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Today in My History

2000: A Simple Faith
2001:  I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
2002:  No Easy Answers
2003:  Little Things
2004:  Sunflowers and Pears
2005:  It's So Hard to Be a Goddess

2006:  And Then There Were Three
2007: Lost Monday

Fool for Love

Books Read in 2008
Updated: 3/14
"Dog Eat Dog"



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Desert Nut
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Look at these videos!
Golden Girls--Condoms
Miami, You've Got Style
Women, Know Your Place
Fidolin and ADHD
Stayin' Alive!

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 10/2/07)

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10 April 2008

I remember when Peach got her "hope chest" back in 1957, a cedar chest into which she would put all of the things she would use in her marriage. 

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I don't know if girls get hope chests any more.  They were supposed to be filled with the sorts of things that in older days would be called "dowery items."  Linens and silver and that sort of thing.   I was always looking forward to filling a cedar chest, but I never got one until after I was married -- then it was one that had belonged to my mother (which, of course, made it more special--it just wasn't a bridal cedar chest, but one that came with memories).

I started filling it with memorabilia of the kids as they started to create memorabilia.  But it has sat unopened, under stacks of newspapers and clothes, in the master bedroom of this house for literally decades.

When I started looking through boxes trying to find the baby clothes that I had saved to pass along to our grandchildren, there were two things in particular that I was looking for, and couldn't find either of them in any closet.  I finally thought that maybe they were in the cedar chest, so I blew away the dust and opened the chest.  I felt like Pandora, not knowing what I was going to find!

It was mostly filled, as I suspected with kids' stuff.  The first pair of shoes that each of them wore (I took Tom's to him on our last trip to Santa Barbara), more stuff that had been done in school, a couple of baby blankets (Ned's security blanket used to be in there too until he decided to take it back), and the only sweater that I knitted for Jeri that I was proud enough of to save (I took that down to Laurel too).

But there was one smallish box that I opened.  It was about 14" x 11" and maybe an inch and a half deep.   When I opened it---there was my childhood history.  My Senior Memories booklet, my high school diploma, my prom picture, a May Day procession I was in in 1949, a book of snapshots I'd forgotten I had, all of my report cards, my First Communion Certificate, the class photos from each year through grammar school, and the picture I'd been looking for for years, of trick-or-treating at Swenson's Ice Creamery (the original one, before it went into franchise), pictures of my ice skating class, along with a host of other things.  What a wonderful voyage of discovery!

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One of the "treasures" unearthed in the box sort of foreshadowed this journal.  It was a book I wrote in about the 5th or 6th grade, with the original title, "All About Me."  My very first autobiography.  I was wordy even back then.  How's this for a dramatic introduction:

At about 10:30 p.m., a nurse left room 487-B and walked down the long halls of the Saint Francis Hospital to the waiting room where a nervous man glanced anxiously into her face.  "Mr. West," she said, addressing him.   "You have a 7 lb 6-1/2 oz baby girl.  She was born at 10:25.  Your wife is all right."  Here a pink bundle was placed into his arms and he looked down at me.  This was my beginning.

The story takes the reader through my christening, my first words, first "things", my cat Socksie (who ran away), the birth of my sister, my first day at school.  It tells of my interest in stamp collecting and in acquiring trading cards and of various religious ceremonies in which I'd taken part (remember this was a Catholic school!).

Chapter 4 of the book is "Ten Years From Now" and I found it interesting.

My ideal is my mother.  If I could be like her, I would really accomplish something.

(I think I have echoed that sentiment more than once in this journal as well)

For my career I would like to be a secretary and, if God wills it, a housewife.  I love babies and would like to have some of my own.

I dunno.  If that was my goal back in the early 1950s, then as I look back over my life, I would say that I succeeded beyong my wildest expectations!


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Halloween 1951, Swenson's Original Ice Cream location
I'm in the white circle, at age 8; my sister is in the red circle, at age 4



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