History in the making

Hello again, world.

I don’t usually post so much, so close together but I have made a discovery and can’t wait to tell the world. If you have looked in the area on this blog called Le journal, you will have seen my Dad’s diary of when he went to France on a hiking holiday just after WWII. Now I knew he had sporadically kept journals all my life and they had been stored in a box, in a cupboard, never to see the light of day. He died at the comparatively young age of 70 – a fortnight after his 70th birthday, in fact – and neither my Mum nor I had the heart to go through them or throw them away. When my Mum died, twenty years later, I had a bad time of it and just cleared out the house, ready to let it as a commercial let. We dumped tons of stuff that we didn’t know what to do with in an outhouse, locked it away and didn’t give it another thought.

Recently, the tenant left and we went to the house to see what work might need doing before the new tenant moved in. (Be patient, I’m getting there!) We decided it was time to throw away the old unwanted stuff and opened the Aladdin’s cave that was the outhouse. (For anyone in the U.S. reading this, in Yorkshire, outhouse is not a euphemism for lavatory, it really is an outbuilding for storage purposes and for anyone from South Yorkshire reading this, I’ll point out it was actually the coil oil – coal house, to the rest of you.)

There, in a cardboard box smelling mouldy  and damp, were Dad’s diaries from 1948 to 1979. All handwritten and all just waiting for me to sit and relive my childhood through my Father’s eyes. One of the first ones I found looked like this:


You can see what sort of condition it's in.
You can see what sort of condition it’s in.

It didn’t look very prepossessing but, when I opened it, this is what I found;

Dad's diary 1951 inner

Being a pretty self centred person, I sat down to read it there and then. Now, I admit, there are no fulsome declarations of adoration of this clearly exceptional child – me- but I haven’t had a dry eye since I opened it. So what I’m going to do is type it up and add it to the Le journal section of the blog.

I feel ridiculously proud of my Dad, partly because he was a lad who left school aged 14 and went to work “int Pit”, as did so many lads in our area, and yet you’d never know it from his writing. Self taught for the most part and yet I haven’t found one punctuation or grammatical error. (And I’m an EX English teacher, so I can’t help looking for them) And partly because he only wrote about things that were important to him. He hardly mentions work, which he hated, or politics, which he distrusted, or art, about which he felt insufficiently educated to have a valid viewpoint. But he wrote about ME!. And best of all, as I read it, I can hear his voice, as if he’s just “tellint tale.”  I am so lucky, so very lucky.