Our Middle School
A Collection of Words and Art
From Grades 7-8
Tandem Friends School
Dear Friends of Tandem,
What a pleasure it has been to receive work from the students of the
Middle School. Their insight, creativity, and humor have all shaped this past
year of study, and these pieces reflect their ongoing generosity in sharing
what they create. As a teacher of writing, I find it increasingly humbling to
witness how students leap into the uncertainty of a blank page and return
with entire worlds in their hands. We can all, I think, learn something from
I offer my sincere thanks to the Middle School faculty for their
support of the creative life in its many, rich forms. I thank all the students
in fifth through eighth grades as they continue to foster a safe place at
school in which words and images may spin. Warm gratitude is also due to
the parents of the Middle School students for their perpetual trust and care.
It is my hope that Tandem continues to treasure the collective voices and
visions that live among us.
This one is for Eloise.
7th and 8th Grade English
Writing and Images
Volunteer Student Editors:
The best food is ice cream
It is so good
When I see it I want to scream
I’d eat it all the time if I could
It’s the best food in the world
It tastes good in a cup or a cone
At the bottom it’s curled
It never makes me want to moan
You can top it with sprinkles or another topping
When I taste the cool, sugary, delight
There is no question of me ever stopping
If anyone tries to take it away I put up a fight
But if you eat it for ever and ever
You will freeze in the cold weather!
by Hannah W-O
Sonnet of Desdemona’s Death
(From Shakespeare’s Othello)
by Anna Grey
See I in your eyes hints of crazed delight?
You approach me now with your arms outstretched.
A hug? I’m flattered, but why squeeze so tight!
My neck in your grasp, God will have me fetched!
Darkness falls around me, now there is light.
Blinding white‐hot rays, oh please let me go!
We’re one, why a civil war? It isn’t right!
Your tears fall, but you’ll never know true woe.
I’ll soon be on Death’s wings flying away.
Soon Desdemona will be dead and gone.
Never to see another shining day.
Murdered by a deed her true love hath done.
My heart’s broken; my soul is black. I’m dead,
But living eyes see a deceived black head.
Tirey the Tire
“Oh you can't believe what happened to me today! The person drove me
into mud! I have had it people are just so selfish! Always taking the 'shortcut'
which in the end is not short at all! And the way they drive on gravel! I mean there
are paved roads! Come on can't they think of anybody but themselves! And you
can't believe this they drove on, oh and it hurt to! They drove me on a just been
paved road! I know How rude right!? My, oh my, did that sting me on the butt! Oh
and once, oh man, this is so so so gross, their dog went to the bathroom
on me! Gross right? Yeah, I know. And then they don't even care about my
feelings, or my hygiene! And now it's too late. They are getting me replaced, oh
well, at least I'll be clean!”
by Hannah F.
Oh, my gosh! He is so adorable!
I look at his breath-taking hazel eyes and
his golden hair
and the cute way he turns his head to one side when he looks at me
I can tell he is in love with me the way I am with him
the way he grins makes me jump with joy
and the way he runs shows off his muscular limbs
The other day, when we were tossing the ball together,
he ran as fast as the wind.
My heart skipped a beat, and I ran after him,
but I couldn't keep up with his athletic ability.
I fell in love at Christmas
when he first looked at me with those beautiful eyes,
on Christmas morning,
when my mother brought him in from the basement
I completely freaked!
Santa had given the best gift of Christmas:
The Legacy of Black Coat
by Carden and Arrietta
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two men stood facing each other. Both glared at
“Hey man, that's not cool.” said the man in the blue coat.
“I never said it was,” said the man in the black coat.
“Oh. I knew that.”
“No, you didn't.”
“Yes! I did!”
“That's beside the point.”
“What is the point?”
“Bring it on!”
The two men leapt into the air kung-fu style. Black Coat kicked Blue Coat in the
chest. Bones snapped. Blue Coat fell to the ground and said, “Dude! Not... nice!” and
then died. Black Coat replied, “The legacy of the Black Coat continues.” Then he walked
out into the sun.
