Monday, October 15, 2007

Grandma's Diary

A couple of years ago my Dad shared his mother's diary with me. I guess it's because I like to write and all. I eagerly opened it. It is a five-year diary so on each page you will find entries from five different years; 1946 to 1950. I opened it with anticipation. I'd never met my Grandma Ruby; she'd died before I was born. So I was excited to learn about her from these words that transcended death.

"January 1, 1946- Dad worked all day. I washed and cleaned house. Snow."

OK so not the most exciting entry. And some things never change like washing and cleaning. I kept reading.

"April 21, 1946- Arose at 5:30. Dad to [town] with J Broughton. Breakfast at church. Cold. Cousins for dinner."

Other than the fact that she ate her cousins for dinner, nothing earth shattering there.

Though no one entry gave me much information about my grandma, I did begin to get a picture of what she was like, what her life was like, what the times were like. Family and friends were an important part of her life. She often had them over to dinner, and went to town with them. She enjoyed going to the movies and going to town to visit friends. It was a big deal to get a new pair of shoes or a jacket. She often reported on the temperature and the weather. Her idea of a beautiful day, however, wasn't dependent on warmth. She often commented on a beautiful day that was actually very cold. That's a lot like me. I love a rainy day, and often wonder why rain is synonomous with bad and sunshine with good.

For whatever reason, my grandmother kept a diary. So encouraged by my grandmothers words, I too got a five-year diary. And it wasn't easy to find one either. Apparently it's something that people don't buy anymore, let alone write in. But a five-year-diary is perfect really. With so little space to write in, one must get to the point quickly.

So with my little diary in hand, I began making some of the same observations my grandmother did. And I also added to it. I included tiny pictures and momentos like the ticket stub from a movie. I don't know who will ever want to read my diary, but I am making sure that there is something for them to read. And like my grandmother, I sometimes go long periods of days even a month, without writing in it. But still...someday when I am long gone, I will be able to give a gift through time...just like my Grandma Ruby did for me.


Eileen said...

Hey Karen, Neat about having your grandmother's diary...I'm hoping to get my hand on My grandma's diary also. And what a treasure that will be! I've been watching some history videos about *the years between WWI and WWII* and wishing I knew more about my parents' families during those years - so many questions. Like even just if they listened to the fireside chats with FDR. So...your loved ones will enjoy getting to know about you no doubt. Maybe wondering if you watched MTV, danced the twist, who you voted for, if you had a tatoo, etc. =) EE

Karen L. Alaniz said...

I am trying to add in little things that really don't mean much to me now but might to someone else in the future. My grandmother even kept track of her taxes in her diary...a whopping $40. But I hadn't thought of things like television shows I watch and all that disco dancing I do when no one's watching...hehehe!

Good ideas as usual Eileen!


Anonymous said...

Oooh, fascinating. And even though the entries aren't long or detailed, you can totally get a sense of things. I am fascinated with the 40's, 50's and 60's so that would be something I would just sink into. I haven't kept a diary/journal in years, but if I were to, I might do it like that, just point form notes, instead of getting into pages of too much detail. Interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Virginia Lee said...

I love this, Karen. What I like best is how you have been inspired to do a diary as well. Someone will want to read it, I'm sure.

My favorite aspect of your post is that you rejoice in the simplicity and joy of the everyday, as your grandmother did. Not too many people appreciate that which is seemingly ordinary. It's nice to encounter someone who does.

Eileen said...
Karen - Hi! I just saw this link at CNN website and thought of you. This young lady has a goal very similar to yours - doing something new and different everyday for a year, that is until her 30th birthday. Her blog address is listed there too - I think you will enjoy it. (PS: Have you considered wearing a mustache? - *She* appears to be doing exactly that...)

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Thanks eileen-pretty cool site. I just checked it out. I don't know if I'll be wearing a mustache any time soon though.

OK April- now you really gotta go get a diary for 2008. Just think, someone in the future may feel the same way about the 00's (how in the world will we say that...if there's a 40's and 50's what will the 20??'s be?) The diary I have is very small, the size of a regular diary- not much space to write, which I've found is good.

Virginia- I think that some of appreciating the simple things is sort of just inherent in who I am. But there is another part of me who wants and seeks to be that way too. It's all a journey isn't it? I do think that I am a bit more emotional than my grandmother or perhaps she just didn't want to share that aspect of herself. I do tend to share hopes and dreams in my diary.


Ritergal said...

I also have two little log books my father's mother kept the first year or so she was married. I love the entry for the day my father was born:

Monday. Took sick 2:30 a.m. Baby born 2:25 p.m. Mrs. Carl and Edna sat up with baby all night Had Dr. Phelps and Dr. Taylor for baby in evening. Named baby.

As Karen found, the little tidbits entered over the rest of the month do add up to show a picture. But she never does tell us the baby's name, or any details. She obviously stayed in bed for a couple of weeks, barely getting up. How odd after a home birth of a first baby in 1920. Or is it?

What fun!

Karen L. Alaniz said...

That's fascinating ritergal. I know exactly what you mean. It is curious though. Your comment makes me wonder about these things. Why wouldn't my grandmother have written in bold letters "Murray is home...Yahoo!"? Well maybe she wasn't the "yahoo" type of person. But you know what I mean. And yeah-why not say "...and we named him John Walton."? Strange. Do you keep a diary now ritergal? I hope so.