Meesha asked if my mom kept a diary; he wondered how she remembered all those dates.
She kept diaries from 1930 to 1932, the years when she worked as a hired girl away from home. Those diaries were intact through the 1960's, because I remember looking at them then; but what with one move and another, and being stored in not-so-perfect places, all I have are bits and pieces of them now. She also kept a lard-can full of letters that no doubt helped jog her memory on some of the details of her life.
Mother bought a record book in the fifties with pages to enter important dates, job records, and so forth. She filled out many details there.
So, she had the resources to come up with dates and places.
My cousin Pauline found many of my mom's letters invaluable in gathering material for our family tree information at Ancestry.com. She took a lot of them home with her, and when she brought them back, she had encased them in separate plastic sleeves to protect them. They'll last longer that way, in case a future generation wants them. I told her to keep any letters her dad (my Uncle Paul) had written.
Mother kept letters from two crucial periods in her life: 1938 and 1939, the times when she lost a baby full term and then lost her dad; and 1943 and 1944, times when she had a brother and a future son-in-law stationed in Germany, and when she finally gave birth to a living baby... me.
There's one sympathy letter my mom received from a friend, after she lost the baby boy; it was written in ink, and you could see where Mother's tears had fallen on the letter, blurring some of the words. I probably would never have noticed this, but my mom pointed it out to me when I was growing up. I periodically went through all this stuff from the time I learned to read, poring over the details and asking my mom to explain things.
I've mentioned before that my mother and I butted heads all our lives. She only wanted the best for me, and she got a stubborn, hard-headed child who hated being manipulated. I'll give you an example:
Teenage years are difficult at best, but one thing my mom never had to worry about was what I was doing when I was away from home; because except for going to school, I never went anywhere without my parents. I didn't date; I didn't go to the Senior Prom (nor did I want to; I couldn't dance anyhow, it was against my parents' religion). I was that much a loner.
Around the time I was sixteen years old, I guess my mom got worried that I was never going to meet any boys, and she'd be stuck with me forever. So she decided to get me together with a cousin of some guys she worked with, a "good church boy" named Bill. She even had them set me up to go with him on a double date with his married cousin and his wife, all this without asking me what I thought, or if I wanted to go. We went to some movie and that was that... except Bill kept showing up at our house in the evening. I usually went to my room to get away from him, poor guy.
Then, my mom invited him to go to the family Thanksgiving dinner, two hours away at Grandma's house. There I was, stuck with him sitting with me in the back seat. And with all the family, I suppose, thinking I finally had a boy friend. It was one of the longest days of my life, and I believe it was the last time I ever saw Bill. Thank goodness! His last name was Pickle anyway, and can you imagine me as Donna Pickle? (I sure hope this doesn't get back to the Pickle family... they're nice folks, and I don't want them thinking I'm badmouthing them or their name.)
I was asked out by a couple of different guys while I was going to high school, but I turned them down. I was afraid I wouldn't know what to do or say on a date, I guess.
I was twenty years old before I ever dated or had a boy friend, and twenty-one when I married. My husband says one thing he liked about me was my oddness and my eccentricities.
Cliff would tell you I still hate for someone to attempt to manipulate me. He gave up trying years ago.