Then he met a man in a red coat. Red Coat said,
“I've been waiting for you, Black Coat.”
“Really. A lot of others have looked for me, and found me, but all have failed in
“What task? I just want your autograph!”
“Sorry. No dice, chicky.”
“What!?!? No autograph! You must die. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
Red Coat ran forward. Black Coat stuck his hand out on Red Coat's forehead. Red
Coat is helpless. “I hate the paparazzi.” Said Black Coat. Red Coat made one last
gurgling sound and fell to the ground, dead. “Bye-bye!” And Black Coat walked out into
He had just bought a candy apple when he saw Violet Coat staring at him, his
beady eyes watching his face intently.
“Well... hello.” Said Black Coat. “Can I help you with something?”
“You... you're the one!”
“Oh, I'm sorry man, I don't like you that way. No offense.”
“That's not what I meant. You're the one I have to... kill!”
“Oh phew, that's fine. For a second there... never mind.”
“What time is it? Time to die!”
“That was cheesy. Bring it!”
Black Coat threw his candy apple. It lodged in Violet Coat's throat. He choked
one last work, “Yummy,” and died. “Yes, it is yummy.” and then Black Coat walked out
On Mars he saw... Green Coat. He ran over to him.
“Do I know you?”
“No, you don't. But you will once I kill you.”
“Uh... I'm a little creeped out. I'm gonna leave.”
“No, seriously man, the story won't have a plot line if you walk away.”
“Fine,” Green Coat sighed. Black Coat hit Green Coat with a paddleball toy.
“Paddleball... my only weakness!” Then he died. Black Coat kissed his paddleball racket
and walked out into Mercury.
While Black Coat was asking a hot alien chick for her digits, Orange Coat walked
up to him, slapped him across the face, and then laughed stupidly. Black Coat used his
hand to turn his head the right way.
“Man, what was that for? I was just getting a date. What's your problem?”
“First of all, that's my alien girlfriend. Second of all, I'm on a mission.”
“Wow... wow. Don't you know that no one has ever been able to kill me?”
“Well... okay. Now I do. But I will be the first.”
“Whatever. Can we get this over with?”
“Yes... let's.” Orange Coat smiled. Then Black Coat picked up the alien chick and
threw her at Orange Coat. “Ow.” he said. “Oh man, I love you girl, but you are really
fat.” and then death crept over Orange Coat. “So, how about that date?” said Alien Chick.
“Sorry,” said Black Coat. “I have a legacy to attend to.” Then he walked out into Saturn.
On Saturn, black Coat saw Yellow Coat. He walked slowly over to him.
“Hello, Yellow Coat.” He said ominously. “You are Yellow Coat, right? Or... are
you just wearing a yellow coat?”
“No, I'm Yellow Coat. And you're Black Coat. I knew this day would come.”
“Yes. It came. And now I will destroy you.”
“Not if I can help it!”
“Well, you can't, so suck it up.” Black Coat pulled a raccoon from his pants.
“I'm allergic to raccoons.” said Yellow Coat.
“Yes, I know.” Black Coat threw the raccoon. It landed on Yellow Coat's face.
Then the raccoon clawed out his face. Yellow Coat fell to the ground, dead. “I know
everything about everybody.” Black Coat whispered to the lifeless body. Then he walked
out into Neptune.
In Neptune he was reading a book when Indigo Coat walked up.
“Hey man, you got a quarter? I have $1.00, but I need $1.25 to get a drink. And
I'm really thirsty.”
“No, sorry, I don't. But maybe you'll find one... in death!”
“Wait, I don't get it.”
“You don't have to 'get it'”. Black Coat stood up. He slammed the book over
Indigo Coat's head. Indigo Coat crumpled to the ground. “I... hate... banks!” were his last
words. “But you love quarters.” said Black Coat. He dropped a dirty quarter on Indigo
Coat's head and walked out into Pluto.
