Saturday, January 3, 2015

Diary Of A Young Dork (Ages 10-11)

I'm currently reading a memoir I stumbled across on the Kindle Store: Mary's Diary: A Secret Journal Of The 1930's. A woman in her 80s rediscovered the diary she wrote as a teenager. Even though the entries were only a few lines each, Older Mary was able to expound on many of them, turning short entries into "prompts" which opened the floodgates of memories. Though the final product isn't totally polished, it's an enjoyable read.

Reading Mary's Diary has made me feel nostalgic about my own youthful writings. Last year I did a post about the diary entries I made when I was sixteen. That's the year I began journaling regularly -- something I'm glad I have done, even though I sometimes go months without writing anything. It's weird to think I've been journaling for 18 years, in one form or another.

Sometimes I wish I'd started earlier than sixteen. Actually, I tried to. When I was in fifth grade, I asked for a diary for Christmas. I wanted one partly because the girls in the Baby-Sitters Club were always keeping journals and diaries, and partly because my dad had been keeping one for several years. My dad's journals, which began in 1987, were mostly "here's what we did today" type things. He let my brother and I read them if we liked. I liked. And I wanted to do it, too. So for Christmas, 1990, I asked for and received a diary of my very own.

And then proceeded to hardly ever write in it.

But when I did write in it, oh my. All I can say was, boy, was I young and weird.

Below are about 85% of the entries. (Some are just too weird to post!) The words in bold are the words that I wrote in the diary back then. Everything else is my current commentary.

* * * * *

January 1, 1991
Today I went to Emily's house. I spent the night there. Most of the time, we played with Barbies. We also played a few games of Life, all of which I won. I have a sore throat. Mom thinks I have a fever. I am very tierd.

Emily is my cousin, five months older. When our families would get together, oftentimes one of us would go spend the night at the other's house that night. Emily's family had The Game Of Life, which we thought was very fun, even though I don't think we ever paid attention to the "taxes" part of it. And yes, that's how I spelled "tired."

January 2
Today I felt very sick. My temperature was normal, but I still stayed home from Pioneer Clubs. Tina is driving me crazy! You see, my brother didn't think I was sick. Anyway, he went over to Brandon's. Then, around 4:30, Tina called, asking to play. She didn't believe me when I told her I wasn't feeling well. So she asked Stan, and he said I wasn't sick. This night at dinner Stan asked dad if I was really sick and he said "Yes!"

Tina and Brandon were our neighbors. Tina was my age and Brandon was my younger brother (Stan)'s age. On Wednesdays we all went to my church for this kids' club known as Pioneer Clubs. It was sort of Girl Scout/Boy Scout-ish, with added Bible fun. This entry amuses. Maybe it was because I was feeling sick that a small amount of skepticism exhibited by a friend could induce me to say she was "Driving me crazy!"? Crazy, indeed.

January 4
Diaries are panes pains. But I'm determinde.

Not only was I merely four days into the year and tired of keeping a diary, but I was also apparently channeling Claudia Kishi's spelling prowess.

January 7
I am so sick! I think I'll die. I've been coughing like crazy!

Dear Diary, you are the only one who cares. I fear the end is nigh. I'm not being dramatic or anything.

January 16
Boy, I havn't been writing in here for a long time.

9 days! Bet you thought I really had died, huh, Diary?

January 18
The usual. Mr. Beeghly. Why did Mr. Stevens have to desert us?

My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Stevens, was one of my favorites. That year, he decided to take on a student teacher, Mr. Beeghly. I think Mr. B. was only there for a few months, and of course Mr. S. would've been in the room most of the time, just not doing the teaching. I seem to remember thinking Mr. B was okay, but having a student teacher or a sub was always challenging, and I'm sure I struggled with the transition.

January 25
Today we took Popoki in for a booster shot. He was very scared. He tried to attack the vet with 4x4 gloves!

"Popoki" was my dad's nickname for our cat, Darlyn. (Apparently, and I'm just now learning this, it's Hawaiian for "cat." My dad wasn't Hawaiian so that's... interesting.) At some point later on, I'd revised this entry to read, more accurately:

  "He tried to attack the vet, who was wearing 4x4 gloves!" (Darlyn didn't have the gloves.)

4x4 gloves? I guess heavy-duty gloves. Darlyn could be extremely wild.

January 29
I miss Sarah already!

Considering that my cousin Sarah had already been gone for a month at this point (her family had moved to Massachusetts), it hardly seems surprising that I would miss her "already."

