Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writing Record Keepers

 When we were home for my dad's memorial service, I went up to my brother's plumbing shop attic and retrieved a few of my grandmother's diaries.  My granny was a writing record keeper.  All of her life, she kept a diary.  She recorded her daily doings, her purchases, her impressions, and her observations.  I find these diaries absolutely fascinating.  I love my granny and I appreciate the great impact she had on my life.  There was a big box of her diaries, but I chose the years when she lived with us.  I wanted another glimpse into those days, beyond what I can remember.

 She didn't dwell on her "not so good" days, but she did record her state of mind and body.  She never WENT to the basketball games, but obviously the outcome mattered to her.  So dear.
 She took care of her little life details.  I feel assured as I read her words.  Life is good even if it isn't flamboyant or "river raft exciting"!
 My mother tells me that my granny was a counter.  She counted the cookies she baked and every penny she spent.  She was very thrifty.  I love the way she spelled cat with a K, just for effect!  The cat she is talking about here was a sister to the cat I loved (Leroy) and this particular cat kept having babies. White ones.  This was a source of frustration for my parents.  Five kittens!  I love remembering. Thank you, Grandma Evelyn.
 She wrote that she put the "can" out.  I think she meant the trash can.  I'm so glad she wrote down what we had for dinner.  I cherish these sweet words. The WORD is beyond important.  This is why I can get myself geared up for school again.  I get to teach words.  Writing is essential to the dignity of mankind.  Reading is a miracle.  God's WORD is life eternal.  My granny's writing soothes my soul.
 I've always journaled, but for a few years I kept more of a diary using Susan Branch's Daybooks.  
 This is when the kids were all home and we were SUPER busy.  I was cleaning houses AND working at Starbucks.  The kids were buzzing through their daily activities and I was blissfully happy mothering them.
 I have always made dreamy lists.

 I am reminded that mothers care about the people who influence their children.  I sure did.
 This excerpt is from one of our summer camp assignments.  We'd go all the way up to the fjords of British Columbia and witness hundreds of teenagers' exposure to the Good News of Christ.  Our family would bumble along, trying to stay out of the way, while Bill spoke or managed the staff.
 And then we'd come back and get the kids ready for a new school year.  Look!  Jeff had a wart frozen off!  Funny!
 Kim from My Field of Dreams and I are making Anne of Green Gables journals.  We are journaling after we read chapters and drawing and jotting down our thoughts.  It's FUN and another joyful way to enjoy the gift of the written word.  Last summer, Lisa (Pen and Ink and Maybe Some Paint) and I sent art back and forth.  We still do even though I am behind.  I love this sharing of words and images!  Well, remember our The Wind in the Willows book that flew around the world?  Same thing!  Badger is going to Mags soon.  I think I have a few too many little projects, but I am fine with that!  Anyway, here's another page of the Anne journal.
 When I went to the Anne Frank House, I wrote in the guestbook, "She loved to read.  She loved to write.  Thank you, Anne, for writing." I am in awe of diaries (obviously Anne's diary has been read by millions even though that was not her intention for the youthful record-keeping she worked on) but the simple act of "writing it down" is so valuable.  Do you write stuff down? 
 Now, changing the subject, I wanted to share this book with you again.  Do you love Beatrix Potter like I do?  Susan Branch's new book A Fine Romance is out (I'm waiting for mine) and she went to Beatrix's house last summer and draws and writes about it in this new book.  I can't wait to read it! You probably should order your copy at Susan's blog (see blogroll) so you can revel in all kinds of English goodness. 
This Ultimate Peter Rabbit book is a feast, too.  I look at it almost every day.  I ordered a copy for my mama so she can enjoy it, too.  With all the bunnies in my garden, I guess I must admit that I have had a lifelong love for rabbits and little clothed animal drawings.  Do you, too?  

Words and drawings/paintings delight my heart.  I don't think my granny knew how much I would pour over her simple words, feeling a strong connection to her and her every day life, but I do.  Please write.  Do it.  It doesn't have to be fantastic or interesting to the masses.  It's a gift and a privilege.  I'm so thankful for the alphabet, for sentence structure, for spunky nouns and verbs.  I am thankful for YOUR words.  Thank you for reading today!


Nancy McCarroll said...

Your grandmother's journals must be such a precious thing for you to now have. It will remind you of her in so many ways that you might have put in the back of your memory processor.

Your journals are just as thoughtful, full of sweet happenings and expressions only you can write. So sweet. They will be cherished by others long after you are gone.

