Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 10 January 2016

What to Do With Heaps of Diaries?

Dear You, 
I started diary writing when I was almost twelve years old. I wrote a lot, and draw for a long time: family life, friends, and school were important (the drawings a bit pale): 


©Brigitta Huegel

Here you see me with my (then) best friend Atie:

©Brigitta Huegel

and little misfortunes as The Curious Incident of the Dog, who mistook our sledge for a tree were described meticulously in word and picture:

©Brigitta Huegel

Atie and I wanted to stay together for all our life, thus I, then 13, was willing to marry her brother, so we would be relatives, Michael was five years older than I and allowed to drive the Merc of his father - here you see an interested young man with a tall, but very young girl:

©Brigitta Huegel

Sorry to say that my family did a lot to sabotage my plans. Long walking tours (with my little sister),

©Brigitta Huegel



Lots of sport:

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel


And then Atie's father was called to Karlsruhe to become a Federal Public Prosecutor, so we wrote each other volumes of letters (with drawings, of course).
I wrote (almost) all my life. So: the question is what to do with all those diaries? Of course I will keep the childhood diaries - and the many ones that I wrote (with lots of quotations) during the time when our son lived at home.
But the others? Even now I still write. And as you see: I have always the intention to "Make it short!", but...  By now there are over 150 diaries. I will think quite a while what I will do with them.
I still remember that I was utterly downcast when my family told me that my great grandmother Anne-Marie von Kroge had written some diaries and that one had fulfilled her last will and put them with her into her coffin. (In my case I would need a mausoleum...)

©Brigitta Huegel



20 comments:

  1. You must donate them. Now, let's think of to whom.

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    1. Joanne, if I succeed in 'correcting' the entrance dates to 1800 or earlier, I might have a chance :-)

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  2. Please leave them so that somehow they will always be available to your family. I so wish there was something like that for my ancestors.

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    1. Dear Emma, of course I will keep those many diaries with drawings and those concerning son - it is the inbetween which makes me wonder...

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  3. Dear Britta - leave the decision to your heirs, and continue to enjoy them yourself from time to time.
    I have shelves of diaries too, and it surprising how useful they can be when we are trying to remember or pinpoint a particular event or happening from the past.

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    1. Dear Rosemary, they insist on keeping.. As to the usefulness of pinpointing: ask husband :-)

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  4. Britta... Keep them safe and snug on your shelves. What a joy for your son or perhaps grandchildren to read about your life through your own words in years to come. I never throw anything of sentiment away that I don't regret within days! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your past... Especially when those wonderful diaries helped form you into the sensational Britta of today! Smiles...Susan

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan, for your very kind words! And yes: when I threw something of sentiment away (quite a lot of letters with diverse red ribbons around them - and no: I kept of course the funny letters of Atie) I regretted it later - though I am quite sure that I would have reread them very often - but: I might...

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  5. A heartwarming tale indeed, I'd say keep them and call upon them from time to time. Greetings and best wishes!

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    1. Great to see you here, Blogaratti, and thank you for your advice.

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  6. Put them in a time capsule with some other odds and ends. Bury it somewhere.

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    1. I would never bury something, not even let myself be - so cramped and dark... But time capsule sounds good.

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    2. Somebody put something in a hole in our local park and set a stone on top with a date about 20 years in the future. That's what gave me the idea.

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    3. I see - but only 20 years?
      Reminds me of the hilarious film "The Brand New Testament", where everybody was told the date when they will die. (Hello, Kevin!)

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    4. Time is relative. Life is speeding up.

      Twenty years ago I was taking my holiday film to be developed; a week to see the results. I thought that was fast!

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  7. Goodness me - you really are a prolific diary keeper - you should definitely keep them, maybe edit them and turn them into your memoir.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine - the problem with memoirs is, that one must be either famous, or very original.
      But I found out that the diaries of childhood even interest my son&DiL: so many things have changed - professions vanished (think of the elevator-man!).
      Husband says: If ever son gets famous, biographers will be very thankful to me (husband often does exhibitions, and sometimes it is so difficult to find texts, things, drawings). But then: son doesn't even allow me here a photo or a remark on Facebokk :-)

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    2. See how that vexes the proud mother? "Facebook" of course.

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  8. Well, as I see it, Britta, you must either burn them or save them. It must be intentional.
    There may, one day, be a granddaughter who will treasure them. Perhaps there will be a grandniece. At the very least there will be someone who will cry from gratitude as she discovers this treasure trove to support her doctoral thesis on a mid-century childhood.
    To burn, or save? I say 'save'.

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    1. Dear Pondside,
      thank you for such a clear advice! I have no doubts about my childhood diaries - or those concerning our son. It is the rest of them which cause me quite a headache - but I will ponder it carefully. I cannot imagine that anyone might be interested in those discussions of my work (started after studying in the Eighties) or private life - sometimes even I get bored reading that :-) But then: I'll wait.

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