Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wendy Rowe and the edge of seventeen

Wendy Rowe was a niece of one of the directors of the summer drama workship I attended at my high school in the summer of 1984. She was visiting her uncle from Utica, N.Y., and attended the workshop where she immediately developed a crush on me.

I still don't know what it was that drew her to me so immediately. After developing a poor self-image throughout my first 17 years, my assumption at the time was that she was somehow mentally ill. (She wore a T-shirt to a workshop rehearsal one day because it displayed the logo of a soft drink that shared my name.)

The attention she lavished on me made me uncomfortable, as evidenced in this, the 51st entry to my 1984 diary.

Despite her plans to return to my high school at the time of our fall play, I don't believe we ever heard from her again after the summer of '84.

One more thing: In a previous entry to this blog, I mentioned that the first time I really spent time alone with Marie would be one of the experiences I'd like to relive, if I was ever granted a trip back in time.

The hour and 20 minutes between 1:10 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, 1984, would also make that shortlist.

Monday, Aug. 6, 1984
Okay, now where was I? I guess I've gotten through the workshop. I only wish it was longer than two weeks. I really enjoyed spending the time with Marie. Anyways, the two weeks of the workshop really flew by, and before I knew it they were over and done with. The mistakes at the performance made it hard to enjoy the performance, too.

After the performance there was a "cast party" at Marie's. I had to bring Mom and Gram home before I could go. I ran around school collecting my props and costumes, and then I went home. When I got home I got cleaned-up and then brought Gram home, and then proceeded to Marie's. Friday was my birthday, but all day it seemed like nobody knew it. In fact, I had forgotten a little throughout the day, too. When I got to Marie's at about 11:00 Pm, most of the 10 or so people were in the pool. I went up to the house, where Bill and Marie were. I walked in the door, and Bill said "Happy Birthday." It seems that for some reason Julie had called Marie's house and talked with her mom. She said that she had called my house to wish me a happy birthday and good luck for the play. As it was I wasn't home. So after she called Marie's Marie got ahold of a cupcake, and stuck a candle in it, and 17 little candy flowers in it. I went down to the pool, and they lit the candle and I blew it out, etc., etc. Then Marie gave me a card that she made. Then Marie and Wendy threw me in the pool. I felt so good that they found out about my birthday, and I think what they did has to be the sweetest thing anybody has ever done for me. We swam for about an hour, and then got out. A little after that most of the people started to leave, until it was left to only Wendy, Aaron, Marie and myself. Aaron wanted to leave, but it seemed that Wendy, whom he was giving a ride to, didn't really want to leave. She was really getting on my nerves by this point. It think the way she tried to warm up to me was really quite rude, and it really bugged me. Finally, she asked if she could get a picture of herself and myself, and I said yes. (Anything to get her to leave.) So she stood beside me, and put her arms around me and Marie took the picture. Then Aaron and Wendy finally went out the door. We thought they had left, until Aaron came back because I was parked behind him. So I went out and moved the car. Then Wendy stopped me as I was going back in. Marie went back in, and Wendy politely told Aaron to take a short walk. So Aaron got out of the car, and walked a little ways away. Then she asked me for a birthday kiss (isn't that my line?) and there was little I could do but go ahead and let her do it. I don't know what it is about that girl, but she really annoys me greatly. She says she's coming back for our fall play, and she also has all of our addresses. Usually I can be pretty polite, but with her I didn't even try. Before she left she was pushy enough to ask if I was closer to her than Aaron lived. Aaron said yes, but I flatly, and bluntly, refused to bring her home.

Well, finally they left, and there was only Marie and myself left. By now it was about 1:10 Am. I hung around there until about 2:30 Am, just talking with Marie. I really didn't want to leave, but I had a rehearsal at 9:00 Am the next day, so finally I left. We talked about a lot of things, and I had a really good time.

The next day I was understandably tired. I was also really screwed-up. I just couldn't stop thinking about Marie. Several times at rehearsal I felt like breaking down in tears, and a couple of times I nearly did. I don't really know why, but I was totally out of sorts. I think for one reason I was tired. Another, I was really beginning to hate "South Pacific" rehearsals. And this one I thought was only supposed to last until 12:00 Pm. But then they said that they wanted us back at 1:30 Pm for afternoon singing. I really began to break-up then. Anyway, I got home at about 3:45 Pm, and then I mowed the lawn. I finished it after supper. Just as I finished the lawn, the phone rang. I went inside and it was Marie.

