Journal One: 1975-1976: Technically the author was 9-10 during that year span, but the entries include writings from ages 8-11
These are the first journal entries from a female, aged 8-11, growing up in the 1970s in Memphis, Tennessee. Two parent home, dog, upper middle income, white. Mother graduated high school. Father functionally illiterate with middle school level schooling. Father worked as general construction contractor running his own company. Mother stayed home during her children’s early childhood. The female writing this journal has one younger brother by two years. I will add punctuation and spelling for easy understanding, but will try to keep sentence structure in tact. At this age everyone is a horrible speller, so some translations may be inaccurate.
[Before the diary even begins, I’ve written on the flyleaf]:
I like truly Jeff C.! Teaca V.! Stephanie! Mike! John! Craig! Amy! Kathy! Cora! Karen! And Karen! Downing! Tony! Tina! Kim! Penny! Michele! Kelly! I forgot his name… Well, Treca and Tracy!
[On the name page I wrote]:
Tiffany P. ha
[with a star. I still remember being so proud when I learned how to draw a five-sided star.]
Right now I am eleven, but I am going back to say things about what I wrote when I was eight.
Tina [Boren] is a big fat bor hole.
I got in trouble for saying this: Tina Boring is a Bor hole.
[My eleven-year-old self wrote]
I did get in trouble for calling Tina Boren a Bore Hole. Well, she is. Tina B. has got body odor.
Craig [Tucker] is giving me more love looks every day!
[My eleven-year-old-self wrote]
I called them “love looks.” Huh.
[I either let someone else write in my diary, or I wrote it myself so I could put words into someone else’s mouth. It appears to be my handwriting; sounds like I’m using someone who impresses me to act like I impress her.]
I like Tiffany. She is very nice. I think she is pretty. She is the best girl in class. She never gets in trouble. By Kathy.
[Eleven year old Tiffany commented]
Kathy Marshall wrote that and I agree 100%. Haha
Feb. 13th, 1976
Valentine’s day. Mike T. gave me one that said, “Your tracks lead to my heart.” He’s lovely.
Mike Tankersley was cute. He doesn’t go to First Christian any more.
Mama’s birthday. I will get her a necklace.
[then I scratched it out. Underneath I just wrote]
I never did get her a necklace
[but I made fun of my 9 year old spelling by writing “leckles.”]
I sat by my grandmother in church this morning. Today is Easter. We are going to hunt Easter eggs at my grandmother’s house. We are going right now: 5 after 2!
Easters are always fun around my house. All our family gets together and hunts eggs.
April Fools day. School. I think Craig likes me. I have been on a diet. This night I ate bread and Keith was getting cereal. My brother was calling me scut. I just stared at that cereal.
[Eleven does not comment on an 8-9 year old being on a diet. It still appears totally normal. What I wrote was]:
I always get fooled on April Fool’s Day.
[The following I scratched out]:
I will get him a wallet.
Just look at how I used to write. Oh my!
Friday Tiffany asked me to spend the night with her and we had fun with each other. Love, Angie.
[In response I wrote]
Angie spent the night with me. We had fun.
Tomorrow is my boyfriend’s birthday. He will not have a party.
[Inside a heart I wrote]
This is Craig McNeese.
Today Mike and Craig paid no attention to me. I do not like that either!
I really got mad when they didn’t look at me! Naive!
We moved today. I moved to another Jeff C. Then Craig moved by me! Now I like that.
We moved desks in the classroom!
Friday I wrote Craig a note. I said “Do you love me?” He said yes! I like him.
Craig McNeese was so cute!
I was sick and didn’t go to school. But the day went fast.
Now that I am getting older it seems time goes by faster. Years are so short.
I hate this pen. Humm. Hey, Mike sat by me in school today. The other day, me and Keith and Kelly were playing Indians. Ha. This boy came by and I said, “Hi, boy.” He said “Hi, good looking.”
[Referring to the pen comment Eleven wrote]:
I couldn’t think of anything to write here.
[Then about the boy’s comment]:
See we get to sit by the teach some days. I sat by her today. I picked Craig to sit by me. He got up there and paid no attention to me and I’m the one that picked him. Shoot!
Kelly, Keith and I were having a fight with Ronny. He squeezed me too hard and I started to cry. But I did not cry just because he did that. I cried because I was going to tell him I was in God’s savior and he said, “Shut up, butt.”
