Tag Archives: childhood

Throwback Thursday: Dear Diary Edition

In search of the perfect Throwback Thursday post for this week, I happened upon a fascinating little book called…my first diary.

I was 10 when I started writing in it.

diary excerpt3

Classy right? I mean, nothing screams “Miss Havisham: The Early Years” like brocade fabric and a floral arrangement. Add some dust to the bears and I’m set.

No, seriously. If y’all catch me wandering the blogosphere in my wedding dress, wearing only one shoe…somebody better speak the fuck up!

Look at the lock on this thing?! I picked it with a bobbypin.

diary excerpt4Who, exactly, is this going to keep out?

I guess it’s a good thing I at least hid the book somewhere safe because otherwise the kids on the playground might have decrypted my code names for the boys in our class.

diary excerptIf you can’t read my writing, it says:

“I’m sort of calling the boys names like tweeter butt, piddle skiddle, flem wad, emo ponco, tonto, estupedo,…”

I vote here and now we bring piddle skiddle and tweeter butt back!

*begins painting picket signs – Long Live Tweeter Butt! Piddle Skiddle is my Homie!”

Here’s another glistening dewdrop of an entry from my 10 year old self:

diary excerpt2Eh-hem:

“Dear Diary,

I decided I don’t want a boyfriend. I can wait.

I’m in a reading program!! It is fun.

I’m on break for piano lessons. I’m glad.

I’m not mad at anyone. That’s good, huh.

I have 3 penpals: Andrea, Jessica, and Katie. Their (yes, I know it should be ‘They’re’) from PA, WA, and WI.

Ok. Let’s just ponder this post shall we?

I think, rather I KNOW, my favorite part is “I’m not mad at anyone. That’s good, huh.”

In true form, I used my diary as a venting tool, and I’m betting I’m not the only one who did so. Therefore, the majority of its pages are filled with angry content about how mean all my siblings are and what backstabbers my best friends are.

Can someone say redheaded temper???

I can graciously say that I no longer fill my diary’s pages with name calling and hate letters. I’ve grown up since then. But there’s something to be said for the way a child gets things off her/his chest and moves on. They fume for the length of a page and then they wonder what’s for dinner. As adults, we don’t always heal so easily. As funny as these diary entries are, they are also a good reminder not to dwell on the negative things in life, but to move forward and enjoy the positive. Like reading programs. 😉

Did you ever keep a diary?
What shocking things did you scribble on its pages?
Do you journal now? What do you like/dislike about it?

 

Throwback Thursday: I Call This My Anne of Green Gables Look

Since I’m writing about my childhood, I thought I’d share a few throwback thursday pics.

I call this one my Anne of Green Gables look. I mean, look at that straw hat!

Anne of Green Gables LookP.S. I am totally holding the lyric book to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack.

I knew every word. Every. Word.

Love and Green Gables,

Jess

Silent Protests Against My Mother

Ever wonder why your parents made some of the decisions they did?  No, you cannot take the turtle into bed with you!  No, you may not watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall with your brother!  No, you may not eat double stuff oreos, and I don’t care if Liz’s mom lets her!

My mom is a great mom.  She writes in perfect cursive penmanship, has impeccable spelling, pays attention to detail, writes long letters and mails them with real stamps and envelopes and everything.  She likes to sing, read mystery books, bake a variety of coffee cakes, and spy out the windows.

But I have one bone to pick with my mother.  Throughout my childhood, on countless trips to the grocery store, she would never let me get double stuff oreos!  This woman who rarely enforced rules about vegetables, or clean plate clubs, who married a baker, son of a woman who enforced dessert before dinner, wouldn’t let me eat double stuff oreos!  Hell, I had coca cola in my sippy cups!!!  (That may be why I stopped growing in eighth grade.)

This anti-oreo rule never made sense to me.  I was a child who liked milk.  I had contests with my father over who could drink their milk the fastest at dinner.  I don’t know if you’re aware, but milk and oreos are like made for each other, best friends forever, kindred spirits from the galactic orbs of destined to be together soulmates!  I bet if you eat an oreo without milk, your heart shrinks a little.

