Journal 1977 (Age 11)

Journal 2  1977  Ten years old

[On the inside cover is written]:

To: A great friend of mine. From Penny Banks

[I also wrote the years]:

From 1977-1981

[There were two hand-written separate notes in the front. The first one reads]:

August 5-7. Dear Diary

Mom, Dad, Keith and I went on our vacation to Dogpatch, Silver Dollar City and Bull Shoals. It was really fun too!! We went about 200 miles to Dogpatch and we did a lot of walking! We rode a few rides and went to their shows they had. There was an ice skating rink there too, but we didn’t get to skate. We stayed at a motel. Keith and I went swimming and I slept well.

 So on the 6th we were going to head on for Silver Dollar City. It was very pretty there and we went on a boat ride through a cave. And another thing was a house you could go through and in some rooms everything would be upside down and in another room it would be tilted. It was fun there too.

 Then when we were going out to eat we found a ride called “Water Chute” and you got on your bathing suit and got a mat. Then you would climb on your mat and slide down the slide and at the end you would fall in a big pool! It was so fun, and I’ve never done anything like that before.

 Then the next day we went to Bull Shoals to visit some of my dad’s friends. We stayed there half a day and then we headed for home and I just got back!!

August 7th, 1977     Tiffany Lynn Parish      Age 10 and a half     Birthday November 21.

[This is the content of the second note]:

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley died of a heart attack Tuesday, August 16, 1977. He will be buried next to his mother. Elvis: 1938-1977. He was the rock and roll king and all who knew him will never forget him. Elvis Presley. Buried Wednesday, August 17, 1977. The rock and roll King of the world.

[What I remember regarding the note above is that I was watching The Young and the Restless as was my normal routine. The show was interrupted by a news man telling us of Elvis’s death. One could not grow up in Memphis back in those days without somehow knowing about or being affiliated with Elvis. My dad had memories of him as a child in grade school. They thought he was faye because he combed his hair differently and he played guitar. As dad tells it, when they noticed the girls were interested in Elvis they began to throw rocks at him so he wouldn’t hang around the running track or football practice. Dad also remembers the first time Elvis played at the Levitt Shell. Some of the kids thought he was so outrageous that they simply didn’t understand it. Nonetheless, besides seeing Elvis on tv from time to time, he had no real impact on my life, yet when I heard the news of his death I began to cry. I’m not sure why, but it was immediate and pretty intense. I mean, I still remember it forty years later. Perhaps it had something to do with a piece of my Memphis story that had been there all my life and had suddenly died. It was no more. It was like Memphis itself had changed. Ever since then Memphis has hosted “Elvis Death Week” which is a big thing. I’ve toured the mansion once and never had a desire to go again. It’s one of those touristy things that locals usually don’t do.]

[At the front of the journal there were also two folded and faded articles; one from a newspaper and one from a magazine. The newspaper article had a picture of the rock/pop band Styx and the title was: Styx picks up belated sales steam. The band was going to play the Mid-South Coliseum that Friday night. The article was about their album picking up steam two years later on the power of the hit single “Lady.” Styx has always been one of my favorite bands. The magazine article was written by Judi Marks and was called “Dear Diary: Putting Your Life Into Words. She gives rules on what to write, why to write, when to write and where to keep it. This article came from ‘Teen magazine, November 1981.]

[This diary tries to fit too much into too small a space. Each day’s entry consists of four short lines.]

Jan. 1, 1977

Back in school again! All my friends are in my class–and I made some new ones!

Jan. 2

Second day of school was great. Teacher Miss Blossom. She’s nice!

Jan. 3

Just having a ball!

Jan. 4

Craig Tucker is starting to like me again!

Jan. 5

Nothing much.

Jan. 6

Anna Conlee is my pen pal–it’s fun!

Jan. 7

I haven’t been using this diary that much and I forgot what happened!

Jan. 11

Oh–Michele moved thank God!

[I don’t remember much about Michele Mount. I know she lived on the corner or next to the corner house up to Given and left…at the far end next to Kelly Hood. She must have been older because she was writing cursive when I could barely spell. We were both cheerleaders for the Cowboys at Gaisman Park. She was bossy. One day while she was over at the house we were playing school on the back porch where my dad had set up a chalk board. Michele, maybe by accident, broke something of my mom’s, maybe a ceramic something. Later it seemed she broke something else and I issued a warning: If you break anything else I’m going to slap you. Well, she did it on purpose! She took a brand new piece of chalk–something I valued–and deliberately broke it in front of me. I hauled off and slapped her open-handed across the face as hard as I could. She left in a hurry. I think the best part was my dad coming to see what happened because he’d heard the pop all the way from the garage. What a slap!]

