Marcy S., age 16, Tennessee


Dear Diary,

Well, here I am, flat on my back (or rather I’m sitting up now) in bed with a slight and very unpleasant case of the flu. It was terribly dark and rainy and damp when Mom woke at 6:40 this morning, and, with Mom’s and Dad’s assistance the thermometer made the final decision that I should stay home from school today and have a most unwelcome visit from the doctor. I was feeling pretty well except for sore throat, hoarseness, cough, and headache. And when Dr. Neergaard came he gave me a dose of pills, a prescription for some medicine, and the directions that I could be up and around tomorrow if I were better but not out until Sunday. That means missing two whole days of school! Boo-hoo!

Mother finally consented to my sitting up and I amused myself with paper dolls, writing a long letter to Margaret Spradlin and resting. Meantime the sun had been struggling unsuccessfully with the clouds and pretty soon it streamed brightly through the windows. Mother said it was just like Spring outside — so mild and lovely — and we heard a little song-sparrow singing. Oh why did I have to be sick now? But it’s my own fault so I can’t very well complain.

After dinner, for which we had some quail which Mrs. Moore gave us, at 1:30 Mother and Daddy left for Wartburg to attend a funeral at which Pap had been asked to sing. I settled down for a sleep in a nice, too-warm bedroom (when the doctor asked me if I had chills I assured  him that it was the exact opposite — I’ve been hot ever since last night) with only one shade partway up. It was so cozy and I lay and dreamed for a half hour before finally drifting off to a 45-minute nap. When I awoke I was perspiring sompun’ awful, but it was still very comfortable and drowsy. Didn’t seem a bit like winter — much more like Spring. So I dreamed some wonderfully impossible dreams until 15 till 4:00 — the fateful hour for taking my horrid-tasting green medicine — you can smell it a mile away.

There were three knocks at the door during Mom and Dad’s absence. They returned about 4:00. Dad went to work and Mom sat in the bedroom with me and sewed while I read “Helen’s Babies,” which Mrs. Winslow gave me for Christmas. It is awfully funny and I’m afraid my throat suffered slightly from my uncontrollable laughter. Mrs. McClure came to see how I was and then Mary (who ’phoned at noon to inquire after my health) brought my books and assignments. Also a Life magazine and a sweet (mostly) note. She said so many people asked her about me today — and she told Mother that the room seemed so empty without me. I can’t believe that people really miss me but, honestly, I’m going to try best from now on to live a more kind, thoughtful, and unselfish life so that people will miss me in the future.