Selected Transcriptions from 4th Grade Journal

Context for these is in this post.

Dear Diary,

Today is Monday, November 17, ’97. In the morning, when I woke up, I was thinking, “Why do I have to wake up from my snug, cozy bed? Why did Mommy wake me up? Why did Elisha start screaming?” I was very cranky, as you can see!

When I was walking to school, I was thinking “Why do we have to go to school? Why? Why? Why? Why can’t the scool [sic] come to me?” I guess I’m on the “why stage”!

Last night, when I went to sleep, I didn’t! Mommy kept calling me down, “Do this! Do that!” Every time I got into bed, Mommy called me down! So when I went to sleep, (finally,) I wasn’t thinking! Would you be thinking if your bedtime is 9 o’clock and you went to bed 12 o’clock? Whew?

Love, Esther Shaindel Dainy
(page 3 of the PDF)


Dear Diary,

Today is Monday, 2 Kislev, 5758 / Dec. 1, ’97. Yesterday, I went to Playland, an amusement park. My whole family, besides Mommy and Chayala, went on the roller coaster. We were chugging along and suddenly we stopped at the top! The controllers tried to make it work but it didn’t go. Then they decided to tell everyone to jump. It was a scary jump, and what’s worse my whole family is scared of heights. But they put soft mats on the floor, and everyone was safe, but I broke an arm. But now it’s all fixed. (Although I still have a cast on.)

Love, Dainy
[Note: Not a word of this is true.]
(page 6 of the PDF)


Dear Diary,

Today is Thursday, 10 Teves, 5758 / Jan. 8, ’98. If I lived a 100 [sic] years ago, this would be my story:

[Added later:] Write this over into a book.

In a little log house, the Bernstein family sat cozily around the fire. The older children, Yehoshua, Breindy, Fishel, and Esther Shaindel, were reading their books, and the younger children, Boruch, Chaim, and Elisha, were listening to their mother read a book to them. Their father was putting the baby, Chayala, to sleep. Suddenly, the light got dim. “O.K.”, Mommy said, “Boruch, Chaim, and Elisha, it’s time to go to bed.” So they all went to the big bedroom. The bedroom was one big bedroom that was separated into a room for Mommy and Totty; a room for the two older boys; a room for the girls; and a room for the three younger boys. When everybody was asleep, Esther Shaindel crept out of bed and got a candle and a match. She got her book and crept back to bed. Then she lit her candle, put it on her bedside table, and snuggled down to read. She did this every night and got away with it. Maybe she won’t this time. Who knows? But anyway, she was reading the book. It was about a dragon that banged on a window of a house. Esther Shaindel’s bed was near a window. She looked up, but then went back to the book. The window was Hincy Pincy’s. The dragon broke through the door and gobbled up Hincy Pincy. Just then, Esther Shaindel heard a bang at her window. She huddled under the covers. Suddenly, she heard a shriek. She looked out from her covers and saw that her candle had fallen Her mother came running into the room. Suddenly, everyone was awake and shrieking. Breindy yelled at everyone “Get out! Get out! Yehoshua, grab Chayala, I’ll take Elisha, Fishel grab Chaim and everyone run out!” Esther Shaindel ran out with everyone else.

continue elsewhere [the story picks up on a loose sheet of paper further on in the notebook, on page 31 of the PDF]

As everyone carried pails of water to the house, Esther Shaindel thought to herself, bitterly, “I’m the cause of the fire. I shouldn’t have EVER read in bed.” Suddenly, she ran toward the house with her pail, threw the water in, and prepared to jump in! Everyone screamed. Esther Shaindel backed away and turned around. “Esther Shaindel,” her mother said sternly, “I want to know just why you prepared to jump in the fire. That is very dangerous.” Esther Shaindel just started crying and said, “Because I’m the one who started the fire. And I feel so guilty.”