Jan. 13

My new nickname is Panda.

[That I christened myself…because they were so cute.]

Jan. 14

Kathy Marshall is my best friend.

Jan. 15

Doug loves me and Craig don’t. No, that was in December!

Jan. 16

Now Craig T. and Doug Young love me–end up fighting!

Jan. 17

Doug hates my guts.

Jan. 18

Doug likes me as a friend and Craig loves me.

Jan. 19

In December Doug got me a present of candy and a bean bag frog with our school colors.

Jan. 20

I’m a cheerleader and he’s a basketball player.

Jan. 21

We won the game against Gaisman 28 to 8!

Jan. 22

Miss Blossom quit. She might get married. She’s going to live with her boyfriend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jan. 24

The sub was horrible and mean.

Jan. 25

Sub nicer.

Jan. 26

New sub from Scotland. Very nice!

Jan. 27

Old sub nicer. Much nicer.

Jan. 28

We had a game against Morixe school. They beat us 38 to 14. It was a good game!

Jan. 29

We beat Gaisman 25 to 4. Easy!

Jan. 30

Pass the time away!

Jan. 31

We played Gaisman again and we beat them 28 to 4.

Feb. 2

I am so hoarse I might be getting a little sick, but I hope not.

Feb. 3

I am still hoarse.

Feb. 4


Feb. 5

We will have a game soon.

Feb. 6

They beat us again. St. Dominic 32 to 13. Too bad. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Feb. 7

I had the flu but it is gone. Craig and Doug are sick with flu. It’s going around.

Feb. 9

Craig and Jamie called me today.

Feb. 10

Me and Kathy Marshall had a big fight today, but we made up. We have a game tomorrow.

Feb. 12

We lost our game. They were better than St. Dominic too! Too bad.

Feb. 13

We might not have any more games.

Feb. 14

Jamie Manley gave me a carnation and a card. Craig didn’t get me anything.

Feb. 15

I had a headache all day long. I’m having them every day.

Feb. 16

Today on tv a lady had a real birth. And a girl did too. I can’t wait til I have one too.

Feb. 17

Kathy Marshall broke up with Bill and Tina Boren broke up with Terry Logan.

Feb. 18

Craig said I love you and he is taking me to the banquet. I went to the movies with Penny and Kathy.

Feb. 19

I told Jamie that I wasn’t going with him and he was so mad and jealous.

Feb. 20

I played basketball with Penny Banks. It was a regular Sunday. I went to Sunday school.

Feb. 21

Jamie called.

Feb. 22

Jamie asked me to go to the park with him but I had company. Too bad.

Feb. 23

Tomorrow night our school is going skating. I’m not in the mood for this!

Feb. 24

The skating party was great! I really enjoy skating parties for our school.

Feb. 25

I went to see Barry Manilow and he is so great! I loved it.

Feb. 26

I shot some baskets with Kathy today. I’ll bet Kathy and I and other girls could make a team!!

Feb. 27

I went to see Freaky Friday and it was so funny.

Feb. 28

Nothing much happened today.

March 1

Craig and Jamie gave me a letter; both love letters! I think I am lucky to be so pretty.

March 2

Craig called. Barry Manilow had a special on tv.

March 3

I got a note from Craig. True love.

March 5

Keith, Penny and I went to Skateland today.

Mach 6

I went to Sunday school. It was a beautiful day. Penny and I had fun playing.

March 7

Today was a pretty day. Jamie called me too.

March 8

I get fitted for my brace tomorrow.

[In my grade school they had certain health checks. One year I was to bend over as the nurse ran his/her fingers down my spine. They found a curvature. From there it was discovered that I had scoliosis. Once it was confirmed, I was fitted for a back brace. They told me that they caught it early enough that I could wear it only at night. How horrid would it have been for me to have to wear it all the time? As one can see, I am already quite invested in my looks garnering the attention of the cute males in my orbit. What illusions would my back brace have shattered? We also see, at least from this child’s point of view, the ease of access I had to healthcare. The health screening at school was free, but any follow-up care was the bill of our family. You can see that after a problem was discovered, my family was able to locate and afford the correct type of doctor for my condition. There was no question or impediments to this being done.]