I reiterate my mother’s inconsistent lessons about the value of a nutritional diet; my mother had her days where cooking was not placed on the top of the list, in fact it was scribbled out and snipped straightly off the bottom of the notepad.  Those days were called Sundays, or any other day one of her favorite TV shows was on.  On these days we ate popcorn for dinner.  Popcorn and slices of cheddar cheese.  Maybe, maybe I’d have to eat like 4 slices of an apple.  I never complained.  I loved popcorn nights!  Those of you who know me can attest I have an affinity for airy, crunchy snacks at mealtime.

As the years passed, I grew older, she refused to buy double stuff oreos.  When I first moved out and began to buy my own groceries, I followed her approach in mastering the marketplace.  Simply put, take your sweet time going up and down every aisle.  You can make a list, sure, but it’s fun to add to it with new items that sound exotic and delectable like bagel chips.  Is it more bagel or more chip, I don’t know, but their deliciousness drives me mad!

On one such shopping trip, I happened down the cookie aisle and low and behold on the very end, right at eye level, was that familiar looking Nabisco symbol in the corner of the shiny blue packaging.  I picked up the package, looked side to side to see if anyone was watching, looked up to see if lightening bolts were crashing down and it appeared…no one gave a damn.  So I put them in my cart.  But as I wheeled around the aisle to the checkout, I couldn’t help but smirk.  Take that, Mom!

What are the ridiculous rules your parents enforced?  Did you ever protest?  Did your rebellion taste as sweet and chocolately as mine?

How to Play the Game “Orphan”

I am the youngest of four children.  A “surprise” if you ask my parents, a “mistake” if you ask my siblings, and a “party crasher” if you ask me.  Being seven years younger than my closest sibling, much of my childhood was spent watching movies, reading mystery books, and writing fantastical short stories to be later performed as a one woman puppet show in my room.

Seeing as I had only myself for entertainment, my imagination ran wild with adventure and tales of great woe.  Seeing as my parents were the age of my classmates’ grandparents, I was convinced they would be dead before I graduated eighth grade.  I thought, I’d better prepare myself for how to live alone.  Thus began the many escapades of Jess, lone street rat and orphan girl, hiding out by day in her makeshift cave and creeping by night stealing fruit snacks from the pantry cupboards.  She was not to be toyed with!

The stairwell in our house had a banister at the top with a few bars running horizontally for looks and structural support.  The space between the stairs and the first bar became the secret crevice to enter my hideaway and had to be crawled through on one’s stomach.  Once safely in my room, a string or jump rope was tied from the dresser handle across the room to the plant stand which doubled as a storage unit for my mass quantity of Cabbage Patch Dolls (Annette, Lanny, Paula, Patti, Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Keri Ann, Sara, Sloane, Chrissy, Pat, Camilla and Suzette).  After the string was tied, blankets were thrown over the line creating a secret canvas covered hideout or puppet show theater depending on your mood.  Hidden behind these draperies the cries from the streets of “Riffraff!” and “Scoundrel!” could not harm me.

The challenge while playing orphan was to go as long as possible being unseen.  So, to sneak food, one had to crawl through the secret crevice over the stairwell, descend the steps, slide down the frame of the door, quickly crawl under the dining room table and wait until opportunity came.  Then, you crab walked into the kitchen, silently opened the pantry door, pulled out a fruit roll-up or box of croutons, and crab walked back under the table to delight in your stolen afternoon snack.

Another challenge in the game of orphan could only be played when left alone in the house for short periods of time.  The game was called “don’t touch the carpet” and it counted how many times you could get around the living room using only the furniture before you slipped or fell onto the carpet.  Here’s how an expert at this game does it.

