Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I was asked by my father to transcribe my grandpa's diary.  Scribbled in pen and pencil and written over the span of three years, this diary is a personal account of my grandfather's life as a solider in World War II.  It starts July 2nd, 1940.   

When my father asked me to do this, over a year ago, I was not at all interested.  I was busy.  I had too many things to do.  But this year during the holiday season I thought I'd start.  

I need a magnifying glass and a light.  I'll need some patience and a second opinion too, but I have indeed started.  

I have opened the diary.

And in doing this, I have entered a new world.

The words etched into these pages were written by a young man only beginning to learn about life.  A man who was cheeky, who was curious, who wanted to have a good time.  This man I knew only as my grandfather.  His war stories are of times before he met and married my grandmother.  Before he ever dreamed of having a family.  

So as my eyes take time to examine the ink pressed into the weathered paper, my mind takes time to imagine his reality, to create a picture in my head of his experience.  As I delicately hold the edges of the paper, I imagine his hands pressed along these same pages, sixty years prior.

My grandpa nearly died in the war.  He was injured and removed from duty when shrapnel from his tank exploded and pierced his body, killing his friend in the seat next to him.  My grandpa, who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, never spoke of the war.  It was a thing of the past, something he wanted to forget.

But he's doing it now, sixty years later, on paper.

Oh, the questions I would ask him if he were still alive.


Aaron McKenzie said...

My goodness! If it's not too personal, any chance you could post (at least some of) these transcriptions online? My grandfathers were also in WWII (one in England as an aviator, one in the Philippines with MacArthur) and I'm always keen to read about their contemporaries' experiences.

Why am I here??? said...

Cool Aaron. I shall ask my dad. He may want to read the entire thing in full first. Or maybe he'd appreciate my perspective of the collection in excerpts. Either way I'll connect with you somehow. What a neat journey, hey?!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Incredible! What a gift that he left behind! I would love to have something like that from a grandparent.

Anonymous said...

Please post some excerpts if possible! I'm very interested in reading them too :)