
We debate whether to have supper or save rabbit until tomorrow for dinner – decide the latter & Guy eats tea with toast & lard.
Last night we were wishing for eggs & ham & bacon & I told Guy “Sometimes I get so hungry I feel like giving up hopes of a home and saying ‘Let’s just go and get a job where we can eat’”. He owned to a like weakness at times – only one meal a day of meat and that light makes one unable to stand a hard day’s work & is rather depressing at times.
Page 114, Wednesday September 1 to Thursday September 3, 1920
“Sometimes I get so hungry” by Marlena Wyman. 16″X12″. Monotype, oil stick and oil pastel on encaustic and paper. 2015 (photo of woman is an unidentified found photo. Photo of Pantry, South Cooking Lake, AB, 1933. A14164, Provincial Archives of Alberta)
In Dale’s 1935 diary entries, she writes of suffering a breakdown – not at all surprising considering the constant trials – but she mentions it briefly and only twice. In her diary, she also writes about the precarious emotional and mental condition of some other women who she knew.
Thursday, April 18, 1935 I have nervous breakdown while baking pancakes last Saturday. In bed since except a few minutes while Ethel Berry comes down today.
May 2, 1935 Still sick with nerves.
Strong perspective for the complaints of our modern, soft lives.
Posted by Marlena Wyman