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My Diaries! What would you do?

(75 Posts)
Urmstongran Sun 04-Feb-18 10:06:58

I have kept a diary since our youngest daughter was 11y old. She is now 37y! Jeepers, how did those years fly by? I kept the diaries in a drawer, then we downsized 7 years ago and I put them all in a box at the back of the wardrobe. The box is now full .... and I’m not sure what to do with them! Read them all one last time & chuck them out? Leave them for our daughters to find & read in the fullness of time? The diaries started out as a practical help, with a ‘to do’ list on the notes page, and appointments duly entered. I carried it around all the time in whatever bag I was using. It became a place to park any anxieties when our daughters were teenagers/at uni etc. Lately, the last 3 years (oh yes I realise, since we have retired!) I don’t use it as much. Appointments/social events tend to be written on our calendar. What to do with the diaries?

fiorentina51 Sun 04-Feb-18 10:16:03

As long as there's nothing too embarrassing in them, I would keep them. A nice bit of social history to pass on.
My late father kept a brief wartime diary when he was a POW. I found it fascinating when I read it. Unfortunately he decided to burn it when moving house.😮

Jane10 Sun 04-Feb-18 10:19:19

I agree. Keep them. I love reading old diaries, they do give an unexpected insight into how things were in past times.

lemongrove Sun 04-Feb-18 10:24:03

I would read them one last time and then get rid of them.
Will your daughters really want to read your anxieties about them as teenagers?

Jane10 Sun 04-Feb-18 10:45:29

Maybe they would? Maybe all part of learning and understanding parenthood?

MissAdventure Sun 04-Feb-18 10:54:48

Maybe you could have a day when your daughters come round and you could read them together, if that wouldn't be too uncomfortable? Then you could decide whether to throw them afterwards.

goldengirl Sun 04-Feb-18 10:57:53

Keep them! They'll be of personal historical value related to life in the past for future generations. I've got a pile of them too and there's no way I would throw them out even though they probably have some embarrassing bits - but I won't be around to gauge reactions!!!

M0nica Sun 04-Feb-18 11:00:17

Once you are dead, they become history and part of social history, I think your children will read them with love and affection and not worry about your worries about them as teenagers,they will have a conspiratorial giggle, and say, well she knew that we turned out alright in the end.

Eloethan Sun 04-Feb-18 11:14:21

I would imagine your daughters would be interested to read them. Provided there are no shocking revelations and any problems that you had with your children won't be too upsetting and are substantially in the past, I would keep the diaries.

paddyann Sun 04-Feb-18 11:14:46

I got rid of mine,had a ceremonial burning in the garden ..on my own.So many tear stained pages and teenage angst that it embarassed me ..and I wrote it.So they're gone along with the love letters,poems and songs from old boyfriends .They wouldn't have been of any interest to anyone else so why keep them /

silverlining48 Sun 04-Feb-18 11:17:40

I did the same and kept a notebook initially day to day aide memoir things relating to the children, but kept them going til they were grown up which covered difficult teenage years/tears...

Do keep them.

silverlining48 Sun 04-Feb-18 11:19:21

Having said that i burnt all my own teenage diaries a couple of years ago....too embarrassing.

Urmstongran Sun 04-Feb-18 12:10:16

It’s great getting your feedback GN’s! Thank you. There isn’t anything too upsetting to read (from my memory). Not sure about reading them with my girls though! Might be better if they read them after I’ve gone.... Funny isn’t it how what makes us anxious passes by and we look back with relief (well, 9 times out of 10!).

lemongrove Sun 04-Feb-18 12:18:11

Read them all again now, because you may have forgotten exactly what you said concerning your children.

SueDonim Sun 04-Feb-18 14:09:18

Keep them! With modern technology such items will become rarer and rarer. History doesn't often record the nuances of everyday life, yet social history is what brings the subject to life.

Gagagran Sun 04-Feb-18 14:21:01

I'm 75 in August and have kept a daily journal since I was 14. I have boxes of them and definitely do not want to destroy them. I live in hope that one day in the future some clever writer will make them into a biography so I want them to go to a social science archive in case that ever happens.

mollie Sun 04-Feb-18 14:25:22

Depends on your children - would they be interested? If so, keep them. If they reveal stuff about you you wouldn’t want them to read then dump them. That’s what I’ve done, thrown out every one as it was finished simply because thats where I recorded my strange moods and thoughts and in hindsight wouldn’t want anyone to read all that. If I’d managed a nice, informative, funny diary I would have kept it for my granddaughter.

On the other hand, I heard of an academic who was maintaining an archive for diaries and said he would welcome all. If I can find his details I’ll post them...

JackyB Sun 04-Feb-18 14:45:40

I think I heard of a project where someone collects diaries of 'ordinary people'. I would perhaps find out about that and leave a note in the box that they can be sent on to there, but preferably not whilst you're still alive!

I am trying to get into the habit of writing more down. If only because my mother has become very forgetful and if I'm going that way I hope to have something to refer to.

The diaries then may or may not be of use to people after I've gone, but that is for them to decide.

Marelli Sun 04-Feb-18 15:52:03

My late MiL had kept most of her diaries over the years, but asked me, that when she died, would I please burn them and not let anyone read them. When the time came to clear her house DH came across the diaries and began to leaf through them. I told him what his mother had asked me to do and he was really reluctant to hand them over, but he did and they were added to the little bonfire at the bottom of her garden. As the years went by, I began to understand just why she wanted them to be destroyed.... 😬

Gagagran Sun 04-Feb-18 15:54:12

www.thegreatdiaryproject.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/GDP-Guidance-for-Donors.pdf

I have this as a possible home for mine.

silverlining48 Sun 04-Feb-18 16:17:14

Thanks for that information gaga, will bear in mind.

Newquay Sun 04-Feb-18 16:54:41

My diaries only contain appointments and folks births, marriages and deaths. And I used to note our meals so I didn't have to think too hard. I found a calendar one day, while having a clear out and read out week's menu to DH and asked when he thought it was. . . .next /last week? No, 10 years ago! Lol!
We had also kept the letters in shoe boxes we wrote to each other for a couple of years before marriage when DH (then fiancé) worked away. We had a look at them one day while having a clear out. Well, talk about boring, "nearly missed bus, had sausages for tea, think I'm starting a cold"! Absolutely nothing that interested us let alone future generations-so out they went.
I do envy folks who have kept interesting diaries esp in interesting times/places but not us.

Urmstongran Sun 04-Feb-18 19:24:37

I’m not so sure mine are really that interesting Newquay but perhaps when I get around to reading them they might be better than I think!
Thank you GagaGran for the link. I will save it & if appropriate, write it out and put it in the box with my diaries!

Urmstongran Sun 04-Feb-18 19:30:58

Lemongrove. What a good idea.

NfkDumpling Sun 04-Feb-18 19:39:15

Keep them! They’ll be wonderful reading for the DC and DGC when they find them when clearing out after...you know. And they can’t get at you for anything they disagree with.