Friday, January 05, 2007

An old shoe box full of the past

During my first year of college, i had a very old typewriter in my dorm room. My roommate and i swiped a roll of those horrible brown paper towels, the kind with no perforations, from the bathroom and put it into the typewriter. We used this as a message board, a creative writing exercise and for random stoned ramblings. (I went to college in the 70s, man.)

Naturally we thought these words were the epitome of wit and should be preserved for the ages. I still have these "Dead Meno Scrolls" as Em called them, although she used my real name. I pulled these out the other night for the first time in about 20 years, just to amuse Em and to let her kow that once upon a dinosaur i HAD been young.

Both Em and i were in tears of laughter reading them.

Here are some excerpts:

I am so stoned right now.

Want to hear a neat game? It's called "See what good friends we are? We can swear and say the worst things and then just laugh because we were only kidding. It just goes to prove that the best way to keep someone from knowing the truth is by telling it to them under the guise of being too ridiculous to even be possible.

We smoked a joint before lunch and we are really high right now.

The meeting lasted 8 hours and ended when the experts lit up the traditional parting joint. The meeting ended on a happy note. One expert was seen leaving soon after the closing ceremony giggling.

Do not forget to stop at Thriftway and get a bottle of club soda.

Allie has a short attention (This one made Em fall off her chair. Allie was my roommate.)

This is hard to type when i am so high.

I think that i am higher than i think i am.

Do you sense a theme here? I think i majored in dope smoking my first year of college.

I just realized, these writings were my first blog. And now this one here is my second. Do you have an old shoebox somewhere with treasures from the past saved in it? I saved words. What did you save?


Bob said...

I used to write a lot of letters when I was in college. I didn't keep copies of what I wrote but I did keep all of the letters I received. They were put into a paper bag that I kept under my desk. It went home with me where about a year later my mother, thinking it was trash, tossed it. ARGH! I used to get into letter writing contests. I can remember doing things like writing them backwards, or in circles, stuff like that. There are only two responses that survived the purge. Those were the ones that trumped mine and won the contests: one was written on birch bark, the other was written on a pair of lacy panties.

And, I saved liquor bottles too, once again thrown out by my mother.

About the only thing I have left of my college days are my best friend (my roommate) and my record albums.

Anonymous said...

first, I love that you have this and are sharing it w/ Em. My parents would rather eat bugs that actually discuss sex or drugs (and they lived in the Haight in the 60s) THIS is why she talks to you. i've said it before, but again, bravo.

I have some journals. not much. i was always a tosser. a shame, that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I do have such shoeboxes, but haven't opened them for years. When I was a sophomore, I was sophomoric. Weird, huh?

thailandchani said...

Oh, I'm such a nerd! I saved books.

.. and some very strange poetry written at times when I should not have been allowed to hold a pen. Drunken pontificatons. Well, they impressed me at the time. LOL



luckyzmom said...

For a long time I had everything that was ever written to me and almost everything that I ever wrote to others because I would copy (by hand) the letters I wrote over onto lovely stationery (Crane being my fav) so there wouldn't be any corrections, in shoe boxes and such.

Then I started just writing imaginings stories, feelings and I saved all that too.

Reams and reams started accumulating when I started taking notes from self help books. I started notebooks. When we last moved I sat in the garage for days surrounded by all my different writings in shoeboxes, notebooks, big boxes, journals; going through them deciding what to keep and what to toss. It felt good to purge.

At the same time I went through all of my childrens school work. All of it and they both were many years from graduation! I still probably kept twice as much as I should have.

Right!!! This could have been a blog!

amusing said...

Well, I'm prepping a post of old journal scribblings; just haven't decided which era -- grade school, high school, college, NYC, suburbia....

luckyzmom said...

Oh and I meant to tell you about the time my daughter shared with me a VCR tape she had made with one of her friends when she was in High School about twelve years before.

She and I howled together until it hurt it was so funny.

meno said...

bob, letters are a lot like writing, dude. (Sorry, the past overtook me there.) Lacy panties? You dog! I think if you still have your best friend, you did very well.

jen, this reading was followed by a tiny lecture on the difference between this day and that, and the difference in the THC content then and now, and the legal differences. But Em did get a glimpse into the confused but articulate young woman that i was. Her comment, "You're my hero."

holly, you will open them when the time is right. Or not. When i wrote this stuff, i was freshmoric.

chani, i have some books that i cannot ever let go. My book of Roethke poems. My first edition of Huckleberry Finn. My old copy of Moby Dick with the Rockwell Kent woodcut illustrations. I get it.

luckyzmom, i wish i had some of that stuff, but i am a thrower-outer. It's even harder to throw out Em's stuff.

amusing, oh all of them, one post at a time.

urban-urchin said...

