A trip to the attic

March 21, 2007

I need to get a passport. This means I need a certified Birth Certificate. I checked at the California website and the turn around time is TWELVE WEEKS – maybe more. Yet my husband – who was born in PA, faxed his request on Monday morning and a courier delivered it Tuesday afternoon. So, I went up into the attic looking for my baby book – hoping there would be a copy of my birth certificate. Instead I found:

  • A Meyers-Briggs report from when I was 16 or 17. I was an INFP. Today I am an INFP but for many of my working years I was an INTJ.
  • A photo from winter formal. I am hopelessly skinny, but I can still see my round belly poking out of the front of my velvet gown. It is comforting to know I have always been round – even when I weighed #103.
  • Several “society” photos of my mother. One shows her meeting with the executive chef of the Disneyland Hotel to discuss the menu for “Snowball” – a black-tie fund raiser for Children’s League of Orange County, California.
  • Several copies of a series of photographs of me with Nancy Reagan’s elephant. A gift to Nancy when she and Ronnie were California royalty.
  • My SAT scores. I find it fascinating that I listed my preferred major as psychology and the degree intent as doctorate.
  • A report card showing a B+ in Algebra II. I got very few B’s in high school. I think the grading was easier in the sixties and seventies than it is now. My son sure works harder than I ever did in high school.
  • Poetry from my dear friend L.E.K. who killed herself after medical school. The poem is about a dead sister who is visible only to her.
  • Pictures of my on again off again friend who became my high school nemesis – Lynne who died a few years ago from an infection of necrotizing fasciitis. We had not spoken since high school. We made brief contact and then shortly thereafter, she died – leaving three beautiful children behind. Lynne, Billy, and I were inseparable at 11 now both of them are dead.
  • Hundreds of pages of worksheets from elementary school. No wonder I was so bored much of the time
  • An award from the Rotary Club
  • My blue bird cap and matching socks. Also some blue bird stationery. A box of wooden beads I earned as a Camp Fire Girl. Do girls still join blue birds and camp fire girls? I know that Girl Scouts are still peddling cookies – but what about Camp Fire Girls? I still remember our Council Fires at Hillcrest Park in Fullerton – Wo-He-Lo – Work, Health, Love. And of course this little rhyme – As faggots are brought from the forest – firmly held by the sinews that bind them, I will cling to my Camp Fire sisters, wherever, whenever I find them. It was a more innocent time then!
  • A program from a fashion show from Bullocks, La Habra, listing me as a performer for our senior year as “Ticktockers.” Apparently I sang. I don’t remember that. I do remember how much I hated being a “Ticktocker” but I had no choice since my mother was in “National Charity League.” Oh the tears I shed over those teas and monthly meetings. I wonder if girls still are subjected to that? I do remember volunteering at the “well baby clinic” as part of my civic duty as a ticktocker. I guess we were “do-gooders” as well as proper ladies – but it was one of the most painful experiences of my life hanging out with all the wealthy girls.
  • The enrollment form for Cotillion. wow! Does anyone still take formal ballroom dancing lessons to prepare for society? Note: I just googled it and yes indeedy they do! Gollatz Cotillion!
  • A photograph I took with a Kodak Instamatic of my friend Lauren Matthews. I wonder where she is?
  • A huge pile of black and white photos from the year I was on the yearbook staff in high school
  • The hospital bracelet from La Habra Community Hospital where I was kept for one month after a suicide attempt in high school
  • A hospital bill for $14.50 – including x-rays for a broken arm in 1968. My parents only had to pay 20% because they had insurance.

I did NOT find my baby book or my birth certificate.


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