Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Portraits of the author as a young girl

Okay, so I apologize in advance for the narcissism, but I was psyched to unexpectedly come across these photos over the weekend. I didn't realize I had them here! Plus, I thought you might be interested to see the face behind the chapter books. I mean, before that face had braces and was topped with triangle hair.

First there are a few pictures of me dorking out with a book.

That's me circa first or second grade with my copy of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker, awesomely illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It currently resides on my living room bookshelf.

If you check out the wall in the background, you may notice some extremely large paper dolls. Yes, one is nearly life-sized and has what appear to be movable arms! And also, a scary giant mouth. And eyes on her forehead. But I digress. My sister and I were entrepreneurial youngsters who were always hatching a money-making scheme of some sort. In this venture, we would draw pictures (almost exclusively of girls) and then try to sell them to anyone unfortunate enough to visit our home. So, mostly our relatives.

Here's me in third grade at my grandparents' house chillin' with the March sisters. This same copy of Little Women is on the bookshelf in my bedroom. I told you I'm a pack rat.

This one is probably also from second grade, and I've included it mostly for "WTF is with that outfit?" value. Let's discuss: First off, we have the gray beret. (I had another beret that I liked to consider my "raspberry beret," which was in actuality more of a maroon. However, my mom almost certainly found it at a secondhand store.) Then I'm wearing my mom's tank top, upon which is depicted a cartoon critter (a gopher? woodchuck?) saying "Howdy Partner" (that part you can't see, but I well remember), layered over a pink T-shirt. Attached to the front of the tank top is a fancy gold hair clip. Yes, a HAIR CLIP. On my shirt. Over my beribboned jean skirt I am proudly displaying a homemade brown and white gingham apron.

Do you remember when I thought one of my fourth grade club activities should be "making clothes"? Yeah, I was thinking less along the lines of sewing and more like what you see here: cutting fabric out in the shape of clothing. Voilà! An apron! Not quite sure where the glue came in...

This next outfit is so '80s it's almost painful. Let me describe it for any blind readers... or anyone who just has to look away. This is the kind of outfit I thought was cool, COMPLETELY COOL. A white tank top with multicolored polka dots, paired with pink stretch pants (leggings? nay, they were stretch pants) with flowy flower-and-butterfly-print shorts layered on top. That's right, shorts AND pants. Together. This is precisely why I can't get behind the '80s fashion revival. And my shoes? Good God, I loved those shoes. They're white leather (or more likely, pleather) with tiny cutouts in flower patterns. Highly impractical for the Cleveland winter, but these were all the rage in third grade.

Just how cool did I think this outfit was? So cool that I made my mom take a picture of it.

This one is low on fashion (and, er, clothing in general), but I've included it because for many years I thought it was just the sexxiest photo of me ever taken. Because seriously, what's hotter than a pants-less third grader with knobby knees? The answer: a pants-less third grader with knobby knees AND a pink sweatshirt!

First, a disclaimer: NOT MY GLASSES. Though as you can see, I was a huge fan of that pink sweatshirt. This is me at the end of fourth grade, with my disastrous Worst Cut (also known as the reason I'm hesitant to experiment with bangs ever again), my braces, and my friend Maggie's enormous pink glasses. For a while I had this photo in a frame in my bedroom, and I would try to trick people into believing it was my cousin. Yeah, I was an asshat of sorts.

And one other relic before we graduate and move on to fifth grade: a random About the Author section that I whipped up for one of my many books.

Sada is 10 going on 11. She enjoys reading, writing, drawing, talking on the telephone, playing with her friends, and her rabbit, Bun-Bun.

NEXT TIME: We will get our Gossip on. I mean it.

