Ambitions Vs. Reality

On New Year’s day two years ago I resolved to write each day about my grandfathers’, we called him Poppa, journals from 1908-09 and 1969. I embarked on this resolution with the typical excitement of starting something new which could develop into a positive habit. Additionally it was an opportunity to learn more about my Poppa who I never really knew. In fact the only knowledge I have of him come from family photos and folklore.

I looked forward to thumbing through the pages reading, reflecting, interpreting, writing and sharing. I didn’t want to read ahead in the journals, I wanted to write one post a day and experience the entries in ‘real time’ meaning day by day as they were written. Besides, I’m sure Poppa didn’t record future happenings in his journals. So it was with enthusiasm and excitement that I began the venture into my Poppa’s journals.

I made it to January 25.

Reading, writing, and sharing Poppa’s journals was every bit as interesting and cathartic as I had expected, but as with most resolutions, for me at least, my ambitions clashed with reality. I had difficulty fitting in making the time to write as my ingrained routines overwhelmed my new resolution.  When I skipped one day then another and another it was difficult to start up again because my goal was to write daily. So I just stopped.

What an idiot. Just alter the plan.

So I’m back at it whenever I can, like today…..

From January 26-27, 1908:

Blank entries. 😦

From January 26-27, 1969:


Hmmm, wonder why my dad was I Austin swimming? This does remind me that he did swim nearly every day. I’m kind of glad to see the lack of detail in these entries, makes me feel better about procrastinating and reflects the banality of most of our days.

From  January 28-29, 1908


Took a minute to decipher the first page. I thought it said, “Chad I” so started to wonder who Chad was then I noticed it actually was an abbreviation for “Chapter 1”. Not even going to try and understand the entry on the 28th since math is not by forte. I am curious about ‘Wentworths’ though.  Huh, thought Wentworths might have been a store of some sort, but apparently it’s the name of a mathematician, G.A. Wentworth who wrote Elements of Algebra.  So this must be Poppa’s homework or class notes!

January 28-29, 1969:


Another relatively slow couple of days.

From January 30-31, 1908:


It seems that he might not be using this as a daily journal as much as a school notebook since the January 30th page has “Jan. 28, 08” written down. Obviously needed to remember something about physiology work and enjoyed practicing his signature, like many high school kids. So does the “07 – 10” mean high school was only three years? Were those the only years he attended AHS? Would help to know as I’m trying to figure out his age at the time. Suppose I can just look up his birth date; probably easier.

From January 30-31, 1969:



Huh, did not  know my grandma shared FDR’s birthday, kinda neat.

That’s enough for today.  More to come…at some point!



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