Now this was a starnge coincidence. I had planned on calling her in about an hour. She was leaving for camp on Sunday, and wanted my address. We talked for about an hour. It's strange, but I can't remember the exact time that I made the decision, but sometime earlier that day I decided that I would ask her to go with me. (I wasn't fooling when I said a lot had happened this week, was I?) Well, I finally brought myself to it, only to be let down again. She asked why we couldn't just be friends, and I fianlly brought it out of her that she wouldn't be asking me that if she didn't want to say, no. She said that it wasn't me, but she just didn't want to go with anybody right now. (Sounds familiar, eh?) I wasn't too let down, but I really wished that she had said yes. It's just that Friday night I realized how much I really liked her, and now with Julie apparently out of the way, there was nothing to stop me. She also asked me if I'd come over Sunday morning to pick up the present she bought for me. I said I would. I went over and picked-up the gift, and also stayed around for about 45 minutes talking with Marie. Anyway, she had to leave soon for camp, so I finally left. This morning I wrote her a letter, explaining the way I really feel about her, it follows this entry, along with the card(s) she gave me.

Well, I really feel quite upset that this entry couldn't be as detailed as I would have liked it. By the way, the present she gave me was a book called "Words." It has tons of strange types of words, just right for a trivia buff, like myself.

Saturday night we also celebrated my birthday. Anne gave me "An Innocent Man" by Billy Joel, and Mom and Dad gave me $25. Aunt Janey gave me $10, as did Gram, and Nana gave me $5. I think I'll remember this birthday for some time to come, because of what Marie did for me.

Tonight we have a dress rehearsal for "South Pacific." This afternoon, or what's left of it it's already 3:19 Pm, I'm going to look over my shirts and see if I can find an appropriate one. Like I said, near the end of the workshop I was really starting to hate "South Pacific" rehearsal. I think it was because it paled in contrast with the workshop, due again to the Lady of the Year, Marie. Last night's rehearsal didn't seem too bad, and I think that was because it seemed like it was coming together a bit better, and because we didn't sing all of the songs.

Well, I'm sort of looking forward to tonight's, since it's going to be a dress, or close to a dress. This afternoon I went to mow Gram's lawn. I think that I'm going to keep all the newspaper clippings from the workshop along with my scripts in the folder that they've been in, and then keep the folder along with this journal.

One final note. Julie called here Friday night, to wish me a happy birthday, etc., etc. Then she called again about four times or so and missed me again. Well, I never bothered returning her calls. Hopefully she'll get the message that I've grown somewhat discontent with her. But now I'm thinking that may be I'm making a mistake. She did tell me the one time that I talked with her after she got back from camp, that she and Jerry weren't going together, but were just friends. Maybe I've been too hard with her, and now I'm feeling a little guilty. However, not guilty enough to give her a call. HA!!

Like I said, this entry has only been mildly detailed, and I feel kind of bad about that, especially beacuse so many exciting and interesting things happened this week. But I was so terribly busy, I didn't have time to write them down. Oh well, now the workshop's over I have a little more time. I'll write again, so until then ...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Aunt Rose

It's apropos that my Aunt Rose is mentioned in this, the 50th entry to my 1984 diary: My mother called me last weekend to tell me that Rose had passed away.

Rose, actually my great aunt (my grandmother's sister), was a relative I rarely saw, but was reminded of every summer when she sent me a birthday card. Sending birthday cards to every relative in the family was her self-assigned duty, and I don't think a year ever passed that I didn't get one. She always noted the time, temperature and weather conditions at the time she signed the card in the upper-righthand corner. It was her trademark.

I'll miss hearing from her each August.

Sunday, Aug. 5, 1984
Well, lets see if I can update you on what has happened in the past week. To begin with, Tuesday Aaron and myself did go to Marie's camp at Gravely. We went out in their canoe for a while, then when we got a little closer to her camp, we purposely tipped it, and swam for a while. Later we went water-skiing. Actually, Aaron and myself rode in the boat, as Marie and some friends from the camp next to hers went skiing. They tried to talk myself and Aaron into doing it, but their attempts were in vain.

Wednesday morning we all found out that somebody at the workshop had quit. Actually, he had quit a couple of days before, and Sam was going to take his part. But then Sam decided to give that part to another member already in the play, and give that person's part to me. This was the play that they thought a person wasn't going to show up for, and I had told them that I'd take the part if he didn't show up. It got me mad to think that Sam was going to take the part after the person quit, but then I did get a part in the play. Now the problem was that I had two days to learn the part. Wednesday afternoon I had to go to a play in Dawson, along with some other members of the workshop, because we had already signed up.

They took about three cars to Dawson to see "The Importence of Being Earnest." Aaron drove his car, and I rode with him, along with Bill, Marie, and Tonya Wilson, a girl Marie's age who went to the workshop. We had a good time going over and coming back, and the play was pretty good, too. It was real interesting watching a play performed by pretty near professionals. We stopped at McDonald's on the way up, and we brought straws back into the car with us. Marie, Tiffany and myself were in the back. We fooled around blowing each other in the ears with the staws, and just had an all-around good time.

When we got back to school, Bill, Aaron and myself stayed in the car and then went to Standard Tire to drop Marie off, and then we went to Aunt Betty's Everything Pizza for supper and then straight to rehearsal. The day before we had gone straight to rehearsal after going to Gravely, and both of those days I was totally exhasted. That night after rehearsal, I stayed up until 12:00 Am learning my new lines for the play I was just put into. I actually learned all of them in that night.

