Saturday, December 02, 2006

December the 2nd: a historical perspective

In the Scientific American monthly section "50, 100, and 150 Years Ago," the editors rifle through the musty archives and reprint short articles from yesteryear.

I'm inspired to do something similar with my own life archives (I'm not quite able to go back 150 years yet ... someday). Starting in 1981(!) I began keeping a journal off and on. From 1986 through the mid-90s, I estimate that I wrote an entry every two days, on average.

Out of curiosity (to be truthful: I was seeking distractions from the ongoing Stats project), I looked through the old journals to see what I'd written on Dec. 2 in previous years.

Ten years ago, in 1996, I was a few days away from starting a temp grave shift position as a USPS mail sorter. On 12/2/96, I wrote:

This morning I got a call from the Post Office personnel department. They want me to start early, on Wednesday night. For some strange reason I am very excited.
Fifteen years ago, on 12/2/91, I was apparently in a melancholy mood:
I started to enjoy classical music immensely. I think for the past month I have become more introspective and reading a lot more. I have not had a desire to have a relationship for a couple months.
And 20 years ago, on 12/2/86:
Jonathan Bradley came back to school. I just started teaching him logo.

I started music. That means I just stay in the band room.

Today we had play practice (for church). My part is Paul Evans. I have 13 lines. (By the way, Paul Evans is supposed to be rich.)

Last night my ears were plugged. I slept upstairs.

It is 10:00 PM exactly.
I stuck to the facts back in the day.



joy said...

Ah, that is a cute idea.

To give a little more context, as judging by the dates:
96 - just out of college, 91 - senior in high school, 86 - 7th grader.

Jonathan said...

Yes, you are correct. :)

It's particularly hard for me now to relate to my just-out-of-college self. Why was I excited about grave shift work with the post office? I believe I had a notion that I could combine that experience (and subsequent adventures in employment elsewhere) in a thoughtful novel. But that seems long a time ago. The grave shift ended up being terrible. What a surprise!

Vanessa said...

Good idea! I've only kept a journal (traditional or online) for about seven years... maybe I'll wait until I have a little more distance before I do this.

Jonathan said...

It's definitely always interesting to take a look back and see how one has changed...