I found my first journal “Dear Diary”

April 14, 2012

As I go through the process of downsizing I keep running into interesting bits and pieces of the past, like my first journal, Dear Diary. I found this plastic covered book buried under a pile of other journals. When I saw it there was no mistaking the era that it came from, the late 50’s. The “Ponytail” trademark merchandise was popular back then and was the bobbie-soxer’s product of choice before the ‘Barbie Doll’ craze took over the market in 1959.

My Dear Diary was most likely a christmas or birthday gift, I cannot remember which, and I quickly filled the pages with tons of teenage angst. But, it wasn’t the tension of being caught in what seemed a miserable existence that propelled me to write. It was the act of writing that became the thrill. Some days the words flew onto the page and then there were other days I remember delighting in the absence of anything interesting happening in my world and I would spend an hour writing about how there was nothing to write about.


I have filled dozens and dozens of journals over the years since receiving that first diary. I’ve stored some of them away in cardboard boxes while another extremely large number were stuffed into a huge trunk that I hadn’t opened in years. That’s where I found Dear Diary.

Family, friends and co-workers always knew that journals were a safe gift for me. So, now that we are downsizing I’m faced with what to do with all of these journals. It’s not that they contain masterful writing. Probably quite the contrary, they most likely are simply mental dribble, my markings in life similar to that of what a snail leaves behind as it wanders about in a garden. Even so, I cannot bring myself to throw them out. I’ve now secured them in boxes. Some of the more attractive journals will probably find their way onto a bookshelf that I’m considering devoting to memorabilia.

I’ll mix the journals in with a few vintage storage boxes that contain unfinished novels and the first drafts of stories.

These days I’ve gotten fussy about the kind of paper that I write on. It used to be that any paper would do me just fine. But the paper does matter to me now. And once I discovered Rhodia notebooks, I was not happy with just any journal. When I travel I’ve always taken something to keep track of my journeys, but now the only thing I take besides a camera and my laptop computer is a Rhodia note book. They come in so many great sizes. I can tuck a small one into my camera bag and have plenty of room for other items, too.

The trunk is empty now and though I’ll be keeping the journals, the trunk is not going to make the move to the new apartment. But this old trunk is deserving of a posting all of its own.




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6 Responses to I found my first journal “Dear Diary”

  1. judy stephens on April 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I truly admire a wordsmith. Dear Diary was delightful.

  2. thelma straw on April 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Is this the trunk you talked about at the Dorothy L lunch??? tjstraw

  3. Sharon on April 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    The well of memories that you are uncovering must be like a double edge sword. Emotions, emotions, emotions.

  4. thelma straw on April 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Mrs. Mendel, you betyter save some of these diaries – you might find they are worth zilliions of bucks !!! t.straw

  5. Petra on April 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Delightful reading, Margaret.
    I enjoyed each line and I so understand what this moment means to you!
    I would not want to throw the “written words” away either. They are your story, your treasure.
    When I moved to my apartment where I live now, I had not shelves enough and I decided to order some cabinets, which were placed on the top of the walls, around the ceiling. I kept a lot of books there and they wouldn´t take place away, down in the rooms (sorry my awful English).It was an interesting solution for me then.
    Best wishes with everything.

  6. Jan on April 18, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Glad you’re keeping those journals, Margaret…they are a part of you, and a very valuable part indeed!

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