My Dad’s Ex Girlfriend

I want to talk about my boyfriend, but first I want to talk about my dad’s ex girlfriend. Once upon a time one fall afternoon, Roberta Fox asked Richard Lawrence Whelan to walk her home from school.  Roberta and Larry lived about 9 minutes away from one another, but had not met until this day in September, 1971.  Soon after that, Roberta and Larry became steadies at Valley Stream High.

Fast forward 40 years to a Saturday afternoon in April 2011; Larry Whelan and his daughter, Olivia Whelan, are in a car driving to Valley Stream, Long Island, to meet his ex-girlfriend, Roberta Fox. I went with Dad to meet Roberta and the Foxes the day after I had had a first date with a boy I liked.  During this Whelan fam road trip Dad briefed me on the names I should know and shared some stories I hadn’t heard and then some stories I had.

Whilst being prepped for this unconventional gathering, I resisted the urge to go through the dreamy night I had had a few hours ago.  Often, those chemistry evenings are one night and one night only so I tried to keep my hopes at bay.  My first act in diminishing expectations was to ignore my cell phone.  I did not want to be waiting for a text that might not come, so I put my phone on silent and burried my cellular at the bottom of my overpopulated girl-tote.

“Laurie is the name of Roberta’s sister.  She will be there today, too.  How was your date, kiddo?”  Dad inquired.  “It was fine!  He seems nice.  We’ll see what happens.”

We entered Valley Stream.  I took in the ‘burbs.  Having grown up in a city, the suburbs have always hit me as cool and exotic.  Eventually we drove into Richard’s old neighborhood, and parked near Richard’s old house.

The house had changed since my Dad lived there.  The cornfields behind the house were gone (replaced by more families and their homes), and the tree and tree house in the front lawn were no more.

Back in the ‘60s, when my Dad was growing up, the Whelan home was unconventional in a lot of ways.  Dad’s parents, theatre people, kept odd hours.  Grandma’s guests were her dancer friends, flamboyant types “screaming across the lawn” as Dad put it.

But right now it was very quiet.  Cold air seemed to waft up from the pavement, like in fall.  This weather always gets me romantic and sentimental.   I breathed in deeply and longed.

The bad thing about a good date is that you start to care, and then you become vulnerable.  In the past, I have let myself be vulnerable to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.  As you get wiser and more cautious, you build up walls and fortresses that protect you from getting hurt.  Once you’ve matured a bit, you have to learn to let people  (the right people) in again.  Corey was my friend, and a kind person.  I had already let him past some of those internal defenses I talked about.  He was also closer to me than I would have liked to admit.  I was worried about getting hurt.

In Dad’s later teenage years, Dad dealt with his own share of hurt.  His folks got divorced, and his father moved out.   Dad’s mother went back to college and was often out of the house.   Susan, his, sister left Valley Stream to live in New York.  Sean, the broseph, left  suburbia to do Woodstock etc., and my Dad was usually alone.  I think the Fox’s provided regularity in my father’s life.  Dad found a fortress with the Foxes.

We kept walking until Dad said “That’s it.”  We stopped in front of a house with red bricks.  While Dad’s home had changed under new management, the Foxes continued to live in the home they had raised their kids in.  “Looks exactly the same,” Richard said with an emotion I could not read.

We walked up to their doorway and rang the bell.  The door opened, and Mother and Father Fox hugged my father and then me.  Mr. Fox sat down to hear Dad’s stories as if it were still 1974.  And he listened to mine as if I’d dated his daughter, too.  Roberta arrived a few hours later, with her son, Burt.  Roberta and Richard sat across from one another and caught up.  In a very strange way, it was like watching my dad on a date.

“O, could you give Mom a call and let her know we arrived safe?”
sure dad.  I unearthed my phone from my bag.  No text from the guy. Cool!  (shit.)

Everyone continued retell stories I had heard but had not participated in.  It only took this moment of boredom for me to retreat to last night.

