I inherited the forty-three diaries written by Ruby Alice Side Thompson that span the years 1909—1969. The diaries were first given to my grandmother, Ruth Ferris Thompson, then to my mother, Adele Thompson Aldridge, and eventually to Adele’s daughter, Ruby’s great granddaughter, and me.
When I began re-reading these Diaries I realized how little I knew about the events of World War ll and what people in London in particular had to endure. I also learned the intimate revelations of a marriage with a glimpse into how women's roles at that time were very limited compared to my own and my daughter's opportunities. I think Ruby would be amazed at how different the lives of her great great granddaughters are today with their personal freedom and opportunities that were not dreamed of when she was young.
These journals are an interwoven combination of historical and personal facts recorded by a woman who lived through difficult times with both the hardships of war as well as the personal war she endured with her husband. The sheer terror and exhaustion Ruby felt as bombs fell for hours on end, night after night, is impossible for me to imagine enduring without having a complete mental breakdown.
While Ruby was trapped in a war, unable to leave either her environment or her marriage, she was a woman ahead of her time in her thinking. It appears that she was not able to share her real thoughts anywhere but in her Diary.
When I began the transcription of these diaries I posted them daily in a Blog. The reactions from readers from around the world inspired me to publish them in book form. People with the varied interests from genealogists, World War ll history buffs, women's history buffs, and history lovers in general, and educators have become engrossed by Ruby's first-hand experiences of the war described in the diaries. She was writing for herself alone, Ruby discusses her thoughts on politics, religion and marriage with raw honesty. Much of what she says would be considered politically incorrect today. Ruby's views about men and the war certainly would not have been accepted by anyone in the environment of her time and especially during the war. Her opinions, while written just for herself, are important. If we endited them out this material would lose much of its value.