Friday, March 20, 2015

Keeping A Journal & Genealogy

I received my first journal for Christmas when I was ten years old. As a writer from as far back as I can remember, this was one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. I faithfully wrote in a journal on a daily basis until my late twenties. Since then, my entries have been scarce and sporadic, but I have managed to save most of these journals over the years.
Recently, it was in talking with a long-lost aunt that I rediscovered this treasure trove of history. We were talking about a bible in my possession that was passed down since before I was born. It is a memorial bible in honor of my grandmother and one I have never used because I didn't want to ruin it. My aunt told me that yes, I should absolutely use it and that my grandmother would want me to.
This started the digging in my garage for the boxes containing memorabilia as far back as my birth. I uncovered a wealth of riches that have blessed me tremendously. All week, I have been pestering family members and friends with photos and text messages containing tidbits of the jewels unearthed in these boxes. An heirloom plate I did not even realize I had, a cherished Lady and the Tramp record my sisters and I played until it wouldn't play anymore, and all the beloved journals I've kept since I was ten years old.
I opened one journal from high school and immediately sent quotes of it to my dear friend who was a "bff" back then. For my beloved sisters, I've shared lots of photos (via Facebook) of the many journal entries about our times together or how I missed them when we were apart. To their surprise, they also received a photo of a doll we each had at birth. My sister from another mother has gotten non-stop texts about our crazy twenties as I read through these journals documenting our escapades.
We've shared some of those good memories with a laugh, some of those really bad ones with a tear, but the most precious gift from this "journey into the past" is the recording of visits and conversations with departed loved ones. In these journals are words I had long since forgotten, stories told to me of the days gone by, the days before my own, stories I couldn't otherwise hear again.
This is the purpose of today's blog, to remind you of the preciousness of life and the importance of somehow recording the "mundane" that may one day become treasures to you (and the generations that follow). I have often wished I had recorded conversations I had with my grandfather, my great aunts and uncles, and even friends who left this world way too soon. As I began a quest of researching my genealogy late last year, I have wished even more that I could remember those conversations detailing the history of my family. There are few left that can remember enough to answer my many questions and those left often tell different versions of what they remember. However, in these journals recording the daily events in my life, I have found some answers. There are certainly many entries detailing events, emotions, experiences that I'd rather burn than have another come across, but they are littered throughout cherished memories and history that I would otherwise be without.
In all of this, I have become inspired to journal again in the consistent manner I did as a child and as a young woman. I have been reminded of how important it was for me as I grew and learned and lived. As a writer, it kept my words flowing as it cleared my mind to focus on my art. Most importantly, I want to add to the memories, to the history of my family, the conversations and moments that may one day bless me again.

4 comments:

  1. I wish i wrote stuff down when i was 10
    . I once bought a journal, but I was so afraid my sisters would find it, and make fun of me.
    As an adult, i would start, then forget to write. I have read some old journals, i noticed when i was upset with my then husband, i would find the time to write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading. I don't think Val does... (-;

      Delete
  2. K.Rae, you're right about documenting the mundane. We often feel it unimportant until later when the details are fuzzy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading AND commenting! :-)

      Delete