March 9

Craig and Jamie called me today. My brace is so tight it’s like your skin. It is horrible!!!

March 10

Holiday on Ice was great! I really loved it! Every part!

March 11

I spent the night with Kathy Marshall last night. It was fun.

March 12

Me and Kathy Marshall made a club; it’s name is The Shakes.

March 13

I went over to Kathy’s house to fix up the club. I saw Anthony there too.

March 14

Today I wore my new gauchos and new shirt. I love new clothes.

March 15

Today I wore my new halter dress. Miss Mel. said “You’re already sexy enough!”

[I don’t remember Miss Melanson, but telling a ten-year-old she’s sexy? Weird. Not only that, my ten year old self was already conditioned to take “being sexy” as a compliment from an adult. Imagine what that means.]

March 16

I am getting my brace tomorrow.

March 17

I hate my back brace. It’s so uncomfortable.

March 18

We are making a club at Julie’s.

March 19

The club is looking neat.

[Clubs and clubhouses are a classic kid pastime. Trying to find and create a space of one’s own was always very strong within me.]

March 20

The club is so neat. I love it. It’s called The Thing. I named it.

March 21

I couldn’t sleep with my brace on. I’m getting sick. All night was a nightmare.

March 22

Today I am home from school. I wish I was at school. I didn’t get a wink of sleep.

March 23

Today I went to school but I sure was sick last night. That was weird.

March 24

We are going to have a Gong Show in class pretty soon.

March 25

We are going to have an election for class president and secretary. I’m running for secretary.

[I wonder what kept me from running for president?]

March 26

Kathy Marshall spent the night with me. We had a lot of fun. We went skating.

March 27

Today was an okay day. Ya know, nothing exciting happened, but it wasn’t dull either.

March 28

Today I was picked as class secretary. And it was Momma’s birthday.

March 29

Mama really liked her present. I’m glad.

April 1

I haven’t been writing because there has been too much to do!!! April Fools!!!!

April 2

Saturday. I went skating and I had someone to skate with every couples. I met this guy named Chuck. He asked for my number.

April 3

Sunday. I was coughing all day today. I am pretty sick. I have medicine too. Too bad.

April 4

Today was okay. We all are getting into the Easter spirit. Keith and I colored eggs.

April 5

Today is Dad’s birthday.

April 7

Tonight I’ll spend the night at Grandma’s house.

April 8

I went to the zoo and rode bikes with Penny.

April 9

Today was a beautiful day. Penny and I rode our bikes.

April 10

Today was Easter. We went to Grandma’s (dad) for an Easter egg hunt. (I got a yo-yo.)

April 11

Today was a pretty good day. Almost everything went right, but not all things go right for me.

April 12

Today was fairly good. Doug hurt his finger badly. His fingernail came off. YUCK!!!!

April 13

Today was fun. Craig chased me and Bill chased Tina. It was really fun!

April 15

Today was a pretty day. Just lovely.

April 16

Today I went to see the Silver Anniversary of Memphis Ballet. It was fantastic.

April 17

Today I got 2 real bad falls; one on one leg and one on the other. OW!!!

April 18

Today it rained a little bit and we had homework. Mondays always bring me down.

April 20

I am sleeping real good in my brace now. But everywhere I spend the night I have to take it.

April 22

Kathy Marshall spent the night with me. We had a barrel of fun.

April 23

You should see the dress I’m going to wear to the banquet. Gosh!!

April 24

Craig Houston Tucker is taking me to the banquet. WOW!!!!

April 25

Today was pretty good. We did not have any math, but lots of homework!

April 26

Terry said he was not going to the banquet with Tina. He’s going with Lisa somebody. That freak!!!
April 27

We went to the library today and Craig T. carried my books. Doug Young carried Kathy’s and Bill King carried Kathy Mullen’s.

April 28

Today was fun. I played with Penny and went to the Cotton Carnival ‘77!!

May 1

Today I blew my whole day but about half of it [illegible]. I hope school is fun tomorrow.

May 6

The banquet was so great! Everything worked out pretty good. It was really fun!!

May 7

Today I went to Shiloh. It is a place where the Civil War was fought. That was so fun!!

May 8

Mother’s Day. Me and Penny washed her father’s car today and got fifty cents each. We went to Zares and got some fries.

May 9

Kathy and I had a fight, but we made up as usual.

May 10

Today I ate dinner with Miss Melanson; me and Kathy.

May 11

Well, I didn’t say very much about the big banquet. It was so fun! Craig wore a tux.

