Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday, September 30, 1976

First in school. Science it was so funny. Wallis broke a beaker and then Schultz dropped CM3 down the drain. Finished "Atta" during during lunch. In Reading, we read a sad story. Math, then History. After school gave Keith a ride home. Cheryl and I went to see the weed. It must have a million-billion seeds on it. And Cheryl has to count them all!

After that saw Tom and went on his paper route with him. Started homework at 6:00. 7:00 - Paul wanted to come over and do homework, but all he did was swear and act big. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 11:00 - Dark Shadows was not on and it was just getting good! Watched You Bet Your Life and put more pictures in my scrap book. Went to bed at 12:15.

Wallis was a chubby guy that I started to hang around with. My memories of him are of someone funny, but with a lot of issues. I have a vague memory of us wrestling around on the floor of my basement, and afterwards our friendship became awkward.

Schultz who dropped the CM3 down the drain was a complete psycho. Everyone called him Beachball. He was short and round. In high school, he was the go to guy for anything illegal: booze, pot, any sort of pill. A friend of mine bought a pipe bomb off of him in our senior year. It was terrifying to see one, and he panicked after getting it in his hands; We threw it into a vacant lot and called the police. I'm sure Schultz is in jail or running a very profitable wholesale store.

Wednesday, September 29, 1976

Today was an ordinary day. In Science, he gave us a lecture because someone in another class broke something. I.D., then gym, lunch (bore). In the afternoon English/Reading and Math all the same. In History got a 97 on my test.

Gave Jay a ride home then went to the park to pick weed for Cheryl. 3:30 - Dinah. 5:00 - Randy came over and we talked to about 6:00, then we went to the park. 7:00 -To Tell the Truth. 7:30 - a half hour of Bionic Woman. 8:00 - All in the Family. 8:30 - Did homework. 9:00 - Read Atta. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. Cheryl wanted to read September 10th of this book.

Tomorrow is the last day of the month. School seems to go by fast. Bye for Now.

My sister wanted to see September 10th, I guess because I talked about Cathy Brown, I'm assuming? I was always afraid someone would find this book so it's funny that now it's gone worldwide. It's amazing the things I'm remembering. But the posts themselves really are just more of the same... My life was just TV and school in that order.

Tuesday, September 28, 1976

It seems to take me longer to get up in the morning.

Today in Science we started 'lab'. I.D is a bore. Music we watched a film. After lunch, English/Reading; we had a sub. Math where we had to finish taking a test. After school gave Jay a ride home and then went to go pick weeds for Cheryl.

Went to the library to renew some books. Finished "Poseidon Adventure". Did homework from 5:30 - 6:30. 6:30 - Odd Couple. 7:00 - Happy Days. 7:30 - Shirley and Laverne. 8:00 - 9:00 - Rich Man, Poor Man. 9:00 - Washed hair. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 - Wrote in this book. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. 11:30 - Read "Atta".
Went to bed at 12:00.

After 30 years I'm still going to bed at the same time around 12:00, and it's still taking me longer to get up in the morning. The "Shirley and Laverne" typo is as written, shades of my dyslexia.

And speaking of books I've never forgot. The book "Atta" was one of my favorites, I think I read it a couple of times. The plot was similar to "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", because of some scientific mistake he's shrunken. He befriends a colony of ants, and helps them fight a war. That's all I remember, except it had a fabulous cover of a man in Don Quixote armour on an ant.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday - September 27, 1976

Today was cool and clear. School was a bore, but strangely it went fast. Everything was the same, but in History we had an easy test.

Gave Jay a ride home. When I got home, Paul called and told me to meet him at the library. When I got there he told me he got a punishment for calling a teacher a "terrific pig".

Well, finished homework there. Got home at 5:30, ate. Called Dick Lawrence and talked for 15 minutes. 6:30 - Odd Couple. 7:00 - Watched half of Captain and Tennille. 7:30 went to Zayre. 10:00 - Mary Hartman, 11:00 - Dark Shadows, 11:30 - Night Gallery. Went to bed at 12:15.

I'm still amazed that I kept giving Jay a ride home. I must have had a unconscious crush on him.

Zayre was a the poor man's K-Mart. It went out of business in the 90's after becoming Ames. Someday on my main blog I'll have to tell some tales of my time working the toy department of Zayre; I worked there for about 3 years. Until then Link here for an explanation of what the world of Zayre was about.

