Thursday, October 30, 2008

February 8, 1977 -- In which I'm sorry about some letters


10:37 pm

My mind has gone though its full range of emotions these past few weeks.

I've gotten some pretty rotten letters from Jeremy -- not that I haven't sent some of my own. I have, and I'm sorry of course, so is he.

Mom had her first surgery on her mouth Saturday and she's feeling pretty low. School's been fine. But I've been emotionally churned up inside. I need a job, for sure. But I'm frightened. I guess I didn't really feel like writing.

My mom had oral surgery because of periodontal disease. Her issues made me become a rabid flosser.

Don't remember the low patch with rotten letters going back and forth.

January 19, 1977 -- In which I write fiction or maybe a bad movie of the week


Grandma, tell me the story of Great Uncle's painting again.

Amie dear, I've told it to you so many times.

I know, but I really like it. Please Grandma, please.

Alright, but next time, you can tell it to me.

Start at the beginning, about Sara and Uncle Brian meeting.

Shush now. Well, as you know, Uncle Brian was always very artistic. Ever since he was a young boy. He always wanted to be a famous artist. One year he got his chance to go to America with a school group.

That's how they met, huh?

Yes dear, the house were uncle Brian stayed belonged to a friend of Sara's and the friend brought Brian and Sarah together and they are said to have fallen in love at first sight.

When Uncle Brian had to come back to England they promised to write to each other every day and mail the letters once a week. Sara cried and cried because she thought she'd nver see Brian again.

She was wrong though -- in six weeks she was boarding a plane to go to England to see Brian. They fell even more in love. This time Sara met Brian's family -- my husband, your Grandpa is Brian's brother.

We all loved Sara and hoped that she would become part of our family.

This time they promised each other to each other. Again they had to part ways -- this time for a year, but they wrote each day and mailed each week.

All this time, Brian was working towards his art degree and Sara for her teaching certificate.  They would not marry until they finished college. They exchanged visits once more, and had only two years left to get married when Sarah got the disease.

This always makes me cry, Grandma. Sara was so brave.

Yes dear, she was. She lived Brian so, that she told him to go and find a new love. She didn't want him to see her weak. She wanted to spend the last few months with her parents and couldn't marry Brian. But the last time she saw Brian, she made him promise that he would paint her portrait from memory so people would wonder who she was. She also made him promise to become famous. She reminded him that all the famous artists had lost at least one loved one and didn't want her love and death wasted.

And he is famous, isn't he, Grandma?

Yes, your Uncle Brian is famous now. And Sara is to thank. He painted her portrait and now people from all over the world come to look at it and say "Who was she? The artist must surely have loved her."

And he did, Grandma -- he did, didn't he?

Oh my -- that is so embarrassing on so many levels.

January 7, 1977 -- In which I again voice my fears about Jeremy and me


I guess I never made it back that night. I fell asleep trying to get Kasey to go to bed. There is nothing I really needed to say that night anyway. There is nothing I have to say today either.

School begins on Monday. I can't say that I'm overjoyed, but not all that bothered either. I am wondering what my haircut is going to cause people to say. I think it does something for me.

I've been worried about me and Jeremy. Sometimes I don't know if he loves I love him like I should. We are not getting married for a while to make sure we are right for each other, but if I'm too chicken to say we aren't the whole purpose will have been defeated.

Pretty astute of me, that last line. As we now know, I eventually did say we were not right for each other.  I'd been gnawing on that worry since the first time apart.

December 31, 1976 -- In which I write a little and break tradition

As keeping with tradition I shall write in a journal on the last day of the year. I won't color the p(JEREMY CALLED!)ages like I have other years.

Jeremy called at 7:15 pm. He is coming on June 29, 1977!!! Which is exactly 180 days from today! :-)

I talked to Pat Wilkinson too and Mr and Mrs Burgoyne. The line was real clear. I'll be back in a little while.

(Play?) Trap for a Single Man.

That was pretty clear except for the last line. Perhaps I was going to watch something on television.

November 6, 1976 -- In which I go out.

Because I am tired, I will not attempt to delve into the inner me tonight. I'd just like to say that I had a good time tonight, and didn't watch a lick of TV. I went out. I dressed up rather nice, put a smile on my face and graciously accepted many compliments. I am glad I went out -- all of my other memories are getting stale. I'm getting stale.

No idea what that was about. No idea with whom I went out.

October 31, 1976 -- In which I claim I'm lazy (future self says not so)



Sundays are my Dona days. I devote the entire day to me. Today I slept late, ate a late breakfast, took a long hot bubble bath, washed my hair in the sink and dried it in the sun, watched the television, made brownies, ironed my clothes (and a few of mom's) did a bit of mending, watched more TV, wrote to Jeremy, and am now to sleep a good sleep.

Trouble is, nowadays every day is a Dona day. I wish I weren't so selfish. I must stop being so lazy -- or I'll end up like my Aunt Pat.

I have an idea -- each time I write I'll write about a certain person and my feelings towards them. I'll begin tomorrow with myself, for I am the closest to me.

  1. I dislike Halloween now, what happened to make me dislike it when I obviously used to like it?
  2. It sounds like I had a rather busy day. I did a lot more that day than I do nowadays.
  3. I'd probably be like my Aunt Pat if I weren't married to Mr. Neat and Tidy
  4. Ha -- how funny that I was going to write about my thoughts about people -- looking ahead, I never did do it -- not until my 365 blog that I never finished.

October 30, 1976 -- In which I write about not writing


Hey! What a short two months. I wish that I had written a lot more, but that can't be helped. I guess the memories will just have to fade away like last time's. Oh well, nothing -- not even my own lack of initiative can take away the important memories. They can't be written and described.

I'm not even keeping up sending Jeremy's letters. I must find a day when I will do it for sure. I have just finished writing to him.

My geology class went to Starved Rock State Park today. You know -- I think I had the best time today than I've had ever since I got home.

Mother has been going to a doctor about her teeth. I think she will have to go through some real hell before this is all over. I hope she doesn't lose her teeth.

Mom and I went to ECC's production of Cabaret the other night. It was very good. Lisa Palm was very good, as always. Tonight is the end of daylight savings time.

I wish I had written more about the trip. I wrote nothing about our trip to Scotland. Nothing about Nick and Janet's wedding.

I remember that day at Starved Rock. We were learning orienteering and I was the leader of the group. I did very well in geology. I entered the class two weeks late, got caught up and was at the top of my class and became a leader of sorts. Too bad it didn't stick. Too bad I didn't realize then that I could go into the science field instead of teaching.

Funny -- this entry was written exactly 32 years ago today. I'm not sure that's happened very often in this blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

August 20, 1976 -- In which I cry for Derrick and myself

Why do I cry? I've only met him twice. I've stayed with him once at his house and he had tea here tonight. His parents are happy. He is happy. His sister is happy. But I cry. I cry because chances are, I may never see him again.  He is such a sweet little man. I am crying for a selfish reason. It's all "I". Derrick has cystic fibrosis. He's so m uch like Kevin. His hair's that same shade of brown and he has that same mischievous glint in his eye. Damn death. Why prey on young children? Disease, why?

I suppose I feel like this because I have never come this close [to death]. But why do I cry? It seems cruel to put this to words. I feel like I'll have bad luck. But why do I cry?

I remember feeling so helpless that Derrick would not live a long life. I remember thinking that he reminded me of my brother, Kevin. That's probably why I cried -- thinking about my brother being in his position.

Derrick did die early, but he lived longer than expected. I think into his 30's.

He's the one on the right, looking at the camera.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

August 12, 1976 -- In which I write nothing but tape a photo in the journal instead


11:05 am


I don't know what that was about -- it looks like I started writing something, then quit. On top of the entry, however, is a photograph of Jeremy dressed up, with a cigar and garter. Maybe we were pretending we were gangsters?

On the back of the photo he wrote:


This is me being a "ham" (sp?) -- I don't actually go around with a handkerchief in one hand, a garter in the other hand, a cigar hanging from my lips and lipstick on my cheek -- I'm not usually dressed as sharp as this, and I seldom have neatly combed hair. In fact his is not really a photograph of me at all, but you know the real me anyway! :-)

Love ya,

Jeremy R x

Saturday, October 25, 2008

July 25, 1976 -- In which I list many things to remember

Kirkstall Abbey


Brimham Rocks






Watership Down & Nuthanger Farm

Old Sarum


Danger Areas

Burial mounds


That is my remembrances of these past two weeks plus snails, poppies, druids, Americans, Old Glory, Beatrix Potter, Ian Stephenson, Licorice Allsorts, wasps and etc.