Until then, check out reader tctill's new blog Lisa and the Angels Rock!!!, in which she too is publishing her childhood canon. Her first novel, Carrie's Search for a Friend, is about a tween who is a pop star AND an orphan AND an abused child. It's like Jem and the Holograms meets Pollyanna meets an Afterschool Special. So far the story has featured twelve pop songs, seven random adopted siblings, six black-and-white tape cover outfits, five Big Bird iron-ons, three horses with no name, and one beating with a plastic belt. Have I mentioned it's amazing?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting the band back together

By fourth grade I was pretty serious about my burgeoning career as a YA author—but that didn't stop me from moonlighting as a singer/songwriter (emphasis on the "songwriter," because I wasn't all that great at the actual singing part). What I was great at, however, was keeping all of my rock 'n' roll paraphernalia in one spot—namely, this 1985 "Jukebox Junkie" folder, which features an onslaught of rainbow-colored records inexplicably hurtling through the air like ninja stars. Notice how I reinforced the spine with duct tape, because that's how integral the folder was to my songwriting endeavors.

The inside pockets of the folder contain a glossary of computer terms. ?! Oh, 1985, you're so adorable!

The "band" (we'll be using that term extremely loosely, as the band members' combined instrument-playing ability was limited to a duet of "Heart and Soul" on the piano—a talent that my friend Jessica wisely exploited by penning a song set to the tune of "Heart and Soul") went through several incarnations in fourth and fifth grade.

Band #1:

People in the band:
1. Katie
2. Jessica
3. Sada
[I love how I listed myself THIRD.]
4. Aja
5. Leah
6. Sherron

Names for our band
[and the name of the amazingly clever band member behind it]:
1. New Sensation - Sada
[Thanks, INXS.]
2. Everlasting Dream - Katie
3. The Dreamers - Katie
4. Lightning Streak - Sada
5. Rainbow Splash - Sada
6. Super Shades - Katie
7. Sparklers - Katie
8. Girls will be Girls - Sada
9. Pazazz - Aja
10. Mysterious - Katie
11. Sugar Babies - Aja
12. The Jump Clique - Aja
[I'm pretty sure this was based on a T-shirt Aja owned.]
13. The Twelve Footsteps - Leah

According to my notes, Super Shades, Girls will be Girls, Pazazz, and Sugar Babies each received one vote, but as you read in my diary, Girls will be Girls ended up the overall favorite. Tough luck, Mysterious!

Songs for our band
[and the songwriter, natch]:
1. He said he's gone - Sada
2. I gotta get outta this now - Sada
3. She thinks she's so hot - Sada
4. Walking down the street - Jessica
5. No One - Sada
6. Somewhere - Sada

So you've heard the old adage "write what you know." The problem is, that's extremely difficult to do when you're in fourth grade and you're trying to compose a love song. Have you ever tried to work in lyrics about how your true love got switched to another class and oh-so meaningfully asked you whether you were glad? It's tricky. But at any rate, I felt I could empathize with those who had loved and lost.

He said he's gone

He said he's gone. Why did he have to leave me? He said he's gone. Why did he have to go? 'Cause I miss him and he just said he's gone.

Is it because of some other girl or didn't I treat him right? Why can't he just come back and see that I'm the one for him?

He said he's gone. Why did he have to leave me? He said he's gone. Why did he have to go? 'Cause I miss him and he just said he's gone.

Why does everyone keep following me and asking me what's wrong? Why can't he just come back and see that I'm the one for him?

He said he's gone. Why did he have to leave me? He said he's gone. Why did he have to go? 'Cause I miss him and he just said he's gone.
He said he's gone.
He said he's gone.
He said he's gone.

This one is kind of screwed from the get-go. Who says they're gone? Can you imagine that conversation? "So, you know how I just broke up with you? I'm worried you might be a little confused, so let me clear things up for you: I'm gone. No, seriously. I'm gone. Like, forever." Ouch. Also, the "Why can't he just come back and see that I'm the one for him?" line is so pathetic it makes me squirm a little.

The next song is heavy on the repetition, light on the explanations:

I gotta get outta this now

I hope that I can get out of this mess. Seems like I'm always stuck in the middle. I gotta get outta this now. I really have to get out of this now. I gotta get out now.

You got me into this mess. Now you're gonna get me out. Seems like you always stick me in the middle. Now it's my turn to get outta this now.

I hope that I can get out of this mess. Seems like I'm always stuck in the middle. I gotta get outta this now. I really have to get out of this now. I gotta get out now.

I really thought I could trust you. Now I know I was wrong. Seems like you're always usin' me just to get to him or her. I gotta get outta here now.

