Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Lost Journals

My mom moved into a care center in 1995 or 1996.  She had lived in the home she left for 55 years, since a year or two after she and my dad married.  When it became certain that she would never be able to return to live there, my siblings and I got together to decide what to do with what was left in the house. 

Saturday after Saturday I drove the three hours back to my childhood home so we could discuss what to do with everything.  Some things one or the other of us wanted to take home, some things none of us wanted.  It was a sad, stressful, emotional time, made harder by the fact that Mom was still alive but but not there to have a say in what we were doing.  Some Saturdays I had more to take home, others less.  I was always exhausted when I left and had yet three hours' drive home.

One Saturday we loaded part of my father's desk into the back of our little car.  (I say part because it was a roll-top desk and the top and base separated.)  There were some other items and boxes I decided to leave until the next Saturday when I was sure I wouldn't have such a full car.  One of the boxes contained a stack of inexpensive spiral notebooks (very like my mother not to spend too much money on notebooks) which we were surprised to find were diaries or journals my mother had written.  I didn't count them but the stack was probably 8 to 12 inches high.  I didn't look through them so I don't know what she wrote, and I have no idea when she began writing.

When I returned the next Saturday, the box and journals were gone and neither of my siblings seemed to have any idea where the notebooks went.  They may -- or may not -- have been a treasure.  Mom was a very private person and shared few of her thoughts or feelings with us.  Perhaps she was just as frugal with the written word as with the spoken word.  But, on the other hand, she may have written all kinds of interesting stories and memories.  I often wonder what I missed by not taking those spiral notebooks home with me the Saturday we found them.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic for the week was "Dear Diary."

--Nancy.

Image Credit:  JudyGilmore from Pixabay 

Copyright ©2019, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
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7 comments:

  1. So sorry Nancy. Strange that they just disappeared. It must have been heartbreaking not to find them there.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I suspect that my brother or sister forgot I wanted them or one of them has them and has forgotten. Maybe some day they'll turn up.

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  2. So sad! I had a similar loss. I recall exchanging letters with my Granny in the 60s. She kept them and my mother found them after Granny died in the late 80s. Without asking me, my mother threw them away! She told me about them when she called to tell me she was sending me one of Granny's nightgowns. I was devastated to say the least. I would have loved to see what little girl me wrote.

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    1. Oh, Denise, how sad they're gone and how sad your mom didn't ask if you wanted them. I'm sure your grandmother treasured those letters, especially when she received them. It would have been fun to reread what you wrote to her when you were young.

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  3. Patricia (Pippa) Dodd RyanJune 16, 2019 at 1:00 PM

    We are right now in the process of moving my mother into our home with us. She is packing things up and indiscriminately tossing things away. All my pleading is going unheeded and I have visions of her dumpster filled with treasures. She is right on the border of beginning to lose reasoning. In reading your post I suspect one of your siblings took the notebooks but simply didn't wish to tell you.

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    1. How sad for you, Pippa, that your mom is throwing out so many things that could be irreplaceable. It's too bad you can't collect them from the dumpster while she's sleeping. I hope you've been able to save some of the most precious treasures.
      I agree with your thought that one of my siblings took/threw out/has the notebooks, and perhaps has forgotten. I continue to hope they might turn up.

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  4. Oh this makes me ill. I’m always jealous of those who inherit family diaries or journals, so I have had to accept that my family did not write diaries. To be SO close to a stack of memories and lose it is heartbreaking.

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