Author Topic: She found a 100-year-old diary in her home. What was inside changed her life  (Read 383 times)

Elle Bee Rubini

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This is an essay by Sarah Feldberg from the San Francisco Chronicle. What captured my attention was the story of a homeowner renovating her historical San Francisco home in 2019, what I came away with is the importance of paying honor to the legacy of those who have come before us.  Homeowner Christina Lalanne, finds an unfinished diary in the basement ceiling, fallen from the rafters during a seismic retrofit. The unfinished diary was written by the Danish carpenter that originally built and lived in her 100 year old home. It’s a fragmented story of an early 20th century, (arrived in 1904), Danish immigrant’s journey to San Francisco, his struggle in a new country, unrequited love, and the question of what ever became of this man who built this house. Did he hide his journal in the basement ceiling to hide it from his wife? What ever became of this man, his wife and their 3 children? The journal was enough of a mystery for homeowner Lalanne to pursue translating the Dutch man’s diary letter by letter using Google translator and even going so far as to travel to Denmark to delve deeper into his story.

No doubt this story is the thing that inspires screen writers to adapt it into a screenplay. I do believe women are the ones who pass down our stories to the next generation. We are the fabric that keeps memories preserved through photo albums, scrap books, and now digital legacy formats. No matter a person’s lot in life, respect must be paid to honor their existence. Lalanne has done an excellent job to make sure Hans Jorgen Hansen’s legacy will not be forgotten. It also calls to mind, how will our stories be passed down? What is our legacy we leave for future generations?

Have you ever left behind a diary or letters to be discovered later-on? Or have you left a message or a detail in something you have built? I have had conversations with others in the home-building trade, and it is not uncommon for tradesmen to leave a secret signature hidden on a beam, in the concrete or somewhere in the home. One story of a tradesman, a tile setter, left his legacy in a tile intentionally placed upside down. If you travel to Malibu, CA. Go to the Adamson House where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean, (Surfrider Beach), stand in front of the fountain facing the beach and look for the tile intentionally placed upside down on the peacock's tail. The tile setter did this to represent the idea that nothing can be perfect in life. That only God does it perfectly. I have toured that home at least a handful of times for fun. If Gladstone’s Restaurant is still around, go there afterwards before Sunset, enjoy the clams and cocktails. And that is a craftsman snippet of history for today!

« Last Edit: August 22, 2021, 11:47:01 AM by Elle Bee Rubini »

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