I’m reading a very unique and clever book called, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Carolyn Preston. Ms. Preston creates the fictional story of a young woman in the 1920′s through pictures and cuttings from a scrapbook. Frankie’s scrapbook begins with her high school graduation,acceptance to Vassar College, and through her years in New York City.
Each page is chock full of colorful notes, pictures and memorabilia from the roaring twenties. It reminds me of another book, The Red Letter Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal, by Lily Koppel. This book is a real life discovery of a young woman’s diary in a dumpster outside an old brownstone. The author sets out to find the author of the diary and return it to her. The journey is interspersed with entries from the actual diary.
Strange that both of these books are tickling my memory today. I have been thinking about my own journals. There are over twenty of them tucked away in bins high on a shelf in my closet. I wonder if they are worth keeping or whether they should just be destroyed.
I began keeping a regular journal back in the mid-90′s when I quit work, moved away from friends and family, and took on the full-time job of raising my two small sons. It was the beginning of a period of my life I refer to as “The Invisible Years.”
I had given up my career, and it seems that I lost my identity as well. I was no longer a person of interest. At parties or gatherings, when someone found out I was a stay at home mom their eyes glazed and they quickly lost interest in me.
I loved being home, but my mind was incredibly restless. I read everything I could get my hands on, and wrote for hours in my journal. In between, I kept our household running smoothly and spent time with my two little boys.
The journals are a parallel to the photo scrapbooks I began to keep for each child. The kind of scrap book that I created for my kids filled with photos set on fancy paper with a handwritten description of each event recorded. These scrap books contain memorabilia just like Frankie’s.
Menus, ticket stubs, programs and trinkets that I saved and pressed onto the page.
The scrap books tell one part of the story. The journals fill in the blanks between those moments created on the fancy page. Both bear witness to a woman in another place and time, trying to juggle her family’s needs with her own desires.
Causes Annette Talbert Supports
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, RIF (Reading is Fundamental),
Hands On Foundation, Dignity U Wear, Girls, Inc.