Julie's secrets, Natalie knew, would be more painful, more private ones than her own had ever been. But she saw when she flipped the pages that Julie's method of keeping a journal had been much like her own.
October 10th. (The printed January 1st crossed out in green ink, and carefully relettered with the correct date.)
I hate it here. There is nothing—NOTHING—to do, and everyone hates me anyway. It's because of the socks. In Detroit we wore our socks up, and here they wear them down. Everyone laughed when I came into homeroom the first day with my socks up. How was I supposed to know? And I'm way behind in Geometry, too. There's a cute boy in homeroom, but he was one of the ones who laughed loudest at my socks.
If I ever get it all straight, I think things will be okay. Socks down (it feels so stupid, that way). Pony tails are out. I have to wear my hair down all the time. You tuck the baggy part of your gym suit under, and embroider your name on the back with that thread that turns into different colors. Some of the kids are nice. I'm trying out for cheerleader. And the house is really neat. My room is painted blue. Mom's making plaid curtains for it.
I made it! Cheerleader! I didn't think I would, because I was new, but no one else could do a back flip. Margo and Anne invited me to go to the movies Friday.
I can't believe how cold it is here. And it will get worse. It snowed Thursday and there was no school. Mom and I made cookies. The house is so far up the hill and away from town that the other kids can't ever come over. I washed my hair and put it in pin curls, but it looks awful, curly. Margo has natural curls, and says she wishes hers was straight, like mine.
Tryouts for "Caesar and Cleopatra." I think I'll get Cleopatra because my hair is right. I'll never remember the lines, though.
They announced the play parts, and I did get Cleopatra. Tony Gearhart is Caesar. Ugh. I hate him.
Margo said that Tony told someone he wishes he didn't get the part because he doesn't like me. Because I'm affected. What's that supposed to mean? That I don't have a Maine accent? I can't help it. He wouldn't go over too big in Detroit, either.
Well. No one asked me to the Thanksgiving dance. Everyone in the whole school is going, I think, except me. I can't figure it out. The teachers all like me. Margo likes me, I think. Practically everyone else acts as if they're scared of me. Margo says the other girls are jealous because I'm pretty. What do they have to be jealous of, when the boys don't like me, either? I hate this town so. I'd give anything to be back in Detroit.
Thanksgiving vacation. Everyone is going skiing. I'm the only one in the whole school who doesn't know how to ski. I'll probably read twelve books over the long weekend. Margo said the dance was great. Who cares.
I met the neatest guy at the library. His name is Terry and he's home from Dartmouth on vacation. He bought me a Coke at the drugstore and asked me to go to the movies tomorrow night. Mom and Dad say they have to think it over because he's so much older. Big deal. He's twenty. What difference does five years make? Dad is three years older than Mom.
They let me go and I had the neatest time. Terry has a car. The movie was dumb, but afterward we got a Coke and talked for a long time. Terry hates Simmons' Mills too, even though he graduated from high school here and was captain of the basketball team. Here's what he likes: basketball, the theater (he goes to Boston to see plays!), Captain Kangaroo (?), Sophia Loren (!), chocolate marshmallow ice cream, cashmere sweaters, and beer (!). I asked him to come to "Caesar and Cleopatra," even though I probably won't be any good. But he has to go back to Dartmouth tomorrow night. Ugh.
Terry came over this afternoon and we walked in the woods behind my house. I got snow in my boots. He asked me to write to him at Dartmouth! He probably won't write back. But he did kiss me goodbye. I mean really kissed me. You can tell he's not just a kid. School tomorrow. I hate to go back ... What a great vacation.
The play went pretty well. Tony blew a couple of lines, but I remembered all mine. Everyone said I looked terrific in my Cleopatra makeup and costume. But after it was over (I found out later) all the kids went to Tony's house, and I wasn't invited. I don't even care. I got a postcard from Terry, so now I can write back without feeling stupid.
Terry answered my letter right away. His letter was so much more mature than mine. I'll have to be more careful, writing. He talked about his courses. He takes Economics, Political Science, Geology, English, and Calculus. He must be a brain. And he said he went to a dance at Bennington ... a girls' college. Then he said no one at Bennington was as pretty as me!
There's going to be a Christmas dance at school. Margo's mother is making her a new formal. No one will ask me, I know. They're all nice enough to me in school, but then when school ends in the afternoon, it's as if I don't even exist. I sit up here in this castle on the hill and feel sorry for myself all the time. But I got another letter from Terry. He signed it "Love."
I can't believe it! I wrote and asked Terry if he'd be home for vacation in time for the Christmas dance on the 22nd, and he called to say yes! Wait'll I show up at that dumb dance with him. That'll put a few people in their places. It's too late to get a new dress. But I can wear the pink one I got in Detroit last spring. No one's seen it here.
You should have seen their faces when Terry and I showed up. I mean you should have seen their faces! We got there kind of late. He came to pick me up on time, but then we sat in his car outside the school while he drank two cans of beer before we went in. I had a couple of sips. He said it would be impossible to get through a high school dance without it. I think he's probably right. But it was a great dance. A couple of other guys, high school kids, asked me to dance, but mostly I danced with Terry. You should have seen the other girls watching. He brought me a gardenia corsage. It's turning all brown at the edges, but I'm saving it anyway. We made out in the car, afterward, in my driveway, until Daddy started blinking the porch lights.
