Survivor Journals

Bob of If I Die Before I Wake has invited nine journallers to participate in a Cyber Survivor Adventure.

Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a "challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.

After the challenge entry is posted, the nine journallers will vote one of the writers off the site.

The "ousted" journaller will actually remain on the site, but rather than posting further challenge entries, they will act as a judge and commentator.

The first challenge entry has been issued, and can be found at the Survivor Journal website. The actual entries should be completed by
October 1, 2000.

Please take the time to visit, especially once the challenge entries are posted. There is a message board to post your thoughts/comments and also a instant poll where visitors can vote for who they would want to see kicked off the site.

The reasons behind Survivor Journals are simple.

1. To try something new.
2. Increase the interaction of the journal community.
3. The challenge.
4. Increased exposure to all journals involved.

So take a look around, explore all the journals involved.

If you would like to take part in Survivor Journals, Year Two (around Nov/Dec 2000), let Bob know!

Diet Week #10

Goal :
lose 100 lbs.

Immediate goal:
the next 10 lbs.

Lost to date:
21 lbs
lost one more lb!

this number updates
on Tuesdays --


September 16, 2000

The "If" collaboration is asking the following question: If a natural disaster forced you to leave your home on a moment's notice, what would you take with you? What is your most prized possession?

When you have a guest in your home, especially one who has never met you in person, you find that you begin to look at the things you are accustomed to having around you through the eyes of the newcomer. What is their function? What is their meaning in your life? How important are they to you?

From time to time, when I read about a natural disaster, I think about all this "stuff" around here and do wonder what I’d take if I had to abandon this house with a 15 minute notice.

I’ve been a person for whom memories have been very important. My book shelves are filled with photo albums dating back to my grammar school days, and up to the present. Each of the kids had not one, but two baby books—which I kept up religiously. We have slides, 8 mm movies, and videotapes of most of the important events in our family’s life. There are wedding photos of our wedding, of Ned & Marta’s wedding, of Paul & Audra’s wedding. We have college graduation photos for Jeri and Tom. There are records, tapes, CDs. There are Lawsuit posters and 10 scrapbooks detailing the history of Lawsuit. There are tsatskes galore—gifts to us from foreign students, souvenirs of trips we’ve taken, crafts the kids made over the years.

So, given 15 minutes to gather up the treasures of a lifetime, what would I take.

In truth? Nothing.

Maybe it’s having lost people that I love that puts a perspective on the flotsam and jetsam of my life. If I can’t have all the videotapes, how could I choose just one? And would it be the end of my life if I no longer had a record of the first drawing Jeri ever made? Would I fall apart if I no longer had a picture of Ned with his diving trophy? Could I live without pictures of Tom and David in their Jazz choir costumes?

I began "making memories" when I was a child. It was important to me to take photos and get them into albums right away. I was "making memories," and even used that term to myself. Now I ask for whom I was making those memories? While the kids enjoy looking back at old photos, I don’t see any of them taking on the lot if I weren’t around. There is no "next generation" to pass them to...and my daughter-in-law jokes that when Walt and I are gone, they’ll just blow up the house instead of trying to clean it out.

In contemplating a natural disaster, I can't think of one single thing that I would cry bitter tears over losing. There is only one possible thing that I might grab—that's a papier mache figure of Gilbert as Jack Point. THAT is irreplaceable and I would be sad to lose it. But it also wouldn't be the end of the world if I did.

JPOINTSM.jpg (27131 bytes)

With that attitude, you’d think it would be easy to begin to clean out some of the detritus of life around here, but it’s not. I can I throw away the sand from Ipanema Beach that Ned brought home when he was 15? ...the tribble David Gerrold gave me? ...Walt’s bronzed baby shoes? ...the brick from the old Newman Hall in Berkeley? ...the paperweight Mike and Bill gave me?

Maybe we’d all be better off if I start hoping for natural disasters.

Wait a minute...

I just realized what I’d save. I should have thought of it right away. It’s the only truly valuable thing in this house. The only thing that is treasured by everyone in this family. The only thing that is truly irreplaceable. The only thing that we would all miss... Delicate Pooh.

pooh.jpg (4669 bytes)Delicate Pooh started life when Jeri was a year old and we bought her a Pooh Bear for her birthday. Over the next several years, Pooh was passed from child to child. He had his closest relationship with Tom. He was Tom’s "baby" and his constant companion. My favorite photo of Tom shows him holding Pooh, who has a bandage on his head, and Tom is feeding him some cereal.

At one point, the family dog got hold of Pooh and chewed off his face. I felt as if a family member had been violated. Jeri repaired it and gave me the silly bear for Christmas. I cried.

Through much loving and abuse, Pooh eventually lost a lot of his stuffing, all of his facial features, and had the consistency of an old rag. But everybody had loved Pooh, who had now acquired the name "Delicate Pooh" because you were kind of afraid to touch him for fear he’d fall apart.

I found a 5 lb mayonnaise jar and discovered that it was the perfect size for Pooh. He could even sit up, sort of, with the support of the sides of the jar. And so Pooh moved into a mayonnaise jar and has had a place of honor in the living room ever since. People think we’re pretty weird when they see this amorphous "thing" in a mayonnaise jar. But they don’t realize they are looking at the jewel of the family.

Yes...if I had only a few minutes to grab the thing I would most hate to lose—my prized possession—I would grab Delicate Pooh.

D-POOH.jpg (44240 bytes)

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created 9/16/00 by Bev Sykes