I recently found my high school journal- chock full of really bad poetry and pretty good drawings. It made me laugh but also want to hug the teenage me and tell her it would be alright.

I think I'm higher than I think I am- that's too funny.

Dick said...

I went to college before there was much pot around, but there was beer. My cousin saved all of his empty beer cans for a year and glued them together to make a beer can Christmas tree that was about 7 feet tall. Very impressive.

alphawoman said...

This is so funny. I love the idea. Where did you type your papers? Oh yea, you were smoking didn't write papers nor go to class. (been there!) I have nothing left from those tender first years at college excpet my friends and the year books. I use to have some items of clothing I loved at my Mom's house, but they were disposed of. Same thing will all my saved precious just made me realize that I do have a scrap book and pictures that survived. And off course, my memories, as clouded as they are by the smoke induced haze of the 1970's.

Bobealia... said...

I kept journals in college. Sometimes I read them and they are heartbreaking. Maybe I will do as you have done and share an exerpt with the world. After my hair fandango is over...

Andrea Frazer said...

I have a box of my drawings and reports from when I was in kindergarten up in my attic. My mother had me when she was almost 40, so she saved everything. Now I save letters and emails from friends and then present them to them about once every ten years to help them remember their lives. It's funny that you did this post, because Hallmark Magazine has a section in it called "What We Save" and I just pitched the editor a piece on my letters, as well as the china I keep. I will come back to this post if I get the gig for inspiration.

SuperP. said...

"The Stoner Diaries" - I've got a book - a guy friend of mine and I used to sit and play guitar or chat or whatever and while we did all these things, we wrote to each other in this binder, write next to each other, passing the binder back and forth.. what we were really thinking. I'm going to find it and keep this thread going, if you don't mind, because as much as I'm anti-pot now.. those were some very enlightening and carefree fun times. ....I think, anyway..

Susanne said...

I still have all of my journals since I started in fourth grade and every single letter written to me ever. I haven't read any of this in years though.

I'd like to have the letters I wrote. But then, maybe those journals are enough. I keep putting off rereading all that stuff, but I'd like to get rid of some of it. Maybe this year, we'll see.

Anonymous said...

I saved, in a scrapbook of sorts, my last paycheck from Jack-in-the-Box. JITB put me through school. We're talkin' 40-50 hours a week, and I ain't gonna tell you what my final GPA was. I regret to say, that's all I have. Except for the famous scrapbook with some funny roomie pictures, ticket stubs, and the usual sentimental detritus.

I went to college in the 70s, too. Just couldn't afford to get stoned, but I sure did serve a lot of my stoned comrades when they got the munchies and cruised through JITB!

Mother of Invention said...

Gosh, I saved EVERYTHING! Photos and ideas on scraps of paper, journals from trips...and lots of creative writing ...mostly pieces I wrote for people's birthdays, grads,engagements, weddings,which progressed to career moves and noe retirements and special anniversaries. There are about 50 that I've done! I even wrote one for my own wedding that the MC read...but I wish now that I had reat it!.

Mother of Invention said...

Oh, I too went to college from 72-77 but could never do the pot thing and not much drinking since having diabetes kinda put the damper on alL that. MAY HAVE BEEN A GOOD THING!??

Unknown said...

I have a couple of those shoeboxes full of old notes passed in class, dried flowers, etc.

But what always gets me is when I open a drawer and find something like an old ticket stub from a concert I went to in 1984. How did it survive that long? How did it get in this drawer? How did it move with me from home to school to Denver? Did it float on the wind like the feather from Forrest Gump?

Anonymous said...

The honesty you share with your teenager is refreshing. When I was her age my mom just blew smoke up my ass. I guess it's understandable that all my journals from my teens have been burned.

