Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ghosts Of Journals Past

Every five years I keep a journal for a year, starting with my birthday. It’s a diary of sorts, which I started doing when I turned 35. Then at 40, 45, etc. Since I just turned 55, I started my latest chapter a little over a week ago.

Here’s some entries from years past. Though I write about anything and everything, I culled from my "archives" entries having to do with our boys, Greg and Scott. There’s nothing that better demonstrates the passing of time than watching your kids grow up . . .

June 14, 1988-(Greg is 8, Scott 5) I figure there must be a thousand toys easy in this house. Amazingly, the chances are 50-50 that both kids will want the same toy at the same time. And both will kick, scratch and bite to play with it. Even if only for five minutes. They say kids can make you feel young. But at 35, I believe that you need the stamina of someone less than 30 to keep up with kids under 10.

December 8, 1988-Greg lost his "firth" tooth on Tuesday. The tooth fairy gave him a dollar. Greg didn’t know it but the tooth fairy had a tough time finding his tooth under that pillow. Good thing Greg is a sound sleeper.

March 21, 1989-Like me, Scott has a great interest in watching horror movies and loves to curl up on my lap when we watch, tucking his head next to my armpit during the suspenseful parts. When you tell him about a particular movie monster, he’ll ask, "Does he eat blood?" Tonight he drew something for Wendy. She asked, "What is that, a fire?" Scott responded, "No, it’s a teeth monster." Then after pausing he added, "But it’s a nice teeth monster."

Five years later . . .

June 6, 1993-One game our little family plays during long waits, either in the car or in a restaurant, is the A-B-C game where we each think of a word that begins with the designated letter and fits a particular category. Yesterday, the category was "something to do with sports." Scott is surprisingly good at this. At Pizza Hut, he came up with "Ultimate Warrior" (a pro wrestler popular at the time) for U and "varsity" for V. Greg stole my U word, "underdog."

October 6, 1993-Having a little dog is just like having a little kid, at least with our new puppy Doogie. He does seem to be responding to his name now, probably because that’s all we seem to do is shout out, "Doogie!" He scratched Scott, bit Greg on the nose, scattered newspapers around and flees into the neighbor’s yard anytime we let him outside to go to the bathroom.

October 11, 1993-So far no messes in the house today. Maybe Doogie is turning the corner. Greg said that Doogie even stood at the patio door scratching to say he wanted to go out. "You mean he can talk?" Scott asked, seemingly serious.

Five years later . . .

August 13, 1998-Scott gave a birthday list to his aunt Denise that included "Area 51 scientists to check for inter-dimensional portals in our living room." He feels that too many of his toys have turned up missing. I think cleaning up after himself would bring more promising results.

August 20, 1998--Tonight both the boys’ hockey sticks are on the roof, Greg having thrown them up there over the garage when Scott locked him out of the house for a couple hours. We thought they were both mature enough to stay at home during the summer by themselves while Wendy and I worked. Now I wonder. School can’t open a minute too soon for me.

Five years later . . .

May 29, 2003--Now it’s going on 10:30 at night. Greg went to deliver a bologna sandwich to Scott who is hungry after getting called to do a full shift at Blockbuster video tonight. He wants the money, of course. Greg and I matched up one-on-one in basketball tonight with myself surprisingly taking a 10-7 win. Don’t know if he was going 100 per cent on me but he seemed to contest every shot. Our next door neighbor, young Breanna, asked to play, but I said it was one of those macho contests, with a 50-year-old facing off against a 20-year-old. "I’m the 50-year-old," I declared. "Well, duhhh," she replied, to chuckles from Greg.

June 13, 2003-Back at work after two days off to attend orientation at Michigan State University. While educators and administrators took turns lecturing us on what to expect with billing, Scott was getting his own session on what it means to become a Spartan. So at home, in the middle of the night, the phone rings. I answer it but nobody’s there, so I hang up. It rings again and an AT&T electronic operator asks if I want to accept a collect call. But the person on the other end does not give their name and I hang up again. Wendy, who is up now too at after 3 a.m, believes the caller is Greg, who was supposed to return at 2 a.m. from "clubbing." Sure enough, a third call comes through and this time Greg identifies himself as the collect caller. I accept the charges and Greg tells me that his buddy Jimmy has left him stranded in Ypsilanti. He had to walk through some of Ypsi’s more run-down neighborhoods just to find a phone.

Five years later . . .

June 2, 2008 (two days ago)-Greg’s girlfriend Lindsay called Wendy to say that Greg proposed on the third anniversary of their first date. Even got down on one knee. No wedding date yet-probably next year. So that’s great. I think she’ll make a wonderful daughter-in-law even if her birthday present to me a week ago was a plain gray shirt with NERD prominently emblazoned on the front.