Sunday - September 26, 1976

Today was a bore. Woke about 10:00. It rained all day. At 11:00, Cheryl made me go with her to the prairie to pick weeds for one of her classes. She said, "You have to go there and pick some weeds for me." By the time we got home we were soaked. Most of that afternoon I read. At 5:00 Paul called and asked if I wanted to come over. I said no, but he talked me into it. Went there and played Careers. 7:00 - Earthquake. 8:30 - Went downstairs to listen to TV. 9:30 - The end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 11:00 - Hollywood Squares.

Hi new week of boring school. Went to bed at 12:00.

My sister was always telling me I had to do things, in retrospect just to get me outside instead of siting reading or watching TV.

Paul and I played Careers for hours. I can't really remember the concept; I think if you became a doctor or lawyer you won. I should have paid better attention to this game.

In reference to listening to television. Down in our basement was an old color television console set. The picture tube had blown out, but it still had sound. I remember that occasionally sparks would come out of the back; The only way I could stop it was by putting a screwdriver in the back and hitting some metal piece. I guess to discharge the electric build up. The fact that I'm not laying in Resurrection Cemetery right now is beyond me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Saturday, September 25, 1976

Woke at 8:30 and watched cartoons until noon. At 12:30 went to the library in Garfield Ridge for a change. Read about 50 pages of the Posideon Adventure. And read the whole book of The Old Man and The Sea. Got home at 3. 4:00 - Land of the Giants. 5:00 - Bubble Gym Digest. 6:00 - Dick Van Dyke. 6:30 - The Muppet Show. 7:00 - Holmes and Yoyo. 7:30 - Doc. At 8:00 I had to go downstairs to watch Mary Tyler Moore. 8:30 - Bob Newhart. At 9, I watched a little of The Carol Burnett Show. 10:30 - Saturday Night Live. Went to bed at 12:15. Bye for now.

I find it impossible that I read Old Man and the Sea in an hour. But at the time I was fancying myself a 'speed reader'. I basically was skimming books, not really reading them. And did I go to Garfield Ridge to get away from the 'weird girls' of the day before?

And please, does anyone remember Holmes and Yoyo? I must have been one of five people who watched it. It was just another one of those not very funny Saturday night shows for shut-ins.

Friday, September 24, 1976

I'm more tired than usual, so I'll make it brief. First school. After school I went to the library. There were these weird girls bugging me there, so I left at 5:30. On the way home I met Tom and we talked for a while. Got home at 6:00. I did hardly anything until 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 - Honeymooners. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. 11:30 - Night Gallery. Started reading Poseidon Adventure. Went to bed at 12:15. Bye for now.

I have absolutely no idea who Tom is. None. Nothing is jogging my memory about him.

Thursday, September 23, 1976

Today was a late day. In Science we talked about fire. In I.D. we too notes. Library was a bummer. For lunch we had Sloppy Joes. Then English/Reading, Math and History. After school went to the library. Must have stayed there for one and a half hours. Finished homework there. When I got back home I watched TV. 6:00 -Dick Van Dyke. 6:30, Paul called. He wanted for me to come over, but I wasn't feeling too good. When I said "No", Paul got mad, etc, etc, etc. 7:00 - Welcome Back Kotter. 7:30 - Read. 8:00 - Tony Randall Show. Read until 10. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 - Read until I finished The Crystal Cave. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. Watched Night Gallery. Went to bed at 12:00 - Bye for Now.

If I added up the hours I watched Dark Shadows in my life I could have learned several languages!

And the more I remember Paul, the more I remember him being a jerk.

And somehow I think there must have been a correlation between my not feeling well and the school lunch Sloppy Joes.

Wednesday, September 22, 1976

This morning was cold but it warmed up. Science; All he does is talk! I.D, we had to take notes. Gym; first exercises, then kicking. When we started to leave some kids started talking, so we had to do more exercises. We didn't have lunch to 11:30. 12:30-1:30 Reading/English. 1:30 - Math. 2:10 - Social Studies. 3:00 - Saw a rabbit at Paul's house. Gave Jay a ride home. I just relaxed after school. Did homework from five to six. 7:00 - Bionic Woman. 8:00 - All in the Family. Read from 9 to 10. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 11:00 Dark Shadows. Figured out that in 2043 I'll be 80 years old.

