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Our Diaries

Alex on a carousel at Disneyland in Anaheim, in 2003 when he was five years old.

1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

“the seasons they go round and round,
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We’re captive on the carousel of time.
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came,
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.”
© Joni Mitchell

During that same 2003 visit to Disneyland, here is Charlie on an imaginary carousel with Pinocchio. 

The sixteen annual diaries linked at the top of this page are often based on Christmas or New Year’s updates which we sent to friends and family most years.

Reading them consecutively is one way to follow the complicated history of our blended family. It’s a little random, in that each annual diary picks out details of our lives that were not necessarily linked thematically.

The other ways to follow our blended family’s history involve using the History page or the History Category. The page refers you to posts in chronological order; the category features the same posts in reverse chronological order. Read chronologically, starting from the History page, these posts cover much of the significant history in a more coherent manner.  They also give you the chance to find a theme dealt with in a particular post.

Alban on a carousel, also at Disneyland but this time in 1999. Needless to say, a nine-year old boy rides one differently!

The diaries start in 1994, when the parents moved in together, and continue through 2009, the last full year before I moved out. There’s not a lot here about how that drastic change occurred – that’s not the point – but some of the stories included in the diaries do offer hints.

Every year had its highlights as well as its lows, for our family as for any other. The diaries focused on the fun parts: there were always plenty, even in the worst years. And who wants to focus on the bad?

Here’s a dynamic carousel, this time at the Santa Cruz County Fair in Watsonville in the fall of 2000. You can’t see the faces, but the postures of the children say a lot: Tom is making his seat twist backwards and forwards, Daphné is raising her arms as her friend looks back at her, and Alban at the back is driving a race car!

It was all so crazy during all those years, so much going on, that most of it didn’t make the annual summaries, even as enlarged here.  Feel free to look elsewhere!

Nor was our carousel of time ever the smooth and elegant Victorian carousel that the word evokes. It jerked and twisted more like a roller coaster than a carousel.

Another better analogy than a carousel for us might be a bumper car, or rather a group of them banging into each other, as Alban and Daphné are doing in this photo.

Alban letting it loose! This was taken in the fairground in Rambouillet during the summer of 1996.

We didn’t start out with the intention of acting like Hunter Thompson: far from it! But the eight of us interacting with each other and bouncing around each other and off each other led us to this, his courageous sentiment about life.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

That’s what we had on our carousel, our roundabout, in our bumper cars, on our very own roller coaster, 16 years of Disney’s Space Mountain, roaring through the skies with our six screaming, tumbling bundles of energy: Wow! What a ride!