Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Getting Busy On My Life Soon

When better than a solo birthday eve to reflect back on the early years that got me here?

Full as the card catalog in my brain may be (both family and friends defer to my collective memory rather than storing memories themselves), much of its archives are so densely packed at this point that they aren't easily accessed.

To the rescue: my handwritten journal, discovered in the bottom of a drawer today.

July 27, 1973
There was a picture on the front page of the Washington Post this morning showing the unanimous vote of the Watergate committee to bring Nixon for testimony. Should be interesting if he does appear.

July 28, 1973
Began Shakespeare's "As You Like It" yesterday and finished it today. I didn't know I had it in me. Really enjoyed it. I'd love to read them all soon, but I haven't got the time.

August 2, 1973
Roger wanted to see me badly tonight, or so he said. That was such a nice thing to tell me. Karen, the incurable romantic.

August 31, 1973
My third big day at University of MD. Botany lab doesn't look very encouraging. All that labeling could mean trouble. The pollution lately has been around 165 (100 being unsafe), which is the alert level. It just hangs in the air...The Watergate committee told Nixon he had to hand over his famous tapes.

September 27, 1973
The news is discussing the current gas station strike. They are closing to protest the prices of Phase IV (the illustrious plan of our wonderful leader)... My first hourly exams are coming up and I should be studying.

October 8, 1973
I heard Jane Fonda and Tom Haydn (husband activist) speak Friday. It was pretty interesting.

October 15, 1973
Agnew resigned last Wednesday and pleaded "no contest" to an income tax evasion charge. Nixon nominated Gerald Ford (minority leader) for the vice presidency. Agnew resigned on the agreement that he'd get court leniency and no more charges pressed...What a sad state of affairs this country is in.

April 3, 1974
The bookstore's still my part-time job and so far, I have no summer job. Roger got one at Greenbelt Park but he has to get a haircut first. And get this: he's going to do it!!! For a job! A year and a half's growth cut off! Oh, Pompidou died yesterday. France is all a-twitter wondering who will succeed him.

September 23, 1975
Kelsey and I went down to a club in Georgetown to dance Saturday night. Danced four straight hours...Bob had a party last week and we all had a great time. Got home about 4:45.

December 1, 1975
Bought a car last Friday! Blue VW, '66 that runs well...Jennie and I have taken up jogging  a mile every morning from 7:00 to 7:30. It feels really good and I don't mind the early hours at all.

December 7, 1975
I called Bob H. the other night to finally clear the air. I'm not sure if it did any good, though. He wants to either date but act the same at work or else continue ignoring each other like we are. I'd like to just be friends... Leo got married Friday at the courthouse. I was really surprised when he told us. Maybe he'll settle down a little, who knows? Leo was the one who told me to make up with Bob. He thought I'd probably blow it, though.

January 28, 1976
 I met a new person. Her name is Bonnie and she lives in Bowie but she's from California. We can talk about anything (and usually do!).

April 23, 1976
One month exactly until my birthday! We've had 80 and 90 degree weather all month. It's really weird. I can't ever remember April being like this...Curt and I saw America at the Capital Center last night. We saw a couple of ballets at the Kennedy Center the week before. Bonnie and I saw Carole King down at Constitution Hall back in March. The weekend before my birthday is the Paul McCartney concert and I'm really looking forward to that. Curt and I saw the Boston Symphony at the Kennedy Center a couple of weeks ago...I've been doing 40 sit-ups every night for the past month or so.

July 27, 1976
I registered to vote. The Democrats nominated Carter. It looks like the Peanut King may be our next President after all...Curt and I went to see "All's Well That Ends Well" at the Folger Theater. It was really super. I'd never been there before (nor had he)...Bonnie is teaching me to play tennis.

August 17, 1976
Curt wants to move to California next year. If he goes, so will I. He's worried I'll miss my friends and family but Bonnie says I'll love California. She's trying to convince Gerry to move out there but he doesn't want to.Who knows? Things could happen in the next year to change everyone's plans.

September 3, 1976
It's so unusual for me to make an entry in this book at night - and a Friday night at that...I saw "Same Time Next Year" with Cheryl at the National Theater Wednesday night. It was the funniest play I've ever seen.

April 5, 1977
Bonnie and Gerry may be moving to Boston in June!  I don't know what I'll do if Bonnie moves away. As it is, I can barely go two days without talking to her.  We're going to the Cap Center to see Boston tonight.

