Thursday, April 11, 2013

Of Diaries, Notebooks, Journals and Memo Books


In between diaries and blogging, there was journaling. I've written before about those five years from age thirteen through seventeen that I faithfully kept a daily diary. That dedication went out the window after high school when work, marriage and babies took up all my time.
Then something new came along in the late 60's and early 70's - journaling. Of course keeping a journal had been around forever but it gained a new popularity after a psychologist in New York City started classes and workshops on how to use therapeutic writing to sort through problems and come to a deeper self-awareness.
For me, an added bonus of journaling as opposed to 'keeping a diary' was that there were no rules for writing every day, nor a certain amount of space allocated for what should be written that day. You could use any notebook or bound book with blank pages you wanted. You could write in ink - any color you wanted - or pencil; you could even draw pictures if so inclined.
I began journaling. Pictured above are just a very few of the notebooks I've used over the years. The earliest entry in any of these is in the yellow notebook (Le Cahier Jaune) dated December 8, 1972. The small black note book on the left is the one I carried and wrote in during my trip to Ireland in 1994. The one on the right with the blue bird was a gift from my daughter - that's the Mother's Day card which came with it. It was the year of her big health scare. I had flown out to Portland to be with her. On a trip to the nearby  neighborhood market, I had seen some pretty notebooks and told her about them, but hadn't bought one for myself.
In her card she wrote: "I bought this notebook for you before I even got sick. When you said there were pretty notebooks at New Seasons, I wondered if you were talking about these?" Yep. Those were the ones. I have yet to write a single entry in this book - saving it for something special, I guess. Maybe those words of wisdom.
The little red moleskine on the bottom left is my most recent attempt at a diary/journal. I read online about the importance of writing a little something every day and decided I would do that. The attempt lasted about  a month and half - just one year ago.
It's that other little red-orange memo book that got me thinking about blogging today. It is an old one I found while sorting through boxes this winter. The entries and its size tell me it was something I carried around with me all the time - not so much a journal as a place to jot notes and reminders. It dates from 1979-80-81-82.
In addition to grocery lists, phone numbers, addresses and room sizes, there's an attempt to keep track of the money I spent. "Nov. 6 - $290.00 - Tires, $13.00; Phone bill, $22.54; Excedrin, $1.85; Jewelry, $4.58; Tickets, spaghetti supper, $6.00; Doug, fix glasses, $5.00; Doug, senior pics, $25.00; Hincks, $60.00, Co-op, $60.00."  What I had listed totaled almost $200.00. I'm sure the $290.00 was all I had to spend which meant I was going to have around $90.00 to last until the next paycheck which was most likely at least two weeks away, maybe a month.

There was an address for "To register a copyright", a couple lists of names we had drawn for Christmas as well as "Christmas '82 Ideas - Preston, Socket set; Kari, Slouch Hat; Doug, Jeans. Ideas for others for me: Oven thermometer, big outdoor thermometer."

There's a Book List of books I wanted to get/read which includes Square Foot Gardening, Women's Diaries of the Western Journey, The Uninvited, A Revolting Transaction, Third Person Rural Essays and Ballad of Typhoid Mary. Other than the gardening one, I don't remember reading any of them. I should look them up to see if I would still be interested in reading them. As well as books I wanted to read, there are a couple of title ideas for children's stories I wanted to write: "Preston's Prolific Parsley Plant and Radishes In The Ruins."

I wanted to invite a guy I was interested in from Des Moines for a weekend and had jotted down a possible way of wording it so as to sound friendly yet not scare him away: "SW Iowa in springtime is beautiful. The pool tables are warmed up. Expect you after work April 20 or late morning the 21st at the latest! Bring Pooh!! R (Regrets only.)" I don't remember if I ever sent the invite, but I do know he never came down.


There was a note about a car I was interested in: "71 Chev. Caprice, 4-Dr. Hdtp. 400 (Big Block Engine) 108,000+ miles" with the name, address and phone number of the previous owner. I did end up buying the car for $800 and kept it until I traded it in on the yellow Duster.

One whole page relates to how much vacation time I had earned, used, and still had left. There's a recipe for something called Jo's Slush (Orange) "Boil till clear: 2 C Sugar; 2 C Water Add: one 12 oz. frozen lemonade, one 12 oz. frozen orange juice, 2 C ice tea (already made), 7 C hot water, One fifth Vodka. Mix together - freeze." I'm sure I never made this, but I do remember the evening spent near Lenox with Jo and her husband before they moved to Indiana.

I have always been a great one to write down quotes I like and there are several in this old memo book: "We make up our dreams ourselves, but then they tell us something we didn't know we knew." "Even happiness comes as a burden when one remembers all the chapter and verse connected with it."

But the most important and remembered one is this from Bud on 5/14/81: "I don't want to share a house with you, I want to share a life."

There are a lot of memories in these old notebooks - even the ones that weren't journals, per se. I guess that's why I hang on to them. Tomorrow more about and something from that blue notebook.

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