I hope that I can get out of this mess. Seems like I'm always stuck in the middle. I gotta get outta this now. I really have to get out of this now. I gotta get out now.

So many unanswered questions. Who am I singing to? What exactly does the mess entail? All we know is that:
a) There's a mess.
b) I'm stuck in said mess. And not on the fringes, but directly in the middle.
c) I gotta get out. Like, ASAP.

"She Thinks She's So Hot," on the other hand, was written about a specific girl in my fourth grade class. Looking back, she was a bit of a priss, but I don't recall the "I'm so hot" attitude or wardrobe malfunctions that this song describes.

She thinks she's so hot

She thinks she's so hot. What is her problem? She thinks she's so hot. What the heck is wrong with her now? She just thinks she's so hot.

Look at that skirt, up way too high. Look at that shirt, gonna fall off. How can she be dressed like that in public?

She thinks she's so hot. What is her problem? She thinks she's so hot. What the heck is wrong with her now? She just thinks she's so hot.

With the stroke of her hand she can win the boys' hearts over, she thinks. She can do anything if she puts her mind to it, she thinks. Why does she think such things?

She thinks she's so hot. What is her problem? She thinks she's so hot. What the heck is wrong with her now? She just thinks she's so hot. She thinks she's so hot.

Yes, my self-esteem was so low that I resorted to picking on girls who exhibited actual confidence.

Next we have "No One," a song that contains at least one attempt at rhyming and a dramatic usage of the CAPS lock.



NO ONE KNOWS (no one knows),
THE WAY I FEEL (way I feel).
THE WAY I FEEL INSIDE (way I feel inside. Inside.)


NO ONE KNOWS (no one knows),
THE WAY I FEEL (way I feel).
THE WAY I FEEL INSIDE (way I feel inside. Inside.)

THING (ooo-ooo-ooo).
INSIDE (Inside. Inside. Inside.).

Oh man. I did believe that no one knew the way I felt inside, though God knows there were no boys anywhere crying their eyes out over me (oooh oooh oooh).

Finally, we have "Somewhere," which owes perhaps a small debt to a certain Russian immigrant mouse. Yeah, there's even a line that begins "Somewhere out there..."


Somewhere is a special place,
Somewhere out there I know you're waiting for me
and with the look on your face,
there's no other place I'd like to be.

Somehow something went wrong,
it was just the human race.
Somewhere you're singing a song,
and I can't see your face.

Somewhere is a special place,
Somewhere out there I know you're waiting for me
and with the look on your face,
there's no other place I'd like to be.

Somewhere in that special place you're
waiting for me.
and I'm sitting here waiting for you.

For those of you who were thinking that at least we'd be sleeping underneath the same big sky and/or wishing on the same bright star, SORRY, but not in my song. In my song, the only one singing a lonesome lullaby is the possibly faceless dude I'm trying to meet up with. Well, "trying" might be a stretch. Mostly I just seem to be moping about the fact that I just... can't... get... to... him, for whatever reason. Thanks for nothing, human race!

Band #2:

Six band members may have resulted in too many cooks in the kitchen (or rather, too many "Heart and Soul" players on the piano bench), so we scaled it back.

The Go-go's

Soooo uninspired. What happened to Super Shades?

President: Jessica
Vice President: Katie
Treasurer: Sada

That's right, I was the band treasurer. You are so jealous.

What do we do?

Katie - vocals/keyboards
Jessica - vocals/keyboards
Sada - vocals

My, were we an eclectic group. You better watch your ass, Jane Wiedlin!

Band #3:

In fifth grade we tried the six-person band again. This time we ditched all but the best of the original tunes and focused instead on covers. Apparently our main influences were:
  • Rags to Riches. I think that goes without saying.
  • The Dirty Dancing soundtrack. During the summer between fourth and fifth grade, my friend Sherron and I worked out several elaborate dance routines to this soundtrack. I believe there were lifts involved.
  • Paula Abdul. Because it was 1988.
  • Carole King. I was way into Really Rosie, and everyone's parents seemed required by law to own a copy of Tapestry on vinyl.
The Groups name; Cool & Clutzy

I think Sherron was the brains behind this band name. Here's what I'm not sure about: Were all of the band members considered simultaneously cool and klutzy, or were some of us designated klutzes while the rest of the band was cool?

