Telling Stories from the Grave
Consider this quote:
"I want them [the author's children] to be able to look into the mirror of a book, and find me." [Nook Tablet, p.398]
If that's not not talking from the grave, I don't know what is. Ruby Alice Side Thompson is the author of the diary entries contained in the books, World War II London Blitz Diary, Volumes 1-4. Only volumes one through three have been published, and I'm in the middle of volume two. However, I wanted to share what a great read this book is.
Towards the end of this first volume Ruby mentions why she is wanting to write a book about her life. Though these diary entries are now what has been published via Vickie Aldridge Washuk, Ruby's great-granddaughter. They are the brutally honest accounts of Ruby's life as she saw things as they happened. They are her innermost thoughts, feelings, jubilations, and frustrations.
And I found her quote listed above as being a huge eye-opener for me as well as touching. I'm always writing about and, at times, casting judgement on my ancestors through my sarcasm, and I hardly ever think about what my descendants will think about me and my decisions. Will they be able to look at me ~ ugly parts and all ~ and see who I truly was? Without too much derision or sarcasm? [They definitely won't be getting it in diary form as I've not written in one since I was 14 years old, and I've not seen it since then either. Unfortunately.]
While I don't always see eye-to-eye with Ruby, I can see that I wish I'd known her in person. I wish that I could have been the one to ask her over for tea and listen to her joyous descriptions of her sewing projects, her opinions of the very progressive books for her time that she read, and her thoughts on religion and politics. She truly was born too early for her time, but because of when she was born and because of the awful situations she found herself in, we are allowed have a small peek into the past from which we can see a family trying to survive the London Blitz during World War II. Luckily for the reader, Ruby has a tight grasp of the goings-on of the war, and she isn't afraid to add her opinions to the mix.
Every up and down in her moods and in her life is documented, and her candidness is what makes this book a page-turner. If you have ancestors who were alive during World War II, especially in the UK, then this book is a good place to find how towns, households, and family members lived and what life was like during WW2 during the London Blitz. Though she didn't have the toughest row to hoe during World War II, so to speak, her life ~ understandably ~ was forever affected by it. And these diary entries afford us a trip through time looking at life through Ruby's eyes.
World War II London Blitz Diary, Volume 1 is available on Amazon.com as well as from Barnes and Noble. [It's listed in my Amazon Shop under the Books Category.] Though I read Volume 1 on my Nook Tablet, I'm reading Volumes 2 and 3 on my iPhone with the Kindle App. [Slow going on the smaller screen.] Further, while Ruby's diary entries are unedited, her great-granddaughter has written the Forward, Afterword, and has provided family tree information for the reader. I'd like to personally thank Victoria for making her great-grandmother's diaries available to us as they help to fill-in gaping holes in our history textbooks. Also, she maintains a blog for the books so be sure to stop by and enjoy.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. I purchased the first volume from Barnes and Noble, and then later contacted Victoria to tell her how excited I was to have found it and to begin reading it. She then provided me with volumes 2 and 3 through Amazon.com to review. So. Yes, I'm reviewing these books. Yes, I'm an affiliate of both companies and receive a very small commission for referring these books to you and when and if you buy them through a link that I provide. But my opinions about the books are just that. My opinions. Receiving 2 of the volumes to review has not influenced my review. I think Ruby's story as told through her diary entries is incredible for the genealogy and family history researcher looking for a way to fill-in between the birth, marriage, and death dates of their World War II ancestors' lives.