On Pluto it was dead silent. And cold. No one was there.
“Hello?” he shouted. Still no reply. Black Coat sat down on a rock. His but froze
to it. “Donkey butt!” he cried. “I think my butt's frozen to this rock. Oh well, no one's
“I wouldn't be so sure about that,” said a voice. Black Coat looked up. Before him
stood a man in a coat. But it was not any coat. All the Coats he had killed were in this
coat. It was Rainbow Coat.
“Oh, ding dang it! All the men's spirits have fused, making one Rainbow Coated
man. I knew you would come to haunt me, Rainbow Coat.”
“Yes. We must kill you in all the ways you killed us.”
“Um... do you have to? I mean, I'm kinda busy.”
“Oh. Do you want me to come back later? Cause I can, if that's more convenient.”
“Uh... yeah, yeah. That would be good.” Rainbow Coat began to turn away, but
then turned back.
“Hey! That's a trick. You're not busy.”
“ Aw, Dinkleberry ball!”
Then Black Coat was killed in every way that he had killed the other Coats, each
time being brought back to life. Finally, he was killed for good. The black coat floated
away to earth where a little boy found it.
“Hey a coat! It's mine now.” The kid put the coat on. The spirit of Black Coat
flowed into his body, wanting revenge. “I'm coming for you, Rainbow Coat.” The new
Black Coat whispered.
The End. (Or the Beginning of a New Epic?)
Where I'm From
I am from Charlottesville, Virginia
The big yellow house
The top floor
The big, green bed.
I am from the city of Dennis
The loud crashing waves
Soft sand beneath the water
Hermit crabs with tiny shells
And the sunrays shinning through.
I am from a life full of airports
Many long lines
Hard seats and long, long rides.
I am from many horse parties
Big brown horses saddles
Beating of hooves
And neighing of horses.
The Mystery of the White Mountain
Chapter 1: A Sword, a Cloak, a Book, and a Ring
The sun was barely casting its slanted rays onto the earth when Sedior awoke. He went to the
kitchen and saw Granny Chio making breakfast. Try as he might, Sedior never awoke before Granny Chio.
Granny Chio noticed Sedior and said, “Good morning, Sedior. Happy fifteenth birthday, you really do look
a year older than last year.”
“Good morning, Granny,” he replied.
“I won’t give you too much work on your birthday. I need you to get some water from the well
and chop some wood. Then you may return for martial arts practice.” And with that she served breakfast.
When they finished Sedior grabbed some lunch then ran off to do his chores.
When Sedior returned with wood and water, Granny Chio was holding a wooden pole about four
feet long that complemented her height of about 4 ½ feet. When she saw Sedior she leapt at him with
surprising agility. Sedior quickly put down his load and assumed a defensive stance. As Granny Chio
struck at him, he dove aside. Granny Chio had her silver hair tied back so it didn’t get in her face, and she
turned to face him, her brown eyes alert and focused on her ‘opponent.’
Sedior’s ice- blue eyes cast around quickly for a weapon. He saw a pole behind Granny Chio. He
ran low to the ground towards it, only to be stopped by Granny Chio and her formidable staff. She swung
down at him, and Sedior leapt up, catching the attack in his hands. He pushed down and flung himself over
her, landing in a well-executed roll. He grabbed the five-foot long staff that was just a few inches shorter
than he. Sedior fiercely fought his foster grandmother for half an hour, his long jet black hair flying around
his face. The two were a whirlwind of blows and counterblows.
Finally, Granny Chio’s strength began to ebb, and Sedior found an opening in her defenses and
disarmed her with a quick spin of his staff. “Well done my grandson,” Granny Chio said then went inside to
rest. Sedior practiced his forms outside for another hour and a half before going inside to practice his
characters. He wrote a delicate poem entitled, “Plum Blossoms” to celebrate the beauty of spring and then
Granny Chio called him into the kitchen. She has a surprise for her foster child. Behind her on the table was
a cake and she was holding out to Sedior a silk robe, a sword, a book and a ring.
