Today I transcribed a small diary. It was written by a widow in 1943. She lived alone, as all her children were grown.
The diary started with a January 1st entry. The tone was muted, lacking the usual New Year's optimism because the country was in the midst of World War II. The lady's son had been drafted. He shipped out a couple of weeks after the diary was started, leaving behind a pregnant wife.
Entries in the journal are short, yet descriptive. The mother missed her son, and worried about her daughter-in-law who gave birth the day after her husband shipped out.
Much of the diary focused on day-to-day events: going to church, going to town for groceries, visiting family and friends. The woman enjoyed time with her new grandchild and thought often about her son. She was very honest about feeling lonely.
It is not clear why this woman started a diary, or what she intended to do with it. It was penned in a small memo book and doesn't look like a diary at all. It could have easily been mistaken for junk by a clueless descendant and thrown away after she died. Luckily, it was saved because it is a very moving picture of one small family during one big war.
Makes you wonder how many other nondescript items are sitting around our own houses and attics waiting to be discovered.