Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lady Darley's Diary

In January 1993, Lady Darley sent me pages from her personal journal. Maybe she didn't think they were, but she composed her four-page handwritten loose-leaf narrative over nearly a fortnight, and as the pen and time wore on, she wandered through life, love and school... and wondered if she might be losing me.

She begins on January 20th...
Happy New Year Chris!

It's been such a long time since I heard from you, well over 6 months actually that I was beginning to think you weren't writing to me anymore. The letter I last wrote you you was a last try. If I hadn't have gotten a reply from you after that then I wasn't going to try anymore.

Oh, by the way, before I start my letter, did you ever see the movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg in it? It came out about nearly 3 years now because I first saw it when I was over in America in 1990. I got it for Christmas from [Arnold].

More tomorrow, I'm busy now.
That makes two of us. As I've explained previously, with college taking over my life, writing to Lady Darley took an unfortunate back seat.

She picks up the next day...
University of Derby 21st January 1993
Flamsted Library

Well, it's tomorrow as you can tell by the date! I'm at "Uni" now. I'm supposed to be working but seeing as I've read some American Studies and photography I figured I could have a bit of a break and write some more to you.

You don't really have to tell me why if you don't want to, but in case you do, why did you not want any of your, and I quote "buddies," to know that you had a penfriend? I guess it must be very differed over here because we'd see it as something which showed you as perseverant, that you had some kind of determination to carry on. But anyway, I know what it's like to get the mickey taken out of you for something like that and if you'd rather I didn't write to you at college -- then I won't. It's up to you to decide. Let me know in you next letter! Oh yeah, and just something before I switch onto another subject, what do you mean by, "I didn't want my buddies to know I had a pen friend, or something along those lines." Can you explain? I was confused again. You're not ashamed to be writing to me are you?
I wrote what? No, I wasn't ashamed to be writing to her; I was just too busy. At least I thought I was. This is the problem when I try to understand my thought process from more than two decades ago. It's like I'm two different people. Young Chris and Old Christopher can't get inside each other's heads. The toiling student and the would-be nobleman are worlds apart, and it's more than a bit sad.
O.k., O.k., this is the last time ever ever ever I'm going to ask you this. But I don't suppose you have heard from [your Raytown friend] or rung her like you said you might?
No and nope. That so-called friend barely want to acknowledge my existence when Lady Darley asked her about me several years ago, and now she's doing the same thing to Her Ladyship. I feel burned and I don't even want to bother with that other girl.

In my last letter, I told Lady Darley about some bumps in the road during a holiday get-together.
Luckily I don't have an uncle who knows it all, or at least thinks he knows it all. The only one of mine who's remotely like that lives in Toronto in Canada, and I only see him once in a blue moon. And thank goodness, because he's a complete pain in the [bleep].

Fathers seem to be the same world over, don't you reckon? When I got up this morning (6:15), my dad was about to blame me for the fact that I wasn't downstairs till 6:30. He said in a foghorn of a voice that if I didn't want to be downstairs at the time I said then I just shouldn't bother! I was so confused and astonished really by how stupid he can be sometimes that I nearly laughed. He hadn't even considered the fact that it would take me any time to get ready. As I told him, which he didn't appreciate (it may not take him any time, but it does other people) that got a few black looks as you can imagine!

Oh, I forgot to ask. How old are you now? Half the time I don't really see the points of arguing or being told off by whoever, because if something's done then it's done. What's the point in going on and on about it for hours on end? Pointless, don't you see.

We'll I'm going to have to finish again soon. I've got to go off to a lecture on the other side of the university. With new semester only just underway, I have to check the change over and room destinations and all that. I'll write more A.S.A.P. Till then, see you...
The letter doesn't end there. She picks up the next day...
22nd January 1993

Well it's Friday now and I've finished university for the week. Well I just have to ask you a question. Seeing as you are a man, I thought you'd know. What do boys like in girls? Do you like them to be super thin, wear short clothes, wear lots of make up. It's just that there was a lad in my writing course that I think is really really nice. In last semester I used to make a point of talking to him after lessons. But I always got the feeling that I was doing all the work, that it was me doing all the work. He does speak to me, but unless I make extra conversation he only says "hello." What do you think I should do? Should I leave it or what?
I don't know what Young Chris said. Maybe Young Chris told her that some people are just shy and withdrawn and they feel like they can express themselves better on the page -- they were in a writing class, after all -- than in conversation. Perhaps Young Chris told her to be patient and try again. As for Lady Darley's other questions about boys, maybe Young Chris would have told her he liked his girls to be pretty and smart, not too thin, not morbidly obese, wearing more than just a smile, and with preferably less makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker. Aspiring Laird Christopher would tell Lady Darley he preferred beautiful, well-mannered and vibrant ladies in beautiful polonaise gowns who could dance a minuet and a Scottish reel with equal precision and festiveness. But that's another blog post, and most of you knew that already.