However, in college I spent six weeks studying art in the UK. I kept those journals (which included drawings and ramblings) and all of the cardboard beer mats I used (there were A LOT).

meno said...

u-u, thank god i never wrote poetry. It would be painful for all concerned to read it now.
I also want to tell that young me that it will all be okay, someday.

dick, oh, i so hope you have a picture of that tree. What an ambitious project. Were there lights on it?

alphawoman, I went to most of my classes. Stoned. I was taking lots of literature classes and i loved them.

bo, well, at least you have your priorities! Hair first. I hope you decide to publish some of them for our amusement.

mamap, I hope you get the writing job. How exciting.

penny, i am not anti or pro pot anymore, i just have zero interest in it. Been there, done that. I think it's great that you have your book still. You should share some of it.

suzanne, since 4th grade? Wow. i burned all of my journals from when i was young. They were full of angst about fights with my brother and mother.

ortizzle, i had zero money back then too. But the culture of pot smoking was to share. And it was really cheap back then too. JITB, Do you ever eat there? Or have you been cured?

MOI, That's cool that you have saved all that. And i think it really is a good thing, not about the diabetes, but that you didn't smoke or drink. There's really not much to be learned from it, in my opinion.

nancy, Aren't you cute? Dried flowers. I sometimes find tickets too. I still have a stub from when we took Em to Disneyland for her 4th birthday still.

patches, I don't know if it is the right thing to do or not, but i don't lie to Em about that stuff. She is much smarter than i was, and has guidance too. I'll bet some of the drawings in your journals are pretty good too.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I lost all the stuff I kept when I left my husband a few years back but just today Stumpy and I were up in the attic and found a load of her earliest writings from when she just started school. My favourite is "The pig was a bar of soap". She was only 5 but she sounds pretty stoned to me!!

Anonymous said...

Meno: You're right about the sharing. But it my case it would have been non-stop mooching. Although, I have to admit, I was sometimes offered a toke or two in exchange for a burger & fries! Do I ever eat at JITB? --Once in a blue moon, but it was years after college before I ever ate a burger anywhere, ha, ha!

Mignon said...

No, but I have a shoebox full of unsuccessfully-completed engineering problem sets. I pull it out and thank my husband for saving me from that hell.

Anonymous said...

I have a box full of the notes my BFF exchanged during biology class.
We thought we were so sophisticated and worldly... How i cringe!

Anonymous said...

My roommate and I wrote a play in college which I still have and it's hilarious (only to us). It consists of stupid stoner things that we would say and then write down which would crack us up so we had this continuous play going. Neither one of us was at all literary, I was majoring in computer science and she was majoring in accounting. Most of it was us mimicking our Chinese calculus professor who was barely understandable and saying stuff like "time spent wasted is not wasted time" and making fun of a goofy guy in our get-to-know-your-architecture class who dressed very disco at our extremely preppy university. (very early 80's) Believe it or not, we both graduated in four years.

Antonia Cornwell said...

I have a huge wooden box stuffed full of creative scraps by my friends and I from our student years and kangaroo days. Lots of cartoons and funny stories. My friend George drew terrible pictures with brilliant titles. In "The Jimi Hendrix Experience Visit Asda" (Asda is a shitty budget UK grocery store) Mitch Mitchell is shouting "I have the chives!" I expect you probably had to be there. And stoned.

meno said...

platypus, oh, that is sad! I'm glad you found some of Stumpy's stuff.

ortizzle, it was pretty much mooching on my part too.

mignon, Hmmm, maybe those won't make such a good post.

caro, Reading some of my stuff from then is also cringe inducing. We thought we were so clever, but we were so not.

anon, that's great that you still have your play. One of our clever(!)sayins was "There are none so straight as those who will not toke." Ugh!

antonia, you should show us some of the cartoons. I'll bet they are good.

Kellyology said...

College in the 70's sounds awfully familiar to college in the 80's. There seems to be a similar line. I can't place my finger on it. Now what was that? Oh Yeah..."I think that I am higher than I think I am." Yeah, that was it.

Sonia Wetzel Photography said...

Photos! Boxes and boxes of them. I get brave now and then and look at the photographic evidence of my first year of college and some REALLY crappy boy choices I made. *shudder*

This was really funny, Meno. Ya gotta reprint them again! Please?

QT said...

I think its cool you could share that stuff with Em. That isn't something I could share with my mom.

I have some journals from the past, and I try to save every ticket stub to every concert and play. I have a wooden box that has all th is stuff in it. I look at it from time to time. The journals frommy first few years of college are actually painful to read, as I learned some serious life lessons the hard way!

Love Bears All Things said...

I have a box of letters Papa Bear and I exchanged while he was in college, I was in High School. I have a scrapbook of newspaper articles about my senior year's football games. I have poems I wrote.