However, I thought I knew the answer to this question. I thought I wanted to be an astronaut. In March of 1983, I was 10 years old, and my 5th grade teacher had us write a time capsule letter to ourselves, to be opened 10 years later. I was sure that I had said somewhere in that letter that I wanted to be an astronaut. It was nearly two years from the date of the first space shuttle mission - and before any of the shuttle disasters - and that floating around weightless in space looked majorly fun to me. Little did I know at the time that the classes in the hard sciences and the G-force training required to qualify for such an occupation were well beyond the scope of my interest in either.
So this post prompt led me to dig out my baby book, where that letter has been safe-kept since it was written. I didn't open it on time in 1993, only sometime in the late 90s... and I hadn't looked at it more than once or twice since then. So I was amused when I dug it out again this evening. Here, in all its embarrassing glory, is the letter I wrote to my future self [with notes from my current self] when I was ten years old:
Dear Ms. ____________________ (1),
I'm sitting in reading now. Mr. Schlosser said that at the end of the year I'll be able to grade him as a teacher, so far I've decided on a B for him (2). But of course this is before I've gotten my 3rd report card.
(3). When I grow up I want to
My favorite TV programs are:
- Little House on the Prairie
- You Can't Do That on Television
- Black Beauty
My favorite subjects are Art and Library.
Oh, speaking of teachers being stupid, Mr. Starz (5) is such a _____ it's too bad to
My family consists right now (6) of Mom, Daddy, Jeff, Me, and we're in the process of adopting Alex. There are three siblings that I want as brothers and sisters. Lisce, 14, Harry, 10, and Cathy, 7. (7)
My best friend is Sheryl (8) and Kim H______ is a brat (9).
Next year, I'll go to Columbus [Middle School] or
My favorite sports is skating and swimming. (10)
We have a Apple II+ computer and I'm learning to program it.
When I get big I want to be an astronomer. (11) And I'll be 20 when I read
(1) Apparently at the time, 10 years seemed so impossibly far away that I wasn't sure I wouldn't be married by the time I was 20, so I left the surname blank. Note the use of Ms. - to hedge my bets, I guess.
(2) Looking back, Mr. Schlosser was one of my favorite teachers, so I was a tough grader!
(3) OK, this crush is seriously embarrassing, but I love how I made sure to tell my future self who he was, just in case I forgot. (Good thing, too.) And also that I said I'd like to marry his twin - not because he has one - but because I think the realist in me acknowledged, even at that age, that I was never going to marry a real TV star.
(4) I have no idea which teacher is Mrs. Kilomeyer or what she did to turn my 10 year old self into such a little potty mouth, but I guess since this was going to be sealed up for 10 years, I felt free to speak my mind.
(5) Mr. Starz was the gym teacher who stymied my lofty academic achievement ambitions with a C every term for my entire elementary school career. As I've often said, I'm no athlete. But it wasn't like I didn't try. I wonder what the epithet that was too bad to say or write was? I'm not sure I knew the f word.
(6) & (7) This paragraph makes a lot more sense if you know that my parents took in about 40 foster kids throughout my childhood. I have no memories of the coveted siblings named in the letter, but I can only assume they were foster kids that I wanted to stay around.
(8) Still one of my oldest and dearest friends.
(9) The playground bully-girl who, after her transfer to the school in fourth grade, quickly discovered how easy it was to make me cry. (Dropped the surname in case she googles herself!)
(10) Let me be clear - I didn't DO these sports; I merely enjoyed watching them.
(11) So there you have it - apparently I wanted to study the stars when I grew up, rather than fly among them. Or maybe I was confused, as a ten-year-old, about the proper name of my childhood career ambition.
(12) "I remain, Myself" (!?) I have no idea where I would have picked up such an old fashioned, yet curiously inspiring, sign off to a letter written at the age of 10. But it's a good thing to hope to remain, no?