“In honor of your birthday,” Granny Chio said, “I shall tell you of your heritage. You were an
infant, left upon my doorstep in a bundle with a note. In the note your mother asked me to raise you and not
to tell you of your heritage until your fifteenth birthday. Now that you are a young man in your own right it
is time for you to know your lineage. Come let us eat while I tell you what I know.” Granny Chio held up
the violet tunic and cloak and said, “These clothes, the sword, the book, and the ring were in the bundle that
was left upon my doorstep. The note asked me to give them to you on your fifteenth birthday and they all
carry a hint about your lineage. I will start with these, the cloak and tunic. They are made in the style of
your parent’s village. This style, I think, is for their leaders. It shows that your lineage is of royalty. Next I
shall tell you about this sword.” With one swift motion, Granny Chio drew out the blade from its pure
white leather sheath. The sword was oddly light and possessed a strong tint of blue. It caught the light in a
majestic way. “The sword was crafted by master smiths of your parent’s home town. It is extremely sharp,
durable, strong and lightweight. It shows you have enemies already.” Sedior took the sword as he stood
with rapt attention.
“This book is a strange one. It is locked and there was no key left in the bundle. It is quite ancient
despite its new appearance. I can tell because its title is written in some form of ancient runes.” Sedior ran
his finger along the book’s spine and shivered slightly. “Now last is this ring. If you look closely at it, you
will see some jewelry master has made it with care, for it seems as if the pure white silver of it gushes
water that cascades around an invisible finger. There is an extremely high quality moonstone gracefully
embedded in it. And if you hold it to the light the moonstone will turn violet. The ring somehow links you
to your heritage, but I do not know how it does so.” Sedior put the ring on his index finger – a perfect fit.
“Now I’m sure you have questions on this matter - feel free to ask them now.”
The most burning question remained. “Where are my parents now?” asked Sedior.
A long silence followed. At last Granny Chio sighed and said, “You are right. Your parents are
alive. It is time you learned about them. They live in the nameless village located at the peak of the White
Mountain. But listen to me carefully. There was a reason your parents asked me not to tell you about them
until you were fifteen. If you search for them, you will be hunted. And listen closely. No one has ever
climbed the White Mountain and returned down alive.”
Another long pause followed.
At last, Sedior came to a conclusion. “I shall find my parents, I shall find out about these strange
gifts,” he said.
“Then you may pack when we’ve finished this cake. You wouldn’t want it to go to waste, would
you?” Granny Chio ran an impatient hand over her eyes that glistened with unshed tears.
“No, I would not.”
That was the end of their conversation.
The shadow comes on silent steps.
It creeps along in dark, and murk.
It goes and goes, but never stops;
No one can see it while it lurks.
It keeps on hunting its fleeing prey.
Traveling here and traveling there.
Hunting, hunting, never led astray.
Always taking the greatest care.
It hears a sound, and there it stays.
Finally it sees its sullen prey.
It feels like it’s been days, and days.
It hopes the sun won’t come this day.
But the sun comes, the shadow screams,
Then it disappears, to come again that night.
I Am From
I am from winter in the country,
The dull greyness soothing.
I am from my grandpa's house
Surrounded by creations he built
A grey gypsy wagon, a blue greenhouse.
I am from a running creek
With crawdads living under rocks.
A perfect current for leaf boats with twig passengers.
I am from Cayuga Lake,
Beautiful for being water,
Sailboats that fall over in the wind.
I am from sunrise and sunset
Vivid and beautiful
Every morning, every evening.
This, is where I used to live
Where I return each summer
The beauty of upstate New York,
The beauty of where I am from.
I love my dog very much, alas he’s only a mutt.
Someday I’m going to have a retriever, and I’m going to name it Beaver.
Dogs rock, but they chew on my socks.
Whatever, I don’t care.
I love them and their silky hair.
Haiku’s are easy,
but sometimes they don't make sense.
