Find of the Week: WWII-Era Diaries

This morning I went to a yard sale that promised to be huge. (Not just big, but HUGE.) I got there a few minutes before the 9:00 start time to find a crowd had already formed. The driveway was gated and we had all bunched up in front of it. By the time the woman opened the gate there were at least 30 people waiting including Juan and Miguel, who I see all the time at sales and think of as my picking nemeses. Actually other than jewelry our stuff doesn’t overlap much, but they can be unscrupulous pickers. Enough said.

This particular sale was about 60% clothing which I only gave a cursory glance as I am swimming in clothing at the moment. The book tables were mobbed, but at the end of one there was a little room. And it was here that I spotted my find of the week: two hand-written WWII-era diaries! OMG, I love this sort of thing. They were written in old composition notebooks and are age toned and fragile, but still a treasure complete with news clippings and a few photos.



Here’s a snippet I transcribed:

I believe, of all the quarters I loved in Paris, this was my favorite haunt. It had everything! Crossing the Luxembourg, after passing the Rue Alsass [Alsace] – there in the gardens, history and romance mingled in the headiest brew…The madness of those days spent in all ecstasy of gratitude only possible, to souls as ready as was mine, to wrest from the present such vibrous potions of the past. I lived each hour, each day, each week, as if I knew that hanging o’er me was the damoclean sword which, any moment, might descend and cleave from me my ??, my ??

No doubt about it, I was buying these diaries. Can’t wait to read them cover to cover. Unless I find something historically amazing in these, they will not be hugely profitable, but I don’t care. Some things are just to fabulous to pass up!!

I carefully placed these two in my tote and eventually made it to the back yard where there were yet more clothes, but I noticed off to the side was a neglected table of quilts. Hmmm. I love quilts. I went over and took a look. Nothing caught my eye till I spotted this one. Old and humble, but soft and appealing too.


Some folks had joined me now at the table so I stepped aside so I could open up the quilt and take a better look. As I was examining it, I noticed a woman watching me. (That’s always a bit unnerving.) She turned to the guy next to her and said wistfully, “That’s the best of the bunch.”  I think it was too. She continued to watch me to see if I was going to put it back on the table, but trust me, I wasn’t letting go of it. It even comes with a little bit of history: To Effie from Auntie Dile (?) 1924, 81 yrs.


The quilts were on a “make offer” basis and I didn’t have much cash with me (silly I know!), but thankfully the seller accepted my $20 offer. Between the quilts and the two diaries I was out of money. But I was okay with that. Finding a few great things was good enough. 🙂

How about you? What’s your find of the week?

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