Sherry said...

What precious memories. I've always kept diaries and journals too. But now I call it blogging. :)
Hey, and I have something else in common with your grandmother, I'm a counter too. I know it's different, well maybe odd, but I've always counted everything and one day when I admitted it out loud one of my sons says he does the same thing!

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

This has left me speechless and is just a balm to my tired soul this morning. Next week is full of cleaning houses, I must learn to take time for things like this.
Oh yes, Peter my book club enjoyed that study. We also love the story of HA Rey, the author of Curious George and him and his wives escape from Paris during the war...they were Jews.
Thanks for inspiring...and you and Kim have fun!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I keep a journal, and several years ago, for a brief period of time, I kept a day book to record what we did and what we ate for dinner. I wish I'd kept up with that.

I cleaned houses for a long time, too. I always liked looking around other people's houses and getting glimpses in to their real/secret lives. I tried not to snoop, but sometimes I couldn't help it!

I love that your grandmother kept such fastidious journals! What a wonderful thing to have. I love reading people's journals and diaries (and also their collected letters). I think it's because I find everydayness very interesting in its particulars.

Thanks for a marvelous post, Pom!


Farm Girl said...

Oh I love your Grandma's journals. and I adore Kat spelled with a "K" I am glad your grandmother was a counter, how nice is that. I love getting a glimpse of your Anne book. It is very Pom Pom but also does remind me of Susan Branch. I do love your handwriting.
I will have to get that book about Peter Rabbit too. Did you know I have a bunny? Summer has been very hard on him. He is very old maybe like Old Benjamin Bunny. His name is Blackavar. I don't know if that is how you spell it but it is from that book about bunnies too. Watership Down.

I am so glad your brought journals home with you. They make me think that maybe my grand daughter will take mine home to read. :)
Have a lovely day.

Danette Bartelmay said...

Oh Pom Pom ~ I am literally in tears. I am so very touched by this post. I have been a diary/journal keeper since I was 10 years old. I have boxes of them saved up for my daughters and granddaughter to have some day. My oldest daughter, Hilary, who is a Librarian, is an avid journaler as well. WE LOVE THE WRITTEN WORD in this family. We also LOVE THE WORD OF GOD in this family. Plus ~ I love, love, love anything to do with bunnies. I devour books and love Beatrix Potter. I believe you and I are kindred spirits :)))
Bless your dear sweet Granny for journaling her life. And Bless You for sharing it.

TexWisGirl said...

your grandma's notes are too cute. my mother used to write a few things for us in our photo albums. treasure those words.

Elizabethd said...

I still have my mother's journals, and every now and then I pore over them, trying to feel her presence with me. I don't keep a journal, but sometimes wish I had started years ago.

Sara said...

Hi Pom Pom, thank you for this wonderful post. I loved every word of it! My mother's name was Jo; seeing that name in your grandma's journals reminded me of her. Words are incredible in every way, and so is the Word Himself. I'm grateful and thankful for YOU and your words here on your blog. Have a beautiful August!

wayside wanderer said...

What a treasure!!! I would give much to have my grandmother's musings. I love it....and to see her handwriting. Your journal is a treasure, too. You have convinced me I need to try harder. :)

Attic Clutter said...

oh Pom
how neat... I love that she did that..
how she was an artsy doodler
like you(:)

magsmcc said...

I am pondering with much awe these words about writing. I also know I should be BP writing too in the blog! But what I must must tell you tonight is that my most wonderful friend Catherine (who cooks and knits and mums four grown up wondrous young men) has this very teapot from which I drink tea. Now I can think about you in her perfect kitchen, which makes it all so much more perfect x

Lisa Richards said...

I must come back and read every word of these diaries when it isn't quite so LATE! (Gotta go to bed!)
I think I would keep a diary...if I had beautiful handwriting like a certain Pom-Pom! I'm frustrated by handwriting. My hand can't keep up with my brain. So I type instead!
Thanks for your prayers for my hubby, Bob. He had a bronchoscopy today and will get results in a few days. He also got some much needed pain medicine for a hurting back. I think he'll sleep tonight for the first time in a while.
I'll be back to savor these diaries! :)

libbyquilter said...

thank YOU for the encouragement to write. i have good intentions but often it gets overlooked or i feel that there isn't anything of importance to write about. you have shown me that even the small things within our daily lives can be a comfort and of interest.

i do think my blog (both photos and words) has been a nice sort of personal record keeping even if somewhat inconsistent at times.

the books mentioned sound very interesting. i should consider ordering copies for myself.


