A J Miller (2)Recently I found my grandad’s diary, written in 1944 when he was twenty.

Its pocket sized, with entries for 7 days on each page, so not much room to ruminate. My grandad used the diary to look back not forward, to record what he did, rather than record upcoming appointments. He never uses more than 20 words for each entry. For those days when nothing much happened, he used just one word: Dull !

The diary demonstrates how much you can learn about a person, the way they live and how they are, from the fewest of words. It reminds me of the power of brevity.

January 1944
Sat 1 New Year’s Day
Homeguard last night

Mon 3
Rialto to see Eric Portman, Millions Like Us

Tues 4
Mam and George came to Hilda’s to pass time

Thurs 6
Tony Ross beat McLuckie on points

Wed 12
Firewatch

Fri 14
Gob on with Hilda

Fri 21
Most wage

February 1944
Mon 14
Went to Pierhead with Hilda and lost 6d

Fri 18
Union with lads

Fri 25
Got engaged

Sat 26
First lot of snow

March 1944
Mon 6
Hilda got a new beret

Wed 8
Hilda and I met three years ago today

Sat 18
L’pool v Chester 1-1

Fri 24
The day I was called up

Sat 25
1 o’clock Arthur got a son

Tues 28
Ruddy big row

July 1944
Fri 21
Hilda and Mother came to see me. Oh what a God Send. I was happy as a bee.

Sun 23
The sad day they went back to home sweet home. I cried at the station.

November 1944
Sat 18
Our wedding day