I spent every summer visiting my grandparents for a couple months from the time I was about 8 until I was about 15. They lived a few hundred miles away so other than my visits we only saw them a couple times a year. One of the things I looked forward to on those vists was being allowed to read my grandmother’s diary, which she wrote in faithfully every night. It allowed me the chance to see what they had been up to over the year.
My grandmother died when I was about 27 and I got all of her diaries. There were many, many volumes. I remembered these books from childhood as fun and interesting. So when I got the diaries as an adult of course I began to read them all again. The funny thing was that they weren’t much fun anymore. They presented a totally different picture reading them as an adult. I realized that my grandmother was a sad person who had not had a good life. My grandfather was a domineering man who dictated her every action. She wrote of hurt and anger and loneliness. All of these things were in the same volumes I had read as a child but I never saw them then! It makes me sad to think she let me in when I was younger and all I saw were the places they went and who they visited.
Tags: diary, grandmother
Other People's Thoughts
It could not be coincidental that my grandmother’s diary reveals the same pattern of a domineering husband, hurt and anger. I really think it was more a sign of the times. Many housewives were experiencing the same thing in those days.
— Gary Friday May 12, 2006 #
As a child you probably couldn’t have understood her sadness, and she may not have wanted you to. I’m sure you brightened her life by just being there with her.
— Jen Friday May 12, 2006 #
The Saddest Thing I Own is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It is supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable contributions of artists to society.