Do you know why I know that for a fact? Because my dear friend Liz kept every letter I wrote to her from September 1967 until June 1968. She, her brother and parents went to Switzerland for a year, and I of course remained in the lovely bosom of Osoyoos.
I was visiting Liz and Liza yesterday, so she lent the letters to me to take home and re-read. What a joy to be able to re-live the events of 45 years ago as though they occurred yesterday! What I realize more than ever is that we really don’t change all that much over time.
One letter ends, “I’ll tell you how much I weigh if you tell me how much you weigh!” (We were 13 years old). It’s also a chronicle of music, “I love the song Lady Madonna,” and fashion, “My mom’s making me the cutest dress with an empire waist and baby doll sleeves.”
I talked about the many Elvis Presley movies we saw every Friday night at the Sunland Theatre, and mentioned that I got the cool new Monkees album. I wrote about how horribly stupid I was in math and how much I hated band.
But most importantly, the letters chronicle the year of my first boyfriend, Aldo. It begins in September, with me describing the first kiss in detail. It continues with movie and dance dates, and ends in June with, “I can’t wait until after the last school dance when I can say good-bye forever.”
I realize I’ve been a bad girlfriend ever since I was 13, and I believe if you’re just no good at something you should leave it alone. I described events at which I “accidentally” ignored Aldo, or “unknowingly” flirted with someone and made him mad. Oh My God, I was a little brat even then.
The letters also mention mom attending a Liberal convention in Ottawa, where she planned to support some guy named Pierre Trudea. A letter sent in June describes my time as a Trudeau Girl and the excitement of campaigning for him.
In the letters I’m reminded how unfairly I felt I was being treated by my mom, who wouldn’t allow me to attend Teen Town dances. Many of my letters to Liz ended with “of course mom wouldn’t let me go.”
But perhaps it was all to the good, and here I am, 45 years later, reading my words and feeling highly bemused by them. The main message I got from that year’s worth of letters is this: thank God I didn’t have a girl.
It took quite a while to read that many letters, as I think there are about 40 of them! They’re all at least one tightly-written page, but some run to as many as three pages. So, like this blog, it seems I’ve had a long-running attachment to describing my week’s activities to some hapless reader.
You know how Gene Kelly sings, “Gotta dance!” in the musical Singing in the Rain? I guess my motto’s going to have to be, “Gotta write!”