Conversations on Paper Diaries

I use an electronic diary now at work. I remember my father used a small wallet size paper diary. In the early days he carried this in his white shirt pocket and made constant reference to its contents, planning his busy day.

At work, his secretary would be called to bring the larger bound diary at times for him to peruse and add items.

He had a scrawly writing. He was born left hander, but in the forties when he was at school he was trained to write with his right hand. He could still write with his left hand, but the writing was equally bad. He would have made a great doctor with such bad writing.

I don’t remember the contents of his diary at all. In the seventies he had an Olympus Micro cassette recorder and would speak reminders into this state of the art technology, with tapes smaller than a box of matches that could hold twenty minutes of recording. When he got to the office he would give the tape to his secretary who would then enter items in his diary and type of the letters for him on an Olivetti Golf Ball typewriter.

I remember being impressed that you could change the golf ball on these machines and thus the font. I only ever saw one other option of font. Imagine the joy now with a computer and endless options of font thanks to Steve Jobs, who died last week.

I remember him being organised and efficient. That was a fact of the times. I remember him working long hours, not because he was inefficient, but because of everything he did: running the business, looking for new sites, looking for new business options, being director of some or other bank, meeting with old friends and bank managers, visiting sick people, running the community at Alberton, organising the Hellenic Federation and giving his heart for SAHETI.

One cannot imagine that he had time for us. During the week he may have dropped us off at primary school. When we got to high school we used to cycle. In the evenings he would come home late and always open the door to kiss me goodnight on the forehead. Yet he took 6 weeks holiday a year in winter and transported us to Greece to live in the village, occasionally visiting the sea. Every year until I could not go any longer for six weeks, and he continued. I am not sure how many other people could give that sort of time to their family? So the diary must have helped. But he did not use it in Greece.

For all the electronics now and fonts on the computer, I still keep a paper diary and write in it every evening with a soft blue ink. It helps to record the day.

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