February 1
We went to Janzen Beach tonight and I rode the merry-go-round. Stan left for Ryan's beach house this afternoon. Today I got two fish, BG and Golda.

Ryan was a friend of my brother's. BG and Golda were my first fish. Jantzen Beach used to be awesome. I never felt like I got too old for that merry-go-round.

February 4
Things haven't been going well in this diary.

Two blank pages! Oh, the shame of it all.

February 6
Sarah's birthday! We called Sarah around 5:30, but according to Eastern time, Sarah was in bed. We had a nice chat.

I guess they got her out bed. That'll be the last of your according things, Eastern Time!

February 8
We stayed overnight at GG's house. Mr. Beeghly's last day was today. Mr. S will be back monday. Yes!

Try as Mr. Beeghly might, he could never be Mr. Stevens. 

GG was/is my maternal grandmother. She lived closeby. Overnighters were not uncommon.

February 9
Today I played with Tina a little. We changed BG's and Golda's tank. Darlyn's B.D.! We gave him a can of wet catfood, and he was in heaven.

We got Darlyn in April of 1989. So this particular year, he would've been turning two. He had a long life, passing away just before I graduated from college.

February 11
Today I lost my flute (on the bus?) and mom is sure worried.

Yeah, mom would've been worried. I, on the other hand, was probably wishing the flute would stay lost. I could never get more than about three notes out of that instrument.

February 12
Today I lost my coat, and I havn't found my flute yet.

Oh no, things were getting worse!

February 13
Today started out bad. B.G. died! Stan + I flushed him down the toilet. Boy, is dad gonna be mad. 


Apparently, dad wasn't mad, but he was concerned. I found my flute and my coat today.

I guess I thought my dad would be mad about B.G. dying because that was the fish he had named, and was more or less his fish, I suppose. It was a lesson in fish mortality (he lived fewer than 2 weeks!) though I recall his sister Golda living for 4+ years.

February 14
Today was Valentine's Day. At our class party, I won a heart-shaped cake and gave it to dad.

It's a wonder I didn't just eat it. Hello, cake! Oh well, Valentine's generosity I guess?

February 23
Feb's just not going fast enough!

And it's the shortest month! What was the deal?

March 8
Today, we all (well, I) felt horrible. Mr. S. is so strange.

I wish I'd expounded on this. Why was my teacher so strange? Why did I feel horrible? The mysteries.

ETA: 9/5/18: I'm now realizing/recalling that at some point earlier that week, we had been told that a first grade boy from our school had died in a house fire the previous Sunday. I had worked with this boy, Richard, earlier in the year -- tutoring, mainly. Primary grades got out one hour earlier than intermediates. Richard and some other students from his class stayed after school this extra hour for the purpose of receiving extra academic support. I, as a 5th grader who wasn't in Choir, was recruited to go help in his classroom and do some one-on-one work/tutoring. I did this for the first semester of 5th grade, from roughly September to January.

I remember Richard as being a bit boisterous, but cute. When I picture him now, I picture Dennis The Menace.

It took me quite a bit of Googling tonight, but I finally found one page that talks about the fire that took the life of Richard ("Ricky") and his two younger sisters. As I recall, this was my first time getting news of the death of a fellow child that I had known. I think I mostly felt shock.

Whether or not that's why I felt horrible on Friday, March 8th, I have no idea. But there it is.

March 17
Church, again. We played 4-square with Tina and Brandon. 

Blah, blah, blah.

St. Patrick's day. I wore green. Some people cheat and wear, well CARRY a piece of green paper around.

Such cheaters! How dare they go to such lengths to avoid being pinched!? I'll bet they're not even 1/32nd Irish, the posers.

March 18
Okay. Spring break. Today we just lazed around.

March 19
Noth. new to rept. I'm fine. no nd. to wry. about me. We went to Emily's house and she and Amy spent the night.

I'd taken to doing abbreviations. Laziness? Trying to be cool? Oh well. Amy is Emily's older sister, so, also a cousin.

March 20
Today we saw "Home Alone" with A + E. I loved it.

Yeah, that's a good movie.

April 3
Today was ok, like usual.

Tell me more.

April 5
Today I went to Skills Camp. I'm doing xylophones and drama!

