Life Lesson #53: You only have one chance to make a first impression. Unless the person forgets you, and then you can totally make a second impression. But that’s it. No third impressions.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that April’s weather has been…how shall we say…absolute crap. I’m a huge fan of spring, so this has irked me like few things can. (Real talk: lots of things irk me. People being super-late. Germs. Lying. Super-late lying germs. You get the idea.) Anyway, since the weather outside was frightful, I decided to clean my office.

You guys, I think I’m a hoarder. Or at least I have hoarder tendencies. For reals.

Karl has always suggested that this is true (it first came up when we cleaned out the storage room in the basement. I pared down about 12 large Rubbermaid containers to a far more manageable 11).

I think he’s right. Gah. It pains me to say that. It pains me more to type it and know it will exist on the interwebs for all eternity. Karl. Was. Right.

Anyway, over the course of this ill-fated weekend, I managed to stumble upon even more journals/diaries/reams and reams and reams of paper with my scribblings on them.

(I seriously owe the forests of tomorrow quite a few trees. Note to self: buy seedlings.)

I found this absolutely *delightful* journal of my writing from grade 4-5. Are you ready to take a trip back to 1989-1990? Are you ready to learn about some sweet baby-sitting techniques from someone who had, at that point in time, never babysat anyone in her life but had read many, many, many Babysitters Club books? Are you ready to learn about what was fashionable in my mind in those days?

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, read on, fair reader! Read on! (Or, you know, just head over to the ol’ couch and binge on some Netflix. Here’s your chance to leave gracefully. Still here? OK. Don’t say you weren’t warned.)

Let’s start with an intro. I have absolutely NO idea why I felt compelled to introduce myself every time I began a new book of writing, but there you go. This one’s a doozy:

All About Me (chapter 1):

“Well, there are a few things you should know about me. For instance, that I’m 9 years old and have brown hair and green eyes. Oh, by the way, my name is Jessica. As you can tell by my description, I’m not very attractive.”

Er…OK, so here’s the thing: you AREN’T very attractive, dear Jess. Things will improve somewhat in time, but for now, you’re not wrong. But your description is so non-descript that it’s just painful. Let me show you what I mean (you’re a visual learner):


I’m the least-fashionable one. Which one is that? You choose!

See? Work on that. Be more…descriptive…in your description.
Moving on. Same introduction, bear in mind:

“I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m in grade 4. It was our March break and I’m just about to go back to school. I was visiting Ottawa for March break and I spent all of this afternoon frantically calling my best friend but she was not home. Then I remembered I forgot my budgie, Polly’s birthday because I was away on March break. So all afternoon, I decorated his cake. It was delicious.”

I have notes.

You’re all over the place, girlfriend. First, you’re on March break. Then you’re frantically calling the probably-at-a-rink-or-some-nonsense-BFF, then you suddenly remembered your bird’s birthday and, in typical Jess-style, decided to whip him up a birthday cake.


“I forgive you for forgetting me!”

Questions:
1. Why did you make a bird a birthday cake?
2. Why did you call someone ‘frantically’? Like, were you on fire/being attacked by a large peanut?
3. Did anything of note happen on March break?
4. I’m still stuck on the bird cake thing.

Chapter 2: The Summer Vacation: Part 1 – Ottawa

“Well, it was approximately 11:21 AM and we were halfway to Ottawa (in Kingston). And I promised myself I’d write in here, so if anything exciting happens today, I’ll write. Here’s a basic picture of the scenery:

I call it ‘boring.'”

I agree, young Jess. Your scenery picture was terrible, btw. Like, your trees are barely recognizable. I guess it makes sense, though, because you get so carsick if you read or write in the car.

Chapter 3: Friday
“I know I didn’t write on Thursday, but that’s because nothing happened. Well, it was Poppa’s birthday. Today, all we did was shop at Carlingwood Mall. I got a pair of Reebox for $28 and we didn’t even know the people.”

A few things:
1. Sorry about dismissing your birthday, Poppa. You always loved the lawn flamingoes we ordered and how we pretended you were still 39.
2. Carlingwood is, as far as I know, the only predominantly carpeted mall in the greater Ottawa area. If you fall down, it won’t hurt. If you drop pizza on the rug, you’ll have to leave.