Lady Darley pauses again and picks up the next day...
How do you get along with your brother? Are you quite close? My sister and I are sometimes but we do argue a lot.
Sounds like us. We weren't as close as we should have been, either in distance or in relationships. Sibling rivalry followed us into our teens, but by the time were were on our own, we had let it go. Either that, or we just stopped pushing each other's buttons.
One of the main things we argue about is whether I should move in to hall next year. I would love to because then I would feel as though I had the chance to be part of the student group. I do have friends there but you'll understand that I feel a bit out of it, well not in one sense but in another I feel that if I was there I'd been more independent. But I'm really bad timekeeper and I guess that I'd miss quite a few of my early morning lectures which would really defeat the object of going. My sister gets me up in time to catch the bus. And she is really quite useful at helping me do my assignments. But if my bus stops, or it runs any earlier, I'll definitely have to apply for a place in the halls. I'll keep you posted.

I'll have to stop now AGAIN because I've lost your letter and I have to start work again soon!
She doesn't resume the letter for several more days...
1st February

It's me again, sorry it's taking so long for me to write back, but I've been very busy. I've got my results back. I passed four out of five modules and I have to resit one module. I got an "N" grade, which is 2% a basic pass. But I am allowed not to fail one of my courses in a year, but I have to redo.

Now back to [David]. I won't bore you to death, but I still think he's really nice. The writing class on Friday has been split up into two group and yes, you've guessed it, I'm not even in his group. I know it seems really silly, but I do like him, I found him so interesting. He just seemed so nice, really caring but I might as well have been a giraffe with, "Yes, [David] it's me and I think you are really nice.

More in a mo'.

What I'm actually trying to say is do you think I should try and find out if he has a girlfriend or something as it might help, don't you reckon. I haven't liked anyone as much for a really long time. Sometimes I get the feeling that he does like me as when I look in his direction I often catch his eyes already looking at me. I can dreamily hope he likes me, but then it's my genuine insecurity. I'm sure he wouldn't like me. What do you think, what should I do?
Pity Lady Darley. She's asking the right question of the wrong person, one who doesn't date. One who has given up on dating. Except for Jessica, I carried around too much baggage from interactions with young ladies gone wrong. What I told her, if anything, had to be warped through that bad experience.

She pauses yet again and picks up the next day for a few final paragraphs, responding to -- I presume -- what I told her about having to help interview a woman who had just lost her son in a triple murder in Columbia, Missouri, the kind of town where triple murders don't happen... and especially don't happen like this one did, at a convenience store.
It certainly was a good experience for you to interview that woman. Good job, you weren't aware of what laid on your report, don't you think? I don't mind tabloid journalism. It offers people something quick and easy. Just presenting bits of information, 90% of people don't want facts. Who reads that kind of journalism?
This is where you make up your own snarks and jokes. I'm not going there.
No, I didn't get to see "The Rocky Horror Show" when I was in Kansas City. I'd only been there about a day and a half when it came, and I was still very ill. I had really bad jet lag, and I couldn't stand up without being sick. (nice, heh). I would have liked to have seen it!
Her first 24 hours in America and my first 12 hours in London were the same. Jet lag and lack of sleep are evil twin brothers. We went to see some friends of my grandparents, and I felt embarrassed to have to ask them right off where the W.C. was.
The idea of the royal family thing in the press is, to be quite truthfully, getting a little boring. There's always something on the TV about them. But I do think Prince Charles is nasty with the way he almost flaunts Camilla Parker Bowles. He seemed to have only married Princess Diana as a means to make babies, nice heh?

It made me smile when you'd written British press laws were strict, a lord something or other is trying to get them made far stricter. He wants councils to to vet each piece before it goes out, which is absolutely stupid as it will get that papers can only print what someone else [says] is o.k. Id don't believe that they went too father as people are allowed to know what is going with the royal family. They know what position they are in, that if they choose to do things then it's their own fault. Callous I know, but true. I don't think Princess Di is the victim. She seems very manipulative, she's sure she has to get her own way.

College is all right, I've missed a couple of lectures this week, but I just feel like reading at home. Do you know what I mean?

It was the University of Missouri and Central Missouri State University where I was thinking of going. I'm still throwing a few ideas around. It would only be for my final year 94-95 anyway, so I've got a long time to go yet anyway.

Well that's all for now.

Hope I don't embarrass you too much by writing to you at college.

Write me soon,
[Lady Darley]
She couldn't embarrass me any more privately than what I'm likely doing to myself on this blog. C'est la vie.

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