Mystery diary found in Wimbledon shop tells story of love and devotion
A charity shop volunteer has unearthed a mysterious diary containing reflections of a young woman experiencing marriage and motherhood in the 1970s.
Nina Maxwell was sorting through a mound of donations last week at Dignify, in Kingston Road, when she caught sight of a leather-bound embossed hardback.
She said: "I saw an attractive-looking old hardback by Kahil Gibran, who wrote The Prophet. But as I flicked through the pages, I realised actually it’s a diary, with a few pages filled out between Gibran’s poems."
Touched by the writer’s descriptions of love for her husband and daughter, Mrs Maxwell contacted the Wimbledon Guardian to reunite the diary with the diarist’s family.
She said: "The baby was born in March and I was born in April of the same year and to have something like that about how much your mum loves your dad would be lovely."
The mystery diarist wrote between January 25 and May 8, 1972, and makes mention of historical incidents such as Bloody Sunday, when thirteen Irish civilians were shot dead by the British army miners’ strikes which plunged the government into darkness.
She is married to Martin, 30, who enjoys leatherwork as a hobby and takes her on holiday to Rye, East Sussex, when she is heavily pregnant. Her daughter, Joanna Katie, of whoom she writes tenderly, was born in March.
Beth and Herb Condrill are newly-wed friends in America and British friends, Hilary and Abigail and June and Alan are also referenced.
She writes: "Joanna Katie is six weeks old and grows more interesting with each day. She blossoms as does the spring. There are lessons to be learned all the time. Not by Joanna, but by me. Very gradually I am finding out new things about this tiny person.
"Seeing her asleep in her crib, a little pink finger parked comfortably in her cheek, never fails to overwhelm me. When I wake her and turn her gently onto her back she stretches slowly, moving first one painted tiny foot and then the other, face expressing complete contentment.
"When she’s angry she pants, he blue eyes turning almost navy. She clenches her fists, digs her knees into the mattress and exercises an over-healthy pair of mini-sized lungs.
"The almost overwhelming warmth and tenderness and love I feel for this baby of ours is with me and in the foreground constantly. If I go out for even a few minutes, I miss her little face and her funny expressions.
"Martin is pleased with fatherhood. His feelings toward it are, I think, very deep and go without discussion. I wonder often if he experiences the feeling of completeness and total unity that is mine.
"He grows more gentle and kind each day. He looks different now. A complete man. A mature man. This week he becomes 30, this husband of mine with the crinkly smile and the heart of pure gold. I see the two I love, the husband and the child, locked in each others arms so peacefully and I realise that that is exactly what I have found now - peace.
"This child, this smallest miracle, has made mummy young and full of life, daddy soft and smiling, and Joyce, for the first time, warm and kind and glowing. And most of all, she has made us two richer than I ever thought possible."
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