I started keeping a journal when I was 11 years old. I was inspired by a trip to Sam’s Club, where I was given permission to pick out one treat. I found a stack of cloth covered blank books in the midst of the stacks of hard cover copies of classic pieces of literature and the Berenstein Bears series for kids. Here is where I found my first journal. The fabric was a beige color with roses scattered over it. Not stems, just the blooms and leaves in a perfect cluster of three. It looks exactly like something an eleven year old girl would select – or an eighty year old.
I started writing in that journal when my mom’s father died. It has entries describing how that loss affected my mother, and what it meant to me. The most detailed story is my version of events the day my brother was born. I treasure that old journal. Even as I sit here writing this, I know exactly where that book is hidden.
At some point in my adolescence, we received a gift from one of my aunts. It turned out that Grandpa has taken some time to write down a few childhood stories. Grandma also made the effort to capture what she could recall about family history. These writings were compiled into a typed packet, with photocopies of the handwritten originals, and sent out across the country to the many children of my grandparents. I swallowed it whole. I was completely obsessed with family history and listening to stories of other times and those pages helped me to feel a connection to my grandparents that I didn’t even know I was wanting. I had a set of grandparents I rarely saw and another set that was around all the time.
Poor Memere. She patiently answered so many questions about her life as a girl. I am thankful for every one of those stories. Even more so for the one’s I wrote down in my journal.
Which brings me to My Life My Words: A keepsake journal for future generations.