Home | A Diary of Innocence

February 27, 2013

When I Look Back

A house can be a jail rather than a home says Hariharan Balakrishnan in this memorable poem.

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August 18, 2005

Older Than My Years

This is the last entry in Mary Hutchinson's diary, which she began in January, 1927, when she was 13.

Mary was chronically ill, suffering from tuberculosis and having to endure lengthy stays in hospital from time to time. Although she wrote of those episodes, she never mentioned the nature of her condition. Only once did she use the term ‘consumptive illness’, speaking about someone else. Most of her entries were about family life, friends and her love of nature and poetry.

The Hutchinsons were a very close-knit Methodist family living in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. John and Mary had five children: Annie, married to Arthur Nesbitt and living in Canada, Harold, a student at Cliff College, Alice, Nellie and Mary, the youngest, who was 13 when she began her journal.

Mary wrote "It is my hope that some day someone may find my simple daily record interesting or that someone may be helped and comforted by something I have written in its pages.”

She died when she was 21.

Her hope has become reality. Her diary lives on.

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August 11, 2005

Harrogate Infirmary Again

Yet another stay in hospital for 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson - but her cheerfulness and zest for life are undimmed.

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August 04, 2005

Ah! Me!

I will probably have to go into the Infirmary again. Ah! Me!'' Despite her declining health, 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson continued to keep a charming and uplifting diary.

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July 28, 2005

Total Eclipse Of The Sun

"It was the total Eclipse of the Sun on Wednesday, June 29th. I was up in record time for it began at about 5.30 a.m.. I saw but little of it. However I did see it...'' Thirteen -year-old diarist Mary Hutchinson records an event in 1927 which did not come around again in England until 1999.

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July 21, 2005

Oh What A Day That Was

Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson, who was seriously disabled, was possessed of wisdom which many do not acquire in a lifetime. She wrote in her diary: "God created me and endowed me with marvelous capabilities. Then I have commenced in the world race. I will call it an obstacle race, and because I was able to surmount the obstacles better than many others who were competing, He handicapped me. Yes! God has handicapped, or otherwise, every one of us according to our capabilities... And at the end of the race of time God expects it to be a 'dead heat'.''

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July 14, 2005

Packing And Preparing

"I gathered all the flowers that were blooming in my garden. Then I made them into a bautiful bunch. I took the flowers to lay on Rene's grave...'' Despite being seriously ill, 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson was an unselfish girl, ever mindful of the needs of others.

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July 07, 2005

Silver Stitchery

"I would like to know more about the beautiful literature of the world written by the immortal authors...'' Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson, who wrote this charming diary in 1927, had a passion for words.

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June 30, 2005

A Visit From Lady Turton

"...Stallholders trying by elaborate demonstrations to sell their goods. Shopkeepers trying to sell theirs by attractive windows. Oh! There was a bustle and a crush...'' Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson records in her diary the scene in the market town of Thirsk.

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June 23, 2005

Wonderful Cliff College

"This earth is so beautiful that over and over again these words come to me: Earth's crammed with Heaven...'' Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson had every reason to be gloomy as she wrote her diary in 1927. She was seriously ill, yet the words she wrote are still a joy an an inspiration to those who read them today.

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June 16, 2005

Hares And Wood Anenomes

"I went to Jackson's wood for some anenomes and I got a besketful. They are so sweet and modest...'' That same description could also have applied to Mary Hutchinson, a seriously-ill 13-year-old who started this diary in 1927.

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June 09, 2005

Failing Health

"Alice and I went for a walk last night in the twilight, and we found to my great delight that two waterfowl have taken up their home by the pond in Jackson's field...'' Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson's delight in the natural world shines forth from almost every entry in her 1927 diary.

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June 02, 2005

Family History

My ambition was to be a nurse,'' wrote 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson in her diary in 1927. Then the seriously ill girl added "Though I could have done anything, now there is very little I may be able to do. Yet I am content.''

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May 26, 2005


"It is Spring! It is Spring! I smell it in the violets. I smell it in the air...'' Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson celebrates the arrival of the best of all seasons.

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May 19, 2005

Sweet Violets

Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson's disabilities did not impair her love of life. As she wrote in her diary "For though I am deprived of correct hearing, I can still hear and enjoy the voice of Nature.''

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May 12, 2005


Just now the catkins or lamb tails are blowing and the stately palms swaying in the wind,'' wrote 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson. Her delight in nature and amiable disposition make Mary's 1927 diary a delight to read.

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May 05, 2005

5 - The Diary Cover

It is a glorious day. Arose at 8.45 a.m. Alice and I went to Thirsk. On the way the larks were singing gaily...''

Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson was chronically ill, suffering from tuberculosis, when she wrote her diary in 1927. But her words are full of joy, expressing a love of life and nature.

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April 28, 2005

4 - All Nature Sings

"Father and I went for a walk to Mr Kilding's,'' wrote 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson in 1927. "They look at you for a minute as if to read your character. Then they seem to say 'We will trust you'.''

Here is another extract from Mary's diary. Although being desperately ill, she delighted in seeing beauty in everything.

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April 21, 2005

3 - Uneventful Lives

In her quiet unassuming way, 13-year-old Mary Hutchinson conveys the flavour of English life in 1927.

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April 14, 2005

2 - Jenny Wren

Today we bring you the second extract of Mary Hutchinson's diary. Mary was 13-years-old when she started to keep this charming account of her life in 1927. Despite being tormented by illness she was ever buoyant in spirit.

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April 07, 2005

1 - Nurse Proctor

Thirteen-year-old Mary Hutchinson, began her diary in 1927. Mary, who lived at Thorpe Fields, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was a sickly child, but her diary was filled with sunlight, charm and a concern for others. In this first extract from the diary she writes a poem for Nurse Proctor, one of the nurses who had cared for her during her stay in hospital.

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March 31, 2005

Introducing Mary Hutchinson

Mary Hutchinson had every right to be a sad, moody, moping teenager. She was chronically ill, suffering from tuberculosis. She endured lengthy stays in hospital. She was unable to lead a normal life.

When she was thirteen, in 1927, she began her diary. She didn't dwell on her illness. She was good-humoured, writing instead about family life, friends, and her love of poetry and nature.

Mary hoped that one day her diary would be read by people outside her immediate family. Now, thanks to the marvel of modern technology, 78 years after the diary was written, we can make Mary's wish come true.

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