Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notes from the past...

Yesterday I found treasure.  It was disguised in a small red and white box simply labeled "books".  Inside were 5 small notebooks.  Seemingly innocuous enough that many people may have set them aside.  Instead, I asked my Grandma, "What are these?"   Her answer was simple enough, "They belonged to Les.  He liked to write things down in them."  These 5 small notebooks were a link to my Grandpa who passed away in 1993.  

Reverently, I picked one out and opened it to the first page.  On the back of the cover was written "Live. Live."  Those two words brought tears to my eyes.  More followed as I realized that some of these were written in the last few years of his life while he was battling cancer.  I didn't know what to expect but I continued turning pages one by one in each notebook.  These weren't filled with his thoughts or fears, instead I found to-do lists, lists of old country music songs, song lyrics, a few random thoughts, memo's to himself, notations about the time of the sunrise and sunset, drawings, calculations, and scripture references.  I asked my Grandma about the last and she told me that he always read the scriptures, long before he started going to church and they were sealed in the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City. 

I was lucky to know my Grandpa during the first 18 years of my life.  I am lucky to have memories of him and I am lucky that I have a large extended family who shares their childhood stories.  Yet the treasure I found yesterday made me feel closer to the man than I have since before he passed away.  From his own day-to-day notes to himself I learned more about his sense of responsibility in the form his to-do lists, his love for his family, his love for the scriptures, and his love for music.  Many of these I already knew based solely on my memories. But seeing these things in his own hand writing was something else entirely. As I looked at his lists of songs, I felt a kinship with him because I love many of the same old country songs as he did.  His love of the scriptures is something I had never known about before.  From his notes it was clear that he didn't just read the scriptures, he KNEW them, he thought about them and absorbed their meaning. They weren't just words to him. 

I am so thankful to my Grandma for having the foresight to keep these small little treasures.  I am sure when he wrote down these little things, he had no idea what they would mean to a granddaughter who found them years later.  For a time yesterday, I felt as though I were closer to the him than ever.  My last memory of him is no longer his prophetic words instructing me not to get married at age 18 - which I did anyway. My last memory happened yesterday as I read these notebooks and the words "Take the ribbon from your hair, shake it loose and let it fall" and sang along.

4 comments:

just call me jo said...

That's wonderful. Your grandfather was like a blogger--only better. I still keep a written journal too. Somehow writing it out makes me happy. I wish I could illustrate mine. My grandpa used to put sunrise and sunset down on paper too. I guess it was a big thing to them. I admire your grandfather's love of the scriptures. I, sadly, cannot say I do much of that. He did it because he wanted to. I'd just do it because I was supposed to...

M-Cat said...

How special! Why is it just seeing their handwriting is sometimes enough to put them RIGHT there with us. My grandpa kept a notebook in his front pocket with a small pen or pencil and took notes on everything. I have one of them and I love to go back and read what was probably trivia to him, but meaningful to me.
Great post

Megan said...

Oh THANK YOU for sharing this!! I would just love to see Grandpa's books! Those are exactly the kind of things I think my dad would write down too--they are so much alike. I had no idea Grandpa loved and knew the scriptures, either. I was in 9th grade when he died and I feel like I never really got to know him. That truly is a treasure you found!

Cynthia said...

I want to see them too! I know there are also audio recordings somewhere of his songs. We need to find those cassette tapes and get them moved over to 'new media' so the whole family can enjoy his Banjo playing. I miss Grandpa!