Friday, June 27, 2014

Introduction - My Grandmother's Five Year Diary

My grandmother was Nora Lee Hays, born 26 Jan 1887, daughter of John Jefferson Hays and Philena Josephine “Josie” Allen.  She married Kenney Marcus Comstock, 12 Jan 1908, in Crawford County, Arkansas.  As the first grandchild, I called her “Mammaw” and the other grandchildren all used that name for her.  She died 16 Jul 1973, age 86, in Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas.  My grandparents are buried GraceLawn Cemetery in Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas, along with many members of their families.

In 1956, she was 69 years old.  I suspect someone gave her the Five Year Diary for Christmas of 1955.  As far as I know, this was the only journaling she ever did.  It is an amazing glimpse into five years of her life.  My grandparents were living in Van Buren two doors from her sister and his brother – my Aunt Minnie and Uncle Ira Comstock – when she began the diary They moved to Springdale to be near two of their children during the five years.  My granddad died soon after the move so part of the diary contains heartbreak.

My mother and I lived with my grandparents during the years of World War II.  After the war, my mother remarried and the new couple started a business in a nearby town.  My stepdad went to work for a company in Little Rock when I was fifteen, and we moved there for just about a year and a half.  We moved back from Little Rock in early June of 1956, the year Mammaw began the Diary – I had just finished my sophomore year in high school.  My sisters were tots - JoAnn was four, Laurie turned one in March.  The other grandchildren – my first cousins – were also young children.

The diary is difficult to read page by page so I have made a transcription in date order.  Notes of explanation in italics will be mine, as I am likely the only living person who knows the rest of the story in many instances.  Many of the people named were friends, or church members in Van Buren, that I did not know.

The easiest way to make this available to my cousins and family, as well as to others who are mentioned, was to post it in a Blog.  Month by month seemed to be the most reasonable order.  I plan to upload a chapter each week ..but that could change when life intervenes.

 Here is a picture of the cover:

And here is a sample of the inside and my grandmother's handwriting:  I believe I would recognize her hand anywhere!

On the inside front cover:
Kay’s silver – Reed & Barton – Pattern Tara
China Lenox – pattern Wyndcrest
Crystal Fostoria – Pat. Spray

I married in February of 1959 – these were the patterns I had picked out and I have the china, crystal, and silver now.

On the Flyleaf:
This is my Personal
Nora H. Comstock
721 Drennen
Van Buren, Ark.

If you find a connection to someone in the diary and can tell me more about them - I'd love to hear your story.  You can leave a comment - they are monitored so your comment will not appear immediately - or you can email me by going to my webpage noted in the "About Me" story on the right hand side.

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