I was impressed with how long I waited to approach Corey (usually I rush heartfirst into romances).  After two months of considering things, not asking Corey out was no longer an option.  So I asked Corey out, and he said yes, and we met a Friday evening at a bar.  I spilled my water, and we both laughed.  I performed in an improv show, and was totally self-conscious.  Later on there was a glass of wine.  Then there was an ironic fake fire, in front of which a two or three hour conversation took place.  At some point, I was asked on a second date and at some point I admitted to liking my date and then we closed the bar making out.  Then a goodbye near the G train station.  Then a solo cab ride from Queens to my apartment.  With all the wine had and all the sleep not had from the previous week, I was unreserved with myself and just happy.  My head dipped back onto the head support and I woke up in front of my apartment, smiling.

But a few hours later, it was a bright morning with the light everywhere.   Daydreams (nightdreams) had vacated the premises.  And now that all the wine had drained from my system,  I was filled with combination elation and dread of getting involved with a friend.   Corey and I have an improv community in common.  If things didn’t work out, it would suck for awhile.  I was so enamored by Corey, and how he looked when he performed.  And how he laughed when he coached my team in practice.  And how he looked at me when I spilled water all over myself.  My faults and imperfections and unfunny moments felt at home with him.  I did not check myself at the door when we met up at the bar.  I didn’t feel the need to be someone I wasn’t.  Corey had never tried to use me when I was naive and easy; he never took  advantage of my loneliness.   I had opened my eyes and mind to a nice person.   And now I was terrified of disappointing this nice person, and thereby being disappointed.

When I brought myself back Valley Stream, Richard, Roberta and Roberta’s son had decided we should go check out Valley Stream high, where Dad and Roberta met.  I made a point of leaving my phone behind.

The four of us played 4 man baseball, and each rotated as catcher, pitcher, batter, and then all-field man.  My dad, his daughter, his ex, and her kid all on a team. I thought about how strange this was for me, and then realized it must have been even stranger for my Dad.  How many years and events had lead to this bizarre and poignant inning.  The hurt of losing a high school girlfriend, the joy of finding someone new, the surprise of having a daughter.  He had opened himself up to this beautiful family, and received a surrogate home when he most desparately needed one.  Even though he had to leave it at some point, and say goodbye to the possibility of a lifetime with Roberta, there was still room for love and happiness and joy in such a strange reunion as this one.  Letting yourself open up to someone doesn’t guarantee “forever”, but the gains can still be so much greater than your losses.  I decided it was okay for me to want something more to come of me and Corey, even if it didn’t.

I was up to bat, and literally hit every ball out of the park.  Corey likes softball.  I smiled – he would have been impressed.

Before Dad and I left for home, I got a text.  And 6 months into what has indeed become a relationship, I am so in love.   And I feel safe.  And I am continually awed by what healthy love can do to you.   For all the ways that I love Corey, and there are many, loving Corey has helped me realize it’s okay to be afraid, and it’s okay to let go of fear.  And while I still worry and plot and catastrophize, I know those actions are not real and that’s what’s going on presently could silence all that.   To have found someone who does improv and enjoys LOTR is more than I’ve ever known to ask for.  To get to plod along in life with my match and my challenger makes me luckier than anyone I know.  Regardless of the timespan of this relationship, whether it’s a moment in my life, or if it’s forever (which I hope is the case), my fortresses don’t need to be up anymore.

Once upon a time, on a nondescript April Monday, Olivia Whelan asked Corey Brown out on a date.  Corey said yes.  Six months later, neither are afraid.

Criticalson + The Two New Hats

Criticalson + The New Hats
In the fishing village of Goodlesson, there was a boy called Criticalson. Criticalson was the youngest of three youths in his family, and thought himself the best fisher in Goodlesson. At the river, Criticalson would compare his perfectly crocheted nets to those knitted by the arthritic grandfathers in his village. At school, Criticalson would brag about the many dozens of mackerel he caught the day before. At home, unasked, he would instruct his brothers on canoe maintenance: “The best way to repair water holes is with mud and spit, my kin.”
His older brothers, Gentlesoul and Openheart, were not talented fishermen. But the boys were soft-spoken and always happy to share with others the one or two fish they had caught that morning.
One day Criticalson noticed his brothers had two new hats. Criticalson approached his father, Wiseparent, by the fishing stream and implored, “Father, why is it my brothers have new hats and I do not?” Wiseparent looked at him with the pathos and empathy all fathers have for their children. “Because, Criticalson,” he crooned, “Your mother died in childbirth. And I love your brothers more.”

february and my parents

this should have been published about a month ago, in time for my parents’ anniversary, February 15th.

regardless, here is my love letter to mom + dad.

