I remember getting my first diary. It was one with a lock and key. This was an event. But what would I write? It didn’t come with a set of instructions. There had to be some magical secret because my sister treated hers like gold. She was an older sister: older enough in years for me to be constantly in her hair. But I was desperate to start writing and had to know that secret. I had no choice but to start spying.
We had separate rooms. She needed her privacy. After all, a little sister can be such a pest. At first I tried the glass-against-the-wall trick. I listened and listened. It was not a bright idea. I could hear her conversations with her friends, but I couldn’t hear the locking of the diary and the hiding place she placed it when she was alone.
I tried the friendly approach. Why not drop in on her and try to borrow things to catch her writing in her diary. Maybe I could accidentally read a page. No such luck. Have you every tried to borrow something from an older sibling?
“Oh, you can’t have this, it might break.”
“You’ll stain that!”
“What would you need this for? Forget it!”
Bottom line: I was not gaining entry into her domain.
She was much too clever to leave her diary around out in the open. I never got the chance to read any of her writing. It must be top-secret what you wrote in it. Was there a special time diaries were opened? This was all new to me.
I scratched plan A and went with plan B: the surprise approach.
Unannounced I could burst into my sister’s room and surprise her. The first time I pulled that stunt I was yelled at and had the door slammed in my face with her yelling something about having her privacy invaded. The second time she did the body-block-in-the-doorway thing then yelled, “Mom! Get this pest away from my room! I have to have my privacy!”
Once again, I didn’t get the chance to visually scan her room for that mystical diary. I wondered if all this frustration on my part would stunt my growth. I gave it another try, still hopeful for a surprise approach. I’d just leap at the door, open it and fall into her room. There was just one flaw. A lock was on the door.
This caper was going to be a hard nut to crack. I could have sworn I heard snickers on the other side of the door after I hit it and fell to floor in the hall.
I had to be very cunning about this. I had no choice. I had two creative and resourceful older sisters as role models. I always watched, listened and learned.
I thus proceeded to plan C.
When my father added onto the second floor our two bedrooms, we ended up sharing one good-sized heater vent, which led to both of our rooms. It was hollow inside except for the upright vent covers that closed the openings into our rooms. With a little lever you could open or close the vent if you wanted more or less heat. Well, he, he, he, I figured how to work mine loose. It was about 12” by 8”.
I had to do this when my sister was out because I had been given strict orders from my mother not to trespass. But she never mentioned anything about not looking. I was now entering desperate territory, possessed with seeing that diary.
I had to say great things in mine. I needed examples! Besides, I might pick up some great advice. I thought this would be a snap. Was I wrong! My sister didn’t follow any kind of schedule for writing. I would make noise at my desk in my room so she would think I was doing homework or writing. I was craning my neck on the floor for days at odd hours. For a little kid, I was showing great perseverance, but so far receiving nothing but a stiff neck for it. Then finally jackpot! She was fishing for something and came up with a key. My heart raced with excitement. Then she came up with “the book”. It was her famed diary! I couldn’t believe it! Pay dirt at last!
She began writing with a fury, locked it then put it away.
So that was where she hid it….
That sister of mine was very wily indeed. Where you ask? Now I do have some family ethics. Besides, it was a great hiding spot and I might ruin it for someone else with the same idea. Now that the finding of the diary and key was finally solved, getting into her room was another matter. Remember the locked door?
Not long after the mystery was solved, I was running up the stairs after school to put my books in my room. I had to pass my sister’s door at the top of the stairs and then walk down the hall to my room. I had made a game of it. Every time I passed her door, I would jiggle it to keep her on her toes. It became a habit and, as usual, I did it again, but this time it was unlocked! Miracles do happen!
Should I, or shouldn’t I? My sister wasn’t home yet and my mother was baking…
Hmm…. My eyes glazed over with lust for that book. I rationalized: What’s a young sister for? I had inherited the name pest anyway. I had to make it quick. But then I panicked. Should I put on gloves? Fingerprints! I didn’t trust my sister. She probably dusted her room for them everyday.
Looking back at this story now, I was probably reading way too many mysteries…
I was pressed for time and couldn’t wait any longer. I scrambled for the key, grabbed the book then put the key in, unlocked it and slowly opened it. What a moment! Weeks of spying, plotting and planning and now the reward!
I paused, wondering if there was some kind of ritual as a sister I should be following?
I turned to the first page and there it was! I had to be quick about this and began reading, skipped some pages then read then skipped then read. The whole thing took maybe five minutes. It was mostly conversations about what she did everyday and what she’d like to do. Oh, there was some boy stuff in there, but it was mostly what she talked about that happened everyday.
…That was it?
This was no big deal and no mystery after all. You merely talked to the diary: like it was a friend. Even I could do that. And what was so great about that was your diary never got tired of listening.
And that’s how I hope my readers feel about my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. I hope they never get tired of looking over my shoulder and listening like a friend to how I unravel those mysteries with my guaranteed surprise endings.
Chase your dreams, everyday is a blessing!