Selected pages from Umi’s diary from the early 1960s.
Notes: Reading these entries was revealing and relatable, which made them a bit heartbreaking. I found myself most struck and surprised by her concerns about her weight. When I look at photos from the time, all I see is a healthy-looking pre-teen. But it’s how we see ourselves that counts, right? Like me, she was tall for her age, which as she notes “caused complications” in a world where the gender norm is for “the guy” to be taller than “the girl.” When you add that on to being a Black girl, who is integrating a white school in a 1960s America, how else could she see herself?
You are my first personal response I can really put my thoughts into. Soon you will see a lot of me in this book.
Today I cried because of my weight and I still eat a lot. I really half like Dum Stupid etc. Ricky Boykin. I don't say it, but it gets me into trouble. Ricky hates me especially after the note writing (dirty notes) and calls me fat and chubby. I can't give up eating!
Leaving for camp
5 years later saw Ricky who's brother Roger is in my club & told Ricky about [what] he called me. He apologized & wanted to to seal it with a kiss but I let the kiss go But I learned to see the inside of a boy before the outside He's still [illegible] and reformed after being in in jail and on dope
Believe it or not the scale said 151 just 2 days before it said 156. I hope it is write [sic]. I going to C.Y.O. I will try best to get aquainted [sic].
Getting to like it. I came up with my friend Gail and my second cousin Ronda.
Today I swore on the Holy Bible that never had candy up until I was 4 or 5 yrs. I believe I haved sin! It scared me I'm afraid only the Lord can help me You witness this.
Today I just discovered how boy crazy I am. Look at this last I promise you I'll wait till my time (if I the boy[s] in LP [Louis Pasteur] , Stuart Weisss, Michael Young, John Walker, New Boy (Mike ) name Andy Topas, Mr Wexner & Parness [arrow] Gordon Ronald Marty)
But in spite I still have a make believe crush on a miraculos [sic] made up "Johnny" a good last name is "Landers." There are people by that name & because of this lie I spent $7.06 on a heart bracelet for a present (faked) from him. Some of my friends want to see him. I am in double trouble. There might be a person on earth like him (same name) in France maybe (I hope)
I have been having trouble with Dorothy, Stella and Randy. Its [sic]not my day for social life. Michael whom I like is probably sick of me right after people said to him I liked him
I am heavier & taller than him which might cause some complications He knows I like him (oh God help me 2nd & the others 1st) I know I'll hear a lot about me tomorrow.
There were people talking about yesterday I didn't pay too much attention to it. There was Sharon who said my hair looked nice! I must weigh at least 160lbs Miss Bonelli still weighs the same amount only 120 (lucky) I saw her an [sic] Mike sitting at the same table in the library prob. no ideas because Michelle & 2 others one goes & 67 I am mad at myself you just wait (weight ugh) I am going to higher all my grades when I get down to 150lbs that day I will fill up 3 lines and take a way a line for every 10 lbs lost
Today I realized I am beginning to like Mark Lassiter or “Lassie” but I think he likes Diane Robinson (pretty). So only time can tell! India, Diane, Robin (who likes him also), and Sylvia just draw to conclusions since I talked of him a lot & teases him and me. I think this can loose my chances (just chances).
Beauty is what I think boys are looking for
But I’ll keep up personality.