J.J.’s Journal: Part One

J.J. Hart introduces herself.

5/10

7:35 P.M.

Where do I start?

I am Justine Jennifer Hart, but I’m called J.J. My mother gave me this journal a week ago for my birthday. My birth sign is Taurus, the bull, if that means anything.

When I asked her once why she writes journals, she told me that keeping a journal helps you to sort out your life. According to her, when you have a record of where you’ve been, that record can help you figure out where to go or what you should do. I guess that makes sense.

I don’t really know what to write yet, but I’ve put off getting started too long. She’ll be asking me about it, and I don’t lie to her, so I’ll just start by writing about me and my life. How about that?

I am twelve years old. I have a lot of hair and I don’t like to wear it down because it’s long and it gets in my face and everywhere else. It’s curly and wild, so I usually just put a band or a scrunchee on it and wear a ponytail. My hair is dark red like my mother’s, and I have freckles. I have blue eyes like my father. I get good grades in school, and besides English I can speak two other languages, French and Spanish. I’m learning Russian.

I’m told that that I’m gifted. That means that I learn things quicker and easier than most people. I don’t know about that. I just really like learning new things and doing new stuff. It’s fun and that’s what makes it easy. I guess that my mother is probably gifted too. She can speak six, maybe seven, languages. I lose count. I’m learning Russian from her.

I go to regular school most of the time. I used to go to private school when I was younger, but I didn’t like it. Everybody was the same, we all did the same things, belonged to the same activities, and some of the kids thought they were better than regular school kids. It’s more interesting to be with all kinds of people. My father thought that it would be better for me in regular school too.

I like to play sports, especially basketball, tennis, and touch football. We have a pool so I swim a lot too. I just got roller blades, so I’m skating now. I run everywhere I go. I think I get on my parents’ nerves doing that. They both tell me to slow down all the time. I just like to go fast. I like doing things that make me move fast.

I also like to ride horses. I have two. One, Sam, is at our ranch. He’s been mine all of my life. My Daddy got him for me as a pony when I was a baby. The other one is at my grandfather’s farm. That one is training to be a racehorse. His name is TripleJHart.com. As you probably have guessed, I have a web page on the Internet about him.

I also like to play cards and I’m good at it. Gin and poker are my favorites. Daddy taught me when I was little. We don’t brag about that a lot around my mother. She knows that I’m good, but Daddy says that it’s probably better that we just don’t bring it up a lot around her.

I guess you could say that I’m sort of a tomboy. I don’t play with dolls and I prefer jeans to wearing dresses, but I have the kind of mother that makes me put one on once a week. I think sometimes that she wishes I was more of a girlie girl, but she usually just lets me do the things that I like to do. I do a lot of stuff with my Daddy like computers, taking things apart to see how they work, and building rockets. Writing is fun, too. I write stories sometimes about the places I’ve been; I’ve been to a lot of different countries. My parents travel a lot and I go with them. I prefer to use the word processor when I write, but my mother says that I need to write in longhand to keep up my skills. She calls it my writing “mechanics”.

I’ll tell you about my parents now.

My father is Jonathan Charles Hart. He is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hart Industries. Hart Industries is a group of interlocking companies all around the world. They specialize in electronics, but they’re involved in many other interests too. He began his company with $1200 and a dream. (He told me that. I wasn’t there.)

My father is an orphan. That means that he doesn’t know who his parents were. That always makes me sad when I think about that. Growing up with nobody must have been hard. He is such a great guy. He’s funny, kind, and smart. His parents don’t know what a great kid they missed.

He always tells me about Max, his friend, who saved him from being a street punk when he was fifteen, and helped him to be the great man he is today. Max and my father stayed together until Max died the year before I was born. He sounds like somebody I would have really liked to have known. Daddy says that Max would have gotten a kick out of me. He thinks that Max had a lot to do with me being here. I don’t know the whole story behind that. One day I’ll ask my mother. I always think of Max as a grandfather to me, since he was like a father to my Daddy. We have lots of pictures of him and my parents doing things together and with him by himself that I like to look at when I’m not busy doing something else.

In downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find a tall set of buildings with a big sign out front that says “Jonathan Hart Towers”. That’s my father’s world headquarters for his business. He has other offices around the world, but that’s the main one. His personal office is on the top floor and from the round window behind his desk you can see clear across the city. Not bad for a poor orphan kid, don’t you think?

He’s also a pilot. He started as a Navy pilot, and now he flies his own private plane, a Piper named Valentine after him. Valentine is his nickname. (Do you get it, Hart-Valentine?) On Saturdays, when he’s not busy, we go up in it for rides, and he’s teaching me to fly. Hart Industries also has a fleet of planes. One is a jet, a Gulf Stream, that my Daddy uses personally for travel in and out of the country. He can, and does, fly sometimes that too. I have been training in the cockpit of the jet, too, with Frank, my father’s pilot. I don’t really fly that. He just shows me how.

I sure hope my mother doesn’t ever read this. She’ll go off on all of us.

My mother is Jennifer Justine Edwards Hart and I’m named after her. You have to turn the first two names around. Edwards was the last name she had before she married Daddy. Edwards is not a part of my name and she doesn’t use Justine anymore. She is officially Jennifer Edwards Hart and she’s a journalist. (Took me a while to get to that didn’t it?)

She has written five books, and now she freelances articles to the major publications around the world. Her topics of interest are animal rights, conservation, and child welfare, but she can write about anything. She is extremely smart. My mother has traveled all over the world with her writing. She knows all kinds of famous authors, writers, and poets. She speaks at conferences and workshops. A lot of times she takes me with her and I get to meet the people she knows. I once met Shel Silverstein who wrote the Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic books. I love his stuff !! I also met Maya Angelou. She sent me autographed copies of her poems, ‘Still I Rise’ and ‘Phenomenal Woman’.

Ms. Angelou says that my mother is a phenomenal woman and that I should aspire to be like her. I already knew that, but I said thank you to her anyway.

I’ll tell you though, it gets kind of weird to go into a bookstore or a library or sometimes even the grocery store and see your mother’s face on a book or a magazine. I don’t think that I’ll ever get used to that.

Once in fifth grade, there was a story in our Reading book that she wrote. It was a story about Kenya, her favorite place and under the title as big as day was, “written by Jennifer J. Edwards”. Ms. Klienert was going to announce it to the class, but I guess she could see that I was about to die, so she didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my mother. I just don’t like that kind of attention. People weird out on you for that kind of stuff. It’s bad enough that everyone knows who my father is right off the bat.

My grandmother, her mother Suzanne, died when my mother was twelve. After that, my mother was sent to an all girls’ boarding school by my grandfather, Stephen, who still lives on his horse farm in Maryland. He wasn’t trying to get rid of her. He just didn’t know what else to do. I think that’s why my mother really didn’t fight me that hard when I said that I didn’t want to go to private school for Jr. High School. I know for a fact that she’s why I don’t have nanny like a lot of my friends. A lot of my friends here in Bel Air have live-in help that keep them when their parents are gone. I go with my parents when they have to be out of the country together for a while. I guess my parents are so concerned about me and about us being together as a family because they both got left behind as kids.

I think my being twelve now makes my mother nervous or something because of what happened to her. I catch her watching me a lot lately when she thinks I’m not looking. I love both of my parents, but it’s different with my mother. It is beyond explaining. Like the other day, she caught me kissing with my friend, Tommy. Actually he was kissing me, but that didn’t matter when she caught us with our lips together. He ran off and left me there by myself with her. She took me to her room. I didn’t know what she was going to do because she wasn’t talking at first.

