Several years ago my mother, an artist and creative soul by nature, passed on to me a collection of diaries and journals she had acquired over the years. She knew I had a keen interest in written word, especially when it is of a personal nature. The history buff, genealogy fan, and aspiring writer in me reveled at seeing pages of handwritten stories from strangers who lived years before I ever made my earthly appearance. It was an opportunity to have an immersive glimpse into the life of someone else. A stranger who could become a friend through a recounting of their life story.
There is something primal about documenting your life, even mundane details, that might be read by someone long after you are gone. It is a tiny dash of immortality and proof that you were here and you lived a life. Each person has a myriad of experiences that have shaped who they are today and influence who they will be tomorrow. Each person has a story, even if they don’t realize it yet.
So when I inherited this collection of journals and diaries, I felt like I was helping to keep someone’s legacy going. I was letting them be heard, ensuring that their labor of love to write down their daily life was worth it. It had meaning, their life had meaning. To my immense surprise, I realized that I had 3 diaries that were all from the same person. The three volumes were comprised of two ‘5 year’ diaries and one ‘1 year’ diary. The books chronicle the life of a woman from her late teens in the early 1930’s to her adulthood in 1972. Some gaps exist but overall the collection paints a complete picture of life for one woman growing up in Kansas and later moving to Colorado. It seems so beautiful and rare to have pages upon pages from one person’s life-to be able to see them grow up right before our eyes as we read their words they deliberately put to paper. In reading these journals, we are able to immerse ourselves in her world and are given the chance to live another life for a short while.
This blog will contain a chronological and word for word transcription of the three diaries of a woman named Gladys. Through her words, we will see what life was like for a young woman in Kansas and what direction her life took during her adventure into adulthood.
A person. A story. A written life.