you can have the
I don’t want it
let’s let your
hang there in the air
I will bare my teeth
in a smile
you can have the
I don’t want it
let’s let your
hang there in the air
I will bare my teeth
in a smile
I feel the need to weigh in on the political situation in US of A. I do not believe that I have anything new to say, but when I think that I will therefore not say anything, that feels wrong. So this, today, is my statement. Followed by a story that gives me a way forward.
I am not happy with our new president. I was not happy with him as a candidate, and I am not happy with him now. I don’t like what he says or has done regarding issues of immigration. I don’t like his arrogant, self-absorbed demeanor. I read things that disturb me regarding how he is placing white supremacists in powerful positions around him. I am told that hate crimes and hateful actions are on the rise.
I know good people who like him, who brush off what I find intolerable with a shrug of the shoulders and say this is the liberal media, not the truth. All I can say is, I hope you are right.
I still don’t like him. I feel betrayed by a country that I thought I understood a little, but clearly I don’t.
In the face of discrimination, hate and fear, I feel compelled to wage love. Wage kindness. Wield it like a sword. No one, no matter how hateful, can take away your ability to be compassionate. Do it expansively.
Here is a small Native American story for us to keep close to our hearts, to give us a way forward, personally. It doesn’t speak directly to politics, but to individuals–to me.
A grandfather tells a young child that inside each person, there is a good wolf and a bad wolf. The bad wolf is hate, anger, and arrogance. The good wolf is love, compassion, and kindness. The good wolf and the bad wolf are locked in a fight.
The child thinks about the wolves and, as children do, asks, “Which one wins?”
The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”
Feed the good wolf.
On the morning of December 7, 2010, Bill returned the car he borrowed the previous afternoon. He returned it with the gas tank re-filled. It was surprisingly clean, except for a notable amount of mud in the wheel wells.
Bill posted a note on the facebook wall of Barbara’s sister, stating that Barbara had telephoned him. The message that Bill “relayed” is that Barbara said she was going to travel to Panama with her friend, that she didn’t have internet where she was now, but that she would email the family as soon as she got to a place where she could. And not to worry, she was fine.
Obviously, the email they must have waited for never came.
Read from other days:
Con la ayuda de unas amigas queridas, traducí la historia de Bárbara Struncova en español.
Para mí, es importante contar la historia de la desaparición de Bárbara en la madre lengua del país donde ocurrió. Los Ticos son personas generosas, inteligentes, y orgullosas de su cultura. Yo sé que no les agrada para nada que tragedias como esta ocurran en su país. Tienen derecho de saber lo que pasó en el patio detrás de su casa.
Para quedar claro: escribí la historia original usando el nombre “Jim” para el personaje que representa el novio de Bárbara. Esto hice porque hace 2 años cuando comencé a escribirla, nadie hablaba de lo que ocurrió y “Jim” estaba gozando de libertad aquí en Los Estados Unidos. No quería encontrarlo enojado en la puerta de mi casa. Ahora él se encuentra en la cárcel y todo el mundo sabe la triste historia. Ya no hay secretos. Decidí traducir la historia usando siempre el nombre “Jim,” porque todos los otros nombres han sido cambiados también—todos menos el de Bárbara. Y el mío.
Aquí le presento la historia. Léala en línea o sírvase a bajarla a su computadora. Compártala libremente.
Recordando a Barbara
Let’s begin with a review:
First, that she left to travel to the Caribbean with friends.
Second, that she left to travel to the Caribbean with an ex-boyfriend.
Third, that she left to travel in Panama, saying she was in Bocas del Toro.
Fourth, that she was a closet drug addict and had gone to rehab in Czech Republic.
Fifth, that she was a secret drug smuggler who had lots of trouble brewing.
And sixth, that she was murdered by angry drug dealers to whom she owed money.
These stories do not make any sense put together and not one single soul has, thus far, stepped forward to corroborate any of them. Not. One.