[Note: It wouldn’t be such a terrible story if Mommy then comforted Esther Shaindel and told her it’s okay, she should never pay for her mistakes with her life, etc. But I didn’t end it that way, did I. Little me didn’t think that was a plausible ending.]
(pages 11, 12, and 31 of the PDF)

Dear Diary,

Today is Monday, 21 Teves 5758 / Jan. 19, ’98. A sad thing that happened to me is that I fell off a cliff. It was scary. Boy, was I scared! I broke both my hands, my right leg, and sprained my left ankle. I also broke my spine. I stayed in the hospital for 2 months. Afterward I still had my left hand in a cast, and I had crutches My back was in a brace, and it was really hard for me. But now, all I have left is my brace. None of you know about it. Oh, one more thing! In case you’re wondering, it isn’t true. Ha, ha, ha.

Another sad thing that happened to me is a car accident. By this one I wasn’t hurt much because…. I’ll tell you later. But my mother was hurt and my brother. Now I’ll tell you why. It’s because it didn’t happen either. Ha, ha, ha.
(page 15 in the PDF)

Dear Diary,

Once upon a time, I knew how to climb a tree. Now I don’t. I’ll tell you the whole story. One time I was climbing a tree that was 7 feet and 9 inches. Plus the leaves, it was 8 1/2 feet. I was at the very top of all 8 1/2 feet. Suddenly, I felt the ground rise up in front of me. I heard my mother screaming and yelling. I thought it was because she was thrown face flat on the ground. Then I lost my balance and everything went black. When I regained consiouss [sic], I was in the hospital. It happened that I didn’t know that the tree was to be cut down that day. The people didn’t know I was up in the tree. So they cut it down, and I came down with it. I broke my right arm and left leg. Now I’m fine but I had my leg in a cast for 1 month and my arm for 1 1/2.

‘Bye!
(page 22 in the PDF)

Dear Diary,

If I were a pencil, and my owner used me a lot, I’d be dead pretty soon. After all, if I’m used a lot, I’d be sharpened. Fast! Ow! Ouch! Don’t sharpen me so fast! Ow! Don’t jerk me out! Ah, this is good. I’m being used now to color in circles on an Iowa test. [Note: the standardized grade tests.] Ow-w-w-w! Don’t bite me! How would you like it if I bit YOU? Oops. My owner is putting me away. See ya later, Alligator! In a while, Crocodile! In a minute, Little Cricket!
(page 32 of the PDF)

Dear Diary,

If I were a spiral notebook then life would be miserable. I would be written in, erased in until there holes in me, and at the end of the day, I would be stuffed in a hot, stuffy breifcase [sic]. Like the time in middle of the day I was stuffed in it. Yow! I can’t breathe!
(page 34 of the PDF)

Dear Diary,

If I fell down 101 flights of steps, 7 steps in each, with spaces in middle, I don’t know what would happen! But let me tell you a story, because it’s true! I was walking down the stairs. Suddenly, someone said, “Move aside! I’m in a hurry!” He was pushing. I fell. I was rolling down. I was trying to stop my stubborn body from rolling. I wound up in the hospital, with a broken foot, 2 broken arms, and a broken spine. After 2 weeks, I was all better. Oh I forgot my head is still all bandaged! So just remember, don’t fall down steps! (even 1)
(page 35 in the PDF)

Dear Diary,

“Bang! Crash! Boom!” Oh-no! My books! Why are they falling out of my hands? Oh-no! I know why! I’m shrinking! I used to be the size of an elephant, and now I’m the size of a mouse! I wanted someone to notice, so I crawled into my locker and I started pushing out some books. “Bang! Boom!” All my books were out of my locker. My teacher said, “Chevy, please go pick up those books and close the locker.” So Chevy came and put the books away. Then she closed the locker. I started to bang and scream, but no-one heard me. I was locked inside my locker. I continued to scream. Suddenly I heard my mother say “Sha! Don’t yell like that. What happened?” I told her everything. “Don’t be silly. It was just a dream.”
(page 44 in the PDF)

4 thoughts on “Selected Transcriptions from 4th Grade Journal

    1. Yeah… Like, if you read that in your 9-year-old’s journal, you would be rushing to get her into therapy of some sort, right? Instead – the one semi-professional mental health person I spoke to was mocked. I was supposed to go back to the guidance counselor in fifth grade, but I didn’t, and she didn’t follow up. And then when I was having crazy mood swings and my mother took me to a psychiatrist when I was 21, she said she wished she would have known and been able to do something sooner. Look, Ma, you could have! The signs were all right there!

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