She made me look at myself in the mirror while she looked at me. It was so very eerie. She told me to watch and she made me see that I was going to look like her. She said that some boys would want to kiss me because I was pretty and because I would have boobs, not because they liked the real me. (I wonder if that happened to her and that’s how she knows about it?) She told me that I would have to be careful with people. She got real serious, and then she ended up hugging me.

My mother is beautiful. Did I say that already? Well, she is if I didn’t.

You know what? I went through all of that with her, being scared and almost peeing on myself, and the kiss wasn’t about anything. What is so great about kissing? It was icky to say the least. It wasn’t worth all that stress, but it was worth the hug at the end.

Marie takes care of our house and the estate, which is one very large house and another smaller house (for guests) and buildings on a large parcel of land. My parents are very busy people. If it weren’t for Marie, the extra time that they have would be spent doing the stuff that has to be done to run the house. Marie cooks, cleans, and arranges for things that have to be done. She also arranges for the outside help, the maintenance people, gardeners, etc. I don’t know how she does it all, but she does. She’s a very nice person. She was Max’s friend and she used to work next door for the people that used to live there. Somehow Max must have known that my mother was going to have a baby after he died, because he and Marie made an agreement that when she got pregnant, she would come to work for them and take his place. Max wanted my parents, especially my mother, to have all the time that they needed to be with me. He also wanted my mother to be able to continue to write. That’s what happened and that’s how Marie came to be with us.

I told you before that most of the time I go to regular school. Sometimes my parents have to be out of the country because of their work. It doesn’t happen often, but when they have to be gone for a while, I go with them. If we’re in France or Spain, I enroll in school. If we’re somewhere else, my parents hire a tutor. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s not. I love traveling. I’ve learned a lot about the world, and I’m never behind when I get back to school here in Bel Air.

As you can probably tell from all of this, my parents are sort of wealthy. We live in the main house on an estate called Willow Pond in Bel Air, California. I live here with my parents, Marie, and my dog. His name is really Freeway, but he is the great- grandson of my parents first dog, so he’s called Third. I have lots of friends and they come to visit all of the time. My best friends are Marnie and Tommy. Not all of my friends have rich parents. Marnie lives further down the road from me here in Bel Air and Tommy lives with his mother in West Los Angeles. Since I go to public school, I know kids from everywhere.

Sometimes being rich can be embarrassing. People expect you to act or be a certain way, dress a certain way, speak a certain way. They assume that you’re stuck up before they even try to get to know you.

I just want to be known as me, J.J. Hart.

Well, that’s enough for now. I think I’ve said all I can say. Besides, my hand hurts. My mother can have this mechanics stuff. Microsoft Word has grammar and spellchecker.

Good night

__________________________________________________

5/15

8:32 P.M.

I haven’t written in a while. I’m not used to doing this regularly yet.

I got in trouble today. I had to bring my math test home for my mother to sign. I got a 75%. I never get C’s, but I got one today. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t gotten caught trying to fix the control on the Playstation on the night before the test when I should have been in the bed. My mother caught me.

I thought she was asleep, but she wasn’t. She walked up on me at about one in the morning. She never yells, sometimes she fusses, but complete silence from her is worse. When she does that I don’t know what she’s thinking or what the plan is for me. What’s even worse is when she talks with her eyes. The message is always clear and you know that you’re on the bubble.

I was sleepy when we took the test, and I made some dumb mistakes and got the C. Ms. Latimer told me to take it home and get it signed. I asked her why nicely. She usually only makes people take home F’s to get signed. She said a C for me was equal to an F, so she sent it. I’m not sure how fair that was, but that’s what she did. She KNOWS that I have to give this school stuff to Jennifer Hart. My mother won’t let my father sign school stuff for me any more. She wants to see it all herself.

She says my father spoils me and that he is putty in my hands, that he’s too easy on me because I can charm him. She says we try to slip stuff in on her. We do try from time to time, but we usually get caught at it. I don’t think she knows about the flying lessons yet, though.