3. The comment about Reebox made me laugh. In the ‘vern, you had hookups. Always hookups. And you had to know peeps to get those hookups. So to get a cheap pair of (potentially knock-off?) shoes when you didn’t even know the person selling them was something to note. In your badly written journal.

Chapter 4: GUESS WHAT?!!?

What?!

Chapter 5: Babysitting

“Oh boy, what a babysitting experience. We all went skating with our first grade reading buddies and I swear I spent more time in the change room than on the ice.”

I remember this trip. I remember helping kids with lacing up their skates (hence the “spent more time in the change room” comment). I remember my reading buddy being really bad at skating. I remember feeling pretty good about my skating skills. It was literally the ONLY time in school I felt I had any ‘athletic’ prowess over anyone else. Probably should’ve noted that.

Chapter 6: Dressing for Babysitting

This chapter needs no words. Just really, really badly drawn pictures.


I call the first one “fancy baby-sitting” and the second one “baggy-sitting.”

Chapter 7: Back to School

This is what 10-year-old Jess thought you might wear to a back-to-school occasion of some sort. Potentially a costume party set in the 1870’s? What’s with the half-glasses? What of them?!

Chapter 8: Road to Avonlea
“Road to Avonlea is a wonderful show. It’s a take-off of Anne of Green Gables. It’s partly filmed in Pickering and partly filmed in PEI (that’s Prince Edward Island). It supposedly takes place in PEI. I wrote to the Avonlea fan club and received a letter from Sarah Polley, the main character who plays Sara Stanley. In the show, Sara moved from Montreal to Avonlea because she had relatives there. Sara and her cousins, Felicity, Felix and Cecily, have many exciting adventures. There are lots of other characters in the series, like Colleen Dewhurst who plays Marilla. All the younger actors and actresses have tutors who travel along with them and teach them on the set when they’re not filming. I’m really disappointed that they’re having their season finale next week.”

Well, that was a whirlwind tour of Avonlea. Truth be told, I was a GIANT Road to Avonlea nerd. Years later, when I was in high school, my BFF (Jay) and our dear friend (Tyler) used to trek downtown to see a talk show hosted by Mag “Aunt Olivia” Ruffman from RtA. Jay had a HUGE crush on Mag and we legit had the best time at the tapings. Man, there are pictures somewhere…if only I could find them. Hopefully I’ll tackle that part of my hoard sometime soon.


It looked roughly like this.

Chapter 9: A poem about Halifax
“Halifax is not so far away,
You can get there many ways.”
Notes:
1. Terrible poem.
2. Er…plane? Car? Train? End of list?

Chapter 10: Elvis
“Elvis is the king,
He lived where you look,
It is written about,
In many a book.”

Notes:
1. What are you on, girl?

Chapter 11: Kings
“Where king and queen meet,
It’s not far away,
Maybe you’ll find them,
If you look someday.”

Question:
1. Were you writing a poetry-based treasure hunt or something? That’s the only reasonable explanation I can imagine. Or you’re writing while on some cheap, Steph-created, crushed-Rockets-cocaine. Maybe that? Probably that.

Chapter 11: Names I like
Note: I guess I was planning on having kids at some point? I mean, one never can be too prepared? But at 10? Even in the ‘vern, that was pushing it.

Girls:
Jessica
Sarah
Betty
Dorothy
Sophia
Cecily
Polly
Ashley
Kate

Boys:
Geoffrey
Freddie
Stevie
From this we can discern that:
a) I liked the Golden Girls
b) I was secretly 89 years old
c) I didn’t figure I’d need boys’ names (accurate!)
d) I’m such a giant nerd that I planned out potential kids’ names when I was a kid myself.
e) All of the above

(The answer is E)

And end of book. At the end of this particular volume, I ended up drawing more ‘fashionable’ ladies. Like, good lord. Girl, you ain’t no artist.

I think we’ve all learned something today: if you knew 9-10 year old Jess, let me apologize. If this notebook is any indication, I was weirder than I remember. Of course, I was also a really nice kid, so that probably outweighed some of the weirdness. I hope so, anyway. And if you didn’t know me at that particular juncture of my life, please don’t let this second impression overshadow the first one you had. Unless the first one was just awful, in which case: overshadow away!

 

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