Over the holidays last year, my mom told me the inevitable – that I really needed to clean out all my old stuff. Let’s be clear: I’m 31 and haven’t lived at home for a long time. So I was sure the boxes of stuff in the basement from high school would be filled with junk that could be tossed. Little did I know that what I would unearth was about forty childhood journals. Yes, journals that are scribbled and doodled and tear-stained. And yes, they’re fairly priceless. The following is an excerpt from my brain, age 11. It’s the earliest one I could find. In CAPS are my thoughts now.
Dear PJ © (Yes, I added a copyright symbol to my journal’s name. Also, I think “PJ” stood for “personal journal”. SO CLEVER),
Let me introduce myself. I’m Audrey Wauchope, age 11, red hair and in 7th grade. (Very formal introduction, Audrey. Also, you can see I’ve always identified with my red hair.) I have straight red hair with 2 stupid cowlicks that stick up straight in the back of my head. (Ahh, the hair again!) My face is stuffed with freckles that blotch up during the summer. (Thank you, Freckle Juice! It’s amazing I have any confidence now.)
This journal is where I’m going to write my personal thoughts and experiences. (Experiences? I was eleven!)
My family consists of mom, dad, Vanessa-10, Katie-9, Clyde-6, Calvin-4 and Sparky (our dog) – 2. We used to live in NYC but we moved to Westport CT when I was 6. (Here, I drew an “I ♥ NY’ graphic.) But, I like Westport better. (Hmm, no illustration on that one.) I like to go to NYC still but I like all the fresh air and freeness here. (Wow, good sales pitch, parentals.)
(Here’s where it gets juicy!) Now, I’d like to tell you about my friend Kristie Meyers (Name has been changed to protect the people I recently found on Facebook) – we started a prolonged friendship that is now in jeopardy. (I always liked fancy words.) We used to play for hours together. In 5th grade she moved to Australia and I gave her a best friends necklace. (Please tell me they still make these!) We decided anytime we saw each other we would exchange halves of it. After about 1,000 letters and 1 year she moved back to South Africa. At Christmas of that year, we saw each other when she visited. But since then, we have not written to each other. These have been confusing months. I’m just not sure what’s going to happen.
(I think I just found my first post-break-up letter! Why do I sound like I have a broken heart? Oh my God, this is amazing. Why was I so dramatic?)
This journal entry is about five hand written pages longer so I’ll save those amazing tidbits of 11-year old insight for later. Just know that Kristi and I never switched back our BFF halves. I did, however, find her super hot older brother on Facebook fifteen years later. I now have a new best friend who I don’t share a BFF necklace with, but am starting to think that I should.
Women of all ages – never throw away those journals! These are the stuff that midnight laughter is made of. Plus, who doesn’t want to rehash the drama of middle school?