The Book of Me Written by You ~ Prompt 6 ~ Journals and Diaries

I am participating in Julie Goucher's activity:

Prompt 6 - Journals and Diaries

Do you keep a journal or diary?

How far back do they go? What do you record?
Where do you keep them?
Do you always buy the same one or vary them?
Have you inherited any?
Do you intend to pass along your journals or destroy them?
Do you have a favourite?
What do you use to write with – biro, pencil, ink or fountain pen?


Many people have kept journals and or diaries over their lifetimes. I have not been a consistent journal writer. By writing this post however, I realize I have journaled more than I originally thought.

When I was young and living at home with my parents, middle or high school age, I did attempt writing in a diary, two of them that I can remember.  Neither of them I am sure had more then twenty pages written in them. I recall writing mostly about boys. I am sure I wrote about which boy I liked at the time and how cute they were. I am sure I wrote that these boys never noticed me. I felt safe writing my feelings in the diaries because they each had a lock and key. No one would ever read what I wrote, right?

It is unknown to me what happened to those diaries. My guess is my mother threw them out at some point. She was a neat freak and did not save anything. If something had been in the house a year or two, it was time for it to go. Maybe I threw them out when she wanted me to clean, who knows. I do know they are long gone.

As a young girl living at home my writing consisted of letters to pen pals and my grandmother.  My grandmother lived in another state and because she lived so far away I felt that I could tell her anything and everything, and I did. I would love to see those letters now. If I had it to do all over again, I am sure there is a lot I never should have said to her.

When my grandmother passed away, my aunt cleaned out her house. She found letters my grandmother saved that I had written to her. My grandmother and I had a very nice writing relationship. I was impressed to know that after all those years grandma saved my letters.

Whether or not my aunt read these letters I don’t know, but my guess is that she did. She mailed me a group of the letters grandma saved. When I first saw they were letters to grandma I wondered if some of the letters “I shouldn’t have written” were in the bunch. I immediately sat down and read them all, not one of them was an “I shouldn’t have written” letter. I find it hard to believe my grandmother threw out those particular letters. She always had a response to them, which lead me to continue writing on the issues. My aunt may have got rid of them, or my grandmother got rid of them making sure they didn't get in the wrong hands. I do not know for sure, but I would love to read them now! 
“The trials of being a child!”

The letters my aunt mailed back to me that I wrote to my grandmother, I now consider a small part of my journaling life.

In high school I wrote poems, and I wrote several. I put them all in a binder, and never saw them again after I moved out of my parent’s house. Some of them I thought were pretty good, a shame, again, that I don’t have them now. I find it ironic that I have copies of written poems from my dad and my maternal grandfather, but none of my own.

When I was in probably second grade I wrote a poem that won a contest in school. My teacher came to our home and asked permission from my mother to take me to the library one night so I could read my poem and receive an award. I remember being in the car with my teacher but don’t remember what the award was, or anything about the rest of the evening. For the longest time the paper with the poem I wrote was with my “personal things.” Maybe it is in the scrapbook I saved…haven’t seen it in years… I need to find that scrapbook! I don't have the exact poem in front of me right now, but the poem went something like this ~ (I will add the exact poem when I run across it)

I had a pet skunk
he had a bath in the sink
because the skunk
put his paw in the ink.

There were a few of times in my adulthood that I tried to journal. Each of these times was when I was on an out of country trip, my first time to Costa Rica, my first trip to Puerto Vallarta and my first time to Sweden. I needed to keep track of where we went and what we did everyday because I was afraid I would forget something. Sometimes I would journal every day, other times maybe half the trip. Somewhere buried in a box I may one day run across some of these things I  have journaled, if I am lucky.

Once, after I had been practicing yoga for a year or so, my daughter gave me a journal, she thought I might like to write some of my experiences or feelings. Unfortunately, I haven’t used this journal…yet.

For the past 5 years or so, I have written this blog. I have used the blog to post about my personal genealogy, searchs, trials and tribulations. Many of the posts here in my blog talk about my personal life, things I have either been through, done and or am looking to do. In my eyes, some of my journaling is actually in this blog. 

Similarly, Facebook has become a bit of a journal also. The posts I have made sometimes document what was happening in my life, or my grandchildren's lives. One definite thing I purposely have saved to my Facebook account are the "funny, smart, and crazy comments" my granddaughter, the princess makes. She is quite a character. I have used Facebook as my "holding spot" or  "journal" to collect these comments I intent to print in a book about her. Even though I have not consciously intended to journal my life in either my blog or Facebook, it was an intent to journal her comments.

A point to be made which is typically current at this point in my life is that we really do not write much anymore, at least with a pencil or pen. It is an oddity to get a handwritten letter. I miss those letters. It was so nice to to look forward to or get a surprise letter in the mail. Most, at least of my material, is typed in my laptop now.

Until about thirteen years ago, the thought of me saving my personal things was non-existent. I never thought anyone would want “my things” or be interested in “my life.” I find now that I wish I had several items from my grandparents and great grandparents! I also wish, like most genealogists, that I asked them their life stories when they were alive. Now, it is to late, I cannot get the answers to my questions from them.

I am trying to make this easier for my descendants, if ever any of them are interested, it is not to late for me to do this about myself, hence the reason I am writing about "me." I may not have the diaries or journals, but I will have stories about...

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2013 Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved


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