For security reasons, I don’t ride the school bus. My mother usually takes me and picks me up from school. Today, there she was, right out front, right on time when I came out. I just handed her the test paper when I got in the car and got it over with. No sense in prolonging the inevitable. She just looked at me, and asked me when we had taken the test. I told her Monday. She put it together right away. That was the day I had stayed up late the night before. I told you she was smart.

“Young lady, you will take no phone calls, and there will be no plane rides with your father or Frank until the next test which WILL be 95% or above.”

So I am incommunicado and earthbound until next week. Does it sound like to you that she knows that I’m doing more than just being a passenger on those flights??

Good Night.

__________________________________________________

5/17

9:00 P.M.

I did it again. I got in trouble. I wasn’t supposed to be on the phone, but I got caught on it.

Guess who caught me on it?

I was lying in the bed and I remembered that I forgot to tell Marnie to bring my math book to school that she borrowed from me. Marnie has her own phone that rings in her room. It was really late, so I thought everybody here was asleep. I looked out in the hall. It was dark and I couldn’t hear anything. I really thought they were asleep, and I was only going to be a second. I knew Marnie would forget if I didn’t remind her, so I called her. When Marnie picked up, I tried to tell her what I wanted really fast so I could get off, but she wanted to tell me about how her stepmonster (mother) was coming home this weekend and how she didn’t want to be there. Her father is coming to get her this weekend to take her to his house. I figured that red light was on in my parents’ room. That light lets them know someone is on the system and where they are in the house using the phone. I told Marnie I really had to go, but she kept on talking. All of a sudden, Jennifer Hart clicked in.

She just said, “Hang Up….NOW.”

I hung up on Marnie, and put my head under the cover. My mother never did come in my room like I thought she would. See, that’s what I’m telling you about her. You never know what she’s going to do. It keeps me edgy!

At breakfast this morning, she called me ‘incorrigible’ and said that I wouldn’t be able to go with her to San Francisco tomorrow. She’s going to meet with one of her editors, and then we were going to have lunch and go shopping. She said that she thought I needed to stay home and study my math and “contemplate my recent behavior.”

What’s to contemplate? I messed up and got caught at it.

Then she looks at my daddy and says to him,

“And Jonathan, J.J. is not to leave these grounds tomorrow. Do not let her talk you into it, or you will find yourself on punishment, too.”

What kind of punishment can she put a grown man on?

She went up front to get her keys and her purse to take me to school. He looks at me and says,

“Well kid, I guess it’s just you and me tomorrow and I’m not getting put on punishment because of you.”

And then he smiles. He has the best smile.

It’ll be o.k. I’ll study. I’ll contemplate my behavior. Then I’ll invite Marnie over. She didn’t say I couldn’t have company.

Good Night

__________________________________________________

5/18

6:45 P.M.

Marnie and I skated most of the day. Her real dad brought her over at about noon, and she stayed until five. I like Marnie a lot. We have been friends since Kindergarten. She has the most parents of anybody I know. She has her mother, and she’s had two stepmothers. She also has her father and two stepfathers, and she’s only twelve. That’s kind of pitiful, isn’t it? She spends a lot of time going back and forth between her parents. They share custody of her. Her mother lives here in Bel Air, and that’s where she is most of the time. But her father wants her a lot of the time, too. He lives in Brentwood. Marnie doesn’t like it too much at her father’s because of her stepmother. She calls her ‘stepmonster’. But then, she’s not real crazy about her mother’s new husband either.

My mother and I picked Marnie up from her house once right after her mother got married to this last guy. He spent so much time staring at my mother’s boobs, legs and behind that it made me nervous. I think he said some dirty stuff to her too, but I couldn’t hear exactly what he said. It made my mother upset because she said to me later that Marnie could come here to play from now on, but I couldn’t go down there anymore.

Marnie is a lot of fun. She can cuss real good about everything. We do a lot of things together. She likes my daddy a lot, but I think she’s scared of my mother.

