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Reno’s Diary

By April 25, 2023Musings

I’ve been purging. I live by my self-imposed rule: at least one thing must go every day…to the recycle bin, the garbage, a donation or for sale. It works for me. 

I used to do this for clients all the time because, as they say, I have no skin in the game. 

I’d ask 3 questions: 

Do you use it? 

Do you need it? 

Do you love it? 

The answers would determine if it landed in the keep pile or the go pile. 

I was going through my own “keep” box the other day and pulled out my uncle’s 5-year diary. 

I never met my uncle. He passed away at the age of sixteen, long before I was born. 

He lived in a sanatorium. 

He had TB. 

My uncle’s name was Reno and for five years he kept a daily diary. Many of the entries say, “Nothing happened.” Others are more personal in detail. 

Many years ago, Reno’s diary was passed to me by my mother, Reno’s sister. 

It is a precious treasure. 

It chronicles not only the ups and downs, boredom and experiences of his days, but also what was going on in the world. 

Reading through it, history – both his and that of the world – came to life in my hands. 

I know that on January 1, 1942, Reno’s mother (my grandmother) went to visit him in “the san”, as he called it. 

And for Toronto Maple Leafs fans, the Leafs won the Stanley Cup on Saturday April 18, 1942. Will history finally repeat itself? 

On Thursday May 7, 1942, he wrote: “We had a surprise black out and heard 53 sirens”, later followed on Monday June 1, 1943, with: “I heard about the big raid on Cologne it was carried out by the R.A.F it was last Saturday.” 

The most goosebump raising post was from Monday May 7, 1945: “Mom came rushing in from outside she heard whistles blow. It was 10:00 o’clock A.M Germany had surrendered.” 

His many diary entries were personal, describing the effect of his illness, his visits from family, his loneliness but never despair. He lives for me through his words, and I need only answer my 3rd question. 

Yes, I definitely do.

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