Sunday, July 18, 2010

Diary From 1968

In 1968 I was finishing 7th grade at my local Parochial school that went from 1st to 8th grade. In the fall of 1968 I went to an advanced 8th grade class at a Catholic High School.

During the last half of 7th grade, I used a Peanuts calendar to keep a daily diary. Reading this is both embarrassing and very very funny. If a boy looked at me for 30 seconds, I absolutely LOVED him. I read Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart romances and got all my ideas about relationships with men from them. Not good, really. There are a few memories that are quite vague - and I wondered if they really happened, but I wrote about them in this calendar, so they did happen. One event was that my father passed out in the kitchen one morning. All I wrote was that "Dad went unconscious this morning! My God!" After that it was all Dennis O'Sullivan again and how I knew he liked me, but then again he liked some other girl and I was broken hearted, etc. etc. ad nauseum. I asked my mother about what happened to my father that day not too long ago and she barely remembered it. He was fine after that, but I know he was going through some mental issues and, come to think of it, his mother (my Nana) had passed away the previous summer. I'm sure that must have hit him very hard. She wasn't ill - she died of a heart attack in a diner over breakfast. Want to hear something silly? Last summer I visited my sister in New York State and we went up to Saratoga Springs, where my father was born. The diner - The Saratogian - is still there and still doing business. My sister and I had breakfast there and talked about Nana and Grandpa (a more dysfunctional couple would be very hard to find). It was odd to eat breakfast in the same diner where, 42 years earlier, my grandmother had passed away. She had a weak heart because of childhood Scarlet Fever and my grandfather did not make things easier for her.

Anywho, back to the diary-calendar. My sister, Nancy came home from college frequently and when she did, she shared my room. I hated it when she came home and couldn't wait for her to leave. Nice. The funniest entry in the calendar? In February, 1968, I went over to a friend's house. This is the entry for that date:

"I went over to MP's today after school. We jumped up and down on her bed, made gloppy hamburger, turned out the lights in the house when it got dark and ran in and out of the house. What fun!!"

This is what we did before electronic games and computers. Obviously her parents were not home. It gets dark early in February in upstate New York - around 4:30pm to 5pm, so her parents just weren't home from work yet and we had the run of the house to ourselves. I actually remember that visit. I remember that MP kept moving often. This was a rental house that is no longer there. Next, she moved to a very old house on a dirt road in the boonies. It was wonderful!! They owned that house. It had a secret door in the paneling in the dining room. We surmised that it was probably used for the Underground Railroad, since the house was built in the early 1800's. The visit in February of 1968 at the rental house was interesting in that we could not figure out how to cook noodles. We tried putting them in a pan and letting the pan get hot, but added no water. Obviously that did not work. I was 12 years old and was totally clueless in oh, so many ways.

My mother and father were both teachers and they were always very involved in their own lives. Looking back, I realize they paid very little attention to us at all. The world was a safer place in the little town I grew up in, but I was hopelessly boy crazy and I sure needed guidance. It does help me to see a bit clearer how I got from there to here, so many years later.

And reading my past exciting 12 year old life is pretty darn funny, except when I'm panting over Dennis or Mike or Pete.......geez, I'd like to go back and have a talk with that silly girl!!


Unknown said...

First, I do remember dad passing out on the kitchen floor - there was a huge boom! and we all went rushing down - mom got there first somehow. . . He was alright.
Second, the Saratoga newspaper is 'The Saratogian'. The diner is 'The Saratoga Diner'.

Susan Humeston said...

Sheesh!! Picky, Picky.....