A lot of my friends are nervous around my mother. I don’t know why. She’s really nice, and I told you she’s really pretty. But, it’s a kind of a scary pretty. People often turn to look at her, or if she walks into a room she draws attention. People say I look like her, but I don’t think I’ll ever look like that. She has red hair too, but it’s not like bright red. She calls it auburn. Mine is a little darker than hers. She’s tall and I think it’s her eyes that get to people. I know they get to me. It’s like she can look all the way through me and can tell what I’m thinking or what I’ve done, especially when I’ve done something wrong.

Also, she wears really pretty clothes. I like when she has to come to my school for something. Everybody always wants to know whose parent it is when a grownup comes to the classroom. I’m always proud to say that she’s mine.

My Daddy met her in London when she was a reporter and he was there on business. She was trying to get a story from him about what he was doing there, but he didn’t want her to know. She ended up getting the story anyway and she got the guy. I’m glad he was the guy she got. He gave her a wedding ring that is absolutely gorgeous. The main stone is huge and its surrounded by a multitude of smaller stones. I LOVE diamonds. My Daddy gave me diamond earrings when I got my ears pierced, and he gave me a diamond bracelet when I was born. I still wear it. I’ll wear it all of my life.

My father adores my mother. He’s always buying her presents. He gives me presents too, but tells me not to tell her about them a lot of the time because she’ll think I’m spoiled. I wonder why it doesn’t make her spoiled to get presents, but it ruins me?

They were married a long time before they had me and I wonder sometimes if I got in their way. I sure hope not. They don’t make me feel that way. It’s just that when I look at the old pictures they took and listen to their stories about all the stuff that they used to do, it makes me wonder.

Today I had an interesting conversation with my Daddy about my relationship with my mother. It was funny, I know what it is, but I had trouble telling him about it. I think he got the picture, though. I’ve decided, after talking to him, that I’ve divided my mother into two people in my mind. The part that the world gets or the bad J.J. gets is ‘Jennifer Hart’. The part that is mine alone is ‘my mother’. That’s why you’ll see me refer to her like that. I wasn’t really aware of why I did that until he made me talk about it this afternoon. It was interesting to work it out in my head with him.

I could tell he wanted to laugh when I was talking about that time I beat Blake up at school. Blake shouldn’t have said what he said, and he wouldn’t have had any problem with me. I’m not mean, but I don’t take any stuff. People will take advantage of you if they think they can. Especially boys, and I’m not having it.

Blake took it too far when he said that nasty stuff about his father and my mother. Whatever happened, if anything happened at all, was their business; not his, not mine, and certainly not anybody else at the lunch table. I have never told my mother about it and I never will. She put me on punishment for fighting, but that was alright. I told Daddy what happened for the first time today. I forgot to tell him not to tell her, but I don’t think he will.

Daddy was proud of me even though he didn’t say it out loud. I could see it in his eyes then, and I saw it today. He likes that I play rough. I like it too. If you aren’t going to play the game the way that it’s supposed to be played, then you ought to stay on the sidelines.

Good Night.

__________________________________________________

5/26

7:08 P.M.

Boy, do I have a lot to say.

I haven’t written for a while because I left this journal in my room on the jet when we were coming to Maryland and I just got back in here to get it. We are on our way home from a trip to my grandfather’s. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for a week. I can’t wait to get home.

My grandfather got sick so my mother had to go and see about him. Of course, I had to go with her. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pa, that’s what my mother and I call my grandfather, but he is not my cup of tea. He was raised in England (pardon the tea reference earlier) and he is strictly old school. He is a proper gentleman who has never in my life called me J.J. He informed my parents real early that my name is Justine in his home.

He lives in Hillhaven, Maryland on an estate that is run as a horse farm. He lives with his gentleman’s gentleman. I like Walter. He’s fun and I can breathe around him.

