An overdue visit with my dear-old diary
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
One great aspect of going home for the holidays is rediscovering my childhood.
Luckily my brother has quit trying to lock me in the toy box.
Like me, my mother loves to keep relics from the past. Stored in cardboard boxes, “junk” is what my dad lovingly calls the stuff I don’t have the heart to donate to a landfill.
Folded notes passed in a crowded middle-school hallway. Worn-out stuffed animals that acted as students when I played school. A ruffled teal prom dress worthy of a cheesy teen movie.
One man’s junk is another woman’s treasure.
Technically, I should be storing all this stuff in a closet of my own. But the process of reclaiming all this treasure after moving cross-country has been as slow as my reaching puberty. So my mom continues to stash it in an unused bedroom.
We at least made it through two boxes this holiday visit.
One of the boxes included a piece of memorabilia once hidden from my brother in my sock and underwear drawer. It was a simple gift from my mom who wrote, “To April, on the first day of school 1983. A book for your thoughts. Love, Mom.”
My diary. A sixth-grade girl’s best friend forever.
And good for a few laughs 25 years later.
The night we decided to reopen the vaults of my pre-pubescent mind, my friend Megan, my mom and I were enjoying a little holiday cheer a few nights before Christmas.
We never laughed so hard at my expense.
That might be a stretch.
The Chronicles of April start on Aug. 23, 1983. The first day of school. I mention that the day turned out better than I expected. A male classmate spent the day calling me “Shortcake” and “Strawberry.”
Cat-calling for middle-schoolers in the ’80s.
I refer to another classmate as my boyfriend. Not exactly accurate.
“We’re really not going with each other or anything,” I wrote. “I like him but he doesn’t have the courage to ask me to go with him.”
A little presumptuous, I’d say.
The following day my orthodontist put in spacers as a precursor to the dreaded middle-school brace-face experience.
“I picked one out and one popped out on its own,” I reported. “My mom doesn’t believe that story … Mean.”
Mom’s always get the raw end of the deal.
I presume she always knew the truth.
Many of the entries are indicative of how my future would unfold. I correct my own spelling errors. I admit to being boy crazy. I fret about my hair.
“About Tommy, I kinda like him but I’m not as crazy about him as I was around Christmas and the first of January,” I write on Jan. 27, 1984. “I really don’t know who I like … Who knows!”
Sounds like dating in my thirties.
The topic changes as quickly as corn on the cob getting stuck in my braces.
“I think I’m going to get a perm (I hope!),” I said. “That will help my appearance a lot.”
Ahh the magic of the permanent wave. You too can be popular with the addition of curls.
I promptly jump to the man whose mug covered the walls of my pink-hued, pre-teen bedroom. I now know why I’m so addicted to pop culture.
“I’m a Michael Jackson fanatic!” I exclaim, which I apparently can’t stop doing throughout this particular diary entry. “I just love him! He’s so foxy. I’m really serious. When I mention his name I just call him Michael! Gotta go! Bye! P.S. ” I’m tired!”
Who knew Michael Jackson and I were on a first-name basis?
The white diary with the green leprechaun and four-leaf clover on the cover didn’t last long. I’m guessing that had something to do with my brother always stealing it. I can’t imagine why. It was so cleverly hidden in my sock and underwear drawer.
I still can’t hide my feelings well.
My last entry of the unfinished diary is on Feb. 22, 1984, or “84” as I put it. That must have been the cool year. I may have known that was the end because I signed it with my first and last name. Raging hormones continue to blaze off the pages like Michael Jackson’s hair during the making of a Pepsi commercial.
There’s a new boy in my life. This time a neighbor of one of my girlfriends.
“He’s a fox,” I wrote. “He has blond hair and he’s got a perfect figure.”
Who says that?
Apparently me in my diary I hoped no one would ever read. Especially my brother.
I was always too presumptuous.
April E. Clark is still trying to figure out why she would say a guy she liked had a perfect figure. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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