Saturday, October 21, 2017

Thomas





THOMAS
by
 Gracelyn Beaulieu
(age 15)

When I was around six or seven years old, I really wanted my own dog.  My sister had gotten a poodle, border- collie mix when she was eight.  My dad also had a German shepherd named Buddy. Sugar, my sister’s dog, was very sweet and loved almost everyone, and Buddy was a good protective dog. He would follow Dad to work every day. Even though we had two wonderful dogs, I still wanted my own dog. 

Finally, one day, Dad told me that after Buddy died I could get a dog. I was so very happy!  I did not want Buddy to die though. When we were on vacation, my other sister called us. She said that Buddy was very sick and could not stay standing up. Dad had to go home and take him to the vet to be put down. I felt so sad.

In October of 2011, when I was eight, Dad and Mom approached me and said we would go look for a dog. They had already looked at Mainely Puppies in Oxford, Maine, which only sells small dogs. They told me I might not get a dog that day, but we would look. I really wanted a cute, small puppy so I could always hold it. We went to Mainely Puppies which sells adorable dogs, but it stinks there!

When we walked in I saw this dachshund, Pomeranian, and shih tzu mix. I immediately thought I did not want him, because he seemed unkind to me and barked a lot. He had a brother, which did not look like him. He was very cute, though. I tried holding other puppies, and Mom suggested I hold him. Well, I did, and I immediately loved him. He was so sweet! I walked out with him.  He is a long-haired dog, and sheds a lot. He is black with some brown on his paws and eyebrows.  Sometimes he sounds like a hound dog when he barks, because dachshund is a hound.

 On our way home, my family asked me what I would name him. I thought of a family who was moving to a different state that were good friends of ours. Their last name is Thompson. I decided to name him Thomas, not thinking that that name is in the Bible. I am glad it was also a Bible name.

Thomas was very scared, at first, in our home. He would bite me sometimes. Then it came to him, that I fed him and took care of him. He loves licking me a lot. He loves me and my family, but very few other people.

He is very protective of me. He would bite people’s ankles off if he had to. Thomas does not like children or men, mostly. He is very mean to them, which is too sad. Children would love to pet him, because of his cuteness, but not of his mannerism. He dislikes being cornered and forced to let someone pet him. One man did that, and Thomas bit him. It served the man right!

Thomas was six years old on May 8th of this year.  Next month we will have him for six years.  I am blessed to have my own dog now for six years.

                                                            


Assignment for Lesson #4 (Basic Writing Lesson - Adjectives)


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Saturday, September 30, 2017

"The Mystery of Love"




The Mystery of Love
by
Hannah Aldrich
(age 15)

Sometimes I make you feel hurt,
Or that everything in the world is right
Sometimes I will make you flirt,
I can make a dim world turn bright,
Sometimes I may be hard to find,
Though I am confusing and hard to understand,
When I’m around,
Crazy things may cross your mind,
With joyful feelings abound,
And no matter how you try,
My presence can never be planned.


(Assignment #2 of Poetry Lessons - rhyming)


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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fluffy and the Crippled Man

                     


               

Fluffy and the Crippled Man
by
Gracelyn Beaulieu
(age 14)


            On a cold, winter day, a crippled man decided he would go for a short walk. He had not been for a walk outside in a couple of days. While the falling snow was lazily drifting down, he could still see well enough.  

            Limping along, he looked ahead and saw something brown lying in the fluffy snow.  When he had come to it, he noticed it was a tiny field mouse. He quickly realized it was not dead, because he saw it shivering. The crippled man picked it up and walked back home with it snuggled up in his warm pocket.

When he sat down on the couch in his house, he patted it and gave it a little warm water. It instantly perked up and made a little wince. He decided to name his little friend Fluffy, to remember he had found it on a cold, snowy day.

Fluffy was the crippled man’s second pet. His first pet he already had for five years. It was, a cat named Joy. Joy loved mice, especially catching them.  With that being written, you can just tell that Fluffy and Joy were not the best of friends.

One day, the crippled man gave Joy some milk, and cut some cheese for Fluff. 
All of the sudden the telephone rang. He went and answered it, leaving the slice of cheese on the counter. The mouse was impatiently hungry! Fluffy climbed up on the counter to have his snack, while Joy was slurping up her milk.  The man was obviously not paying attention. Joy, knowing that animals are not supposed to be on the counter, happily jumped up to bat Fluffy off.  Squealing, Fluffy ran across the counter and down over the side. Joy, close behind, knocked over a vase of flowers and broke the vase.


           The crippled man hung up the phone just in time for a scared mouse to be rescued into his hands. Fluffy and Joy were scolded, but so was the crippled man for forgetting to feed his animal before he picked up the phone.  