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unrelenting New York cold. the ground is stiff with unrelenting New York cold.  we’re all dying for Spring.

walking to work, I can’t help but think about Amsterdam; the place I went with my Dad just under a month ago.  it’s the skies that do it – the gray morning reminds me of the always overcast weather in Amsterdam. well, it may not always be overcast in Amsterdam, but it was always overcast for the five days i was there.

and it’s always overcast in the paintings.  Oil paintings of frozen canals and poor people, bundled up and walking on ice.  Dad and I looked at these paintings before our flight back to NY.  He treated me to one more lunch before boarding – we ate at a restaurant that catered to my pesky ova-pescatarian diet, which Dad never seems to get fed up with.  (“you’re sure you can eat here, Kiddo?”).

“what did i do to deserve my parents’ support”  is a thought I grapple with sometimes.

not just one kind of support.  the monetary kind when i really need money.  audience members for an audience-less improv show.  exuberance for my web videos where I swear and say vulgar things and make out with boys.  occasional trips to Europe.

knowing you’re worthy of love and deserving of support is one thing I’m not going to spend to much time on here.    thankfully, I’ve put away a lot of that guilt that sometimes comes with being supported.  (Irish guilt?  Catholic guilt?  Workaholic guilt?)

so now I’m just trying to understand my parents and their unrelenting love – it’s like a perpetual motion machine that doesn’t slow down (no, I wasn’t a science major.  yes, i am reading “improvise” and am on the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics” chapter.)  Even when I told my parents that I wanted to major in Art History as my “back-up plan”  (note – an Art History degree is about as reliable as a Theatre one), they kept supporting.

The mommies in the Dutch paintings are usually stout peasant women either hauling a barrel of potatoes or holding the hand of a child.  hard at work or tenderly nurturing.  My mom is like a hott Dutch mommy.  Every Friday for 9 years, my waiffish, once-a-model mother lugged my ice-skates around the city in order to get me to my figure skating lessons in Chelsea Piers.  When I was a junior in college, she ran to the Metropolitan Museum to fact-check on a miniature grandfather clock i had to write an essay on (the essay was due in an hour from the time I called her).   so many times I’ve come to my mom crying over something I thought I wasn’t allowed to cry about anymore.  and on more than one occasion, she’s helped me maintain confidence in myself as an artist:  when I told Mom I wanted to get into Art Restoration, she raised an eyebrow and said, “Osey, is that really what you want to do?”

brace yourself, this is sentimental, but love is the only perpetual motion machine.  it’s not perfect, but it’s perpetual.  my parents love perpetually.

New York February is a month of cold.  Amsterdam February is as well.    Hallmark insists the world should warm up in this month and go bananas about love.   I’m going to side with Hallmark.

February 14th is Valentine’s day.  February 15th is my parents’ anniversary.  it’s very cold and Spring is far away, but for me, this is a month of love.

Happy Anniversary, Mom + Dad –

Thank you for your unrelenting, perpetual love.

CJ My Savior

11:13 AM. I am in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – which is not a part of Philadelphia. (thank you, Amtrak conductor).

12 hours prior, I find out these out of NYC casting directors want to audition me as a model, and I am pissed. I’m not a model. The last place I want to be is at a model audition. Add to the mix the day, time + location of said audition: Saturday, afternoon, in a strange town that is two hours further away from my home than I thought it was… I don’t deserve this.

“No Starbucks here, Honey,” says the blonde waitress in response to my inquiry.

The place across from the train station is not a Starbucks, nor is it near one. It’s a hybrid of diner, deli + bar. Excepting 11 am improv in the Triple Crown Basement, I have never been to a bar so early. The other customers give off an “AM regulars” vibe: jackets off and half-empty beer bottles in hand, as if it were an hour before midnight instead of an hour before noon.

“Hi, there sweetie,” says one of the patrons.

A table in the back is far from human company; I roll my suitcase there and count down the hours before I show up to a model call.

This is the part of an actor’s career that I hate: the obscure, questionable auditions in hard-to-reach places. The ones where no one clearly explains why you are wanted, with what you are auditioning with, what you are auditioning for. Go, and you may be locked in a room with a crazy woman who carries a microphone in a holster. Skip this one, and it turns out the vague audition in a “Brooklyn Pretzel House” was for Pedro Almovodar. Your sanity, pride and safety are always at stake.