The Groups Performers:

The Songs The Group Hopes To Sing:
"I'VE The Time Of My Life"
"Straight Up"
"Be My Baby"
"I Feel the Earth Move"
"So Far Away"
"Walking Down The Street"
"I Love Him"
"Born To Be Wild"
"To Know Him"
"Hey Baby"

High Pitched Voices
[uh, also known as sopranos]:
[For the record, I'm an alto.]

I got back into the songwriting in seventh grade with classics such as "Luv" and "I Hate Cupid" (featuring the catchy chorus "Die, die, Cupid, die"). It took several more years before I would finally admit that I have little to no musical talent. In adulthood, the closest I've come to rock stardom is dating an array of musicians. And karaoking "Hot Blooded."

NEXT TIME: Gossip Central, the first chapter book of fifth grade, features more clueless parents and electronics-loving elementary schoolers. And an entire club devoted to spying for no apparent reason. Get ready!

Edit: I managed to find some elementary-era photos of myself without involving my mom and the USPS, so those are going up next. Then it's back to the literature!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Sig Saga

If you've been reading this blog, you've probably realized that I have an almost creepily good memory. And as far back as that memory goes, I have always liked (or, ahem, been utterly obsessed with) boys. For reals: My most vivid preschool memories involve a boy who used to pull up his shirt and chase the girls around bare-chested. Once he kissed me on a field trip to the fire station. Yeah, we were four. HOT.

The start of a new school year nearly always meant the beginning of a year-long one-sided love affair with some poor, unsuspecting boy in my class. Fourth grade was no different. The object of my infatuation that year had blue eyes, spiky blond hair, and an extremely German name: Sigfrid. My first fourth grade diary (yes, there are two) pretty much serves as a log for any and all interaction with Sig—which had to be examined in microscopic detail, for surely therein lay clues that could solve the mystery of whether or not he liked me back. The second diary, on the other hand, just heaps on the histrionics. Perhaps this was around the time I started watching As The World Turns with my grandma?

Check out my sweet, super inconspicuous first diary:

The first entry starts out with a bang! Or at least a dull thud:

Michael hit me with stones. I hate him! We got home [from vacation, I'm assuming]
today. Katie's number was busy. Tawana gave us a bunny mystery!

Remember when people didn't have call waiting? Dang, I feel old.

I talked to Katie today. I read a book and even though I didn't want my period - now I do. My breasts are already going.

They so were not.

I want a bra for Christmas.

I so did not get one. The closest I came to brassiere ownership was a hand-me-down spandex Wonder Woman bra-resembling undershirt that I liked to pretend was the real deal.

Katie is on vacation. I'm hating 4th grade. Who's That Girl tonite.

Please note: Fourth grade had not even started yet. Also, we saw Who's That Girl at the drive-in as part of a double feature with Can't Buy Me Love! I know. That might be too much '80s cinemagic for my brain to handle.

I had a great day except for the awful thing about Velvet.

Our neighbor's pet rabbit, Velvet, died. But on to more important things, like... SIG!

Sig definitely likes me. I thought he liked Jessica. Beep!

I think that's supposed to be a game show noise signifying an incorrect answer, not a car honking. And just why am I so sure the survey says that Sig likes me?

When Mrs. Acar asked him if he wanted to (she couldn't see him) move he said no! He was sitting next to me!

Obviously he is madly in love with me.

Show off stage. Got to call Katie.

Oh, Katie and I were definitely the collective Jane Goodall of boys with our astute observations of behaviors such as the "show off stage."

Shannon was over yesterday. Jess, Shan, and I have crushes on Sig.

I'm sure that's not going to be a problem.

Today Sig showed us the note. It's Rachel, really, she even told Katie. Sig's gonna fake her out! Anyway, I kinda like him.


I don't want my period anymore! Ty is coming over tommorow. Jess is in (I envy her) California!