(assignment for Lesson #2 - characters)



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Saturday, September 2, 2017

"United We Stand, Divided We Fall"





UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL
by
Hannah Aldrich 
(age 15)

(excerpt from August Challenge)


:Joan:
On a cloudy, below zero afternoon, Ezra and I were in a jeep with three other soldiers. We were headed back to base when out of nowhere, the jeep was thrust into the air.

I was laying in the snow and couldn’t remember why. I couldn’t hear anything. I looked around and saw the jeep, a smoking pile of shrapnel. My right shoulder hurt real bad and I couldn’t move my arm. One of the soldiers came over to me and knelt in the snow.

“You alright?” the soldier half yelled half asked.  Though I couldn’t hear anything, I understood what he was asking. I gestured to my shoulder and he saw that it was dislocated. “This is gonna hurt. Close your eyes.” I read his lips as he spoke. I closed my eyes and felt him put his foot under my arm and he grabbed my wrist. When he pulled on my wrist there was a loud popping sound in my shoulder and there was a stabbing pain in my forearm. I gritted my teeth to stifle a cry and opened my eyes. I could move my arm again but moving my fingers was difficult.

“Thanks,”  he held his hand out to me and helped me up. He stood there another second or two before going to the other soldier he was with before. I was looking around, searching. There, I saw an arm from underneath the jeep. I stumbled towards the jeep. “Ezra”I breathed.

I waved with my left arm at the other soldiers and yelled. The soldiers helped me move enough of the smoking shrapnel to get to Ezra.  I felt for a pulse. I found one. Weak and barely there. But it was a pulse. He was unconscious and not moving at all. He was breathing, it was raspy and irregular. His uniform was charred, especially around the ankles. His whole right leg was unbearable to look at.

In Germany, at the same hospital I was at about a year or so before, I waited in the very room that Ezra had waited. An hour went by. I fidgeted with my sling. Two and then three hours ticked by ever so slowly. I had to go back to Iraq in two days. I stared at my boots while my right knee went up and down in a quick motion.

 I closed my eyes, rubbed my face and drew in a long breath. I flinched when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

  “Hey, you okay?” I stood up and turned around, I was hugging him before I even opened my eyes.

   “Derek,” was all I could think to say. He hugged me back and whispered in my ear.

    “It’ll be alright,”

    “How did you get here?”

    “Oh, I know a guy who knows a guy,” he winked. “What’s this?” he motioned to the sling.

  “My shoulder was dislocated and I fractured my radius. I also had lost my hearing, but it’s back now.”

    “Nice,”  we sat beside each other while we waited to see Ezra.

 It was three in the morning and we still waited. “You asleep?” I jerked my head up when I heard Derek’s voice. I was embarrassed when I realized I was resting my head on his shoulder.

 “No. I’m awake.”

  “Yeah, now you are,” he teased. A nurse came into the room right about then.  Derek and I stood up and looked at the nurse.

   “You can see him,” I looked at Derek. Neither of us liked the look on that nurse’s face. We went to the door that lead to more rooms. Before I passed through the door, the nurse touched my arm. “He isn’t out of the woods yet. There is a small chance of his survival,” I nodded with a straight face. The nurse led us to a small room down the hall. “One at a time,”

Derek gestured for me to go in. I took a long breath and straightened my cap. I entered the room and the young man in that bed wasn’t the same man that I had grown up with. He wasn’t the same, bright, strong, fearless Ezra that I had served with for almost four years. This man, was pale, weak, covered in several bandages and looked totally helpless. I went to the side of the bed and slipped my hand into his. I bit back the tears that made my throat feel so tight. My head turned when I heard the door open. It was Derek.

“Can I come in? The nurse changed her mind,” I nodded. Derek came in and slowly closed the door. “You okay?” I was scared to say no but I couldn’t say yes. I drew in a shaky breath. I shook my head. He came up behind me and laid a hand on my shoulder. I sighed. I wished more than anything  That I could take away his pain and make him well again.


:Derek:
 I didn’t know what to do. So I just stood behind her. I wished more than anything that I could change all for this for her.

 All of a sudden, Ezra’s chest stopped rising and falling, I panicked for a second, then the heart monitor started a steady scream. Nurses and doctors poured into the room. I pulled Joan to one of the back corners.


:Joan:
 I was frozen. what just happened? I grabbed Derek’s hand. I watched in horror as they tried to revive him. I wanted to scream his name and punch something and hug someone all at the same time...


(original and unedited)



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Saturday, July 29, 2017

The First




The First
by
Hannah Aldrich
(age 14)


Ever since I could remember, I’ve always wanted a dog.  I wanted a male, German shepherd,and I wanted to name him Trooper. My parents couldn’t afford one, and it was a lot of work to have a dog. So as I got older, my dream of being a dog owner was let go in the reality that my parents would never allow it.

