1954 Diary of Jenny Maybelle Gillory
I'm gonna show you some of my diary. It'll explain a lot of things, I hope. I'll start with the day that changed my life forever, some of it for the worse, some of it for the better.
Sunday, July 4, 1954
Today was an awful day. It's Sunday, the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Everybody went on a picnic and ate watermelon and hot dogs and shot fireworks and had lots of fun, everybody but me and my family. My daddy was called to work at 5:30 this morning 'cause there was some kind of emergency at the Bustlebout Box Factory. He's the head electrician there and almost never works on the weekend. He isn't supposed to have to work on holidays either. But, as he said when he left for work, “That's life.”
Four hours later my mama got a phone call from the hospital. The nurse callin' told her my daddy was in the emergency room and was about to have surgery. Mama turned as white as this paper. She looked scared to death, and that scared me.
I went to the hospital with Mama and my brother Jay Mikey, and we sat in the waitin' room all day. That was miserable. Finally, we got to see Daddy at seven o'clock tonight, and he looked horrible. Both his legs were in casts, and his face was black and blue. He couldn't keep his eyes open or say his words so we could understand him. I felt like somebody reached into me and pulled out my heart and left me with a big gapin' hole in my chest.
Mama found out what happened. She said that Daddy saw a big forklift headed toward a little girl who was asleep on a stack of boxes in the factory. The forklift driver couldn't see the little girl or hear Daddy shouting, so Daddy ran to push the little girl out of the way. He saved her just in time, but the forklift ran into him. That's all we know about it. My daddy is a hero, and we're all proud of him, but we'd rather have him back the way he was.
Mama said now the rest of us have to be heroes and take care of him. She said we're probably all gonna have to work more and earn more money, too. I'm ten years old, so I can work and make money mowin' yards and doin' stuff like that, but I don't think I've got what it takes to be a hero.