Monday, June 14, 2010

I Remember, Mama

June wrote:

December 10, 1969
: "After 23 years of marriage, years when I should have been writing about all the important days in my life, I am going to start a diary. Not because anything special has happened, but someday someone might like to become acquainted with me. So I will begin . . ."
"Snowflakes fell on the flag the day of my birth, June 14, 1925. My sisters—four of them and one brother—were at Sunday School. By the time they arrived home the sun was bright and the snow was melted and they had a new baby sister—which proves that I bought summertime!"
"A year after we were married we moved to Los Angeles. Three years later I came home to deliver an exceptionally beautiful child—Martha Ann. During the next seven years three more darling babies arrived, Tom, Polly, and Jolyn . . . We were disappointed when I lost twins, and then I had two more miscarriages. I often wonder what life would be like with four more children in our home."
"Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. How the years have passed like a flash. It doesn't seem any time at all since Jiggs and I were working and studying to get through school, having our babies, staying up nights with crying, sick children, and now, here we are grandparents, but still in love with each other. I somehow never thought of grandparents as romantic lovers, but we are proof that it can be."
"This is my golden anniversary month. I have been on this earth 50 years. That seems such a long, long time and yet I don't feel very old. I keep thinking, 'When I grow up, I'll do thus and so.' I guess I'm grown up and better start doing a few of those 'thus' and 'so's.'"

Marty and Junie, 1950

I got a letter from my mom last night—it's her 85th birthday, and I was thrilled to hear what she had to say about life. She lives in heaven now, so I can't depend on the mail, but her thoughts were right there on paper.

In 1996 my daughter-in-law Christie asked her to write down highlights of her life. She died very unexpectedly just a year later. I collected her assortment of diaries (one from 1937!) and read them all into a tape recorder for Christie to transcribe, along with the "Highlights" and a few other personal papers. As I read, I inserted little asides, memories of my own, (not to be included) just so Christie would get more of the story as she listened and typed. That gave me the idea of an interactive journal.

My daughter Amy took the transcript and laid it out for printing, creating space for the reader to add their own insights. It's like having a conversation!

After somebody dies, reading her journal is like getting a good, long letter.
Thanks for writing, Mom.

Oh, and Happy Birthday.


~Start on a good, long letter to your loved ones: It could be a diary, a blog, a poem, a song, a quilt, a painting, a recipe book, a book of your travels, a bundle of love letters, your day-timers, programs from plays you've been to, photos of your garden, a list of work projects, your labeled paint chips—anything to help them get acquainted with you when you're not here to chat.


Christie said...

That was my favorite project ever. It was so fun to see things through her eyes and get to know her better. She was an amazing woman.


Lovely. Inspiring. Thanks.

polly said...

I love reading her journal. Thanks for putting it together for us.

Diane said...

What a treasure! I better get going on some of the things I want to do too...times seems to fly by so fast.

mama jo said...

yeah, i wish we could be celebrating with her right now...happy b-day mom!

Michelle said...

we're connected today-- I love that.

al + sar said...

Love these stories! Thanks for sharing.