The Diary

Sample of Jim's diary from 1965

Sample of Jim’s diary from 1965

When I met Jim, he was deep into the habit of keeping a diary. After he bought the 1952 Cadillac, he became even more addicted to the habit, as the odometer didn’t work. Jim had to keep track of the mileage for simple things like when to change the oil, or measure the gas mileage.

Keeping a diary was never very high on my list of things to do, but as I read through Jim’s log books (as he called them) from the fifties and sixties I’m amazed at the insight they give. In Jim’s last letter there’s a picture of his diary entry from his visit to Cannes, France and the yacht. A year later he was back on another Navy tour. His diary entry for that visit was a little more cryptic, but those shore leaves were highlights of his life.

Judy and I often talk about events that we “mark time by.” A diary records those times wonderfully. Jim’s diaries and photo albums are among my treasured possessions. Those, and the letters, and all the same from Lucy, Grace and Louie. Without something to touch, look at and read, a life is only memories. Memories fade even faster than photos.

I hope you enjoy this vignette.

Jim writes:

When I was in the eighth grade in Athol my English teacher, Miss Mary Lou Hodges gave me a diary for Xmas that year … and I faithfully recorded events in my young life that I deemed worthy of remembering. I’m afraid, as I look back, that most of the entries were nonsense and just written to fill the little book! But that habit has stayed with me off and on over the years.

Jim Letter023