Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Leather and Locks

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...."

Fast forward. 

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?"
"What's blogging?"
"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?!

copyright 2006 Mimi All Rights Reserved


AtaraxiaXVI said...

Hey, thanks a lot for your comment. It was a boost in confidence. My friends are my only audience and I'm normally savage in terms of speaking, but I tried to refine it a bit in case strangers like you read it. So anyway, thanks, and keep blogging!

Adrian Lankford said...

Hey, I followed Gale's link and liked this post. It's a good example of how at one moment you totally are worried about something to only find out, years later, that it was really nothing to be worried about. I liked the conversational tone you used in it also, it made it a quick read.

I haver a leather journal now. I right idea's in it but mostly I just smell it.

Mimi Lenox said...

LOL. Thanks, Adrian, for reading my story and leaving a comment. Very nice. I've seen your posts before on Gale's blog (Gem's blog) and will check out your weblog! Mimi
P.S. Don't just smell it, write, write, write!

Lizza said...

Oohh, you reminded me of the pink "blog" I had when I was a teenager! Reading the entries there now make me both laugh and cringe.

Now I want a moleskine.

Anonymous said...

1972 was the greatest year! I'm sure I was under the bleachers, too. Trouble is, I can't remember much of what happened there because of these fantastic patterns caused by the linearity (probably not a word) of all of seats and the angularity of the metal hinges. But it was great to be there and to be in love with the prettiest girl in school. Life was so full of promise and change. It all seemed so simple: fix all of the broken, archaic, unfair, hypocrisy and fix it NOW! There wasn't tomorrow, only today.

I loved the flowers and the fellowship of peace and trust that existed in that naive and trusting time. Thanks for letting me wander back, even briefly. My diary exists only within the now stained and tattered remnents of memories....I wish I'd jotted them down, even at the expense of being discovered by one of my brothers.

Don said...

A leather-bound journalist after my own heart... I still have a leather-bound journal, handmade in Italy, but I haven't written in it much since becoming a blogger. (sigh)

I have to save my really good writing for my letters. I get very "old school" - parchment, dip ink, sealing wax... Perhaps I can send you one sometime?

Mimi Lenox said...

Don - I can't imagine you being "old school" about anything. You're just a baby ya know.
I would love to see that leather-bound journal from Italy (my fantasy vacation destination).
I picked up (and put down) a couple of lovely journals while Christmas shopping. Why should I buy a new one when I have unfilled ones still on my nightstand?

Thanks for reading. I am in the process of placing pics and illustrations in some of my older posts (like this one). I think I may re-post this one.

Hope you had a good night at work!

Don said...

Just a baby? I'm middle aged! I worked hard to get this old! ;-)

I'd love to show you my journal. It's funny yet morbid how I came to write it - I had been diagnosed with diabetes, and feared that, were I to have a child, he or she might not get to know me as they grew up. As such, most of the earlier entries are kind of sanitized. I started cutting loose when I became separated, but I also nearly completely stopped writing entries since most of what's on my mind ends up on my blog...

I could, however, really enjoy sending you a good ye-olde-fashion'd hand-written letter...

Mimi Lenox said...

Lizza - I hope you still have that pink blog and are still using it - even virtually. I loved your writing when you were blogging.

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