May 12, 1977
What do you do when you're bored all of a sudden and everything is routine? I'm not unhappy but I feel like I do the same things in the same way all the time. I wish I could think of some way to make this summer more exciting. It never does any good to get depressed and feel sorry for yourself (especially like now because I'm unsure why I feel this way) but then how can you stop yourself?

July 15, 1977
Sandy and I are in Guadeloupe...Monday breakfast: first croissant (good). Dancing: met Americans, hot!...Tuesday: beach and sunfish (always knew I'd like sailing)...Wednesday lunch: real Creole meal, stuffed conch (delicious!)...Thursday breakfast: boring, same ham and roll...Saturday afternoon: went to secluded nude beach to lay out...Sunday breakfast: I may turn into a piece of ham....

August 23, 1977
I registered for classes today. Schedule:
Art history -The Renaissance in Italy
Art history - Impressionism
...I am outside now and I am also listening to records.  It doesn't even stay light until 9 p.m. now. I guess Summer is fading fast. "Lemme go, lemme go," that 's the song now playing. P.S. I am listening through open windows...This reminds me of someone: "Baby, baby, I can live without you." Remember now? Tear stained lashes laced the pillow. Oh, my god! I'm turning into a romance writer! ...Elvis died last week. Sebastian Cabot died today...A guy walking his dog just asked, "How's your old man doing?" Etiquette 1977- Not how's your "husband doing" or "boyfriend doing," it's "old man doing." My boyfriend is fine.

May 31, 1978
Bonnie is down now visiting (I love it). She got down on my birthday (my 22nd- what an old lady I'm getting to be!)...Curt and I went through a bad period about a month ago, but that's over. He was feeling neglected  so I've made a point to spend more time with him. Mom gave me one of those talks about "losing a real gem" if I didn't shape up, so I've been thinking a lot about that...He's sweet, kind, patient (hard with me), gentle, generous (to a fault), loving and everything I could want except for deep-rooted male chauvinistic qualities which I would have to learn to live with...And would our relationship change if I did say yes to marrying him? Will we each subconsciously begin to role play? I dread such a thought and yet, who is to say?

November 14, 1978
Old Grandma died on November 2.  It was the saddest day I can imagine...I visited her every day except one during the three weeks she was in the hospital...I always teased her that I was her favorite...One day when I walked into her hospital room, her new roommate said, "You must be Karen, her granddaughter, the one she's always bragging about. She's always telling me how ambitious you are - how busy!" I just smiled but if Grandma had only known how much it pleased me that she would boast to a stranger about me- well, that's made me happy for weeks.

January 3, 1979
I can't believe I've been keeping up with this journal for 5 1/2 years - boy, all the things that have happened since 1973!... I'm going to be 23 this year and Curt will be 30! Boy, rocking chairs, here we come! If I don't get busy on my life soon, it'll be too late.

May 23, 2017
My, my, young Karen, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I still read the Washington Post every day. Let's see, the lively arts - Shakespeare, ballet, symphony, theater - continue to seduce me weekly. Even now, guys who can pull off long hair, nights devoted to dancing, endless live music and travel float my boat. I'm also just now noticing a thread of Virgos.

No memory of discussing a move to California; botany lab was as awful as I'd expected and, if I hadn't seen it in my own youthful scrawl, I wouldn't have believed I ever jogged - even for a mile - much less at that hour.

Oh, and learning tennis? I only let her attempt to teach me because I wanted a really cute tennis dress I saw in a newspaper ad (no, really). Didn't get it.

At the start of this year's birthday, I could say the country remains mired in a sad state of affairs but the good news is, I'm not yet in a rocking chair (is that even still a phrase?).

And, for better or for worse, I'm still the same incurable romantic I've always been.


  1. Happy Birthday to You,
    Happy Birthday to You,
    Happy Birthday dear Karen...

    P.S. yes... silly I know -- but at least I spared you my personal audio version. Your journal notes were fascinating, charming. As many of your friends know & as I have learned, you are quite a character, a most interesting person. hope you have many more b-days & may your wishes come true...

  2. You're very sweet! Thanks for following along on the journey with me. Hope to run into you eventually.

  3. "If I don't get busy on my life soon, it'll be too late."

    That seems to be your mantra!

  4. But who knew I was like this so young?