Ty came over- we called Sig and he hung up! And today when Ms. G.B. asked Aja a question and Sig answered she asked him if he was Aja and he said "No, I'm Sada."

This was Exhibit A among the most compelling evidence pointing to "he likes me! he likes me!": He said my name out loud—but more importantly, UNPROMPTED—in class. I was apparently unfazed by the fact that he hung up on me when I called him later that same day.

We are doing a play called school daze
[penned by my friend Ty] and Sig is my boyfriend [in the play only, but oh, how I wished life would imitate art!]. Andy G. said Yoav liked me last week. I am just about going nuts. I really like Sig. When he was on the phone I felt all weird.

Notice the change in my tune since, uh, yesterday, when I "kinda" liked him.

Rags to Riches wasn't on so-I-'Full House'.

p.s. When Sig was moved to 4-A he asked me if I was glad.

What does it all mean??? (For the record, I was definitely not glad.)

Yesterday Nate J. was telling everybody about the chair incident.

That would be when he pulled my chair out from under me as I was sitting down, causing me to fall flat on my ass.

I know Sig was gonna laugh and he looked at me and then he said "We used to do that all the time in kindergarten."

I truly, truly believed he was defending my honor with that comment.

I wish he would just come out and say it. Yoav might like Katie. We're gonna ask Sig who he likes at lunch tomorrow.

p.s. I still like him a little.

Sig just makes me mad. The other day in gym people were telling him to throw the ball to me. (I can't catch it)

Sad, but true.

He looked at me and threw it to someone else. Good. I got moved to Mrs. Turners room and I sit one seat away from him! By the way no one sits in the seat between us.

Yes, clearly I have no feelings for him anymore.

Ty hurt her foot and hates Yoav now! Unbeliveable! She sits near Sig in homeroom! Good.

Ty likes Sig now. I like him a lot again.

You don't say!

When we were coming up from chorus he asked me if I was gonna be anyone in 'Cinderella'. He said it in a real sweet tone.

What is "sweet" about asking someone if they're going to be in the school play? It was probably more along the lines of "mundane."

When I said I was gonna stay he agreed with me.
He sat near me in S.S. Our band's name is Girls will be Girls.

More about my illustrious musical career in the next blog entry. Pinkie swear!

P.S. I went to the circus and Kingdom on ice with Katie. Yoav likes her. Mike loves Jess. I think about a skateboard gang.

I had some sort of ongoing fantasy in which my friends and our respective crushes were part of a skateboard gang. The details are fuzzy, but it definitely involved us tooling around town, looking cool, completely cool, via skateboard.

My other main fantasy was that there would be a raging blizzard or other weather-related disaster that would kick into high gear at the exact moment that Sig and his mom happened to be driving past my house. As such, they'd be forced to pull over and seek refuge with us for days on end until the roads were safe again.

Yeah. Me learning how to skateboard was more realistic.

I caught Sig looking at me 2 times. He was smiling. Jessica, Katie, and I admitted we all like him. UNBELIEVABLE. We (the 3 of us) have a band called the Go-go's.

I love how the band name has changed since the last entry. And that we were so lazy we resorted to stealing the name of a super popular band already in existence. Belinda Carlisle would have sued our 10-year-old asses.

Sig called Fatso
[erm, my sister—sorry, Genie!] back today. He was gonna hang up, but, he stayed on to talk to me! Jess and I are getting papers to mark down when he looks at us. We'll show them to him at the end of the year.

We did tally all of the lustful (er, coincidental?) glances, but THANK GOD we thought better of turning the papers over to him at the year's end.

Now only Jess and I have crushes on him. We
Sig! Especially me. His # 555-9738.

Because knowing his phone number definitely proves that my love is superior to Jessica's.

With the next entry, I switched from my TOP SECRET notebook to a real diary with a lock and everything.

I also decided that I needed to step up the drama. Like, a LOT.

June 24, 1988
Thank you, Aja, for this diary. A real one! Today was my birthday. Fun. Well, Jessica and I really did it. We told Sig we liked him
[in] the letter and (I) mailed [it]. Now he knows.