Thursday Aunt Janey, Nana and my Aunt Rose came up. This whole week just flew by and I was busy every minute. Thursday I worked on learning my lines some more, and worried about our set and getting the right furniture. Friday I went to the workshop, and also worked on my lines some more. That afternoon I also went to the florist and picked up a bunch of carnations for Marie.

Now we come to the performance. I think the technical aspect of it went horribly, but the acting went pretty good.

First of all, we had practiced the scene changes over several times, and we had everything assigned, all of the furniture and flats. Well, before the show we were informed that the order had to be changed. Sam wouldn't tell everybody why, but then he took me aside and told me why. The new order made it so I would have had to do my costume change from "The Ledger" to "Anne Frank" in about a few minutes. He told me that a member of the cast couldn't perform after 8:30 Pm, due to religous reasons. At first I couldn't believe it, because Sam is always the type to joke, and the way he told me, it sounded quite unbelievable. As it turned out, it was true. Then the order got changed again. So now no two plays came in the same order as we had practiced the scene changes. First of all, the two people on stage during my scene, before I come on, skipped nearly a whole page of dialoge, the dialoge I was listening for for my entrance. If you knew anything about the play, you'd know that my entrance was timed very crucually. So I had to hurry into the scene late. Except for that, it went okay. This was the play that I had only two days to prepare for. It takes place on a ledge of a building, and there's one man about to jump. Then a person who's profession it is to help people kill themselves comes and tries to help him do it. Then another man from the same firm as the person already trying to help the suicidee comes and tries to steal the "client" away from the first. I play the third man. But as it turns out the jumper doesn't want the second man's help, so he (I) leaves. Then the remaining busness man decides to kill himself, out the original jumper talks him out of it. It sounds very confusing, but it really isn't, but it really is quite funny.

Anyway, "Anne Frank" was also plague by tech problems. Since the order was changed, only about a third of the people assigned to moving things showed up. So Marie myself and some other people were left running around trying to set the stage for "The Diary of Anne Frank." And then for some reason somebody opened the curtain before we were ready. All of the basic elements were there for doing the scene. The thing that really bothered me was that I was on stage, although not in the right place, when the curtain opened So I had little choice but to go off stage, and then I came back in after the scene had started. Also, there were two beds on the stage, actually they were wooden benches, of sorts. We had planned on draping them with blankets, and then they looked pretty much like beds. When the curtain opened I still had both of the sheets in my hands. I considered throwing one across the stage, but the curtain was already open too far. So instead of beds, we were left with obvious wooden benches. Except for that mistake, which wasn't mine, the scene went fairly well. I think the acting went very well, considering that I was sweating gallons and my heart rate was sky high, on account of the blunder with the curtain.

After I got off the stage, I was terribly out of sorts. Just to think that we only had that one night, and such a major thing like that could have happened.

Well, I've only nearly begun to finish this entry and I have only a little while before I have to go to rehearsal. I'd really like to be a little more detailed than I've been so far, so I don't want to have to rush it. I think I'll finish off this entry tomorrow, when I'll hopefully have some more time. So until then. . .


I like to think that I've grown up more than a little bit after reading this, the 49th entry to my 1984 diary. That I would interpret Julie's being seen in public with Jerry Danforth as proof positive that she and him were an item — and me and her were history — is a pretty good indicator that I wasn't very mature at 16.

Jerry was a good guy, and I never harbored bad feelings toward him, even if I did perceive him as competition for Julie. My guess is that he's gone places in life, though a Google search of him doesn't seem to reveal his whereabouts.

At some point in my high school career, Aaron, Benji and myself came to start calling him "datebuster," supposedly for his penchant for tagging along on dates, though the specifics of how he got this nickname allude me now.

Maybe future diary entries will reveal the secret.

Monday, July 30, 1984
Well, let's see, where was I when I left off last. We had an afternoon rehearsal Saturday afternoon, just a short one. Saturday I also mowed, since it rained on Friday. Saturday evening Benji, Aaron and myself went over to the Fool's Fest in downtown Maynard. Nothing really exciting there.

