A Page a Day for 1939…and 2012

Sunday, January 1, 1939
1st Day–364 Days to Follow

New Year’s Day

We all went to S.S. and church. Ronnings & Grace Stewart came out. We played 500 & Bridge. They stayed for supper. Then we all went to church & heard the Bauman Cantata. Polly & Otis & Babies came to see us. Dr. Andress from Yucaipi (?) and Mrs. Bauman sang a duet. Had a very good audience.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year’s Day

I begin this project for many reasons – to be more disciplined about daily writing, to gain more knowledge of my heritage, and to draw comparisons of day-to-day life over four generations. The italicized entries come from my great-grandmother’s daily diaries, on loan from my great aunt. At the start of 1939, Memo, as she is lovingly known by my family, is 47 years old, with a devoted husband and three children, the youngest a redheaded boy named Billy — my grandfather. They reside in a suburb east of Phoenix, Arizona, where Billy will spend most of his life. Eventually he will turn the eye of a young dark-haired girl at a church retreat, and they will add four children and 10 grandchildren to their brood, but for now he is young and carefree, interested in baseball and other eight-year-old pursuits.

Memo and her husband “Popo” were the two who brought our family to a small piece of land in Arizona, back when both were school teachers. I hope to learn more about them as I continue this project, asking questions and hearing more about the early years of my family. As it stands, I’m waiting for confirmation of Memo’s birth year…a bit of information I regret not already having.

As for me, I am 33, and I recently moved away from that same piece of land. My roots there spread wide through the desert soil, though something inside me longed to live in a different climate altogether. So now I am in a small town north of Seattle, but am unsure how long this period of my life will last. I have been here six months, after moving with a friend on a pinky swear. It is likely that she will continue her journey farther north, into Canada toward a new family of her own, a likelihood that makes me excited for her while I also grieve the end of a journey together. For now I enjoy the short moments we share, and plan my next steps, be they toward grad school or a teaching certification, or both.

A lot of my time is spent alone these days, so I plan to pour some of that time into writing projects rather than wasting time refreshing tumblr or posting pictures to instagram. I work part time at a grocery store, where I stand for hours at a time effectively not using my English-Linguistics degree, and trying to resurrect some of the Spanish minor. I try to engage my brain beyond simply memorizing produce codes, but I suspect that pausing to write observations on buying habits of different cultural groups is frowned upon. So I squirrel that information into dormant parts of my brain as I pass 12-packs of soda and tins of tuna across the laser sensor (while wondering if it will give me cancer, all day beaming into my mid-section), and I smile and ask, “Do you have any coupons?” Such is my life for now.

And such is the project for now. I hope it is as interesting to you as it is to me. A bit of a warning: Memo’s entries are quite short and, despite my three full years of practice on twitter, I have not yet mastered her art of brevity. So thanks for your patience as I find my voice, and hers.

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