For this particular audition (model call?), I’m apprehensive about being the only non-model in a room full of, well, models. I plot out the worst possible way this audition can go: I’ll arrive in this conference room with my stupid rolling backpack. My bangs will look crazy. There will be 300 other girls there, all of them tall and thin. They will stare at my Canadian thermal boots. The casting director will lecture me on eating 9 servings of fruit instead of the recommended 5. It will be announced to all the models that I was called in by accident and (in short) I won’t get the job.

“Sugar Buns!” Someone announces.

There is a back entrance by my table. One gentleman makes a game of naming everyone who enters through the back: “Sugar buns!” he calls the next four patrons who arrive. He then cries out “Peanut Butter!” and “Cookie!” to the following two customers. I am afraid of the men in the bar.

But the blonde waitress is able to reign in the rowdy. I ask for her name after she hands me a cup of black coffee, and she tells me it’s CJ. CJ calls me Honey and Sweetie. CJ speaks in a southern accent (which shouldn’t be the case in Southern Pennsylvania). CJ asks if anyone in the bar has bothered me. I tell CJ no.

When it occurred to me these auditors wanted to “see my runway walk”, I sent myself immediately into a spell of whispered “fuck yous” directed at my computer screen. I relayed my incredulity to friends, family, co-workers. It almost felt like an “if I die, you’ll know what happened to me” final statement kind of thing. “If I don’t come back from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, it’s because I’m dead. Dead from shame & humiliation – a misinformed casting director is indirectly responsible.” But CJ’s genuine calm helps me forget my not-a-model anxiety.

I sip my coffee and concentrate on the things I can be happy about. Like the friends I reached out to after my initial audition freak out; their jokes and words of encouragement, their phone calls, emails, gchats, text messages.

“Ain’t no goddam Pat Bennetar!” cries CJ. I don’t know what brought on this comment, but it makes me laugh.

CJ manages this establishment from 7am till closing every day. She doesn’t own the bar, but if she did she “sure would do things differently.” CJ talks about the people who come here, about how they are sad and lonely and sometimes a little dangerous. But she doesn’t judge. One day she wants to run a breakfast diner, but in the meantime she’s a waitress at a bar. “I guess we all hafta do things we don’t wanna, right?”

I pay my bill and extend the handle of my rolling suitcase. I straighten up all 5’5 3/4” of me and make my way to this mystery event. I don’t wanna. But sometimes we all hafta do things we don’t wanna, right?

trendy imperfection

Metro published an article in today’s paper called “the year of the gap-tooth trend.”  Apparently, teeth-gaps are in right now.  Gone are the days of reconstructing your teeth to align straight + orderly.  Say goodbye to the perfect smile, because it’s passé.  I am excited by this prospect.  I have a chip in my front tooth that I’ve always been a little self-conscious about.  But apparently, I don’t have to worry about it anymore, because it’s individual and sexy.

These were my initial thoughts after reading this article in Metro.  Then my mind went : “wait a second – if imperfections in my teeth are okay maybe other imperfections in me are okay as well.”

I know I am not alone when I say I scrutinize and condemn my body, far FAR too often.  I eat healthy and am an active person.  But I don’t have a six-pack, I don’t have a C-cup chest, and I do have a case of twenty-something acne.  At this point in my life, my idea of a perfect fit for what my body should be is size 0-2 waist, larger breasts, and Daniel Radcliff abs (think Harry Potter in The Goblet of Fire when he’s shirtless in the Prefect’s bathroom).  I think this is what I’ve been told to think is the “perfect” kind of body for me.  And get angry when it refuses to look like that.

I rarely give myself accolades for the wonderful ways I take care of me, and instead bemoan the number times I haven’t gone to the gym this week.

And the madness doesn’t stop here.  If you checked the cookies on my laptop, you would find google searches for pictures of celebrities looking heavy.  Yup.  This is a tool I use to feel (temporarily) better about myself.  Earlier this week I saw a tabloid cover with a curvy Jessica Simpson, and internally triumphed over the fact that this once size-0 woman has gained weight.  But then yesterday, while flipping through Lucky Magazine, I found some recent, rather thin looking pictures of JS, and my stomach got queasy.  Is this a sickness?  Yes, it totally is.