[I wrote in three different colors three different things. I think I was trying to curse for some reason. I can make out “dam” a few times. Over the top of it I wrote]:
Cher was good!
My mother is in the hospital! Oh no!
[I do know my mom had a hysterectomy; perhaps this was the time.]
I got so sick and tired of Keith I cried! My mother still is not home from the hospital.
See, Kelly had a tent and she wanted me to come and spend the night with her. I said yes, yes, yes and then I said no. I am so dumb! Ten seconds later I want to go a little. Now see what I mean about dumb!
Didn’t you know we had two geese? We had them about 4 months. Every time they go out of the gate they almost get run over! And the boys chase them. They are going to die!
Oh, I guess I didn’t tell you about my geese? Well, we had two geese and I loved them so. My daddy had to take the geese to the Chickasaw Garden and are in the water now. And I have to wear glasses. I like it I guess.
We went to a farm! But there were no animals so all we could do was to sit and watch tv, but it was fun.
My dad knows almost everybody. He even knows the man who runs the ice cream place. He works for him. He gave us a snow cone free!
Keith likes Teresa so one night Keith said when I grow up I’m going to marry Teresa. I said, “What does N.O. spell?”
“No, but it doesn’t have any dots so I can.” And that same night he was eating ice cream. He said “Ice cream has sugar in it.” I went and asked my mother if it did and she said yes. Craig kissed me twice and Mike kissed me once.
Two days ago I went to see Donny Osmond and the Osmond Brothers. Donny did magic! I love him! Donny just turned around and he had flowers in his hands!
Now we have a mouse!
Kelly moved. I cried. She gave me a going away present.
My mom and I are going to see Barry Manilow in person this Sunday. Goody!
I saw Barry Manilow. He was great! He was greater than I thought he would be. Much greater.
My birthday! I finally had my birthday. Kim and Corie came over to spend the night. I got two necklaces, two sets of earrings, an earring holder and a radio.
My dad says he’s going to teach me how to juggle! I’ve already got the hang of it. Even seven dollars.
Today at school Craig stared at me and I stared back. That was a love look! Today at cheerleading they crowned the queen. It was Christy Sibly.
I have a boyfriend named Tim. I call him Timmy. He is on the Cowboys football team and I cheer for his team. He was chasing me and I tripped and he tripped right on me. It did not hurt because he landed on top of me. He felt so good!
[A line is drawn, then]:
Craig doesn’t like me any more. He likes Kathy. Yes, that little red head.
[Another person’s handwriting; Michele Mount]:
From Michele to Tiffany. Tim likes you very much because I asked him and he said yes. He asked Tiffany if she wanted him to escort her but she was very scared. She almost got him in her backyard but she didn’t because his father and Ricky came up in a truck. Michele and Tiffany had to hide in the bushes but Tim came back. We had him and Tim gave me a hit in the nose. Tim never hits Tiffany; never ever, ever because he loves her very much. Ricky takes up for me, not Tiffany, because Ricky hates Tiffany. Ricky is too old for Tiff. That is the truth.
[Back to my handwriting]:
Jimmy is so cute. He is just like a doll. You should see him.
[Back to M. Mount’s handwriting]:
Tiffany always dreams about Tim. She can’t stop it, either! They had a fight because Tiff said a joke about Tim getting run over so he got on his bike and took off. So did Ricky to see what was wrong. Ricky said that Tim was mad at Tiffany so she tried to get me to make up for her. I did, so Tim and Tiffany have been girlfriend and boyfriend ever since…until Christy came along. She thinks she is smart. True. True.
When Michele and Ricky and all of us get together Michele plays like she doesn’t like him. But like if they were together alone she would be nice and LOVE him. I know…true!!! I bet! I know Ricky likes Michele. I know. I know he smiles at her all the time! I see him when he smiles at her she even smiles back. I would too!
I just wrote a note to Santa. I believe in him. Do you? I asked for a lot of stuff!!! This year is almost over. I need a new diary!
[Then marked out]:
I will get him a go truck!
Christmas is here! We’ve been out of school for three days. We go back on the fifth! Santa brought me some nice things.
[There is a cash record at the back where I entered 85 cents and 25 cents.