I have about a dozen blank and formerly blank books on my bookshelf. Most of them just have a few pages with writing in them; I never did get the hang of keeping a handwritten journal or diary. (I type far faster than I handwrite, and strongly prefer the editability and searchability of digital text.)
Most of those journals and such are outside the scope of this family-history project. But one of them seems relevant.
It’s a hardcover book, about 130 pages long, with a red(?) cover that says RECORD in gold on the front.
Inside, the first page says, in Marcy’s handwriting:
Jed started this book on Tuesday, July 18, 1972
On that date, I was a little over four years old. Which surprises me, because I had always thought that I learned to read when I was five (and that I learned to write after that), but apparently not.
Most of the early pages consist of someone (probably Marcy) writing a set of words in neat block capitals, and then my attempt at writing those same words.
There are about three dozen pages that have writing on them that appears to be from the period of roughly 1972 through 1974ish. There are also a half-dozen pages from 1977 and 1978 (by that time I had started putting dates on things), but I’ll post those later.
In July of 2022 (not long before I wrote this post), I used my Czur Aura book scanner to scan all the pages with writing on them. So this post contains the pages that look to me like they were written around 1974 or earlier. And I’m arbitrarily dating this post as September 1, 1974, so that it’ll appear among the letters from that time period.
I apparently skipped around in the book a fair bit. So in this post, instead of showing the pages in linear order, I’ve collected them into categories by topic.
Some of the thumbnails are a little hard to make out—an unfortunate effect of scanning pages that were written in relatively light pencil. Clicking a thumbnail shows a larger version, which is usually easier to see.
First Marcy wrote my full name:
Then I attempted to do the same. I was not very clear on the idea of spaces between words. (I don’t know whether I crossed this page out at the time, or later.)
I think that for a while I was a big fan of the book Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge. So Marcy helped me write the book title (which I always thought of as having an and in it instead of an or):
That last one suggests that I was going to write down a Hans Brinker riddle, but I don’t seem to have done so.
Marcy wrote the words playground, baseball, and playing for me to copy.
Space Cat and the Police Team
The other book that I was apparently especially fond of was Space Cat. (Well, that’s a series, not just one book, but I don’t know how many of them I read.) There are more pages of this journal book devoted to Space Cat and related topics than to anything else.
I don’t know why I wrote about police so many times, but it apparently had something to do with Space Cat.
There’s also a page in here where I wrote the word dragon for no apparent reason, but it appears to have been around the same time as the Space Cat writing, so I’m including that page in this set.
Then I decided that Space Cat must be a cat who leaves space. Which is especially funny because I was still putting letters too close together. At some point (maybe at the time, maybe later) I apparently added some periods in places where I felt that the letters were too close together; at some much later time, I wrote a tiny “N.P.” (for “No Period”) over each of those extraneous periods. An early example of Jed editing!
(The perils of having one extra letter that won’t fit on the page!)
Here’s an attempt at writing the alphabet:
I’m not sure who this was addressed to, but apparently I wanted someone to sign a statement saying that they did want to go “back.” Back where? Not sure. To the previous page, maybe?
My old school
I wrote: “I am beginning to think that my old school was better than my new school.”
I feel like this may be my first diary/journal entry, in the sense of recording a personal feeling about something.
Unfortunately, it’s undated. From the writing, I think it must have been 1974ish or earlier—which is confusing, because at that point, the only schools as such that I had been to were Redwood School (the alternative school that I attended starting in fall of 1973) and the public kindergarten that I briefly attended (I think just for a week or so) just before Redwood School. And I’m pretty sure that I was not saying that I thought the public school was better than Redwood School.
But maybe I was thinking of some kind of daycare or preschool sort of thing? Not sure.
I’ll close with my rendition of a couple of knock-knock (or NOC NOC) jokes.
The first one is hard to follow. I think the answer to “who’s there?” is something like “HOCH”, and then the second page is a little incoherent but ends with “WHO”, and then the third page says “GESUNDHEIT.”
The next one is easier to read but works less well as a knock-knock joke. Who’s there? Jeremy. Jeremy who? Jeremy Hillary Boob!
…from which I conclude that I liked Yellow Submarine but didn’t quite understand how knock-knock jokes worked yet.
Finally, my rendition of another old standard: Boo. Boo who? Why are you crying?