I thought I would talk about my new Monteverde Prima in Tiger Eye today but then I changed my mind. This day is always a wildcard; I never know how I will feel on the day we celebrate Mothers. I haven’t mentioned my mother’s diaries before, probably because I knew such a post would be hard to write. I did talk about her in this post from May 2014 but today as I remember her and marvel at the 15 years since her death, I find myself reading her words.
For as long as I can remember my mom had a diary. They were usually coil-bound, the date stamped right on the front, with vinyl covers, the kind you buy in drug stores and Zellers in the fall and early winter, for the following year. Most of them are made by Blueline or The Brown Brothers of Toronto, and all are 8.5 x 5.5. I remember my parents discussing the weather, when we had the first frost, when we saw the first robin. And my mom would dig out past diaries and prove to my dad that she was indeed right about that Christmas it was so warm and green, or that year the power was out for 5 days straight.
When my mother died my sister and I wondered what to do with the journals. We cherish them but how to preserve them for posterity? We might not always live in the same city as we do now. We thought about having a complete duplicate set made somehow but we haven’t done anything so far. She has a few, and I have a few. They will be placed in the Box of Things to Save in Case of Fire (that I have organized in my mind).
1974 is the first year in my stash; our mother would have been 36, I was 4, my sister 16. In the photo above page flags mark particular passages that I want to share or just remember. Or maybe copy into my own journal.
Mother was very much a chronicler of events; there is no drama, no page after page of angst or indecision. Every day lists the weather, what she did, where she went, who she saw and every once in a while, how she felt. So different from my own journal writing!
Over the years my sister and I have read to each other passages from these diaries, on special occasions like birthdays or Christmas. Often it is a game of “Who is that?” when a strange name is mentioned; “Where were they?” when a reference to an unfamiliar place is made; or “What on earth can she be referring to?” And often the passages are bittersweet; details of the “friendship turning into something more” of my sister and her now-husband are delightful to read, but also remind me that no such entry will ever be written about me and my husband, as she passed away before we even met. The story of our “friendship turning into something more” has been written by me, in my own fashion and I guess that pays homage to this tradition. My sister also keeps a journal, again in her own fashion that is different from mine and our mother’s. But it’s nice to know the urge to write is the same for all three of us.
It’s amazing to have such an abundance of handwriting examples; one notices patterns and rhythms to the entries, and even secret codes (which we think we have figured out!) As I read them I can hear her voice in my head, which is sometimes hard but always comforting.
The rest of my mother’s diaries that currently live with me. They smell a little musty still, and some of them have sticky spots (something spilled from 8 year old me, or an accidental coffee mug topple?) I would have to double-check with my sister but I believe we have a complete collection from the early 1970s to 2000. Thirty years of first snows, robins, vacations, birthdays, weddings, babies, storms and sicknesses. And love. Lots of love.
Nice visiting with you Mom. Miss you. And Happy Mother’s Day.