I recently read a great book called “The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal” by Lily Koppel. It is a true story about the author’s discovery of a 5 year journal written by a teenager in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. The diary was found in a steamer trunk in the dumpster on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and belonged to a girl of privilege, Florence Wolfson. The diary was given to Florence on her 14th birthday. Florence wrote of her relationship with her parents, her friends, her first loves, going shopping, enjoying theatre and the arts. She was a very strong willed girl who knew what she wanted.

The young writer who found this treasure decided to track down Florence, who would have been in her nineties. Thankfully, Florence was still alive and shared the rest of her story with Ms. Koppel. Because the journal only left a few lines available for each day, the entries were brief and sometimes confusing. Florence helped to bring all the pieces together and shared pictures of those people named in the journal. It was a very interesting story.

You can purchase this book "used" at Amazon for under $2.00

It was so interesting that I bought a 5 year journal for myself. I love the idea of journaling, but at the end of my day, I just want to crash. It gives me the chance to record moments of my life. Usually it is nothing exciting. However, it is a whole bunch of nothing-exciting that make up everyone’s life. When I look back at pictures of my grandparents or great-grandparents at my age, they have only captured the big events – holidays and birthdays. I often wonder what their everyday life was like. Did they have unfulfilled dreams? Were they always as happy as they were in pictures?

After I started my journal, I thought about what a nice gift a journal would make for a newlywed or new mom or even a graduate.

My own daughter is 14 and will graduate from 8th grade this year. Why not buy her a journal like the one in the book? The next five years of her life will go fast and further shape her into the adult she will become. She can record her dreams, her struggles and the people that were so important to her during high school and her first year of college. Those years were a big turning point in my life. I wonder if they will be the same for her?

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