A Page out of Elsie’s Diary – A Laura Ingalls Wilder Type of Discovery

7 Jul

It was after her death in 1987 that I first picked up Elsie’s well-worn black leather diary, not realizing it would reveal a young Elsie that I had never imagined. The diary told of her first love, of heartache and sorrow, and of fascinating adventure.  Never had I pictured my grandmother as being free-hearted, young and in love.

Her diary could not give me all the answers, but hidden in library archives were surprising discoveries.  Piece by piece, through letters, newspaper articles, and her diary, her story deepened. Elsie frequently described her Arizona years as “glorious.”  She experienced isolation, lack of modern conveniences, and sacrifices, yet still she remembered and described those days as delightful.   As I read her diaries and her letters written home to California I saw why she had great joy in the memory of those years.  I discovered why some of those memories brought tears.  This is not a sorrowful story – it is, like Elsie, delightful – a mirror into her exuberance and zest for life in early Arizona. But there is also the answer to the tears.  As you will discover, she had a heart that refused to focus on the hard things, instead, she focused on the joy found in the adventure of a challenge.

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