Skills Camp was an offshoot of the aforementioned Pioneer Clubs. We'd go to this camp-type place and spend one night there. We'd get to pick three activities to do. If ever there was Cake Decorating, I was always in on that. But this particular year was notable because we actually made a xylophone out of old pipes. I was so proud of that thing. I immediately became interested in playing it in the school band. Playing that led to playing the drums and other percussion instruments. And that is the (extremely abbreviated) story of how I stopped playing the flute, which I never liked to begin with.

April 6
I think of a diary as something you record THINGS in. 
Is that what I'm doing-
often enough?
Xylophones was the best EVER!

It was pretty awesome. But I wonder what I meant by "THINGS"?

April 11
We had a half-day of school today. I got out at 12:00 and we went to McDonald's. Then we ran some errands. We even went over to R.A.C. to get dad's check.

I assume R.A.C was meant to stand for Reynolds Aluminum Company. My dad worked there back then.

April 12
Half day again! We worked at GG's this afternoon.

Working at Grandma Gus's in April probably involved yardwork. Maybe housework.

April 14
Nathan and Matthew stay[ed] with G+G (their parents had an anniversary). We went up to the 5th Floor of the church. Also, I saw the old pipe organ.

Nathan and Matthew were my cousins on my dad's side.  G+G (not to be confused with GG) were my paternal grandparents. My grandpa, for a while, was a custodian at our church, and had keys to all the locked rooms. The day he took us to the pipe organ room and the never-before-beheld fifth floor (aka the bell tower) would have been a good day indeed.

April 15
Today I saw BETH. We played together for a while. Stan played with these two boys from school, one of which has very long hair (longer than mine), and an earring in one ear! I hate them both. In Volleyball, I made a score for our team! We had an extra recess today. I, however, did NOT play basketball. I found out my new elective - journalism! I played with Tina a little.

Wow, where to start? Beth was the granddaughter of a neighbor, and we had played together quite often as preschoolers, but by 1991, I guess we didn't see each other all that much. 

I don't know the names of the two boys, but I remember not liking the long-haired boy. However, the fact that his hair was "longer than mine" wasn't much to consider, because I had short hair (above my shoulders) in fifth grade. Oh well... get a haircut, hippie, I guess?

I also don't know what was significant about my NOT playing basketball, except that maybe I'd been doing it a lot lately?

Oh, the electives! I seem to recall that we had band two days a week during the last hour of school. The other two days, you could do choir. But I wasn't in choir, so they started offering "electives" to the 5th and 6th graders. I chose journalism because I loved to write, and had even written some fake newspapers for my family to enjoy. My memories of this elective involve writing a story about the soon-to-be-new playground, dealing with the snotty sixth-grade girls, and learning how to type on a computer for the first time. (No, no, you DON'T have to hit return at the end of a line! The computer will do that for you! Oddly enough, it's something I still have to teach my students in 2015.)

April 19
Today was twin day. Tina + I were twins!

I remember that we wore our (matching) Pioneer Clubs T-shirts to school.

April 21
I can't keep up with you diary, and now I feel guilty.

I wonder if I really felt guilty, or if this was like something a Baby-Sitters Club member would have said in her diary, so I felt it was appropriate?

April 28
Mom's BD. No rep. ness.

No report necessary? Way to abbreviate.

My mother turned 39 that year. Such a young lass.

May 1
May Day! Today I was sick, I couldn't go to school!

Yeah, I liked school back then.

May 10
Tina's BD. With chicken pox all week, I thought she wouldn't be at school today, but she was.

Ugh, the dreaded chicken pox. By then, I'd already had them. Poor Tina.

May 17
I went to a party for Tina's BD today. I gave her a notepad, a pen, a ball, and some candy.

In my defense, I think the pen changed colors or lit up or something.

June 8
Piano recital!
I played Spinning Song and Mexican Hat Dance.

Funny that piano doesn't get mentioned once until June 8th, considering I had lessons nearly every week. I loved Spinning Song. I got quite good at it, and felt like it was my own personal song, for some reason. You can imagine how devastated I felt when I heard another kid playing it one time. That's my song, dangit! 

I've now forgotten how to play it.

June 10
Today was Beth's birthday! Today was the talent show. I played "Whirling Leaves" and got TONS of compliments.

Two piano-related entries in a row! As much as I loathed piano lessons and practicing, I did enjoy performing and getting compliments. Typical.

June 12
Last day of school. Field day. boring.

Field day used to be super fun, but I guess by 5th grade, the novelty had worn off.

June 23
What I think is that -


July 4
Picnic at U.D. today.

