In third grade, we were required to keep a daily journal. This was in Mrs Waters’ Reading class. I wrote in the journal just about every day beginning on November 8th and ending around May 5th. While I probably found it a chore to do then, I’m really glad we were asked to do this exercise. I wish I had been made to keep a journal every year of grade school. I’ve loved being able to read it and remember certain events that happened. Some things I recall and others I do not. For the things I remember, I often remember them differently in my memory than I do in the journal. That’s all very interesting to me.
Sometimes, instead of writing what happened each day, I would write short fictional stories. These are probably the most embarrassing to read now. Most of these stories are very violent, with my friends and me ending up dead. If these stories were turned in to a teacher today, people would probably be very worried about me and there would be phone calls with my mother. Maybe that happened. I don’t know. Today, I would probably be placed on some kind of watch list. Today, I might be sent to a different kind of school.
And all that would’ve been for nothing because… well, look how great I turned out!!
I’ve long wanted to publish this entire third grade journal day by day and that’s what I will do over the coming days and weeks and months. It’s probably an exercise in narcissism. But because of my book, I feel like it’s at the very least “on brand.” But even if it weren’t for my book, I think there would be something useful and meaningful in doing this. As I get older, I tend to look back at parts of my life as though the person I’m thinking about were a completely different person. That’s the way I feel when I read these journal entries, sometimes. As if I bore no relation to the person doing the writing. But other times, I read them and I remember myself. I remember this person I used to be and he feels familiar and I hope to get some of that person back.
Aside from the value to myself, though, I think reading this journal could also be interesting to parents my age who have young boys. I am not such a parent, but I have several friends who are.
Most entries in the journal are one page long and so most of the time I will be posting a photo of that page, a transcription of the page below it, and maybe some commentary.
First, before we begin, let’s establish some historical perspective:
My age at the time: 8-9 years old
Location: Houston, Texas
President: Ronald Reagan
December 26th: Time’s Man of the Year is a computer
January 10th: Fraggle Rock Launches
January 26th: Lotus 1-2-3 is released for IBM PC compatible computers
March 25: Michael Jackson performs “Billie Jean” and introduces the moonwalk during the television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever
April 4: The Space Shuttle Challenger launches on its maiden voyage: STS-6
May 25: Return of the Jedi opens in theatres
Album releases of importance (to me):
October 27th: 1999, Prince
November 12th: Showtime!, J. Geils Band
November 30th: Thriller, Michael Jackson
January 14th: Nena, Nena
January 20th: American Made, The Oak Ridge Boys &
Pyromania, Def Leppard
March 11th: Metal Health, Quiet Riot
March 23rd: Eliminator, ZZ Top
April 13th: Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
Here is the page I am on in my third grade yearbook. It is signed by my homeroom teacher Mrs. Redd. The other handwriting is my own. I point out some of my friends, and also who I love. And, as you can see by what I’ve written next to my photo, I was going through a phase of over-the-top self assertion, which at the time I thought was cute.
Here is another group photo of my homeroom class:
And here is my yearbook photo, in color:
Now here’s a video of Nena. She’s only gotten hotter:
TAGS: Childhood | Journaling | ThirdGradeJournal