Why in God's name did I think this was a good idea? Jessica, although one of my best friends, was also the "hot girl" in the fourth grade (....and before the fourth grade ...and after) and I was... well, you've seen the seventh grade photo. I can't remember who came up with the plan, but we decided to write him a letter telling him that we both liked him and asking him which one of us he liked back. Brilliant.

I seriously want to go with him. Jess is pretty confident he'll go with her. She's probably right. The boys would practically stand in line to go with her. I wish for once it could be different!

June 25
Thank you, Katie, for having faith in me. You think Sig'll go with me. Well, Katie, I'm trying to think positive. I fantasize all the time
[...about skateboard gangs and serendipitous blizzards]. It's natural.

Thanks, Judy Blume, for assuring me of that.

I think about him all of the time. I can't stop. It's so hard to keep a secret from everybody. Lie. That's all I do anymore. I can't face the truth. I'm scared of the truth. I'm always putting on a big act for not being an actress! I pretend to hate Sig, when the truth is I love him.

The HELL? It's like I started writing the screenplay for A Few Good Men. Exactly who did I think I was fooling???

June 26
There's not too much to say about today, except two words: cold, boring. Of course, I thought of Sig, but that's something I always do anyway. I keep hoping he'll write back soon. I'm almost sure he got his letter. I need him!

Oy vey.

I can't believe I might actually live on his street.

I did end up moving onto his street, about a block or so away, during fifth grade. My friend Katie conveniently lived about a block from him in the other direction. Believe you me, this led to many, many walks to and from our houses during which my shoelace would "accidentally" become "untied," forcing me to stop in front of Sig's house for extended periods of time. Often when my shoes did not even have laces.

It's time to face the truth, so here goes nothing: I LOVE SIG!

July 5
Well, he got the letter, wrote back, and we wrote him back.

To his credit, Sig wrote back and said he liked both of us and couldn't decide who he liked better. I know! I kind of still can't believe it! We must have scared the living crap out of him.

I said I NEED TO KNOW [that's a direct quote from my follow-up letter] who he likes better. Well, he didn't write back so, we couldn't wait. We called him. He wrote back. We just didn't recieve the letter yet. He can't decide. I feel like I'm trapped inside a crazy soap opera.

Degrassi Elementary?

I'm trying to get him to decide. We, the 3 of us, might go to a movie.

Because a group date was surely the answer to this problem! But don't worry, because like the best-laid of fourth grade plans, it never happened.

I think my "trying to get him to decide" strategy was to write Sig info-packed letters that would help him get to know me—and therefore loooooove me—better. The letters were typically about my vacation and/or attendance at Indians baseball games, and often included lists of my vital statistics and assorted favorite things (e.g., favorite animal: rabbit), all typed up on heart-shaped stationery. Fortunately, most of them never made it to the mailbox.

I somehow suffered through the long, indecisive summer and entered fifth grade. But because my love for Sig was like an eternal flame (or at least a three-year flame, which is pretty much an eternity at that age), there is way more melodrama where this came from. We'll get to it in due time, I swear. The saga is far from over.

NEXT TIME: As promised, my side career as a singer/songwriter. That means angst-ridden lyrics and more fourth grade band names than you can shake a stick at!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Well, we're back in the ol' books-that-never-were vault, and this one strays a bit from my normal formula. Typed on a sheet of 6" x 9" paper, it simply reads:


All right, everyone writes books about teenagers and all of their problems. Well, teens aren't the only ones with problems. This book is about preteens, who have more problems than they can handle. Preteens are the ages of 10, 11, and 12. This is a book about real life and what goes on with kids these days.

Was this going to be nonfiction? Whoa! Like What's Happening To Me–style nonfiction (but please, if there's a God, with less nudity)? Or something grittier, like a compilation of anonymous vignettes that bring the reader face to face with the harrowing tween reality? Or are we talking interviews with my friends complaining about how they're not allowed to watch MTV?

Couldn't say. And what were all these problems I was yammering on about? Well, other than the fear of being bitten by my younger sister, there was one issue that was weighing rather heavily on me at the end of fourth grade.


Journal Topic: Free Choice

I hate braces!!!!! OK, not only are they "UGLY", they're very uncomfortable, too! They scratch and cut the inside of my mouth up! GROSS! I have disgusting white marks on the side of my mouth from them! I hate braces!!!!!!!!!!

