Diary of Lois Elaine Jelin: The Beginning

On a recent spontaneous roadtrip up the California coastline, I took a turn inland after stopping to rest where the Russian River runs into the Pacific. Taking scenic Highway 116, it wasn’t long before I found a town that time had forgotten: Duncans Mills. Situated halfway between Jenner and Guerneville, this non sequitur of a former railroad depot town has been gentrified into the perfectly bourgeois roadside respite for all those upper middle class San Franciscans on their way to Napa after roughing it at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Come here in June and you’ll find the Russian River Rodeo, well advertised by one of the shop owners who wore a sequined camouflage hat sporting its logo. In July, you’ll find Civil War Days. On New Years Eve, however, you’ll only find the little cluster of shops that have reinvigorated Gold Rush era storefronts.

In one of these very shops, I purchased a black, leather bound E. Broox Randall & Sons, Inc. day planner, most likely given complimentarily by Viola Morton whose name is embossed in gold in the lower right hand corner of the front cover. Although issued in 1941, the planner was appropriated as the 1951 diary of Lois Elaine Jelin. Having just moved from 3337 City Terrace Drive, Los Angeles 63, California [Click HERE to see the Google Street View of the house today] to 5323 Allott Ave., Van Nuys, California, State 41950 [Click HERE to see the Google Street View of the house today], young Lois recorded her thoughts each day in this little keeper of secrets, updating the day to one proper for the adjusted year and also recording the weather in a tiny chart provided in the upper right corner of each page as either Clear, Cloudy, Rain, or Snow. For the rest of the year, dear readers, you will step into the world of a Southern California teenager in 1951 as I update this site with the corresponding entry from Lois. Since it’s January 3rd, I’ll be playing catch-up in this post by including the first three entires. However, from this day forward the saga of this fourteen year old will be related one day at a time. Just as Lois lived it.

Entry One

Wednesday Mon., January 1                                             Weather marked as Clear.

Dear Diary,

We [Unc Lou, Aunt Clara, Mom, Dad, Babie Butch] all went out for Breakfast & then Unc Lou went back to Washington. Watched the Rose bowl game & Parade. It was good. Listened to the Texas & Tennessee game it was wonderful. Got my monthly visit today and she caused a lot of pain. Hal called.

Entry Two

Thursday, January 2                                                         Weather marked as Clear.

Dear Diary,

The first day of school this year was wonderful. All of the kids look good. Theres [sic] not much to say except that Robert looks very well. (So does Manuel). Sold our house & it went into Escrow today. We ate dinner at Frank’s tonight to celebrate. Harriet came over to watch T.V.

Entry Three

Friday Wend., January 3                                                    Weather marked as Clear.

Dear Diary,

Stayed home from school today, didn’t feel to [sic] good. Jean called said that the “A9’s” got their small pictures. I wonder how mine came out!

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