Yesterday Bill called me on the phone. He had been at Fool's Fest that afternoon, and he said he had seen Julie, and another guy that goes to our school, Jerry Danforth. Julie had told me that she knew him before, and he also went to camp at the same time Julie did. I know Jerry, and I think he's pretty OK. He's a year younger then myself. Anyway, Jerry was talking with Bill, and it seems that Julie had shown Jerry the letters I had written to her. I guess I don't have to say that I'm very upset, I think that I got fairly personal in some of those letters, and the thought of anyone else reading them really burns me up. I couldn't believe that she'd do something like this. Actually, Bill said Jerry only mentioned my "Bummer" letter, but he then said that Jerry had read every letter I wrote to Julie. Right now I don't know exactly what to believe. The impression I get now is that it's pretty much over with Julie and myself. I mean, just her showing up at Fool's Fest with Jerry gives me a pretty good idea that she's turned her interests to him, and has probably started to forget about me. I haven't talked with her since she got back; I haven't called her and she hasn't called me. I think I'm just going to wait to see if she'll call me, just to see where I stand. If she never does, I might never call her either. It's funny. When this whole thing started, it seems so long ago, I had wondered how it was going to end. I just tried to think what would make it all end. How far would things go? Would I end it, or would she? Well, either way, I feel as if it has ended. Enclosed is a poem that I wrote last ntght. It seems that when I feel bad, I like to write it down in some other form than just in this diary. I usually make them funny, by having them rhyme, and usually there's a bit of sarcasm, and wit to them also. I don't really feel "depressed" at my situation, but it's more like "bummed-out". With that thought I titled my poem, and the rest just came to me.

The workshop is going okay. It's still hard to take the part seriously. I'm still really enjoying being with Marie for every morning. (If she could only read this journal!) After the workshop this morning Aaron drove Marie home, but both of them and myself stopped at the Aunt Betty's Everything Pizza to get some thing to drink before we went home. Then we decided that we'd go over to Marie's camp at Gravely this afternoon, since that was in the original deal when she decided to go to the workshop. As it turns out, I couldn't drive, and after I'd been home for a while, Aaron called and told me that we were going to go tomorrow after the workshop instead of today. Tomorrow I can't drive either, but if Aaron can I think we're going to go. I was really looking forward to having something fun to do this afternoon, but at least that gives me something to look forward to.

We're going to have a long "South Pacific" rehearsal this evening. It goes from 6:30 Pm to about 10:00 Pm. I don't enjoy that rehearsal as much as I do the workshop rehearsal. I guess it really comes down to one thing, Marie. She's at the workshop, but isn't at "South Pacific" . (Boy, if she could read this !)

I forgot to mention that I went over to the field last night and flew my plane some more. It was perfect weather, and I got in about five perfect flights.

Guess that's it for now. Mom's on vacation this week. Nana and Aunt Janey are coming up some time this week, and until next time ...

Friday, October 21, 2005


marie & cameron in 'anne frank'
I'll bet that one-word ("Bummer") postcard really put Julie in her place.

At the right is the "Anne Frank" publicity photo of myself and Marie I mention in this 48th entry to my 1984 diary.

Friday, July 27, 1984
Shit! Looking back on the last entry so far, it seems that so many things have happened. Well, first of all I heard from Julie on Monday. The letter follows this entry. I guess the letter is self-explanatory. I wasn't that upset over her answer, but I think shocked and surprised would describe my reaction. In the letter she says that she just wants to be friends with me. Well, I have quite a few friends, but I've never once kissed one of them good night, or held their hand at the movies or gave them a good-bye hug. I guess that I feel like she's played a cruel joke on me. It seemed like she really wanted to be more than friends, and then she says the opposite. For a while I was slightly angry at her, and I still am. I had almost wished that she just wouldn't bother calling me when she gets back, and we could end this whole thing right now. But as it is, she probably will call when she gets back. I stopped writing to her when I got her letter. But before I did, I sent one last message. On an ordinary postal card, I put the date, and then "Dear Julie". The only word in the body of the letter was this: Bummer. (One of Julie's favorite words) Then I signed it. I hope she got the message. By the way, the last couple of letters I sent to her also follow this entry.

Sunday morning I went over to the field and flew my plane. Cecile brought it up for its first flight, and it flew really nice. Then I brought it up for about another four flights. It didn't handle too much differently then the Lanier, and I think landings are actually easier. I plan on going over to the field a few times this weekend and doing some more with it.

The workshop started on Monday. Wait until you hear the whole story. Well, like I said we're going to be putting on parts of several plays. I didn't know it before but most groups are very small. So small that there are only two people in the scene. There are five groups. All of them are two-person scenes except for one, which is an eight-person cast. Well, my scenes are all from "The Diary of Anne Frank." The dialoge takes place between Anne, and a boy who is living in the attic with her, but isn't related; his name is Paul. These two have known each other for about 1 1/2 years, but during our scenes is when they actually start to open up to each other, and I guess you'd say that they fall in love (if you can believe in fairy tales like that).

Well, I've been leading up to something and here it is. The other person in my scnes, the one who plays Anne, is Marie! What a riot, eh? I've been having a real good time working with her on our scenes. It's so hard, because of the way Marie and myself treat each other. Now we have to do a heavy drama, and act as if we were in love. We've done pretty good, and I think we've both had a good time being able to go off alone and work on the play each day. Today we had to put on our play in front of the rest of the people. Ours went really well, and we got a lot of good comments. Libby, one of the directors/organizers, said that Sam and herself cast Marie and myself in these parts, because they wanted both of us to do something, act in a way, that we had never done before. Although, really I'd like to be doing some comedy, this is really testing my acting skills, and I'm enjoying it. Of course, probably 90% of the reason I'm enjoying it is because I do the scenes with Marie.

