I keep almost everything. I’ve got boxes stored at my parents place of pictures, projects, rock collections, awards, shirts I made, old dolls and stuffed animals and who knows what else. Someday I’ll be out of the moving an average of every six months. Someday I’ll be in a place with enough room to keep them with me, to remember, to laugh, to cry, and to write, of course.
Naturally, I keep all my writing as well. But I keep all my writing with me, and lug it in and out of new apartments each time. I couldn’t leave it behind. I needed it, I insisted, to reference events in my life, to use as writing prompts, to revise; the truth is that I haven’t delved into that much. But I’m glad I persisted in having it with me.
What you are about to read is the first journal entry ever written, by yours truly. I received the hearty three ring, book sized, gold embossed burgundy journal for my seventh birthday. My mother had my name put on the lower right hand corner on it in matching gold emboss. My favorite part, (besides my name, because that is pretty freakin’ awesome!) is the little emblem of a quill pen resting in its ink bottle in the center of the cover. Perhaps it’s why I’ve always wanted one. I finally got me a quill pen this summer, in London at the Globe Theater gift shop, but that is another story.
It is written in pencil and has a dashed line at the bottom where I numbered the pages myself, as well as a centered title line where I always put the date. I’m not correcting any of the grammar and spelling mistakes. I’m not leaving anything out; this is the complete first one page entry documenting my life, written by myself. My only regret is not being able to replicate the handwriting for you.
June 1 1992
Today win I woke up we desided to stay in bed and
read. We finished the book we wir reading and it was a
good book. I’ev red three of Natalie’s book’s and tow wir
Kirsten book’s. and one was a Samantha book and I’ev only
read one Molly book. Today I check out tow Paddington book from
the Smithfeild lidery. And the first few pag’s and so far it’s
iterging and Natalie said that she red Paddinton book’s in first
grad to and I think that’s grate. It’s grate to have a
grate sister like Natalie. She is the best helper in the
whole wide wholed becuas She help’s me a lot for one
resen she helped me lron how to ride a bike and she helped
me to lron how to read and well Just help’s all lot menly.
Oh how it makes me giggle. Especially when I read the next entry.
June 12, 1992
Last week and this week I ben spending my time
with my cusen’s and cind af haveing fun. So far I’m haveing
pritty much fun. oh and my sister is stuped!!!!
If any readers out there would like more from the spelling genius mind of Edith-Marie Roper, age 7, let me know and I’ll post some more; because while I think they are hilarious, interesting and awesome, I realize that not everyone else would agree. So…
If you desided reading this was fun and grate and a good time menly, give me a resen and I will post more.
So we wander after formal class with a little direction to begin with, still herded as a group. We saw our first British police officers, who looked way too young to be cops, and Chip was immediately drawn to them. He bombarded them with questions in his classic style that we would all become very familiar with throughout and by the end of the trip, primarily charming in an awkward sort of way. And of course we had to take pictures of and with the Bobbies before going on our way. I took one of Chip trying to look like he was being cuffed and taken in, but they weren’t playing it up much for us and Chip looks like the happiest guy ever arrested in the photo!
Shortly after that we were set loose, the herd dispersed and I finally get off on my own. Ped seemed surprised and alarmed at this, but I have no time for compromise at this era in my life; a past, my person, were shattered by too much compromise. And living alone for the six months preceding the trip made it hard to give up to what I wanted, when and how I wanted it, perhaps especially given the amazing opportunity to live and travel like I found myself in. “Anyone who wants to come with me is more than welcome,” I explained, “But this is what I’m going to do today.” Which was, a quest for bookstores and the guitar shop we past on our walking tour the first day in Liverpool, the latter I didn’t find. In the process I went down to the waterfront and took pictures for my mom that would hopefully turn out well for her enjoyment, as well as be something my mom wanted to paint. And then, I got lost.
The first time I got lost consisted of riding the bus too long on that first Sunday before the African Goya, which was a pretty fixable mistake. I took the quick way on account of being exhausted and took a taxi with an awesome cabbi with a killer Scouser accent
He’d say: waryagoon?
I’d say: What?
He’d say: wAR ya goin?
I’d say: Ooohhh,
He’d say: sosya earloong?
I’d say: What?
He’d say: owloong yastye ear?
I’d say: oh yeah? Mmmhhhh. Cool (still no idea what he said)
The fun part with Scousers is that sometimes when you do, in fact, correctly understand and know what words they used, you still don’t know what they said. They take the magic of idiom in the English language to a whole new level. He was a beacon of patience and continued to chat the whole time despite my obvious deficiency in communicated at that juncture. We arrived at the living hall,
“Next time yoo take a taxi jus tell em Carnatic,” he said.
