More of December’s Journal; 1974

December 18, 1974
At my desk upstairs, looking out at the creek with its white ruffles. The world seems compressed, composed of green and gray. Only a few tiny dots of yellow save it from total sobriety—it’s like a pheasant hen—somber color etched against the sky, or perhaps like a Quaker at prayer. I had planned a walk, and had even taken my jacket from the closet, when a sudden wind sprang up, tossing branches and leaves in an invisible surf. I left my ambition at the door and napped instead.
I hate feeling tired. I stay up until 11 or 12 and then suffer from want of sleep at 7. I miss my accustomed energy and would be resentful if it didn’t require additional effort.
Later: bearding the lion in his den for all the good it will do.
December 20, 1974
I have a fire going, music playing. The cats are fed, and coffee is at my elbow.
Last night I again imagined I would take Nush to the woods, but a look at the weather has changed my mind. Rain and periodic wind gusts—not the invigorating kind that makes you wild to run, but the sort that unpleasantly splatters rain on your face.
Will bake candy cane cookies and get Paige and PJ to do one household chore each since they’re staying home from school.
Yesterday, Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as vice-president after Agnew’s disgraceful exit. Saw it on TV and was surprised to see he held his pen between his middle fingers when he signed his oath of office. Have never seen anyone write like that before. We now have a president and vice president who were not elected. Thinking of ancient Rome and how precedence was broken when Julius Caesar was asked to be dictator. While Ford is hardly that, it’s a definite change in business as usual and may begin a long spiral downward.
The children sleep beside the tree. This is traditional and I’m glad they haven’t outgrown it. The tree is lovely with glass balls, curious ornaments, “gingerbread men,” and ginger houses, tinsel and light strings. Christmas lights are entwined down the entire length of the staircase.
December 21st 1974
First day of winter. Drove through snow to Woodburn though it was only sticking on the ground near Springwater. The sore throat flu has me again! So to bed early.
Christmas Eve, 12/24/74
In bed and if I had any sense, would put the light out and go to sleep. We are all in the grip of the cold. Joey’s tonsils very bad and being medicated, while the rest of us struggle with Nyquil and other remedies. Paige is the healthiest. Pete views me as a “typhoid Mary” and mutters darkly about my proximity. Sorry!
Additionally, he has broken his pact to moderate his drinking. The lesson now learned is that I cannot win either by fighting or silence. So I lean on my newfound sword and indulge in observation. But perhaps wisdom cannot be achieved in regard to the behavior of others or circumstance alone. One must fall back on whatever means are available to deal with one’s self.
I didn’t want to be philosophical tonight but have been unable to sleep for hours after going to bed. My intense thinking and delving disturbs my sleep even when I doze off.
The tree is a splendor, and the children are sleeping around it like large cherubs. The clock is set for 7 a.m. as I must open Dad’s gift first of all and call him at 7:30 before he leaves for his stepdaughter’s. (Note: Dad is my father-in-law).
It was cold throughout the day – the creek began clearing itself of wind-hurled debris.
Read out of the Christmas Carol to the kids while Pete napped; and then read my “Christmas Memoirs” –-not very interesting, this last. Beaten out at top speed with no thought of content or form last week.
To bed. To sleep. To dream.
Merry Christmas!

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Published in: on October 29, 2018 at 12:24 pm  Comments (4)  

December 1974 Journal Excerpt

December Journal Excerpts – December 1974
December 9, 1974
Addressed Christmas cards and wrote notes on most of them. Took Pickwick to the vet because of his sore tail. Prescribed treatment: Time.
Just finished reading Dream Interpretation and Healing. Starting a new book on dinosaurs. So far, so good.
Fire blazing and the Rams due to play the Redskins. Boys shooting baskets at the school and Paige listening to music in her room. Back to my dinosaurs.
December 10, 1974
Partly cloudy this morning but the light has a silvery look. We met Mr. Miller who was part of last night’s spirited “town hall,” regarding the school’s stance on whether [a teacher] should be fired. Pete got into a fiery recapping of points made at the meeting, but fear his audience was unmoved. I told him later he was like another Parnell agitating for Home Rule, intent on placing burrs under the saddles of power-conscious conservatives.
But on to other matters. A few days ago, the conviction arose as I was washing dishes that I’m not going to finish ASTIT. (A Stitch In Time). Instead I intend gathering material for the book about Great-grandmother Eliza Frances. Feel anxious going against Mr. Fierst’s advice. (note; a literary agent supposedly marketing The Carriage House and who counseled cutting Volunteer for Glory as it’s too long.)
However, I can’t write something that doesn’t move me. Why waste time on such endeavors? I have no guarantee of success no matter what I write, so feel it’s wiser and more creatively honest to please myself and be damn well pleased!
December 16, 1974
Saturday the boys and I went Christmas shopping. The stores were mob scenes, people gliding up and down the aisles with trancelike expressions and the occasional hysterical (?) grin. But we spent our money with a fine hand, lunched at Ferrell’s, and finally came home about 7 o’clock.
The tree has been installed and mostly decorated. We wrapped presents with personnel shifts so the utmost secrecy could be maintained. Paige came home to add some touches to the tree and participate in the gift wrapping. A satisfactory day all round.
December 17, 1974
Gray and damp outside with beams of sunlight suddenly slashing across the somber landscape.
Full of trepidation regarding husband’s drinking. I can’t seem to effect any change in his behavior. And what of mine? I realized in the dead of night that we are prisoners of ourselves; iron bars are not more confining than the spiritual and psychological barriers we forge ourselves.

