I'm delighted you have taken the time to visit my website! My desire is to share with you my mother’s young life as told through her own diaries, with some added insight from me, her youngest daughter Miriam. As an aspiring writer and a devout Catholic with a love for all things vintage, uncovering the forgotten places and nostalgia of the past has become my passion in life.
A Mother's Passing
On a beautiful Spring day in May 2012 my mother Vilma, who was very active, healthy and enjoying her retirement spending her days walking, swimming and embarrassing me with her dance moves, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. She was 77 years old when she joined my father in heaven, who had passed away some 20 years earlier. My parents were married for 32 years and had five children, including me "the baby" of the family.
Shortly after her death, one of the most heart wrenching tasks to take care of was sorting through her personal belongings. One day as I scoured through an old dresser drawer I re-discovered four diaries from her single days, ranging from 1950 to 1955. Not only did my mother have diaries, she had hundreds of pictures documenting her night life and working girl days in downtown L.A. and old Hollywood. My mother's diaries and pictures were well known to our family as we were growing up. As time went on though, these memories were placed to the side and ended up in a storage shed.
After cleaning off the years of dust and neglect, I began to carefully read through the diaries with fresh eyes. It was like a lightening bolt hit me, suddenly it dawned on me that I had possession of a magical time capsule sitting right beneath my nose for all these years. Her diaries read like a good book, with Vilma as the heroine: there was history, drama, passion, comedy and valuable life lessons.
As painful as those first few months were, with bittersweet tears and the deepest of sorrows, her diaries were a life line to a period in my mother’s life like no other. In those restless wee hours of the morning when I just couldn’t sleep, her diaries kept me constant company. As I continued to read, there were many nights I bolted up laughing in happy tears! I found that my mother was just the same as she had always been in life: witty, faithful and charming... with a tad bit of a sassy wild side!
When I was younger, my mother used to reminisce about her single life and loved to tell me the story of the miraculous way she eventually met my father. As she would bring out her box of memorabilia, I would even exclaim "Oh no not again!" As we sifted through her giant box full of old pictures, the excited expression on her face always transported her back into that time and place. Her fondest memories were working as a Camera Girl, especially at Clifton's Cafeteria.
As we would pick up a picture, she would exclaim “Oh that was good ol’ Bob….or Jim ….or Ronny….. etcetera, etcetera, believe me it was a long line of boyfriends. The funny thing is that she remembered every single one of them, including their names! She used to tell me and my sisters about the good and bad traits of each of the men, always making sure to remind us why she chose my father out of all those men. My mother would tell us to have fun and date lots of men, don't settle on one right away, really see who you are compatible with...and do all of this while cherishing your bodies. She was teaching us the importance of patience and choosing wisely.
Once my parents were married, my father was the type who was confident in my mother’s love for him. This is why I suspect he allowed her to keep all of her memorabilia, including so many pictures of ex-boyfriends! My good father was never threatened by these things that time had passed away, he had the best sense of humor and would typically just shake his head and laugh. After all, he already won the heart of the girl! Finally, the pinnacle of this story is how Vilma’s trust and faith led her to my father, the man she was praying for, and how her Guardian Angel played that miraculous role in finding him.
I often think that to be able to experience someone else’s life through their own writing is a treasure beyond compare. If you did not believe time travel exists, well then you have come to the right place and time, or so to speak.
Luckily, these diaries have survived the span of time until today. Physically, they’re in pretty rough shape, but Vilma's words are clear and relevant for today’s world, especially in the battle between the spirit and the temptations of the flesh. Today I can't even imagine the thought of having these diaries left in a drawer, forgotten, gathering dust and fading away. I'm sure Vilma never could have imagined back then that her diaries would be on the internet one day! Though this may sound odd, I feel as if her diaries were waiting for just this exact moment in time to be revealed.
Just to note: I chose to start with her diary in 1952 when she was 17 years old. I selected this diary first since this was that special time when she was coming of age and her dating life was just starting to take flight. Not to worry, the diary from 1950 is chock-full of good stories that will be explored at a later time.
I realize you still may be asking: “So, was Vilma successful in her endeavors to maintain her purity”? Well, you'll just have to keep reading my blog to find out!