Thursday, March 11, 2010

today is thursday

Before I dive in to my fourth grade journal, I need to share some background so you can better understand what you are about to read. When I think back on my childhood, one of my most vivid memories was my love of horses.

I think my obsession with the equine species began when I visited my Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill in South Carolina. They lived out in the country and in their backyard was a barn and spacious pasture. So whenever I would go down south to visit from Massachusetts, I'd spend the better part of my days running through lush green fields of grass and wild onion.

Down the beautiful country road from my Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill, lived a little girl who was the same age as me. Her name was Rebecca and her family had a cattle ranch that covered a few hundred acres. There were huge pastures with horses and cows, ponds and forests.

Whenever I'd visit from Massachusetts, Auntie would take me to Rebecca's house so we could play. My first memory of her is that she had her very own PONY. A little brown speckled thing with a gorgeous mane and a tiny western saddle, that she'd ride up and down her long driveway.

Rebecca's family also had a swimming pool. And a barn that was filled to the rafters with hay, perfect for jumping around in. They had dogs and cats and whatever you can imagine that would make a child happy. Going to her house was like paradise lost.

It was the summer of 1979 that I was on vacation in South Carolina, with my sister Eileen, when we heard the news that my mother and brother Wally, would be joining us. What we, nor anyone knew at the time, was that my mother would never return to Massachusetts. So I attended third grade at a parochial school in South Carolina and my friendship with Rebecca grew even stronger. Many a Friday, I'd spend the night at her house. Since we were both in gymnastics (she was always much better than me), we'd crank up the soundtrack to "Grease" and spend hours practicing our routines.

My routine was set to "Hound Dog" and her routine was set to "Hand Jive."

How low can you go?

How low can you go?

How low can you go?

The following year, 1980, I returned to live with my father and attended fourth grade in Massachusetts. What you are about to read, is a journal from that time in my life.

Notice the cover?


Every day during my fourth grade year, I attended an after school program that was at the "Harvey Wheeler" community center. As you can see, even at the tender age of nine, I had some impressive physical goals slated for myself. That afternoon, once I got home from Harvey Wheeler (which typically wouldn't be until at least 6 PM), I was going to go horse back riding to the club.

Club? What Club?

And then, I was going to swim 120 laps and do gymnastics and play, then bike ride and play basketball. I loved ice cream sundaes then, as much as I do now. It's raining it's pouring. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but then later, I'm going to Harvey Wheeler and then my best friend Rebecca is coming over. Which isn't entirely consistent with what I said in the first part of the entry but, OK.

The teacher is unfazed by my busy day and I get a CHECK!


I thought it would be useful if I inserted a photo of me and my buddy, Rebecca, here. I'm the one on the left that is standing on a parking barricade and pretending it's a balance beam. I also use to do cartwheels and round-offs down the aisles at grocery stores. Whenever I go to the grocery store with my children, and they start to annoy me, I just think of how awful I must have been to shop with when I was going through my gymnastics craze.

And yet, I STILL survived to adulthood. A hearty thanks to family members who chose not to choke me in the freezer section.


No day would be complete without Harvey Wheeler, ballet and gymnastics.

(The only truth in this entry is Harvey Wheeler.)


Today, after Harvey Wheeler, I'm going to take a break from my world of sports delusion and spend some time with my pumpicin. Which I assume is a pumpkin, based on the fact this was written in October?

Also, it is duly noted that I've hit a growth spurt and need new pants.

Although I've done it before, I feel compelled to thank my sister, Beth, a million times over, for looking after me the year that I was living in Massachusetts. Beth is 10 years my senior and bought me new clothes. She always took good care of me. And still does.


Today, sadly, I forgot the slip I needed to have my fourth grade picture taken. But on the upside, it was Friday and after Harvey Wheeler, I get to go home and exercise, and then study, and THEN, watch the Dukes of Hazard.

Also known as the Duks of Hazerd.


It really is too bad I missed my fourth grade school portrait. But I looked like something between this, me wearing my Catholic uniform in 3rd Grade...


And this, in 5th Grade. Something was obviously making me laugh. Or cry. I'm honestly not sure what that expression is supposed to represent?


This next entry further illustrates the delusion that was abound in my world. What's funny is that I never even TOOK gymnastics when I was in Massachusetts. Granted, my father did buy me a gymnastics mat for Christmas, but he made me keep it in the cold basement because he was convinced my tumbling passes were causing the walls to crack in the main part of the house. My father has a BIG issue with his things getting hurt.

Of course, if I'd known then what I know now, I would have told my father, "Dad, LOOK, the reason the walls are cracking is because you didn't do a geotechnical evaluation and either the ground wasn't compacted correctly prior to construction, OR, your foundation is settling. It's not physically possible for a 50-pound child doing handstands to crack the walls in a house. Unless, she has a sledgehammer held firmly between her feet."

