keepsake In September 1967 I was a stay-at-home wife and mom with a six-year old son and two baby daughters.

Our kids were not my major problem, however. Nor were our means of support and security. My husband had taken a job as a patent examiner with the Government of Canada. His starting salary was $8,000 per year, with annual increases promised and monthly deductions for income tax, health insurance, public service union dues and a  pension.  I could cook, sew, clean, garden, manage  and be thrifty.

Not One Moment to Sit Down and Write
My big concern was that I didn’t have a moment in my day to sit and write down what I was doing and thinking. My passion was to record and pass things on. What I was doing was important and should not be forgotten.  How could I capture my fleeting thoughts on these lonely days spent carrying out the daily duties of motherly love?

Be Ingenious
I solved the problem by tacking together a few 4 1/2″ x 5″ pieces of lightweight cardboard as a booklet and draping them around my neck with a piece of string that also had a short, blunt pencil attached. If I had the urge to write, even while standing at the bathinette, I could.

Preserve Raw Emotions and Facts
Yesterday I read through those notes after so many years and was shocked to see how frantic and unsettling they were. A shrieking baby in the background, dirty diapers with diarrhea running down legs and onto the floor, a six-year-old pleading for his mommy to come and play museum with him, bursting into tears, struggling to get kids into snowsuits and then having to take them off ten minutes later, getting angry, going to a bridge club where mothers talked about their hair, trying to wake up a husband in time to catch his bus after he stayed up repeatedly until 2:30 a.m. making furniture for the family, being irritated with Grannie for being so insecure she needed approval for things she’d been doing her whole life, disagreeing with the next-door neighbor over diet . . .

Throw out the Garbage Words Later
The dangling diary may have been a good idea for helping me cope but its soul-baring sob story would hardly inspire a future generation. The words I wrote down were garbage, full of aimless rants and frustrations. Now, 45 years later, I put them in the recycle bin with just a tinge of regret.

Start a Keepsake Box for Your Next Family Memoir Writer  My booklet did not make the cut to get into the keepsake box for the next generation of family memoir-writers to discover. Literature emerges from more composed sources of reflection.

Enjoy Living Your Memories Too If anyone’s interested in what I did in my earlier life, I have a beautiful array of descendants to exhibit.  And that’s nothing compared to the love, joy, satisfaction and thankfulness inside my heart.

Thank you for spending your precious time reading this post. Please browse around top and bottom and, if you like, comment.

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