January 1, 1967
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill on New Year’s Day. Can you believe it’s 1967? Sixty-seven!! I’m fifteen. Grown. Old enough to behave myself, Aunt Love says. Old enough to fall in love, Leigh says. Old enough to take a trip to Jupiter, Wes says. Old enough to understand a few things about life, Dad says. Tabitha doesn’t say anything. She still has some hippie ways. She believes in being free to do whatever. Or it could just be she’s so busy falling in love with Robert that she doesn’t have time to think about anybody else. Falling in love or out of it can be very stressful. Sometimes I wonder which edge of the stress she’s on.
I am definitely not falling in love. Boys haven’t improved much since eighth grade. Everybody keeps promising they will, but while I like plenty of them to talk to, I’m not thinking I’d want to smash lips with them. Wes laughs when I tell him that and says it won’t be a problem if I go up to Jupiter. People just rub elbows up there, he says, and then their noses turn purple or maybe it’s green. Wes can tell a pretty far-fetched story now and them. But I like his Jupiter stories even if I am really glad his Jupiter spaceship never showed up to collect him. I want him to be here helping put out the Hollyhill Banner forever. He tells me everybody gets old, but when I look worried, he reminds me that Jupiterians live lots longer than earthlings. I’m glad to hear that.
But back to the New Year. What did you do to celebrate? We never do anything exciting. Dad even told me not to set off the firecracker one of the boys at school gave me. When I reminded him that he’s told me a zillion times about setting off whole strings of firecrackers when he was a kid, he says that’s so, but. There’s always a but, isn’t there? First off, he said but he was careful and he’s been around me and my friends plenty enough to know reckless can be our middle names. And then, didn’t I realize that sometimes kids blew off their thumbs or fingers messing with firecrackers and didn’t I think I might need my thumbs?
Well, I do need my thumbs. And my fingers! If I’m going to be a writer. A writer needs typing ability and while typing wouldn’t be impossible with a few less fingers, it wouldn’t be quite so fast. Whenever I do get away from Aunt Love and her chores, I need to write fast. Dad says that’s good training for a newspaper reporter. I guess he’s forgotten that while newspaper reporting isn’t awful, it can be boring. You know, when you’re writing up a story about a youth ballgame and you have to get everybody’s names straight and who won. Well, who won doesn’t matter as much as the names. I want to make up stories. Great stories about people everybody will want to read about. Dad says it’s good to set goals. He says that’s all New Year’s resolutions are. Goals you set on the first day of the year. I guess I’ll be able to keep my first one. Not to blow off my thumbs since Dad confiscated the firecracker I hid in my sock drawer. I heard a bang about midnight last night. I’m thinking I know what happened to that firecracker. Guess he’s not as worried about his thumbs as he is about mine.
But thumbs are very useful. Not just for typing, but for writing too. I guess all it does while you’re typing is move the space bar but that’s a lot. And then there’s holding a glass or a bat. Or just about anything. Can you imagine how hard it would be to grab a sweat bee from behind your knee before it stung you if you didn’t have a thumb? What else do you need your thumb to do? Suck your thumb when you’re a baby. Dad said I did for a while. Thumb your nose at somebody. Oops, that doesn’t sound very nice, does it? But that’s all I could think of.
I wouldn’t be as good at folding papers either or washing dishes. Okay, I might be able to do that without a thumb, but I think I’ll just keep my fingers and thumbs the way they are. How about you?