“‘We started getting diary entries immediately’ MI Diaries project helps Spartans heal through audio diaries” – Fox 17 News

Project leader, Dr. Betsy Sneller, and project co-lead, Dr. Suzanne Wagner, talked with Fox 17 News about our project and how the community has used the project to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences surrounding last year's mass shooting. Some diarist's reflections on this event near the one year anniversary are included in our February 13th Special Collection. Click here to read the entire article or watch the video of the news story below.

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“Am I gonna get a chance to like, touch Elton John?”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. But one of the most recent times that I can think of of, you know, somebody not wanting to do something that I wanted to do was when I paid $500 per ticket, so like a thousand dollars in total, for me and my ungrateful boyfriend to go see Elton John live on his last tour of America in Grand Rapids, and I had got like side balcony tickets. They were literally the cheapest for $550 each. And I was like, "I love Elton John. I'm gonna see this man. I'm not gonna regret it." And I was with my boyfriend at the time and I didn't have anybody else to go with so I was like, "You're coming with me 'cause I don't wanna go to a concert by myself." Which, in hindsight – literally like last week, I just went to a concert to see Two Door Cinema Club in Detroit by myself because nobody could come with me and I had a great time! So if I would've just, you know, been able to see the future in 2018 and been like, "You know what, you can go to a concert by yourself," I would've had a grand f****** time and I would not be telling this story right now and I would still not be full of regret like I am today. Because, so. Me and my boyfriend we go to this concert and given it's about, mmm, maybe – I can't remember – My boyfriend tore his meniscus for the second time on the same knee either a month before or the concert was like a month after he had gotten it repaired with surgery. Either way, he wasn't walking that well, but he could still walk. Okay? He was still, I'm pretty sure – Mm, no, I think I drove there, but he was still up and about. He was not bedridden. And like I said, this is the second time this happened to him, so he knew what was going on in this rodeo.  Anyway, so we get into the venue and the people at the gate are like, "Okay, like let me scan your ticket," and then this other lady who's right in front of the doors to like go into the concert hall, I don't…

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“And the goat came around and started eating my shorts.”

Oh, have I ever been to a fair? Yes, I've been to a couple of fairs. Fairs can be fun. We went to a fair in France and they made goat cheese there and my husband found these little baby goats, and they came up to him and they just wanted to be petted and everything else. And we tasted the goat cheese and all the rest of it in the farm department. And that was kind of fun.  My favorite thing – and people will tease me about this on my birthday as well. When my kids were little, my friend and I took all five of our kids who were under eight to the Toledo Zoo. And they had kind of a fair and they had a petting zoo going on and everything else. It was the middle of the summer, it was very hot, and I was wearing shorts. And so I'm taking my kids and we're going around and seeing and petting the different animals, and we get to the pen where the goats are. And the goat came around and started eating my shorts. And I had to keep pulling my – the hem of my shorts out of this goat's mouth, which, kind of slimy and ucky and I wasn't real happy about it. But finally my friend said, "Go on ahead. You've gotta get out of here, 'cause this goat is going to eat your shorts if you don't get outta here." Just what everybody always wants, to spend their day and a goat eats your shorts.

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“So, sorry about that, Uncle!”

So another person I interviewed was my uncle. And my uncle lives in Vietnam and I do not live in Vietnam, I live in America, the U- – uh, Michigan. And so, I thought that our time difference was 12 hours, right? And I wanted to interview him. So I thought, "Oh, if I get to school at 6 o'clock and call him to interview him, then over there it will be 6 PM. And then that'll all work out and we can do the interview." So I told him, "Okay, we're gonna interview each other at 6 PM, Vietnam time." And I was like, "Yeah, this is gonna work out great. This is such a great idea." Mm-mm. Apparently it's not a 12-hour difference, it's an 11-hour difference. But I didn't know that! So the first time I went to school, I started calling him and he was not answering and I was so frustrated. I was like, "Where are you grand- –? Where are you uncle? Where are you?"  He would not answer, and an hour later he was like, "Oh sorry. I was washing the dishes."  And I was like, "Um, 'kay then. Uh, I- I guess that could happen."  Because he works in a monastery – he's a priest, that's why I was interviewing him. It was about, uh, covid relief that he was doing. He and his missionary were doing some work for covid and I wanted to interview them about that.  And so a few... days later, I think? I decided to do it again. So we went – so I went into the journalism room and my teacher was there. Pretty sure I went and got her keys. Maybe she had to come in early because I was going in early too. Sorry about that! But, um, she was my journalism teacher. And then, so, I was like, "Okay, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to call him." And it was 6 and he still didn't answer and I was getting really frustrated at that time. I was like, "Dude, what is going on?!" And then finally I was like, "Okay, last try." And I called him again, he did not answer!  And then, finally at 7, when I was in class, he was like, "Oh, yeah. Um, I thought we were gonna call each other at 6." And I'm like, "Yeah,…

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“Right away, he opened the door and screamed at us, ‘Thanks a lot, Jack Frost.'”

We have like -- there's two houses on my street that, like, we play with them all the time. One to the left and one, like, diagonal. And then there's another person, she lets us use her yard, she's really nice. And across the street, there's these, uh, grandma and grandpa, and they're really nice.  But then, like, diagonal, there's these old people that don't like us at all. Like, once we were – so we were having a snowball fight in the winter and this – his driveway had no snow on it. And then we threw a snowball and missed. So one singular snowball hit that – hit the pavement, and right away he opened the door and screamed at us, "Thanks a lot, Jack Frost." And it was like this old guy, and yeah. So then – they don't like us.  And then – but then down our street there's a park, and across from the park there's this 'nother family that we'll play with once in a while, but other than that not really.

