When Mom came up to help me move from Maine to Vermont, she brought with her a bunch of things that were in storage at their house in Oklahoma. Anything I couldn’t fit in their minivan for the move from Kansas City to Maine (besides my books, which I shipped ahead of me to Portland), I either gave away or gave to Dad to take back with him in the truck from K.C. to Oklahoma.
He took seven boxes containing my personal papers, picture albums and journals. I didn’t have these while I was in Maine. But now I do; they are sitting beside me in the bookcase. Just a few minutes ago, I pulled out my journal from eighth grade, 1987-88. Not my personal diary. I have a personal diary from that time, too. This was the journal we kept in school–every morning in class we’d write answers to a question the teacher put on the board, or sometimes we could write about anything we wanted. Those were the days I loved. I never seemed to have enough time to write in my journal, and I could never understand why some of my classmates would be sitting there, all done, looking bored, while I was still trying to find the right words or in the middle of pouring out my heart about something. (I was usually depressed or embarrassed or angry or recalling the happiness of past vacations.)
Many of the questions the teacher came up with were religious or ethical; some were mundane (What did you do this weekend?); some were pretty creative. There was one about it being the year 2037, and you were supposed to tell your grandchildren about your memories of Thanksgiving 1987. I wrote: “What if I don’t have any grandchildren in 2037?”
But anyway, the reason I pulled it out tonight was to look up my response to “What is your favorite Bible story?” I have just now been editing a homily for Celebration on the parable from Luke about the rich man and Lazarus. I thought I recalled writing that this was my favorite Bible story back then. So with that memory, I paged through. It turns out that my teacher asked the Bible story question twice. Once, I did answer the Luke parable. The other time I said it was the story about Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al. I always enjoyed it when Elijah made fun of the prophets. My little illustrated Bible for kids never actually showed the prophets getting slaughtered afterward …
I also found an entry on the Immaculate Conception. At age 12, I had very little to say about this matter. The whole entry went like this:
“Q: Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. What about Mary are we celebrating?
A: We are celebrating the fact that Mary was conceived without original sin.
3 more days until my birthday.”