My uncle Danny's, where we go nearly every year for Independence Day... still!

July 5
I miss you. Here is a song for you-

VERSE 1: I'll be thinkin of you
Every day when I'm blue
And when the sun just don't shine-
And things don't seem

Annnnd end song. Well, I really did miss you, Sarah! Just not enough to write a whole first verse, apparently.

July 24
I am NOT sorry about not writing in you. You are a pain.
I MAY get back to writing in you.
(Went iceskating.)

You think I could have written more about the ice skating instead of whining about having to write anything at all.

August 4
I went to a JH activity - be cool. We had fun with ice + water.

JH = Junior High, meaning our church youth group. It's strange to think that I was already starting to participate in "junior high"-type things, since I wasn't even yet 11, and, at least then in our school district, middle school didn't start until 7th grade (so I had another year to go.)

I recall this event vaguely. We went to somebody's house and they had this big ice block that we could sit on and slide down a small hill.

August 6
Saundra's BD.
Went to a sleepover, had fun.

Saundra was my best church friend, and probably my best non-family friend at the time as well. She had a big family and shared a room with three siblings, so, as I recall, when we did sleepovers at her house, we usually camped out in the living room, or in a tent in her backyard.

August 10
Keeping a diary is such a drag. Stan is a jerk! Mom and Dad are in bad moods.

Sorry, Stan! Probably you weren't sharing your LEGO bricks with me, or you were showing off, or you tattled on me, or you were just being an 8-year-old boy. As for my parents being in bad moods, I'm suddenly tempted to find my dad's 1991 diary and look up August 10 and see what was going down. (Okay I'm back from doing just that, and I guess my parents did have a few things on their minds at the time (I had to go back several entries to find out what) but there's nothing to explain there why Stan was a jerk. So Stan, I guess you are forgiven!)

September 3
First day of school! Mrs. Young is my teacher. She's ok.

And sixth grade had begun! My memories of Mrs. Young, to this day, are that she was "o.k." I remember on the last day of school, she was cleaning out her cupboards and let us have things for free. I chose a dog brush. I didn't have a dog, but I was kind of hoping having the brush would lead to me acquiring one, somehow. (Still waiting.)

September 4
My birthday. Got a red binder from GG, and crayons and a playfood set from GG. I got a travel game from Canby C. And a watch, a wallet, and some other do-hickeys from Sarah + fam. I got a big bag for summer camp, a light-up ornament, and some other neat stuff. Guess what! The camp bag had about 6 little wrapped presents inside it! Cool!

I would have adored the play food set, even being 11 years old as I was that year. Don't judge me.

October 6
I left for Outd. Sch. today. My cabin partner is Sara W. I went to Camp Collins O.S. It's by Oxbow Park, about 30 min. from here. There are 4 other girls in the cabin besides S & me. We have 4 resources. We got to a resource every day. The food is OK.

October 7
Today we did plant recource. We took a hike and learned about many different plants. we even saw a hollow tree. TREE, the plants tour guide, showed us how to drill in a tree to get layers of bark. We had a picnic lunch in a park. We played on a cool playground.

October 8
Today we had water recource. We made a water tunnel and we got to go in the water + look for tiny animals. Our guide was, like, CHILLI BEAN, or somethin.' Every night we have a camp fire. We sing many songs. Every day we have recreation, too. On Monday, my rec. was archery. On Tues. (today) it was crafts. We made paper beeds.

October 11
Today I got back from outdoor school. Councelors - Raven, Ducky.

Sad that I only kept up my Outdoor School diaries for 3 out of the 5 days. I remember that we made little stoves out of coffee cans and tried to cook something one day. We got served milk in cartons that had Where's Waldo pictures printed on them, which I wanted to save for my brother because he liked Waldo. One of the other schools that was at camp with us (I think there were 3 other schools), their teacher was Mr. Beeghly. I don't remember if I actually saw him there, or found that out some other way. I didn't like my counselors. I didn't like that you had to wake one of them up in the middle of the night and that they had to accompany you to the bathroom. I drove Sara W. crazy after about the first day and she was mad at me for most of the week. My favorite day of all was the last day, when we got to do fun games, like tug-of-war, and then go home.

I still have my Outdoor School nametag and the beeds (beads.)

October 12
I am cleaning my room. Boring, yup. Organizing - HMMM...

October 31
Menlo Halloween Party.
I was a cowgirl this Holloween.

And with that, I was done writing in the diary.

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