Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dead birds and boys...

January 29, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today me and Edna played all day. We had fun. We found a dead bird bigger than a duck. It was brown. I put it in a sack and took it to my house. We buried it at my house in the backyard and my dad did not mind. We put some flowers out for him. We played graveyard the rest of the day then we went to Edna's and spent the night. Bye."

You never forget your first dead body. This was Jennifer's. She remembers how real it felt to see death just lying there on her street--naked. There were no mourners, no evidence of an accident, no predators and no grave. There was no acknowledgment of this creature's life or death. It was all alone. It was lying on a sidewalk, upside down, feet curled, beak open, a few ants crawling inside its mouth, feathers ruffled--no one would want to be seen this way! Jennifer and Edna responded to this helpless creature with a funeral and a grave.

A page from Jennifer's Diary

January 30, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Edna and I got ten bouquets of flowers (we made them) to put on Windy's grave (the bird). We played graveyard 'till Edna had to go home. Nothing else happened. I have to go bye."

Jennifer and Edna payed their respects to the bird and quickly went back to chasing boys....they were both boy-crazy girls. This would soon end their friendship. Sometimes, its better to have friends who aren't exactly like you are!

January 31, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today Steve and Daniel were chasing Edna around and kissing her. I like Steve. Everybody ignored me, including Edna. I was bored all day. Edna thinks she is all great because they were chasing her and not me. Today for doing laundry all month, I get $24.50. I have about 200 dollars right now, not including the $24.50. Well I have to go now bye. Also, Carol switched horses on me, now for awhile I will ride Jewel. Bye."

It appears that Daniel was chasing after Jennifer's friends too, at least for a little while. He would be paid back for this tenfold.

Jennifer felt her first feelings of jealousy with Edna. She was a very cute girl and developing at a much faster rate than Jennifer. Jennifer longed to be noticed by boys while Edna was beating them off with a stick. She never felt more invisible than when Edna was around. She felt a little like the dead bird, awkward and alone.

February 3, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today was boring. I rode the bus home. I had math homework. I like 3 boys--Steve, Rich and Kye. I played with Edna today. Nothing else happened and there is not much to say. Dad is not home from work yet, the time is 10:04pm. I have to go. It's late. Well bye."

Jennifer's dad often worked until 9 or 10 o'clock at night. Jen and Dan continued living their latchkey lives. Her dad left TV dinners for them to eat. He had full cable TV, so they filled up on salted food and rated R movies to their hearts' content (just no sugar, sugar was not allowed--priorities, right?)

Well, there was an exception to this. Their dad did buy them a stash of sweets now and then that was meant to last a week or so. It was their job to ration their own sweets. Jennifer ate all her sweets the first day. Daniel rationed his like the good boy scout he was (literally--he went on to become an Eagle Scout).

So Jennifer ate all her junk food and then spent the next week begging Dan for some of his. He always gave in and shared with her. To this day, Jennifer is the kind of girl who will not take no for an answer! She has the staying power to wear down just about anybody. For example--her husband (who is no pushover) is allergic to cats, horses, hay and dust and he doesn't like tiny, little dogs and he wanted to stop after their first child. So of course, they have two cats, two horses, hay, lots of dust, a mini-dachshund and three children.

Her husband feeds the cats and horses for her most of the time, he bought the dog a t-shirt and he coaches the kids' teams, volunteers at their school and is the kind of dad who tries not to miss a single day of their lives.

Sometimes getting your way is a good thing!!!

Do you remember your first experience with death?

Top Songs of 1982

Physical--Olivia Newton-John

Eye of the Tiger--Survivor

I Love Rock N' Roll--Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Ebony and Ivory--Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

Centerfold--J. Geils Band


  1. You and your brother were so independent- still awake at 10:00, watching movies, heating up your own meals and rationing (or not) your sweets. Such a different lifestyle!
    That song Physical by Olivia Newton-John...well, when I was 7 or 8 my neighbor friend and I made up a dance routine and performed it for my parents. Needless to say, they were not pleased and I was SO confused as to what the problem was!!

  2. Death came early.I was 9 when my dad died of a heart attack. He left my mom and 6 kids,ages 3 (twins) to 17. We were Russian Molokan -similar to Russian Orthadox but much more strict. When someone in your family died you would fast,grieve and stay with the body from afternoon until the next morning while people/friends/relatives would visit throughout the night to pay their respects. I was 9 years old, up all night, sitting alongside my father's dead body?? It changed my life. I remember feeling like I was in a dream/nightmare. I guess I would say that I can relate to that bird somehow..helpless would be the best way to describe it?

  3. When I was in fourth grade my best friend's brother killed himself in his bedroom. He was a senior in high school. I practically lived at my friend's house. In fact, when I was 13 I ran away from home and stayed there for 1 week. The death of my friend's brother was so confusing and so heartbreaking. That family was never the same could you be after something like that??


Thank you for reading The Jennifer Diaries!