I remember 14 of the 24 things listed. Not bad for an old lady.

July 19, 1976 -- In which I write very little


2:15 am

This is probably the latest I've gone to bed (not counting my first day here) since I got to England. I haven't been keeping up my travel diary very well, have I?

No I hadn't.

July 11, 1976 -- In which I have an eventful day


1:15 am

I'll finish my "airport experience" later. Now I shall tell you about today:

Mrs. Burgyone wke me up at 9:15 am. She brought me a mug of tea (can't imagine my mother doing that! But I am a guest here, aren't I?). She said that I had some company -- and then a small blond head peeked around the door -- it was little Matthew -- Janet's sister's son. He quickly left and I sat up in bed and drank my tea. Then I got ready and put a couple of silver dollars in my pockets and went downstairs. Neil -- Janet's brother -- was very friendly. His first question was "why don't you wear glasses anymore, Dona?" I answered, "Because I've got them stuck to my eyeballs!" He didn't believe me until I explained it -- I don't think he does yet! :-).

Matthew was shy. I gave Neil his dollar and then gave Matthew his -- after some bribing.

British person dressed up as Native AmericanAfter they left a beagle paid us a visit. He just walked in the door and into the living room. His name is Gamble and he looks just like [Grandma's dog] Chubby. I took his photgraph and if it turns out I'm going to give it to Grandma I think.

After a good lunch (3 stars -- cut up chicken, baked potatoes (jo-jos), corn and peas. Jeremy and I went off to the Puddsey Fair. It was a bit like a county fair. There was even an Indian (2 actually) who shot at us with a bow and arrow and got Jeremy in the back.

I talked so someone about liquid silver.

We caught a bus back -- at 5:30, and had a nice tea outside -- of sandwiches and rasberries with cream. (3½ stars), before which I washed my hair and body.

After tea Nick [Jeremy's brother] and Janet [Nick's fiance] took us up to their new house. It is very nice. I'm sure I'll be there lots and lots. Janet and I get on very well. I am so happy!

After that we all came home (Mr and Mrs B went out to some friends) and watched some TV. Jeremy and Nick went for fish and chips and we all ate again.

Jeremy and I had an almost argument, but we stopped it. I wonder if the six push-ups helped.

Oh -- I saw my dress for the wedding. It's very pretty.

Yesterday I didn't wake up until 12:00. Jeremy brought me breakfast in bed. I had been up 29 hours.

Nick is Jeremy's older brother and he was marrying Janet in September of that year. I was to be Maid-of-Honor in the wedding with Jeremy as Best Man. Nick and Janet's marriage didn't last -- I think they had two boys. I think they are both remarried.

July 9, 1976 -- In which I get a huge send-off


1:20 am

One of these days I'll write down my experiences. Someday when I am in the mood for writing and have 10 hours to spare. Maybe I can get it published. I've been in England for 2 days now. Today was a heck of alot more then relaxing than my first day.

On Friday, July 2, one week ago today I called my travel agency to check on my flight to England due to leave at 8:30 pm July 7th. The woman at Around the World Travel put me on hold for 10 minutes, all the while I was getting nervous. When she came back she said, "Ha ha ha, guess what, Dona -- your flight has been canceled. Ha, ha, ha." I was upset and couldn't believe it -- and this woman was laughing? But she said that if I was flexible I should be able to fly the 7th or 8th. I thought a minute and asked Mother who said to fly the 7th so I told the lady who promptly put me back on hold. Then in a few minutes she came back once more and said that everything was fine and I was booked to fly to London at 8:30 pm July 7th. Fine! On Saturday I called Jeremy and packed the rest of the time. On Wednesday morning I began to get nervous. I pretended to be calm, but I was excieted and nervous at the same time. As the time drew near I began mumbling and talking to myself! Then at 6:30 my dad started the packed car and took off to Hanover Park where we were going to eat. Neil and Evy Olson with Dawn and Mark stopped in and had dessert. I, along with Mom, Dad, Kevin and Philip had a gyro which was pretty good. Then we all rushed to the airport.

We arrived there at 8:00 and Daddy couldn't find a parking space so he let us off and he and Neil found one while Mom, Evy, Kevin, Dawn, Mark and Phil ran to my terminal. We didn't even stop for flight insurance. When we reached where we were going we asked if the plane would wait and they said yes. So we relaxed a bit. I got in line and got my luggage weighed and checked in (a small bag and a large suitcase). Then I was told to go to gate B3 which I did after hugging and kissing my family and Olsons. I was on my own -- at last.

I don't remember that I had such a large group to send me on my way, but I can believe it. The Olsons really liked Jeremy. Philip was my brother's best friend, and being young boys, they probably liked going to airports (Philip ended up being a flight mechanic for an airline).

What a difference a terrorist attack makes. If this had been today I would have had to get to the airport 2 hours before take-off. It looks like I got there half an hour early and was able to check my baggage.

And now that I see that we had gyros in Hanover Park, I'm confused about my thinking it was in South Elgin. Memory is an elusive entity.

I think that I mistakenly wrote that the flight was supposed to take off July 7th. Maybe July 9th or July 6th because it actually took off July 7th, didn't it?

July 7, 1976 -- In which I fly to England again

9:06 pm Chicago time

Lights! Blue and orange and white! The 'plane is on the runway now, waiting to take off.

I had tears in my eyes when I said goodbye to my family. They should be almost home by now. I am going "home".

I want to write "here I go at last!" but that's what I said last time. I want this to be a fantastic journal -- one I can look back at and smile a little, cry a little and laugh a lot!

I'm feeling a little queasy, but that is most likely due to the gyro sandwich I had before I left. They are going to server dinner soon -- I don't think I can quite handle it. I had some Coke and that didn't help much.

I have a very nice woman sitting in the same row as me. She's British I think. I'm not sitting in the movie section. But I'm not bothered. I need the rest. I didn't especially want to see the film anyway. Sour grapes, I know.

4:30 am English time

3300 ft / 580 mph -- Turbulence! My eyes are a little sore.
Bangor ME -- Over Atlantic -- Cork, Ireland -- Irish Sea -- Cornwall -- London

I remember this flight. I remember the gyro I ate. In fact, whenever I pass the restaruant we ate the gyros at in South Elgin, I think of eating that gyro before my flight in 1976. (We went back there to celebrate Clare's 13th birthday. No gyros then though. Good pizza instead.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

June 15, 1976 In which I talk about my dislike of Cousin Bob and end the Journal


12:58 pm

Why do I have such a terrible feeling about Bob? Why do I hate him so? For that is what this feeling is, this tight stomach, pounding temples, constricted throat. Yes, it is hate -- the worse of all emotions -- the evil demonic feeling inside.

I'm sure his feelings for me are not that of sisterly love. Nor cousinly love either, for that matter.

In only 23 days and a few hours I will be rid of him for two glorious months. Hopefully, soon after that, he will move out -- but that's only wishful thinking. He has disrupted our family. We fight more than ever. My father has bad moods more than ever.

But what's to be done? I wish I could get rid of all emotion -- like [to] feel nothing for him -- no love, no hate.

I asked God to help me I think. He has probably given me a solution, and I didn't catch it. I don't know.

What an awful note to end a journal on. Sad, very sad.

This is not much of a journal, althoug one of my best friends is met in here -- Woody। I probably didn't mention him much. My first year at college is in here too -- and Zayre (yuck).


Bob, of course, is my cousin. He was a difficult person to know. He had a volatile temper and it was often directed at me. Of course, I had a wicked temper too, so it was not just him.

He didn't show appreciation that my father spent long hours building him a room of his own.

And what was with that asking God thing? It must have bothered me to actually pray about it.

I've not seen him in years -- he spent Christmas Day with us at my parents house. We talked a little about our animosity back then and it seemed that he'd calmed down.

The next year my mom didn't call him and personally invite him (she told his mom to ask him) and he took that as an offense and didn't show up. I've not seen him since.

As for the end of the journal -- I normally tried to end journals on New Years Eve and then would write the highlights of the year on the last page. I guess I grew out of that.

