Garden Party by Gerda Wegener
January 22, 1979
As I opened my journal KINK-fm radio began to play The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun. Ironic since that recording was a major part of the music at our wedding and because this was our first day of marriage counseling today. It is our last effort to save the relationship, and I think we each have a good open feeling about the six weeks of counseling. After that time we will be on our own to either continue improving the marriage or to dispose of it.
The future is damn threatening for both TJ and me, but my fears are a bit deeper I think. After all, in May TJ will have a law degree which can lead to many things for him. I am now unemployed and have no financial security to call my own. Neither do I at this time feel capable of making a good enough impression on any potential employer to secure a job. Neither do I know what it is I really want to do; I do know it is not selling insurance.
Today TJ said to Dave, our counselor, that when he came home in August he stopped some motion of progress I had begun in the area of self-development. He said he also feels I cannot grow again as long as he remains around me. Is he right or wrong? Can we develop the marriage to a place where we each can grow, or can I only grow by being alone?
Why did I flourish so when TJ left me? Was it because I had to? As I told Dave today I've always been such a private person, yet Summer '78 was the first time I've had in which to be alone. That time was precious for me because I proved to myself that I could care for me and I received positive feedback from others for the way I was living my life.
The social highlight of my summer alone was the Garden Party given by some friends of mine who called themselves "The Ladies' Aide Society." Everything was perfect: the night air was the blessing of a July evening in the Pacific Northwest. The back lawn was sweeping and gracious befitting the oldest neighborhood in Salem. At the end of the grass toward the west a gentle sunset glowed over the little bank that almost hid Mill Creek. Our hostesses had scattered blankets there for us to further enjoy the water. Just feet away was a small brick patio where a man played classical guitar with a woman who played the flute and who also sang beautifully. They had set up a strong speaker system but used the trunk of a 200-year-old tree as a disguise for unattractive equipment. There was an aesthetic amount of lighting from outdoor poles which must have burned kerosene. People were warm, almost gushing friendship - but it wasn't phony. There was a generous movement in the people there; I met and liked everyone. They had humor as a group but were serious people individually. As their energy lessened toward the end of the evening, some left for home. A large number stayed to sit on the blankets and listen to the fine music. Their party photographer, a man who works for National Geographic, sat near me to get some shots of the musicians. He asked me how I felt since he had earlier shared some Lebanese marijuana and I remember I said, "I feel beautiful."
I want to feel that beautiful again, and I want it to last forever. Not my beauty, but the feeling of being beautiful.
~ from one of my old journals