So let’s talk about something I don’t know a lot about: the shady world of drug dealing and whether or not drug dealers (cartels?!) murdered Barbara Struncova.
What happens in the real world when you owe money to drug dealers?
I don’t know about Medellin. I don’t know about Rio de Janeiro. I don’t know about Ciudad Juarez. But were’ talking about Tamarindo, here, and I do know what happens in Tamarindo when a person owes money to drug dealers. They stop you on the street and ask you where their money is. They come up to you on the beach in broad daylight. They follow you home from the bar. They knock on the door of your house during dinner and they don’t care if your housemates are home or if you have guests. If they get really pissed off, they might break into your house and take what they feel is rightfully theirs. They don’t hide. They don’t sneak. Everybody sees you talking to them and you might be mortified, but they don’t care. People near you know perfectly well what’s going on. Trust me. I did not just roll off the turnip truck.
You know those terrifying Costa Rican drug cartels you hear about on the news every night? What? You haven’t heard about the Costa Rican drug cartels? Don’t you have a TV? You know—the ones mailing bushels of cocaine to Czech Republic? Come on. Try a little harder. Google the Costa Rican drug cartels. What do you mean there are no Costa Rican drug cartels? Oh damn. Another one bites the dust.
I Googled Costa Rican drug cartels/trafficking/violence. Studies and news reports indicate that in recent years, the Mexican Sinaloa cartel has been more active inside of Costa Rica. San Jose’s sketchy barrios are getting sketchier. But this is Tamarindo we are talking about, and in 2010. Tamarindo doesn’t even have street gangs. Everybody who can attest to the presence of the Sinaloa cartel in Tamarindo in 2010, please raise your hand.
I heard that the bad-news Columbians in Tamarindo killed a guy a few years after we left. (Sorry, nice Columbians!) Maybe the guys who killed him weren’t even Columbian—maybe they were something else and I’m blaming the innocent. For sure, somebody got into a fight with drug dealers and he ended up dead. There. That’s the history Tamarindo drug killing. And he didn’t disappear. He was just dead.
Think about it. “Drug dealers,” if I may lump an enormous variety of people into one pile, would terrorize you to get their money. They would terrorize the people close to you. They might kill your dog. They might break somebody’s legs. But how are you going to pay them if you’re dead? And if they do kill you, your boyfriend is probably going too.
* * * * *
Let’s circle back around to what we know. The CSI that took place a few days after Barbara disappeared, demonstrates clear evidence of foul play IN BILL AND BARBARA’S BEDROOM, according to the OIJ. Everyone knows he was at home on the night she disappeared. He has never tried to say that he wasn’t. So if a drug cartel/dealer killed Barbara, they did it in her bedroom while he was right there.
I fail to see how this scenario, in any way, solves his problem.
He is trying to use the smoke screen of drugs to confuse and silence us. Drugs? we are supposed to say, as we suck in our breath. Oh! Well. Yes, we all know lots of very bad things that we don’t really understand happen behind closed doors when people are involved in drugs. It’s secret. It’s scandalous. It’s morally wrong. What a shame.
Bill wants us to believe that Barbara got what she had coming to her.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT OK FOR A PERSON TO DISAPPEAR OFF THE FACE OF THE PLANET.
So try again to tell us:
WHERE IS BARBARA STRUNCOVA?
This fall, Crime Watch Daily plans to address Barbara’s disappearance. I will spread the word as soon as I know which day the story will air.
As Bill’s story about Barbara Struncova being in drug rehab came to an end, a new story evolved. In this one, Barbara was buying “tons of coke” and sending it “back home in the mail.” Home? His home in North Carolina, or her home in Czech Republic? I assume he is referring to Czech Republic, because there is no one here from Czech to argue for her. He named a Czech friend as her accomplice.
What did I do? I looked the guy up.
