Muriel Esther Windham

Muriel Esther Windham

Muriel Esther Windham was my mother. Born in 1926, she passed away (as Muriel W. Brown) in 2005. I’ve been meaning to transcribe the diaries she kept during her teens and early twenties, and it occurred to me to do it as a blog.

If you’re interested in the Forties, the golden age of radio and film, Bob Hope and his contemporaries, a view of World War II from the home front, or what it was like to be a starstruck young girl growing up in Dallas (Texas) and Southern California in those times, you may enjoy some of these posts.

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’ve reproduced the entries exactly as she wrote them. It was fun for me to realize that the woman I knew—a real stickler for perfection in spelling, grammar, and punctuation—paid relatively casual attention to such things at 13.

NOTE: As in most blogs, the posts (diary entries) are in reverse chronological order. I’ll fix that, some day, if I can figure out how. In the meantime, here’s a link to the first page:


15 Responses to “About This Diary”

  1. Doris L. Murphy Says:

    David, i shared this with our Sunset Alumni on our Facebook group page. I also am updating our info as we did not show your mom as deceased on our website. Great stuff….She was very much an overachiever—-and for a woman of that time, pretty awesome.

    • David Says:

      She was pretty awesome!

      I promise to get back to this, one day. I still have nearly a decade’s worth of diary entries left to transcribe!

  2. Doris L. Murphy Says:

    David, i shared this with our alumni on our Facebook group page. Very, very interesting read and insight. Love it!

  3. Paula Bosse Says:

    This was wonderful. After Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News linked to one of the entries a few weeks ago, I read the whole thing. I hope you’ll continue it one day. Thanks!

    • David Says:

      Paula, if you have a link to the article, I’d love to read it!

      • Paula Bosse Says:

        I have a Dallas history blog, and I just wrote about your mother’s diary tonight. The link to the Dallas Morning News article that has a link to your mother’s diary is in the first sentence. If there are any errors in my post, please let me know. I read the diary a year ago, and I actually think of it fairly often. The link to my Flashback Dallas post is here (there is a 1943 DMN article about Muriel presenting Bob Hope with a check for $10,000 at the bottom):

        I have additional photos of your mother from Sunset and SMU yearbooks if you’d like me to send them to you).


      • David Says:

        Thanks for replying so quickly!

        If it’s possible, please feel free to post links to the photos right here, in the comment thread.

        Now I’m off to read the blog post and the DMN article! :)

      • David Says:

        Oh, my gosh! That was a lovely blog post—thanks so much.

        I should point out that my dad would probably prefer to be remembered as “GW Brown II”, and my mom never received her PhD: illness stopped her work on her thesis, and by the time she got well she had started losing credits from the earliest courses…she just never got caught up, so her academic record includes a Master’s in English Lit and another Master’s in Library Science, both from SMU.

      • Paula Bosse Says:

        Thanks, David. I’ve made a correction about the PhD. Here are a few photos I came across of your mother:

  4. Steve LaVere Says:

    I just found this blog and can’t wait to learn what wonderful information it might contain. In skimming through it, do I notice that no diary entries subsequent to July 31, 1942 have been posted. Is that correct? Is there more? Do you plan to post more?

    • David Says:

      Welcome, Steve!

      I have my mother’s diaries through 1953 and another few from the early and mid-Sixties. She was married in ’51 and became a mother in ’52, so I’m not sure whether I’ll stop recording her entries around then or just finish the entire set. (Many of us mentioned after the early Fifties are still alive, so I’ll have to play it by ear.)

      I’m sorry that I’ve been remiss for so long in posting new entries. I’m dedicated to doing it properly, though, and it’s a huge undertaking.

      I hope you come back, occasionally, to see what’s been added.

      Thanks so much for your interest!

  5. Rachel Says:

    Omigosh, I just discovered this blog. What a gem! I’ve barely had time to do more than skim it and I’m already smiling at your mother’s infatuation with Bob Hope. Can’t wait to spend time really reading it. As a fellow lover of the golden age of radio, I can relate to her well.

    • dmbrownpdx Says:

      Thanks, Rachel!

      There are over ten years’ worth of daily entries and extras at the end of each month and year, so it’s a time-consuming project. I confess my energy and available spare time come in waves, but I’m going to try to keep updating the blog.

      Meanwhile, though, there are already about 750 entries for you to enjoy (as of mid-September, 2013).

  6. Katrina Hunt Says:

    Hello David, what a fabulous insight into the 1940s this is! It is particularly marvellous for me because I am writing about Mary Martin and her appearances on Kraft Music Hall in my dissertation about her voice. I would like to mention this diary/blog in my thesis. How would you like me to do that?



  7. David Says:

    As in most blogs, the posts (diary entries) are in reverse chronological order. I’ll fix that, some day, if I can figure out how.

    In the meantime, here’s a link to the first page:

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