Friday, March 12, 2010

The Journal née Diary

When I was a girl, just like when Anne was a girl, it was called a diary.  Published in the U.S. in 1952, I first read Anne Frank’s diary in 1958 when I was nine.  We had just returned from a post in England, and spent some time in New York City waiting for Daddy’s car to make it to port and off the ship.  From there we would drive to our new post in Pyote, Texas.  It was a long drive, and books were my constant companion in or out of the car.

An avid reader from an early age, I remember being amazed that a girl’s diary was actually a book.  I would ask for a diary that Christmas.  Alas, at nine, my days in west Texas were too full of doing to sit quietly and write.  That came much later, and now it is a daily ritual.

Although I’ve read many diaries and journals since then, the impact of one young girl’s diary has resonated through the years in my life.  It is a testament to the importance of a friend to tell your hopes, frustrations and aspirations to, even if that someone is a plain lined page.  

Anne’s diary is a look at another time and even the recitation of the minutiae of her days in such tight quarters through smiles and tears, informed me.  It was her friend, her confidant, even her therapist.

If more people kept a journal; had a daily conversation with themselves upon the page; there’d be less need of drugs and psychiatrists.  The past can only keep us from moving forward.  Committed our day to the page, frees us to move on to the next thing – the next moment. 

Historians vary, but the one I read said Anne Frank died today in 1945 at Bergen-Belsen prison camp two weeks before liberation by British troops.

© Perle Champion

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