I have been keeping a journal in one form or another since 1949 when I was 13 and in the eighth grade in Seattle, Washington. My first penciled writings were in a little red “Five Year Diary” that came with a lock and key. Words in the front of the diary read:
Memory is elusive –capture it. The mind is a wonderful machine. It need but be just refreshed and incidents can again be revived in their former clarity. A line each day, whether it be of the weather or of more important substances, will, in time to come, bring back those vague memories, worth remembering, to almost actual reality.
On Jan. 1 my first entry reads:
Last night Doris stayed overnight here and we went on Bill Foster’s paper route at 2 a.m. Was it cold! We got in heck! The roads were so icy we didn’t get to Sunday School. We played in the snow on the toboggan and sled l took John (my three-year-old brother) to Doris’s on the sled and pulled him all the way. When we finally had eaten, Daddy washed my hair and put it up. Was I tired.
Jan. 2 Today we stayed in the snow all day even eating lunch outside. We cooked soup and beans over a fire we made in the snow. Outside were Kay and Barbie, Dorothy and Betty, Bill, David and me, Marilyn, Karen and others. Dorothy’s dog got hurt by a car. He was not killed. I saw Don Lewis he has a paper route down by our house, he was sure nice. I like him maybe. Newton St. is slick we have it all pressed down. Today I had more fun than I’ve ever had in the snow – temperature 26.
Selected items from Jan. 3. Today I wore my Brassiere for the first time. Pat did not! Our class gives Miss McDowell a time we are terrible.
And so it goes on…
I have often wondered if I would ever go back and read my journals from the last 70 years. A few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try and it is a daunting task. Yet those words I quoted above from my red diary are true. I’ve been blown away by things I had forgotten for so long: names of people I no longer remember, and thoughts and feelings that I do, brought to life by a few scribbled words on a page.
Maybe by spring, I’ll emerge with a whole new look at my life. Whatever the outcome, I know I have hours and hours of bedtime reading scheduled.