Journal Topic: A time in my life I'll never forget

A time in my life I'll never forget is when I got these dumb braces! I hate them. I hate them. I hate them. They're dumb, dumb, dumb. They hurt, B-A-D, bad. My gums are sore. My teeth ache. I can't chew. I brush too much. [???] Why can't my teeth stay the way they are?

Braces, braces, they're so dumb.
So many things you cannot eat.
The orthodontist says "Don't suck your thumb!"
[Or in my case, my my index and middle finger]
You want to eat something sweet,
But, no, you'll get a cavity!

Cavities! When my mom got her braces off she had 32 cavities because she didn't brush right. [Okay, that probably explains the excessive brushing I mentioned earlier.] I really don't want 32 or more holes in my teeth! GROSS! I HATE BRACES!!!!!

Oh, the woe, you guys, the POTENTIAL-CAVITY WOE. This definitely could have filled a book.

NEXT TIME: Problems of a more hormonal nature, as my diary details Year One of a crush that eventually spanned three years. Wow. That's longer than most of my adult relationships.

Also, I'm heading out of town for an extra long weekend, so you may not be able to read my diary until the end of next week. I know, I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit. In the meantime, you should check out this story that reader Val posted on her blog about Gladys Kanger, a seventh grader with a senior citizen's name who is vigilantly "ready for action"—but ew, not in a lavender heels, fur coat, and no pants kind of way, you perv. She's just on constant alert for danger. Well, mainly the danger of falling over guard rails, which I always thought were in place for the express purpose of preventing you from falling over things, but Gladys Kanger has totally proven me wrong.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guest author: Dear Diary

This entry's guest author also happens to be my be fri, Jamie. Growing up, we lived in the same city but went to different elementary schools. But in third grade, the fates aligned and we were assigned as inter-school pen pals. And seriously, it was fate, because here's just a short list of the many things we had in common:
  • BOYS!

  • Chinese food!
  • The same middle name!

  • A fascination with—but weak grasp of—the French language!

  • Swiss Family Robinson!

  • Reading entirely too much!
This was her introductory letter:

Dear Sada,

I am 8 years old. My favorite foods are Pizza, Spaghetti, and Chinnese food. I have one brother and his name is Matt.

Yours Truly,
[Next to this she drew a heart with smiley face]

P.S. What is your birth stone? Mine is Emerald

The letter was accompanied by this lovely self-portrait, daringly drawn in profile:

The second letter is kinda about her parents' careers but mostly gives the low-down on all of the birthstones, so I'll spare you. Here's the third letter:

March 18, 1987

Dear Sada,

If we had one special day together we would go to Oz. We would meet all the characters of Oz. We would meet Ozma, the fairy princess of all Oz. She would make us fairy princesses of Oz.

Your friend,

P.S. My dad knows your dad.

The following diary entries were also written in third grade, so try to imagine these words flowing from little Jamie's crayoned hand. You might also want to imagine Jamie curled up with a copy of Anne of Green Gables, because she exhibits, oh, just a slight tendency toward Anne Shirley–esque melodrama.

Oct. 3, 1986

Dear Diary,

I went to Lake Tahoe and saved about 30 crawdads life.

I love the picture on front of the cat!

What picture on the front of the cat, you ask? Oh, this one:

I'd say that cat looks less than pleased about being crammed preciously inside a desk cubby.

Well Mary might come over but I don't think she would come over if she had known "Luke" one of my brothers friend's were over

I still hope to see Aaron someday!


Nov. 21, 1986

A Picture for a secret friend, My diary.


Nov. 7, 1986

Dear Diary,

I told you I hoped see Aaron someday and I did! But I no care anymore!
I got a new boy! His name is Jon and he is 9 and in 4th grade. He has choclaty brown hair and he has a brother named Rashi. My friend Sarah loves him. He has dirt hair and is in 2nd grade. I love Jon! Bye!


Man, the diary was getting Older Men with dessert for hair, and I was getting birthstones! By the way, I love thinking of a fourth grader as an older man.