I feel as if there's a lot I could say about the workshop. The performance is next Friday, August 24th, my birthday. I think it'll really be fun doing some thing special on my birthday. Next week we have a lot of technical work, like working on sets, and stuff. I think we have the acting, and most of the blocking down quite well. What I'm worried about is getting furniture and getting our set built. I talked with Sam Bevens, the director of this whole thing, and he said we were going to have a meeting next week about who needs what in the lines of sets, and then we're going to all work on getting the stuff together.

I've got my costume already. We had each groups photo taken for publicity. Therefore, Marie and myself got into the costume room early and found our costumes. I really like my costume. It looks old, and slightly too large for me, and it a really dull color. It's just what I think of when I think of the situation my character is in.

Sam was going to have each one of us do a monologe in addition to our group presentations. He bagged the idea, because he thought that we didn't enough have time. Some people still are doing it anyway; it's optional. I would have liked to do a real funny one, either one already written, or one that I'd write myself. But I didn't think I have enough time, so I decided I'd concentrate on my group presentation.

I did say that I'd do a simple stand-in part with some other girl in the workshop. I guess she wants a couple of guys just to stand with her during her monologe. I think Bill, myself, and maybe Aaron are going to do it. This girl is Lance Barry's niece. He's the one who directed "Hocus Pocus." Marie told me that she wanted me to know that she liked me, and I've also heard the rumor from a couple of other people. She's OK looking, but she's kind of strange. She comes from Utica, NY, and is here just for a visit, and to do the workshop. I'm not really interested in her at all.

I'd really like to tell about each one of the plays that's going on, but I really don't want to have to write all of that. I'll just say that Bill's in a sort of comic diologe with Annie Shapiro, and Aaron's in a symbolic play called "Wings."

Krissi (remember her!) is also doing the workshop. I didn't expect that she would. I still haven't talked with her face-to-face. Maybe I never will.

Well, I'd have to say that my daily routine has changed a bit. Now I get up early to go to the workshop, and then I'll usually spend the whole afternoon working on my lines for the workshop. Then I eat, and it's off to "South Pacific" rehearsal.

"South Pacific" is going okay. Last night we worked on a big dance scene. We had been working on it a lot in the past week. Last night we worked the song in with the dance. I felt really good, because I got through it really well, and my singing was pretty good, too. With two weeks left, I think that show will probably come togther pretty well.

Enclosed is a copy of a poster Marie and myself designed. I didn't really like it, so I came up with another, which is a lot better, but I haven't copied it off yet. We already have really nice posters advertising the entire workshop, designed by Sam. But they wanted each group to come up with their own, I guess if only for an exercise.

I guess that's it. I probably could easily go on for a longer while talking about the workshop. Anyway, I think I've got all of the important things covered. Until next time ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Take me to the pilot

For a few summers during high school I got into radio-controlled airplanes. A local club had set up a flying area in a farmer's field, and by stopping by to watch now and then, I finally got to know some guys at the field and made the contacts I really needed to help me get into the hobby.

Cecile, mentioned here for the third or four time in this, the 47th entry to my 1984 diary, was my mentor at the field. Cecile was probably about 50, and worked on real airplanes as a mechanic, I think. He was a great guy, who'd often pick me up at my home five minutes from the field and give me a lift back and forth before I had my driver's license and could drive myself.

I lost touch with him after I met my first girlfriend and stopped going to the field. Sometimes when I realize that 20 years have passed since those couple summers that I flew, I wonder how many of the men I got to know at the field — who were all considerably older than myself — are still around.

Saturday, July 21, 1984
Thursday after rehearsal, practically the whole cast went to the Timothy's, and we all pooled together and got three pizzas. After that we went to P&C, and walked around there for a while. Last night after rehearsal, the same group of us went to the Heritage Festival. I got home at about 11:40 Pm.

We were supposed to have a rehearsal today at 9:00 in the morning, but it was changed to tomorrow at 1:00 Pm. This morning/afternoon I mowed Gram's lawn.

Well, I still haven't heard anything from Julie. I'm really baffled at why she hasn't written yet. I would think at the latest it would take two days after a letter is mailed for it to reach her, or me. She should have gotten my letter on Tuesday. If she wrote back on Thursday, I should have gotten something today. I've been writing her every day; the two latest letters follow. I know that she already has a couple of letters that she hasn't sent yet, because before she even left for camp she had written then, but they didn't get mailed. If I don't get something from her soon, I'm going to go crazy.

I couldn't get myself to call Cecile yesterday, I guess I'm going to have to do it today. I think one reason is because I've been out of touch with them for such a long time, it's hard to get back in touch. Also, I'm a little nervous about flying the new plane.

