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51 Birch Street


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"A mystery in the form of a home movie, it's not a whodunit so much as a whodunwhat, or whowasthat... Unexpectedly moving"


millie rivera (age 50)

i am also a journal keeper, have kept track of my life from a young bride of 19 until the present. a menopausal woman still married to her prince charming whom has developed a paunch and jowls to match.  32 years of trials and tribulation.  my journals are my intimate friends.  within these pages are thoughts, feelings, my life in progress.  recently, my coworker expressed an opinion that she would not want her children to know ‘the bad things’ about her life, especially her marriage. is she correct?  am i leaving a shattered glass for my children?? should they know all the changes of my life, my anger, tears and fears all there in black and white for them to read??  occasionally, i read some old entries and i can see so clearly the changes life has made in me.  how i have changed not only physically but even the view i have of the world in general.  my marriage is there, on these pages.  do i start shredding these pages now? or do i allow my ‘friends’ to continue on after i am gone.  i am so unsure if my journey will leave instead too many unanswered questions for my children.  i will go and write about this new dilemma in my journal.  and perhaps, my paper and pen will give me the answer i desperately seek.  haven’t seen the movie yet, but maybe it will also give me the answer i need.  where is father knows best when you need him????


Unfortunately the story is not understandable due to the attrocious use of the English language. It is a pity because perhaps this uneducated ditribe really could have made a real contribution.

By: Dr. Richard Ray Shreve, on Dec 03, 2006

I believe she ( Millie ) should continue with her journaling! True stories make great Novels and movies.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that the English Language is attrocious..perhaps your title gives you permission to crititize.

Never give up! Good luck

By: Leo A Blair II, on Dec 05, 2006

Keep writing, don’t listen to anyone. It is your journal. If you want people to read it now, so be it. What do you care what happens when you are dead.It may just wind up in the trash.

By: Lori Kenny, on Dec 07, 2006

Millie, I think your kids will enjoy reading about your life! I think kids need to know the good, bad, and “how” we as parents grew to be better. When one believes their parents lived a perfect life, they seem to have more disappointments in their own life for that do not know how to handle disappontments. It is important to share the good and bad. My Mother gave me her diary from when she was a is so romantic and full of sexual undertones...but she said the 1940’s were just that..romantic and things like “hiding behind a building in order to kiss” or sneaking off to meet a boy was just that and nothing else. She has offered me her other diary: during the times she was striving for strenth and self-confidence and away from alcohol. I have read part of it...and I remember some. Very painful. Keep up the good work...I wish I had time to write a daily journal! 

PS: I cannot wait to see to documentary. I will have my husband (who has a Doctorate in English and Classical Literature) write up a critique. He is very much into film and arts.

By: Sherry Avaritt, on Dec 09, 2006

Millie; I for one, am very proud of what you have done with your journals.  Yes, maybe your “friends” don’t handle the english language as well as the good doctor would like, but you certainly tell a beautiful story.  God Bless, and keep writing.  Our very best to you.
John and Yoko Henson, PA (51 years and counting).

By: John Henson, on Dec 10, 2006

I understood Millie’s post quite well and wouldn’t think of calling it “not understandable.”

I love that Dr. Shreve criticizes someone else’s writing, yet makes “attrocious” spelling errors in his own “ditribe.”


diatribe: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism

I wouldn’t use that word to describe Millie’s post. Perhaps you, Dr. Shreve, are the one with language problems.

By: anonymous, on Dec 21, 2006

Millie - By all means keep making journal entries if for none other than yourself.  Your children will appreciate every word, should you decide it will be theirs to read.  My husband and I wrote letters almost daily for 5 years during our courtship and these will be for our children to read upon our deaths, or sooner if we feel they “can handle” some of the information within the letters. 
Don’t give up your friend the diary - it is precious!

By: Frances Conklin, on Dec 22, 2006

Dear One,

My Mom kept a diary until she became disillusioned with her life (and her marriage). Now, her friend (the diary) is dead and she has no one, because she is unhappy with her husband, and she didn’t want to leave a trail of evidence for us, her kids, to read later.

You, on the other hand, are mostly satisfied with your life—you describe your guy as your prince charming. You have nothing to worry about. If your kids are sensitive enough and “tuned in” enough to choose to read your diaries, they’ll appreciate the insights they find there.

Too bad that first writer, named “Shreve,” had to pretend he was a doctor. Obviously, if he can’t spell diatribe and atrocious, it’s pretty unlikely he’s more than a high school drop out with a chip on his shoulder.

-- a Daughter

By: A Daughter, on Jan 09, 2007

Shame on you “Dr. Shreve” for being so critical. Dear Millie, please keep on writing. My daughter gave her grandmother a book that she asked her to fill out. It asked questions about her childhood, her favorite things, her most embarrassing moments, how she met my father-in-law and such things. Because my German mother-in-law felt that her grammar and spelling were less than perfect, she never filled out a single page. After she died, we found it on a bookshelf, untouched. My daughter was heartbroken. You are not only recording your memories for yourself but for your children and grandchildren. Let them get to know the real you, good and bad.

By: Anita, on Jan 13, 2007

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