Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1 January (age 14)

Adolescence is just one big walking pimple. – Carol Burnett

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

My childhood had the luxuriousness of being just that- a childhood.  So unlike the childhoods of many of my art therapy students who I hold in my heart tonight.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum


At last.  Imagine a whole year has gone by.  This year went by so fast.  We live in Sweden.  Ballet has become my life.  Lori, my friend from Grade 7 in Canada, was here for the summer, and we have a new queen- Silvia.  We attended their wedding (outside the church) and I got to see her.  She is so fine.  We have a new government (doesn’t interest me so much but I am glad Prime Minister Palme is gone).  I met prima ballerina Anneli Alhanko, and premier dancer Per Arthur Segerström.  I have become crazy about animals- mostly dogs- and most important of all- we have a new dog- Milton!  He is my best friend.  Today we went to the cinema and saw Flåklyparens Grand Prix.  My favorite character was Ludwig.  I have to buy a Ludwig doll.  It’s the #2 film in Sweden.  I hope to audition for the Opera Ballet (Operan).


As I mentioned, I hate Gitte and Lena.  They were my best friends at school, but I had a feeling they didn’t want me hanging around.  I was the 5th wheel.  When we were going on a field trip to Birka, they never bothered to pick me up at our meeting spot as planned.  I missed the field trip. The relationship ended there.  They are always trying to show off and they speak a little extra loud when they talk about dogs.


Today I am writing at 9:30 AM.  No one is awake.  Yesterday I got two presents from Lori- a deck of cards with Snoopy, and a necklace.  I have to write to Lori, Linda, and Dana. Rudolf Nureyev was on TV yesterday, but just for a little while.  I would also like to become a jazz dancer.

Fredrik and I were horsing around in the bathroom and I laughed so hard that I peed my pants.  I am so ashamed.  I have to stop doing that.  Today I have to paint and draw, write, clean and go for a walk with Milton… Today I am not going to be hyper and I have to help mom.  I am not allowed to run to the fridge.  Harry Belafonte was on TV.  He sings so beautifully.  Have to start going to bed earlier.


The wonderful film- Beatrix Potter’s World- was on TV again.  It is about a little girl who draws and writes stories and the Royal Ballet perform in the film.  I love it.  I don’t want to be a jazz dancer.  Nothing can beat classical ballet!

The snowy weather has returned.  Fredrik and I were out skiing and I thought it would be so glorious to ski on top of the snow, but the skis broke through the frozen layer and I slammed head first into the icy layer- skinning my nose and cutting my chin.  We laughed.


Today I went into the woods with Milton and followed animal tracks.  I found rabbit tracks and deer tracks.  I found a spot where a fox had killed a rabbit and there was fur and blood everywhere.  That’s not a bad thing, because one has to kill survive, but when humans kill each other in unnecessary ways for unnecessary reasons, I want to scream.  I dreamt about war last night: the city was being bombed.  Our neighbor sat in the tub and a soldier came in through the bombed out ceiling and she sang for him.  He fell asleep and she ran away.  We moved to our summerhouse, and the traffic line-ups were really long.  Milton was along.  And my ballet pictures.  Our bomb shelter was under our summerhouse.  I hate it.  War was on TV yesterday.  Today at school we were trained what to do in the event of a nuclear war.  Will it ever happen? When I walked home from the bus there was an air raid siren drill.  I ran all the way home.


We were out on the lake yesterday (Malmsjön).  The ice was about 12 cm thick.  Fredrik caught a little perch.  Milton loved being out on the ice.  We could walk all the way out to the two islands.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  I can’t understand why my feet freeze all the time.  It is so painful.

Every night I say: Good night Milton, Tippy, Fredrik, Anders, Mamma, Pappa, all animals in the whole world, ballet, Lillemor, Anneli Alhanko, Per Arthur Segerström, Maud, Kathy, all people, everything, all everything, all, good night Milton, good night Thorsen.  It’s a habit.

Today I started school and ballet.   The ballet sweatshirts don’t arrive until next week.  School was usual.  Typical me, I forgot my ruler and had to borrow one from Ulla Hyllman and because of that, I was late for Religion class.  Blah!  I have to some Math tomorrow, and French.  Gitte and Lena are proud because they went to a great cat show.  I would have liked to have gone, but didn’t have time.  They don’t need to brag about it.

Maud is in my ballet group now.  It’s really fun.  Next time I am going to have to ask Lillemor, my dance teacher, about the Opera Ballet audition recommendation.  I don’t dare.  Maud is really good.  I have to express myself and keep my bum in and maintain my balance.  I had my hair in pigtails.  Not terribly ugly, but not nice either.


It’s like this- everyone stares at me at school again.  I hope it’s because I have such a nice dress and not because they think that I am retarded.  I wish I wasn’t so shy and when I try to speak only a hacking cough comes out of my mouth.

If I got three wishes, they would be:

1.  Be a ballet dancer

2.  Be as good as Nadia Comaneci in gymnastics

3.  Milton and the whole family live for all eternity.


We have two new students in our ballet class.  It ruins everything.  They have gone to the Opera Ballet, but had to leave, and so went to the State School.  Their names are Karin and Carina. They are so good!  And supple.  And tiny.  I get so irritated that I am not that good.  But they do not have good point when they jump.  Until now, I was one of the most flexible in the class and thought I had a good chance at getting into the Opera Ballet, but now I’ll have to go through the rest of the year depressed.  Maud feels exactly the same.  They are so sure en pointe and have good balance.  Stupid me was going to show off.  Then Lillemor says, “Do tendu jetés en balance.”  God, I have such a bad sense of balance.  The pointe shoes really hurt.  Everything went wrong, and the sweatshirts won’t arrive for another two weeks.  My ballet suit is so see-through.  Blah!  Now I don’t dare to ask Lillemor about the Opera Ballet.  What am I going to do?


