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Dear Diary, (In Loving Memory)

August 23rd 1997

​Dear Diary,

​Everybody keeps crying and saying stuff about Mr. Jim. Mr. Jim is Erin’s daddy. He’s so tall that when I ring Erin’s doorbell I always pray it’s not him cause he towers over me like one of those buildings in Baltimore I see sometimes. But if it’s not Mr. Jim answering the door, it’s Mrs. Deb.  But when Mrs. Deb answers she always looks right at my feet. I hate wearing shoes, even in the fall. I like to make my feet tough because if they are too soft I can’t climb trees or run down the sidewalk without them hurting. Besides, my tennis shoes might clash with my Indian war paint for when Beck and I play Indians. And I like feeling the cool grass, and the crunchy leaves under my toes. But according to Mrs. Deb, I have to wear shoes. Normally, I will run as fast as I can two houses down to Erin’s house and by the time I get there, my feet are tingling and burning cause they’re so cold. Nothing feels more wonderful than the bristles of the welcome mat underneath my stinging, red feet. Once I step on that mat it feels like when your hands are cold and you wash them in warm water. But when Mrs. Deb answers I know my feet are gonnahurt more. She always looks down at my bare feet and says, “You’re half-naked, go home.” I hope mommy and daddy don’t read this cause I’m not allowed to say naked, it’s a bad word. She slams the door shut before I have the chance to make up an argument about how it really isn’t that cold, even though I’m shivering. But then I have to run back home and get shoes and run back to Erin’s house and then maybe sometimes Mr. Jim answers. But he is sick now so he isn’t home a lot. They say if he takes medicine he should be fine but they say they don’t know. But I know. I know he will be fine. Medicine always makes people better. You can’t be sick forever.

 

October 15th

Dear Diary,

He is gonna die. He was on TV and they were talking about how the local fireman Jim Mitchell was sick and DYING. If TV says it then it’s true. I told my mom they have to give him more medicine and he will feel better. But mommy says they tried but it DIDN’T WORK! Medicine always works so maybe they were using fake medicine like M&M’s or grape juice like Becky and I use when we play doctors. I didn’t even know people could die. Well I did know people could die, but not people I know. And definitely not people’s daddies. My daddy won’t die, I don’t think ever, but Erin’s dad will soon. Very soon everyone says.

 

December 10th

​Dear Diary,

I told God to tell Mr. Jim I said hi. Erin told me that she has to move like I did cause without her daddy they don’t have any money. I cried when she told me that, because she’s been nice to me lately, but then I remembered I had lots of money. I went to Erin’s and brought all my quarters in a bag. I even wore shoes to make Mrs. Deb happy cause she’s always sad now. But when I got there she didn’t look at my shoes, she just looked at me and my bag of quarters. I toldher they were for her so that Erin didn’t have to move. I put them in her hand but she ignored them and held me so tight. I don’t think I would have minded if Mr. Jim had answered the door just this once.

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