Monday, March 16, 2009

20 Years Was A Long Time Ago

Photo of Wayfarer's Chapel from

I have always loved to write. From the time I was 8 years old until I got married in 1992 I was a dedicated journal writer, recording all sorts of mundane life events. This post is taken from the journal I kept for the year 1989, when I was 17 years old.

Today I bought my prom ticket for $85.00. I asked Mike to go with me but he hasn't given me an answer yet. I feel kind of stupid being the one doing the asking but it's better than waiting around for someone to ask me and feeling sorry for myself. The funny thing is, I guess I'm waiting around waiting for his answer and feeling sorry for myself that he might say no anyway. If he can't go I'll just take Chip and probably have a better time anyway.
(Oh, how I wish I had followed my gut feelings on this one! That was about the worst date of my life and I had no one to blame but myself.)

I drove to Wayfarer's Chapel today. It was so peaceful there, tucked back in the hills. I thought about how stoked I would be if I was ever inside this building during a rain storm. I sat on the stone steps and started to write a song and then I walked over to the cliffs and just looked at the waves crashing on the rocks below for awhile. The sky was a burst of oranges and reds with a tinge of pink on the underbelly of the clouds and the tide was high. So I'm moving on. Thank you, Blondie.
(I hope that at least some of you can appreciate the awesome wit of 17-year-old me.)

School today. I hated every minute of it. Trish and I were laying out on her roof in our bikinis yesterday and we got burnt. I would never wear my bikini in public, in case any of my kids in the future read this. Even though my dad says I should wear one now while I can still get away with it. He cracks me up.

(I'm not sure which is funnier - the disclaimer to my future kids or my dad's approval of my bikini.)

I can't imagine ever not having music in my life. Today I am listening to my favorite tape filled with songs that I got off the radio. I hate when the DJ has to talk right until the singing starts because then I don't get the whole intro. Why do they do that? Anyway, "Just Like Heaven" from The Cure just finished and now the Cowboy Junkies are singing "Sweet Jane". The next song is REM's "You Are The Everything" which is probably my favorite song in the world right now. It is one of those songs that puts me in a mood. I don't know how else to describe it. Music is such a powerful force.

(Some things never change - except maybe my favorite songs. Those change daily.)

Someone burned down the Ivy House. I wonder who it was? I also wonder if the lady who lived in there was really a witch with somewhere close to 50 cats. That's what everyone says. You know what I think? If I lived in a house with 50 cats I would burn it down, too, straight to the ground. I would never tell anyone this because they would think
I was a mean witch for hating cats so much.
(The funniest thing about this snippet is that I am completely serious.)

Here I am again, sitting on the bus stop bench in front of our apartment building. Somehow the sound of the occasional passing car clears my head and helps me to think. And here's what I'm thinking tonight: I am an idiot.

(No use trying to lie to myself, I suppose.)

That's all you get. The remaining pages are a jumbled mess of my obsession with various persons of the male species which honestly serves no purpose and should be burned.

Kind of like the Ivy House.


Rebecca said...


Were you born wise? I can't believe how much, at 17, you don't sound like a goofy teenager. I think if I eliminated the boy-crazy entries and the "my life is miserable" drama from my 17-year-old journal...there would be nothing left.

Allen said...

Rebecca, see if you can convince her to post some of the "jumbled mess of my obsession with various persons of the male species" entries. They're like what you describe your 17-year-old journal to be. They are my favorites - hilarious, a little pathetic, but should never be burned.

Hi! said...

I think you should post some of the jumbled mess.

I look at mine and think Oh my heck I was that obnoxious teenager I can't stand.

simplysarah said...

You were hilarious even twenty years ago!

If I burned all the obsessions with boys out of my journals, all that would be left is thoughts about food. Hmmmm. ;)

stamptherapy said...

Hi Gerb,

It's Susie, Shannon Black's mom -- I hope you don't mind me reading your blog, you are a wonderful writer and I really enjoy it. But now I'm dying to know when and where you lived near Wayfarer's Chapel? I grew up in Torrance, near PCH and Crenshaw (went to South High) and I've been to Wayfarer's a couple of times for weddings. Small world :-)

Teachinfourth said...

Gerb, the moments we go through in our lives...good thing some of them end.

Anonymous said...

I can understand and relate to a lot of what you said in your post. Kind of like the thing about talking over music; the DJs do it just to be jerks, they knew what we were all trying to do.

I have also been sitting in places before just wishing for the rains to come and wash it all away.

If I could grant you one wish it would be a day with gray, puffy clouds, and torrents of rain.

Anaise said...

So, I ought to say something complimentary about what a funny 17-year old you were, but really, I'm just delighted to see a picture of Wayfarer's Chapel and get lost in my own dear memories of that beautiful place. Scott and I took our engagement photos there . . . what a fun day we had!

How lovely that two women whose lives are over a thousand miles apart could have good memories of the same place.

Gerb said...

Bec- I don't know if I was wise... in fact, I would call it 'thinking too much'. And this IS all that was left of an ENTIRE journal after eliminating the stupid entries about boys.

Allen- A LITTLE pathetic? You're being much too generous there.

Hi!- Hmmm... I don't think anyone would really be entertained by it. The 'jumbled mess' just shows how shallow and stupid I was and I'm not sure that should be revealed...

Sarah- I did find a few entries about food as well. I was all about donuts, chocolate muffins and cheesecake. Not much has changed. :)

Susie- CRAZY small world! I also lived in Torrance, on the corner of Anza and Victor, 2 blocks from West High. I was there from the age of 9 until I was 18. So... 1981 to 1990. We actually moved to California from Iowa in 1980 and lived with my aunt and uncle on Gramercy (near Torrance Elementary) for a year. How cool that we share a little history!

T5th- I would never go back to those days - but some of those places I would love to visit.

Anon- What a perfect thing to wish for me. If it comes true I will be wrapped in a blanket, eating stove-popped popcorn in front the the largest window in the house.

Anaise- Did you used to live in Southern California as well? You have me even more curious about who your sister-in-law is now! I'm glad we can share such a beautiful memory. Wayfarer's Chapel is an almost magical place, isn't it?

Diane said...

Just a word of advice--don't burn the pages. I did that to a bunch of my old journal pages and I really wish I hadn't.

Mom not Mum said...

OL I love my journal from highschool but I agree - there are pages that need to be burned - but you can't burn those and keep the other ones. I should have kept a "life" journal and a "boy" journal that might have been a better idea. I'll pass that on to my daughter some day. Love your writing as usual.

annette said...

Boy, you and cats go a long way back! You oughta blog about that some time.

rorymckm said...

funny, my husband and i ended up getting married there. :)