I’ve always been an advocate of journal writing – but especially now that mom has passed.
After we put my mom into assisted living and were cleaning out her house in order to sell it, my brother, Corey, took mom’s journals with him to Las Vegas and has been transcribing them ever since. He also took a couple of boxes of photographs. There have been several parts of her journal which have corresponded with unlabeled photos or have provided memories that have had us thinking, “Oh, yea.”
Other passages have given us more insight to our overly quiet dad. And lately – mom’s emotions about caring for dad mirroring our own with caring for her. It’s been a rather interesting journey.
Some journal entries often seem boring and it feels pointless to even write about. Journal entries written by teens can often sound funny or disheartening.
Recently I discovered a journal while cleaning out Biff’s old room and converting it to Jenna’s.
Biff had received a journal upon his baptism when he was eight years old. It had been signed by his bishopric. It took him thirteen years to fill less than forty pages. It amazes me that he has moved at least six times since receiving his journal and has it still – though he's never once written in it since we moved to West Valley.
His entries from 1995 to 2000 are quite simple. He didn’t start dating his entries until after then. Thus it’s hard to tell what lines were written during what point in his life. Here are some examples:
Today I was mad. We played horse in the gym.
Today I went outside to play. It was fun
Today I went to the zoo
I had a good day today.
I am 12 years old now. 6th grade is hard for me. I have two girl friends (lie) named Charlene and Nollie
His first dated entry is Jan 24, 2000
That got on my last nerve
I am now 14. There was an attack on America. How it happened
Plane crash in building
All night this is my life. I go to school, smile at people.
I go home, smile at people, then go to bed.
That’s my life right now.
Hopefully it’ll get better. I know it will
I am now 14
I’m bored . . . there is nothing to do at age 14
I had a girl friend. I forget her name, but I wish she never lost my number because I lost hers.
For some reason I keep thinking about her. I have another girl that I think is cheating on me, but what do I know. I’m still little and there is plenty of fish is the sea. What I mean is there are plenty of girls out there.
Today I wasn’t so bored like always.
I’m wresting. I started wresting in Nov. 28, 2001.
And it’s now 1/14/02.
The big thing about this is I pinned some guy
in 2 seconds. It never felt better.
I hope I can do it again.
I keep falling in love with people who probably are not interested in me. Oh, well. I wish that I was, will and be bigger than anyone in the world muscle wise.
That is I also wish I had a girlfriend that’s love and cares for me. I hope I won’t be so alone with no one at age 16. I’m bored. “Sigh” good-night
I like school and school likes me. There are people to talk to don’t feel so alone today as you can tell. Sometimes I feel alone but today I just don’t care. I hope it’s the same tomorrow. It would be popular. We’ll see.
Graduation! From high school. I’m sad. I’ll miss all that were so nice to me.
Wow! Looking at what I’ve said in my journal makes me want to burn it or start over. I’ve skipped so many things and also I’ve skipped the good things that happen to me. Now my journal doesn’t even make sense to me. Oh well, in October last year I’ve met my girlfriend, [Sharon]. I love her and now I can’t go so crazy. Any more. LOL Like when I put in my journal that I’m “ing lonely”
This journal makes me sound like a little boy, a sad, dad, little boy
What is wrong with me? How come girls won’t talk to me. And when they do, they don’t want to? I do the best I can to be good. I’ve heard so many times good things come to those who wait LOL not happing. I really really really want a girlfriend. My heart hurts because no girl is giving me a chance to love.
I had mentioned writing from journal jars in this post and as I was answering a question, I thought of a new way to journal and clean up my photos at the same time.
I have gone through different photos and provided more detail than just the title of the photo. Most of my descriptions have been really short.
“I can’t say for certain why this photo was taken, but I can give a brief description about the outfits that Kayla and I are wearing.
“Grandma Mary saved up money and would travel each year to different countries. With this particular year she had gone to Scotland. She purchased the red plaid in Scotland and had sent the fabric to mom. Mom made these matching outfits for me and Kayla”
I suppose I could elaborate more about mom’s willingness to sew and her diligence to finish projects. She said her favorite part about sewing is that she would get so caught up in whatever project that she would forget to eat. She believed that by forgetting to eat that she would be able to lose weight.
“This was taken on Christmas morning. Patrick and I are wearing our new pajamas. I also received this robe. That was the same year I received my first (and I suppose my only) Chrissy doll and a paint spinner”
Other descriptions were more elaborate and had nothing to do with the photo really. For example, I had come across one of my cousin Jackie and me and my mom holding Corey when he was just a few months old. Didn’t remember the picture. But I wrote about Jackie and how we’re related and houses I had remembered visiting in Magna, Utah.
I wrote down the names of all of Jackie’s siblings and her husband and four children. I also mentioned that Jackie and mom and I had worked together at the ice cream store several years after the picture was taken.
Mom once wrote: “My journal writing has been so erratic. I wonder if anyone will ever read these or be in the least bit interested in what I have written.”
Perhaps we don’t feel like what we write is worthwhile or carries any value. Actually our words are quite valuable – especially to our posterity who is experiencing the same feelings that we felt.
Mom and I have often used our own journals as a reference. We’ll need to provide a specific date for work or health and when we know the details of the surrounding events, we can usually find whatever it is we’re looking for.
Corey says mom always detailed the amount of tips that were taken in or that we each received each night she worked at the ice cream store.
I don’t expect that my journal will ever be made well known as the diary of Anne Frank (for example) but that isn’t why I keep a journal. I do it for myself. I continue for Jenna.
My writing gets hard to read at times. Especially when my mind is going faster than my pen (which it often does) and there have been times when I have tried to transcribe my own journal. That is actually quite difficult for me as I often want to change it. I would elaborate with some entries and choose to discard others. I don’t even know how much original I have. Now that I think about it, I know there is some that got thrown out when mom’s house was cleaned. Nate had told me that there was a box of stuff that belonged to me. I told him to throw it out without even looking at it. I figured if I hadn’t bothered with it for over ten years, I could certainly part with it. Too late now.
My advice to all my readers would be to take the time to write your own history. It will mean the world to those you leave behind.