Betty the Wood Fairy said...

So much for my blogging break and we are only two days into August! I think I cannot do without the written word and the links it brings to other folks, their lives and daily doings - you are one of those I so look forward to catching up on. I love the idea of journals and diaries - am so mean with myself I won't go and buy things to write in! must be a little more generous with things that are good for the soul. I adore Beatrix Potter, I saw loads of her books recently in a charity shop and wish I had bought them now - at the time I told myself not to be so childish - or childlike? remember that childlike Christmas we did? Let's 'do' Beatrix Potter, rabbits in clothes, find our inner child - count me in! Betty

Catherine said...

Is that background your Grandma's skirt? Such a sweet wee pattern. That was a very good heart balm for you wasn't it, clambering around in the plumbing shop attic & bringing home the written threads of your Grandma's ways. Good!
I have done huge amounts of journalling but that was mainly my own processing. I like my blog & it's combined pictorial & written record. I "write" for that my niece or a grandchild can come & find me one day & maybe find their own way a little better in the world because of my record. I hope that they might find "me" amidst the "pages" & know what I was about.
It's the little things that make the most sense of our lives don't you think.
Much love Katie x0x0x

Sue McPeak said...

How like your Grandmother YOU ARE!

Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
Cousin Lucy and Husband Sock

Gumbo Lily said...

What wonderful journals -- Granny's and yours. Hubby writes a few things down each day in his pocket journal which also has calving records and such in it. I keep a journal, but it seems very hit-and-miss. Sometimes I write lots and other times a month might go by (like July) when I wrote just two days out of the 31. Oh well.

Love BP. I have the biography of BP and liked it, but didn't get through it all. I also have a book of nature sketches on mushroom studies she did. I'm not sure where it came from. I like that one. I love Peter Rabbit and all those stories. I see you pinned A Tale of Hilltop Farm. I liked that book. I would like to visit the Lake District one day.


Susan Branch said...

Hi Pom Pom -- I think your name is really Karen! Love your diary entries, and thank you for including Days.♥ I found a website this morning that I know you will love. A woman named Heather did a Beatrix Potter Summer School and it's the most darling thing!

I know you and your readers will love it. Not often you get to see a true hero in action and this darling thing she did for her children, I'm sure they will never forget! xoxo Happy Saturday! Susan

Heather L. said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! It was so kind of Susan to find me and comment and share that with everyone else. It's been very encouraging to me. My husband has been gone all summer and so my energies have been poured extra hard into my kids and I was surprised at how much it meant for someone to say "well done". I see that we enjoy some of the same things -- family diaries and journals are a treasure to me. They are so fun to look through and I am addicted to keeping all sorts of diaries myself. :) I also just LOVE the Ultimate Peter Rabbit book.

A tale from toadstoolhouse... said...

Love that snail,don't hurry be happy,my new motto I think:) How wonderful to have Your grandmothers journals so precious.I love BP too and am going to treat myself to her books one of these

Kit said...

This post made me smile. I have kept a journal since I was 16 (I am now 58) and I hope generations to come enjoy reading them, like you do your Granny's. :) Kit

sandy said...

What a wonderful encouragement to write! I have my grandmothers Bible that she wrote in and recipes that she wrote down on the backs of envelopes with funny comments! Wish she would have left a journal. But you've encouraged ME to leave some writing behind along with little drawings! Fun!

debbie bailey said...

What a treasure you have in your grandmother's journals. I have a stack of letters my grandma wrote to me over a twenty year period, and they're my most precious possession.

I need to journal more. Blogging has taken its place for me, but it's not really the same thing. I do intend to have my blog made into book form, but I still want to get into the habit of writing down small things about our lives. Mostly I only write when something traumatic has happened, so my journals are filled with me angsting and whining! Not good.

GretchenJoanna said...

I love that you wanted to sew boxers - did you ever get to that? And you wrote that you "continue to get nothing done," or something like that - it's amazing that we women so often feel that way. Did our grandmothers think that, too?

Some days we are only doing internal work, or intangible and maybe even invisible work...but you know that now, if you didn't years ago.

There's some awareness in diary-keepers that the minutes and days that go by are meaningful, even when we aren't getting all our sewing or whatever done.

I wish my grandma had kept a diary. At least I do have a little diary that my great-grandmother kept for a short time and though I never met her I feel very connected to her partly because I can read her words. I'm assuming that somewhere down the line someone of my descendants will read some of my words, if the Lord does not come back before they get the chance. :-)