I think this afternoon I'll give my plane a final go through, and call Cecile. I've thought about clipping the hedge, but that's all I might do: think about it. Dad had to work today, he'll probably come home this afternoon.

Guess that's it. Probably will write again after I hear from Julie, or maybe earlier at the rate things are going. Until next time ...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Satellite TV

Satellite TV was a big deal in 1984. Cable was really non-existent in the rural area where I grew up, so the only way to go beyond the handful of broadcast channels we were all familiar with was to get a dish.

Satellite dishes back then bore little resemblance to the tiny, digital models you see today. Our dish was a 10- or 12-foot mesh monster attached to the roof of our garage to give it the height it needed to peer over the trees surrounding our yard. It had a rotor attached to it that give us the ability to move it from one satellite to another using a box in our house. Inside, the receiver had a remote connected by a long cord (wireless remotes were really unheard of) so we could change channels on any given satellite, and also change the "polarity" of the channels. (Odd channels were on one polarity; evens on the other.)

Finding your satellite was an acquired skill. Short of a directory which showed you the order of the satellites in the sky, west to east, which was often outdated, you were pretty much on your own. The basic approach was to use one hand to keep the button pressed on the box to move the dish, and use the other hand to quickly twirl the channels using the wired remote, so you'd be less likely to pass a satellite unknowingly (many satellites had few active channels and plenty of channels filled with white noise) and thus lose your place in the sky.

If you hit one of the dish's extreme positions without knowing it, and kept your hand on the rotor switch, you risked burning out the motor. (You also risked burning it out if you attempted to move the dish at all when it might be frozen in place — a constant concern during our long New England winters.)

Naturally, the Playboy Channel was on one of the very extremely positioned satellites, so moving the dish there after Mom and Dad had gone to bed was always fraught with anxiety.

Things began to change a year or two after we got our dish in 1983/84. Where every single channel flying through the sky was originally broadcast in the clear with no scrambling whatsoever, slowing things began to become unavailable to non-subscribers such as us. Eventually, everything became scrambled and early adaptors and hobbiest (read "thieves") such as our family were forced to become paying subscribers.

Thursday, July 19, 1984
It's funny how my years always run in spells. During the school year I don't have any time to do anything but school-work. During the summer I have practically nothing to do at all. The past few days I haven't had really anything to do. My daily routine consists of waking up at about 9:15 Am, taking a shower, and then writing a letter to Julie. Then I have a very small breakfast, wait for the mail to come, to see if Julie has written me, and then having lunch. The rest of the afternoon is spent waiting for supper, and then I wait a little more until it's time for me to leave for rehearsal. After rehearsal, Bill, Aaron, Mitchell and myself usually go somewhere for something to drink, or eat, and then it's back home for a little TV, and then to bed.

I've been writing Julie nearly everyday, or exactly everyday actually. The rough drafts to my past two letters,follow this entry. I've been really anxious to hear back from her. As of yet, nothing has arrived. Not only am I anxious to hear her response of my question, but I'm also anxious just to hear from her to show that she hasn't forgotten about me. Like I said, I never had really thought about it, but I usually talk with her nearly every day, and therefore she's really become an involved part of my life, as of now. Like I said in today's letter, it's been a long week, and it's only Thursday. If I don't get something back from her tomorrow, I'm really going to be upset.

Rehearsals are going okay. It's just that I find it hard to take my acting seriously when I have such a small part. I'm in Act I in about three different scenes, but I have no lines, just background ad lib. I look forward to rehearsals, because I enjoy being around a fresh group of people and getting to know them. It's funny how things change. Up until the end of this year, me and my friends didn't know really anyone except people from our own school. But then we started going to Lincoln concerts, and going to see their plays, and now we know so many different people. The amount of people that I've gotten to know in the past few months has really been incredible.

I guess the Sky Tiger is finished. I think I'll call Cecile up tomorrow and see if he'd take it up for me the first flight. Saturday morning I was planning on going over to the field, but now I have rehearsal. Probably Saturday night I'll give it a go, assuming Cecile can make it.

Next Monday the drama workshop starts. Marie is still at camp, but she gave me her number there, and told me to call her and remind her about the workshop. A couple of days ago I did. There's also going to be an extra field-trip to go and see some play on August 1st. First I called Marie to see if she wanted to go, and then I called Libby Snelling to tell her that Marie and myself wanted to go. I'm looking forward to starting on the workshop, because it'll give me something to do. It is going to be a little strange working on two plays at the same time, however. Of course, my part in one of them is very small anyway.

I've been looking through this journal, and noticed that the time that I first wrote about Marie, I spelled both of her names wrong. Just for the record, her name is spelled Marie Randall. (Now I feel better.)

I hope that Marie won't back-out on her offer to have Aaron and myself over to her camp sometime during the workshop. It was really fun the other time that we went there, and I'd like to do it again. Of course, I wouldn't want to be the one to have to drive there.

