The Journal Entry: The Grown Up Version of a Stuffed Pocket
by Ruth Folit
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City in the ’50s and ’60s. On days when it was warm enough to be outside after school, I’d put on my play clothes–jeans and a
T-shirt–and ride my bike in the neighborhood. Sometimes I’d play kickball with the Regnell, Weissman, and the Del Buono kids on the block.Occasionally I’d venture out a few blocks further to the nearby park that had a pond, or explore one of the few local remnants of a farm. (Rumor had it that the owner would shoot you if you went on his open fields, so the pull of the adventure of exploring wide open space had to outweigh the worry of getting shot at.)It was certainly less stressful to go to the nearby shopping strip mall and visit the candy store, hobby shop, or five and dime store.As I meandered through my neighborhood, I’d be on the lookout for interesting items. An oddly shaped rock. An errant coin. Maybe there would be an interesting leaf, or seed pod that was worth picking up.I’d buy a square of Bazooka bubble gum, and stuff the Bazooka Joe comic into my pocket. Or I’d buy a plastic ring or a whistle or one of those pink bouncy balls to work on my A My Name is Alice skills.Sometimes I’d get a box of Cracker Jacks–as much for the prize as for the sticky popcorn and peanuts. After finishing the snack, I’d jam the prize into the pocket of my jeans.When I was playing inside and drawing pictures with my sister, if I pressed too hard when coloring and broke the crayon, I’d quietly slip the crayon stub in my pocket so that she wouldn’t see. I knew she’d be mad if the crayons were broken, so it was my little secret hiding in my jean pocket. By the end of a day or two, I had collected a small set of mementos.
Today, our journal entries are our jeans’ pockets where we collect bits of the days’ observations, thoughts, and feelings: a new option for the landscape project; a whiff
of inspiration for smoothing out a challenging relationship; an unknown
word from an online article; a memory of a conversation with your father that spontaneously bubbled up during the commute home.
I’m sure my mother would simply empty the pockets before washing my jeans. I certainly didn’t think twice about those collected items. But today, you might consider that you can not only bring home the treasures of your day, but you can go back and harvest your insights, observations and feelings. You’ll untangle knots, discover life patterns, plant seeds for new projects, and discover all kinds of treasures.
“Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.”–Gilbert K. Chesterton
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”--Joseph Campbell
“Live within the treasure house of memory.”–Jean Houston
“Happiness is your own treasure because it lies within you.”– Prem Rawat