Went to bed at 11:30.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tuesday, September 21, 1976

Today was a bummer. First I had to bring Paul's shoes to his house. The door was locked so I left them on the air conditioner. School was the same: Science, I.d. Music, all bores. Then lunch; Paul was mad because I left the shoes on the air conditioner.

Then English and Reading, Math, and History. Gave Jay a ride home again. 4:00 started to the library but saw Tom. I walk with him on his paper route. 4:30 - Went to the library. I was dizzy, so I didn't read. I asked about getting a job, but they said that I would have to be 16 years old. So there goes that idea.

7:00 - Paul come over and we watched Happy Days. 8:00 Rich Man, Poor Man, part 2. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 I tried to fix the TV. Everybody is mad at me, and they went to sleep early. Now I have to listen to Dark Shadows on the radio. B.S!

I'm not sure if everyone was mad at me because I tried to fix the tv and broke it? I did have a radio that was able to get in TV signals. It was my saving grace in the dark days of not having a television set.

Monday - September 20, 1976

First of all, while going to school I saw Jay. I gave him a ride to school on my bike. In Science, he (the teacher) was mad at the room for some reason. We took notes in I.D. In gym, my arm hurt from bowling. Lunch is a bore. O'Keefe just gave us an assignment and made us read some thing. Math is the same. Then we had Social Studies.

Gave Jay a ride home. 3:30 Watched Dinah. 5:15 - Started home worked, finished by 6:00. Watched Emergency, then the Odd Couple. 7:00 - Airport 75. 9:00 - Van Dyke and Company. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 - Washed my hair. 11:00 - Dark Shadows.

Didn't read for two days. Tomorrow I might join Drama. Must get up at 7:45. Today was cold and cloudy, about 70 degrees. Went to bed at 12:00. 11:30 - Night Gallery.

Interesting how a teacher could just be mad at his room, and the students have no idea why. And what sort of homework did I have that it only took me 45 minutes? Granted I wasn't the best student. I think I barely made a C average.

Sunday - September 19, 1976

Woke up at 9:30, watched Casper. 10:00 - Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. 11:00 - Jetsons. 12:00 - Cheryl told me to help her take the pool down. It was a messy job. 12:45 - Paul called and asked me if I wanted to come to his house. I said, "Yes". Got there at 1:20. After a while Paul wanted to go bowling. At first I didn't want to go, but I went. Stayed there 20 minutes, bowled 49 points. When we got home Cheryl said that Randy and Ray were here. So we went looking for them, but we didn't find them. Paul stayed for about an hour, then it started to rain, so he had to go home.

Gene and Eydie came over. Watched Six Million Dollar Man. Then "Sky Terror". 10:00 ate watermelon, listed to a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. Today was hot but cloudy. Didn't read. Went to bed at 11:45.

Raymond (last name Mou (sp?)), was another classmate of mine. Randy seemed to be better friends with him at the time. The two of them were like a stand up team. Both of them did celebrity imitations, and generally acted like they wanted to be on the Tonight Show. Ray however had extremely strict parents, so it was rare that we ever saw him outside of school. I wonder how he turned out.

Gene is my brother and Eydie his wife. Gene is 20 years older than me, and this scene is typical of something that we would do together. They would come over out of an obligation to see my parents. And we would almost always watch whatever Made-For-TV movie was playing that night. I'm assuming this is what we watched: Link

And throughout this whole diary you'll notice that I'm listening almost every night to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.
Those of us of a certain age may remember this as the last gasp for American radio drama. They ran at 10:30 every night on WBBM-AM. Recently, I purchased all of the available shows on mp3. They still hold up. It was the show that got me interested in radio dramas.

Friday, November 24, 2006

September 18, 1976

Got up at 10:00. Watched TV to 11:00. Then Cheryl asked me if I wanted to go to North Riverside Mall with her. We left at 11:30. Must have went everywhere. To was a bore all day; Cheryl was looking for clothes. We got home at 5:30. Oh, yes, when we were at the store I read to page 232. At 7:00 Dad came home from his week long vacation. At 7:00 I listed to a radio mystery. At 8:00 I watched a dumb movie called "Die Monster Die". 9:30 - Love American Style. 10:00 - I called Paul he was sleeping, so I only talked for five minutes. 10:30 - Saturday Night Live. Went to bed at 12:15. Weather was 80 degrees and clear. I'm thinking of asking for a job at the library.