May 12

When we were in the food line, Doug (Kathy’s boyfriend) dropped a piece of ham and shoved it under the table. Kathy

May 13

still laughs about that. Everybody said that all the kids looked great! When

May 14

Craig picked me up and was taking me it was my dream. We got lost too. Craig’s mother

May 15

said if we couldn’t find the place that I would have to spend the night with them!

May 16

Today I brought my Tiger Beat to school. Everybody wanted a certain picture. So now I got a list and everything for ‘em.

May 18

Kathy is a very good friend, but I surely don’t like when we fight.

May 19

Kathy, where are you? Get your eyes off these words!!

May 20

I mean it. Seriously!!!!!

May 21

Tina is a bore hole sometimes.

May 22

Hi! Today was a good day. But my brother bugged me to death all day.

May 23

Terry Logan is my boyfriend now. Craig broke up with me. He fell for this girl around the corner from him.

May 24

Terry and I are going together. You can poot on Craig! Philip Cummings is going with Tina.

May 25

They said they wanted to meet Tina and I behind the gym to kiss. Se we went there after school.

May 26

Terry kissed me on the cheek. Philip put his arm around Tina! He was trying for her lips but he got her cheek.

May 27

We are camping right this very minute. It is so fun! They’ve got rental horses and everything.

May 28

When we got home from camping I was so tired!

May 29

I haven’t been writing so I’ll just tell you some things. Terry Logan loves me. I love him but he sort of likes

May 30

Kathy M. and I sorta like Bill K. So it turns out even I guess.

May 31

At Kathy’s we went swimming and she had this float. It was so hard to stay on it. We would push

June 1

each other off of it. We played tag too! Then when we were drying and ready to go in we

June 2

were trying to push each other in again. I fell in! It was funny to me too!

June 3

I went swimming at Kathy’s today. We had a lot of fun!

June 4

I went to camp and we were in groups. I was in an all girl group. There was one black girl.

June 5

One girl who looked like she came from Korea. She was so dark complected. Then there were four

June 6

other girls including me. There was this girl named Tammy and Stephanie hated her so

June 7

we played a trick on her. She wrote a note that said “I love you” and all that stuff and signed

June 8

“Guess Who.” She folded it up like an airplane and flew it to her. She was mad!!!

June 9

But after that they made up. I made a new best friend. Her name is

June 10

Amy. She is really nice and pretty. She said I was pretty too. At camp we colored pictures

June 11

and swam and ate lunch. It was really fun to me.

June 12

Paul Barnes was there too and two guys fell in love with me! When I came home

June 13

I found out that my album I sent off for came in: Dancing Queen. It has a lot of good

June 14

songs on it, but the jip is that the songs are not sung by the original artists.

June 15

Kathy Marshall went to Florida. She goes there every summer! Wow…she

June 16

sure is lucky!! I wish I was her sister sometimes…when I approve of her, that is!

June 17

But she is pretty, and she likes the same things I do and she likes me! We do have fun

June 18

together! Craig stopped liking me at the end of the school year and Terry started

June 19

going with me. Actually, I like Terry’s personality more than Craig’s because Terry

June 20

is more with it! I mean, he shows more affection in front of others and boy, do I like that!

June 21

I wanted to eat some cake at Penny’s till about 10:30, but Daddy would not let me. Go do it!

June 22

Kathy Marshall went to Florida. She gets to go every summer and boy is she lucky!!!

June 23

Today Penny Banks and I got caught for shoplifting at Zares. I got in a heap of trouble.

[Penny Banks was the culprit who introduced me to shoplifting. I was fascinated with it for a long time afterwards. I believe I have fought kleptomania for much of my life.]

June 24

Terry called me and he wanted to call Craig. He said he would call me back in a few minutes but didn’t.

June 25

Today Mama bought me a halter from our shop The Windmill Boutique. I LOVE IT!

June 26

Today my family and I went to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. It is it’s 106th year.

June 27

Today I started doing some acrobats. I’m going to start gymnastics again.

June 28

Today I went to the police department. I was okay I guess.

June 29

I’m going to have a club at the side of the house for girls only.

June 30

Today Keith and I got two guinea pigs. They are so cute. Sandy and Patches.

July 1

Today I went to Putt-Putt. It was sort of fun. Tomorrow I’m going to make a home escape plan in case of fire.

July 3

Today we went to Putt-Putt again. It was fun. We went to see fireworks at Shoney’s. Wow!!