Mom and Daddy gave me a camera for Christmas and two cashmere sweaters ... one yellow, one gray! Grandma and Grandpa sent money, and Aunt Sue sent me a gorgeous blouse. And I got lots of other stuff. But best of all ... Terry gave me a silver ring with the Dartmouth crest on it! I only gave him a book of Shaw's plays, but he liked it, I could tell. I'm wearing his ring on a chain around my neck so Mom and Daddy won't see it. They'd ask what it means. I don't really know what it means, because I didn't have the nerve to ask Terry that. I suppose we're engaged to be engaged, or something. I feel so much older than fifteen.
It's scary, sometimes, being with Terry. Like tonight, we were supposed to go to the movies. Only after we drove off from my house, he decided he didn't want to go to the movies at all. He just wanted to park. He got mad at me when I said no. He said in college, that's what everybody does. He said well, he'd just take me back home, then. So I gave in, and we drove up the River Road and parked behind the mill. I don't know what to do. I can't lose Terry because he's all I have. All the other kids are off skiing. Even if they weren't, they wouldn't call me. And of course, I love Terry. I'm quite sure of that, I think.
Terry called and said he was sorry about last night. We talked a long time. He said he really loves me. He wants to marry me someday, when he's finished Dartmouth (2 years!) and maybe law school (3 more years!) By then I'll be 20. That's a long time to wait. When I told him that, he said we don't have to wait. I am so scared by him sometimes. That's strange, to be scared by someone you are more or less engaged to. I wish there were someone I could talk to. Not my parents. They'd just die. Maybe Margo. But she's off skiing with the kids from school. I wish I had a sister. I'm so lonely sometimes.
My mother told me there's a party New Year's Eve at Tony Gearhart's. She asked why I wasn't going. I couldn't tell her I wasn't invited. So I said that I was going out with Terry and that we'd probably go to the party. But the truth is that I think Terry's mad at me. I asked him yesterday about New Year's Eve, and he said his parents were going out that night, and that maybe he and I could go to his house and celebrate the arrival of 1960. I knew what he meant. I said no, I didn't want to go to his house, so he said well, maybe he'd find someone who would. But that I'm the one he really loves. I believe him, too. He gave me the ring.
I called Terry and told him I would go with him, wherever he wanted to go, New Year's Eve.
January 1st, 1960.
It's a new year, and I'm all different. I don't feel much different. I feel strange, though. I suppose I shouldn't have gone, with Terry, to his house. Then nothing would have happened. But if I hadn't, I would have been all alone here on this hillside, feeling sorry for myself. As it was, at least I had him, and he said he loved me, even afterward, when he took me home. It was very scary, and exciting, but not the big deal that I expected. To tell the truth, I think Terry was just as scared as I was, just as much an amateur. We both felt kind of stupid afterward, and decided we wouldn't let that happen again. He's going back to Dartmouth tomorrow, anyway.
School again. Everything is so boring. I got a B on a French test. Margo said that Tim McLain likes me. He's not bad-looking.
Not much happening lately. I haven't heard from Terry even though I've written him twice. I saw his father at the drugstore, and he said they haven't heard from him either, and probably he's very busy getting started in the new semester. Tim is going to give me ski lessons this weekend. I'll probably make a fool of myself.
Hey, I'm not bad at skiing! I bought a red knitted hat, and Tim says I look like Elizabeth Taylor. Hah.
I can't believe it. I just checked the calendar, and then I went back and checked last month's calendar, and I'm sure I had my period before the Christmas dance, so now it's overdue and I've never been late before. I know I can't be pregnant. At least I'm almost positive, because (1) it only happened once, and it's only in books that it only happens once and you get pregnant and (2) it was all over so fast, how could anything have happened to make me pregnant? and (3) Terry said he was being careful, whatever that meant.
Maybe I should write and tell Terry.
Tim took me skiing and I went up the T-bar without falling four times. Fell the fifth time, and everyone behind me tripped over me, but they all laughed, including Tim, who is very, very nice. No mail from Terry. No anything else, either. I am petrified. Maybe if I ski a lot and fall a lot, hard.
February 7 th.
I can't tell my parents. I just can't.
I wrote to Terry and told him. No answer. Now what? Just keep skiing. Keep falling. Take hot baths. Pray.
Well. I suppose I've known for a long time, but now it's official. Julie Jeffries, the youngest pregnant person in Simmons' Mills, Maine.
I was so scared, and Terry didn't answer my letters, and I knew I had to do something, and I thought of killing myself, and knew that wasn't the answer. I couldn't tell my parents. Finally I happened to see Dr. Therrian on the street, and I remembered how nice he's always been to me. So I went to his office, and told him everything. I cried and cried. Bless him. He was so terrific. He examined me (ugh) and confirmed what I already knew, that I'm two months along. We talked a long time, about Simmons' Mills, and about how I had felt so lonely, and when Terry came along he and I both acted foolishly, probably for different reasons. We talked about what I should do. First, Dr. Therrian says I must tell my parents. That's rough. I'm trying to get up my nerve. Then ... because I don't have the nerve to, or don't even want to, I guess ... Dr. Therrian is going to call Terry at Dartmouth, and talk to him. He (Dr. T.) thinks the best thing to do is arrange to have the baby (BABY! I can't even write the word without cringing) adopted by some great family who wants a child. In the meantime, I have to take millions of vitamins and go see Dr. Therrian once a month. Or more often, if I want, just to talk. It's so good to have someone to talk to.