Hell yes I did. I can’t exactly ask Barbara about it, so I asked him. It was a little awkward. Did you ever have to say to complete stranger, “Hi. Sorry—you don’t know me and please don’t think I’m a psychopath, but have you, by any chance, ever been a drug trafficker?”
He was amazingly nice about it. He said no. He said he has never sold any drug to anyone in his life. He said Bill would have witnessed him use drugs occasionally while he was on vacation, and that is probably how his name got attached. I said, “Thanks for being so kind. Pardon the stupid question. That’s what I thought.” So now it’s one guy’s word against the other. Pick the one you think is telling the truth: the Czech guy you don’t know, or the guy in jail that you do know.
But again, since I’m exploring all possibilities, I attempted to figure out how drug smuggling could be a truth I never saw.
So many problems with that supposition leap out at me. We won’t discuss, until next week, Bill’s suggestion that Barbara was murdered by the people who procured her these drugs, but keep it in mind because :
(A) That is a crap-load of a lot of coke. I’ve never been a drug dealer, so this is not the voice of experience speaking—but, how much money to you have to owe a drug dealer IN TAMARINDO before they kill you? This cocaine-mailing-to-Europe operation that supposedly existed is not some funny-tasting baking soda tucked inside a birthday card. We are talking about A LOT of cocaine that someone gave up all hope of ever being paid for.
(Honestly, you lost me right there. But I press on…)
(B) Sending it through the mail? What—Correos de Costa Rica? UPS? Mailboxes Etc? DHL in Liberia? I’m not saying it can’t be done, but a trans-Atlantic drug smuggling operation moving enough merchandise to end in a murder? Through the mail from Costa Rica? Successfully, let me add, because Barbara and her supposed accomplice were never suspected by the authorities. Amazing.
(In my estimation, a woman as smart as Barbara, if she had gotten it right that far, would have paid the guys she owed. She was an accountant. She knew how this works.)
(C) Mailing things is an enormous pain in Tamarindo. Or it was when Barbara and I lived there. I’m just saying. If you’re mailing drugs, you need to package them and take the packages to the place from which you will mail them. Which would be mighty hard if you, like Barbara, had no car. Not impossible–just hard. And you’d think someone would have noticed her pedaling down the street piled with packages, or taking a lot of mysterious trips to Liberia on the bus.
(D) Remember last week’s discussion of whether or not Barbara was a drug addict? In my understanding, people who successfully coordinate international drug trafficking operations large enough to put their lives in danger are not also addicts in need of rehab. They are smart, savvy business people who can afford cars. Generally speaking, of course. The addicts in need of rehab are at the other end of the food chain. The people who are both addicts and dealers are the ones hanging around the corner with pockets full of little white baggies, which not even Bill has the nerve to suggest about her.
I will always say in conclusion: I could be wrong. I don’t see how, but if you know something I don’t, feel free to speak up.
I am, however, willing to stick my neck out and say that, based on my own experiences with Barbara and in Tamarindo—I don’t believe it.
Next Monday in my last (I think) post in the series, I will explain why—even if I am wrong about everything I have said so far—I still don’t think a Costa Rican drug cartel killed Barbara.
November 7, 2010
When Barbara Struncova disappeared, all of her boyfriend’s initial statements about where she went involved her leaving in the middle of the night to travel—to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and/or Panama—either with some Czech friends who were finishing a surf trip or with an ex-boyfriend named Martin. We know that these stories are false because none of the Czech surfers took a trip to the Caribbean at that time, and Barbara’s ex-boyfriend Martin has never been to Costa Rica.
His first attempt to blame Barbara’s disappearance on drugs, as far as I know, came in early 2011. He claimed that (attempt #1) her family quietly shuffled her off to a rehab program in Czech Republic. It wasn’t a very good story, though, because rehab programs do eventually end, and people reappear from them. And where is Barbara?
Sometime in 2013, he began to admit that Barbara is dead. And I would like to thank him for letting her rest, for managing to say something true. Good job.