Despite this past week’s relapse in negative – thinking, I’ve started to fight this close-minded idea of beauty I have.  I’ve re-explored old diaries of mine and was surprised by how I hated being skinny.  10-year-old Olivia was DYING to have a woman’s body.

About 15 Thanksgivings ago, I saw Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn for the first time.  For those of you who don’t know the story, Sabrina leaves America an awkward, insecure girl who is (literally) suicidal because the man she loves does not love her back.  Then she goes to France.  Then she comes back a sophisticated, confident woman  and receives plenty of male attention throughout the rest of the film.  While watching this as a 10-year-old, unhappily thin girl, I assumed Audrey Hepburn would lose her baby skinny in France and return a curvy woman.  Audrey returns with a new haircut and a new wardrobe, but her body stays the same.  10-year-old O was so disappointed with this: I couldn’t believe that men would fawn over a girl with a waiffish figure, like mine.

So apparently, at one point in my life, a full-woman’s figure was the beauty ideal I had for myself.  That has changed.
But what hasn’t changed in the fifteen years since then is the discontent I have with my form.  That judgmental beast has held its ground.  And apparently I have always been comparing what I’ve got with the property of other females.

Being at peace with my body does not mean waging war against another woman’s bodies.  It doesn’t mean Jessica’s body is “the good guy” and Audrey’s body is “the bad guy.”  It means I stop comparing my body with theirs, period.

The thing is I don’t really know what I like or dislike about my body – my ego is so filled with what I think I should look like and defensiveness against other women that I’m in no place to take a sober look in the mirror.

“Cosmetic dentist Dr. Irwin Smifel claims people are coming to him to make their smiles look more natural… ‘It’s a trend toward individuality.’ ”

Some woman are now investing money and getting their mouths fit for a natural looking gap-tooth.  So people are now paying money to help them look imperfect.  My mind went : “So one day, people may be stressing about NOT having love handles and femme-grips” – by grip I mean the slope of fat below the belly button.  I’m coining the word “grip” in rejection of the word “pouch” or “muffin-top”, both of which I hate – “Maybe one day women will make sure they ingest the perfect ratio of cliff bars to 2% milk yogurt parfaits in order to obtain the perfect thigh diameter.”  My synapses fired madly.  “Or maybe, woman will take out a mortgage to change their bodies to be fatty in the places that my body has fat.  ha Ha! Take that all you 0% body fat girls.  Take that, six-pack abs!”

Just a side note, this is not a coy confession of an eating disorder.  Most of us women, unfortunately, put ourselves through this kind of mental torture – even if it is unattached to bulimia or anorexia.  But when I step outside of these manic circles I keep myself dizzy with, I realize this anger doesn’t really have to do with other women or the media or my body, even.  It’s just a means of expressing some sort of discontent, which is probably internal and not external.   I know many women who don’t look the way that I think I should look.  I love and admire my friends’ figures and I don’t think any of them need to lose weight or change.  It’s just myself that needs to adhere to all of this self-prescribed nonsense, which happens to be reinforced by the media.

bizarrely, I think we will get to a point where women are having fat injected in order to create the perfect imperfect body.  We may already be there, what with reconstructive ass-surgery and collagen.  Magazines and commercials and movies and TV may start to drop the skinny ideal for another, equally as impossible to obtain “perfect ratio”.  As long as there’s money to be made in beauty + fashion, we will probably never reach a point where magazines will stop telling us that our bodies need modifying.

We can’t expect a revolution from the media, but we can achieve a private catharsis.  And we can start by investing in our own, unique imperfections.  Not Anna Paguin’s endearing gap-tooth, not Audrey Hepburn’s linear beauty or Jessica Simpson’s luscious form (or Daniel Radcliff’s abdomen).  But the natural that we already have; that doesn’t have to be toned or separated or enhanced; the natural that doesn’t cost money or sleep or happiness.

Spread the word – imperfection is in.  I know it’s trite to end on a “love yourself note.”  but i really f*cking mean it.  You’re great.  I’m great.  We’re all great.  Imperfect, yes.  But that’s where it gets interesting.

the Santa Diaries

Dec. 6th, 2010 – Nineteenth Day Before Christmas

Dear Diary,

Tried “googling” myself today.  ‘Twas a horrible mistake.