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“Martial arts is still really fun.”

Well, I'm already doing martial arts right now, so, that's all that I'm doing. It's really fun sometimes. I've got friends. I can do some karate kicks. I don't really know anything that kind of looks like the real thing, but I want to learn how to get a fly through the chopsticks like, uh, Mr. Miyagi from the -- from the Karate Kid. So, yeah. That would be pretty nice if I could do that. And martial arts is still really fun. We get to learn forms, which is basically like a series of actions. We have to shout, which is called kihap-ing, but I figure that maybe I shouldn't expose everything. The instructors are nice. They yell a lot, that's normal. Yeah.

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“Nothing else on the itinerary did he veto except the picnic.”

The last time I attempted to have a picnic, I was making i- -- an itinerary for a trip with a friend of mine. And I threw out a bunch of things because he wasn't really trying very hard to make the itinerary even though he had previously said that he was going to. And at one point as he's going through the itinerary, he's like pretty much down for all the things I put down, except he's not okay with the picnic. And I was -- I just thought that was the, the oddest thing. You know, I was like, "Well, we all have to eat, and this is just an -- indicating us to eat, like, more on the go or like, in a park instead of just inside." I just thought it was so bizarre that like of all the -- like, nothing else on the itinerary did he veto except the picnic. He was just like, "Oh, I just don't do that. I don't do picnics. Not really into that." And I was -- I, I don't know, it's still to this day, I'm just -- so odd. Like, I don't know. I don't -- I can't, I can't wrap my head around it. Who just doesn't do picnics? Like, what? What? You know? I don't know. I don't know. I have so many questions that I need to ask him, like, that I’ll never be able to ask. Like, why? Like, what expectations do you, do you place on a picnic? What aspect of it was so unpleasant that it was vetoed from our itinerary for a trip that never happened? I mean, that was really the um -- wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, but it -- when it, when it’s troublesome to plan a trip with somebody, you know, it was not... It's not good. It's not good, you know. So, this -- and unfortunately, this planning back and forth never resulted into actual doing of the trip, so.

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“I was so upset when I found out that he, like, cut these jeans into shorts.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. I remember when I was like in second grade, I thought it would be so smart if I like -- first of all, like, cut my jeans into like, jorts, but then cut out the knee section so I had, like, the jorts part and then I just had like, the bottom half. So like there's a whole section, like, missing. And then I would, like, tie the top and bottom halves together with like this fuzzy string and have, like, the hem part of the bottom of the jeans, like, hanging to the top part like some sort of trashy chandelier-type pants.  I got like, halfway done, like, through making my creation and my dad, being a dad, just thought it was, like, trash and he threw it away and I was so upset. But -- and then of course my dad being the perpetrator, and this is so funny because I remember one day after a soccer game in second grade, I -- I played in jeans. It was the first time I ever played, like, a sport, so I was like, "I don't know what to wear," so I completely played soccer in jeans. But then again, like, I was also playing in, like, fall, so it was cold.  But like, obviously my knee had, like, holes in them. So my dad was like, "Oh, I'm gonna be proactive and just, like, cut off the pant legs of these, uh, jeans and my daughter will have jorts." Because like, he wears jorts all the time. My dad does not give a f***. He -- he does his own thing. He just lives life how he wants to. So, props to [name]. Um, but I was so upset when I found out that he, like, cut these jeans into shorts, I literally had like a meltdown. A tantrum. I was crying, like, in my room over this pair of pants. And it's like, and I could only wear them, like, at home, too, because I was not -- you weren't allowed to wear holey pants, like holey jeans or just clothes with holes in them at my school. So, like, I could literally only wear them at home or, like, uh, playing soccer.

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“This was like my dream every day while being pregnant.”

This week, I- I'm grateful for a lot. It's been a really rough road since my daughter was born. On Valentine's Day of all days, cutest day of the year, but it- it's been rough.  I would have never thought that it could be so hard for some babies to learn how to eat. And I never thought that the body wouldn't just produce, like, these copious amounts of milk. And it's a supply and demand and all these hormones at play.  It's such a complex system. It is like -- thinking about my baby and how much trouble she's had, like, latching on for breastfeeding and eating, it got me starting to think about how, like, even 50, 100 years ago, maybe more, I'm not sure if there were bottles for babies to drink out of and what they did is... The amount of professional intervention that's been required to be able to get my baby to be able to breastfeed -- and of course, now, we've got bottles and formulas, but thinking about how much was required now to even get us to be able to do it for most of the day, not even all the day. And what if this happened 100 years ago? Would that baby just starve? Like, what would happen?  So, I'm really grateful for all of these experts, all of the knowledge that we have now. Grateful that I'm not a medieval peasant seeing my baby kinda waste away. I'm -- climate change, whatever, all that stuff going on now, but I'm seeing my baby still be able to grow. Become nourished. I'm getting help from experts. We're growing together. We're learning together. It was like a really big development today, too. One of our cats, um, avoids her completely. The other cat, he's okay being around her. He doesn't dislike her. But he just kinda, kinda observes at a distance, not really a big deal. I was, and I actually am still, laying on the couch with baby on my lap. Like, she's just laying down, sleeping on me. And the cat, he came up and he just jumped up right next to me and curled up right next to me and started snoozing. And he's still curled up next to me almost two hours later. I can't believe this.  This was like my dream every day while being pregnant. I…

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