June 12, 1976 In which I am calm and serene

7:30 am

I have just woken up. The sun is shining on the entire length of my bed and it is very warm, but there is a slight breeze. Now -- this is something I should be writing to Jeremy, but I need memories from this book too. (???)

I work 10 to 6 today. Full time hours. Yuck! But at least I don't dread it.

Only 26 more days to go! Zowie! I've got so much to do before I leave though. What am I going to do? I thikn I'll throw a robe over my shoulders pretty soon and go downstairs and make myself a large breakfast. Ummm. I didn't have any supper :-( so I am double hungry. This isn't a very good entry -- I just wnated to say that I felt calm and serene. I don't know why, unless it is because the birds are singing and a cool breeze is cooling me. I feel good -- now wait for work and I'll feel rotten. Perhaps not, one never knows. I'm just glad things are back to normal.


Nothing to write -- I guess I was happy that morning. 7:30 am seems early to have risen at age 19 though.

June 11, 1976 -- In which I'm bothered by a fellow employee

Only 27 more days!

I've decided to write tonight to add a little about a sad time in my life. -- Martin, the security guard at Zayre.

Mr. Martin--  a security guard at Zayre began to talk to me about things such as the weather. He asked me my name too. That was fine -- a friendly security guard. On June 8th he said I "looked great" in my new skirt, that I was a "very nice girl", and that he would like to see me "out of work" sometime -- like Saturday.  I said no and he seemed to take that as an answer. The next day he asked me again and spent his break with me and asked and asked. I said no and no and no. The next day he didn't say much. Finally today he said he wanted an answer. I gave it to him -- "No!". But he wouldn't buy that. Then he wanted my phone number, but I didn't give it to him. Finally I laid it down straight and explained about Jeremy. He finally got the message, but wants to "still be friendly". He's sweet but persistent (and old -- at least 30!).

What next? I've had my fill of men (exectp for Jeremy of course) for this year!!! :-)

Actually I think I led this guy on. He was not from the states --  he was from Pakistan -- so either he didn't believe me or had some preconceived ideas about women from the states.

I didn't mention that Martin called me at home. I got scared and told my dad to answer the phone the next time it rang. He did and told Martin to stop calling or he'd call the police.

Martin didn't talk to me after that.

I like how I said he was old -- at least 30. Heh.

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 24, 1976 In which I have ominous feelings


11:53 sm

I have no right writing in this because I've got a million and one things to do before 2:00. I have to work 2-10 tonight. I hate those hours.

Woody called today and I asked him if he would go to the wedding. I hope he can. He didn't sound to repulsed by the idea. As a matter of fact he seemed like he was looking forward to it. I want to go very badly, but not a lone. I wish Jeremy was going, but he's in Jolly Old England. I'd take Jeremy over Woody any day of the year, but as it is I must take Woody for this occasion.

Only 45 days 'til I leave for England. 12 days after Chris' wedding. I have a million and one things to do before that day too.

Cinder has just stepped over me. I am looking (listening) for a certain song on the radio called Shannon. I always thought it was about some guy who lost his wife, but Woody told me it was about a man explaining to his son about his dog's death.

Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin is on now, I like that one a lot. It reminds me quite a bit of Kevin and Daddy.

I've been feeling an ominous presence lately. Like death is awaiting to strike. I get nervous and feel like running down and hugging my parents when I feel this. Like when I was a little girl. I feel that they can take this feeling away like they used to. But they probably can't. Maybe if I went to bed earlier?

One reason I've been feeling rotten lately is because my room looks like Aunt Pat's house. I've set my clock for 7:00 these past mornings and haven't gotten up until 10 at any of them. I am so stupid!

What stands out in this entry is the song Shannon. I didn't remember it at all, but a search on the Internet found it on MySpace and YouTube. I immediately remembered it when I heard it, but don't remember the melody even after just now playing it. No wonder it was forgettable.
Here's the song that someone put as background to video of his dog. Cute dog.

My Aunt Pat was a pretty untidy housekeeper, to say the least. No wonder I was feeling rotten.

May 23, 1976 In which I go to a shower


11:46 pm

Will I do it tonignt? I doubt it.

Went to Chris M's wedding shower tonight and had a great time. I wish I could do more things with them, but they are so much different than me sometimes. Who really cares?

I guess not tonight! :-)

Chris was the first of friends to get married. I remember going to her apartment after she had her baby. I'd just returned from a trip to England sat there dumbfounded while she and another friend discussed oven cleaners. I couldn't believe the differences in us. I was the world traveler. She was stuck home with an infant cleaning ovens. Yet not long before I wrote about how I wanted to begin a family. I guess I didn't expect to be cleaning ovens.

May 22/23, 1976 In which I make a joke


12:31 am

I don't know what to call the hour between days, so I'll say both. I don't really like this journal and that's why I plan on ending it tonight. Good bye crewel world. Yes -- I am giving up on embroidery! No, I take that back! I won't give it up. You know what. On second thought I'll end this journal tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.

Ahh a play on words. I thought I'd misspelled cruel, but it was part of a joke. I think that was because I was hanging out with Woody. He (and his family) were big on puns and jokes.

April 24, 1976 In which I discuss finances


This is silly to be writing, in bed, in my nightclothes at one o'clock in the afternoon when I have to be at work in about two hours or so. I told Kim that I would be there around 3 or 3:30.

Briefly -- Peg's quit and Diana's been fired [For future reference Diana's my ex-boss in Zayre jewelry]. I don't need to write the entire story because I shan't ever forget it. I've just finished writing to Jeremy -- I poppied an entry of the first time I ever wrote to him. I do believe that falling in love makes one's writing ability so much better. Those entries were so poetic -- these entries are nothing but nothing.

Only 74 days and 7 1/2 hours before I leave on a jet plane.

My money situation is as follows:

Larkin Bank:
First Federal:217.00
Check coming:+ 50.00
Mother's Money-10.00

Now the flight will cost $547.00

$683.00 - 547.00 Leaving $136.00 for spending money. I hope to have at least $300.00 to spend in England, but I've still got all the presents to get now.

If I figure $30.00 a week I'll have $406.00 by the end of June. At $40.00/wk I'll have $496.00 by the end of June. And with the apple pie hopes of $50.00/week I'd have %580.00 by June 30. Oh well, I will have to "make do" I suppose. That's too bad though, what with school things to buy. I hope I have a job when I get back too.

What surprises me most is the cost of the flight to England. I thought it was less because now it's not even double that to fly there.

The mention of Diana at work -- Diana was my immediate boss. She was fired for stealing money from the till when she "closed out". Plus she hardly ever worked -- and would call me to come in even when I was not on the schedule. It worked out fine for me, I got more hours that way.

April 10, 1976 In which I write a story about a merry-go-round


Once upon a time there was a carousel in Central Park. On this carousel was a pair of beautiful white horses -- one -- the girl named Ching-a-ling -- and a boy named Chink. They would go up and down and up and down and around and around. Ching-a-ling and Chink fell in love and were happy to see each other go around and around and up and down every day. They loved to hear the children laugh and see the lovers smile.

One day a rather large girl saw the carousel and ran real fast and jumped onto Chink very hard. Suddenly Chink could no longer go up and down -- his spring was broken. But Ching-a-ling still loved Chink.

The grown up people came and took Chink to an underground tunnel and took his white paint off and painted him brown and stuck him in a large box and put a small metal box next to him that said 10¢ and stuck him outside a store. He couldn't go up and down -- only back and forth.

Back at the carousel Ching-a-ling still loved Chink -- even though he was on the other side of town. The other horses laughed and called her silly for still loving him -- they said why love a horse who couldn't go up and down and is brown and lives on the other side of town?

Ching-a-ling didn't' listen to them -- she knew that it was just as easy to love a brown horse as a white one, one who can only go back and forth as one who can go up and down and one who lives on the other side of town as one who lives right next door. She explained to the other horses that everyone -- both white and brown horses were the same -- just strip off the white or brown paint and they were all wooden horses [underneath].

That was disappointing. I hoped the ending would be better. I don't remember writing it and am not sure what it is supposed to mean. Inter-racial love? Long-distance romance?

April 3, 1976 In which I worry about being an old mother


Hey! What did I write last? Something silly about sex? yeah, how silly. Oh m'gosh. I've just been fantasizing about marrying Jeremy this summer. I wish. It could be so -- even if we did it in secret, but that is impossible. I want so bad to begin our family. I almost wish I could get started this summer -- but it's all for the best, I guess, that I don't. I hope that the next five years go relatively fast. I want to be married so badly. (I will be 24 when I am married, I hope we have kids soon. I don't want to be an old mother.)