Shopping with my older sister I recall with true boredom. Sitting for hours in store after store while she tried on clothes. I find it hilarous that I read over a hundred pages in that huge book while I waited. The other thing I find interesting is I have no memory of my father ever going off on a vacation by himself. Where, with whom?

and I'm glad I thought of getting a job at the library I didn't realize I spent so much time there. Even from an early age I was well ahead of my level in reading. I think in the third grade I was reading at a high school level. by the time I was 13 I'd read every dirty book in the library. The dirtiest being a book called "Providence Island" about one man and two women deserted on a island. The hitch was that one of the woman was a lesbian. I should see if I can get this book and re-read it, as I think it would explain a lot about me.

September 17, 1976

School is the same. First Science, then I.D. We mass produced 15 coat hangers. Then Music; A bore, I almost fell asleep. Lunch. In English we had a spelling test; then we had to read. I read "The Crystal Cave" to page 69. Math we had a substitute teacher. Social Studies is a bore.

On the way home Keith, Jay, and I rode home. Me on the handlebars, and Jay and Keith on the seat. When i got home I went to the library and statyed there an hour and a half. Read to page 118. Came home watched: 7:00 Lost in Space, 8:00 - Love Boat. 10:00 - Mary Hartman. At 10:30 read to page 166. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. Went to bed at 12:30. Must read more tomorrow. Bye for now.

I barely remember anything about Jay. But I think he was one of the people who I was friend with who in high school snubbed me. My last memory of him is in a powder blue tux at prom. "The Crystal Cave" was some really long book about Merlin.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

September 16, 1976

Today was an average day. Not much happened. First school. I.D we made a coathanger. Mine was lopsided. Library, then lunch. Paul showed me his new glasses. They look like mine, but they're gold. Horshack is still nutty. After school watched, "Bell, Book, and Candle". At 7:30 Paul came over to do homework. At 9:30 read "Vampires". 10:00 - Mary Hartman. 10:30 - Read. 11:00 - Dark Shadows. 11:30 - Got ready for bed and finished "Vampires". Went to bed at midnight.
Bye for now.

Horshack was the Social Studies teacher that I said was like one of the Marx Sisters. She was probably the first Jewish person I ever met!

September 15, 1976

School seems to be shorter. Lunch was a bore. After school me and Paul went to the library to do homework. He left at 5:00, but I stayed until 6:00 to finish "Fantastic Voyage"; and started "Vampires". Bye for now

September 14, 1976

Not much happened. First I had school, which is a bore. After school I went to the library to return a book. I walked, then I forgot the book. Now there is a due on it. Bye for now.

September 13, 1976

Almost forgot to write. To tired to write. Nothing happened. Randy came over. Didn't do much. Me and Brown talked at lunch. Tomorrow in school we work with clay in I.D. Bye for now.

I think that I.D. was the industrial arts class. Mystery solved.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

September 12, 1976

Tomorrow is a new week. Today I went to Paul's house. When telephone rang with a call for his sister. Paul said, That Cindy wasn't home" but she was home. She got so mad that she didn't stop kicking and punching him. Finally, she stopped. After a while we went to my house to read this. Then I ate; then we did homework.

Well, that's all the news.

Paul's sister Cindy was a mess. Both Paul's sister and brother were major drinkers and potheads. They seemed much older, but they must have only been 15 or 16. I remember this incident because she totally freaked out about this phone call and went insane.

Years later when I was at Paul's father's funeral he told me that the ghost of his father appeared to his sister the night before. It's a surprising thing to hear, so I said, "Really, did he want to say something to her?" Paul said, "He told her that she was a disappointment and that she'd never amount to anything. ". That's what a mess she was, her own father had to come from beyond the grave to lecture his screwed up daughter.

September 11, 1976

Went downtown with Keith and Randy. First we went to the radio station. They told us the records were not in. So Randy and me went down the stairs, Keith didn't; well he got lost. I think for fifteen minutes we were going up and down the elevators -- we got in trouble.