Journal Entry #12
Contrary to popular belief, Nothing, as opposed to hydrogen, is the most
abundant element in the universe, accounting for about 96% of its space. An
atom of nothing (atomic symbol Nt) contains no protons, no electrons, and no
neutrons. Its atomic weight is 0. Occasionally, an atom of nothing comes in
contact with an atom of anti-nothing, causing the two to annihilate in a burst of
non-energy. Vast clouds of nothing fill the universe in massive superstructures
called “voids”. Nothing is an excellent insulator; indeed, a Thermos works
because of the properties of nothing. Nothing also fills the craniums of most of
the Earth's men. In the “hollow earth theory”, nothing fills the Earth's crust.
Nothing also has great historical significance, having been the cause of
approximately 78% of the world's wars and conflicts.
American History Essay
General William T. Sherman led a march through Georgia and up into North and
South Carolina destroying many family’s homes, food and freeing their slaves. The idea
to lead this march was a bad one but was justified because of the fact that the two
territories were at war and it helped the war end quicker. Along the way 10,000 slaves
were freed but some of them died following the troops on their own mission to freedom.
100 million dollars of Confederate property was seized and Sherman’s men used about
20% of it, and destroyed the rest.
Sherman’s idea of bringing the war home worked substantially and scared the
Southern families. Although it did tremendous harm to Southern families it helped the
war end quicker and freed lots of slaves. The march started in Atlanta on September 1,
1864. Sherman once said, “War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler
it is, the sooner it will be over.” That being said it is obvious that Sherman did not like
what he was doing but he was doing it for the good of America. Some of Sherman’s
supporters said that it was the South’s punishment that they were doing, punishment is
never fun but it can make the punished learn a lesson. During the course of the march,
300 miles of Southern railroad was destroyed and not only for a while, they made a
“Sherman’s necktie” which is when they burn the metal to red hot and then bend it
around a tree. The Union Army destroyed the Confederate economy in Georgia.
Although Sherman’s March was cruel to the South it, the beliefs and words of
Sherman, made the war much shorter by “crippling their military resources.” The March
also freed lots of slaves who had heard about the March and could not wait until it got to
their plantation. In a letter home Major Fredrick C. Winkler explained the slaves
happiness, “They dance and jump about and clap their hands when they see our column
approach. Whatever a soldier may ask for, they do for him.” Although some slaves did
not last the entire March, lots of them walked along with the Union soldiers in cheer.
Sherman had previously said that he would not feed them and that they will almost act if
they were not there, in means of leaving before they were awake and picking up the
makeshift bridges before all of the blacks had a chance to cross. Some of the slaves that
wanted to go with the Union soldiers couldn’t because they had to stay and help take care
of their families.
Yes, what Sherman did was probably wrong, but it was what the Southerners
deserved for deserting the Union. For those who didn’t believe in the Confederacy that
lived in the South they could have joined the Union forces and gave their food to the
Army. The March was justified because, it shortened the war considerably and if the
Confederate forces wanted to stop it, they would have quickly sent troops down to fight
Sherman. When the Union forces ran into resistance it was very little and they were able
to storm right through it. One big take off to the March, is that for generations in the
states hit by the March, the people hated the North.
Sherman’s March was a turning point in the Civil War and was a key part of the
Unions win. When General Joseph Johnston surrendered to Sherman in North Carolina,
The war ended in the East. So overall Sherman’s March was a great success.
La Calle Reyes
Jorge and Rafael decided to take the short cut home through los
barrios marginales. They were just returning from the Superclásico between
River and Boca (the two football superpowers in Buenos Aires.) The boys
knew that the area was not safe, but they decided to take their chances. They
were both middle class children going through EGB (Educación General
Básica.) Jorge was in eighth grade and Rafael was in ninth. Jorge played for
the U-14 Athletico Huracán B team; this was a semi professional club.