The main house is a large white mansion with white pillars out front. I think the word for this house is formidable. The inside looks like a museum, it’s all clean and shiny and old. I do not run in there. When he talks to me, my back automatically straightens. I try real hard to stay out of his way.

He has a very nice accent and he can really work the English language. It’s enjoyable to hear him speak. I see why my mother is so good with words. The two of them go into his den in the evening after dinner and talk. She lights his pipe for him and then she sits next to him and they talk. I hope he never calls me in there to talk with him. I’d be too tongue-tied, and I am never at a loss for words. Am I giving you the picture that this man scares me? Good. That’s what I’m going for.

He’s having trouble with his heart. It doesn’t beat as regularly as it should so they may have to put a pacemaker in to help him. For now they’re monitoring the situation and they’ll know in about two months what to do. If they go with the pacemaker, my mother will have to go back to Maryland.

He gave her grief about me this time. He kept asking her “Why” questions like

“Jeneefah, why does she wear her hair in that horse’s tail all of the time? Why don’t you make her wear it down or in braids?”

“Jenneefah, why is it that Justine never wears a dress except when I make her wear one to dinner?”

“Jenneefah, why do you allow her to spend so much time in the sun? She’ll be all freckled.”

(For the record, my mother is all freckled. Who’s father didn’t keep her out of the sun, I’d like to know????)

“Jenneefah, what were you thinking allowing her to attend a public school? Justine has a social position to maintain.”

I think that last one struck a nerve in my father. He happened to be in the room with them for that one. He walked out real fast. I was in the hall. I wasn’t supposed to be listening, but one can’t help picking up the odd word or two in passing; you know how it is. I went outside to where my Daddy was out by the paddock fence watching Mike work Triple J. I sat on the fence next to him. He had that look on his face that he gets when he’s trying not to be mad. A few minutes later my mother came out. She looked like she wanted to cry or something. He put his arm around her and said to her,

“I don’t care if he is sick, Jennifer He needs to realize that I’m not raising an airhead, snotty socialite. If he doesn’t stop with you, I’m taking you and J.J. out of here. Social position-your father needs to get that particular stick out of his ass!”

She shussed him because of me. I acted like I didn’t hear him, but I wanted to laugh so hard. I had been thinking same thing all the time that we were visiting. I don’t like Pa making my mother feel bad about me. She is one great lady and she is one great mother. She doesn’t need anybody’s crap about how she raises me, not even her own father’s.

Both of my parents let me be me and that’s cool. I’m sure she’d like it if I was more like her, but I’m not, and she doesn’t complain, at least not a lot. The card playing, the occasional side bet I might make, me being dirty after a game, stuff like that kind of gets her lace panties in knot, but for the most part she leaves me be.

Yesterday a guy came by to make a grocery delivery. It turns out that he used to know my mother when she was a girl. He hadn’t seen her in years. I was out front working on an assignment for school that I needed to have ready to turn in when we got back. I was just finishing when a van pulled into the driveway.

He walks up and says that he knows exactly who I am. I didn’t answer. My father has always told me to let the other person take the lead when you don’t know who they are or if you don’t know what they want. He says that you don’t show your hand, just like at cards. The guy says that his name is Richard and that he used to know a girl by the name of Jennifer that lived in this house. He said that she looked just like me except for her eyes. I still didn’t say anything and I wasn’t going to. I’m J.J. Hart and strangers are an absolute no-no for me. I was just about to yell for someone when the door opened and Walter came out. Right behind him was my mother.

Well just like every other man, this guy goes straight into drooling on himself looking at her. It was so embarrassing to watch. I think she got a kick out of reducing him to ooze. Daddy had come from around the side of the house and was watching him too. He likes it when she does that. I can tell by the way that he gets that twinkling in his eyes. He is so proud of her being his wife.

