I turn every page eagerly yet extremely cautiously, looking for what happens next. The cover has a tendency to shed tiny painful black flecks whenever handled in anything but a tender way. The blue bleeding ink, written in cursive, is consistent for as many pages as I had read or peaked ahead to and it is not always easy to decipher. I widen my eyes and look closer searching for answers to questions: Did she finish her story and what did her teacher think of it? Did she get a part in the senior play? Will anything ever happen between her and D? In fact, has something already happened? Is A.J. to become an antagonist? This is the best high school melodrama I have ever read. It has never been a genre I had much interest in before, yet, in this one, I know the characters, some of them, and being as it was written in 1935 and so firmly rooted in history, in actual events, I am drawn into the research. The Poli movie theater, is it where the Rivoli used to be in my childhood? Is the short play “Three Strikes-You’re Out” still in print? Could I find a copy? Where is the Starzyk building? When I find out it still stands downtown I then want to know where they danced in that building that one Saturday night in 1935?
I am holding an actual diary; “Diary and Daily Reminder” to be exact, from 1935 and it was written by my grandmother. With her permission, I am reading them, transcribing them, and writing about the process. I am not yet through January of the first book we were able to find and I am delighted. She is, in fact, my husband’s grandmother, is almost 98, and my husband and I are her caretakers. We live on the second floor of her two family home and have listened to many of her stories over the years and have fallen in love with the people she loved that are now long gone. These diaries hold endless surprises yet I search for the familiar, the connection, verification, that such a long life really existed, every moment of it. Someday she wont be with us any longer and I wish to preserve her life, to pay homage to it. For now, she is here and the experience of sharing this with her will without a doubt be bonding.