Why am I so worried, I don't know -- just figured it out -- I'll be 23 when I'm married. Jeremy will have just turned 21.

Our holidays (personal) will be January 1 - New Years Day (Trad)
Feb 14 Valentines day
Feb 16 Mom's b'day

Oh forget it -- it's too complicated. I have to get to sleep -- up at 5:30 tomorrow to see the sunrise.

The line about not wanting to be an old mother made me laugh. I was 34 before I had my first child. My daughter says the same thing, she doesn't want to be an old mother.

I have no idea what that about the personal holidays were. Maybe school?

Marcy 28, 1976 In which I feel guilty


I am very guilty of not studying. I don't know what to do.

Shall I run down my day? I'll remember this day for a very long time.

It wasn't the events, but the circumstances and with whom. I was with Woody. I held hands with Woody -- as people in love do. I kept on saying things like I didn't like it, and pulling away, but I was lying because I did like it. It was a pleasant sensation. I felt guilt for having such feelings. I even wanted to kiss him tonight. I would have if he did.

Why have I written that? Jeremy will read this and get angry when we are married -- please don't get angry Jeremy. I love you, but it is hard to be with one of the opposite sex and be free of sexual feelings -- at least with me. I need a man, but I won't, or at least will try not to give into physical feelings.



I was nineteen years old for goodness sake. Of course I wanted sex. I was normal.

March 27, 1976 In which I'm glib

Tomorrow I go to the Flower Show! Hip, hip hooray! So what? I should study. G'bye.


March 6th, 1976 In which I am bored and ramble


At work again, I'm always at work. I've become very upset today (just now actually) realizing that I have so much homework to do and I haven't done anything a whole half a semester! I complain that I have no social life but I don't know how I could work it in. I complain about needing more hours. I do hope thou that Woody and I go out again. I mean that.

Why does it seem that I can't get up enough energy to get out of bed mornings?

What do I have to do?

  1. Research paper for English
  2. Research paper for back packing
  3. Research paper for human growth and development
Oh dear! I'm getting depressed. I really shouldn't do that. I feel like calling Woody up and having his voice get me out of my depression. Damn. I feel so down now.

I wish Woody would walk in right now. Please come in Woody. I know he won't.

"Hello, can I help you?"
"Yes, can you show me this ring?"
Zippppp (case being unlocked)
"Oh, look Dear. How does this look? Mumble, mumble."
"We'll take this. How much is it?"
"$1.88 plus tax."
Click, click, click / Rumble / Click, click, Rumble, Ring.
"$1.97 please."
Crumple, crumple, rip / staple,
crumple crumple

Jingle, jingle, jingle
"$1.97, 98, 99, Two dollars. Thank you very much."
"You're welcome (or Thank you)."

I have just written a normal communication at the jewelry counter. During the writing Woody did not walk in. I wonder if he is thinking about me. Think happy thoughts Woody, I don't feel well.

I am bored, bored, bored! I got myself wishing for company. I should be happy to be working. Daddy didn't go to work at all yesterday or today. I should pray that I don't have the flu or anything like that.

I've done a really weird thing these last two nights. I got down on my knees and prayed. Woody is very religious. But he quit going to church. I am invited to the next "sunrise experience" he has with his friends. I am kinda nervouse. Maybe I won't go. I am feeling bad again. I really need Woody. Perhaps he'll call tomorrow (but I doubt it). I feel sure he will think of me tomorrow. Pretty soon I will go on break.

I wonder who the security guard is tonight. Nancy and Dave aren't working here anymore.

When I really think I realize that I have ample tome to do all that needs to be done -- except perhaps my backpacking paper, but that is all my fault. Hey, I just figured out existentialism -- good it will help me with my English paper.

I am hungry.

Mick P. is spending the night tonight. I hope I get time alone with him to ask him if he knows Woody. I don't know if Woody is serious about me not asking Mike. I would like to meet and talk to someone who knew Woody before he was changed.

Woody told me that he was in a mental hospital last summer. My God! When I was looking forward to Jeremy's visit, Woody was in a hospital. I didn't even know that he existed then. What to do?

Obviously this was stream of consciousness rambling. Interesting in a way -- especially how I just happened to mention that about Woody in the hospital. I think it was on my mind and I didn't want to spend time analyzing it, but it came out when I was just writing without really putting a lot of thought into it.

I'd forgotten that Woody had been in the hospital before I met him. I knew he went back the next summer. I've always wondered why, but never asked.

I don't remember what the English research paper was on -- perhaps existensialism? (funny how I suddenly "figured it out" there behind the counter in the jewelry counter at Zayre), but my backpacking (my PE credit) paper was on hiking the Pennine Way. My human growth and development paper was on the importance of fantasy in children's lives or something like that.

Mike P. was my cousin Bob's friend.

Same day 4:57 pm

This is after break and I want to make a record, starting now, about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

pg. 4 -- Lines 7-9
"Oh" I holler back. Then I nod. At age eleven you don't get impressed with red-winged blackbirds.

You have to get older for that.

lines 26 - 41
In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.

pp 5, 6 lines 32 - 2 (p 6)
They're not too busy to be courteous. The hereness and nowness of things is something they know all about. It's the others, the ones who moved to the cities years ago and their lost offspring, who have all but forgotten it. The discovery was a real find.

I've wondered why it took us so long to catch on. We saw it and yet we didn't see it. Or rather we were trained not to see it. Conned, perhaps, into thinking that the real action was metropolitan and all this was just boring hinterland. It was a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, ``Go away, I'm looking for the truth,'' and so it goes away.

pg 6, 7 lines 38 - 3 (p. 7)
On Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends we travel for miles on these roads without seeing another vehicle, then cross a federal highway and look at cars strung bumper to bumper to the horizon. Scowling faces inside. Kids crying in the back seat. I keep wishing there were some way to tell them something but they scowl and appear to be in a hurry, and there isn't -- .

I remember that I had to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for my philosophy class. I also remember not liking the book much. I suppose I took notes here to remember the passages that spoke to me or something. Perhaps I didn't have my philosophy notebook handy.

March 5, 1976 In which I use far too many clichés


Good gosh! Unbelievable how I am writing so much lately! Actually it is now 3:57 pm. I am working and some people I know just stopped over.

Woody and I talked again today (of course -- it's Friday). He asked me that when I get things straightened out in my head if I would go out with him again. I said I would.

Two of the most important things in the world are truth and love. Lately these have both been practically denied to me for other love. I can't put it into words.

I know I am much too far along in this relationship with Woody to turn back. I don't want to turn back. I want to plow forth to find green pastures and happiness. But I am afraid that green pastures and happiness may lead to barren fields and sadness. Why can't I have two to love instead of one. Actually it is not two I want, but at least one who is always present. I am afraid I have developed too late. I mean developed in a sense of security with a guy. I used to criticize Sally S. for always wanting a guy to hang on [to] -- and usually having one! Maybe I was jealous -- of course that was it. Envy is an evil thing. "That green headed monster."

Woody and I think alike.

Ticket stub for
[Tape residue here, but no ticket stub] <--- Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother Woodfield, 3/4/76

The above is proof of it. He saved this for me :-). And I forgot, but thought of asking him for it. Not that it is any proof of secret love or anything.

OK. If you are reading this, Jeremy, I hope you forgive my digression off the path of love for you. I have not stopped loving you -- in fact our love (my love for you) has become greater. I do believe that I appreciate you much more. Just think, when you read this we will be married. How do you like being wed to me? Is it paradise as we had planned? Do we have children? What have we named them?

This entry, aside from the angst felt, is possibly the most embarrassing I've read of my journal entries. I use laughable old clichés and think that someone saving a ticket stub for me to paste in a journal proves connected thought processes. It seems that not only did I loose a sense of self and displayed poor judgment by continuing to date Woody (for dating it was) while "engaged" to Jeremy, I lost my personal voice in writing.

March 4, 1976 -- In which I profess my love for Woody


Once again I turn to you, my journal, instead of Jeremy. How can someone's mind change so rapidly? What am I going to do? I can't hurt Jeremy like I could if I only told him my feelings. I don't know what to do.