 When I was about twelve, my neighbors went to California because the mother of the family had cancer, and that was where her doctor was. So they left their Australian shepherd/border collie mix with us and said they would be back in a month  for the dog. The dog’s name was Rick. He was about twelve years old when we first started puppy-sitting him.

  On a sunny day, my siblings and I walked down to the brook for a mid-day swim. There was a bridge on our road that went over a brook. We swam beneath the bridge where the giant culverts were. The hot sun splashed down on us, soaking our swim wear in its rays. We yelled and joked for a good half hour when my little sister, Rosie, shouted  “Ricky-Pooh! You found us!” I raised my eyes to where she was pointing, on the bridge. And sure enough, Rick was peering through the bushes smiling and panting at us. 

My twin brother, John sighed. “Seriously? Why did he follow us?” 

  “Maybe he was worried we’d drown, so he was being life guard.” I giggled.

  “Very funny, Catherine.”  John rolled his eyes. “Okay, April, stay here with Rosie, while Catherine and I go take Rick home,” John instructed my other younger sister.  With a nod from April, John and I climbed out of the water.

  I wasn’t cold until I got out of the water. I wrapped my towel around my shoulders. “Cmon, Ricky.” I whistled at the long haired, happy dog. He obeyed right away and followed John and me back to the house.

 My ma was happy to see Rick. She had thought she’d lost him in the first week we were puppy-sitting him. John and I went back to the brook. Rosie’s lips were blue and her chin was vibrating. We decided to just go back to the house and have a water balloon fight while Rosie warmed up on the couch with cocoa and an episode of “My Little Pony.” 

 A month went by and it was time for Rick to go back to his family. I had become rather fond of him in just four weeks. But mostly, Rick had gotten attached to my older sister, Becka, and followed her everywhere. I was disappointed because I wanted him to like me. But I just let it go. It’s not like Becka forced him to like her.

 I was at a friend’s house the day that Rick was to be picked up by the father of the family who Rick belonged to. I had said my goodbyes to the dog and wished with all my heart that the father wold forget to pick him up. ( I knew it was rather selfish of me to wish that the dog’s very owner forget himI wished it anyway.)

  I was rather gloomy and not as hyper as usual while I was hanging out at my friend’s house. My friend noticed my sober state and asked if something was bothering me.   “It’s just . . . ” I paused and sighed

“Just what?” My friend Maya peered at me in concern.

“Rick’s owner is picking him up today. I am really attached to Rick now and am sorry to see him leave.

“Well, he is just going up the road a mile or two. You will see him again.” Maya tried her best to cheer me.

 “I know.” And that was the end of the conversation.

 I got home later in the afternoon. My plan was to read a book in my room and mope around the rest of the day, but that plan vanished as soon as I opened the front door. There, running towards me, was Rick. Barking his happy greeting and hopping around. I knelt on the front mat as I let him lick my face and patted him.

 “Ricky Pooh! You’re still here!” I was so happy.That was one of the best days in my whole childhood.

Apparently, when our neighbor came to get Rick, they started walking down the road and Rick refused to go any further and walked  back to my house. So our neighbor decided that Rick was happy with us and that we could keep him, if it was all right with my parents. 

And so it was that we kept Rick. He followed Becka everywhere. He went to camp with us in Septemberand every time Becka got in a canoe and left Rick on shore, Rick would go bizarre. It was cute.

The weeks turned into months, and the months into a year.  It seemed that Rick was aging too fast. He kept falling on the tile in our kitchen, so we bought him little rubber socks that we found at a pet store.

The second summer with Rick was probably the best. But as summer turned to fall,watching Rick go up the stairs was not pretty. He struggled and fell a few times. Someone had to be right with him when he went up or down the stairs. Sometimes, he couldn’t make it outside until it was to late. We never punished him for that. We knew he was old and expected him to wet.

When Christmas came around again, Rick lay by the tree as we opened our gifts. I got Rick a doggy biscuit from the pet store, but what he gave me was better. Rick gave me the gift of being my first dog, and he made me happy. 

As the days after Christmas proceeded, I heard talk about Rick -not good talk, talk about getting him euthanized at the vet’s. Not long after I began to hear this talk, Becka called for a meeting. 

“Guys,” Becka began as Rick lay at her side. “Rick’s getting old. And . . .

“I don’t want to hear it,” I interrupted. 

My dad was sitting in a rocking chair in the living-room where the meeting was. “What?” He asked.

“I don’t want to hear it. I know what she’ll say."

 “Let her talk," he said.

“Fine.” I crossed my arms and braced my heart for the words that were about to fall out of my sister’s mouth.

