Author Archives: The Diaries Project

double birthday

Tuesday, May 23, 1939
143rd Day–222 Days to Follow

Mary went to Tempe to take a Geography test.

Gertrude called.

The Mother-Daughter banquet was held. Bill and Inez played a duet.

Kenyon baby came.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today I share a birthday with Memo’s oldest daughter Mary. She’s in her 90s but still here, would still be driving and teaching if given the opportunity, and I’m trailing behind her at this new number 34.

This year was such a marked contrast from last, when so many friends and family members gathered and blew my mind with their presence. This year, quieter. Shared a celebration with my roommate’s sister, and a house full of family, but not my family. Leaving me feeling loved but ready to make my own life, my own family, traditions waiting to be created with someone new.

There was delicious food, a sparkly birthday cake, cards and gifts, and the all-day gift of rain. Waking and falling asleep to this late spring drizzle has been a present for my parched soul. Maybe something there will start to grow again.

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quiet blog, sad heart

Still wanting to return to this project, but today is not the day. No, today is the day that marks nine long years since the little red-haired boy passed away. Entire lives have begun in that span; the next generation progressing their way through school and friends and general kid-dom. We’ve celebrated graduations and weddings and births, returned together for reunions and holidays and even plain-old Sundays. We carry him around, wishing we could go to him for advice or just a laugh, and I wonder if there will be a rejoining of souls somewhere far ahead and long away, after time and space are through.

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Leap Year

I had every intention of getting back to blogging this month, especially since yesterday was the last day our entries would be in synch. But. It didn’t happen. I will come back, will catch up, and will try to get back in the habit very soon. Happy Leap Day, Memo.


Busting out the Hi-Fi

Sunday, February 12, 1939
43rd Day–322 Days to Follow

We all went to church and S.S. Had a Lincoln Day service. Grace Stewart gave a poem at S.S. Telford gave the origin of Valentine. Several new couples were at church. Grace, Stanley, Dale & Ruth came home with us from church.

We had Rooster & Jam Cake, Avocado salad. Dale & Mary went to Wesley Foundation at Tempe. Graves & We (?) played Charlie McCarthy at Stewarts. Ruth spent the night here.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Today I continued sorting through the last few untouched cabinets. I found an unopened drawer under the old drop-leaf table where Grandma K kept her oldest cookbooks. So many things around this house come from the time of my great-grandmother’s diary, though they must have been passed down a generation before finding a home here. One of them, The American Woman’s Cook Book, was published in 1939. I’m inspired to go through them and try to make some of the recipes, though I think I’ll pass on those containing chipped beef…

I made a list of pieces of furniture that I’d like to see hang around after the estate sale, since this place (hopefully) will be quite empty come April. The old hi-fi has been repurposed as our tv/dvd/modem/router stand, but I cleared off the top door and plugged it into the industrial-sized power strip. I opened the top, pulled on the knob and saw the lights blink on as the speakers popped to life. In the one-sided cabinet below I found some fantastic old lp albums, and decided to check out the needle with “Xavier Cugat Plays the Music of Ernesto Lecuona.” Even with only one functioning speaker, the music was rich and soulful, and led to the odd sense of nostalgia I was feeling; nostalgia for a time decades before I was born.

I continued browsing through the records and found a copy of Nelson Eddy & Jeanette MacDonald’s Sweethearts, which threw me off-guard. It’s funny how many things seem to have been picked up and placed here from my own family. I guess it’s just popular culture asserting its influence, even from 70 years ago. I think tomorrow I’ll peel the shrink wrap off the album and see what this Sweethearts phenomenon was all about.

I had a visit from J’s sister, her husband and their four kiddos in the early evening. I gave them each Valentine cookies with their names on them, and their oldest daughter decided the baby didn’t want the rest of hers, so she finished it off. Not surprisingly, she later said she wasn’t hungry when it was time for them to go home to dinner & bed, the little scamp.


Blackie the cat was back around this evening, as well as Fatty Paws this afternoon. I wonder how much longer Blackie will last, but she still has the ability to spook people. I hear Grandpa K had a particular fondness for her, and there are a few scattered dishes outside all labeled “Blackie K.” Four of the seven “stray” cats want in the house so badly, but are forced to stay outside due to family allergies. I think of how much I miss my cat, back home with my parents, and how I get Rufus update texts from my mom every now and then. In another time they all could have been farm cats, employed to keep down the pest population. Now I often think of them as tools to lower blood pressure…my my, how far we’ve come.

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Bake, bake, bake

Saturday, February 11, 1939
42nd Day–323 Days to Follow

Billy & Inez had their music lessons.

Mary had a permanent today at Mrs. Crum’s.

Murray & the youngsters went to Mesa. They got their valentines. I baked a Jam Cake.

Billy & Inez played two duets and a solo each on the recital. Mrs. Dayton and June went with us to the 3rd Ward.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Officially “between jobs” again, but only for a few days this time, thankfully. Today I did very important things like taking inventory of the pantry. As I had hoped, this led to discoveries of small amounts of this and that, so I set to work cleaning up and baking things from the odds & ends.

