I swear you will not regret starting this journal.
Way back in 2006 I bought a small wire-bound journal with penned indecipherable cursive writing atop its ivory cover.
Barry and I had experienced too many conversations that went like this:
“When did we Grandpa Elsholz die? How old was he when he died?”
“When did the old Sentinel building burn?”
“Hey, do you remember when I got my wisdom teeth pulled out?”
“When exactly did we have that Downhill Slide party at our house back in the 80s?”
“When did we go to that boat show in the eastern Upper Peninsula?”
And so on, and so on.
Of course, we rarely recalled the appropriate date. We THOUGHT we remembered, but who knew? We could discuss it until next May and never know for sure.
Way back in 1982 I was scribbling important days and events and outings and births and deaths on calendars. Then I stored the yellowing calendars in boxes in the musty corner of the basement. But who goes into the dustiest mustiest corner of the basement and sorts through dozens of old calendars to find out, say, when we went on that women’s weekend in Green Bay, or when I started hanging out with Susan D, or when Barry started playing in a band?
Until 2006 when the Universe knocked me alongside the head (very gently) and suggested, “Hey, Kathy, how about start recording all these things in a journal? Not a journal where you agonize over thoughts and dreams and hopes and desires…but a journal where you just record Important Happenings.”
So I painstakingly dug out all the calendars and started the journal. On Page One (labeling it 1982 just for a convenient starting point since it was the birth of Child #1) I listed Christopher’s birth date and time. A family wedding which followed immediately thereafter. My one-afternoon-a-week job at the Red Rocks Co-op in L’Anse. Then I listed all the grandparents birth days and anniversaries.
On to 1983! Apparently the calendar proved thin. Kathy freelanced odd typing jobs. We moved into our Little House in the Big Woods. Barry’s place of employment burned to the ground. And, yes, Kathy got her wisdom teeth plucked.
It took several weeks, but 1982-2006 soon fleshed out in the journal. It tells when we bought Christopher’s new bed. When Barry first motored over to Isle Royale on John’s boat. When Kathy got bifocals. When kids came home to visit. When we visited kids. When Kiah and I traveled to Europe. When I learned to play cribbage. When I lay on the floor of a public bathroom in Florida curled in the fetal position as my darling gall bladder finally gasped its last. When my sweet dad died.
And now the pages of 2016 have been faithfully recorded, and 2017 spreads its wings to reveal many unknown happenings which will someday be penned into the journal. These years I divide about two journal pages into months. January (it says in 2015): Enjoyed New York City. Met K’s boyfriend’s parents. Stranded in Chicago on the way home, flew to Green Bay, rented car and drove home. Bad road conditions–near-accident in Chassell.
I cannot strongly enough recommend this journal to you. You will look up monumental family events dozens of times. Your children and grandchildren will someday slowly peruse your journal thinking of long-dead great-grandparents, nursery school graduations and the particulars of when little so-and-so birthed into this strange and delicious world.
Even if you can only remember a few things from, say, 2011, write them down. Even if it’s a tiny scrawled journal. You will not regret it. You will think of it as the World’s Best Journal, I swear.
Any of you have a precious practical journal like this one?