July 4

Happy 4th of July!! Today we went to see some trampolinists. Plus I’m going to have a slumber party the 8th.

July 8

I didn’t have my slumber party, but Kathy is spending the night. It is 1:05am.

July 11

Tomorrow I’m going to start taking gymnastics again at a church. I AM EXCITED!!

July 12

Gymnastics is really fun but you have to exercise a lot too!!

July 14

Flag Day. Today I started day camp at the YMCA. It is really fun!! Since I haven’t been writing look back.

July 16

Me and my brother fight all the time. I’m not bragging, but Keith always starts it.

July 17

I swear he does most of the time. But when we’re not fighting he is as nice as can be.

July 18

Today, Lisa, who works at the Windmill, took Keith and I to lunch.

July 19

Lisa brought her boyfriend too. He is cute! Terry Logan is my boyfriend now

July 20

and he is much, much nicer than Craig. Now I know that Craig is cuter than Terry, but

July 21

Terry is nicer than Craig and that’s what counts. Right!?

July 22

Today my dad went to Nashville to a flea market. He bought me two pens and a little bird that sounds real!!

July 23

Today I was so lazy. I seem to read a lot nowadays. The weather is so hot it is so pitiful.

July 24

I sure wish kids could get jobs and have their own apartments and roommates.

July 25

That would be really great and fun. Nobody to boss you around or what time to go to

July 26

go to bed or what you should eat or when you should be in or when you can and can’t go

July 27

out. It drives me up the wall!! Man!!!!

July 28

July 30th is Kathy Marshall’s mom’s birthday.

July 29

I went to Skateland and I invited Terry and Kathy. We had a fantastic time!!

Aug. 1

Today I went to Vacation Bible School with Kathy and we had loads of laughter!! You know how we are!!

Aug. 2

Today I went to an auto show and I saw the fastest truck in the world. I got a belt bucket too.

Aug. 3

Libertyland. Day camp took us to Libertyland and boy was it fun!! I rode all the rides except for 3 or four.

Aug. 8

Ya know, I want to be a cheerleader for Gaisman Redskins. Well, I guess I’ll see if I can be one!!

Aug. 16

The greatest 1937-1977. The greatest singer ever. Tuesday. Singer Elvis Presley died today at 2:30p. He died at Baptist Hospital. He was 48. Because: heart attack.

Aug. 21

Kathy Marshall is my very best friend right now and she has been for a good while.

Aug. 22

I hope she doesn’t fight with me as much this year as last year.

Aug. 25

Kathy: Tiger

Aug. 26

Tiff: Panda

Aug. 27

I swear, I buy a dairy and I don’t even use it.

Aug. 29

School!! Today was a great day. Almost everyone I know is in my class. Our teacher’s name is Mrs. Beard.

Aug. 30

Mrs. Beard has a little girl about 6 or seven I guess. She’s a good teacher, but she doesn’t give breaks.

Aug. 31

School is going good, but we have a lot of homework.

Sept. 1

Kathy Marshall is in my class again. That’s good!!

Sept. 2

Kathy, Tina and I want to be cheerleaders again. It’s so much fun!!

Sept. 3

I have to have a new part added to my brace. It’s called a shoulder ring. It’s not

Sept. 4

that bad. It’s not even really big. But wearing my brace is quite

Sept. 5

uncomfortable. Have you ever tried one on for size? I have to put my hair up

Sept 6

every night so it won’t get tangled up in the screw!! But I surely

Sept. 7

won’t get fat wearing it!!

Sept. 20

Terry seems to be breaking up with me. He doesn’t pay any attention.

Sept. 21


Sept. 22

Craig called me today and I didn’t even know he liked me. WOW!!

Sept. 23

Today my dad, Keith and I went to the fair. I saw lots of people I knew there.

Sept. 24

Today it rained all day long except for late in the afternoon.

Sept. 25

Today I was going to the fair with Tina Boren but it rained. It always does that!!

Nov. 8

I have got a bracelet that has “Doug” on it. He is wearing “Tiffany.” I love him now.

Nov. 9

I heard a noise. I looked out the window. Police men were behind their cars with guns in their hands.

Nov. 10

We found out that Tommy Wheeler and friends stole 13,000 dollars worth of silver. It was so exciting.


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I'm a doctor of philosophy in Literary and Cultural Studies which makes me interested in everything! I possess special training in text analysis, African American literature, Women and Gender Studies, American lit, World Lit and writing.

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