Page from a 1947 Diary

I thought you might enjoy this single page from a 1947 diary written by a woman who is full of angst, confusion, and pain. At this point in her life, she is having an affair with a married man. He is a devout practicing Catholic. The writer has decided to become Catholic as well. She loves the married man, and she is confused about how to handle their sexual relationship going forward. SPOILER ALERT: Translation is provided below, so if you want to try translating this yourself first, don’t read down below the image until you are ready to check the accuracy of your translation:



love me and I will
find happiness. And darling it will make me a better person. Because with
happiness in your heart you are a better person.
But oh Paul dearest …. don’t ever go out with anyone important.
Remember that my faith isn’t strong enough …. and it would take so little to make me
lose it. With your help I know I can be a good Catholic …. but without it ….
I am afraid to trust myself. Everything good in me I owe to you. Every
good thought or good deed is because I love you. And because I hope you will love
Darling I really think I am getting a little better. Before when
people praised you and spoken of what a wonderful Catholic you were …. I was always proud
that I was your mistress. Now when people speak of your changes I am ashamed that
I have been the cause of your sinning. That I can only say of myself “You pulled him
down”. “You tempted him when he tried to be good”.
Oh Paul my dearest ….. sometimes I can’t help but wonder
if deep in your heart you don’t hate me because you love me?
Oh Paul it is so different with me …. every contact I have ever had
with you has made me a better person …. and with you it is just the opposite ….
Every contact you have had with me has hurt you. I have given you nothing good. Nothing to
make you a better person. I can only say “when he was weak and wanted me …. I
never helped him up ….. I always helped him down.” My sin – so much worse
than yours dearest. And I am so much stronger in that respect. I could have helped you ….
But I never did. If I could only look back on these years with you and say because of my

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2 comments Add yours
  1. Thanks — it is always good to see peoples’ day-to-day writing. I’m glad you provided the translation though. I was getting nowhere trying to read it But it was reassuring to find that someone’s writing is even worse than mine. (Lessons to be learned from curves versus straight lines and lengths of strokes I think.)

  2. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days.

    The material is so intimate that it actually makes me a little uncomfortable. And I wonder what your relationship is to the writer. Is this a diary that you found in a thrift shop? Is it something from your family history?

    And can you talk about the trascription? Is that something you did yourself? I find the shorthand material hard to read, and I’m skilled with Simplified and Diamond Jubilee. I don’t doubt the accuracy, I’m just curious about the process.

    Thankfully I don’t have any diaries in Gregg shorthand about any sexual adventures during my lifetime. If I did, I wouldn’t want them published this way.


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