Nov. 21, 1986

Dear Diary,

I love you! I will always cherish the moments we have shared. Sarah and I are blood sisters. In case you are wondering blood sisters are when you prick a part of you're body and you're friend does and you rub them together. Kate is 9 now. I went to her birthday party. I got her a special teddy bear. I had a tearful but wild parting. My exact words were "The time has come for us to part."

I will write soon.
I promise.


I just Googled "tearful but wild parting"—because, seriously, did she come up with that on her own?—and Google suggested that instead I might try "tearful but wild partying." No mention of special teddy bears.

Nov. 24, 1986

Dear Diary,

We went to see some wonderful tap dancers. My favorite one was Baldy! The youngest tap dancer was 69 and the oldest was 75.

Bye, Bye


I don't know where one can go to see geriatric tap dancers, but I would sure like to find out! Jamie?

Dec. 7, 1986

Dear Diary,

We taped Swiss Family Robinson. One of my favorite characters was Frances. He was always getting into trouble

I am getting dad probably a shirt.

I am making mom a beautiful gift of Glittery paper flowers.

Bye, Bye


Dec. 12, 1986

Dear Diary,

My concert was last night and we sang: Kooka burra, Hey Ho Hey lo, Hannaka Song and x-mas song.

On the Hannaka song I had to dance. My face turned bright red.

And what's worse Jon did not clap.


Stupid fourth grade chocolate head!

Dec. 16, 1986

Dear Diary,

Matt is writing a report about the tree.

I do not want him to feel bad but, everybody knows a tree is a plant.

Guess what!
We got our gifts under are x-mas tree.
Merry x-mas!

Bye, Bye
Great Me Myself,

Jan. 28, 1987

Dear Diary,

It's 1987 now.
Happy late New Year
Sorry I have not written a letter to you sooner. We write in cursife now at school. Shall I write a sentence for you? Ok. I will......

i love you!


Wee wee Meshouir.
That's French!

Bye, Bye

April 1, 1987

Dear Diary,

Will you ever forgive me for not writing you a letter in so long? It's about a month and a day.

Diary, I hate you!
April Fools Day!

Every April 1 you go around playing practical jokes.

I know how to write most of the capital letters in cursive. You Are My Diary and i
♥ you

Bye, Bye

She really pulled one over on her inanimate secret friend, eh?

April 6, 1987

Dear Diary,

It started out as a A+ day but I changed it to C-.

I got in trouble at school and with my parents.

Bye, Bye

This next one I had to scan in so you could get the full effect:

April 26, 1987

Dear Diary,

I am quite able to see now!

Guess what?

Jon got his hair spiked.
It looks sort of good sort of ugly.

I took a big × and ÷ test. I'm afraid I scored low.

Right now Matt is singing Jamie + Jon sitting in the tree

First comes love,
than comes marrige
than comes the baby in the baby


She left out the "carriage," which makes it sound kind of like a "Babies Having Babies" episode on Maury Povich. But seeing as she's in third grade, I guess that's right on the money.

No date on this next one:

Dear Diary,

Have I ever told you the Karate Kid was a dream boy? No? He was the cutest boy I ever saw!

But now Mathew Brodrick ties with Ralph Machio, The Karate Kid. They are both very dreamy!

I with I had there autographs!
Maybe I can pretend.

Dream boys!

Bye, Bye,

Nothing like the forged, misspelled autographs of your (neck-and-neck) dream boys! You guys, this kills me.

May 9, 1987

Dear Diary,

I'm so sleepy! I can hardly ceep my peepers open.



Dear Diary,

Sorry did not write
I am dying

For the rest of my life.
I love you.


June 6, 1987

Dear Diary,

That letter was a phony!
Don't believe it!


It's just too easy to pull the wool over your diary's eyes, isn't it?

So Jamie and I never made it to Oz, but we did end up at the same middle school
, where were lab partners two years in a row. We finally cemented our friendship by defiling an educational Archie comic book in 8th grade. Oh, the memories. Now we both live in Portland, so we can have tearful but wild partings on a regular basis.

Speaking of which, the time has come for us to part...

NEXT TIME: I run into some preteen problems—namely, braces.