I was going through my Artist’s Way exercises last week when I came across this one: “Imagine you are yourself as an 8-year-old. Write a letter to your current self.” I realized that while I remember my childhood fondly, I have no idea what I was really like as a second- or third-grader. So, when I was back in San Jose for Mother’s Day last week, I retrieved my first diary and brought it back to LA with me.
Today, I started reading it. I then realized that my youthful witticisms deserve a wider audience (as of course, all we diarists secretly hope we’ll have). Since I don’t see myself ever auditioning for Mortified, this will have to suffice instead.
May 12, 1992
Today was ohkay, basically, just a typical day in the Lifestyles of Lisa Hsia.
For two days in 1992 I used the word “gigundoly” in both entries. As in, “It was gigundoly cool!”
By the end of the month I had transitioned to a new choice of superlative:
May 9, 1992
Today was googly-eyed!
The special words continued throughout 1992:
Saturday, May 20, 1992
Recital = Mistakey, but acceptable. Mrs. B’s refreshments were quite complimentable.
Sunday, May 31, 1992.
Today was preference.
I was at an age when kids start to rebel against their parents. I did so, too, in my own way.
Sundak [that’s not a typo] May 3, 1992
The war with Mommy was on! Then, quietly, off.
That’s pretty much all I ever said about my parents in this diary.
All through fourth grade I had a crush on a boy named Michael. I wrote about Michael a lot. But I didn’t trust my parents not to read my diary — I knew locks could be picked — so I employed a top-quality secret code to describe Michael.
I called him Michelle.
But even so, even at the age of ten, I was a stickler for accuracy. I didn’t want to write anything that wasn’t strictly true, so I put all my “lies” in quotation marks. Like this:
“Michelle” said that “she” made the Select Soccer Team “for girls.”
Oh, “Michelle!” I really “love”* “her”!
Ooh, that would have fooled anyone!
It really bothered me that I wasn’t sure whether “Michelle” liked me as much as I liked “her.” I was so upset I wanted to cuss about it, except I’d been taught cussing was wrong. So I changed letters in my chosen words to soften their impact.
I don’t know, you dunno ❤ when you see it, as the saying goes. I hope “she” likes me! Oh, shat, shat, darm, darm, shat! I wish I only knew!
Unlike “gigundoly” and “googly-eyed,” “darm” and “shat” made many more appearances in my diary.
At some point Michael seemed to return my affections:
May 20, 1992
Daily Michelle Report: Same as it has been currently. Just recently I’ve gotten answers to: Does “she” like me? The answers were 100% pure ecstacy. I think:
M.L. + L.H. = LIKE A TON.
The next day I was anxious once again. Witness my forgetting to put quotation marks, in my agitation:
May 21, 1992
Daily Michelle Report: I poked her jokingly, does that make a difference I wonder? I was only joking, she said OW I hope she was joking. WAH!
What could have been, if only I hadn’t poked him! I mean “her”!
The summer after fourth grade, we took a family trip to Washington, D.C. I never explained that we were going on this trip, but on Tuesday, June 23, I recorded:
We left. I was in heaven. Airplanes are fun!
It was an enjoyable trip and we have pictures to prove it. But I didn’t have much to say about the city in my diary:
Wednesday, June 24, 1992
Today was okay. We looked at the Washington Monument & The Lincoln Memorial.
Thursday, June 25, 1992
We went to the National Archives and the National Gallery of Art.
Friday, June 26, 1992
Okay! We went to the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle, Freer Gallery, & Hirshhorn Garden. We brought back KFC. Yum!
Yes indeed, the wonders of a new city pale beside the glories of fast food…
Tuesday, June 30, 1992
We are staying at a wunderful, luxiourious inn, the Wellesley Inn. The Red Lobster, a g r e a t (that’s in sloppy italics) restaurant, is just a few bounds away.
…or chain restaurants…
Saturday, July 4, 1992
We are staying at a Super 8 Motel in a $56 suite which has a desk, TV, 2 tables, 4 lamps, 2 sofas, etc. For $56.00!
…or chain hotels with reduced-rate rooms.
After we got back, though, life apparently wasn’t quite as thrilling:
Monday, July 13
Tuesday, July 14
Wed. July 15, 1992
Thursday, July 16, 1992
Friday, July 17, 1992
Sat. July 18, 1992
I’m impressed by my diligence in the face of such ennui. This continued for several more days, until I got to see my best friend again:
Thursday, July 23, 1992
Becky came! We partied.
In September of that year we moved out of our old house and I started fifth grade in a brand-new school.
Friday, Sept. 11, 1992
At Simonds School, I saw Catherine W., Jackie H., Jennifer L., and my friend, Jaqueline who might move to Vancouver. Life is worth living so far. I do not understand why I went bananas over Michelle earlier. She’s really just ordinary.
Oh the changes!
For days after that, at the end of every entry, I kept a list of potential allies.
Friday, September 18
Simonds new friends: Jackie M., Bohra R., Julia A. – ?
As the days went on, the list got longer.
Thursday, Nov. 12, 1992
Simonds-friends: Catherine W, Jackie M, Jackie H, Bohra R, Jennifer L, Laura D, Gabriela G, Lynn C, Kristen D, Julia A, and Malia E-P.
Boys-4-friends: Matt Z, Ali E?!, Kevin M?!, James L,.
And the drama began…
Friday, December 4, 1992
I like or don’t mind: Ali, Kevin, Matt, James, etc.
Update: I HATE Brandon!
Sunday, Feb. 7., 1993
Simonds un-friends: Kari, Brandon! (ick) (yuck) (gross) (disgusting) (jerk) (dork) (piece of liver)
(That’s my favorite entry in the book!)
Lest you think it was all gossip and no work, some evidence of my youthful intellectual pursuits:
Wednesday, January 27, 1993
Antidisestablishmentarianism, mononucleosis, gamma globulin, pedagogical literature, pneumonia, syncopation, supercalifragilistic, etc. WOW! 28, 13, 13, 21, 9, 11, 20, letters!
And my everlasting fondness for list-making:
Pretty Girls’ names: Kari, Julia, Gabrielle, Michele, Michal, LeAnn, Rachelle, Kristen, Mollie, Felicity, Lynn, Kathleen, Emmeline, Emily, Stacey, Dawn, Kristi, Claudia, Elisabeth, Jessica, Lydia, Cordelia, Diana, Joyce, Gail, Mallory, Maryanne, Rebecca, Jaclyn, Joanne, Judith, Alicia, Akasha, Tricia, Patricia… Talley, Haley, Lois, Nellie, Kristina, Christene, Chris, Carolyn, Lissie, Anne, Flossie, Claud… Chelsea, Hillary, Kelsie, Nanci, Aimee, Amy, Ami, Eleanor, Isabelle, Isabella, Isadora, Eleanora…
This went on for a page and a half, and I’ll spare you the other lists I made as well.
At the end of the diary, in an undated section, I drew pictures, practiced my cursive, made diagrams of precisely where I was sitting in relation to “Michelle” during memorable car rides, wrote out dialogues from these memorable moments, and recorded song lyrics and jokes I’d enjoyed.
I can’t begin to describe the illustrations, which are so horrendously embarrassing I can’t even bring myself to look closely at most of them. But I’ll leave you with one of the jokes, with my response:
Before & after going to the bathroom you’re American. What are you while you’re in the bathroom? (European.) HAhahahahahahahahaha!
And… that is all.
*Even at that age, I knew it wasn’t love.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]