  1. Begin on the couch.
  2. Bounce across its cushions.
  3. Step onto the end table, avoid coasters and magazine piles.
  4. Jump onto the loveseat.
  5. Repeat step 2.
  6. Stretch legs to the rocking chair and go!
  7. Steady yourself, or pretend to surf for awhile.
  8. Stretch onto the smaller end table.
  9. Move to the chair in the corner.
  10. *Note:  The final task is extremely difficult if playing in sock feet, proceed with caution.  Step 10.  Crawl onto the TV, and cling for dear life on the frame around the screen, when a good distance jump is there, jump back to the couch.  Repeat steps 1-10.

One thing I learned while playing orphan is that you get lonely.  You really need a sidekick.  Soon I had two, a cat named Carmel and a dog named Tipper.  Make sure your sidekick is someone you can trust with secrets, such as your hideaway whereabouts.  Sometimes when you’re an orphan, a secret language must be developed so you can leave written messages to your pals without an invader knowing what it means.  These can then be conveniently pinned to your canvas with a clothespin.

So if you’re thinking about playing the game Orphan, here’s a list of supplies you may want to include.

  1. blankets to build your hideaway/take a nap
  2. stuffed animals/dolls for trusty sidekicks
  3. junk food for the road, the days are long are arduous as an orphan
  4. paper and pens/markers because orphans are extremely intelligent and creative
  5. a tape recorder and microphone because orphans are known to burst into song when they’re safely hidden in their getaway home

What sort of games did you play as a child?  Who would you take as your sidekick?

Audio Tracked Peacock Noises

Audio Tracked Peacock Noises

Or How My Dad and I Did the Zoo

My boyfriend tells me that I walk too fast.  I blame years of quickstepping after my father around town.  I had to take four steps to his one just to keep up.  I practically ran, panting to keep up, talking the whole time about what happened at school and at home that day.

If you dig straight down to my core, I am most like my father.  I share his vulgar sense of humor, to an extent, his enjoyment of going anywhere, even around the corner, his open book heart which will always try to save the world, his irritatingly reliable hardwork ethic, his constant frigid body temperature, and his thumbs.

My father wasn’t around a whole lot when I was growing up.  To pay the bills and put food on the table, he worked 18 hour days, 7 days a week, managing and cooking in our family restaurant.  But on occasion, he would take me on trips to the zoo.

The drive to the nearest zoo was almost an hour.  Nicknamed “Chatterbox,” I had endless stories to regale my father with during our excursion.  There were discussions about my friends at school, a new song I learned, and would piercingly sing aloud, and the clever way I got my older brother, Justin, to stop chasing me by spraying mom’s perfume on his hands.  Oh, wasn’t I just the bees knees, dad?

The drive was always the same.  A sunny day.  Me doing all the talking.  We’d pull into the parking lot, hop out of the car, and I’d skip over the grass mounds up to the entryway only to find the gates padlocked shut.  We took this exact trip together of locked up zoo gates at least three times!  Instead of sullenly turning the car around and driving home, my dad replied, “Well, we’re here.”

Dismayed and full of anguish, I was promised wild animals! Instead, I was dragged around the zoo’s perimeter, while my father cried out, “Listen to the peacocks!  Do you hear the peacocks?”  We would never actually confirm there were any peacocks as we never actually saw peacocks!

Everything was boarded up, fenced in, locked down, and surrounded by Wisconsin foliage.  Basically, you couldn’t see a damn thing!  Yet again, my father would call out, “Jess, come here!  Look through this crack, you can see bears!”  

And sure enough, my dad would have me tiptoeing on some unstable rock of a curb, pressing my eye into a rusty old fence hole, blinking past maple leaves that were bouncing in my way to see far off in the distance some brown hairy mammal that was pacing the rock wall of its habitat.

“I see one!”  I’d cry out delighted.

“Yah, he’s looking for his dinner.  I hope he doesn’t come looking for a tasty, little girl! Oh, Mr. Bear, I’ve got her!  Raaaaaaawr!  Raaawr!”  My dad would scoop me up and pretend to lift me over the fence, growling like a bear and pretending to take big bites out of my arms and legs.

All in all, it wasn’t the worst trip you could take to the zoo, if the zoo was really, really small with only one bear and audio tracked peacock noises. Thanks for the quality time, Pops!

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