The Sally Draper Diaries: "It's Just a Milkshake"

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"The Sally Draper Diaries" is a new, occasional series that imagines life in the world of Mad Men as seen through the eyes of Don Draper's angsty tween daughter. To that end, we've taken a few artistic liberties for the sake of exploring Sally's headspace; let us know what you think in the comments!


October 11, 1965

Dear Diary,

Dr. Edna gave me this diary so I can write about my trip to California with my dad. It was a lot of fun. We went to DISNEYLAND and rode Dumbo, Mad Tea Party and Astro Jets. Daddy had to go to a lot of meetings so we spent a lot of time with his friend Megan. I thought that Carla was supposed to come with us, but Mommy said she couldn’t and when I asked her why not she got mad.

MEGAN IS SO NICE! She taught us how to sing in French to make Gene fall asleep and she let us go in the pool at the hotel whenever we wanted to. Daddy REALLY likes her. I like her a lot too. I spilled a strawberry milkshake at lunch and she didn’t even care. She helped me clean it up and said that it was okay because it was just a milkshake. I never thought of it like that before. It WAS just a milkshake. The waitress even brought me another one after the mess was cleaned up. If my mom had been there, she would have been really mad and we probably wouldn’t have been allowed to go swimming later, but Megan didn’t mind and Daddy said that if she didn’t mind then HE didn’t mind. So now, I’m trying to remind myself that lots of things are “just milkshakes,” like when Baby Gene scribbles on the floor or when Bobby tries to pour a glass of orange juice and some drips on the counter. I think if my mom could see everything like “just a milkshake” then she’d be a lot happier. She gets really mad about silly things sometimes. Henry once told me that I’m more of a grown-up than she is, but I don’t know if he meant it. He had had a lot to drink. Sometimes when Daddy still lived with us he let me mix his drinks for him and I would count how many he had before he started to act silly and say silly things. He started smiling a lot after four or five usually. Henry starts to smile after three and I counted five when he said that, so I don’t think he meant it. Or maybe he wasn’t supposed to say it because Mommy came in after that and he got really nervous and no one talked to each other for the rest of the night.

Anyway, California was a lot of fun. We also got to meet Daddy’s friend Stephanie. She was really nice too! She looks like Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, but she smells kinda funny, like the clubhouse where I used to play with Glen that sometimes smelled like a skunk. Glen said that it wasn’t a skunk; that sometimes the high school kids go there to smoke drugs and listen to Bob Dylan records. I asked Mommy if I could get a Bob Dylan record but she said no because Bob Dylan is a communist and Henry agreed.

I don’t know why we had to go see Daddy’s friend. He said he had to sell her house and when I asked him why he said because he bought the house for her aunt, who was also his friend. Her name was Anna and she died and Daddy got really sad when he talked about her. I asked him why he bought her a house and he said it was complicated. In the living room, someone had painted “DICK + ANNA ‘64” on the wall and when I asked Daddy who Dick is, he said that he’s Dick and it’s his nickname. I think that’s weird. I’ve never heard anyone call him Dick, except Mommy and Henry when they’re mad at him, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean it as a nickname, or at least, not a nice one. I wanted to ask Daddy why he wrote that, but he told us to go play outside while he talked to Stephanie and then I forgot when we went back to the hotel. I just think it’s a weird thing to write. Glen wanted to carve “GLEN + SALLY” into the side of a tree once but I stopped him because it made me feel weird. “DICK + ANNA” makes me feel weird too, but I think it’s a different kind of weird. Even though I told Glen not to carve our names into that tree, I still kinda liked that he wanted to do it. I don’t think I like Daddy having nicknames that I’ve never heard of, or friends in California who he buys houses for. It doesn’t make sense.

I thought about asking Mommy about it when we got back, but she was busy packing up the rest of the house without Carla. I miss Carla. I wish she was coming with us to Rye. Before she went away, she said that she would take us to Playland once we got settled. I wonder if we can still go? I want to ride the Dragon Coaster. Daddy took us to Playland a few years ago and I was too short then. I bet I’m tall enough now.

Sincerely,
Sally Draper

P.S. I think I’m going to ask Dr. Edna to hold onto my diary for me. I don’t think my mom would be very happy if she found this. She wasn’t happy when I told her Dr. Edna gave me a notebook to write in. She said that only people who have secrets keep diaries.



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