Sunday, August 9, 2009

Animal Spirit

February 4, 1983 Friday, 56 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today I had no homework. It was boring today. Mom is coming tomorrow. I have to clean up a little. Well I must go so, bye Ophelia. Yours forever, Jennifer."

Mom coming meant a lot but it also meant, home-cookin'
Jennifer photographed a meal her mom made in her dad's kitchen

February 5, 1983 Saturday, 55 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today I went to Carol's and worked all day because of the show tomorrow. I did a lot of work. Daniel had his Eagle Court of Honor where he became an Eagle scout. So did Jon. Daniel and Jon's family had to sit on stage. Randy was there. I am riding David in the show. Well I have to go because I have to get up at 4:30am tomorrow. So bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer. P.S. It rained."

The article in the Foster City Progress (Daniel went on to write articles for this paper!)

Daniel worked hard on his project to earn the Eagle Scout title. Daniel designed a self-guided nature trail through the salt marsh of Foster City. He created pamphlets that described the local flora and fauna and provided a map of the trail. Jon also worked hard. He instituted a Neighborhood Watch program for Foster City. Daniel and Jon both attended San Mateo High School (since Foster City doesn't have a high school). Jennifer remembers thinking that this was all way too much work!! However, she was proud of her big brother (and still is!).

Daniel building his trail
Daniel the Eagle Scout!

Since this day, the Eagle is Daniel's animal "spirit". Jennifer is a Christian. She knows we don't have animal spirits protecting us. But it's kind of fun to identify yourself with one of God's glorious beasts. Daniel is the Eagle. He soars high in the air and reports on what he sees across the land. This is Dan. He majored in philosophy (lofty thinker). He works in journalism and keeps his community informed about what is going on. An eagle's voice carries for many miles and so does Dan's!

Jennifer has always identified herself with the horse (of course!). They are social and comfortable in groups (which is one reason why moving did not sit well with her. Jennifer hates leaving her herd!), they are fast runners and they are easily spooked (note to self--don't identify yourself with a prey animal).

Unfortunately, Jennifer is more the spooky, Thoroughbred type than the noble Fresian type. On the positive side, she can spot a predator a mile away (mean people will never get close enough to touch her). On the negative side, she may turn and bolt from her own shadow! Jennifer is brave only on the defense. If cornered, she will kick you so hard your grandchildren will come out with hoof prints! But again, she'll run before you get that close...

February 6, 1983 Sunday, 54 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today it rained sometimes. I got a fourth in Kindergarten Hunters and a fifth in Hunter Hack. I was only in four classes. David was okay but when we lined up he acted-up as if the crowd cheered. Now I have seven ribbons. A first, 1 second, 1 third, 2 fourths and 2 fifths. I hope to get more. Dad, mom and I talked about me moving. It's okay but Dad cried. I hope I'm doing the right thing. The show was really fun. I have to go so, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer. P.S. I bruised my knee and I am stiff and tired."

I think Jennifer was stiff and tired from all the work she did on Saturday at Carol's, not from the show. David was a thoroughbred by the way--spooky like Jennifer! Crowd cheering sounds pleasant but can be terrifying to a horse!

Jennifer getting a ribbon on David

Jennifer remembers her dad crying when he found out she was moving. It was the first time she ever saw him cry. Later, she asked him why he had cried. She was expecting him to say that he would miss her. He said, "Because I will have to pay child support again." Jennifer felt the same shame she felt over the divorce. Somehow, she was causing her parents stress again. She was also angry and hurt. She was a kid, wasn't she supposed to be a financial burden?

As an adult, she now believes he couldn't vocalize what upset him. He went with the logical, Vulcan response. Spock wouldn't have known why he was crying either but, "I don't know why I'm crying" or "I'm sad" are phrases that just don't compute. Tears aren't rational. Child support is rational!

February 7, 1983 Monday, 53 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today mom left. I was so sad. I stayed home from school. Also my knee hurts. I am really sad my mom left. But I'll see her soon. I have to go so bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."


February 8, 1983 Tuesday, 52 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today I stayed home again. I don't know why I feel this way. I can not write much today. I am bored. I am reading a good book though. Well, bye Ophelia. Your Sad Friend, Jennifer."

I wish I could go back and hug Jennifer as a little girl. She's not bored, she's depressed.

February 9, 1983 Wednesday, 51 days to Alaska

Dear Ophelia,
"Today I went to school and surprisingly had very little homework. Tomorrow is a half day. I am beginning to feel better, but my knee still hurts. There is no school on Friday. Well bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."

At least it doesn't take her long to snap back! Jennifer has always been good at taking mental days for herself. She will go to school or to work sick, but she won't go depressed.

With what animal do you identify yourself?

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