1935: Mine Today, Gone Tomorrow

Emily Martinez, guest writer

Looking back at my story— the atrocities and accomplishments— a number of decades blurred together, but the year 1935 has mystically remained in my mind until now. 1935 was the year when all I had was destroyed, yet all I never imagined to have was given to me. Addictions and hopelessness circumvented my life. Nevertheless, when my strength almost wavered, something marvelous crossed my path and saved me. Now, this is my story of 1935.
March 15
I meditatively sat on the finely divided rocks that attached to my skin. As I closed my eyes, I admired the soothing sound of splashing water in the seashore. That evening, the majestic light that illuminated Cedar Key, Florida, dimmed behind the infinite ocean, creating in the sky a turbulence of colors that waved goodbye. I sat there, contemplating my future and that of the country. Though all seemed perfect for a bit, I knew once I walked out of the beach, the world would collapse back to reality: hunger, sadness, and confusion. When I arrived home (a hovel), my 12-year-old brother, Richard, ran to me mumbling between his tears that father had been shot.
I became angry with myself, the situation, the people, and my father. We begged him a number of times to abstain from gambling. We knew an atrocity like this could happen. Did he listen to us? No. At this moment, I was 18 years old— full of energy, life, dreams, and love. Given the desperate circumstance of my father’s absence, my mother sent me to Chicago to find a job there and live with her uncle, Mike, and his family.

March 28
I looked out the window and there it proudly stood: the windy city of Chicago. I admired the buildings and people that made up Chicago — the people that intended to thrive as they nervously walked through Michigan Avenue. As I stepped off the train, I saw the “WANTED” sign of John Dillinger, with a reward of $500.
“If only I could find him and get that money . . .” I mumbled.
“You can if you really want to,” Whispered the handsome stranger beside me.
“Then why have you not turned him in?”
“I don’t have the attributes of a beautiful young lady like you,” He said as he sauntered towards the train. He looked back at me and gave me the cutest and sweetest smile I had seen so far. I zoned out as I saw the train leave.
“if only one day I could hop on that train with my loved one and go far aw—”
“Eva! C’mon, we gotta go! I don’t got time to wait for a daydreaming girl!”
I looked back and well, there he was, the grumpy old uncle with the warmest welcoming possible.
My arrival to uncle Mike’s home was hell. His kids and wife ignored me, mocked the death of my father, and made me feel as the least of the women; I never understood why. Out of all 5 children, only 5-year old Lucy truly knew how to portray love.
“Eva! I love you soooo much! You’re my favorite cousin,” adulated Lucy as she rolled the wheels of her wheelchair towards me.
My first day of work was the day after I arrived to Chicago. It was HORRIBLE! I worked for 13 hours. My back and feet hurt like only heaven knows. My boss, Marilynn, held me to the highest standards. She expected me to know how to cook like a chef and clean the house like it was my profession. It was my first time as a maid, I was a total rookie. I had to learn because I had to financially help Mom and my brother.
“Eva! You rascal! You left my lettuce bland! How many times have I told you to always put dressing on it! You’re good for nothing. You are fired right now!”
“Mother! What’s all this yelling for? Leave her alone. Come on girl, I need you to accompany me on a walk outside.”
I just stood there not knowing what to do. He looked back, sighed, and invited me outside once again.
“Well, we haven’t formally introduced each other. My name is Isaac,”
“I’m Eva. I wanted to thank you for defending me from your mom. I honestly didn’t know what to do or say. I don’t know how I can repay you.”
“Well, that’s simple. I want you to accompany me to an audition this evening.”
We walked into the auditioning place (for heaven’s sake I cannot remember the name of the place). Plenty of people stood in line to audition for A Night at The Opera, including me and Isaac. After an hour of waiting, the receptionist called, “Miss Eva McAllister, they are waiting for you in room B1,” I looked at Isaac with the outmost confusion.
“Come on,” He said, “We don’t want them to waste one more second without your angelical voice.”
“Stop! No! I am not going in there. You have lied to me! I am not ready to audition for a movie. I will only embarrass myself! You can’t do this to me, Isaac.”
“Shh . . . I have heard you sing in the kitchen before and I know for sure you are a star. Your voice has the sweetness of an evening breeze swifting through the trees. The protagonist has fallen ill and we need a substitute as soon as possible. I am the producer of this movie and I have witnessed your potential. Please don’t reject my offer.”
“Well, if he believes in me I guess I could do it. I need the money anyway.”
“Ok, fine, I’ll do it,” We shook hands and he gave me a hug. He was excited, and so was I, after all.
August 27
I arrived home two hours later than usual that night. The filming took extra long that day. Hoping everyone was asleep, I slid the key into the doorknob as quiet as possible but it was pointless. As I opened the door, Uncle Mike threw the monopoly board (he was into that game since it had been released on February 6, 1935) on the ground and came yelling at me from the living room. His drunkenness caused him to barely be able to stand or walk; although it allowed him to stab my feelings profoundly.
“You, ungrateful child. We give you everything here, yet you decide to come home late? This deserves a big punishment. You are good for nothing! SLAP.”
“Ha ha ha! You got slapped, you got slapped!” I saw my foolish, evil cousins laugh as they watched my face turn red. No one cared about my pain and embarrassment. Tears and frustration erupted out of me as I ran to my room and locked myself in. To my surprise, I found Lucy in my room already.
“Eva, daddy found out about the filming you’re doing. He believes movies are evil. He won’t stop making your life miserable until you stop acting.”
“It’s ok, Lucy. I’ll pack my few belongings and leave tonight. I don’t want to cause more trouble here. I love you, Lucy. Please take care.”
The night was windy, cold, and lonely. I was afraid of what was out there. Chicago was busy, but depressing. Many had nothing to eat or do; although the little money some earned, they wasted on alcohol. As I walked, I could remember what Victor Hugo, a famous writer, said, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” I repeatedly said this thought in my head at 1 A.M. when all of the sudden I heard, “this is not the time or place for a young lady to be.” I looked to my right and there stood a man. I recognized the voice, somewhat, but I couldn’t exactly see him. I kept walking nervously.
“We’ve met before, haven’t we?” I stopped, looked back, and replied, “Of course not.”
“I remember the attributes you carry of a young lady.” “It’s him! He’s the guy from the train!”
“Didn’t you leave a month ago?”
“Indeed… But I’m back! What are you doing walking around this late?”
“I have escaped from home. I’m headed nowhere.”
“I know a comfortable place where you can sleep for tonight,” he said as he grabbed my hand and walked me to a tree that was 15 ft tall with thick branches that spread out with endless leaves that sprouted to provide perfect shelter.

September 4
As I woke up next to the tree, Uncle Mike somehow found me to inform me my Mother and brother had died in the hurricane . My world turned upside down once more. Fatherless, homeless, and without love from anyone at all, but Philip. I couldn’t do much else but cry about my family’s loss now. Desperate situations call for desperate actions— so that’s what I did. I decided to go live in with my love, Philip. Philip allured me with his golden skin color that perfectly matched with the dark brown hair that allowed his ocean-blue eyes to shine brighter each day. Our life was voir la vie en rose until it bothered me to spend my evenings alone because my loved one was gone to “work.”
October 15, just a month before releasing the movie we had vigorously worked on, my vie on rose fell apart once more. I followed my beloved Philip that night. I saw him walk into a shop where he joined another 4 men. I peeked through the window and saw them beating someone up. While blood streamed all around the half-dead man, they yelled at him, demanding him to help them out. My eyes weren’t able to recognize who the victim was, for as much as I tried. Finally, I got nervous and wandered around the area while I waited for the men to walk out.
“Kreeeen, shh, come on! We don’t have all night.” I quickly hid behind a wall and saw Philip and the other men prowl towards the First Chicago Bank with the half-dead man that was Isaac.
“Ohh! Isaac? What does Isaac have to do with this?” My confusion overwhelmed my thoughts.
I followed the men all the way to the bank where they forced Isaac to let them in. There, I saw my dear Philip, an all professional thief pointing his gun at Isaac after Isaac pressed the security alarm. I had to do something to save Isaac, my dear friend.
“NO! PHILIP, DON’T DO IT! BAM BAM BAM!” 3 bullets . . . 3 bullets are what dragged away his life.
The following month, I submerged myself into a depression that only alcohol could alleviate my pain. Mourn invaded my life to the point where I forgot to go to the opening night of A Night at the Opera, which was November 15, 1935. As I once again wandered through the sidewalks of Chicago, I decided to join the Alcoholic’s Anonymous Club that had inaugurated in February of that year. They helped me overcome my problems and not fall into a deeper addiction of alcohol.
For months, I was in love with a thief, murderer, and imposter who claimed to be called Philip, rather than John Dillinger. I gained fame and money with the movie but never made it part of my remaining life. However, I met someone who hasn’t left my side since that year. That is God. Isaac, my current love, was the angel who led me from my darkest moments to God. The verse that forever changed my life was 1 Peter 5:6,7 which says, “Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you.”
In 7 months, 1935 took away all I had as simple as 1, 2, 3; yet it forever gave me all I never imagined to have. Thank you, God.
Works Cited
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables. Trans. Charles E. Wilbour. New York: Random House Modern Library, 1992.

Books, Ed Time Life. TIME LIFE- OUR AMERICAN CENTURY – -30’s: HARD TIMES – THE 30’s. TIME-LIFE Books, 1998.
“Monopoly Board Game History: Anniversary of Parker Brother Sales.” Time, Time, time.com/ 3546303/monopoly-1935/.
history.com Staff. “The 1930s.” history.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010
The People History – – Steve Pearson. “What Happened in 1935 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture.