The Fifty Cent Tour

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Plaid Diary

"I know I can write. A few of my stories are good...much of my diary is vivid and alive remains to be seen whether I really have talent". "If I read book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly by the hand, before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer." "The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I'd absolutely suffocate." "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death...I think...peace and tranquility will return again". All quotations by Anne Frank I discovered the Diary Of Anne Frank in an attic of all places. It was in a stack of my older sister's school books. Growing up, the attic was one of my favorite hangouts. It was kind of cool and fort-like in it's design. There were two levels. The first level was easy to walk around,but the upper level required me to hunch over and almost crawl in some places. When it rained I could hear the drops hitting the roof, I could even smell the rain on the hot shingles. That was heaven on earth for me. I would lose myself, hours at a time, up there, in my "in house treehouse" just pouring over old greeting cards and photographs and yearbooks. Some so old and dry from being up in the attic that they would break apart just by touching them. And the smell of old books and dry wood? Nose bliss. As my family was quite large and loud, The attic was a place where I could escape, by myself, and enjoy a rare commodity. Silence. My favorite things, though, were the books. Boxes and bags full of paperbacks and textbooks. Some of the paperbacks contained four letter words that intrigued me, a girl of twelve, but the subject matter was light years ahead of anything I had ever experienced yet, so they just left me confused and a wee bit bored. And "The Valley Of The Dolls" was no bedtime story. But then I found Anne. The Diary Of Anne Frank, a little paperback with red around the edges of the pages. Just the mere fact that it was a diary interested me. Someone's diary that was meant to be read by everyone instead of hidden away? That had to be good. I completely lost myself in Anne's world. In my attic I read about her attic and her reason for hiding there. Page after page, I got to know Anne. She had become one of my friends. Caught up in her daily thoughts and dreams, I almost forgot the whole reason of why she was in that attic, and why she was keeping that diary, to begin with. I could identify with so many of Anne's entries in her diary. Her observations, her optimism and her great love of reading and writing, her ability to make the best out of a bad situation and her great desire for things to end happily, which sadly, did not happen for her.I yearned to somehow go back in time and save her and her family from the Nazi's. I remember crying for Anne, when I finished reading her diary, as if I had lost a member of my own family. I actually mourned for her for days, which concerned my mother a great deal. When she asked me what was upsetting me I told her that I was sad for Anne Frank. I could just imagine what was running through my mother's mind at that point, I was one of six kids and she pretty much saw and heard everything but, I'm sure this was a new one for her. "What did you learn from reading about Anne?" she asked me. I thought about that question for a while and then came back to my Mom with an answer; "If we could find even just a little bit of good hidden in a bad place, like Anne did, it keeps us going, also, writing stuff out can sometimes help us make sense of things that we can't understand." "I think she'd be happy to hear that." she comforted. Still, her death and the death of so many other Jewish people and the way in which they were tortured and killed weighed heavily on my mind for a long period of time. I kept a diary for a time after that and addressed each entry to "Dear Kitty" just as Anne did. I always daydreamed as I wrote that my diary would somehow be discovered and published. I just didn't want the reason why to be because something tragic had happened to me, though. Someday I'd like to visit the Anne Frank Museum. Just to be in that space, that attic where "my friend" wrote those words. Those words that gave her an outlet to express herself so that she wouldn't "suffocate". Visit the Anne Frank Museum Site...(here) This site is full of so many interesting facts about Anne and what it took to get her diary published. Thank You, Anne, for your gift of words. I am still astounded by the fact that these are the words of a teenage girl who hadn't yet experienced so many things in her life. I am sorry that it took your death to bring those words to life. Peace - Rene


  1. Oh I love this post so much. Makes me want to go re-read that.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. My youngest read this for school and I found her upset and crying...just I had all those years back when. Just as we ALL have. Touching post, Rene!

  3. "...also, writing stuff out can sometimes help us make sense of things that we can't understand."

    Rene, this is why I can't stop writing...thank you for such a lovely post.

  4. Jill kept a journal for most of her life. She started when she was 10 years old, and she was still writing in it right up until a few months before she died. When we emptied her house we found a big box of black and white notebooks in the closet, each one dated with a year. For some years there were several notebooks, and for other years there was only one. Her whole life is documented in these journals - they are all filled with her most private thoughts, poems, drawings, and writings.

    I can't read them, but I know Katie will want to someday. They are all in a box in our attic now, waiting for the right time to pass them on to their rightful owner.

  5. Jeff - Wow, what a treasure. And such a gift for Katie...later

    I couldn't read them, either.

    Peace - Rene

  6. I have never read the "Diary...". It seems to me it was given to the girls only in our school. I think I will read it now.

    Thanks, Rene


  7. What a great post Rene. I have never read it though I am somewhat aware of it's contents just through the fact that it is a well known diary.

    I've tried several times to keep a diary or journal but always lost interest after a few days.

  8. I loved the Diary of Anne Frank! I had to read it for school about a hundred years ago (ok, maybe 35 years).

  9. beautiful reasons to ponder deeply,
    to remember her legacy, and
    to reflect on our own.


  10. Rene,
    I see I missed a few days reading.
    Beep Beep, sweet story, I bet you did own that caf.A.

    I love the attic smells too, and Anne Frank, it really is still hard to believe that she wrote that in her teenaged years.
    She was a rare one.

  11. I'm glad your words give life to the life of Anne Frank's words, Lady Rene.


    And... we read ya, Lady...


  12. I must be the only person in the world who never read this book. I should add it to my list.

  13. Rene, I so love Anne Frank's diary too and know exactly what you say here with feeling that loss. I felt eh same way but as a father, it was made that much more painful.

    Now, we have blogs in place of diaries adn for me that is good as I can;t even read my won writing.

    I love that descript you give: "Nose bliss"! Hahaha. How lovely.

    So, your attic wasn't too hot in the summer?!


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