And life goes on . . .


Anonymous cassie-b said...

What a wonderful idea. It really shows the progression of life that you might miss if you're not careful.

Thanks for sharing that.

11:42 AM  
Blogger jan said...

I like a potential daughter-in-law who isn't a suck up. Treasure her.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

So...did you go to Ypsilanti?

Congrats to Greg and the fact you will have a daughter in the family!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Lovely, just lovely! I wish I had thought to do something like that....time is so fleeting. I do have copies of the
dreaded "Christmas Letter" going back to 1974. Ann Landers did a piece about how people hated those "Thrill of Victory" letters, but I had complaints if I didn't write one. Mine were more of the "Agony of Defeat" letters, anyway.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

Dave, I love the entries-how wonderful to see how you and your family have grown through the years.
And congrats on the DIL to be. I have one coming aboard soon as well. But, she's already a wonderful part of the family.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Babette said...

That's all well and good about the nostalgia and the pending wedding. What it means to become a SPARTAN brought a tear to my eye, of course.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CASSIE--My wife and boys remember little of the events I described too. So you're right. They would have been forgotten eventually.

JAN--My extended family already thinks she's a treasure.

FRED--Yep, hopped into the car at three in the morning and drove about 20 miles round trip. No unkind words for him either since we would rather have him home safe and sound than not.

KACEY--I've done the Xmas letter for a number of years and have kept copies of those as well. I try very hard not to brag with them, always throwing in some misfortune and humor as well as our family accomplishments.

CARINE--It sure does remind you of how much time has passed. So you're getting a new DIL as well? Congratulations to you then too.

BABETTE--It brings a tear to my eye too when I think of all the money I've sent to that "place."

9:22 AM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

It is interesting to go back and read old journal entries. I'm usually a bit surprised by some of my thoughts or comments.

It is always interesting to see the growth and progress of the family or yourself, isn't it? Hard to believe the boy who was loosing a tooth in that first year cited here, is old enough to marry? I would imagine there is some of that.

Congratulations to the young couple and wishes for a happy life! And to Greg's parents, who raised a boy well enough to allow him the wisdom to find a wife who can put up with her father-in-law!! :D

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Boomer Chick said...

I love diaries. You have inspired me to start mine up again!

6:24 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, Our kids grow up pretty fast and we stand around wondering how we go so old, where does all of that time go?

4:31 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Great post and a great idea to keep a record or diary of
happenings at regular intervals.
I don't remember some of the things that happened so very long ago.
Would you please wish Wendy a very happy birthday on the 9th June. I hope she has a wonderful day and you were extra nice to her. Regards, Merle.

6:41 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Very good, Big D. Did you enjoy the drive to Ypsilanti?

6:22 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Thank you for your comments. I have a birthday book with a lot of bloggers and families in it and I remember from last year when you must have mentioned Wendy's birthday. Hope she had a great day.
Sorry about playing the pokies - they are poker machines that eat your money uo real quick.. I am surprised your father mentioned my blog for jokes for passenger buses. Take care,
Kind regards, Merle.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--True about reading old thoughts and comments you made back when. Things that were so important to me 20 years ago aren't that important to me now. You do change.

BOOMER CHICK--Nice to see you back. Glad I could inspire you.

LUCY--I do wonder where all that time went too. And I even seem to have less time these days.

MERLE--Wendy really appreciated your birthday wish. She had a nice birthday. Her most unique gift was a "memory book" of her late mother with pictures, clippings and such. Her sister made that for her.

HOSS--Didn't really enjoy the 3 a.m. drive that much. But Greg claimed his original plan was to walk home (10 miles). He would have enjoyed that a lot less.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Thank the Lord Bob is okay.. Scary though being so far from a phone. I guess he likes it though. Thanks for letting me know!! : )

9:35 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hi Dave, my first time here.

Wonderful idea about the journal.. wish I was young enough to do it! *LOL*

3:55 AM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

Very touching memories!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CAROLDEE--Hopefully Trucker Bob won't go AWOL again without letting us know.

DAVE--I started my journal at 35. BUT I was inspired by a journal started by a woman who turned 75. Her name was May Sarton and her diary is probably available at your local library. So you're never too old.

SPIDER63--Some of the memories are not so touching but I only picked the good ones.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

That's a wonderful way of remembering all the things we soon forget.
Time flies so quickly. I remember playing the alphabet game with my sons...and now with my grandkids.
Great post!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:31 PM  

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