why I keep old notebooks

This morning, in keeping with my “Sometimes” theme, I spent a couple of hours looking through my records detailing every single thing I ever wrote when I worked at the Chronicle-Telegram between 1968 and 1986.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes it does seem over the top–even for me–and self-gratifying.  But that wasn’t my purpose.   I was looking for something in particular, an article that I wrote in 1976…so far found the date, but not the article itself.

WHY would I have “every single thing I ever wrote” recorded?  Because back at the beginning of my years as a newspaper writer I was a correspondent…which meant that I did exactly the same type of work as when I was a regular beat full-time reporter, except there was a big difference when it came to payroll.    As a correspondent I had to keep all of the clippings of articles that I wrote, and submit them in an envelope with my pay account.   Therefore, it behooved me to keep decent records in my books, and I continued the practice after I went on salary.

Having kept all of this stuff until today, in fact, provided me with a very handy index.   Included is the date, title of the article, how much I got paid for each feature story, photograph, bake-sale announcement, city council and school board meetings for every little town (except for the two major cities) in the County.

The original articles are still intact, although many of them are not in chronological order because I have raided the file over the years for various reasons, and now I want to dig some of the features out to use in blog articles.

The specific article I am looking for now is from January 4, 1976, about the dredging of the Huron River harbor by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.   This search involves finding photos from my dozen or more photo albums…which are more or less intact despite the rummaging through the albums every time one of the kids brought home a new friend over the last forty years or more.

Now, here is a real eye-roller… I also have ALL of my notebooks from all of those years, notes from all of those meetings and interviews … half of which are in Gregg Shorthand.   (No, I probably couldn’t read them very easily now.)     Those countless notebooks just languish in a big box down in the basement, and are moved occasionally when needed.

WHY would I save those?    Here’s the thing 🙂 — once upon a time I was a reasonably good stenographer, and could (theoretically) capture everything that anyone said at city council meetings…so that might be a great source of information, although very, very few present day reporters would ever give an owl’s hoot about this stuff.

So that explains why I’m not doing real work on my blogs.


21 thoughts on “why I keep old notebooks

  1. I have boxes and boxes of all the correspondence of practically my entire life, old journals, tax records, notes from h.s. and college. I just can’t bear to take the time to go through them but also can’t throw them away.


    1. I wouldn’t try to “weed any out” … someone will do that someday…. which reminds me, maybe I will designate one of my granddaughters to inherit all this stuff. If they decide to toss it out then that’s it. 🙂 The blogs, however…should theoretically bounce around out in cyberspace forever. (I’m an optimist!) 🙂

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  2. Maybe I don’t know what real blog work is, because I think this is it. This is testimony of life and a career. It becomes modern history, especially as the way we do things changes over not so very much time. Thanks!


    1. real blog work is thinking and writing and posting in a decent looking venue…and trying to present an attractive place others like to look at. That’s what we do…you and me and many others. 🙂


  3. Wow, you have years of history at your fingertips. Must be fascinating to look back at all the events you covered. Did you ever find the article of the Huron River harbor or are you still looking?


  4. You had a good excuse to keep all your writings. We have most of the letters I wrote beginning in 1980, as well as all the photographs I took since 1960. I’m not sure our children will ever look at these things, but they have been preserved.


      1. What a treasure! My mother made us all promise to burn her diaries. It was almost ceremonial when we made a small bonfire and incinerated them. I still wonder what she wrote.


      2. interesting…now I write with the hope that someone will read my words after I am gone. I have one grand-daughter that is interested in my books, my writing, even my ideas. She is 28…she thinks I’m the coolest person she ever met (her words) but the others…not so much. One of the great-grands is ten, and she seems to be a lot like me…which some think is some kind of handicap (LOL) I’m honored. She is the “pink spaceship girl” I wrote my poem about recently.


      3. I wanted to add this…I used to keep diaries for several years, more or less writing in them regularly. I was especially concerned about one of the kids at one time, when she was in and out of the hospital for something like seven years…I anguished so much at that time…on paper…that I ripped those pages out and destroyed them long ago. It was just too personal and soul-searching…I do tend to go on and on. 🙂 Most of my diary-type writing is about higher education and various detailed hand-wringing about stuff..that probably isn’t too interesting. My great-grandmother was big in the WCTU, wrote about the Akron Goodyear Blimp…that kind of cool stuff. My grandmother (her daughter) wrote about the trash guys banging up the garbage cans, and who came to visit, and what they had for dinner.


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