I know that I love Jeremy, and he loves me. Then, what do I feel for Woody? It sure is more than I feel for girlfriends. He is male, and there or here rather. Jeremy is 3848 miles and five months and a lot of money away -- Woody is 20 miles, 7 ½ hours and one busy token away. What do I do? I do believe that I understand now what Jeremy meant when he told me about Meg. He said that if he didn't already love me he would think he loved Meg. I truly understand now. I've told Woody my feelings, sort of. I said it was like wanting my cake and eating it too. I wish that people couldn't hurt and be hurt, then I could do what I wanted without care.

I have a love for Woody. I haven't figured it out yet, but I do have a love for him.

One thing he said tonight is really bugging me. He said that Jeremy is really getting a good person (that's a laugh). Then he said (and I'm sure he was joking) that if I decided that marriage to Jeremy wasn't what I wanted, to come back and marry him.

I'm having a difficult time trying to decide what to write to Jeremy. I'd like to tell him everything, but I know, realistically, that I can't. How do you tell your fiancé that you are having doubts about the engagement? I know that I have four years yet to get through this engagement to the doors of "paradise". What do I do?

One other thing that Woody did tonight that got me thinking and a bit worried. He called me Connie. Connie is the girl he is having a difficult time getting over. Poor Woody. I didn't say anything when he called me that. He didn't realize it either. Just as well I guess.

We saw Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother tonight. Wow! It was funny. But even more funny -- actually it wasn't funny but awful, we stalled in the middle of a 4 lane highway. I laughted so much, but it really wasn't funny. I also met his mother and sister and neighbor.

Well, thanks, green notebook, for listening. I think that you are the best listener I have; you don't show any emotion simply because you can't. Now to write to Jeremy.

This post really speaks for itself and perhaps the beginning of the end of my love for Jeremy, if I ever really did love him and not just the idea of being in love. As I said, Jeremy was far away and Woody was available.

Woody and I reconnected a few years ago and he sent me an email telling me that he loved me back then and still did. (Rather obvious from the things I wrote in this entry). His kids (and wife) all knew who I was. He and his wife divorced not long after we reconnected -- it was in the works before -- our communicating had little to do with it, except to speed it up. He spent a couple years occasionally writing to me and we saw each other a couple of times when I was in Elgin. Then he remarried and moved downstate. Hopefully he's happy.

Digging back into one's past can be dangerous.

Friday, April 25, 2008

February 25, 1976 -- In which I attend a seminar and am changed forever


10:21 pm

A very important day in the life of Dona Lee Patrick. I am now on my way to becoming a butterfly. I am now a caterpillar, but soon may be a butterfly. I don't think I will ever be on the caterpillar pillar. I wonder if I have to spin a cocoon.

Woody and I went to a speech today about knowing ourself. In order to have a good life (all aspects of it) one must first know oneself.

I don't know what that man [the speaker] did to me, but whatever he did it sure felt good! I was full of electricity when I left. It was wonderful. Woody and I got to know each other even better.

The notice for this meeting was something about sex. The speaker was one of those charismatic motivational speakers that knows how to work an audience. I'm not sure what it was all about -- my husband went too (we didn't know each other at the time) and thought it had something to do with self-actualization. Something possibly akin to Scientology. Dean was not as impressed as I was.

The whole butterfly - caterpillar - caterpillar pillar thing was from a book by Trina Paulus called Hope for the Flowers. I still have a copy of this book and read it now and then. Each time the message is a little different for me.

There was also a whole sunrise aspect / discussion about this seminar. Now that I think back on it, I'm a little skeptical. It might have been anything -- some sort of cult trying to recruit college students. I'm surpised there is not much on YouTube about this book, but here is a video inspired by it.

February 23, 1976 -- In which I analyze my feelings about Woody


7:30 pm

I don't know why I am writing this. I've already got my emotions straightened out I think. I just can't figure out the good feelings I have around Woody (that's his name for sure, I asked him). They are not sexual, for he is not very good looking, they aren't really emotional either. I just like him. But I have an awful feeling (it isn't awful at all) that he has a different sort of feeling for me. I am not sure. I guess that this is what I hoped for. Now "to lead him on or not to lead him on, that is the question." (Whether 'tis nobler...)

I don't really know. I don't know what I'd do if he asked me out. I hope he does. We may go to a concert this Saturday. I'm not sure; he just asked me if I was going. Maybe he will want to meet there. Why do I care? A good excuse is that I have uneventful weekends. All I do is sit around and get bored. I need social interaction but I won't get it on my own. I need friends. What to do???

My stupid face is breaking out. I hate that. I've got a paper to do for English.

All I can say is WHAT A BITCH! I was calculatingly planning on leading him on? Geeze... I thought I was a better person than that.

February 9, 1976 -- In which we meet Woody



I've finally hit upon something I can't very well write to Jeremy -- my attraction to another man guy. I can't figure it out. I "dressed up" for this person today -- I even curled my hair. He is in my dreams and even supersedes Jeremy on my waking thoughts.

I love Jeremy. I can't have any emotion left over for "Woody" (I'm not sure what his name is, he never told me). Why do I get all in a hassle over such a silly thing?

I feel like a teeny-bopper with a crush! In essence that is what I am. I am so happy to be alive right now. Whether or not "Woody" has anything to do with my renewed love of life, I don't really care. I think I'll tell him.

While I don't remember meeting Woody, I do remember him well as we were to become good friends over the next few years.

January 24, 1976 -- In which I write about not losing my temper


7:31 pm

I've just finished copying the song on the preceding pages. I got angry downstairs and didn't lose my temper. Instead I brushed my teeth. Boy, did they get clean. My throat hurts a little bit now, I don't know why. I've got Tommy playing, but it is too loud. I think that I really ought to clean my room now. I hate that task, but I have to.

I didn't write to Jeremy last night. Not because I forgot, but because I was tired.

Song we sang in Burgoyne's car summer '74

(cat soiled first copy)

Green Grow the Rushes, O

I'll sing you one, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What is your one, O?
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you two, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your two, O?
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you three, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your three, O?
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you four, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your four, O?
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you five, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your five, O?
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you six, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your six, O?
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you seven, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your seven, O?
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you eight, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your eight, O?
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you nine, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your nine, O?
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you ten, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your ten, O?
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you eleven, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your eleven, O?
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you twelve, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your twelve, O?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles ,
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

So I remember singing this song but not transcribing it to my journal. I guess I found it in a book or somewhere and wanted to save it. The days before computers...

Wikipedia gives an interpretation of it. Here are Emma Peel and John Steed singing a snippet:

No title -- No date

There, the last earring to be priced and put on the shelf. After two long days of setting up the Jewelry counter at my new job at Zayre in Elgin

After arranging the final display in the new jewelry department at Zayre, in Elgin, Bob and George, the district manager and district supervisor of the company behind the jewelry department, left for a coffee break. Bob, calling as he left, "Don't let anyone steal our jewelry now."

"No one is going to steal anything," I thought optimistically, while I polished the glass cabinets which held watches, lights and the more expensive jewelry.

When I was finished with the housekeeping, I stood behind the counter and tried to look like I'd been standing there for two years instead of two days. A few people bought things, and I rang up their purchases and gave them their change with no mishaps. All in all, everything was going very smoothly. A few women were milling around the various displays, chattering about how this or that looked. A man, tall and dark with a blue shirt was looking at the "genuine artificial" pukka shell necklaces. I had seen this man earlier that day in the store. He would be carrying a jacket or a pair of pants at one time and the next time nothing at all or something different.

Now the man was looking in one direction, then the other. He would pick up something and then put it back. He walked around the counter, still staring at people. For some reason I was careful not to catch his eye. I busied myself with straightening an already perfect display and figured that if I ignored this strange man he would go away. I suddenly caught myself -- what if the manager came back and I was being discourteous to a customer?

"Can I help you?" I asked the man, giving him a smile. He shook his head and continued swiveling his head, looking around the store.

After trying not to look self-conscious, I was startled by a loud rap on the glass cabinet at the end of the counter. Turning around, I saw that the stranger was now staring at me. I approached him and he pushed one of the fake pukka necklaces across the counter towards me. He shook his head. "Don't you want this?" I asked, wondering if he was deaf or couldn't talk for some reason. He shook his head again, but didn't open his mouth. I took the necklace and hung it on the peg it had come form and resumed my vigil at the cash register.