This Richard guy gets her to remember him, she introduces him to my Daddy, who he didn’t see watching him watch her. Then she introduces him to me. He says that he didn’t know that she had a child until he saw me sitting there. He said that he knew that I couldn’t be anybody else’s kid. Then he leaves real fast almost forgetting to get the groceries that my mother ordered out of the van.

We females must be some mighty powerful creatures.

My mother and I were straightening and dusting Pa’s den. I don’t go in there a lot. It’s his place. He was in his bedroom resting while we were doing that. I asked my mother why Pa didn’t have pictures of my grandmother in his den with all the other pictures in there. She said that he took them all out right after she got killed. She said that it was too painful for him to have them there. Then she took me up to her old room and pulled some books out of her closet. She had all kinds of pictures of her mother in those books.

It was almost surreal. My grandmother and my mother could almost be twins. If it weren’t for the fact that you could see that the pictures were old and the hair and clothes were different, you might think that it was my mother in those pictures and that the little girl with her was me.

My grandmother was French. That’s one reason why my mother can speak French so well. She says that her mother spoke to her in French all the time, so she has always been at least bilingual. So have I. She did the same thing with me. I have always been able to speak and understand the French language. She taught me to read in French and English. My mother’s mother has an identical twin sister, Sabrina, who’s my great-aunt, and who still lives in France. I go visit her for two weeks every summer, so knowing French comes in handy. I love being with her. She drinks vodka, smokes cigars, cusses a lot in French, and plays cards like a demon. Naturally she and my Daddy are crazy about each other, and I LOVE visiting her.

She lives in a manor in the country. I never wear shoes when I’m there, and not that many clothes. We eat all kinds of rich French foods at every meal and she lets me have wine with my dinner. We read out loud to each other. She likes love stories and some of them get kind of hot. She looks like my mother too, but she’s older and much fatter. She has lots of fun friends that my mother calls ‘the Eccentrics’. They defy description except to say that I have a good time when any of them visit. One of them fell asleep in the bathtub one night and when I went to go use it that morning, I almost went on myself. My mother won’t let me stay with Aunt Sabrina longer than two weeks without her, though. Do you wonder why?

When the two weeks are up, the Hart jet lands at Orly and either I’m on my way home, or the party is over for Aunt Sabrina and me for the rest of the visit. We don’t dance on the table, we don’t skinny dip, and we don’t eat the grapes we pick from the arbor without washing them, once my mother gets there.

Aunt Sabrina doesn’t like Pa for some reason. She won’t step foot in his house. Calls him that “bald bastard” in French. I think, from the bit I managed to get from her- after she’s had her vodka and we’re talking, that she wanted my mother to come to live with her after my grandmother died. But he sent my mother away to school instead. I can understand her feeling insulted by that. But I think I can understand Pa not letting my mother live there all the time with her too, just like my mother will only let me stay so long. Aunt Sabrina’s is a good place to visit, but it probably shouldn’t be a way of life for a kid every day.

I’m sleepy now and this is going to be a long flight. We have to stop in D.C., Chicago and Arizona. Daddy has business in those places. I’m going in my room to go to bed. I probably should. My mother is standing over me. She’s told me to go to bed twice before now.

I’ll pick this back up tomorrow.

Good….

__________________________________________________

5/27

3:15 A.M.

…Night.

She took the pen.

I woke up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up to get some milk. It looks like everybody else is asleep. I figure I’ll continue to write until I get sleepy again. This has become kind of fun. I look forward to it.

We’re in D.C. at the Hart corporate suite that my father keeps for himself since he comes here a lot on business. My mother and I spent the day at the Smithsonian while he was working. The annual Contemporary Crafts show was here and she wanted to see the work. She’s a patron of several new artists and she collects contemporary art. Next month, she and I are having our portrait done by one of them. She’s having dark green dresses made for us to wear. That color looks good on us. Yes, a dress. I guess I can stand it for the sitting. I’ll fidget. She’ll look at me the that way she does when I’m on her nerves. But I’ll get through it.

