Scribbled Notes


I mistakenly left my shopping list on the kitchen counter the other day. Chris laughed at the list and thought it was a little bizarre the combination of items that appeared in my scrawling handwriting but I saw nothing out of the ordinary about it whatsoever. I mean who doesn’t shop for beauty and cosmetic items and things for the outdoor critters???

You all know that I love the handwritten notes that my brother in law, Carlton, always used to leave me when we were living with him. Here is an example of one of the more treasured ones.P1060289

I never thought about my little notes and scribbles as being something to save and hang onto but a recent article by Barry Newman in the Wall Street Journal introduced me to the fact that sometimes those innocent scribblings and jottings may pull in big bucks and we all know how attractive that might be. Of course the article was talking about people like Norman Mailer and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernsteinwho have a reason to be recognized and famous. Seems that some of the “famous people” of today and yesteryear saved boxes of their writings and memorabilia and offer it for sale to places like libraries and museums. What a great idea!!!

My mom has kept a diary for years and years and years—-I think she started when she was a teenager. I always admired the way she would religiously write a few sentences each day about the happenings that were of most importance to her on that particular day. She shows discipline (there is that word again!) that I don’t have. She has repeatedly stated that she will burn all of them or destroy them before she dies as she does not want anyone to read them. She thinks they are trivial and silly (her words) but I disagree. They are history. They are probably a very accurate recollection of life that I have forgotten.

I have a huge box of letters that Chris and I wrote to each other when we were dating. I have all of the ones to him and all of the ones to me. Do I want my boys to read those someday??? Hmmmm…..I am still pondering that one. When we cleaned out Chris’s folks’ house I found a box where his mom had saved all the letters and cards that I had sent them after we got married. There are quite a few. Pictures have been taken out of them and put in separate boxes but the letters were saved which touched my heart. Did I have something worthwhile to say? Usually not but it was probably one of the best compliments that my mother in law could have paid me to save my letters. I wish I would have known when she was alive so I could have mentioned it to her.

Will my scribbled notes and messages ever be sold at an auction or to a library for massive amounts of money??? Doubtful. But then I bet that some of the folks who were mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article never thought they would have that happen to them either. Food for thought.

Perhaps I need to brush up on my penmanship—-that reference to Undie Sunday in the above note might be misunderstood….


  1. I found a note in one of the used books I bought. It looked like a list of things to do before going on a trip. Listed things to be packed. The last item through me for a loop–shave head. I never do that before boarding a plane.

  2. I love your list – reminds me of something I would do… I once found a bunch of letters my parents wrote to each other. My mom and I had a hoot reading them all

  3. I always have one or the other scribbled note laying about. Most are shopping lists and nothing extra ordinary. I used to write in a journal most nights but do it very rarely now. Sometimes I think about starting again for the things I won’t blog about!!! Love the note from Carlton. Have a great week!

    • Thanks, Susi! I have always been a writer of notes but I think my penmanship has gotten horrible since I started using the computer. I doubt anyone would even be able to read them!

      • I’m in the same boat! I used to have pretty nice penmanship and if I take my time it’s still that way but when I scribble, I really scribble!!! 🙂

        • Oh my goodness—I sent an email the other day and put in two different addresses because I could not read my writing and tell if it was an “e” or a “c” in the address. One got returned so I suspect that was the wrong one but I still have not gotten an answer back so it has me wondering if either one got there!!! New goal–write neater when it matters!

  4. Your flowing handwriting is gorgeous, although I must admit to not understanding the “Undie Sunday” reference.

    The note from Carlton is beyond precious.

    As for your mother’s diaries, do NOT allow her to toss them. My mother has also kept diaries for decades, just a paragraph scrawled in a notebook about daily life, the weather. Someday they will be mine and, I expect, among her greatest gifts to me.

    I also have the letters Randy and I wrote to each other before we married. I think the kids should see them someday and rejoice in that young love.

    My mother-in-law also saved the letters I sent to her.

    See, once again we are alike in more ways than can be counted.

    I say, “Treasure each handwritten note and letter.” Anything handwritten is sure too be of value given how we communicate today, which certainly is not be handwriting.”

    Great post, Beth Ann.

    • A writer would totally “get” this post and you did!!! I agree–let’s put pressure on my mom from the comment section to “will” them to me with the understanding that they will be treasured and not exploited!!! Undie Sunday is when we all donate new packs of all types and sizes of undies which are later taken to the Rosebud Reservation in Mission, SD . I actually volunteered there for a week several years ago and helped distribute said undies!!! Pretty cool mission in my humble opinion.

  5. I am a keeper of notes and letters too.

  6. Amy Prentice says:

    Oh Beth Ann….I get a kick out of your blogs! Dave and I still have all our letters that we wrote back and forth to each other when he was in college and also when he lived in Greenville..before I got to move out with him. We have decided we need to have a bonfire and get rid of each of our boxes…..but just maybe we could keep a couple for the kids to have…we shall see! lol I was also amazed my mom in law kept my letters to her… was such an awesome moment as we were cleaning out the house! I fear that letter writing has become a thing of the past with our fancy electronic gadgets now! You truly gave me something to think about this morning my friend!

  7. kristic90 says:

    My mother leaves notes like that all over the place. She has always been a doodler, and she will scribble random words from her conversations and little designs over her grocery lists and reminders as she’s talking on the phone, on the computer or sitting talking to us at the table. I will cherish those, I am sure, somewhere down the line. And when I think of it like that, all my notes, journals, quotes scribbled on scrap papers etc. seem a little less crazy and a little more like history.
    I’ve actually been working on taking some of my collected notes and things, like Christmas cards and letters, and turning them into something “keepsake” like. I’ve turned all my Christmas cards from the past 3 years into a little book that I can put out on my table at Christmas time…I still need to make the covers and year dividers but its an attempt at preserving some of those little moments, notes and such.

    Definitely keep what you can. They will be cherished by someone later (even if it is just you and your husband).

    • Thank you for the great words, Kristi! I think your idea of the keepsake book is wonderful. I always fret about throwing stuff like those cards out and maybe I can do an “altered book” project like that! Great idea!!!

  8. I saved some letters my daughter wrote to me, before Facebook and electronic messaging. I pull them out and read them every once in awhile. She always used creative names on the envelope, what a hoot. I imagine the mailman wondered how many people lived here. Carlton’s note is a keeper! I was a tad curious about those Sunday undies, to tell the truth…

  9. Thanks a lot. All I need is you to keep telling me how I should keep my diaries! they are mostly very boring.

  10. I love handwritten notes and letters. I save all that I have received but none that I actually have written . May have to rethink that after reading this post . I have a few that you sent to me too! I’ll just hold onto them ‘ cause you never know…cha ching! xoxo

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