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.)