Laurel woman has kept daily diary for 43 years

Barbara Tillery of Laurel has been keeping a daily diary for 43 years.
Barbara Tillery of Laurel has been keeping a daily diary for 43 years.

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.

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