Thousands of digital photographs of folk dressed like Santa.  Feeling very replaceable.

Everyone assumes I remain merrily obese. Not a soul out there thinks right jolly old St. Nick might have lost weight.   And they’re right.  They’re all right.  He hasn’t.

Was thinking of taking out loan to buy new, shiny, speedy convertible as Christmas present for self.  Then realized current automobile already has an open top, is polished daily by winter-sprites, and travels at the speed of Holiday Cheer (roughly 570 Horsepower / 8 Reindeerpower).  What do you get for yourself when you already have everything?

Speaking of speedy sleighs and tiny reindeer, a couple of scientists down South published The Physics of Santa Claus : apprently, the laws of physics should “prevent Santa Claus from delivering all his gifts.”  In order for me to reach every household in the world, I would have to “travel near the speed of light.” And once my wagon exceeded 342 mph (24 Reindeerpower), I would “burst into fire.”  So much for Christmas Miracles.

Lillian Vernon Catologue selling Santa themed yard decorations.  There’s one where I’m wrapped around a tree after a ski accident.

Why do my kinderfolk want me dead?

Have eaten 19 gingerbread houses and 4 cartons of creamer whilst writing this entry.

Am downtrodden.

– Santa

diary entries from an 11 year old me, part 2

Dear Readers –

This is the second (and final) installment of “diary entries from an 11 year old me.”

[present day comments written in brackets]

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[collage – “Junk Wall”]

4 – 15 – 98, Wednesday

AHHHHHH!  SO MUCH HOMEWORK!

4 – 16 – 98, Thursday

I’m trying to do some spying, but my babysitter won’t leave me alone! Some how got away.

My mom has people in a house from an off Broadway play.  [I think I meant “people in my house” instead of “people in a house.”  my mom wasn’t holding actors hostage in a nondescript, random NYC house].  They talk real loud.  [you think actors are loud, 11 year old Olivia?  wait till you meet improvisers.  And become a talkative loud improviser yourself.  give it 11 years.]

I just practically walked in the room and they didn’t notice.  Boy they really curse.  [again, give it 11 years, Kiddo…]

A girl in my class got in big trouble today.

First, she said to Jennifer, “Jenn’s digging up her croch.”  Then the teacher said she should take a walk and think about what she said.  To be a smart alec, she literally took a walk.  She walked up and down the stairs ten times.  When she had to go to the bathroom, she found out she had her period.  Then the whole class found out when Gina asked for a quarter.

Later on the day, Mrs. Doddinger threatened to expel Fran.  She really didn’t mean what she said.  I feel real bad for her.  [I’m lost.  Is my present-day drama this complicated?]

[picture of sinking Titanic]

4 – 19 – 98, Sunday

I had the most horrible dream.  I was at a hottel, & so were some friends & Z.  [remember Z?  code name for my big huge secret boy-crush]  I found out who Z liked. He liked every girl but me!  What a NIGHTMARE!

4 – 21 – 98, Tuesday

I don’t have much to write about, but I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten check pluses on all of my homework (including science).

4 – 24 – 98, Friday

I had the most wonderful dream.  It turned out Z lived right by me and he came to my house and it turned out to like me.  Ahhh… what a dream.

[compare to nightmare: very similar story telling structure, inverse situation.  I wish I had gotten into a bit more detail with these dreams.]

I WANT SCHOOL TO BE OVER!

Blake [a girl] doesn’t me an effort to help me.  [I think Blake and I were working on a school project together.]

4 – 27 – 98, Monday

Science – Good (to check pluses) [up until this point in my life, it seems that my happiness and anxiety levels fluctuate with check-marks and dreams about Z]
Math – Bad (a check minus)
Library – Bad (didn’t win contest)
S.S. – SoSo (forgot homework) [S.S. = Social Studies.  Not the Schutzstaffel]
Recess – Good
Lunch – Bad (made a fool of myself)  [Give it 11 years]
French – Bad (Madame Son didn’t appreciate my work) [11 years, Baby…]
Latin – Bad (don’t think I did good on quiz)
L.A. – Horrible (Blake & Jennifer teased me) [L.A. = Language Arts. So Language Arts – Horrible, Not Los Angeles – Horrible.  11 year old Olivia was too young to engage in a conversation about LA being a horrible town.  (Give it 11 years).]
Religion – Bad (Lost religion report)
People who seem to hate me
– Justine Daniels
– Jennifer Bradley
– Blake Wryford
– Kassandra Meenings (sometimes)
4 – 29 – 98, Wednesday