His claim (attempt #2), which I believe that he holds to even now, is that Barbara was murdered by drug dealers to whom she owed enormous amounts of money for her own drug habit and for drugs that she was trafficking to Europe.
Let’s talk about that.
Could Barbara have used drugs that I don’t know about? Of course. Lots of people do lots of things I don’t know about.
Could Barbara have suffered from an out-of-control drug addiction? That’s a different type of question. I tried to construct it as a possibility, because it’s important to be open-minded, but it keeps falling apart on me. Nothing fits. Maybe that story works better on people who haven’t lived in Tamarindo. Or who didn’t know Barbara. It falls wildly short for those of us who did both.
In Tamarindo, the two common street drugs are marijuana and cocaine, so we can assume he is accusing her of abusing those. Indeed, Bill spelled it out clearly in a 2012 written conversation (not with me) where he called Barbara a “coke head”. It makes my blood boil to even write that. I don’t need Barbara to have been a saint, but this is beyond preposterous.
Have you known anyone who does a lot of drugs? Smokes a lot of pot? Consumes a lot of cocaine? I mean A LOT of cocaine? As in, they have lost it and really need to be in rehab right now?
Barbara didn’t look like them. She didn’t act like them. She didn’t hang out with them. She didn’t even know them. I try to think of one thing Barbara had in common with them, but nothing comes to mind.
Let’s review what we all know. When a person is using enough cocaine to need rehab, they most likely:
–Have unusual/irregular sleep patterns
–Express volatile emotions
–Exhibit erratic behavior
–Suffer from a chronically runny nose
–They’ve probably tried to stop on their own, and failed
–They hang out with other people who do a lot of cocaine
Barbara did not have or do any of these things. She was clear-minded, reliable, and even-tempered.
And then there’s this. During the entire two years that Bill and Barbara lived in Costa Rica, they had housemates—other people who lived with them and observed Barbara’s behavior, sleep patterns and emotional fluctuations much more closely than I was able to. I have talked with eight of these individuals. Not one of them witnessed her exhibiting behaviors that suggest she regularly consumed large amounts of cocaine.
For these reasons, I don’t buy it. She could certainly have used drugs and I would never have known it. Big deal. But a drug trafficker? And an addict? In need of rehab? Organized by her family in Czech? And eight housemates never noticed anything? Please.
Could I be wrong? I could. But me, you, eight housemates and dozens of friends? Or could it be the guy who’s in jail for what amounts to being a liar? Draw your own conclusion.
Next week let’s put the next piece of the story on the table under a bright light: The one about Barbara buying huge amounts of coke and smuggling it into Europe–with such success that, even now, it has never been investigated or even suspected by the authorities.
For the last 3 months, a guy who used to be my friend has been sitting in jail. Or whatever people in jail do—maybe a lot of pacing. He his name is Bill Ulmer, and he was the boyfriend of my friend Barbara Struncova, who disappeared in Costa Rica at the end of 2010. I don’t know what happened to her, but I do believe that Bill does and I do not believe that she is alive. Bill is not facing any charges related to Barbara, although her name was mentioned in court at the time of his arraignment. The charges he faces are:
(1) Misuse of passport
(2) Possession of identification document with intent to defraud
(3) Possession of a stolen identification document
(4) Possession and use of means of identification
(5) Aggravated identity theft.
All of these charges stem from the fact that he left Costa Rica on or around Dec 23, 2010 (18 days after Barbara was last seen) using his brother Wayne Ulmer’s passport. We could discuss how Bill came to be in Costa Rica with a passport that didn’t belong to him, but that’s another story.
Since Bill has been back in the USA, he has told anyone who will listen that Barbara had a raging drug addiction and that she was trafficking drugs to Europe. I find these claims so ridiculous on so many levels that until now, I have refused to even address them. But as Barbara’s 36th birthday approaches, and as CrimeWatchDaily prepares to air their investigations into this case, later in the month, I am feeling bold. And honestly? Really pissed.
