I got to visit with my dear friend, Gay, this morning, and while doing so made my stellar Black Velvet Aprisauce as well as a failed corn chowder. Darn! Four ears of fresh corn down the drain, literally, though I will say that made for the easiest cleaup and put away ever. I added way too much salt to the corn stock, and though I attempted to dilute it afterwards, such was not to be. I mean, how stubbornly salty can a broth be I ask you? Apparently incredibly so. Oversalted food is perhaps my least favorite fail. I hate bungling a dish, but so goes experimentation in the kitch. A few months ago when my Mom was here visiting, she brought some old treasures she found in our attic: my childhood copy of Where the Wild Things Are, some photographs, an article or two, my Disney World autograph book and two diaries. One, from the summer before 9th grade, is a small, teal-colored book with bears on the cover and a simple lock that was ludicrously easy to pick. I was disappointed to find just a few entries, but read them curiously and gathered I was fairly boy-crazy and proud to have learned the Hammer, Roger Rabbit, Skankin and New Wave dances at a summer camp in Natchitoches, LA. Oh.my.god. What, pray tell, is the Skankin?
I hoped for more in the second journal, a red and white book, also locked and also with a bear on its cover (WTF with the bears), and was thrilled to find it a gold mine. Each page is dated, running from January 1 - December 31, 1986, which covers the second half of my fourth grade year, that summer, and the fall of my fifth grade year. I read the whole thing in bed a few nights back and was laughing so hysterically I thought I'd wake the boys.
Though I switched schools for fifth grade, in fourth I was still a student at Episcopal Day School (EDS) where I'd gone since kindergarten. Apparently, our fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Emily Alexander (who I remember loving, although my diary tells me this was not always true), gave out a Citizen of the Day or Week Button with which I was obsessed. A good 50% of my entries between January and May involve who received the button, how hard I wanted to get the button EVERY time and if I didn't, my thoughts on why and how I'd get it the next go round. This button was a giant black and yellow aluminum thing with a pin on the back, and I do remember clipping it to my jumper (we wore maroon plaid uniforms at EDS) proudly when I did receive it. I must have been like Hermione Granger crossed with TracyFlick.
```` Oh my god, Nutmeg just puked on the kids' art table and on one of Jack's pokeballs. Thank god J was NOT home to witness that blasphemous act. ````
Anyway, Hermione Flick here seemed to have at best ambivalent feelings about school itself, "hating" it a good bit of the time if my loopy handwriting is to be believed. I was super excited about the RCA Tape Club. Do y'all remember that? You could "buy" 8 tapes for a penny if you then bought one at full price or something. Anyway, those arrived in February. I got the Citizen Button a few times, wrote down random shit like what kind of birthday party my sister had (a pony party), how many Jaguars and Porsches I saw one day (2; 1), mourned the deaths of Luther and Carmen (my goldfish), who else got the Button, when I got motion sick going to Melrose Plantation and threw up, and so forth.
Looking back, I read like a hot mess of triviality. It's hilariously embarrassing but also a reminder of just how real and serious things can feel in the moment and in a developmental period. I think it's important to realize that because although I do laugh at the kids when they go apeshit about something ridiculous (For ex: Oliver cried rivers of tears in a variety store last Friday because I refused to buy him a small, tweed, pleather purse for $10.99; I laughed a bit because seriously, people. For one, he already has several purses, and secondly, this was such a shittily made little bag with no functionality whatsoever, and third, I was already buying Silly String.), it's also important to take seriously what they take seriously (that's actually reasonably serious and worth taking seriously).
Other notes from '86: The Bears trounced the Patriots in the Super Bowl, 44-10. And the Challenger exploded. Weird to see that written out when I have no memory of experiencing it then but of course "remember" now because of history learned.