Thursday, October 22, 2009

God vs. Santa Claus

September 18, 1983 Sunday

Dear Ophelia,
"Sorry I haven't written in awhile. I got (last week) two really neat shirts and some tight jeans.

Today I got a pocket calendar to mark my period. I also got some great Nike running shoes. They have great traction and padding. They are usually $42, we got them for $24.

I am making Daniel a macrame plant holder for his room. I hope he likes it.

Barbara J. is going to have a baby soon. Mom and I got her some baby shower gifts.

Mom got Daniel two records. Pink Floyd the Wall. Daniel sent me a shirt he bought at the Police concert he went to. It's really neat.

I'm doing great in school. English is kind of hard but I'm doing just fine. I wish I had a horse. Well, bye Ophelia. I'll write tomorrow. Bye. Your dear friend, Jennifer."

Jennifer wearing her Police shirt!

Jennifer's taste in music was dictated by her big brother, Daniel. She secretly worshipped him and his friends. Whatever Daniel liked, she liked. She became a fan of Rush, Pink Floyd, Boston, Yes, Moody Blues, the Beatles and the Police just to name a few. He made tapes for her and that was her music. She also secretly loved Madonna, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, Tears for Fears, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Boy George, Men at Work etc. She stayed in the closet about those bands because they just weren't "cool".

October 21, 1983 Friday

Dear Ophelia,
"Sorry I didn't write sooner. I'll catch you up on what's going on. I have an A in everything except English (B-). English is really hard.

I'm going to California for one month. We get two weeks Christmas vacation. I'm going a week before and a week after vacation = 1 month. Josh is really smart. It's like he understands what we say. I love him.

Jeff and I don't really get along. For awhile we never talked to each other. It's getting better now though.

In cross-country I did okay. It's over now. Here are my times for the mile and a half. 11 min. 41 sec., 11 min. 45 sec., 11 min. 46 sec., 11 min. 48 sec. and 11 min. 14 sec. At the championships, I got 11 minutes 14 seconds. I got my picture in the paper in full color. I got sixth place.

Cheri is going to spend the night tonight. Barbara and David Y. are coming for dinner.

Last weekend I saw The Black Stallion Returns. It was a really great movie. I'm reading the Black Stallion series again. "

Jennifer did not close or sign this entry. She is writing a little less often right now. She and her step-dad, Jeff, had high expectations for their new family. I think they were both disappointed.

Josh--the black poodle acquired in Alaska after Muffin died

November 13, 1983 Sunday

Dear Ophelia,
"X-country is over now. Jeff, Mom, Joel and I are seeing a family counselor because none of us get along very well. Mom and I get along fine though.

Yesterday I got a perm. My hair is curly all over. I'll put a picture in here.

Cheri, Shannyn and I are going running today.

Here are my grades:
Home Ec.--A,
Math--A (advanced math),
Social Studies--A,
English--B (Honors English),

I go to California December 10, 1983. I come back January 7 or 8. Dad is going to get Adam which is a computer that goes with Coleco Vision. I can't wait to use it.

Becky's mom is getting married and Becky got a husky dog named Tulsa. He is so cute. Pure white. When I go back to California I am getting contacts. I can't wait. Well I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."

Jennifer remembers the family counselor. She was a European woman. She had no sense of humor and she was strict and angry. Jennifer couldn't even imagine her having a family of her own. At least Jennifer's family bonded over the fact that none of them liked her!

December 2, 1983 Friday

Dear Ophelia,
"Here is a love letter I wrote to Scott. I really love him. I hope he asks me to go with him. I'm doing really great in Honors English. I have a double A+ on every spelling/vocabulary test for the new quarter. I have 5 points so I don't have to take the final exam. I might even raise my final grade to an A.

We are doing ratios in Math. Back to English, I have to write 12 critiques by December 10, 1983. The critiques are on short stories. If I do 12, I get an A. The critiques are hard. So far I have written six. I got an A- on my rough draft composition. I only made 5 mistakes out of 2 pages and Mrs. Ahrens grades hard. Very hard. We just finished studying Edgar Allan Poe. He is a genius writer. Right now I am reading a book called 1984. It is very good.