So let’s go there.
Drugs? Are you kidding me? Before we delve into all the reasons why that is ludicrous, let’s examine why it is inappropriate.
It is inappropriate because engaging in illegal/immoral behavior is NOT a justification for a disappearance. Even if Barbara was a drug addict (like he says) and even if Barbara was a drug trafficker (like he says), she still vanished from the face of the earth one night and THAT IS STILL NOT OKAY.
Can I get an amen?
Who the hell cares what her imperfections were? Medical/personal/moral issues are ENTIRELY BESIDE THE POINT.
Even if she was a criminal (which she wasn’t), something terrible still happened to her, and Bill’s stories still don’t add up. And he seems to come up with a new one every few years.
I’m sorry, people-who-love-Bill-so-much-that-you-are-still-trying-to-believe-him. I am truly sorry. I pray for you. It must be a nightmare to have someone you love in the position he is in. But use your brain, for the love of God. If Bill isn’t lying, then everyone else in the world is. And if you think by “everyone else in the world” I am referring to myself and my imaginary friends, wait until you see what CrimeWatchDaily has put together.
I’m just saying. Prepare yourself.
In my next post, I will briefly (because it doesn’t take long!) examine why it is ludicrous to believe that Barbara was a drug addict. Next, I will (again, briefly) examine why it is ludicrous to believe that she was trafficking drugs across the Atlantic–especially using the method Bill named. Then we will move on to the question of how likely/unlikely it is that she was murdered (Oh! So I guess she didn’t run off with Martin after all, or go to Czech for rehab? Oops!) by a Costa Rican drug cartel.
I have news to share! I had a different post planned for today, but it can wait.
Six months ago I posted the story of how my friend Barbara Struncova disappeared. The story contains some small errors, some speculation and an immense amount of research. Whereas, technically, it must be considered fiction, it is a result of my profound and continuing effort to understand the truth. The segments of the story, put together, have received thousands of reads—far beyond anything I ever imagined. I can only understand this as the world answering back to me and to Barbara, “You have touched us.”
Many of you wrote back to me. I heard from Barbara’s friends, past friends and acquaintances of “Jim,” and many who have no connection to the story at all but are moved by this tragedy.
It is therefore with great joy that I share with you this piece of public information: “Jim”was arrested on May 28, 2015 in the airport in Denver, Colorado. He is being held, as I write these words, on charges of passport theft and identity fraud. There are no other charges at this time and it is not in the best interest of justice for me to speculate or further comment on anything that is not related to the existing charges. But it is safe to hope and pray, and it is safe say that I am jubilant as his lies begin to unravel! I feel that it is important for me to continue to call this individual “Jim” in this forum, as what I am suggesting he as done goes far beyond fraud. If you would like to know his real name, your friend Google will be happy to provide that.
There a poem that I want to share on this happy occasion. I wrote it months ago when this day was only a dream. It is for all of who have reached out to me for the sake of Barbara. Words are power.
Crimson Flag of Silence
We will raise for you
a monument of words.
We will build a tower
to the sky here
in this city of Babel
where all the voices
gather into one language
speaking your name,
We will not be
We will pile word
upon word up
to the doorstep of God,
constructing for you a fortress
an indestructible testament that we have
not imagined your life
or your death.
From its highest pinnacle we will
fly the crimson flag of
for Barbara Struncova
But I am not keeping secrets anymore.
Chapter Two, continued
There were traces of blood all over their bedroom. The police sprayed their mysterious spray across the floor, and there, beside the bed, a bright puddle began to glow, its center radiating like a dark, terrible sun. Small fluorescent smudges appeared. On the wall by the bed, an unmistakable hand print shone clear ghostly fingers.
“Whose hand…?” I asked, not wanting to know.
“We don’t know.” But there was more. “And in the closet— It looked clean in the daylight, but when the cops sprayed that stuff, it glowed. Bright. The whole closet.”
What the hell?