Then to the lake and back, they still weren't there. Went to the Water Tower Place. Randy and Keith must have ditched me ten times. Went back to the station and got the records. On the way home we first took the el, we got on the wrong one, then we got on the right one. Took a bus to Archer, then we had to wait for another one. When we got off we got food. When Keith got home he got in trouble for being so late. I only got in a little because it was 7:00. We left at 10:15 a.m.; brought home 20 records.


Randy is notorious for making me do go places that we shouldn't during this time. Up and down staircases, in elevators, on the roofs of buildings all over the city. I remember that often going downtown meant being ditched and having to run all over the place to find them. I think throughout the years I was kicked out of the Water Tower Place, the Cultural Center, Marina Towers and the Sears Tower for playing 'ditch' in their elevators.

Again, the issue with the records and the radio station is that I was supplying records to the Dick Lawrence radio show. I must have been either picking up records I left there, or borrowing some of his records.

September 10, 1976

Today I saw Brown. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me. Cathy is slim. We can't call here Cow anymore. Also we are going downtown tomorrow. School is the same old thing. Keith came over. He said that we could carry a lot of records downtown. Must go movie is on.

Cathy Brown was this chubby girl who in the 6th grade had a crush on me. As I was more interested in pulling Keith's pants down I didn't show much interest. I remember that after she got thin (I love how I say 'she is slim') she sort of snubbed me.

September 9, 1976

Must make it brief, because Aunt Celila and (I forget her name) are here. Well school was a long bore. Nothing new. Read From the Earth to the Moon. It was o.k. That's all the news.

P.S. I just remembered her named; it's Cee Cee and we had I.D.

I don't know what I.D. meant. Later on in the diary I know I use codes for dirty stuff. But no clue what I.D. is.

Monday, November 20, 2006

September 8, 1976

Today was hot. That made school worse. First period was science. All he did was talk. We stayed there for two periods. Then we had gym. Lunch went quick. Then we had language arts with Mr. O'Keefe; I was nervous but I made a good impression. Then math, it was o.k. Then Social Science. The teacher reminded me of the of the Marx Sisters.

When we got out I walked with Keith and Randy to get my bike at Paul's house. I thought I was going to get killed the way he rides. I may get a call from Paul. Me, Keith and Randy are going downtown on Sunday.


Paul I knew from the 1st grade. He was a big dumb ass, and stayed that way even into his 20s when I last saw him. Randy I had just met, but we remain close friends for 30 years. He's nuts, but hilarious. Keith was this guy who I remember had really bad, dirty body odor. My mother hated that I was friends with him, he was definitely a troublemaker. His mother was a go-go boot wearing, cocktail waitress. Keith used to show me his dick all the time. It was huge and thick, and he was proud to show it off. Last I heard of him he was a garage mechanic somewhere by Midway Airport.

First Entry

In 1976, I read Dracula which is a book that is completely told through diary entries. It impressed me so much that at age 13 I decided it was time I marked the drama of my young life down in print. I've carried this torn up red book, that I bought at Stewart's 5&10 on 63rd street that summer, around with me everywhere I've lived. In fact, about ten years ago I did an auto-biographical piece using the entries and singing themes from the TV shows of the day. If you read these regularly you'll see that mostly this is a fascinating look at what a non-typical 13 year old with much time and few friends watched. I'll start with the beginning, and post a couple every day until I can catch up to the current date, then I'll post as the days correspond. (Thanks Dave for giving me this great idea). I'll comment to clarify in italics.

So enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 1976

This is my first entry in this diary. Tomorrow is the first day of school. Cheryl is sick with a cold. Everybody is telling me to go to bed, so I went downstairs to watch 'Dark Shadows' and to write in here. Talked to Dick Lawrence for 15 minutes today.
I don't want to go to school, but I have to. I wonder what will happen; it will be written down here. I will tell you what happened.

Cheryl is my older sister. Dick Lawrence was a local radio announcer who used to play old 78s in the afternoons on FM radio. I used to bug him all the time. He was a sweet guy to talk to me. I had a collection of 78s at the time and I used to go down to the station to give him some of the records to play on his show. For a 13 year old hearing me thanked on the air for letting him play things from my collection was a huge thrill. It's funny how years later I was doing the same thing for Ira Glass and This American Life. It's one of my favorite memories from that time.