I think I did real bad on a latin test.  I’m praying I get above a 79%.  (I’m not kidding).  This score will ruin the rest of the year from me.  At least she said she say a big improvement in my understanding.  I HATE SCHOOL!!
4 – 30 – 98, Thursday
Well, the browning boys are coming for a medieval feast.  [Just another day in the life…]  But the downside is we have to wear henings.  Ahhhh!
[So Browning School was an all-boys school.  I attended Marymount, an all-girls school.  Browning was the brother school to Marymount.  In the 7th grade Marymount Girls studied the Medieval Ages, and in 8th grade the Browning Boys studied the Medieval Ages.  The 7th grade MMT Girls and 8th grade Browning Boys held an annual mock-banquet in the MMT  auditorium.  Us 7th grade Maidens had to decorate pointy hats and wear said pointy hats during this ceremony.  These pointy hats were called “Hennins” and imitated fashionable head-wear from the Mediaval Ages.  This banquet marked one of my first adolsecent boy-girl social experience].
[image: me and browning boy at Banquet]
[collage – “Souvenir Wall.”  one of the items displayed here is a lock of my father’s hair.  how Victorian.]
5 – 3 – 98, Sunday
Yes! Yes!  Yeah! I found out what school Z goes to!  St. Bernard’s!
[big picture of a smiley face]
Signatures:
Shalaney Duvall
[here I attempted to get a collection of my classmates signatures.  I got one, and then got bored with this project]
5 – 2 – 98, Saturday
Man I need to see Z.
My confession to who Z really is (in special font).
[several arrows point to the a piece of paper I have clipped inside of my journal.   I typed up a “confession” as to Z’s true identity.  The confession is written in webdings, so that no untrustworthy person would be able to read it.  (Did I realize that I was not fluent webdings, either?)]
I have the real confession in a journal hidden in my room (under a pencil case).  I also have my Z’s names somewhere in this journal.  [On each page of the lower right hand corner of my journal, I wrote down one letter of my crush’s name.  If you flip the pages, you can piece together Z’s true identity. It reads “Olivia Marina Whelan O loves <Z>”]
5 – 4 – 98, Monday
We just took a test (like E.R.B’s).  It was about drugs.  I wonder if I past.  Well, atleast if I fail, they won’t know who I am.  (we weren’t allowed to write our names on the test).  [what the fuck?]
I got my latin test back.  I am really upset with my grade.
I got a 66%. A D+.  Atleast I think I’ll be able to retake it.
5 – 5- 98, Tuesday
Re: Call Kathy.
Im so scared / nervous.  I just had a math test.  This test will judge weather I can move into the othe math group or not (it’s more advanced).  I’ll be happy if I get 90% or above.
A note I wrote to Z (in a different font).
[Arrows point to another confession that I type up, printed out and secured inside of my journal.  This one is also written in webdings, but in a different webdings font. The content of the message is the same. (I’m assuming).  I think at 11  years old I was convinced I either A –  had a stalker or B – that I was a spy]
5 – 7 – 98, Friday
These are the kids in my class who are going or already are smoking.
Dina – when she’s older (just ’cause she wants to try it)
Jennifer – when she’s older (same reason as Dina’s)
Justine – Wants to start drinking at 21 [easy, Jiminy Cricket] and also plans on smoking.  (she’s said she tried it, and she felt fine)
Lexy – wants to smoke (I think)
Kassandra Meenings – tried it.
Coral – tried it
Tori – Tried it
Hilary – Tried it.
****************
This is the last journal entry in Olivia Marina Whelan’s 1998 diary.
I have rediscovered a couple things about my 11 year old self in studying this journal: 1 – I worried too much.  2 – I was fixated on boys + grades, 3 – I was paranoid,  4 – I took life far too seriously.
I think twenty-something Olivia can learn from this project…
Oh and a fifth thing I learned about 11 year old me: I was into the ruination of the Titanic.
Love to all! Hope this was a fun read for you –
xo
Olivia Marina Whelan O (present day)

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