My Mother liked to keep a daily record of her days. Sometimes these were kept in formal journals and log books; at other times there seemed to be an endless scattering of brief notes and reminders to herself all over the house. As a kid, I never really paid much attention to either.
After her death, in 1995, my siblings and I packed up all of her books, travel journals, notes and letters into one big box. I remember my father walking into the room as we were packing and telling us that through all the 60 years of their marriage he had never once opened one of those notebooks. I admire him for that.
That box remained packed up until this past year, 2013. My Father died in 2011 and the question of what to do with all the leftover bits and pieces of the lives of these two people came into focus. Together, my brother and two sisters decided to divide the diaries amongst us and just look and see what was in them.
Once I got past the feeling of violating her privacy, I found myself truly enjoying her accounts of day to day life. Her voice came through the notes, loud and clear. Her personality imposed itself on even the most mundane recordings, such as how many cardinals visited the bird feeder. But most surprising was finding that her earliest journals were from her summer holidays in 1928 and 1929 when she was 11 and 12 years old.
I don’t think it is easy for children to picture their parents as children themselves. In these brief accounts she paints a picture of what it was like for her as a young girl to be free in the summer months and spending her time as she felt.
Those early diaries and all the others will be recorded in this blog. There are gaps as her years rolled by and she was too busy for a journal, but taken all together they form a clear picture of the ups and downs of her days until her final entry in 1995. They form a legacy for the family, but they also form the story of one woman’s life.