The Life of a Journal

Photo of Dan from England signing the Greyhound Journal at a layover in Nebraska.
Photo of Dan from England signing the Greyhound Journal at a layover in Nebraska.

This is a then and now post. I scanned in the photo of Dan from England signing the exact page you see in scan. You can see the black page in the photo that is on the right. I wrote that in white chalk, “Love heals hate.”

Dan from England wrote:

Dan from England…

This bus trip is possibly the most insipid, nightmarishly boring journey I’ve ever encountered.

I feel that journals are so important as they allow us to take notes on our lives. It is a snapshot and time capsule into the past. I am looking at this journal 15 years after this Greyhound Bus trip and can connect through simple handwriting the emotions and circumstances of that instant.

I’ll continue with a post tomorrow about the green page that is poking through, behind the black page. The green page is a pocket page and inside the pocket is loose-leaf paper which has other signatures on it, but also some journal entries from me. One of which reads:

I’m sitting behind a spoiled snotty, 18 year old. He keeps moving the seat back-n-forth. He throws a silent tantrum if anything is near him. Clearly, he annoys me.

I usually write in cursive in my journals, but the above is written in slanted print, showing the frustrated emotion of the moment — one moment of many in late August of 2000 when I found myself traveling from Boston to Wyoming, bound for home. I had no money and had spent what I earned as a camp counselor at a summer camp in Vermont. I was so lost, without any hope for the future, but traveling home, where I needed to be. Traveling is such an interesting exercise in humility. I had no idea what I needed to do next. I had a college degree, four years of teaching experience under my belt, yet — I did not know where or what I needed to do next. So I went home.

Somehow, without any money in my pocket and barely enough money on my credit card, I was able to buy a bus ticket — one way from Boston to Cheyenne, Wyoming. When I got home, my father picked me up. He didn’t waste anytime in telling me my mom was sick. Soon I would learn she had brain tumors that were diagnosed in September.

I was one of many traveling West on that bus from Boston. So many stories and layers, shared in moments written on a page in a young girl’s journal. The Greyhound Journal is one of my favorite Original Journals. I passed it around the bus, tapping on the shoulder of the annoying boy who sat in front of me with a note written on the front cover that said:

To: Fellow Greyhound Travelers.

I need you to help me. I am a writer writing a book about Greyhound, buses, modes of transportation, the road, etc. But I would like to know your story.”

Front Cover of Greyhound Journal (Boston to Cheyenne)

Front Cover of Greyhound Journal (Boston to Cheyenne)

I wonder where the 18 year old who threw silent tantrums signed the journal and what he said. I believe he scoffed at me though and added a dramatic sigh and passed it forward.

To be continued…

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