Maybe a worker hurt himself during construction. Terribly. Then he touched the wall. Maybe other renters once had a dog that lay there bleeding to death after a vicious fight. In the closet. A dog would like that.
“No, no,” the cops say. “Human blood.”
Is there a way they can be sure of that? What in God’s name happened in there? Is this fluorescent cop blood-spray even real?
I Google it. It’s real. Bleach activates it too, I read, and for a moment I feel better. Maybe it was just bleach. The cleaning lady spilled it.
Then I feel sick again. Who spills that much bleach in a closet? A floor mopped with bleach would have a uniform glow.
“The police think he kept her there for a day or more. They found one of Jim’s flip flops with blood on it and they took it to see if they can get a match from her family.”
Was it in a crime of passion? A fury out of control? Did he plan it?! Impossible.
Jim was as strong as an ox. He could have strangled any medium-sized adult with his bare hands, woman or man. He could have suffocated her with a pillow. Suffocation is quiet and, whatever happened, no one heard a sound.
But why the glow of so much blood? Or is it bleach? Does it make a difference? Even though Jim left with only a backpack, the pillows and bedding were gone from the room, and, in the bathroom, not one towel remained.
He made no secret of owning a gun but nothing suggested that shots had been fired. Did he stab her? Why, if he could so easily have suffocated her? Did her head crash against the cement wall or tile floor? Was she instantly unconscious? Why didn’t she scream?
Did he gag her first? Hold his hand over her mouth? No. He couldn’t have. He loved her.
And the saran wrap? The duct tape? Possibilities occur to me that are unmentionable. Maybe I watch too much TV.
What in God’s name happened to Barbara? Why?
The cops sprayed the blood spray through the common area and stood in stupefied silence as a glowing trail appeared, wide and solid, as if something heavy had been dragged out of their room, across the floor, around the pool, up the stair at the entrance, through the door and onto the front porch. Then it disappeared. The cops took their hats off, crossed themselves, and mumbled what sounded like, “Santa Maria.”
Just before the fading cover of that night gave way to dawn, the OIJ knocked on Randy’s door, demanding to examine his vehicle. Startled and stammering, he rummaged for the keys. They filled the old Trooper with spray, and there it was behind the last seat: the same eerie, nauseating glow.
Nobody’s dog died in Jim and Barbara’s closet. Whatever was in that closet slid out the front door of the house and disappeared forever from the trunk of that car.
And then, after that, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Jim was gone and there was no sign of Barbara anywhere. Ivan took away her things. No sign, ever, of the long board bag charged to the Czechs.
The police, having a crime with no criminal and no victim, turned their attention back to chasing thieves.
I tell myself the story a thousand ways, asking her silent ghost which version is true, begging her just to nod or twitch a finger when I get it right. I have tried everything. She is motionless.
Surely it must have begun with a fight. Truly.
Give me that much, Barbara.
He left the bar early—tired, bored, and annoyed that even though you all speak English, you kept slipping into Czech as if he wasn’t even there. Laughing hilariously, and him sitting there like stump.
You came home at 1:00 o’clock, early by Europe’s definition of a night out, late by Jim’s. But the Czechs came every year, and every year it was the same. Jim never seemed the least bit jealous.
I guess this time he waited up for you.
And what? Was he angry? Did he accuse you of cheating? Say you didn’t love him? Was he drunk? Were you? Did he ask you for money? Did you refuse? Say you’d had it with him? That you were sick of it? Did you tell him you couldn’t go one more day like this? But why would he kill you for that? Is there any way you are alive?
Did you know something about him and threaten to tell? Did you accuse him of something true and unspeakable? How did he become so terribly angry? Or was it anger at all?
Was he waiting for you in bed feigning sleep? Did you tiptoe in trying not to disturb, brush your teeth in the bathroom with the door closed and slip quietly into bed beside him, sliding a warm arm around his chest and kiss his ear? Did you think he would make love to you when he grabbed you by the throat?