Mom has a cold.  I want to do what Mom would like me to do.  Yesterday I tried on jeans from Caroline from Canada.  They are not big, but they are loose.  Mamma thinks they are nice.  But I wouldn’t dare wear them to school.  I want to do what you want me to do, Mom.  I don’t want you to have to go to work and to wear yourself out.  I know I am lazy.

At school, I feel so boring.  I am so bad at talking about interesting things.  Nobody is interested in who I am.  I hope it will be better in Grade 10.  I am going to take Biological Sciences.

Maud has gotten some new material for a skirt.  Do you think we can put together a show?  You have to have permission and to rent out a venue, and to get people to attend.  But our dances are so short.  But I am sure it will be fine.

Everyone is talking about a school camping week.  I don’t want one.  Just think all those ones, you know- Steven and those ones.  You know the ones.  You know how they are.  I wouldn’t dare and I wouldn’t want to be away from home for a whole week.  I don’t have anybody to be with.  I hope it doesn’t happen.

… I have to draw something.  Good night!  10:11 PM!  Go to bed.


(Karin and Carina aren’t so good after all.)  Yesterday when I went into the changing room at ballet, I told the girls that Gary Gilmore was executed 15 minutes ago.  Maud said his last wish was to be executed today.  In the newspaper it had said that he might be executed in a month.  Then later they announced on TV that he was executed 4:07 PM Swedish time.  I noticed in the paper that he could sketch so well…

A plane crashed in Bromma the other day.  22 people died.  Everyone.  It’s terrible.  And they found a dog on a leash under the plane.  Poor thing.

Queen Silvia is pregnant.  Wonder if it will be a prince or a princess.

Thomas H. is gross.  He hovers over me.  He borrowed my comb today.  And it turned all white!  I rinsed it off.  He has bought new cowboy boots.  Duck feet.  It’s not easy.


When I was walking at Central Station, an old man came up to me.  He only had time to say- Do you have a…?  I was so scared, that I turned away immediately.  Poor him!  Why did I have to be so stupid?  I would like to go back and give him 100 kronor.  I feel so sorry for him.  There is nothing dangerous about him.  When I was on the subway, an old woman was standing beside where I was sitting.  I was talking to Maud.  Another lady stood up instead of me to give the old woman a seat.  I feel ashamed.

Maud was pushed down the stairs at her school, and she hurt her knee so she can’t dance.  That is too bad.  She is watching the class instead.  My leg hurts.  Tomorrow I am going to put my hair in a bun.  I get so flushed in ballet class.  Purple-red.  How do I get rid of it?  Every time the same thing.  The new two students have been to Ellen Rasch’s ballet school.


Milton’s 1st birthday!  I bought him dog chocolates, Frolics, and he got a flower and a long walk.  You can tell he has changed.  I remember when he first came into our family.  When he fell every second step, and when you had to run after him with a cloth to clean up the mess!  When he ate, he jumped into the food bowl, and gobbled up the pablum and became round as a ball.  And when I showed him in the dog show!  Puppy class – 6th place!  25 puppies.  Fredrik and Milton came in 3rd in the dog/owner look-alike contest.  He did not like obedience training.  He chased after a teacup poodle the whole time.  When he first lifted his leg to pee, it was so funny!  All of a sudden- there it was!


Maud and I went to see the movie, Bugsy Malone.  What a movie!  Just kids.  If only I could be in a film like that.  And they speak in such a cute way.  Bugsy and Blousey were so cute together.  I would really like to be involved.  It’s a lot better over there.  In Sweden, the films are so boring.  I dream of being Blousey and to collide with Bugsy and he would want to be with me and he would try to make me a better dancer and to get a job.  It stirs the butterflies in my tummy just thinking about it.  Or- I would want to like someone and we would be shy in the beginning and we would help each other and stuff like that.

Now I have to do my stupid homework.  I wish something fun would happen to me like being in a film.  To get into the Opera Ballet.  Instead, I go to school, hang out on the train, walk through the gross Central Station.  Someone would recognize me and when I walk on the street, they would say, “That’s Katarina.  She is so talented.”  Now all they do is whisper behind my back.  Sigh.


… I am so tired of school.  Guess who just sat down.  Thomas H.  He is so creepy.  Everybody must think that I like him.  But it is just a coincidence that we sit on the same bench in the same classes.  And we even have the same kind of pencil case.  I have to try to forget about him.

I am so mad that I sprained my ankle during PE and it hurts so much.  I hope I can dance en pointe today.  I need the training.  I hope my gym socks will help me support the foot.

I have my hair pulled back with barrettes.  It’s ugly, but I can’t have my hair down because my hair is so static.  I hope everybody thinks that I think it looks good.  It looks nice at home but never at school…

Rosenborgs Skolan, Södertälje, Sweden



As part of the Hidden World of Girls project, NPR collected intimate diary entries. With enough of them, they could form a comprehensive tapestry — from elation to depression — of life experiences. And give us insight into a world most people rarely see.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. michele trask says:

    I love the diary entries!!!! they are so fabulous! i did not realise that you spoke swedish and that you grew up in sweden! how fantastic! mt

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