Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Diary Dilemma Solved?

At the beginning of the month I wrote about a dilemma I was having with regard to my mum's diary and whether or not it was OK to publish some of the contents.

My lovely blogger friend Caz, who writes the interesting Bird with Golden Seed blog, made the following comments which she's happy for me to reproduce:


Isn't it interesting how we all feel differently about artefacts from the past especially those related to people we actually know? As a curator, I work with other people's private papers everyday - letters, diaries and other documents and I must say that I sometimes do think about the fact that they were not written for me.

Going through Mum's things recently I found some letters to her from a friend she knew when she was young. They lost touch over the years but by a twist of fate our paths have recently crossed professionally. After reading the letters to try and gain some insight into Mum as a young women I decided to return them to her friend. She was quite chuffed and laughed at her wildly melodramatic younger self.

Maybe it's just thinking about our parents as individuals before they met that we have trouble with? I hope that's not the case as I would really hope that my kids realise I was an interesting, valid, fully-rounded human being before I met my 'other half'! What do you think?

This is how I would like to reply:

Deb says: Thank you Caz for your lovely long comment. Well as you can see it's taken me a couple of weeks to respond. Your comments really were food for thought for me, and I have done plenty of thinking.

My memories of mum, especially when I was tiny were of a very glamorous woman. Of mum tucking us up in bed and kissing us goodnight before going out with dad. I can still remember the smell of Coty face powder and red lipstick. Mum and dad were a very romantic couple, very tactile and obviously in-love. I've got lots of the funny little letters that dad wrote to her. They both talked about other people that they'd gone out with before they met and we always had lots of other people in the house. Dad seemed to have a kind of following of young men and their girlfriends who hung on to his every word. So, yes, I did always think of them both as having had a life before they met and became parents.

I think the dilemma occurred when I actually saw an image of my mum which I'd posted on my blog, in google images. Just out there for anyone to copy and I hadn't asked her permission.

You can feel quite safe within your little circle of blogger friends, who you feel you know a little bit about, and trust. But sometimes forget that because people aren't commenting that it doesn't mean that they aren't reading your blog, and you don't know who they are. I think that's when I started questioning what I was doing.

I definitely agree that I want my daughter to know me as a person and not just as a mother. I think we sometimes have an idealised view of what a mother should be and so it's good to let our children realise that we are just normal human beings like them. Especially our daughters.

So I think I'll be posting another diary entry soon.

Thanks Caz for helping me solve this dilemma.

I love the serendipity of you meeting your mum's friend through your work, which incidentally sounds fascinating. Thank you for sharing your story and others about her interesting life. She sounds like a lady I would have loved to meet.

If you'd like to read one of Caz's stories related to this you can link to pin-up girls here


  1. Fabulous post Deb. I'm sure we'll both keep thinking about these things long into the future! Like you I sometimes worry about posting photos that may end up somewhere in the ether, out of my control(especially of the kids) but I guess once you start blogging you really have to give up a bit of that control.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful post and I look forward to hearing more about your lovely parents.

  2. i think if the dilema was about my mums diaries, and they were in my possesion, i would ask all of my brothers there opinion first, because its only them that could be affected in any way by anything i posted x

  3. Just a thought...mum might be delighted that her diaries are of so much interest...on the other hand she could be utterly mortified. Maybe check with us all before you post in case we think its a bit too sensitive for general consumption?

    Also, it would be lovely if we (sisters) could have copies of the photographs of m & d you are using in the blog as I think you are the only one who has these particular ones? xxx P & J

  4. Hi Abi, good to hear from you. Thanks for your input.

    Mum and dad would be so pleased to know that they are still so much a part of everyone's lives.

    Kiss the little men for me XX

  5. Hi Pen,
    I think she'd love the attention...Especially as it's mostly notes of dentist appointments and dates of exhibitions.

    Of course you can have copies. Just let me know which ones you want.