I have my grandfather, William Douglas Fields’s journal from 1927. He was 15 years old.
I can’t believe how hard he worked. He worked at his father’s two butcher shops (one in Boston, one in Roxbury); he ran errands for his mother and for ladies in the neighborhood; he build boxing rings and clubhouses; and was in general a hardworking, but athletic 15 year old. He seemingly loved boxing and hockey.
You can tell that this is a journal he was required to keep for school, but it still sheds a lot of light into his life, a life I didn’t really know a lot about.
Wednesday – March 23
Went to church for a few minutes. Went to the square to do an errand on my bicycle. Came home and had a game of hockey. Did my homework + went to a friend’s house.
Certainly nothing fascinating with entries like this, but I get emotional reading a journal that my grandfather wrote as a teenager in the interwar years. To sit and decipher his handwriting. To imagine him and his brothers and sisters shoveling their walkway and running errands in the snow. It’s about as intimate as one can be with a piece of paper from 85 years ago.