Norm and I have been unpacking boxes, hanging pictures, arranging furniture – all that fun moving stuff – for a few weeks now. Things are winding to a close, with only a few odds and ends still needing a permanent place in our home. Because I have a bit more free time, I poked around coffers that have been hidden away in storage for years.
I came across this gem – the diary I kept the year I was ten years old. I have very few mementos of my childhood due to Katrina, so I treasure this.
Mama gave it to me for Christmas, and I diligently began writing in it on January 1:
We went to Maw-Maw’s house. We shot fire-crackers to bring in the new year. After Jim left we got on our pajamas and watched t.v. The next morning we had cabbage, black eyed peas, rice. My Maw-Maw stuck a dime in the cabbage and I got it.
Those New Year’s traditions are still dear to me, and I still serve the same fare to my family every January 1. The dime in cabbage – does anyone else do this? The one who is served the dime will have money in the coming year. I”m certain that MawMaw purposely gave me the dime that year because I was the only one who would eat the cabbage.
My grown-up self remembers a girl who loved school, always had her nose buried in a book, and wanted to be a writer.
Apparently, this is not exactly the case. November 26: Yuck school.
The drive to write had not yet manifested itself either. There are many blank pages in the diary, for which I apologized on December 1: Sorry Diary that I forgot to write in you some days.
But some memories of mine were precisely as I remembered them, such as the day it snowed in New Orleans. Though I could never forget such a momentous occasion, I had forgotten the week of snow forecasts that had all of us children crossing our fingers. It finally happened on January 11:
Today was a very nice day. It was very, very COLD. Paige got a whole cup full of ice. Today I did my book report and colored my picture of something about Pearl’s Fosters. [I think I meant Pearl Harbor!] That night it started to snow. Everyone was so happy!
January 12: Today we were going to go to Vanessa’s house, but it snowed a little bit today. Paige and I went out and got 2 cups of ice and a whole cup of snow. We are going to build a small snowman with the ice and snow we found.
Let me tell you that my sister and I did, indeed, build a snowman from those two cups of ice and snow. It was about six inches high and probably more dirt than snow, but it was a dream come true. I had never before seen real snow.
While reading I discovered that it snowed again a month later, on February 10. How could I have forgotten that? I distinctly remember that nasty little snowman, but I had completely forgotten the second snowfall where a newspaperman came to our school and photographed me and a friend for an article. I even wrote that it was almost a blizzard! (Well, I used that term loosely, but to a Louisiana girl, snow that sticks is, indeed, a blizzard.)
Isn’t it strange how some memories are etched in our minds forever, clearly, as though they occurred yesterday; while others fade and yellow and eventually are lost to time.
What is is that relegates some happenings to history and others to oblivion?
When I came to the last page of the diary, called “Memoranda,” once again, I was reminded how fleeting some memories are.
I wrote this sentence:
I will remember this year
Ten-year old Stacy was partially right – I remember so much of that wondrous year, but no, I don’t remember Mister Clown! I remember fondly the snow, and MawMaw, and the people I mentioned in my childhood diary. I suppose that is what is most important in life – the people who make our lives whole.