My Airmail Journal
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“My Airmail Journal,” Ensign, Mar. 1989, 66

My Airmail Journal

My parents were startled during my mission to Hawaii to learn that I had been living on a different island for many weeks. Somehow, I had failed to mention the transfer in my letters home. Reading between the lines of Mother’s next letter, I could tell that my parents were hurt. They had made many sacrifices to send me on a mission, and I felt sad that I had made them feel left out.

Duplication! That was the reason, I figured. What I wrote in my journal I wrote again in separate letters to at least my parents and my girlfriend, Jeanne. Writing down my activities more than once was tiring for me, so as the months passed, my accounts became more and more sketchy.

Then I had an idea. I went to a stationery store, where I purchased some loose-leaf paper about half the size of an Ensign page. Instead of writing in my bound journal that night, I clipped a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of the looseleaf paper so that I could make a copy of the entry. In the right-hand corner I numbered the page. On the left side I wrote the date. Under the date I detailed my day.

I did the same thing the next day, and by the end of the week, I had several pages filled with my experiences. When it was time to mail my weekly letters, I folded each set of pages, with the exception of the last page (so that I would not miss the continuity and the page numbering), and placed them in two envelopes. I then wrote a short personal letter to slip in with each set of pages and mailed one set to my parents and one set to Jeanne.

Both Mother and Jeanne purchased loose-leaf notebooks, and each week they snapped in the new journal sheets. If a letter went astray, lost pages could be duplicated from the other person’s set.

Even though I spent less time writing, the journal grew rapidly. Mother and Dad were delighted with the additional details, and they often told me that they felt more involved in my mission. I think I also became a better missionary because I analyzed my progress each day as I wrote.

When I returned home, Mom and Jeanne presented me with a two-volume journal of my mission, complete with an index. That journal is much more meaningful than the one I had kept in my bound book at the beginning of my mission.—Richard L. Gunn, Provo, Utah