HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Laurel woman knows exactly what she's done everyday for the last four decades. That's because she's kept a daily diary since Aug. 15, 1971. Barbara Tillery has written more than 16,000 pages and filled 44 volumes. She began writing daily as she entered a new school at the age of 16 in her native North Carolina.
"I just knew I'd be meeting some interesting people and and wanted to record the people I met and I just kind of never stopped," she said.
She's recorded events such as the birth of her daughter. She's also written her eyewitness account of a mass shooting in Raleigh in 1972.
"At 12:05 several shots were heard in front of the mall," she wrote. "I ran out there and several people had been shot by a crazy man who killed himself in the parking lot. It was the most awful thing."
Tillery, who works at William Carey University, said her diaries serve a useful, rather than emotional purpose.
"It helps me remember things," she said. "I'm always thinking who was that person, what was the name of that place I went to, what did I do last weekend," she said.
Tillery isn't the first in her family to keep a diary. Her grandmother kept one and so did her great grandfather. He was an officer who served in the Civil War. His diary entries were turned into a memoir about his wartime experiences.