My Grandpa starting keeping a diary at the age of 17. He faithfully wrote an entry every day for the entirety of his life (he passed away in March 2002) — even after his second stroke when he was often too weak to write, he would have my Grandma or aunt at least enter a line or two. And that’s part of the beauty of it. There was nothing too monotonous or too exciting to not write down. From the weather to the birth of his offspring, crops harvested and trips taken, he always found something worth his time and reflection at the end of the day.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m at my Grandma’s house is to read through the old diaries she stores in a bureau.

This time I read through a few of the earlier ones, particularly when he was dating Grandma and their first year of marriage.
He started dating her in July of 1948 and in his reflections at the end of the year, he wrote, “This is my last year of celibacy, I’ve roamed long enough!”
His New Year’s resolution for 1949 was “Live a better life and get myself a wife!”
On November 12, 1949, he wrote, “Today I was married at the W. Barre Church to the most wonderful girl you would ever want to meet, Marjorie Evelyn Bowen.”
For the next six weeks he documents their honeymoon – a cross country trip over to California, down to Mexico and back. It was so fun to read, I’d love to retrace their journey some day.

I also looked through the dates of birthdays of my family members. He once entered everything he did on the farm, adding that my Grandma had given birth to a new daughter just before he signed off. I’d like to note that I made the top of the page. Not all of my cousins faired so well.

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