Pages. Last January I had 326 pages in my journal. In order to tie that number, my goal every month, I have to add One hundred and twenty-one pages in the next five hours and thirty seven minutes. Pictures would help me go a long way. I’m just a little behind schedule. The four days spent with my sister, nephew, and niece-in-law only gives me forty potential pages. Books have been been my grindstone.
In some ways I was born before my time. Or maybe Murphy really is my father, which is why Murphy’s Law has followed me so closely. The year I turned 13, the town of Weston said that girls could now play Little League Baseball, but it only went up to twelve. On the other hand, I only had to deal with the stupid dress code of girls not being allowed to wear pants or shorts for one or two years.
When it came to writing, I fit in great in the sixty and seventies curriculum. Capture your imagination, be creative. Down with sentence diagramming. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t know the difference between a colon and a Cola. Punctuation can come later.
I learned quickly that the more bizarre my writing, the better my score, though Kingsley Weatherhead, the Oxford Man, didn’t like my paper about Virginia Woolf. In my paper, I had her walk out of the Willamette River while I was walking my dog Kahlua. She and I discussed her life and then she added some more rocks to her pockets and returned to the ocean. Come to think of it, he probably didn’t appreciate that I didn’t uses sources and I didn’t know copying word for word was plagiarism. It was a lot harder in my day to plagiarize. I had to write it or type it; there weren’t computers to copy and paste.
Maybe the strange stories I wrote for random and unrelated vocabulary words created my addiction to write or the journals I dabbled in was my downfall, but writing has been a steady variable in my life since roughly 1983. There have been a few times I have seriously thought about burning or shredding or burying the pages upon pages of handwritten or computer-written pages that have been stuffed in three-ring binders. I think I stopped printing my journal about five or six years ago. My five year sentence at the local military-style-school demonstrated that it’s hard to spit out pages when one is working more than eighty hours a week. I have tried to celebrate my liberation, but it only has haunted me as a failure.
As I reflect upon the spiral binder of Volume I of 1983 journal, I realize that my struggle in finding myself now is not that much different than when I was twenty-three-years-old. I’m fatter, have more wrinkles, still haven’t published anything, but I’m not really any closer to knowing what I want to do when I grow up.
I tell people that my purpose in moving from Boston to Eugene was to get my proverbial shit together. Maybe I thought that my journals were like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to find myself back home. Who was the author that said that you can’t go home again. Thomas Wolfe. I think that there are two district Thomas Wolfe’s to confuse things.
I was a bored security guard for the New England Medical Center when I started looking for clues on where my life would turn. I even pasted pennies. On June 10th, I found a penny on the dialysis floor; just two months earlier, that floor held up Methadone patients. The little color television sets and the comfy chairs were heaven. I no longer had to hunt down executive comfy chairs and couches for my naps. Watching Apocalypse Now in the middle of a sixteen hour shift was crazy.
I enjoy re-reading about running two miles around Fresh Pond with my dog Kahlua and Ed Byrnes. It’s impossible for me to not pause and think about what a great dog Kahlua was.
I was playing hide and go seek with my niece Kara Ruth Honthumb and Lisa, though I have to admit that I don’t have a clue who Lisa was. They never did figure out that my hiding spot was always in front of the Rose Bowl game where UCLA was beating Michigan.
It amazes me that I could lace up any old pair of sneakers and run two miles without much of a problem; today I lugged the yard debris bucket from one part of the yard to the drive, about five-yeards, and I was extremely winded. Two miles would have killed me.
In my journal, I am reminded of conversations from long ago that I had forgotten about. While I was in high school, and before that, I focused all of my time on hockey, soccer, and my dog. I didn’t have much use for humans and had built a fortress around me. Are all forts fortified?
I’m sent off to college and bam, I fall in love. Everyone is elated. Sort of. After babysitting my big sister’s kids, I get cornered by Barbara and my father and am presented with the question as to why I was a Lesbian. How do you know you don’t like men if you have never been with a man? My come back wasn’t immediate, but it was good. So, if I were dating a guy right now, you’d be asking me why I knew I was heterosexual if I had never been with a woman? They told me that I didn’t understand. Oh, I understood all too well. I understood that if I slept with women, I could no longer expect college to be paid for.
It took me over a year to finally “get” humans. My grades were going up and being in love for the very first time had me soaring. But those wings didn’t help me deal with the four hundred miles between Nancy and I. The soaring I was doing wasn’t being supported by wings after all. It was more like that of a balloon that was expelling all the hot air, including that irritating squeal. The flight was fast, furious, and ended in a crash. There’s nothing like the first love of my life to tell me that “I love you, but I’m no longer in love with you.”
I hated having to go to Northeastern University, but I was convinced that college was more important than anything and naive to think that the four hundred miles would only make our hearts grow stronger.
My 1983 journal demonstrates my struggle with the second love of my life. Sometimes the future Massachusetts State Trooper would be too drunk to come home or was too busy cheating on me. I had hopes that by documenting this experience that I’d never have to experience something like this again. That’s not how life works.
So, if I have so much written down, why can’t I remember when I moved to Eugene. I knew that softball season was over and we did drive into a slight snow storm. In May I was living on Royce Road in Allston, another thing piece of information that isn’t in the recall section of my brain.
Volume I has a few clues but no answers. I’ll have to dig up Volume II to see when I finally loaded up the Plymouth Volare to find myself or at least begin to find myself.