By Eilene Lyon
I would guess that most people who become writers have a journaling habit. My “daily” diaries are mostly compendiums of minutia, a way to remember what I did for all those countless yesterdays.
One’s first diary is special. I don’t recall who gave this to me for Christmas in 1972. Maybe my parents, perhaps some other relative. The first entry lists my gifts—except the diary. The very next day, I noted that former president Harry S. Truman died. Because the pages are pre-dated, the earliest entries are in the back. I managed to write for a week, then abandoned it until January 1, 1976.
Gilt glows from the edges of the lined pages. The padded cover feels substantial, but the lock is just a flimsy thing, easily infiltrated by pesky little-brother types. At least a third of the diary remains a tabula rasa.
My diaries exist in steno pads and bound notebooks of many varieties; this is the only one that was truly born to be a dairy. I never developed a daily habit. Entire years are absent from the record. In my younger days, the happier my life, the less inclined I was to write. My mood is less relevant today.
The possibility of forgetting my past is one motivation. Yet, it solves nothing. As my mother declined into dementia, she didn’t read her diaries—she threw them away. I would probably do the same. I don’t intend for them to survive me, or to ever be read by anyone else.
With this one exception.
The musings of a 14-year-old girl can be quite entertaining! A local (now defunct) social media company hosted a public reading for teen diaries. A dozen readers enthralled the full theater. I won first prize.
The content gets better as the diary progresses, but the first week will give you the flavor.
Thurs. January 1 ‘76
I decided once again to start writing in you. ’72 was a long time ago. I’m going horseback riding today. I hope to see Rolando there. I really blew it on Muluk on Tues. How embarressing! I just remembered, I have to pack for a youth retreat tomorrow. I have to get my allowance. I wish I had enough money to buy a lot of records but my brother has all of the good ones available. I might buy some singles though. I sure wish I could get Chavi to notice me. He isn’t really handsome but he is very nice.
My room is a mess. As soon as I get back from the retreat I am going to spend the next two days cleaning it up.
Fri. January 2
I don’t know if I will write in you on the 3rd or 4th. Today we arrived at camp. I met some nice people. Two of my better friends are Cathy + Joy. We wrote answers to some embarressing questions and then they read them. I left when they read mine. Our cabin got raided twice. Once by our counseler and once by one of the boys cabin. The raids will probably be worse. Boy, is today cold! We’re supposed to be able to swim after lunch but who want I didn’t get to go to horse back riding yesterday so I didn’t get to see Rolando. Shucks! Mark showed up at camp I didn’t think he would come. I hope no one sees this.
Sat. January 3
Today we didn’t do much. Our cabin only got raided once but not much was touched.
José + Peggy, Mr. Acuña, and Jean Haas gave their testimonies. They were really good.
I’ve been wondering things all day but no definite questions have come into my mind to put in the question box.
I’ve just found out that someone cares. I’m going to try hard to be a nicer person. I know this is a short entry but I’ve got to go. Suzanne was really nice tonight.
Sun January 4
Today was the best day so far at camp. Since Linda lent me her extra blanket I slept very comfortably. We really had good food all day. About the best in the camp. Mark sat by me in chapel but I guess that doesn’t mean any thing. I cried today because everything and everybody seemed against me. Rinda tried to comfort me but she’s one of my main problems. She’s nice, but she never pays attention to me in a nice way and when other people are around she’ll do anything to have people say nice things about her even if she has to be mean to her friends. I wish they would realize it. I’m sure she does.
Mon January 5
I didn’t get to write all I wanted yesterday. I found a verse yesterday during quiet time that is good for my problem. Luke 6:26. Yesterday Joy + Cathy broke my moms mirror. They paid for it though. Last night I slept in another cabin. I was so comfortable that I slept til 8:20 and missed breakfast like everyone else in my cabin (4). I wonder if Mark likes me. Sometimes he acts like it. I really am not the kind of girl to go steady. If I ever say yes to anyone I will have to really love him. Jan. 1974 Young Miss has a good story for it. I think I like Mark but I’m not sure. He’s too young for me any way. He’s not really my type.
Today has been pretty good until now. This morning Steve and I rode bikes downtown. First we went to Montufar then I went to Rinda and we went to Hardee’s for lunch. I stopped by my dad’s office for awhile. Horseback riding turned out pretty well today. Mosquetero is an awful horse. I can’t stand him. I wish I could ride Muluk again. Maybe in 7 mos. I saw Shiva I think. Rolando was there. Big deal! as if he would ever notice me. I try to do the best with what I have and I try to be nice but no one acknowledges my presence anymore. I had to practice my horn today. Oh if I could only give up the stupid thing. My family is so mean to me. Steven is the only one I like any more. P– always calls me a ‘bitch’ for no reason
I’m writing this on the eighth. I don’t really remember to much but I do know that my mom and I don’t get along to well at times. I remember when P– + I used to get into fight and we went to mom and she always said not to come to her with our arguments but now, who is the first one to butt in and break it up? I hope some mail comes for me. I can always use some. I finally played some of Steven’s new records. I wonder if I’ll see Rolando tomorrow. My hair never wants to stay put. It drives me crazy! I really have nothing more to say. So Adios
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