Driving and Biking in the Big City

Advice from my teen-aged self

with 5 comments

One of the instigators of my recent high school reunion and certainly a candidate for the TV show “Hoarders,” came in while we were decorating for the pre-reunion confab with a yellowed container full of notes from our junior high years. Wow! I was so shocked to see my far-neater-than-today handwriting abundantly displayed among these intriguingly folded and be-flowered offerings.  

And, in fact, I am glad Patti is a hoarder because I spent the better part of that evening reading advice and opinions from my teen-aged, lovelorn, drama-rama self. This letter atop the pile of notes at the right has a pause for algebra homework and a flower at the bottom to brighten your day. However, in the middle of the spread of notes, I gave poor Patti some bizarre advice. I suggested she call up her current love interest, wait until he came to the phone and then hang up. What? How crazy is that for attracting the man of your dreams. And, in fact, I’m lucky I landed Big Johnny before Caller ID was invented.

As revealing as these notes from junior high were, I unfortunately already knew the depth of my shallowness.  Years earlier, when I wrote for the Houston Chronicle’s old “Star” magazine, I wanted to do a piece about how Jesus appeared on the screen door in the house behind the Western Auto in Port Neches. It’s one of those hometown legends I repeated frequently around newsrooms and cocktail parties and something few people who lived above the Mason-Dixon line believed.

To get a feel for that story, I first obtained a copy of the original Polaroid — which my hoarder mom still had displayed prominently atop her dresser in her bedroom. Then, I went looking for my notes from back in 1969 when this miraculous and life-changing event occurred.

I’ve always been a diarist and a journal keeper so I thought the now-adult me could find some salient details for this new article. A lot was in my head but I wanted more. I have a record of most of my days, starting in seventh grade with a baby blue Barbie diary that had a flimsy  key that was never a match for my wily brother. (So, it makes sense that I’m now a happy blogger today.)

In any case, I looked through every single page for three years of diaries and never found a single note about Jesus on the screen door. All I had on my diary pages was frivolous musings of who had called, what had happened at school that day and what I was wearing. Jesus never made an appearance. The details from that day were magnified in my head but not written on a single sheet of my junior high mind. The reason may be in the beginning of this note to Patti. Perhaps it, too, “was too dangerous to write down.”



Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

July 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Love you Denise! Somehow, despite your lovelorn advice, I did manage to find the man of my dreams! Steve & I will celebrate our 38th reunion July 27! Thanks for the plug, but I won’t quite qualify for the TV Show Hoarders! 🙂 ( Steve keeps me in line! ) :o)
    About Jesus on the screen door… some things are better tucked away in our hearts & in our memories. They’re just better that way.

    Patti McBride Addison

    July 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    • I’m so glad you preserved our memories. It was such great fun at reunion. I miss everyone already.


      July 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      • It just felt so good being with everyone…….Love you, Denise!

        Jan Collins

        July 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

  2. Oh, my… I remember the Jesus on the screen door! I could not remember exactly where in Port Neches it was! Those were very impressionable days in Jr High…..

    Nancy (Fox) Castro

    August 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

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