Monday, February 8, 2010

Sorrow and joy, laughter and tears: Studies in Crap presents the 1972 diary of a Catholic high school girl

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power


Author: Kansas City teen diarist Terri
Date: 1972
Discovered at: Unsorted box buried deep in a Westport estate-sale basement

The Cover Promises: "1/2 Frosh Year + Soph Summer"

Representative Quotes:

  • Monday, Feburary 14: "Jeff B. told Kathy he loved her and then turned around and told the guys to pay him 50 cents because they bet him he wouldn't."

  • Tuesday, February 29: "I got a B on my english test. of all the wierds grade I wood have to get a B."
Heartache romps at St. Teresa's!

Last month we met young Terri, teen diarist of 1972, and had a fine time invading her privacy despite her insistence that "No one if I can help it will never flip through the preceding pages."

In her day-by-day account of January 1972, she dished to us about Mark, that crush-tastic boy from another school who tells some friends that he "likes" Terri and others that he doesn't. She recounted an epic fight with Patti, the difficult friend who keeps "A list of all the queers" she knows. She described her bounty of Christmas gifts, her mother's surgery, and her friend Kathleen's unlikely love for a "dwarf named Jeff."

At January's end, all hope of working things out with Mark had seemed dashed. But then, on the month's last entry, there came a telephone-game hail Mary. Terri asked Michelle to ask "Hollerm" to ask Mark if Mark still likes Terri ... and, to everyone's dismay, Michelle replied that "Hollerm" replied that Mark replied that "he does but does not want anyone to know about it."

As February dawns, Terri's sources remain on the Mark case, but she's also concerned with academic matters.

​In teenage life, things move fast even when nothing is happening. Terri worries over Mark just three more days before a bowling alley get-together seals the potential couple's fate. As always happens on the rare occasion they are in a room together, Mark ignores Terri. This time, though, Terri isn't having it.

She swallows hard and -- yes! -- sends a friend over.

"Leah at King's yelled at Mark. She went over to him and asked how come you don't come over and talk to Terri. He whispered I Don't Like Her Anymore.
It was fun while it lasted.
I wonder why he doesn't like me anymore?"
Resilient, Terri doesn't let this eat at her for long.

"I had a blast a King's though. Jeff W. is a crack up."
Terri soon learns that not having a crush on a guy who won't even talk to you is probably for the best. On Wednesday the 15th, she goes skiing with her parents at Mt. Bleu in Lawrence. There, possibility seizes her:

"Met 2 little guys from Chile. They are probably in 7 or 6 grade.
Asked one if the could speak english, he said yes. Asked where are you from, he said Chile. Asked what are ya doing up here, he said living.
There was one real darling one who noticed me. The cute one raced me down the slopes, talked to me and stuff like that."
Then, disaster. Terri rides up the ski-lift with a "Dennis from Leawood," and, in the great tradition of romantic comedies:

"I fell off. Figures I would do something like that. Rode up to the top with a hunk but got off halfways!"
Terri's February is not as rich culturally as her January was. Still, '72 shines through. Terri stays up late watching the Olympics and Ice Station Zebra ("pretty good but nothin like Where Eagles Dare." Detestable Patti gets a shag haircut ("it looks o.k. but I liked it long").

Terri considers a futuristic mixer called the "Computer Dance" a dud: "What a boring night. . . Caroline danced the whole night with her computer date, what luck. Mine didn't even find me."

At the Father/Daughter Dance, Terri's dad contracts food poisoning.

At times, Terri hints at trouble at home. She reports her parents' arguments, and the Friday, February 18 entry seems written in pain:

"Mom told me a belief of hers. There is no HELL. We get enough of it here on earth."
Terri rarely lingers on such dark thoughts. Instead, she is quick to return to her great subject: the politics of friendship and romance.

"Michelle is madly in love with Pat L. and vice versa. Leah and Jack still love one another and Kathy B. is hated by all. Patti still hates me and vice versa."
Shocking Detail:
February, 1972, was unseasonably warm in Missouri, with temperatures hitting the 80s just a day or two after snowstorms. That means a trip to the Ozarks put Terri in a swimsuit and ski-gear!


There's life and feeling, here, that can't be taught in that English class.

On Saturday, February 19, Terri writes, "Today was a long day. It was a day of sorrow and joy, laughter and tears."

Seems Patti wrote Terri a nasty letter digging up a controversy we touched on in last month's update: The persistent rumor that, months before, Terri had invited herself to join a gang of girls on a trip to see the movie Bless the Beasts and Children. Terri is shaken, but from the sour comes the sweet.

"After I read it I busted into tears and then I finally realized I have some dear friends. I walked to my locker. As I walked I came to Mary H. I was in tears ... Mary told me I have more friends than just Patti."
Touchingly, over the next few days, other friends declare for our diarist Terri. Rosemary begins writing to her, and Amy gives her "the sweetest letter" on Friday the 25th. ("It was gray with bees and flowers on it.")

Loyal friends! Cute foreign boys! Ski-slope hi-jinx!Terri's story is looking up!

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