I've been blogging for 40 years.
In a little leather diary with a tiny lock and key. Deep dark secrets stuffed under the mattress.
My mother never found it. The three nosy siblings I shared a room with never found it. I hope. The juicy stuff was encrypted anyway; not even my best friend knew the code.
Scandals ran amok in my Barbie doll world. Highly classified information between neatly lined pages; written under the cover with purple pens and buttered popcorn. Trying not to breathe or rustle the leaves and wake up my sister, who went to sleep hours before my nocturnal musings began.
"Dear diary......I hope God forgives me for taking that green apple from Aunt Freda's porch today.......I went with my aunt and uncle to the store. They bought me a coke. I only wanted to go because Bobby would be there.... Love, me."
Several years later: "Dear Diary...The preacher said that Jesus is coming and the world is coming to an end soon. I'm scared. I want to see Jesus but I won't get to grow up and marry Bobby. Mama said not to worry. She said everything will be ok...."
Bell bottom pants and three diaries later, the only thing steady in my life was Dear Diary, now covered with psychedelic flowers that matched the hand-drawn daises and peace signs on my jeans. No more pixie haircuts.
Waist length ponytail and secret stolen kisses under the bleachers with - you guessed it - Bobby, who grew up to be a scandalous kisser. The entire year of 1973 is all about one boyfriend and Jesus. I wrestled with both. Battles lost with what's-his-name were encrypted. Confessions were another matter and usually settled by the third verse of "Just As I Am" on Sunday mornings. No one was listening to what I said to Jesus except Dearest Diary and she never told. The preacher understood very little about the soul-saving power of the communion pen anyway. As it turned out, Mama was right about the Rapture but wrong about Jesus and Bobby's kisses. I did get to grow up, only to find leather bound confessionals replaced with online journals and make believe locks.
Some things never change.
I still love floppy hats and flared pants, bleacher memories and writing, but I do miss the feel of those leather secrets in my hands. I'm sure if I Google long enough I'll find a template with hippie flowers and beads. Somehow that's not the same. I don't stuff my words under a mattress anymore. I feel more inclined to shout my questions to an online altar these days and less inclined to care who breaks the code.
I should have used a billboard for a diary back then, too.
Bobby went to the prom with my sister (who'd obviously been reading about those kisses). That's OK. The big bold entries from 1972 are dedicated to one little sister who liked to talk in her sleep.
I'm still trying to fit these words into a tiny little page, my favorite time to write is midnight to 3am, and I still can't take a slice of Aunt Freda's pie at Christmas without a twinge of remorse and a backward glance at Bobby's wife, who ratted out the fruit thief.
There's something indelibly haunting about writing down your thievery, even the sensational sins of a child. Perhaps that's why the pages of my teenage diaries are peppered with one or two-word entries. BOYFRIEND. Or I FORGOT. It would be nice if I'd remembered to write some of those sins down! And even nicer if I could have forgotten a few what's-his-names.
My mother called today with her usual question "What are you doing?" Popping my head out from under the covers, I suddenly felt twelve and had a sudden urge to find that blasted key.
"I'm blogging, mom."
"You're doing what?"
"You don't want to know," I said.
"Well....I heard on the news today that the price of gas is going up again and there's a new prediction that the world is coming to an end and........."
"Don't worry, Mama. It'll be alright."
I think I should look into getting a blog lock.
Have you seen my flashlight?!
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