Friday, February 17, 2012

A Line a Day

My mother's diary.

She was not happy that I took it.  However, it was necessary.

After her mother died, I found my grandmother's diary in my mother's basement along with a few other belongings.  I decided to have a bit of a read.  In those 5 minutes, I discovered more about my grandmother's life than I had known over the course of 30+ years.  I won't divulge the family secrets or set the skeletons out by the curb, but my grandmother's trials of overcoming a not-so-perfect past touched me.  I wanted to know more.

I should have shut my mouth.  Alas . . .

I mentioned to my mother that I found her mother's diary and I was quite interested in it.  I should have taken it with me that very day.  I did not.

Upon my next visit home, I searched for the diary again.  After a weekend of no luck, I asked my mother what happened to the diary.  She told me she had thrown it in the trash.

My mother is quite well known for throwing things in the trash.  Every few years, we had to purchase another set of cutlery, as with every few meals, she would toss a fork, knife or spoon into the trash.  Accidentally, of course.  If I did not clean my room as a child, she would head in with a trash bag while I was in school and eliminate what she thought I no longer needed.

So, when her diary presented itself, it went into my luggage immediately.

I informed her what I had done.

Then I proceeded to make a few pieces of art with some of the entries.

Mother:  Venus and Mars, 10.5 x 10.5 SOLD

She never did see the few pieces I made from her entries.  I did tell her no family secrets were revealed.

My mother was a prolific knitter and seamstress.  She made most of her clothing as a young married woman.  I recall Easter was not Easter without a new dress sewn by her.  As my mother was not much interested in cooking, the household appliance I most associate her is the iron.    A symbol of the seamstress and a symbol of the life of a housewife.

My mother passed away December 22, 2010.  I miss her every day.

However, I still have the urge to take something when I see it and not take the risk of it being thrown away.

(sorry for the repeat if you have already read this on My Little House).


Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Oh, those diaries are so important! It's the trace left behind of how life was lived and thought about. I wonder what tangible things we'll have left in the future that will allow us to see the past....we're all online and very few things are written down anymore. Good for the work you've made!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I wish you had your grandmom's diaries too. What a good idea to turn what you learned into art.

paula said...

i used to keep tons..hundreds of journals. personally i would never want anyone to read them but then, i'm betting your mom wasnt living the kind of life i did :) glad you got that diary and love that its incorporated into your work.

amy said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I've told my husband the first thing he does after I'm gone is destroy my old, drama-filled journals from college and right after. I never want my kids to read them. But I keep the notebooks I jot notes, grocery lists, phone numbers, etc in. I think they are so much more telling of my everyday life. (And thanks to you, I may just ponder how some of my older ones could be incorporated into art.)

Thea Belecz said...

Thank you so much for sharing that story. My father was a prolific writer (journals, poetry, articles) and complicated man. He died when I was 14. A few years later, I wanted to read anything he had written. My mother informed me that she had burned all of his writing shortly after his death. I was shocked and horrified. They had a stormy marriage, but I was truly surprised and disappointed. Today, there is a box of my own journals going way back that I sometimes wonder what to do with. My daughter knows where they are so she can retrieve them if I get hit by the mythical bus. Your story reminds me to go through them soon and burn the ones I do not want to be seen... or at least some pages!

ArtPropelled said...

I remember you telling the story about your grandmother's diary and my heart went down to my boots when your mum threw it out. So glad you have your mom's diary. I'm kicking myself for throwing out my mom's handwritten recipe books etc. but after my mom died it was all so overwhelming that I was ruthless in throwing out years of accumulations.

Koosje Koene said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry that your grandmother's diary got lost. I think it's so beautiful how you translate your mother's written words into art.