Well, I guess I could start to set a date for the filming of "Raiders of the Lost Bark." Probably anytime next week would be OK, except that I think that Bill has to work at some farm for the whole week, and I don't know what hours he works. I think I'd have them up after the workshop, and have them stay until we have to leave for "South Pacific" rehearsal that night. I guess I'll forget about having them overnight to see a movie on the satellite TV.

Guess that's it for now. Seeing as I have quite a bit of spare time on my hands, I'll probably write again soon. So, until then ...

Heel clicking and girl lifting

Dancing's never really been a passion of mine, to say the least. Once upon a time — as late as 5th or 6th grade — I'd go to school dances and actually dance. Sometime after that, I lost all gumption to shake my rump to the funk — except for the occasional slow dance.

So that I got into "South Pacific" and found myself able — and even enjoying — dancing, surprised me, as this, the 45th entry to my 1984 diary, reflects.

Tuesday, July 17, 1984
Rehearsal last night went quite well, and I'd have to say that I actually had a really good time. We didn't actually start to choreograph, but just worked on learning square dance calls. We broke into two squares and worked on that for a while. Then we practiced some heel-clicking and then some girl lifting, which I couldn't do. Anyway, now I feel that the ice has been broken between the rest of the cast and myself. Already it seems that another member has been adopted into our "gang". His name is Mitchell, and last night he went with Bill, Larry and myself to Timothy's to Bozo around. I guess he's from Overly, but I think he graduated already. By the way, Aaron's on vacation somewhere; if he wasn't he would have gone, too.

We were supposed to have rehearsal tomorrow, too. But I guess they're not going to because the band has a concert. (Bridgton City Band, that is.) Julie had said that she might be coming back from camp to play in the concert, but I told her that I had rehearsal. So now I don't now if she'll be there, and I know that Aaron won't, and probably not Bill. I guess if she isn't going to be there, I don't really want to bother going. Besides, Mom wants to use the car to go shopping tonight. So I really don't know what I'm going to do now.

Probably Julie got my letter yesterday, or at the latest I hope, today. I sent her another today, that didn't really say much, or at least in comparison to the last. The rough draft of the second, follows this entry. I'm really anxious to get one back from her. Assuming that she got my first letter yesterday, she would have at the earliest, sent a reply today. Assuming next day delivery, the earliest time I would get a reply would be tomorrow. Of course, this is assuming next day delivery on all of the letters; it'll probably be on Friday that I get a response.

I think Wednesday through Friday we'll be having rehearsal. Also, the choreographer wants a group of guys to come on Sarurday morning so we can get one of the dance numbers over and done with. So I have to go then, too.

This afternoon I have to go and get my hair cut. Yesterday I went to the dentist and also stopped by the post office. I got a money order for an order that I placed yesterday for a pink crew sweatshirt and a blue T-shirt from MTV. The sweatshirt I'm going to give to Julie; the T-shirt is for myself. Guess that's it for now, until next time ...

Anne's party

My sister, Anne, and I have never been especially close. Two people who happened to live in the same house when they were growing up, is the way I often describe us to people who ask.

We have three years between us, and though we used to play together as children, once we became adolescents, we rarely had any interaction. Occasionally, she'd provide me with transportation to a school event — my parents had gotten her a used VW Beetle when she was a senior — but whatever interaction I might have had with her throughout high school, I can now barely recall.

Oddly, I remember the party she threw in our backyard, which is mentioned in this, the 44th entry to my 1984 diary. It wasn't a huge, loud affair, but I do recall a friend or two of hers — Benji's older brother, for one — calling for me to join them out back, once things got rolling. I had no interest — and was probably intimidated by a group of people three years older than myself who had likely been drinking — so didn't budge from the sofa where I was watching TV.

Sunday, July 15, 1984
Anne's party went OK, and it wasn't so loud that I couldn't sleep. I stayed up until about 12:15 Am watching TV, and got to sleep at about 1:15 Am. I watched two movies: "Strange Brew" (for the second time) and "Yellowbeard."

Last night I called Julie and we talked for a bit. This morning she called me and we talked a bit more. She was leaving at about 1:00 Pm this afternoon for camp. Either tomorrow or Tuesday, at camp, she ought to get my letter. I told her either yesterday or today, that I had mailed her a letter, but didn't tell her what it was written about. At first I didn't really think about it much, but now that I do, I nearly talking with her every day, and two weeks is really going to be a long time to do without her.

I went over my lines for "South Pacific" this morning/afternoon. The lines themselves aren't hard to learn. It's the exits/entrences and where to say the lines that are going to be hard to learn. Tomorrow and Tuesday we'll be cheorographing. The ultimate form of fun, eh?

