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 their nose buried in one. Larry’s favorites were historical adventures, dog stories, and biographies. He’d buy books when he wanted a special volume, and 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 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 1 Am just getting over sickness and added a small piece to my room in which I keep my books. Could not write diary in ink.
Jan 2  Today I bought another book, The Adventure’s of Huckleberry Finn, which makes 107 book (not including diary) that I have
Jan 3  Today I quit 3# of the Union Democrat route in afternoon but retained other afternoon route and two morning paper routes for San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle
Jan 4  Mrs. Hoe came up to my room and visited me. We played rummy. My mother also gave me her bookcase!
Jan 5  Today I bought automatic pencil, I also bought two books, A Touch of Glory and An American Guerrilla in the Philippines.
Jan 6  Today I went back to school from Christmas vacation. The class has a new teacher. Also we have a new boy, Donald Moore.
Jan 7  Today they had some Boy Scout films at school and had some talks about scouting. Have gotten lights at school that kills germs within contact
Jan 8 Today I bought four more books. Their titles are Secret Cargo, Johnny Tremain, Royal Shooting, and a mystery.
Jan 9  Today I counted my stamps as far as Hungary; I have thus far counted 1,581 different stamps, with 346 different U.S. stamps
Jan 10  Today I have finished counting my stamps. They altogether total 2,520 different ones, not including duplicates
Jan 11  Today I have started a stamp notebook. I brought a boy up to my room and we went through my stamps
Jan 12  Today all of us except Carleen and Betty went for ride to Pinecrest. The lake was all dried up except for patches of ice
Jan 13  I may get another bed and I am pretty sure I am going to get it. I got a long pencil
Jan 14  Today I am entering into my teens, and for my 13th birthday I got a pair of Levis. Also today they had some films at school
Jan 15  Today they had some more films at school. The films are supposed to be played once a week. I also bought a book We Hold These Truths
Jan 16  Today I went to the scout meeting. Mr. Cassina who is our music teacher and gym instructor is now our assistant scout leader. I also paid my 2 dollar scout dues
Jan 17  Today we had a music test at school.Stayed up after midnight to do my homework. Am trying to put things to hold the pages in my stamp book
Jan 18  Today I went to the Uptown Show. It is the first time I have gone to the show since 3 months ago. Also bought 2 pocket books
Jan 19  Today I went for a hike with my sister (Carleen). We went to the Phoenix Lake and it was mostly iced over. Saw lots of snow
Jan 20  Today the other paper boy got fired for not delivering his papers right and I will take his paper paper route for a while.
Jan 21 The day before yesterday I got a new bed. I also got a folder of 15 old Current Events for 25 cents. Some of them were 1944 and 1945.
Jan 22  Today we had some moving pictures at school about the Red Cross. Starting to buy pocket books. Made joke book for Red Cross
Jan 23  Today the 7th and 8th grade had a basketball game. We won by 23 to 19. Pat Ryan dislocated his finger during the game. Went to scouts
Jan 24  Today I went to my first basketball game. The game was between the Wildcats (Sonora) and Edison Hi (Stockton). We won both games 35-22 and 36-20
Jan 25  Today I bought another book. I also finished putting gummed patches (for loose leaf sheets) on all the pages of my stamps book. Rearranged bookcase.
Jan 26  Today I nearly have finished reading Huckleberry Finn. I bought some campfire marshmallows; they are the first ones I have seen since before the War

Pat Conway 1947

Jan 27  Today I went to the show. It was called Boys Ranch. My cousin Pat Conway was visiting us with two other sailors, they stayed with us for two days (Saturday and Sunday)
Jan 28  Today it was and still is snowing. The snow was very thick and I was in some snow fights. Changed mattresses with Mother’s and Father’s
Jan 29  Today I bought the Feb. issue of Pacific Pathways for 35 cents I also bought a pocketbook entitled Wild Animals I Have Known for Current Events
Jan 30  Today Brandi and Myers played at school. I went to the Boy Scout Court of Honor a little while ago. They had ice cream and cake. I had enough cake.
Jan 31  I used to get 15 dollars a month a year ago. But Mr. Mouron wanted me to take the route again. Yesterday he offered me 15 dollars, today $20 a month

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

to be continued…

© 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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