What a difference 35 years makes

blogging-bonanza-bugWelcome to Dear Diary Saturday here at all things Monica Lee. I’m celebrating the countdown to launch on March 28 of Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 with a month-long blogging bonanza, which means I’ll be blogging here every day this month about my book, about memoirs in general and about the launch. Each chapter in my new book begins with a word-for-word excerpt from my teenage diaries, so on Saturdays here I’ll be sharing blog posts from the Minnesota Transplant archive (my everyday blog) that used diary entries as inspiration. Here’s one that reminds me true love exists.

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Valentine’s Day 1981

Dear Diary,

Yesterday after our basketball game (we lost; 54-3 — ugh!), I sat up in the bleachers and Brent said, ” I really hate you — but I like your sister, Kay. She’s neat. Tell her hi from me and I’ll ask her if you did, and if you don’t, I’ll beat you up.” He said that with kinda a nice smile on his face. Then just a little while later, I was sitting on the bleachers with my knees on them and Brent said, “Move your knees” and he sat down right beside me!!! Even Valerie noticed! Wow! And he knows I like him because I wrote a poem for English and Mr. O read it to the 7th hour class and T.J. found out about it and now everyone knows. Here’s the poem:

This Guy

The boy, his name is Anthony.
He’s got it all as you will see.
He’s bright, he’s tall, he runs real fast,
And in a race, he’s never last.

In basketball, he is the best.
He is so smart, he’ll ace a test.
But when he looks at me, I’m shy
And that is why I like this guy.

Whadya think? If I ever go with Brent, I’m gonna give this poem to him.

I laugh at my 14-year-old self on so many levels when I read this entry. First of all, I guess I had my priorities right on Valentine’s Day. I can’t imagine that 54-3 basketball game now, but I’m sure it was pure torture for my poor coach. All the attention it got from me was “ugh.” The rest of my entry was about the most important thing in my life: Boys! Or at least, one boy.

Are eighth grade boys still like that? Do they say, “I hate you” and “I’ll beat you up” when they like you? And can eighth grade girls see through it? From my limited experience with eighth graders in recent years, I’m thinking this is fourth grade behavior. Eighth graders are doing a lot more than sitting next to each other on the bleachers. Makes one yearn for the good ol’ days.

And I can’t believe my English teacher Mr. O really thought my poetry had any value beyond amusing himself as he outed me as lovestruck. He might have enjoyed the unfolding soap opera he unleashed by reading my work out loud, not to my class, but to a different one. If you’re teaching eighth grade English, that’s probably as good as it gets.

Let’s try a modern version a Dear Diary entry on Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Day 2012

Minnesota Transplant blog

Well, I know for sure I’m part of an old married couple. We went out for dinner at a corner cafe (because we were avoiding the crowd at the local pub) and I ate my entire 10-ounce burger with bleu cheese, bacon and onions. I can’t believe I at the whole thing. A Valentine’s meal on a date with someone you’re trying to impress would never include onions or be completely eaten.

I got a portable FM radio for Valentine’s Day so I can listen to MPR while running. And I gave my Beloved a carrot cake muffin. And a Valentine that said, “Be my Valentine.”

Over dinner, we reminisced about the past five Valentine’s Days together, and I asked my Beloved what makes him happy when he thinks back about our relationship. And he said, “I’m happy that I’m happier every year.”

Now that’s progress. A lot better than being in eighth grade and being told, “I hate you.” That’s happily every after.

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final-ecover-rgbOnly three more days ’til Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 will be available on Amazon!

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