“We’re gonna take Rick to get put down on Thursday 5th of January.

“That only gives us four days!” I yelled. I stormed up the stairs into my room and slammed the door.  I crammed my face into my pillow in frustration. Becka knocked on the door. I didn’t answer her, but she came in anyway.  We talked about a lot of things. (It was mostly her doing the talking) She told me that it was the right thing for Rick. I knew that, I thought. I couldn’t talk her out of it.

The night before the fifth, I slept down stairs with Rick. I thought about all the times before that when I had heard him whining and came downstairs to calm him. I would fall asleep petting him.  I closed my eyes and listened to him breathing. I knew by that time the next day, I wouldn’t hear it ever again.

I woke early the next morning, January fifth. What a horrible day!   Becka put Rick in the small car. I went over to the window. He barked at me. That was the last time I ever heard his bark. I watched as Becka drove away. I watched them disappear down the road. My first dog, gone so quickly. I immediate wished I’d stopped her. I wished I had sat in front of the car and hadn’t let her drive away. I didn’t cry. I just kept staring in the direction the car had disappeared.

I went to my room and watched out the window, waiting for Becka to come back. I was there a good long hour and a half. I decided to wash the dishes while I waited. I washed the cups, the plates, the bowls, random silverware, and then I washed Rick’s food bowl, the one I had watched him eat out of for so long, and then the water bowl, the one I had refilled so many times. 

When Becka got home, I went to my room and closed the door. I wanted to remember Rick the way he was -not as the still, stiff body that I knew came with her. When Becka came back without the lively, happy dog she’d left with, that was when it all became real. Rick wasn’t coming home again. I stayed in my room the rest of the night. I didn’t sleep much.

I still miss Rick. although I know we did what was right, I will never forget my first dog. I put flowers on his resting spot under the big pine tree. I picture him all the time. His warm, liquid eyes that stared at me as I moved about a room. I think of him when I open the fridge door without having to step over him to do so. I think of him when I see the yard where we used to play. He licked the back of my right hand the day he passed, and it’s weird, but I will remember that too. I remember how my hands smelled after petting him, how soft his ears were, what his fur felt like, how gross his breath smelled. He took a giant piece of my heart that will never be replaced. 

I will always remember my first dog. 

(true story - names are fictionalized)
(Final Lesson of Writing Lessons - Autobiography)



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Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Need for Speed




The Need for Speed
by
Kenny McKenzie
(age 18)


June 4th, 2017
10:00am

We arrived at K1 Speed just as they opened. At the reception desk, those of us who had not raced before created an account. When that was done, they gave us our membership cards and a head sock. Then, we walked to the indoor track past the Formula 1 and Stock Car that were on display. The staff gave us new racer’s instructions on how to use the karts and a safety brief before letting us onto the track. Then we put on the head sock and a fully enclosed, visored, racing helmet. We checked our assigned kart numbers and climbed in.

These were electric karts. Compared to the 9 horse power two-stroke engines that most go-karts have, these electric motors produced 20 horsepower and were capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph. Now you see why we needed helmets. Soon, we were strapped in, visors down, karts turned on, and they signaled us to move out onto the track. We moved slowly, the electric motors enabling the staff to remotely reduce our speed or, in the event of an emergency, stop us. Once everyone was on the track and they had closed the access gate, there was a jump and my kart rapidly increased speed. The race was on.

In K1 speed, you don’t race for first, second, or third. You race for time. The fastest lap is considered the winner. I started off a bit slow; it usually took me one or two laps to get the hang of the kart, but then I gained confidence and let the adrenaline take over. Around twisting corners shooting down the straightaway we went, passing, braking, and trying at all times not to hit another kart or the wall. The slightest collision or scrape could affect your time. Around and around and around, slowly learning the best way to take a corner, or to squeeze around a slower racer, coaxing every bit of speed out of my kart. Fifteen laps later our karts slowed down, and we drove back to the pit. I finished third with 21.339 seconds, best lap, and a 23.981 average. After a quick break, we returned to the track. The second race began.

There were six of us the first race, but now only four. My sister and one of my cousins had only paid for one race. The second race showed marked improvement over the first one. Having grown used to the track and the capabilities of the kart, I shaved almost a full second off my time with 20.533 seconds and my best average of the day at 21.406. For the third race and final race, two more people had arrived, bumping our numbers back up to six. This race was the best yet. Navigating around the slower newcomers proved challenging; I collided with the wall and other karts more than once, but I came away with my best lap time yet 19.965, although my average was only 22.485.


K1 speed has tracks all over the country, and the membership I got when we arrived extends to all of them. This was probably the most fun racing go-karts I have ever had, and you can be sure I will return one day. Plus, I got to keep the head sock.




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