Julie should be just about at camp now. It's 2:06 Pm and she has to be there no later than 2:30 Pm. A few days ago she told me that she had written me a letter, but it had never gotten mailed. Then yesterday she told me that she had written another and had put it inside the other older one. I told her she should probably wait until she gets mine at camp, before she mails them.

I guess today I'll clean-up the downstairs where I've been working on my plane. It's a royal mess. Tomorrow I have to go to the dentist in the morning, and I also have to call Mrs. Davis to see if she needs me for anything. For two weeks now I haven't gone up because she hasn't needed me. I haven't really missed the work, either.

Guess that's it for now. Until next time ...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Friday the 13th

I'd nearly forgotten that I got my first kiss on a Friday the 13th, as this, the 43rd entry to my 1984 diary, explains.

Saturday, July 14, 1984
Last night Julie and I went out for a pizza. She had thought, or so she told me, that a bunch of the band members were going out for pizza after one of their rehearsals, last night. As it turned out, I met Julie at Lincoln and the rest of the band members weren't going, but we went together anyway. She had to be back by 9:00 Pm or so, and we finished the pizza by about 7:30 Pm. So then we went to her house and she picked-up her photo album, and we went back to the school to watch rehearsal, and look through her album. At about 8:45 Pm we left, and as I expected she wanted to "say good-bye" somewhere else but her driveway. So we went past her house and just pulled over on the side of the road. She asked for a hug which I gave without hesitation (I was prepared this time). Then she asked me if I was going to kiss her good-night. Then I hesitated; I wasn't prepared. I mean I had never really kissed a girl, and really didn't know what she expected. Well, regardless of what she expected, what she got was a fairly quick kiss on the lips. After that she asked for an other hug, which lasted a longer while.

Well, the car wasn't really in the most convenient place, at the side of the road in daylight, and I had to get home to let Anne and Mindy have the car. So we broke-off and I drove her home. After I kissed her I felt a very extreme form of embarassment, or maybe it was humiliation or ashame. I just felt so stupid at the way I kissed her, I wanted to hide my face forever. When I got home, or a little while after I got home I should say, I decided to write her a letter to let her know how I feel. For a while now I had been wanting to say these things, but couldn't do it in person or over the telephone. The next two weeks she's going to be at camp, so I wrote the letter last night from about 11:15 Pm to 12:10 Am. My reason for writing it then are explained in the letter, the rough draft of which follows this entry. I mailed it this morning. I wonder if getting your first kiss on Friday the 13th is a bad sign?

The Sky Tiger is almost complete (you've heard that story before, right?). But really, I just have to adjust the position of the receiver to allow for movement of the aileron servo, and put on some striping and it's done.

Right now I've got to go and mow Gram's lawn. I found out yesterday that I've been put into Act I in "South Pacific." They needed a group of men to enter and do a dance, I think. Show biz, eh? Some time before Monday, I'm going to run over (and over) Act II to start to get a feeling for exits and entrences, and hopefully learn lines, what few there are. Dad had to work this Saturday, so I think he'll be coming home tonight or this afternoon. Anne is throwing a party tonight, too. Well, until next time ...

South Pacific

One of the highlights of the summer of 1984 was "South Pacific" at Lincoln High School. I've never been one for musicals, but when you're 16 and it's summer and you're spending time with your friends and making new friends, life feels pretty good — even when you're being required to sing and dance.

One other noteworthy point: Larry met his wife, Judy, through "South Pacific." They met during the production, stayed together all through college, and were married a few years out of college. They have two kids now.

Thursday, July 12, 2005
Well, I ended up going to Lincoln yesterday after all. I kind of went with just the intention of just seeing what parts are up for grabs and what have you. Bam brought me into the music room and played some notes on the piano and had me sing some chords and that was it. We went back into the aud and he told me that I was Stewpot. The try-out certainly wasn't as rigorous as I had expected, but on the same note, the part I got was pretty small too. I'm only in Act II, and have about 24 lines to myself. I have to sing with the chorus, and also I have about four words I have to sing solo. I guess I'll be in the group dance scenes, too. It's pretty embarassing to have such a small part, when I've had such larger ones before. But at least this will give me a taste of what a musical is like, and if I like it maybe I'll get into next year's.

Rehearsals go from 7:00 to 9:00 Pm Mon-Fri. Last night we read the play through. Tonight and tomorrow night it's just Act I, so I don't have to go. Monday and Tuesday for next week we're going to do some choreographing, which kind of scares me.

I just got back from Lincoln now, because last night I forgot to sign my name and phone number on a sheet, so I went over today to do it. However, I never found Bam, because some janitors kicked me out of the aud, before I made it to his office. Guess it'll have to wait. Now that we have rehearsals, I'm not going to be able to play in either Carolle County Band or Bridgton. That's kind of bad because I was enjoying being able to see Julie each week. I'll probably still see her after or before the rehearsals because the County Band rehearsals and the "South Pacific" rehearsals go on at the same time.

Guess that's all for now. Until next time ...