I know that earlier this morning, she came in to check on me. I felt her pulling the covers up on me and she kissed me, but I was too far under to respond. But I knew she was there. I hope I smiled so she knows that I know she was there. I felt like I did. I love her so much.

I miss Third. He usually sleeps with me on my bed unless my mother comes into the room. Then he’ll go under it until she leaves. She shoos him off the furniture, but he always climbs back up after she’s gone. When I wake up like this in the night, he usually snuggles up with me and I can get back to sleep.

I was telling you about my family. There really isn’t much to tell. I only have relatives on my mother’s side since my father is an orphan. My mother and I have a theory. We think that his parents must have been French. It’s the weirdest thing. He understands French, but he doesn’t speak it and he doesn’t read it, but he does understand most of what is said to him. She says that he’s always been able to do that as long as she’s known him. The French parents things is just our theory, but its interesting, isn’t it?

He told me that he’s not concerned with finding out who his parents are. He says that you have to be careful about what you look for because you may find something that you don’t really want to find. Once when I asked him if it bothered him to not know and to be alone like that, he told me that he had everything he could ever want in his life and that there is nothing else that getting that information could add to it. I hope that’s how he really feels and he wasn’t just shooting the breeze.

I just think it would be so cool for him to find out that his mother had been looking for him, and that she loved him, and that he had sisters and brothers somewhere that wanted to know him. And that his father had blue eyes and a smile like his.

I dream crazy sometimes.

My mother is an only child. Aunt Sabrina never had any children. Pa is the last living member of his family. There’s some distant cousins on that side, but I really don’t know a lot about them except my cousin, Betsy Bach and her father, Uncle Benjamin.

I am an only child, so I’m the last of the Harts. I asked my mother one time why she didn’t try to have a son to carry on the name. She laughed but never gave me an answer. I’ll ask her again some time. Not that it matters. I’ll never have siblings. I’m sure of that.

I have already decided that if I ever have children, and I have a son, my son will be named Jonathan Charles Hart II. You probably wonder what my husband will say about that. You didn’t hear me say anything about a husband, did you? My last name is Hart, and my son’s last name will be Hart. Our last names always will be Hart regardless of my having a husband or not. I haven’t discussed this with anyone yet. No sense in arguing about what hasn’t happened, but this is how it’s going to be. Why should my father’s name be lost because I marry somebody? I think that’s so unfair. Just like my grandfather didn’t have a son, so the Edwards name is just up in smoke.

Well, it looks like I’m going back to sleep. I feel myself trailing off, and I don’t want to drool on my book. I also don’t want my mother to see the light under the door. She’ll be in here and all over me if she does.

Good Morning

__________________________________________________

5/30

11:37 P.M.

I’m writing really fast before I get caught. I’m home and in my room. I am so glad to be here. Pa seems to be doing O.K. My mother is going back by herself in a week to check on him again. I get to stay home with Daddy so I can go to school for the last few days.

                                           Party over here!!!

I leave to go to France in two weeks. I’ll be there by myself for the two weeks, but Daddy is flying with Uncle Frank to take me. They’ll probably stay overnight and come back the next day, and then it will just be Aunt Sabrina and me. She emailed me that a boy was staying on the next estate with his aunt during the same time that I’ll be there. The aunt is one of the Eccentrics. The boy’s name is Emil, and she wants me to meet him when I come. Emil better know how to have fun. That’s all I have to say. If not, I’ll drop him like a bad habit.

Third is here with me on the bed, and I am getting sleepy. I just wanted to write that life is good. I’m a lucky kid. I have great parents. I get to do lots of fun things that most kids don’t get to do, and I get to do lots of things that most normal kids get to do, including getting in trouble.

My mother is here. I have to go RIGHT now.

Good Night.

Continue to the next story

2 Responses to J.J.’s Journal: Part One

  1. Lesa says:

    I enjoyed the JJ Hart series so much, I’m reading it again. JJ is adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

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