“What?” I said
“Carnatic, they’ll know that over Salisbury.”
“Oh.” I paid. I figured out the next day on the way to the bus what the hell he was talking about. There is a huge sign at the vehicle entrance: Carnatic Halls. It then lists the specific buildings, ours being Salisbury Hall. It was then I realized that I did not speak the language, but seemed too, an illusion that generally made me look like an idiot. Despite the frequent embarrassment, it made for a lot of fun.
This time I found myself and got back to the bus station, on the corner of Mulberry and Myrtle, where walking down the street was two of my instructors. They asked me if nobody liked me. I said no, I just wasn’t afraid of being alone. And then they asked me for a drink in the Caledonia, a little local hole in the wall pub, (old guy bar they said) which I would later come to intimately love. We talked about education differences, a little about Toxteth that I would be seeing tomorrow with one of them, that I was meeting for the first time that very moment, as guide and teacher. I noted they vacillated back and forth between Scous and something else, English I assume because I could mostly understand it. Given my love of all parts of language I couldn’t help but bring it up, but they were all over it. They most definitely did talk differently to outsiders and/or friends that didn’t grow up in Liverpool. How conscious a process was that I wondered? So then we talked about the phenomenon we humans have of auto-edit, e.g. I’ll (for the most part) edit out my swearing around my parents and kids. As one these fine gentlemen paid for me second Guinness, I worried.
Me: You really don’t have to pay for it.
Him: Psht! Don’t be ridiculous
Me: Well, it’s not that I’m thinking this is what your after, but back where I’m friend a guy buying you a drink generally means… ulterior motive.
Him: huh, well it doesn’t here.
It seems maybe the elder takes care of the younger, but I couldn’t be sure and never researched it, formal or informally.
Tipsy off me Guinness’s, I expressed concern for riding the bus drunk. After which one of the instructors said, nonsense! You’ve got to do that once in a while, one of those life experiences. Giggling I thought, Could I have cooler, more down to earth professors? Probably not.
The eldest of the two, who had bought the other’s drinks as well, headed off. I was still nursing my Guinness—not like me really, but half way through it I was feeling the buzz and it occurred to me that responsible, adult-like behavior might be in order. I envied their lack of such occurrences.
The night was cool and magically engulfing as I was escorted back across the street to the bus station. I was seeing the world shiny. I engaged my salutations as I saw the bus rattle up the street on the wrong side of the road—crazy Brits. Much to my astonishment my handshake turned into a kiss on the cheek.
Me: Oh! Uh-
Him: It’s the European way!
Awkwardly I repeated the process for the other cheek.
See you tomorrows, then only after I paid my pound and forty pence bus ride did I remember reading literature on how the UK didn’t participate in that ritual. What did it mean, if anything? I would later on in my stay figure it out.
To the friends, family, random readers that have somehow stumbled onto this little newborn baby site, THANK YOU!!! And, I predict approximately another two weeks before I’ve settled into a good groove with school that allows me to write and post and update this site as much as I want. To any who want a shout out for when I do/have, let me know. In general I’m saying thanks and keep the faith; more is coming! I suppose in truth, this is more for me, because in my ideal world I would have already documented and posted all my Liverpool adventures.
In the Great Northwest (USA) Fall’s breath sends goosebumps down our necks and a pair of gold-colored glasses to see the world through; I love fall, second favorite season of the year! Enjoy!
Queen and I were roaming together come day two in Liverpool. I did not know yet that she was a dancing queen, but she is. The entire study abroad group had done a little more touring of the city that morning and bought calling cards and similar day to day maintenance things needed while living here. I had to be reprimanded because though I told someone I was going to the toilet, they neglected to tell the others and momentarily thought they’d lost me. Due to my wandering spirit it would not be the last time, but it would be doing more adventurous and fun things then visiting the toilet. (If you ask for the restroom they look at you like you’re crazy.) Now the afternoon was ours.
The dormitory we are staying at is close to a colossal and Eden-like park called Sefton Park. It is the host of the fourth annual African Goya festival. The day was bright and simultaneously overcast, a skill that this British Isle has perfected. This particular afternoon it only taunted rain, having drizzled a bit in the morning, and didn’t actually come down on us. Queen and I drifted in and out of the circle of tents and booths. All kinds of food, Jamaican/Caribbean, Arabic, Somalian and more, were available. Breathtaking colours of linens composed the clothing being sold alongside a vast array of jewellery and crafts and different medians of art. I couldn’t resist and added to my collection of hats and bought a top of royal blue shaded to a wine red and intricately embroidered.
