Tonight I bring you Part IV in my ongoing series. Tonight's entries take you through the end of 1995 and into 1996 with additional commentary in [brackets].

[Before I start on the journal entries tonight, I would like to first mention that at the top of every single page up through page 49, the word "dog" is written in pencil. The reason for this is that sometime in early 1996 I imagined that the best way to get Bob and Cathie to allow a dog in the house was to convince them that I longed for one so badly that it was on my mind literally every single day of my young life. This, I believed, would tug at the heart strings of any loving parent (and I believed Bob and Cathie fit the bill) and would encourage, nay, force them to grant me my wishes. I also operated under the delusion that my parents would likely pick up my journal at one point and read it (because, as you have seen, I was writing some pretty important things at this time that they undoubtedly would have been dying to read) and so I assumed that they would see that "dog" had been written at the top of every page and this would necessarily cause them to believe that the only humane thing to do was to get a dog to appease the wishes of the boy who wanted it badly enough that he actually took the effort to note it briefly on a regular basis in the same place he shared his most intimate thoughts. The problem(s) with this? While I hoped it would appear to be the case, I did not actually write "dog" at the top of the page each time I wrote an entry. Rather, I took a pencil, went back to page one, and flipped through the journal, writing the word on each page, well beyond any entry up to that point (I thought it would be more efficient to do it this way). So, while each entry is done in a different pen color and with ever rapidly evolving child-handwriting, the word "dog" is consistently written in the same rushed sloppy manner, (getting ever so sloppier as my hand started to hurt during the later pages) and with the same faint pencil. And it was written beyond the pages I had actually used up to that point].

November 28, 1995 (age 11):

Christmas is coming and I'm really excited!!! Christmas comes every single year. [Glad we cleared that up]. A little while ago I was on an airplane ride with my uncle, Jared, and another kid my uncle took. [My uncle is a pilot, fyi]. First we learned about planes, then we went flying and Jared almost threw up. [I'm positive this isn't true but it's clear that in 1995 I was looking for any reason to criticize Jared in my journal]. I will probably be a pilot when I'm older unless I decide to be a lawyer, like in the court rooms instead. I think I could get the judge to do whatever I tell him because I could just explain to him what is right all the time and he would have to listen. And I would ask people questions and they would all say the right things. [I have since learned that things don't exactly work this way]. We're going on a field trip tomorrow and my mom gets to go. I hope she doesn't try to kiss me on the cheek! [For the record, this was a valid concern. Cathie's cheek-kissing only happened in public, was done solely for embarrassment purposes, and continued to take place with some regularity through at least 2007]. I started Jr. Jazz today! This is my second year! I can tell that I'm going to be a lot better this year. [Sadly, still no, kid].

December 15, 1995 (age 11):

I went to school today. It was o.k. I'm really excited for Christmas. We have a train and a vilige [village] under the Christmas tree. It hasn't snowed yet and I want it to. [That's it. This journal does not belong to me]. I went to piano lessons today also. I didn't do very good. [Is it because you didn't practice? Yes]. I [and the journal entry ends here after that one lone word. Although there is a drawing at the bottom of the page that appears to be a bed that has been scribbled out. No explanation for this].

January 10, 1996 (age 11):

Last week it was Utah's birthday! It turned 100. We had a big assembly at school and we sang a song about Utah. [My close friends know that if you catch me on a good day, I am usually willing to perform this song with the hand actions in their entirety. Most people who were children in Utah in 1996 still seem to remember at least fragments of the song which has since become the official state song). As a preview to hold you over until you next see me in person, I'll just tell you that it involves marching, enthusiastic swaying, big hand gestures, and contains lines such as: "Utah! People working together! Utah! What a great place to be!" and "This is the PLACE!" I remember spending an embarrassing amount of time in school learning the choreography to this. (Ours didn't look exactly like this, but you get the idea)]. I'm reading a book called "My Brother Sam is Dead." It's a really good book. I have over 350 rubber bands tied together. [This thing went everywhere with me for the better part of one year until it was mysteriously lost. I still have my suspicions that Bob and Cathie had something to do with its disappearance. Maybe it ended up "running away" like Gigi (my baby blanket) did in 1991. I'm not sure whether I should be more embarrassed that I believed that story or that Bob and Cathie actually had to make it up because I was still carrying my baby blanket around at age 7]. I'm almost done with my life. [I read this several times before figuring out what I was talking about. And no, this isn't a suicide note. Life was a goal/level/state-of-being(?) in Boy Scouts and apparently in 1996, I had almost achieved it].

That's all for tonight folks. Tune in next time for more insights into my 11 year old mind, including the continuation of the dog story.

~It Just Gets Stranger