When Hilary Eyestone is visiting her mom, Lynn Bonsey, in Bucksport, they’ll typically go for a drive round Hancock County, by way of Surry, the place Bonsey spent a lot of her childhood and taught center faculty for the final 30 years.
“Nearly with out fail, she is going to level out some place that she wrote about in her diary,” mentioned Eyestone, a Westbrook resident. “She has all of it written down. This home right here, this previous enterprise there, what occurred the place. She will type of truth test her personal life.”
Bonsey’s diary is the stuff of legend in her household — years of tales, jokes, observations and humorous moments in her life, written down in exacting element in stacks of notebooks. She began it in 1968, at age 15, and continued till the mid-Eighties, when she was too busy elevating her children and educating to repeatedly stick with it.
Eyestone knew her mom was the right storyteller, along with her tales of badly behaving boys, youthful mischief and colourful Maine characters. As a platform, TikTok was the right place to begin sharing her tales with the world.
Final fall, Eyestone and Bonsey launched My Mom’s Diaries, a TikTok account wherein Bonsey reads excerpts from her diary within the place the place it occurred — locations like her faculty dorm on the College of Southern Maine, her grandparents’ previous home in Surry, on the facet of the street in Ellsworth, and a Howard Johnson in South Portland the place she labored as a cocktail waitress within the Seventies.
The posts are candy, sarcastic and foolish, with a contact of dry absurdity — in different phrases, simply the way in which Bonsey wrote her diary when she was a teen and younger girl.
“I’ve all the time preferred to listen to a narrative and to inform a narrative,” Bonsey mentioned. “I retired final yr and I knew I wished a challenge to work on. I can’t think about how something could possibly be extra enjoyable than how this has developed. I believe it’s made my relationship with Hilary even stronger.”
An early put up the pair made on the My Mom’s Diaries TikTok account went viral in Might, with 2.1 million views and counting. Eyestone and “Clod” — Bonsey’s first identify is Claudia, and her household calls her Clod, although everybody else calls her Lynn — have been exhibiting up in individuals’s TikTok feeds worldwide.
All of a sudden, hundreds of thousands of individuals had heard the story of how Clod cried the primary time she had to make use of the loudspeaker at her job at Zayre’s, or how sooner or later she seemed out the window of a Ramada Inn in Portland and noticed her boyfriend kissing one other girl. Earlier than, these have been issues she’d solely shared along with her household and closest pals.
“It was a bit terrifying, seeing the views begin to pile up,” Bonsey mentioned. “I all the time tried to jot down in a lighthearted means, but in addition in a really genuine means. I’m rooting for that girl who wrote these diaries. I believe it’s fairly uncommon to maintain one thing as detailed as I did. To return and undergo all of it once more, and do it in public, has been actually attention-grabbing.”
Along with protecting a diary, Bonsey filmed some moments in her youthful years with a Tremendous 8 digital camera. Eyestone has digitized a lot of that footage and has used it on the TikTok web page.
Eyestone has additionally used that Tremendous 8 footage on the podcast they began again in Might, additionally referred to as My Mom’s Diaries, wherein they dive extra deeply into Bonsey’s tales — in addition to tales from Eyestone’s childhood, break up between southern Maine, Massachusetts and Hancock County. Filmed variations of the podcast are on YouTube.
“Truthfully, we don’t even care if anyone is listening to the podcast,” Eyestone mentioned. “We’re simply having enjoyable cracking one another up.”
They’ve even created a line of t-shirts bearing significantly juicy quotes from the diaries, like “I’m going to Freeport and I’m going to decorate in one thing attractive,” and “Joe referred to as yesterday and informed me that some man on the swimming crew informed him I used to be bizarre.”
“She’s eminently quotable,” Eyestone mentioned. “It’s actually humorous to consider strangers carrying a shirt with quotes from her diary on it.”
Mom-daughter relationships can span the gamut from heat and loving to sophisticated and fraught. Bonsey and Eyestone’s relationship relies on humor and honesty, and their love for one another is palpable, which is one thing their TikTok and podcast followers have shortly picked up on.
“We’ve had individuals remark and say issues like ‘I miss my mother a lot,’ or ‘I want I had this type of relationship with my mother,’” Eyestone mentioned. “It makes me actually grateful for this relationship we have now, and the flexibility to be artistic and inform tales collectively, as a result of that’s actually on the root of all the things we love.”
In Bonsey’s very first diary entry, dated Aug. 20, 1968, she wrote that if she didn’t suppose that, sooner or later, she’d need to “get kicks” out of what she wrote as a teen, she’d burn the entire thing within the hearth.
“Boy, am I glad I didn’t do this,” she mentioned. “I assume I noticed into the long run.”
New episodes of the My Mom’s Diaries podcast go up each two weeks on Apple Podcasts and on YouTube.