Through Any Given Door

1.29 Larry’s New Diary, Jan 1947

My mother, brother, and sisters loved to read. They regularly checked out books from the local library, and in every room at home someone would be sprawled somewhere with his or her nose buried in one. Larry’s favorites were historical adventure stories, dog stories, and biographies. He would buy books when he wanted a special volume, and he read them in his room. Betty read on her bed while Carleen read on the couch, Claudia read on the front porch and Mom read in the kitchen. Dad rarely picked up a book. He had work to do and saw no sense in frittering his life away reading things other than the newspaper and an occasional Reader’s Digest or Saturday Evening Post. The family rule was lights out at 10:00. Our father was customarily asleep by 8:30 though Mom stayed up late reading; the kids read under their covers by flashlight far into the night.

On his twelfth Christmas, Larry received a small five-year leather-bound diary, with room enough on each page for three lines per day.

1947 • Diary of Larry Clemens, page one (ages 12 and 13)
Jan 2  I have a collection of 107 books
Jan 3  Quit one paper route in afternoon but retained other afternoon route and two morning paper routes for San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle
Jan 4  Mom gave me her bookcase
Jan 5  Boy Scout films at school
Jan 10  Have about 2,530 different foreign and USA stamps in my stamp collection
Jan 12  Family went for ride to Pinecrest. Carleen & Betty did not go. Ice on lake
Jan 14  My birthday, entered my teens – age 13
Jan 16  Attended boy scout meeting, paid $2 scout dues
Jan 17  Stayed up past midnight to do homework, studied for music test
Jan 20  Took new paper route, back to four routes. Got new bed

Pat Conway 1947

Jan 22  Starting to buy pocket books instead of hardcover books
Jan 26  Almost finished reading Huck Finn, bought marshmallows, first ones I have seen in 6 or 7 years or before WWar 2.
Jan 27  Saw movie Boys Ranch, my cousin Pat Conway and 2 other sailors visited us
Jan 28  Snowed, I got to have some snow fights
Jan 30  Attended Boy Scout Court of Honor
Jan 31  Last year I was paid $15 a month for S.F. Examiner paper route and I was offered $20 a month if I would take the route again, so I did

On Jan 21, 1947, Dad was elected to the Sonora City Council:









© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Jim Chatfield says:

    Thanks again Cathy. I read a lot back between ages 6 to 10 because Mom bought me a set of books that had all the stories from Br’er Rabbit clear thru to King Arthur, so I was a lucky kid. Wished I had kept that series.

  2. Larry sounds like a true Capricorn! I was an avid under-the-covers reader too….and feel so grateful for all those happy hours devouring books and living in worlds of imagination and adventure….unlike this sad descent into digital dumbness. I still love to read and never seem to have enough time!

  3. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    Thanks, Larry, for sharing! Reminded me that somewhere I have some journals of my early 20s and 30s–need to find them before I croak and toss them! LOL. Good Job again, Catherine.

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