Ten Thousand Days

My dad left a cedar chest on my mom’s front porch on Christmas Eve, 1941. A few weeks before, he asked her if she would like to have one. Nothing else was mentioned. When my mom arrived home on Christmas Eve, the chest was a promise of marriage.

Of course, they couldn’t have known, but close to eighty years later, their family has grown large with children, spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My mom and dad had six children, but she never met any of her grandchildren, as she died young at the age of forty-seven. She had one married child when she passed away, and I was the youngest, at age seven. She had one daughter, Audrey, who joined her in heaven a few years later.

That cedar chest is sitting in my bedroom. It holds mementos from my mom and dad, and things I’ve added over the years. It still has a nice cedar aroma, but the lock is broken and the top has some water stains. My mom’s many years of diaries were stored in it and never touched until about fifteen years ago. They seemed too sacred. My two sisters and I decided to take them out and they each took one third of them home. Even then, I seldom read the ones I had.


Years went by, and occasionally we’d wonder what happened on a certain day, or read surrounding our own birth dates or mom’s pregnancy with us. A question would arise about the date of a family event or when a relative visited the farm and we’d look it up. But I didn’t read them straight through. My mom wrote mostly factual accounts, with some feelings mixed in occasionally. They weren’t journalistic in nature but as daughters we could often “read between the lines.”

img_2925 cedar chest alone

The cedar chest

My mom began writing in 1936, when she was just 14 ½ years old. In the early years, she used a fountain pen which she dipped into a glass ink jar. Later on, she used a fountain pen with replaceable cartridges. She wrote every day, except for spotty writing over a three-year period in 1936-1938, when she was age sixteen and seventeen. The years following, she never missed a day. Most of thirty-three years, she documented her life. Stuffed in between pages are newspaper clippings of the times. In the back of several diaries she listed possible names for her babies, and described the contents of her photo rolls. She continued writing until her death in 1969.


Some of my mom’s diaries

I recently spent many months scanning each of them. We wanted a back-up in case they would become damaged or lost, and also to give a copy to my brothers. Now we each have a preserved replica of the entire collection.


Every New Year’s Day, when the cold wind blew, she placed another volume into the cedar chest and turned to the first page of a new little book. She recorded ten thousand days of her life. This enabled us to know our mother by her precious words.


Today our family has blossomed to forty-nine people. I imagine my mom’s eyes would sparkle if she could embrace the smallest great-grandchildren on her lap.

img_2928 skrip ink-mom's kind

The kind of ink she used

img_2898 micah and nina

Two of my parents’ great-grandchildren playing the game of LIFE

img_2913 life gameimg_2914 life game spinner

About Myrna Folkert

Myrna is an author who desires to use her gifts to glorify God. She's created this blog to tell stories of her childhood, musings about life, motherless daughters, grief and loss, faith in God, her family history, and facts about the Long QT syndrome. She also has a hearing condition called Tinnitus. Doing interviews with motherless daughters like herself are of great interest. Join in discussions by following this blog and commenting. She would love to hear your stories about life. Myrna is a Christ follower, wife, mother, sister, friend, aunt, and cousin. She was an elementary school teacher for 27 years; now works in her church, and a few other volunteer activities such as Hospice doing "Life Reviews" and Vigils. Myrna loves to read, write, listen to music, go to concerts, and take pictures. Her favorite pastime is boating with her husband near the beautiful shores of West Michigan.
This entry was posted in Ancestry, Family, love, Memories, Mom, Mom's legacy/diaries and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Ten Thousand Days

  1. Lois Blanchard says:

    Dear Myrna: I have just read your January 27th writings. My, oh, my! “My Dad left a cedar chest on my mom’s front porch.”

    I had a cedar chest almost like your pictured one. Only mine was not filled with your type of treasures. Over the years we moved from place to place, and had to reduce our treasures stored at my folk’s home in Eagle Rock, CA. Eventually that treasure chest had to go, as well. Some of the wedding gifts of hand made doilies, etc. of 1949 were stored in our new furniture drawers. You see, your Uncle Fred and I were married in the First Baptist Church of Eagle Rock, 1949. We worshipped in that church every time the doors were opened, I do believe. AND I had always wanted a Cedar chest, too. If I remember correctly. I bought it from the furniture store very close to Dad & Mom’s store: Howard’s Electric Shop.

    But the purpose of this reply is not to relate my history. Thank you so much for your enjoyable writings, and am very sorry to be so late. I think of you often, and pray you will continue for you do have a special talent, Myrna.
    God bless,
    Aunt Lois

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Aunt Lois, you are always a welcome visitor, no matter when you come around. You are a huge encouragement to me and I so appreciate your prayers, reading and commenting. God bless you. I pray your health is sustained. Love you!


  2. Robert W. Miner says:

    A very touching memories Journal!
    My Grandfather also kept a Journal, and I still keep part of it. It has helped me sort out memories and traumas of my own life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth Trippy says:

    A lovely memory! It drew me right in. I’m sure your mother never thought she’d leave her family so early in her life. But look what she did! Keeping diaries all those years. God must have put that in her heart to do. And now you have the yen to write as well. Only in a different form. 💟

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a gift she gave you kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beth says:

    Beautiful treasures! Love your photos with all this. The cedar chest is so lovely. Thanks for sharing the reminder that our words can be precious in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Judy Boeve says:

    Wow! What a treasure to have all of these days written down. My Uncle Merle journaled and before he died he showed me a few things he had written. Plus he cherished a collection of Anniversary writings from his kids and nieces and nephews like me of memories we had of them throughout our years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous says:

    So happy for you that you can have these to read, especially because you were so young when she passed away. This way you can know more what your mom was like.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jan says:

    Written words are so precious! What an absolute treasure for you and your family, especially since your mom died when you were so young. I’m so happy for you Myrna. May you continue to be drawn close to your mother’s heart and know her better through the words she wrote. This post reminds me of the great blessing we have through the Word of God. In His Word we are drawn closer to Him and know Him better. Written words are so precious, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s