Did he mean to kill you when you opened the door? Did you feel it in the air? Did you know something wasn’t right?
Did you know you were dying, Barbara?
What did he do to her, that beast? Press on her throat until she stopped thrashing? Hold a pillow on her face? Strike a deadly blow to her temple? Split her skull against the wall? Did he cut her with a knife, the animal? Why? What did she do to him but love him? What did he fear she would do?
Did he think we would believe him? And we might have believed him longer, if his lies had been less absurd, if he hadn’t told them just before her mother’s birthday, just before Christmas. When both came and went—and really, one was enough—everyone knew she was dead.
If he could have conjured up a sliver of concern, it would have helped. We might have thought for at least a minute that she really ran away, taking nothing, intending to return and perhaps somewhere in her adventures met with misfortune. We might have tried to believe he was innocent. He could have paced, called her sister, talked to the police, twisted his goatee, shed a tear. But nothing. Sneers, sardonic smirks and crazy bitch.
I think if he’d meant to do it, he wouldn’t have done it there. He would have taken her on a trip somewhere to a rented room. He would have taken her alone on a boat into the sea. He would have had the car and the board bag ready if he knew he was going to need them. He isn’t that stupid.
I make up a story to believe because I need one. In it, they become angry and say terrible things to each other. Wine makes her bold. And in a blind rage, he doesn’t care. For one second too long, he doesn’t care.
Then he smacks her face and waits for her to come to. And smacks her harder but nothing happens.
Bitch, wake up.
Now what has she done?
He shakes her and her body lolls. He presses his head to her chest where he can hear that her heart has stopped, and the flood of sorrow boils into pure rage at her pathetic weakness.
Now look what you have done to me. Got the last laugh. Died, you stupid bitch. Crazy bitch. Goddamn women, man.
Barbara Struncova disappeared on December 5, 2010 and is still one of Costa Rica’s cold case missing persons. This is her story according to me, as close to the truth as I am able to tell it.
I call it fiction in a fading hope that it is.
Make no mistake: I will never stop hoping that everything I have supposed is wrong.
Everyone in this story is a friend I have lost.
Straight from the red diary of the little girl who tells the tales in
When The Roll Is Called A Pyonder: Tales From a Mennonite Childhood.
Click the title for the link to buy.
April 17, 1980
Today I was sad and mad because in line I was behind Neil and Karen and I were pretending to fight about who was behind him. And Neil said to us, “One thing, just stay off my back.” And that did it and so from now on I’ll just act normal so Neil doesn’t hate me, and maby some day he’ll change his mind about me. And who says I don’t like him? Well I do like him. I went fishing today. In the evening we played Rook. Daddy won. I don’t think it’s fair that Wanda, Yvonne and Roger can mouth off to mommy and daddy all day and neighthor of them bother to say any thing about it. And after the Roock game I asked If I could have a cookie mommy said “No”. I asked again if I could have a cookie and I got mommy after me yelling. I went on my way to the lundry and I said, “Come on you guys!” Then I had mommy and daddy yelling at me. Karen can’t stand to be pushed around a little bit, but she can be yelled at all day, Well I can stand to be pushed around all day, but I can’t stand to be talked mean to or yelled at even just a little bit.
April 21, 1980
Today I got a letter from my penpal on the out side it said Do Not Bend. Inside where 2 post cards from the Neil (drawing of heart) Armstrong museum. Wanda’s cat, Cinnimin had kittens and so did another wild cat. I tried to make a wheel barrel today, but I didn’t get very far.
Celebrating my 9th birthday about 4 months before I started keeping this diary. Around the table clockwise are: Yvonne, Wanda, Grandma Zimmerman, Mom, Grandpa Zimmerman, Great Grandpa Horning, Great Grandma Horning and me. Dad is taking the picture. You can’t see it all that well, but I am wearing an infamous coloutte skirt with flaps, explained in When the Roll Is Called A Pyonder.