I am going to California for 1 month. Yeaa. Daniel got his driver's license. I will try to start writing every day. My perm looks pretty good. I didn't tell Dad or Daniel. I'm going to surprise them. Well I gotta go. Bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer + Scott. P.S. I will try to write every day."

Jennifer's grades were and will remain very important to her. Her parents did not pressure her about school, maybe because they didn't have to. They did not check her backpack, sit her down for homework time, check her work, call her teachers or volunteer at her school. They both worked full time. The big evening production was dinner, not homework. Jennifer was self-motivated. Getting Jennifer to do chores was frustrating enough, at least her parents didn't have to force her to study also!

The love letter to Scott and the photo have been lost.

December 3, 1983 Saturday

Dear Ophelia,
"Life is one big disappointment. All I want is a horse and Mom keeps telling me I will not have one. I have saved almost $800 dollars. I was thinking I might buy a horse this Christmas but Mom just said I won't until we get a house (after high school) or until I'm married or something. I always get so excited about riding and caring for a horse but my dreams are always shattered.

Why are we poor? How come something very important to me costs so much money? Why did Muffin and Chipper die? Why? Why? Why?

I need a miracle to have a horse and God can help me get a horse if I help myself. Well I am saving my money and suffering through disappointment, looking for ads in the paper knowing I will be disappointed. I wish God would meet me half way. Help me find the lost poodle for the reward money and help me find a horse that would be good for me. Or help Mom and Jeff get rich and buy a house in horse country.

Why can't He do this now or do I have a lesson to be learned or am I being tested. Please God Help Me. Your friend, Jennifer. P.S. Sandy. Mr. Sandman (horse names)."

Jennifer, age 10 in Foster City--parents, there is no cure for Horse Crazy!

Okay, this is my beef with Santa Claus: Santa Claus and God look too much alike. At least in our culture--old man, white beard, white, wise (very different outfits!) Anyway, kids confuse them. My own kids are confused. Their prayers and their Christmas lists are almost identical.

They don't understand that Santa gives you what you want and God gives you what you need. These things rarely coincide. My kids don't even know what they's my job to be real and Santa's job to give the "big gift". So Santa gives God a bad rap. Sorry Santa. A good church would have taught Jennifer the difference, but she was on her own.

Jennifer and her family were living in a condominium in Anchorage. They had no place to keep a horse. It wasn't the price of the horse that was the problem, it was the upkeep! Jennifer's mother was right. Jennifer did not get a horse until she was married! Don't you hate it when your parents are right?

Jennifer recovered from her tirade after a few hours. She re-opened her diary on December 3, 1983 Saturday and wrote some more:

Dear Ophelia and Sandy,
"I have made a decision. From now on I am going to be a perfect kid. I'm going to do what I'm told right away. I will be good. I will do my chores. I will not complain.

I always used to tell Mom 'Life isn't fair, Nothing is fair.' Well, telling her that didn't help. Nothing will ever be fair. If I am good and loving it might help. I will still be picky about my money. I am a saver not a spender, that will never change. If Jeff is mad at me I will be flat honest and ask him Why he is mad.

I babysat tonight for a girl called Aleisha. I got eleven dollars. I was there from 6:00pm to 11:00pm. Aleisha is really smart. I like her parents a lot. Thank you God. Jennifer."

Jennifer makes another deal. She thinks maybe God's favor can be earned through good works. Does anyone think this will work? Can anyone be perfect? Is this what God wants from us before he will love us? If this is true, then God loves no one! Such a person can not exist. However, Jennifer will follow this train of thought for years and it will lead her further and further away from God.

What was your big passion as a child?

Microsoft Word is launched
A drought in Ethiopia kills 4 million people
The average cost of a new house in the U.S. is $82,600 USD
The average monthly rent in the U.S. is $335.00 USD
Seat belt usage in the front seats becomes mandatory
U.S. unemployment rises to 12 million
The world population is estimated at 4.72 billion
The Internet is created

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