My mom is the record keeper in our family. She is the one we go to if we want to know something. I use the term record keeper because she keeps track of family information and details. She has all the childhood illness data, vital stats like births, marriages, divorces and deaths as well as the family genealogy history. My mom keeps these records and information in files. It expands from this type of information to more mundane day to day stuff.  My mom has kept a diary for as long as I can remember.

No juicy secrets in these pages, just the basics like the weather, what she and dad did that day, a new purchase noted perhaps and an interesting tidbit here and there. My mom has taken notes on the normal stuff life is made up of and has tucked them away in these handwritten pages.

Many times we refer back to these pages to check on what we did at certain holidays, or when the garden was planted, when harvest started or when repairs were made.  It may seem boring but as she starts to look back through the pages and read her notes it brings back memories.  It reminds us of what we have been through and the threads that tie us together.  It is comforting to me, to know the information is there.  As we age and life becomes full of details our memories of past days fade and we forget the small things that make up our lives.  It serves us to remember that the ordinary is extraordinary.

The fact that she has done this for so long speaks to her discipline.  I admire it and respect it.  I haven’t written a diary.  I keep records in files but not a handwritten accounting of days.  That practice is a commitment to life and to family. Documenting a normal human existence through the eyes of a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend and creating a family history book is sacred.

Recently, I found an autograph memory book that my mom had given me a while back. It was my paternal grandmother’s.  It is a treasure.  The book is small, orange velvet with ivory flowers on the outside. On the inside are well wishes, poems and signatures from my grandmother’s parents, sister, cousins, teachers and friends, all in their own handwriting by fountain pen.  The book covers from elementary school through college. It is remarkable to hold such a wonderful piece of history. Reading the written words from their own hand I can feel their personalities leap off the page.

Neither my mom nor grandmother set out to provide written snapshots into their lives. Yet they did.  What a wonderful gift. It is the people and their stories that give life meaning and interest. My family like most has great characters and stories filled with drama, success, sadness, fun, illness and heartache. It is the compilation of these great individuals and their journeys that offers us strength and wisdom. Handwritten notes of day to day living, love letters to life.

©2011 Lisa Prunier, High Road Post