Thursday, March 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Mamaw's Notebook

This is probably the biggest treasure my family has.
It doesn't look like much of a treasure on the outside, does it? 
Well, you have to open it to find the treasure.

My grandmother, Emma Taylor Hopkins, wrote about her life on the pages of this spiral notebook. She only wrote 54 pages but they are full of snippets about her life. She covered her childhood and school years, her marriage and the births of her children and grandchildren. She wrote about places she lived, trips she took, every day life and her family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There is an occasional list mixed in with the stories and if you read what follows you can see that when she took a break from writing she left herself some reminders of what she wanted to cover next.  

I don't think anyone knows exactly when Mamaw (as all of her 8 grandchildren called her) started writing her story or when she wrote the last passage. She died suddenly on January 19, 1978 of a heart attack. I've often wondered if, whenever she wrote the last paragraph, she knew it would be the last thing she would write. She listed her grandchildren by name then added these last words "I wonder if they can imagine how much I love them." 

Yes, Mamaw, I think we all knew.


  1. Wow, that's quite a treasure. Those final words are priceless. Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a treasure -- not just the physical notebook, but also everything written in it, and especially her last words.

    During the last years of my mom's life she wrote her journal in notebooks like the one your grandmother used. I did not read them while she was living, of course. When we realized she wouldn't be returning home to live, my brother and sister and I had to sort through her things and decide what to do with everything before her house could be sold. I was to get the journal notebooks but my car was full. When I went back the next week, they were gone. What a disappointment. I almost mourn their loss.

    I'm so glad someone saved your grandmother's notebook!

  3. This notebook is one of the things that got me interested in genealogy when I read it for the 2nd time - over 20 years after she died. Nancy, I'm so sorry you lost your mother's journals. I made copies of this one several years ago for all of us and keep the original in the safe but I really need to get it scanned as well.