After about five more minutes, the man walked up to the register. He was still staring wildly around, mostly at the women in the jewelry department. He reached into his pocket with his right hand and while he groped for something there, with his left hand, handed me a wallet he had picked up off a shelf and said, "Now don't get nervous. Don't ring this up; I'm not buying it."

He looked around once more and slowly pulled his hand from his pocket. My heart was pounding as I watched his hand emerge from his pocket, expecting the worst.

"Oh thank God!" I thought, when I saw what he held in his hand was not a gun, but a black comb, three one dollar bills and some change.

"I'm security," he explained, "just give me a bag and make it look like this is real.

I pushed the total button on the cash register, put his "purchase" in a bag and stapled a fake receipt to the bag. As the tall, dark, "security" man walked away I felt my heart return to its normal spot in the center of my chest instead of in my throat where it had been for the past few minutes.

I vividly remember the security guard who was the basis for this story. It really did happen this way, although I'd forgotten the details until reading this.

The man was probably in his mid-twenties. He was tall and handsome in a foreign way. He told me he was from Hawaii and not Pakistan which is where the rest of the security guards were from.

Collecting for "Writing 8"

  1. First day alone at work
  2. Facts being trhown at me
  3. Tall dark man walking around counter
  4. having been told that people who loiter can be shoplifters
  5. Head manager left to have coffee and left me alone at jewerly counter
  6. Said "watch that no one walks away with our Jewelry"
  7. store busy
  8. pricing jewelry
  9. not used to store
  10. man looking at the jewelry
  11. he looked around all of the time
  12. Knocked on the counter
  13. "Oh dear, this guy can't talk," I thought.
  14. Pushed a necklace on top of counter and shook head.
  15. I put necklace back
  16. Finally asked him if I could help him and he got angry and shook his head.
  17. Then came around to the register and said, "Now don't get nervous. , but I'm not buying this stuff."
  18. Started reaching into his pocket
  19. Continued, "I'm security, just do something and make it look real."
  20. I pushed the total button and uut a billfold in a bag, all the while he stared around him.
  21. When the manager came back I asked him if the tall dark man was really security and explained what happened

Writing #7

At 2:00 yesterday afternoon I decided to go home early in case the bus came earlier than usual. As I approached the door I saw that the bus was already turning the corner coming to the bus stop, which I wasn't at, but should have been. I said something under my breath, pushed through the revolving door and ran. My backpack bounced back and forth on my back

My usual routine after math, at 1:50 pm is to climb the steps by the lounge, shrug off my backpack full of books and sit on the ledge by the railing at the front entrance waiting until 2:05 when I walk to the bus stop by the north annex. The bus, usually on time, comes at 2:12. One particular Wednesday, though, I thought I'd leave a little early, since the driver hadn't been the regular one for the past two days and consequently the bus schedule was a bit mixed up.

As I stood up, putting my right arm through the red strap of my heavy backpack and walking to the revolving door, skipping the other strap in place around my left shoulder I noticed, through the window that the bus was already on its way down Fleetwood drive. In a matter of seconds it would be past the bus stop and I would have to wait a half hour for the next one. I pushed through the revolving door, not paying attention to the squeaking sound the rubber maked on the glass that usually makes me think of the sound a window-washer's squeegee makes. Then I ran.

My shoes making a flapping sound on the pavement and my books bouncing back and froth on my back with every running step I took. I passed two men in suits and ties wondering if they thought I was being pursued. All the while I was watching the bus, which by now had come to a halt at the bus stop.

No one was boarding so naturally I thought the driver was waiting for me. I paused in my flight wondering if he would stop at the corner where I was then standing. Better not chance it, I thought; so I was off again, afraid that the bus would zoom past me while I was halfway between stops. I finally reached the bus, panting form my run and boarded.

I thought I'd make a joke of the incident so I asked the driver if he'd ever tried to run with 15 pounds of books on his back. He answered dryly, "Not lately." He then sat there ten more minutes to make up for being early.

While I don't remember the actual incident of running to the bus, I do remember writing this story for my English class. I think I got a good grade on it because of the action and description.

Journal Entry #9 -- Thursday, October 9, 1975

I thought I could handle it. I thought that since I know love and am engaged to Jeremy I could handle a conversation with another male as smoothly as a conversation with a female. But I can't. My heart is racing and I am shaking. I was fine -- so calm and cool when I was talking but now I am so nervous. It is awful. It was a man on the bus. A man. Not a boy. Maybe I can talk to a boy, my age or younger, but not a man -- with a beard. Not a fuzzy beard like Dan's but a well-trimmed beard. He was very nice. One stupid thing I said was my answer to his question, "Where do you board?" I thought he meant "live" so I replied, "I live at home." Then I realized what he meant so I said, "and I board at Paul's Restaurant." Good heavens, how embarrassing.

I don't recall this exchange on the bus. I rode the bus to my community college because I didn't drive until I was 22 -- nearly 23 years old. It was a straight shot up McLean Avenue to the college, but too far to walk. I'd take the bus very early to avoid parochial school students.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Journal Entry #7 -- September 27, 1975

11:30 pm

The first thing to do is write in my English journal, then my regular journal, then to Jeremy, then to Sue and finally to Pam. Then I can read a chapter in Upstairs, Downstairs. Then to sleep.

I've been rearranging my room tonight. I think I will really like this way, but I become bored with it so often.

I think I'll be doing homework from the time I rise until Monty Python tomorrow.

I really think I like the way I have my room. Gee whiz -- now that I've found the way I like it, I don't have much longer in it. I'll be going away to school the year after next and when, who knows? Jeremy and I want to live together -- share an ampartment -- the first year he's here. Then I'll get married. So I guess this room goes to Kevin -- Or Mom and Dad.

It's going to be sad -- but I guess its not the room -- it could be all my things -- posters, drawings, records, books, knick-knacks -- everything. Everything holds meaning for me.

About the room -- I think Kevin moved up there after I finally left (at age 23 -- I didn't go away to school and Jeremy and I broke up my senior year of college). When he left it was turned back into a storage room, occasionally used as a guest room.

Collecting #2 -- No date

  1. While doing the dishes and worrying about my history test, my uncle -- whose daughter and I are the same age, but she isn't going to college -- asked me if I was going to school. When I said yes, he said, "So you aren't a working girl then?"
  2. Complaining about my old history teacher to my eye doctor / friend and finding out that he had him for history and liked him.
  3. Waiting a month for a birthday present from my boyfriend overseas and it being all chipped up when it gets here.
  4. Getting all my homework out of the way and settling down in front of the television with my sewing to watch a movoe only to find out a different movie (about cops and robbers) is on instead.

Another list of items for English.

Journal Entry #6 -- September 26, 1975


I didn't quite execute self-discipline today. I got up late and only studied for one hour in the library, but the night's not over yet. I've just figured out that I waste 53 hours a week -- that's more than two days I waste -- and not sleeping either. What do I do with my time? Cut that -- it's 50 hours a week. Writing to Jeremy is not a waste of time.

Uncle Vern and Aunt Norma are over. Uncle Vern is so stupid -- all he talks about is how rotten the world is treating him and his little Bonnie (who's 19 in January) or how we should get rid of the [n-word] before they get rid of us. People like him make me ill.

I don't remember this day nor the calculations I must have made to come up
with how much time I wasted a week. Interesting. I wonder what I counted as
wasting time. TV? What else. Not reading, I hope.

Uncle Vern - biggest bigot I've ever known. End of story.

Journal Entry #5 -- September 25, 1975

I hate college. There is no doubt about it. But I have to go. If I want my family to respect me I've got to go. I hate Mr. Lehr. He is an old stupid man who should have been put out to pasture years ago. Well, I don't hate him. I hate the way he teaches. I know that hate is a strong word. I also know that I shouldn't use it. But I almost feel that strongly about homework. Why do I waste time? Time is so precious. I've learned that this summer.

I've got to get a job. I want to go to England next year so I've got to get a job. I don't want to -- my grades will suffer. I think I'm very un-self-disciplined. I've tried to be disciplined but I can't. I suppose I could if I tried. I think I will try. Tomorrow, instead of staying in bed after the alarm goes off, I'll get up and perhaps get something done. Then tomorrow night, instead of relaxing, I'll do homework. Saturday I'll go job hunting -- just see if I don't. I'll make it -- I'm sure of that.

I was not self-disciplined. I'm still not self-disciplined. College was a
rude-awakening. I didn't have to study much in high school for decent grades,
but college was another story, especially in classes where the professor
had been around a while. The newer professors were more easy going and
perhaps had more interesting ways of teaching.