The art of West African dance was being tutored at one of the booths. With a very little coaxing I got Queen to agree to take the next class with me. In the meantime we gravitated to the stage where Daby Toure, a phenomenal guitarist and singer was performing with his band. After about twenty minutes we were sold, and wandered to the music booth where they were selling CD’s. We weren’t the only fans, because they were sold out. I wrote down their information to track them down later and we made to doubly enjoy the rest of their performance. We ran into Chip, and Chip being Chip, he took it upon himself as a personal quest to get their CD for us. When they finished performing he went backstage and got to speak with all of them, got an autograph and pictures but—they didn’t have any extra CD’s unfortunately.
Whilst he worked at that task, Queen and I headed over to the dance booth for our class. Now, not to be disparaging to my roots, but quite frankly, we do NOT emphasize or learn dance. Queen and I come from a similar background, albeit from different sides of the lower forty-eight. The dance is spectacular and its core is being able to do body isolations; rolling the shoulders, now shifting the feet, now both at the same time then circling the ribs, the walking/knee lifting, then both followed by some hip circles. Suffice to say, Queen and I were in WAY over our heads. Lots of giggling ensued. Our instructor made it look easy and was so connected to her own body. That combined with a fantastic smile made her mesmerizing. It was fantastic to witness, how couldn’t it be? She obviously is passionate and loves what she does. I don’t know how they do it really; I can’t concentrate on that many things at once. I got the hip circling down pat, but then I had to roll my shoulders and do a 360 all at the same time. I’d forget to roll my shoulders, or somehow only roll one and end up sort of jerking one hip to get turned around. Luckily I only ran into a couple of the others learning with us. I couldn’t say how Queen did because I couldn’t spare any attention for anything else, but in comparing notes afterwards, it sounds like we have the same awkward groove. We celebrated exerting ourselves for the entire hour and our mad skills in… something other than dance. The hair jutting out of my new hat clung and dripped on my neck and my body tingled in its layer of glisten. I was a bit sore the next day too. And the best horrifying part about it is somewhere in the middle I looked over to see Chip with his camera out recording. I haven’t been able to convince him to destroy the evidence yet.
The lesson having mercifully finished, the three of us got some water and Arabic food. Chip and I engaged in our first (of many, MANY, more to come) debate on gender roles. He ordered for me, which I thought was weird, which he thought was weird. “Why don’t you just pay for me while you’re at it?” I asked. “I was going to!” he replied. “Why?” I asked, “Wow, you are so old fashioned.” I didn’t yet realize how serious he was, as I don’t believe he realized how serious I was, but we had a good time teasing and bantering for and with the man that waited on us, he thought we were hilarious. I’m sure we were.
The day couldn’t have been complete without me getting us lost on the way home. Luckily, Chip isn’t ashamed to ask for directions. And now I know the area quite well for going on runs and such.
“We are social animals. The only reason we aren’t extinct is because of this. Individual isn’t the most important, the group, the broad collectively…is how we find our true stature.” ~Paul Adams, University of Liverpool, Educational Opportunities Manager
“White people, Black people, Indian people–all here together in one place. This is the future.” Daby Toure, African Goya concert Sefton Park, Liverpool, June 21, 2009
“I write for fun, but it’s no joke
because what I write
is to make the thought provoke.” -Patrick Graham, Black Out Productions
“What is your favorite passion?” -Candid
“What’s your happy ending?” -InLove
“We are superficial and profound” -Vixen
“I’m this unique human individual now” -Vixen
“There are two kinds of Americans; those who can cry for their country and those who can’t” -Vixen
“She seems the most studious of our group” -Me
“No, she just does it a different way” -Pensive
“History is NOT to develop the memory at the expense of intelligence,”
“The best kind of history is pulled into the present,”
“Education is also about citizenship,”
“Lecturing is a lecturer passing their notes to the students’ notepads without it passing through the brains of either,”
“We live life in details, but think in generalities,”
“Words are elastic, always question, pin down the meaning,”
“Isn’t education about getting confidence?”-All from Professor Ron Noon’s lecture, July 8, 2009
“The trouble with words is you don’t know who else’s mouth they’ve been in.” -Dennis Potter, playwright
“Look at me, I’m on the Internets!” she exclaimed. A true sign of being a child of technology at last. Though she had played games on her grandmother’s macintosh as young as she could remember, and attempted to conquer Freedom and Oregon Trail on computer lab days in elementary school, in truth she was a mediocre operator of software at best. Her grandmother, still alive and kickin’ at 83 years old could tell you more about ram, hard drives and the like than she could.
But she, Ms. Edith-Marie Roper, would have to adapt eventually. And so, on her Macbook attained in such a manner that requires a story for another day, she is learning.
Welcome all and enjoy. And don’t worry, I generally will not refer to myself in the third person.