First I made granola, which I sweetened/moistened with some carrot & apple juice, since I’m still trying to use that 25 pound bag of carrots in the garage fridge. I think I’m down to 20 pounds now? Ah, well. They’ll become compost eventually. Next I used some of the carrot/apple pulp to make carrot cake layers, and used the rest of the batter for carrot cupcakes. On the other side of the kitchen I had the mixer out to do the work of creaming butter and sugar for sugar cookie valentines.

Somehow I managed to get everything baked off, decorate the cookies and still watch a couple of movies to round out the evening. The movies I’ll admit to watching were Howl and The Motorcycle Diaries. As for Morning Glory…well, sometimes you need a little fluff every now and then, right?

Of course, now all I want is a jam cake. Or her recipe, at least.


Driving around town

Friday, February 10, 1939
41st Day–324 Days to Follow

Murray had the car fixed. Mary drove it home. Bill Poeling brought M.E. home from the garage. Mae came for awhile.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Today I stuck around the house until time to pick up my check, then I drove up to the bank to have it deposited. I drove back home and got ready for work, and when I got there I found out it was to be my last shift. The night flew right by, and I said my goodbyes and “I promise to shop here”s and hit the road again. I stopped for a celebratory teriyaki takeaway from the shop up the street, then came home to the still, quiet house and settled in to finish the last of Breaking Bad.


A cold, disagreeable day.

Thursday, February 9, 1939
40th Day–325 Days to Follow

Murray and Mr. Gatliff went to Mesa after some coal. Mary and I spent all day in the living-room at the fire. I sewed on Billy’s shirt. Mrs. Mumford called for some lemons. The missionary society met with Mrs. Graves. Murray saw Armstead.

A cold, disagreeable day.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

A cold, rain-soaked day here, but not exactly disagreeable. I cleaned some but mostly stayed in my room with the efficient little room heater. Our living room fire doesn’t seem to cut it these days, unless it’s been roaring for hours, and we don’t exactly have the cash to throw toward a high gas bill. So retreat we will, to smaller rooms and under blankets.

Later I made migas for dinner and we ate together before going out into the Everett night life, where we found a video bar one of J’s coworkers suggested. It was fun, even on the slow night. We’ll be back again, hopefully on a weekend night to see if it lives up to its potential.

And Memo’s entry has me wondering in which city, exactly, were they living? I had always heard that they were East Valley-ers, but “Murray went to Mesa” makes me think otherwise… I’ll have to do a little more digging to find out where they were in the 30s.

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Giving in

Wednesday, February 8, 1939
39th Day–326 Days to Follow

I went to Woman’s Club to help cook the Rotary dinner. Mrs. Tice and Mrs. Spillsbury & Mrs. Stumpf worked also. They had chicken in patty shells. Mrs. Justin Smith, Mrs. Richard Love, and Mrs. Sherman Ganette waited tables. It is misting rain. M.E. went to see Crisman. The exhaust pipe broke. Billy left his jacket on the bus. We went after it and Mary.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It was misting rain today here as well. I tilled the garden again, pulling up even more offensive weeds and grass roots. The puppy helped, and got in some good exercise time racing around the yard and running through the nice till marks I had created.

The organizers were back for what I think to be the last time. There was a small battle of wills, and I felt judged for wanting to hold onto some newspapers from the 30s, but after a few moments I conceded and just let them go into the recycle pile. Not before I rescued some old blank Valentine cards, though. Baby steps, right?

J and I went to the store to get some things for dinner, and her dad joined us for turkey tacos with more condiments than could fit in a corn tortilla. After Pops left we finally finished watching United States of Tara, and planned a night out & about for Thursday.


Music and quilts

Tuesday, February 7, 1939
38th Day–327 Days to Follow

Murray and I went to see Mr. & Mrs. Grimes and Laura & Lee.

Mrs. Kirchoff gave me her quilt blocks.

I went to choir practice.

Elizabeth, Mrs. Graves and I were there. Jane played her composition.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disciplined, I am not. I have a few abandoned projects waiting to be finished even since we moved to this house in July. I think I’d be a lot like Mrs. Kirchoff up there, handing over blocks that I inevitably failed to assemble into a quilt. My guitar sits in its case in the corner of my room, slowly falling out of tune again. Books are stacked eight-deep on my bedside table, and I haven’t finished even one. Well, just one. But it was short, and I can only just count it as a legitimate book. Sometimes I get caught up in needing to feel more productive than spending an afternoon reading might feel.

I’m calling shenanigans on myself and these silly made-up rules.

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Monday, sunny Monday

Monday, February 6, 1939
27th Day–328 Days to Follow

I cut out quilt blocks, and pieced seven. Mr. Nicholls came awhile. Leona’s birthday.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

The days have been sunny lately, so I’ve been out in the garden, pulling weeds and grass roots, waiting very impatiently to get seeds in the ground again. Work was slow, but I was able to reconnect with my roommate after her long weekend in Canada when I got home. Counting down the days to full-time, regular schedule…