Last month I had the privilege of volunteering at Emmett’s school Book Fair. I say privilege because it’s truly such a treat to see these kids walking up to the register with sparkles in their eyes, digging in their pockets to find crumpled up bills to pay for their new shiny books. Be it a vampire series or Dr. Seuss, these kids were book hungry.
Not only were they excited about books but every other customer was purchasing a pencil or an eraser. Right on! Of course, what really got my heart pounding were the kids walking up to the check out table with journals. Ahhh. Not just the girls, boys picking up journals as well! No fooling. The boy’s journal, DUDE Diary, has a strong male overtone which potentially helps when going against the norm while purchasing such a book. It’s not surprising there’s quite the variety of girl themed journals but my favorite, All About Me, diary even has a lock and key.
A particular third grader named Ava mentioned this was her third journal…in third grade. Hello? Can you say a future Miss Wendy Longacre? I about jumped over the folding table to give her a scary stranger hug. You go Ava. I actually did ask her if she might provide me with a short interview sometime to learn more about her writing. She didn’t seem hesitant. And her father didn’t shoot me down with the “who are you?” glare either. I like these folks.
So here’s to those young readers and writers out there who still find the desire to pick up a pencil or pen to scribble out their highs and lows of the day rather than texting or emailing their BFF to share current emotions. We all need a place to download and breathe…privately. As I child, journaling was my haven. This was the one sacred place I stored all of my fears, excitements, disappointments and wishes. My first journal began when I just turned 8 years old. I’m sure it was a gift since I can’t imagine myself asking for a journal as I entered third grade. There was nothing too fancy about the QuillMark journal. The margins were wide enough to hold all kinds of writing and the cover was made of soft cloth with a preppy, flowered pattern which made sense for the 80’s.
My first journal stayed with me for a little over three years. Aside from the vastly different topics between 3rd and 6th grade, what amazed me the most was the change in my handwriting style. From the simple print with a bit of a D’Nealian touch (we’ll come back to D’Nealian in a future post) to thick cursive where the word “locker room” takes up one full line.
The more I think of it, my very first journal is valuable not only by holding a glimpse into my younger years but also symbolizing the beginning to a way of life which has brought clarity, problem solving and verifying progress through all kinds of times. What a gift.