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Unwrapping: The More Things Change. . .The More They Stay The Same

Last week, I explained that I have been a "journal-er" for a very, very long time. 

When I was a young girl, I loved the notion of keeping a "secret diary."  I was totally enchanted when I got my first diary -- the kind with a locking tab and a tiny key -- for one of my birthdays (probably when I was 9 or 10).  I remember it was gold, and it was embossed with some flourishes and the words "My Diary."  The key was tiny and silver-colored, and I kept it in my jewelry box. 

I loved writing in my little diary.  I remember tracking "important" things -- like what I ate for dinner, what I was going to buy with my allowance, why I hated Certain People at school, and how I wanted a dog.

It seemed pretty magical at the time.  I don't know what ever happened to that particular diary.  I know I kept writing in it - off and on - for several years.

A few years ago, I was going through some old boxes of junk at my parents' house, and I stumbled on to this . . .

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Gulp.

It's my journal from 1975!  I was 15 when I started writing in this journal; a sophomore in high school.  I gotta tell you. . . it is humbling - and slightly nauseating - to read what you wrote when you were 15.  Mortifying. . . yet compelling.  I mean, there I was -- raw and uncensored -- on the pages of 1975. 

What did I write?  Well.  Most of it, you just don't want to know. . . but,  I suppose . . . just what you'd expect to find in a 15-year-old's diary.  Lots of He Said-She-Said (to the point of actually documenting dialog).  Hopes.  Dreams.  Heart-wrenching life.  WAY too much about boys and cheerleading and swim meet results.  (Really.  WAY too much on the boys.)  Excruciating details about who-I-saw-where-and-what-they-said-and-what-that-probably-meant.  Real-life drama about learning-to-drive and daily updates about my summer job at the Dairy Queen. 

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Here, on Friday, June 6 (the last day of school), if you squint really hard (because I'm just too mortified to actually show the whole page. . .) you can see that I was having a "red-letter"-day --- because (a) I got my driver's license; (b) I got a job (DQ); and (c) "Kevin saw me drive."  Now, I don't remember the "Kevin" I was referring to ---- but it was, apparently, a Big Deal (a really Big Deal) that he saw me drive.

You might also see. . . if you work hard at it . . . that the rest of the entry is a list of the resolutions and goals I had for myself that summer.  Yeah.  I know.  #1 is "get a great tan" (and I did!).  I was 15.  And vain.  And most of the other goals are equally . . . trite.  But.  I also had goals about reading and sewing and working hard at my swimming and keeping up with my French.

Funny.

Sort of . . . like me. . . now.  (With the goals in general; not the back handsprings in particular.)

The other book in the photo above -- the one with the maroon cover -- is another type of journal I started when I was a senior in high school and continued through college.  It's not so much a journal. . . as a collection.  Of quotes and "sayings" and poems, song lyrics and doodles.

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I remember loving this "blank book" -- the first I had ever seen back in 1977.  No lines!  You could just . . . draw or write anything you wanted.  Free form!  I loved it!

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It is full of . . . all kinds of silly things.  And even though it's not a "journal" detailing the day-to-day of my life, I can look back on what I wrote and what I drew and remember who I was and what I was thinking.

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The most amazing things about looking at my journal from 1975 (once I get past the mortification) and my "quote collection" from my college years . . . is . . . how much like ME now. . . I was then.  How I used my journals - then - to work out frustrations; to test out new ideas; to think through goals and hopes and dreams; to record poems and quotes and ideas.  Just like I do now.

Some things change (thank god).  And some things . . . just don't!

Comments

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Marilyn

Aahh, the teenage years...we thought what was happening with us was the only thing happening. And that we could change the world...
On the other hand, the basic part of us never changed. It just matured!

Vicki

Oh, that is just fantastic! I burned all my HS journals in dad's wood stove when I was a senior.

"Kevin saw me drive." That is absolutely PRICELESS and makes me smile SO BIG. Love love love.

margene

You documented the feels of any grrl at that ripe young age. Boys were a big deal and caused many of our emotional ups and downs. Thank goodness we fleshed out and grew into the women we are now.

Carole

I love that you have these! I wrote in a diary as a kid and had one with a key, too, but I don't know what happened to it. I remember one journal I had - I think I was in the early years of high school - and it had a padded floral cover. I loved that thing!

Cookie

Whoever he was, that Kevin really missed out.

Oh, and I bought a little ring bound book the other day. I totally blame/credit you.

xo

Mary

LOVE that you have those early journals (that you journaled AND that you still have them!) what a great way to know the you who was! I don't really remember the younger me...but I wish I did - would love to know her now!

Pam

Oh my goodness! I had that exact diary in 1975 -- I turned 14 that year and though I wasn't as faithful a diarist as you were, it's more than full enough of things to make my grown-up self blush. I was a sensible kid, as kids go -- but oh, how foolish & boy-crazy I sound to myself now.

Donna

I wish I had my diaries from my teen years. I have no idea where that stuff ever went to. I'm sure it's filled with lots of boy-crazy entries as well.

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