Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dora's Diary

The postmark was "Rogersville, TN."  I ripped the package open, and there inside were the two "books" Dora had written as a child, obviously very old but remarkably intact.  The edges of the paper tended to crumble a bit as I thumbed through them.

The covers of the books were pasteboard, carefully cut to enclose Dora's handmade pages.  On the front cover of the first one was painstakingly printed


The second book, or Volume 2, was labelled similarly, but it was done in cursive writing, appearing to have been written by a girl of ten or eleven, a little heart dotting the "i".  
I opened the first "volume" and on the first page, I read this, all in painstaking manuscript.

August 11, 1895
Caney Creek, Tennessee

Today is my birthday.  I am now seven years old.  My friend Myra and cuzzins  cousands Leroy and Effie came over for cake this afternoon.  Leroy give me a willow whistle he had carve, and Effie give me a hankie she had embroydee.  Myra's was the best, tho, coz she is my best fren.  I shall keep it near my hart, and you will have to guess.

Mama say now I am seven I kin go over to Aunt Grace and Uncle Jeptha house by myself tomoro.
Good night, dear diary.
Dora M. R

Second page:

August 12, 1895
Caney Creek

Oh, Diary! Today I walk by myself over to Aunt Grace house.  As I walk thoo the gardein in front the house, I hear Uncle Jep call "Dora! Over here!"

"Hidy, Uncle Jep!"

"Oh, my ain't you all grown up?  Those shoes are new.  Do they feel as good as they look?"

"Oh, yes, Uncle.  Mama and Daddy give them me for my birthday.  Acourse I know they's my new go-to-school shoes, an' I won't be a wearin' of them again until school, but are they not the pertiest shoes?"

"Sturdy, nice lacing, good support for yer ankles.  Bet they got 'em in Kingsport?"

"I don't know, but I surely like them!  Is Aunt Grace in the house?"

"Not really, cause here she come now with goodies for the good.  That would be you and me.  And her, a course."

Good night, dear Diary, Mama jus come in to put out my light.
Dora M. R

Editor's note:  The young girl was a credible writer, a fairly good speller, and faithful to the tales.  However, she was not much on punctuation, so some has been added for clarity.  Entries otherwise presented as Dora recorded them.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 46


Grace said...

Exceptional 7-year old...looking forward to more of this...

Vee said...

I think that keeping a diary is a probably a girl thing. I had one when I was in fifth grade but when I made a mistake I tore the page out. Since I was prone to mistakes, wiring in the diary was soon abandoned.

vanilla said...

Grace, exceptional for sure. Had I not known some children who were that capable, I wouldn't have believed it myself. ;-)

Vee,thereby failing to see that uprooting the entire page is a more egregious error than the original mistake which could easily have been scratched out. Such is the life of the perfectionist. (Please take that in the spirit of fun in which it was written.)

Keeping a diary is doubtless a girl thing. If a boy does it, he calls it a journal.

Vee said...

Vanilla, I think that is now referred to as obsessive-compulsive behavior and there is medication to take for improvement.

Sharkbytes said...

WOw- in just a few sentences, she has captured a whole culture.

Secondary Roads said...

What a good look into life at that time in that place.

vanilla said...

Vee, no doubt, in keeping with our penchant for using 20 characters where 12 used to serve. Of course, then we go to the acronym and write OCD.

Sharkey, what a nice thing to say!

Chuck, Thanks. A little picture of another time, another place.

Pearl said...

So sweet. :-)


vanilla said...

Pearl, thanks!