Collecting #1 (No Date)

  1. Bus driver sitting on her bus, under "No Smoking" sign, smoking a cigarette.
  2. The last days of summer cloudy and cold while the first days of autumn sunny and warm
  3. My father [incorrectly] correcting my mother's grammar (using still where yet would be better) and turning to me saying, "Good grief, she didn't never used to speak like that.")
  4. A neighbor who moved away called up and said that someone had stolen her waitress uniform off the line and the next day finding out that one of her co-workers had hidden it in the rose bush.
  5. An old woman whom I have lived behind for 14 years saw me at the bus stop and asked where I lived. This woman is known for her observation.

I guess this was a list of contrasting things for
my English class. I actually remember every event, especially my father's
grammar lesson. My father thought that it was proper to use the word "yet" in
place of "still" in most instances. For example, instead of saying, "My brother
still uses this way of speaking." My dad would say, "My brother uses this way of
speaking yet."

I don't know if it is correct, but I suspect not. Or perhaps it is a regional
way of speaking.

No date -- The Smile --

The old broken down huts and the good houses.
The little boy and his boyish / monkish sides
The little boys ability to get along with the ox
The kids insight on nature
The violence contrasting with the monks serenity
The girls smile being taunting while the kids smile friendly
The older monks ignorance of the fun while the boy's fascination make shim stop and play with the puppets
The little boy seemed to be doing what Buddha said more than the old monk

This looks to be a list of observations of a short film we watched in class. I checked on for a short film called "The Smile" but didn't find one.

Journal Entry #4 -- September 17, 1975

Last night as I tried to sleep at 11:00 pm, I wished my father would stop working in the basement. He was sawing and hammering and although I sleep on the top floor of the our two story house the sounds came up through the register and sounded like my father was in the next room. Buzz, buzz, pound, pound -- so late at night. Then I stopped, "Hey wait a minute." This is the only time he could work on the basement room. He works all day and moonlights after dinner. Then my mind wanders to other things he's done here late at night.

My room was built with that perseverance. He would be found pounding nails or sawing wood in the attic, transforming it into the beautiful room I call mine.

I never thought cleaning my room could be so enjoyable! It is so great to be back here -- I've got so many memories stored in every crevice. Even the carpeting is memorable. I know I had to give up my room to Jeremy for 6 weeks while he was visiting because it

Note: The entry before the crossed out paragraph was surprisingly compassionate for me during this time. It's pleasant to look back on it to see that I did understand what my dad went through to make us comfortable.

Not sure why I crossed out the last paragraph. Maybe I ran out of time to finish my thoughts?

Journal Entry #3 -- September 16, 1975

Why do I always feel like doodling when I get bored with history? I've just drawn a shoe on my folder and my hand keeps straying to the white part of the paper. I can't stand history! I don't even feel like writing now. I'm hungry. I should have never begun eating lunch again. I'll never get any studying done. I'm going to meet Karen and Sue in 20 minutes.

Note: All I remember about this post is hating history. The professor was an old school educator and his lectures were very boring. Plus, I didn't like the subject. I failed a few quizzes, but finally got the hang of college history.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Journal Entry #2 -- September 15, 1975

I should have been writing in here much more often, but I guess I put it off too much. I do have something to write about now thought -- my room.

I finally got it back -- after almost three months of seeing Kevin and Bob run up and down the steps. When Jeremy was here things weren't so bad except when I got to thinking about not sleeping in my bed right after Jeremy. But now that is all over. My room and I are reunited.

Some people may think that I am foolish to feel so strongly about a bedroom, but I have very strong ties with the room itself. Sure, everything in it holds a special meaning, but the very nails were put in with a sort of love that not much else suprasses. My father worked very hard one summer to try to finish building this part of the attice for me while I was visiting my grandmother in Wisconsin. I hold a special feeling for this room as I don't have, and most likely ever will for any other for the rest of my life.

When I was around 16 my father finished off the attic of our mid-19th century bungalow. My brother was getting older and need a place to sleep other than an alcove in the living room. He would have my bedroom and I would get part of the attic.

I was excited about this, but terrified of the attic itself. I told myself that it would be ok - it would no longer look like an attic - which had no floors, just fluffy yellow insulation between support beams. I'm not sure how mom and dad stored things up there without floorboards. It was amazing that they lived in that house for 11 years and didn't seem to need the storage an entire story would provide. I guess they couldn't afford it - either in time nor money.

My first night in that room was the only time I was afraid up there. I remember being terrified and when my nose began to bleed (probably from breathing sawdust) I was too afraid to go downstairs to deal with it, so I just bled all over the sheets.

My cousin Bob lived with us for a few years after getting in trouble. My dad insisted he finish high school if he lived with us. I'm not sure where he slept before Jeremy's visit -- perhaps he and Kevin got my room right away. At first I felt magnanimous about the situation, but after he and I had a number of altercations, I quit being so noble and longed for my room -- I must have put up a fuss, because I got the room back. I am unsure where Bob and Kevin ended up sleeping after I got my room back because I don't think the basement bedroom was complete at this point.

I was wrong about feeling so attached to a room, because I feel the same about my office (which incidently is in the attic of our house).

Knoxville: Summer of 1915 -- Writing

This essay brings back the pleasure of being allowed to play outside after dark. Mother would grant me the honor at different times -- perhaps if I had eaten my dinner well that night or if I cleaned my room. Devin would say, before dinner, "I'll see you after dinner. I knew I wouldn't see her. But sometimes I would be able to. I remember once -- when my mom and dad and aunt and uncle were sitting in the backyard and aoo of us kids were running all around catching lightning bugs.

I can feel the excitement even now of catching a lightening bug. I'd see him blink on and off across the lawn and I'd run to where he was, hoping to see him again. There he was -- I'd be close enough now to see him without his light -- a black speck with transparent wings vibrating at his sides. I'd sneak up and encase him in the hollow made from my cupped hands. There I'd feel him trying to escape, tickling my palms with his wings. I'd run to an empty peanut butter jar and open it with one hand while the other held my precious catch. There he'd drop -- to the bottom of the jar -- I'd quickly replace the cover and turn it. Then I'd examine the catch and sometimes shake the jar to make him light up.

My brother had a different technique. His first steps were similar to my own, but when he caught the lightening bug he wouldn't keep it captured in a jar, but whip it to the sidewalk and step on it, knowing that this was the secret to making "rings". I never liked to watch that, but it was an obsession to my brother and other boys.

While I don't recall reading Knoxville: Summer of 1915, which a Google search tells me is a "short prose piece by James Agee", I do remember catching fireflies. I don't think my brother really threw fireflies on the sidewalk though. My mother told me that she used to do that, so I think I incorporated it into my story and used my brother instead of my mom as the offender. Good thing my memoir was never featured on Oprah.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Dump Ground -- Writing #1

I remember Mountain Street. I was there during the first five years of my life. One especially memorable place was the little pink room I slept in. I think the kitchen was on the other side. One time I was playing with Mike G. under the window at a little wooden table with matching chairs (one of which my mother threw across the room on a later date, breaking the back). We had two little cans of Play-Doh and were making "cookies". Mike, being two years my junior, at one of the "cookies". I screamed at him, bringing both our mothers into my room. I think his mother held him upside down to make him spit out the Play-Doh. I screamed until my Play-Doh was out of his mouth -- I didn't care if he was poisoned, I just wanted my Play-Doh back.

Another memory of the old house is my portable phonograph. I had lots of records from The Mickey Mouse Club and Walt Disney movies such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I also had a long playing record on which, among others, were the songs The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly and Wish Upon a Star -- My mother sat on it. It was my favorite one, too.

I remember when Archie, our cocker spaniel couldn't climb the basement stairs. We took him to the vet and he never came out. Later my father explained that Archie had broken his back and the vet put him to sleep. I waited a long time for Archie to wake up, but I learned, too soon, that when a pet is put to sleep they don't ever wake up.

This was written for my English class in my freshman year of college. While I do not recall reading The Dump Ground, I remember writing the final draft of my own memories and reading it aloud to the class. Several girls cried at the end and a few said I was a good writer. I also remember everything mentioned in the story except for the record my mom sat on. I guess I got over it.

