The Things I have in Common with David Sedaris. One, we both keep a journal. I don’t know if he keeps one anymore; I suspect so. I’m reading his book, Theft by Finding Diaries 1977-2002. Okay, so he doesn’t call his journals diaries and I don’t call my journals diaries. Semantics.
Two. We were in Ithaca, New York at the same time. David’s four years older than me, so I was just a floundering Sophomore at Ithaca College and he was on his way somewhere, flitting all over the country.
Three. Oregon connections. It’s too early into Theft by Finding if he has ever been to Eugene, Oregon or if he was here when I moved here in the 1980s; I have to look up in my journals when I moved here every time I want to know. I don’t know why dates don’t seem to stick. Some do. Not many. My mom’s death in November 1972, the night Richard Nixon was re-elected has been a date I wish I could forget. May 1988 I was diagnosed with cancer. October 2017 Sylvia and I got married. That’s about all that I remember.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m a pack rat as my journals go back to when I wasn’t even five. I’ve written about this before, though not many people read that blog, though chances are not many people will read this one, but that’s not stopped me yet. I have some of my school records. Mrs. Parker from nursery school kept excellent record of my development.
I have an award from the Rosamond Freeman Room of the Weston Public Library from 1968.
I don’t remember much of the old Weston Public Library except you had to be a certain age or perhaps parents permission to get an adult library card; the adult section was upstairs; it seemed darker upstairs, more serious, and definitely creakier. You couldn’t walk anywhere without the floor boards giving your location away. The children’s section was friendly, especially when Maddy Wetmore took over of the department. Of course, she being my mother’s best friend, and the Godmother of one of my sisters, I was a bit biased.
In my collection of journal-oriented stuff, I have letters. I probably have every single letter and card that anyone ever sent me. It’s a good thing that people are rather pathetic about writing letters and cards, especially in the good old days when the computer wasn’t around; people didn’t write. For a few years or so I was so compulsive, I kept lists of the letters I wrote and for family and some friends, I wrote on a monthly basis regardless of whether someone wrote me back. Hell, if I waited to reply to letters, I’d have nothing to write.
Now my compulsion has shifted over to emails. Oh, I save those too. Yes, I have probably every single email that anyone has sent to me. It’s a good thing that I no longer print my journals written on a computer as I would have three hundred pages a month, mostly comprised of emails.
I enjoy flipping around the early three-ring notebook of things collected from my childhood. I have a letter from July 4, 1969 from my big sister Barbara. She called me Monster back then. In her letter she gives me a hard time for not wanting to take swimming lessons. I don’t think it was the swimming part that caused me to not want to take the lessons, but the pool. The Weston Public Pool looked more like a pond than a pool. You couldn’t see the bottom. I heard horror stories of bodies being on the bottom. I think there were rocks. Why would I want to go there when my family had our own pool. Now if they had offered me private swimming lessons in my own pool, I may have jumped at the chance. She asks me about my gerbils and wants to know if Shooting Star had bitten me recently.
I also had a gerbil named Charlie; on Christmas Day Charlie gave birth to babies; little tiny squirming erasers. When I brought my mom into my room to show her my first litter, they were gone. Prior to finding the babies, I had been taking pictures of my cousins Don Jr. and Stevie, and the flash must have startled the gerbils. I remember hearing one of them thumping out a warning, telling the Clan that they had to flee. Perhaps going from one side of the aquarium to the other would be a safe enough distance or perhaps they hid in the various tubes. But before they could escape, they had to dispose of the babies. I learned quickly that Gerbils aren’t so nice to each other and would eat each other. Some just lost legs. Many lost their tails, but that’s their natural quick escape tactics; just leave the enemy with a tuft of tail in their mouth; the tail was long enough, they didn’t seem to care.
Did you know that a group of mice and rats are called a mischief? Maybe they can’t be a pack because there are specific rats called Pack Rats and that would be confusing.
When I was nine, I was in the play Kiss Me Kate. My Godmother Jody Wetmore was the director. I was listed in the category of Chorus and Dancers. The only other name I recognized was Lee Drummond. I think Lee was my sister Deb’s age.
The downside of re-reading my journals is thinking about the people I have known. I’m now thinking about Maddy, Uncle Ink, and Jody. I can’t remember when they died. I’m sure I have it written down somewhere.