Still, it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized all of this. So whenever I'd do a cartwheel on the sly, I'd hold my breath while waiting for the house to break in two. Also noted during this entry, "I will learn to do half flips and spin quin tin."

Spin Quin Tin?

Whatever the heck that is, it certainly does sound impressive and quite likely to knock a structure clear off it's foundation. I'd like to highlight that 24 years later on this very date, I would be the mother of 1-day old triplets. Which kind of did put my whole world in a spin quin tin. (Assuming such a word even existed.)


This is just hilarious because I'm getting bored with the whole journal thing. Also, my propensity to tell a fib is still evident, seeing as my big sister just had a baby on October 23. Unless I'm failing to account for one of my nieces or nephews, I can't think of anyone born in October, except our own children.

Maybe I was looking for my teacher to ACKNOWLEDGE me? Instead, all I get is a flippant check for all my efforts at gymnastics, ballet, horse back riding, swimming, exercising, basketball playing, and now, aunthood.


For anyone suffering from writer's block, let me offer this tip: If you can't think of anything to put down, just toss out there what day of the week it is.

"Today is Tuesday."



Or, you could just start counting down the days to your next vacation.

Fourteen days...




Whatever you do, make sure you don't say something you might later regret.

Here it looks like I'm about to tell this journal what I think of it.

Thankfully, I stopped myself just in time.

Apparently the letter "F" doesn't warrant a check?


And then on February 26, we're going to the pit to watch some black people dance. If I remember correctly, we saw children from Boston that were incredible jump ropers. Or maybe it was a Swahili tribe. I'm a bit perplexed.

My last journal entry indicates that the next day is my sister Beth's birthday. I've also recorded that I'll have to wait seven more weeks to see my mother. It's worthy to note that the next time I saw my mother, it was during a trip to South Carolina. She tried to put me on a plane to fly back to Massachusetts, but I dug my heels in and stayed.

Soon, I'll post a letter that my mother wrote to Dear Abby when I was a terrific teenager. I suspect that if my mom had ANY inkling as to what was coming down the pipe with me, she would have called in some heavy artillery to get me on that plane.


Last but not least...

Here's a photograph of me from the fourth grade.


This picture was snapped off on field day. Now, seeing as I was such an avid athlete with an obsession in ballet and gymnastics and basketball and running and bike riding and horseback riding, don't you think I would have been wearing sports apparel, or at least a more appropriate SHOE, so I could competitively participate in the 50 or 100 yard dash?

Potato sack race?



Nah. I'm sitting on a blanket, in my lovely sundress and sandals. Yawning.

Indisputable evidence that I've always had delusions of grandeur.


  1. You are so brave for posting those pictures of yourself as a child. I am loving these journal posts. They are hysterical

  2. That's too funny!


  3. Ah I remember it so well. You forgot entertaining Uncle Ed with your twists and flops, you made a mistake and said"Oh no I have to start all over again." He said "oh no!! not again" You were a complete joy Jenny, should have remembered the walls cracking, Uncle Bill would have cracked up over that one. Besides any thing else, you WOULD NOT GET ON THAT PLANE. I am so glad you didn't.

  4. Those are great! So good that they have been kept all these years! As if it weren't enough that people thought you and EMILY were sisters... That picture of you in 3rd grade makes Diana looks like your blond twin. Family genes are utterly amazing! Can't wait to see you guys!

  5. I am so glad that you were wise enough to tell me "I am sick of hearing about YOU being divorced---I am a divorced kid and I am not going back--I am with you."
    You were a very bright little girl and I am so glad that you were my Only child for awhile. You have been a pleasure to me and I love you.

  6. Not sure why but this one brought a few tears. I'm so glad you stayed... Have you completed the turn(s) on the monkey bars yet? ;-) Marg.

  7. You were right to stay in SC after all those afternoons at Harvey Wheeler! They didn't sound like much fun.

    My mom even went to school there!

  8. No. MARGARET. I haven't completed THE TURNS ON THE MONKEY BARS YET.

    But thanks for asking.

    I miss you and think you need to bring the family to California for a vacation soon. We could go to Legoland again. And the beach. And the Zoo. And Seaworld. And maybe run a marathon.

    Or rather than that last thing, hang out pool side and drink margaritas.

    What say ye?

  9. My sister worked at Harvey Wheeler. I don't remember the years she was there, but those check marks could be hers. Isn't that a small world?
    Was that field day photo taken at Emerson Field?
    I was thinking the same as Marg about the monkey bar challenge.

  10. I sure do hope we see more of the "Fourth Grade Journal". There's GOTTA be more! :D

    ~Cindy! :)