September 4, 1975 -- Journal::Entry 1

I guess we are supposed to write in our journals. I don't know. That seems to be what I am usually thinking around here -- "I don't know". I don't know what is going on in my other classes. Either my mind is muddled or the teachers don't speak clearly. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here. But of course -- I can't "teach little kiddies" (as Dan said yesterday) without college. I could be married and in England right now if I weren't here, but I am and I guess I'd best make the best of it.

I dropped tennis today. It may have been a stupid move but I did it. I can't stand not knowing anyone in my group -- no one seems to want to be my partner. I didn't think I was that repulsive. I wonder what my mother will say when I tell her. I don't have to tell her I guess. But she'd find out sooner or later. It's not as if she is paying for college or anything like that.

I don't recall feeling so confused or depressed about junior college, however I do recall dropping tennis and feeling guilty about it.

It is a shame I didn't go to a 4-year school right away. I seemed to still be under my parents' control in college. My comment on them not paying for it was true. I received financial help from the Illinois State Scholarship Commission which meant my tuition was paid for. If I'd gone to a 4-year college and lived there, tuition and room & board would have been paid for.

To this day I don't know if my parents didn't understand this or if they were too proud to take that much money from the state. My guidance counselor was disappointed that I didn't even attempt to go to Illinois State University.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Chapter 2 Writing 3

No Date

Wow! A great film. I felt close to Jeremy when I saw this because he saw it last year when he was here. The little boy was so cute. He really loved that balloon. I remember when I was young I used to cry if my balloon popped. I once accidentally broke my brother's and cried. One other time I was riding in the back seat of my dad's truck and was holding onto three balloons -- two on sticks and one that floated (which was red, incidentally). The red balloon escaped my hand and "ran away". I screamed and my father thought I was in pain or something.

I really was happy to see that film. I've heard so much about it. The balloon was so red and round, it must have been an expensive one. It's strange that the people wouldn't understand this kid's feelings for his balloon.

I always thought of balloons as being sort of companions -- of course mine never stayed around when I left unless they were in the house. Hey! What if when that balloon of mine left me, it was going to find some kid who had just had his killed? Nice thought huh? I wonder if the young mind of a child works like psychologists think adults do. I mean perhaps when my balloon broke I was realizing that my life is so "short"? Naw, can't be.

All through the film I was worried the balloon was going to break. It looked so fragile, well actually it looked much more hearty than any other balloon I've ever seen, but the way that kid pulled it around -- I was sure it would break.

He didn't seem to mourn his lost, broken balloon too much -- when the others came he just dropped the remains of his old friend to get his new friends. But that seems the way a child's mind works. It flits from one thing to another with out stopping at one too long (look at me saying that in this paper). I am really happy to have seen the film. I am seriously considering buying the book, for I saw it at a bookstore.

I liked Clown better though.

I recall writing this entry clearly. I also remember seeing The Red Balloon for the first time. It stuck with me so long that I ended up getting the VHS for my children as well as getting the book I'd mentioned in the entry.

Of course it is on YouTube: The Red Balloon Part 1 (I'm sure you can find the rest of it on YouTube yourself.)

I've not the film in years, but thought this amusing:
The Revenge of the Red Balloon.

Clown was a film about a young boy searching for his dog in the streets of Paris. I wish I could find that to see again. An Internet check shows that it was directed by Richard Balducci in 1968 and is eligible for upload at World Cat. And a further search shows that several libraries have a copy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Chapter 2 Writing 1

It's hard to get started. I'm sitting in the dining room, alone except for Cinder. The sun has decided to come out today -- the rest of the weekend was cloudy. Sort of an English Summer Day. I miss Jeremy. I was writing to him last night when Karen called me to come over for Kasey's birthday party. Oh, Kasey was so excited. She kept on saying, "Want some cake Dona?" She cried when she had to go to bed. I met her mamas and papas too, last night. I was a little nervous when I got home because Carol and I talked of spirits yesterday afternoon. I hate ghost stories but at the same time I like them. I don't know why that is. As much as I enjoy being alone -- to read or write -- I don't think I could ever live all alone in an apartment or something.

I had a good enough time this weekend being on my own but I am almost ready for my family to get back here. I think cinder wants Franz too. She's been biting me today -- for attention I suppose. The wind is blowing outside now and I hear an airplane. I wish I was on that plane on my way to England. I have not gone outside yet today. I got up late and remembered my homework. I should also answer the letters that have built up from Jeremy's visit. I can't think of anything else to write -- that's how my letters always end, my way out I suppose. Well the timer has gone off -- 10 minutes is over.

I think this must have been an English assignment for college. I didn't date it, although on the front of this journal it says the first entry was September 1975. Mom, Dad and Kevin (and Franz the daschund) must have gone to Wisconsin for the weekend. Or something. I was just 19.

Chapter 2 Writing 2

I've just changed the kitty litter and put my contacts in. I also fixed myself a ham sandwich from Kasey's party and a large glass of 7Up®. I am waiting for 1:00 to roll around so I can see Lord Peter Wimsey which I missed last night because I was talking to Mike and Karen.

I'm looking forward to Upstairs Downstairs to start again. I was so excited when Hudson and Mr. Bellemy were on Dick Cavett Saturday night. I really jumped up and down. Why do I get so emotional? I get so angry or excited that I must show others how I feel by jumping or hitting or screaming. I guess I'm not grown up enough or something.

My that sandwich looks good. Cinder thinks so too. She has now plopped herself down on the table -- she knows that she oughtn't do that, but I guess she also knows that I won't hit her like Daddy does.

I'm not sure I'm really liking college. The amount of homework stunned me. I have to get a job so I will have even less time in which to do my homework. I want to get good grades too.

I wonder how much grades really count when one gets a job. College is different than high school. I can't pinpoint the difference, but I know it's there. More freedom perhaps.

Here I am trying to dry my hair in the five o'clock sun of a September evening. There are apples on the gound all around my lawn chair. I should have picked them up this weekend -- Daddy once told me that if the apples weren't picked up he'd cut down Charlie.

The leaves of the giant cottonwood in our back door neighbor's yard is making pretty patterns on the backside of our house. As the leaves blow in the wind the patterns change like a kaleidescope. Cinder's been let outside -- she doesn't get out much -- it seems like whenever she is let out she goes in heat -- that must be a coincidence thought. She is now chasing an imaginary mouse, creeping up like a panther. She looks like a miniature replica of a black panther. Nothing is coming to my mind. I don't know when my ten minutes will be up since I don't have a watch on, but I'll stop at the end of this page.

I wish I'd stop twisting my hair. It is such a childish habit. But I should be glad I'm not into an "adult" habit such as smoking or drinking. I was really surprised that Carol smoked. I wonder why I have such an aversion to smoke. It's not the people. I like the people but the smoke bothers me so much. I remember my mother, when she would smoke and I would complain she would get angry. My father still does with cigars.

Jeremy was so thoughtful to stop for me. Actually he did himself a favor by quitting.

What an awful experience -- I had just gotten into bed to do my last 10 minute writing and I saw a brown tiny object on my bed cover. I looked closer and saw it was an ant. I picked him up and aw that he was very close to being dead -- his legs were all crunched up in an M or W. His antennae were moving very slightly though. I didn't want him to just be thrown on the floor. A house is no place for an ant so I went to the window with him on my finger, meaning to throw him out and let him die where he belonged with nature. Well by the time I got to the window he had gone. He's somewhere between the bed and the window. Poor tiny creature. I wonder if his wife and kids know that he is dead. I wonder if ants have a widow fund.

Once, a few weeks ago, I was walking home from the store and I saw a mangy brown dog that looked homeless. I hoped he wouldn't come near me because I have a terrific fear of rabies. Anyway, on the way home I looked over my shoulder and saw that this dog was following me. Something white was coming from his mouth which I later reasoned was spit since it was a hot day and he and he had been running. I didn't think so I said, "Go home!" and he gave me a very sad look and ran off in the opposite direction. Afterwards I felt awful. I didn't even have a kind word for a stray dog. I do believe that his eyes will haunt me for a long time.

Just lots of memories - my obsession with all British programs, Dick Cavett, my apple tree - that I named Charlie. Twice my father came across as a brute - hitting cats and threating to cut down my tree (which he did after I moved out). Then there was Cinder, my black cat and constant companion, all the way through my teens and into my thirties. I actually remember the dead ant and the stray dog. Probably because I wrote about them.

It is obvious I was trying to impress an English teacher -- this doesn't really sound like my voice.