I, like most everyone in a literate society, at one point did not know how to write. I knew that there was such a thing as writing and that adults who were lucky enough could communicate in such a manner. But I as an illiterate child of three or so could not.
Not that this stopped me of course.
This is how I know that I am meant to be a writer. Because even in a time before I had a love for reading, though I can scarce imagine such a time existing, I had the drive and insatiable hunger to write.
While other little girls asked their daddies for coloring books and Barbies, I asked mine for a Garfield notebook and a set of pencils with plastic globes covering the erasers. I would have gotten more if this weren’t the one time that my Dad actually put a limit on me.
It is a trend that continues today, and every time the notebooks go on clearance or I find a pack of my favorite smooth writing pens, that spoiled brat in me comes out to play. To the point that my notebooks almost outnumber my books, if you can believe it.
But sadly, in my quest for literacy, there were casualties. Before my mother got the bright idea to get me a chalkboard to write on, and far before my Dad finally broke down to buy me my first ever notebook all my very own, there was this diary.
A one hundred and twenty-year-old diary at the time I got my grubby little hands on it. Now nearly one hundred and fifty. I am still in the process to learn just which ancestor of mine it belonged to, though I have a pretty good idea.
But of course, to a three-year-old, the fact that this old leather notebook is a priceless bit of my own history was completely beyond me. The tight and tiny cursive was totally foreign, and therefore unimportant.
Orange marker in hand against bible-thin paper, I scribbled and looped my nonsense in a very serious manner for a three-year-old. Adding bright marks to any page I saw fit, whether there was writing on them or not.
Not even I remember what I was writing. Who knows if they were my very first attempts at fiction and bringing to life the alien ass-kicking heroine of my backyard fantasies. Or if it was my just own preschool grumblings about too many naps and not enough chocolate.
I have no recollection of my mother scolding me for this. And as her scoldings are usually very memorable that leads me to believe that somehow I escaped this one. Maybe she thought I was cute to carry it around with me like my own special treasure, I don’t know.
Eventually, I did get my chalkboard and notebook, but not before proudly writing down that I was now four years old three times. Two of which are actually readable. So the diary was shown mercy and put back with the rest of the family artifacts.
Of course, I then had to grow up to be the family genealogist, and have no one but myself to blame for the damage I wrought on the poor thing. But that is a horse of a different color.