Published in: on October 22, 2018 at 12:43 pm  Comments (2)  

November 1974

November 17, 1974
A gray, wet Sunday. We stayed up very late last night watching movies. The children are out of the house today. Their overnight guests up and gone along with my contingent. I remember the lovely liquid hush of rain drumming and sliding, slipping and tinkling over everything outside.
But at this moment, I’m enjoying a lovely, lazy morning, although I did chop onions for chili before settling down with coffee, the newspaper, and my trusty journal.
Item: A new unit of matter has been discovered—something smaller and quicker than the atom and its components. How exciting to see science and metaphysics approaching a common denominator!
The creek is muddy and I have a strong desire to go wandering. I want to breathe in the clean, sharp air and revel in the sights, sounds and feelings of fall. Leaves, stricken from the trees with the onslaught of rain, carpet the yard in green, yellow, and brown. Chip’s—darling Chip’s marker–is white in the woods. I’d planned to put plastic over it to shield it from the weather this winter but the season has been fair and dry, I never got round to it. Hope it isn’t too late.
I should answer the several letters awaiting me, but I cling to procrastination. No dilly-dallying on Monday. Snap, snap, house cleaning, shopping, and banking as well. Safe on Sunday, I am free to love the lazy hours that end the weekend. I’m like a swimmer floating—not obliged to stroke lest I sink. Able to drift and contemplate in perfect ease of mind and body.
November 19, 1974
Almost midnight. I ought to be cozying down for some sorely needed sleep instead of scribbling at my desk. Rain on the roof glistens in crystal strings from the eaves while the brook chatters like a madman in the dark.
The Buddha incense burner meditates on Dad’s little copper box. Am so glad I have that from him. It’s homely and bent at the corners but has an unknown, mysterious quality that speaks to me of him. My Chinese chest and pencil holder keep the Buddha company, and even the blue and white glass decanter has an Oriental design. A black and steel crucifix lends an occidental note while the clay head of my unfinished centurion brings thoughts of Rome and high school. Why am I describing these things?
Perhaps to read in future, when such memories have faded…and, like Yeats’ poem, I am “old and full of sleep, and dreaming by the fire”? But that is a long ways off. Back to the present.
Baked bread today and one whole loaf was demolished this evening. I love the smell of yeast in the kitchen. All things domestic drift into the mind upon scenting it.

Published in: on October 7, 2018 at 11:25 am  Comments (2)  

Journal Entry: October 23, 1974

October 23, 1974
The wind is stripping the cedar fronds, hurling their golden fragments across street and yard. I heard the wind blowing in the dark when I went to bed. The sighing of trees was so loud and breathy that it could easily have been the voice of a larger-than-life goddess a’crying through the night.
Had a bit of fever in the evening. Taking vitamins to discourage the old ship from being dry-docked but the barnacles may get me yet.
Scratched a sorry bit of poetry down in the near dark of my bedroom about midnight, inspired by the wind and deep thoughts. I shouldn’t record it here as it hasn’t been polished and I’m not good at refinements of verse.
I wake at night to rain,
And warm in bed, hear
The cedars sigh in the wind’s embrace.
Fir needles tip-toe, dry and drunken
Across the redwood deck.

Beyond my window
The brook flows dark
And narrow over ragged stones.
Hold me through the moaning
Of trees.
Hark instead to love whispers
And let us
Sleep a little longer.

I shan’t apologize for failings and faults which are privy to one’s diary.

November 2, 1974 Saturday
Cloudy again after brief morning sun. If we don’t get a cold snap soon will have to plant the rest of my bulbs somewhere other than in the brick planter and geranium cart. The geraniums and petunias are blooming like mad. Yellow leaves on the Mountain Laurels show here and there as they do among the peonies. The honeysuckle vine has little bunches of red berries.

Published in: on October 1, 2018 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment