Lisa Shea - 1980 Childhood Diary

This is the very first diary I kept, a Snoopy diary with a little lock and key. I began it when I was ten and turned eleven in February. My sister was therefore eight going on nine. For me this was sixth grade, then going on 7th, in our first year in West Hartford, CT.

It vastly interests me to look back into the mind of a ten year old. I think we tend to dismiss pre-teens as being "brainless" but really they are quite intelligent individuals who are "stuck" in a situation where they are always being told what to do and when to do it. You can say they do not have enough experience yet to make some decisions, but I am sure when we are sixty and look back at things we did in our thirties that we will think our thirty year old selves were brain dead and making poor decisions :) So that is all relative.

Something that amazes me in reading this is how much time I spent just sitting and watching TV. I rarely watch TV now and when I think of all the time I wasted, it seems a shame! I suppose I couldn't read more books, because I read everything we had multiple times and there was no library to walk to. I could have drawn, or written stories or something ... I just feel it's a shame I sat there watching TV instead of doing something (anything) creative.

This isn't the whole diary, just highlights.

Wed 1/2/1980
Today was very sunny. I just made it to school. Peter Kurmak's mother died Xmas eve. In gym we worked on 6 pieces of equipment - the bars, rings, balance beam, double beams, ropes and monkey bars. I climbed up the ropes twice! Then in music we were all talking when Mr Carbenou told us to be quiet. I laughed and he said that I knew we would be in trouble. They got mad and Tracy whispered not to talk to me. In Spanish Ms Sousa treated me like a baby, commenting on my "H"s. Tomorrow is inter-el tryouts. Tonight mommy left at eight and came home at 10:30. She had me and Jenny worried! [Inter-el was an inter-elementary special choir that performed at the Bushnell Auditorium each year]

Fri 1/4/1980
Today was freezing. Me and Jenny rode our bikes to school. It was 19F then! We filled in our journal, and we will fill it in again in May or June. In gym there was a substitute who yelled at us to hurry up in the lockers, then we played line dodge ball, trying to sit up with interlocked hands with two, six and then the whole group. We were going to sit on each other's laps in a circle, but some people, like Mickey, Lisa and others wised off. In music we all played the auto harp. When we rode home on our bikes, I was freezing. When we got home I went straight to bed, and didn't get out of bed until it was six o'clock because I was hungry. Bye!

Mon 1/7/1980
Today I got a ride to school. Nothing much happened. At the library I got a book on birds and a book on riddles, jokes, and brainteasers. Tanya and Dawn Green know sign language. Kim is learning fast. Tanya had to do extra work for not working for 10 minutes! I think that I am writing better. Melinda might come over in 2 weeks. When Jenny and I left, Nicole said she saw mom. At 7-11 mom picked us up. It looked like it might hail. Later that night we went to Len's apartment for the 1st time We brought him pizza and wine. We left at 9:00. Bye!

Mon 1/14/1980
Today showed signs of rain. I was almost late. Today was art, and I started putting glass on my picture in art. I made a picture of a butterfly. In music Mr Corbinou had played the Dulcimer. It was the turn for Ivnomni and I to go to free gym. I forgot and he couldn't. We had reading and we got a new book. At 3:11 we started to walk home. Adam Doud threw a mudball at Jenny and we went back to ask Mrs Shealler for a ride. We had to walk. I made stir & frost at home. Mom made me have chicken instead of cake at 9:00pm, so I went to my room and stayed in my puppet box for about 15 min. She didn't even notice!

Tue 1/15/1980
Today it was sort of cloudy. There was no school today because of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. Vandals painted his grave with green, white and black stripes. I stayed in bed until 10:00. Later we cut out comics and puzzles from the Hartford Current.At night mommy was worried about Len, so we got dressed and went to his apartment. We waited there from 5:30 to 8:00 then we left.At about 10:15 Len called. Mommy went and got him. I am writing this while she is out. I will hopefully tell you more tomorrow.

Wed 1/16/1980
Today it was very sunny. I got to school on time today. In gym we worked on equipment. We had Spanish first instead of music because the 5th graders had an International Lunch in Spanish. We saw the movie of the 3 bears narrated in Spanish. In music we got to play the dulcimer. I brought in my slip for inter-el. On the 15th, mommy came back with Len after I fell asleep. Mom and Len went shopping today and came back late. There was no time to make dinner so we went to Prospect pizza. Jenny and I brought my Mad magazines. We left as The Gambler started.

2/6/1980
Today I am 11 years old, at exactly 2:17am. I don't feel older. I got up and frosted my cupcakes. I also put on hearts. I was ready at 8:30. I finished the quiz, and gave Mickey the answers. When I passed out the cupcakes, Mickey got "Those eyes", John I got "I love you," and Peter Kurmay got "Dream girl". After school I started knitting. When mommy came home we ate out. We got pizza. Mommy found out about my pen, and now she has all of my money. For my birthday she got me a puzzle book and an unusual fact book. It has a snake man. I am still in inter-el. [I had bought a cool pen that had a lady strip and unstrip when you tipped it up and down. At least I thought it was cool, I paid I think $1 to Suzanne for it. Mom found out and took it away.]

2/7/1980
Today is Thursday, It is cold. Today we had a substitute. I didn't finish my math, so I brought it home. Dawn Doud is not liked any more. I don't know why. In Inter-el, the person next to me forgot her folder. I didn't. At home I didn't do the dishes. When mommy came home, she spanked me. I did them. I could have slapped her 10 times! Melinda Teeter is coming. I hope we have fun at the pool, and at my party. Tomorrow is critics club. Alise and Debbie aren't going any more, but I still am. I finished my report at 6:00. It was a good book.

2/26/1980
Today I got up at 6:30, and was ready at 8:00. Yesterday we played Perquackey, and Jenny said that I cheated. She pouted to bed, talking about revenge. At school today, I hadn't been able to find my folder. I found it with my magic stuff. I forgot my key at home, so we stayed over the Scheallers. Mommy was very mad because she might get fired. A man came from Cannon middle school. He gave us 1 olive, and we had to describe it. Then we had to pretend that we were the olives. I filled a page up, but I didn't write 15 descriptive things. We missed the 4:00 movie.

3/1/1980
This morning we got up at 9:00. We watched cartoons. Bunnie went to classes. I had cereal for breakfast, but Jenny only had Ovaltine and candy. Today is the day of Sarah's birthday. At daddy's house, we played probe and watched Samson and Delilah. It was good. At Sarah's party I met a girl named Marcie. She is nice. Sarah has Copycat and a Donna Summer record. We told ghost and dirty stories and held seances. Sarah kept seeing white figures, and I moved the doors. Alisa did and I screamed.

3/2/1980
This morning it was freezing. I brought the blanket downstairs, and me and Mardge played electronic Mastermind, which uses numbers. We had seances, and I was so stiff that I almost floated. In my mind, I saw a full moon with something blocking it, and a hand reaching for the moon. Everybody's parents came at 11:00, and daddy took us straight home. I got in bed and read and ate olives, while Jenny went to Jennifer Claire's house from 3:00 to 4:00. We stayed home after this. We had leftovers.

3/4/1980
This morning I brought my clarinet. I haven't missed a day in school yet. We learned that we get the paper every other day. I sat with Suzanne and Julie. I had clarinet lessons from 1:00 - 1:40. Mommy told Len to pick us up. 40 minutes after he hadn't come. I called Mommy, and she was mad at me! At home Jenny did the dishes. I experimented with chemical magic, and found 3 new mixtures. Then we played Touche. After that we went upstairs. I read Jenny a story in my bed. We had hot-dogs and beans, and we watched Laverne and Shirley. I was about the MooseJaw express.

3/5/1980
It snowed today! Today the men came and put down the new floor. We weren't late, for once. In gym we worked with basketballs. In Spanish they told us the entries for the poster contest. I wasn't chosen. I stayed in bed most of the time after school. I love Jenny, and I am going to make her a dollhouse. It is going to be very nice. Mommy bought me some ice-cream. She had bridge players over today. Tomorrow is parent conferences, I hope that I get all "C"s (commendable). I put my play-family village horses into my horse collection along with my "Scout" horse. I'm not horsing around!

3/8/1980
This morning I got up at 6:00, but stayed in bed until 6:30. I forgot my toothbrush and pillow. We picked up Sam, and then left for Vermont. Jenny slept most of the way, but I listened to the radio. We went straight to Mount Snow. We got 1/2 day tickets which started at 1:00. First I went up Mixing Bowl, a small hill, 5 times, then I went up Big Beaver, a huge hill. The 2nd time down I didn't fall! We had lunch, and then we went out. I got lost but then I found Mommy. We had pizza for dinner, but it was burnt. I slept alone in the top bunk of the in-wall bunk bed with a radio!

[I think this was our first skiing trip ever. I remember really liking the ski trip. The lodge was pretty empty so I got a room all to myself with a bed "built into a wall", very wooden and rustic, which I thought was super cool like I imagined a medieval bed might be. They also had a sunken fireplace pit which was great.]

3/9/1980
Today we got up at 8:00. We are going to Pico Peak. Pico Peak is in Rutland, which is farther north. We are getting full day tickets. We kept going on Bonanza, an easy one, but the we went over to a more difficult one. Once I lost my ski, but they sent it up. Once we went on an easier one, and Jenny went flying on her back There were so many hills that I almost didn't find her! Then I went all the way down the harder one, and it had huge spots of clear ice! We went home and I slept from Massachusetts to Hartford, Connecticut.

3/26/1980
Today I got up, but Jenny had already eaten. I was on time because Len drove me. We had the test on sit-ups and I got 38! (85%). In music I almost went to the office. I made 4 paper balloons and Brian, Mickey and Micheal each took one and crushed it. At home, I was kicked by Steven. I Love Him. I have a black and blue from him. I soaked in the tub during Eight is Enough. Mom said that we could watch Charlies Angles if we were responsible, which we were, and now she says we can't. [The line about Steven just slays me ;) ]

On to the Summer of 1980
Notes from 1980


Diaries from the 1980s