Rafael, however, only played street soccer, although he was known
throughout the city as one of the best. As they were walking through the
slums, a thug jumped them. The goon took a swing at Jorge but he was
quick to his feet and dodged it. He quickly got up and sprinted away as fast
as he could, leaving Rafael alone. Rafael stood motionless as the thug
approached him. Two more appeared behind him. He suddenly realized the
situation was much worse then he originally thought, these were the, ángeles
de la muerte, a dangerous street gang located throughout Buenos Aires.
There was only one thing Rafael could do…
(To be continued…)
The Strange Machine
It was a dark and cold day when Mr. Gamaham walked out the door
ready to do some mysterious work in down. His coat almost touched his feet,
and his hat sank down to the bottom of his eyes. The rain poured down as
hard as the tears of a broken hearted woman. As he locked the door and
walked down his steps to the road with mist rising up from it, he noticed
something in the sky. It looked like it was floating west. It was dull grey and
circular. It had pipes with smoke being released as it sank a little and then
kept going a few miles, then sank again, an repeated this process until it was
not visual anymore. It seemed to have landed. Mr. Gamaham, being very
interested in this odd looking machine got into his car and started driving
towered where it seemed to have landed. The sun peeked through the black
clouds, but only for a few moments, and then it went back into hiding. He
drove through the town, only seeing umbrellas and legs. Mr. Gamaham had
a great eye and caught sight of the following on the way. A lonely man with
his dog, walking through the rain, a lonely maiden with long hair and a
white dress, which now had been a tad muddy, three little girls with dollies
in their hands and brunettes in their hair, a lonely police man with an
umbrella in his hand watching his life go by, a lonely clown with smeared
makeup and wet because of the storm with no reason to entertain, the lonely
factory, with smoke coming out of its pipes, deserted and uncontrolled with
no reason to run. By these characters, you can probably guess that this is
kind of a lonely place. Lonely town they call it.
Mr. Gamaham caught sight of the strange thing in a field surrounded
by a bunch of cows, minding their own business. He stopped in the middle
of the road and got out of his car. He wasn’t worried about parking their, for
he knew nobody would be coming down that road anyway, it was too lonely.
He opened the door in the middle of the picket fence and followed a stone
pathway leading him to the strange machine. His suede shoes clicked and
clacked against the stone. Three strange figures stood by the machine lined
up looking like they would be inspected. Mr. Gamaham cautiously moved
towered them. They didn’t do a thing, almost like they were expecting him.
“Hello.” Mr. Gamaham said. Kind of a vague thing to say but that was
all he could think of. He heard no reply. But then suddenly a woman with
purple curled hair stepped out of the line and curtsied. She started to dance
with him, tango that is. Mr. Gamaham was very startled. All the others kept
“I’m glad you could make it,” Said the purple haired woman while
The other two strangers started to do cartwheels in the grass.
Mr. Gamaham tried to speak but couldn’t. It was like a spell. How
odd, he thought to himself. And he never got home.
From the 8th Grade:
A Quartet of Writing and Image
My thanks to the contributors
Who lent their work during a busy, exam‐filled season:
Logan, Clare, Abraham, and M.P.
Also, best wishes to the
8th Grade Class of 2009
As they pursue their next adventure!
As I sat down and strapped myself into the Griffon, I knew at this point there was
no going back. My heart rate accelerated as the intercom voice spoke ominously,
“Prepare to enjoy the power and speed of the Mythical Griffon.”
I felt panic begin to set in as the roller coaster began to move. It did a fast turn
around, then began its climb to 205 feet. I was quiet as my heart pounded in my ears, and
Isabel screamed, “Logan! I lied! This is way scarier than any of the other roller coasters!
I'm sorry!” The slight amount of enthusiasm for the ride left me and turned to fear.
We reached the top and then stopped, held at a vertical angle at 205 feet to be
released down a ninety-degree drop in exactly five seconds. I closed my eyes, praying I
would survive, hoping they would drop us soon. They dropped us, and I got the most
amazing thrill, I was too much in shock to scream. We proceeded to go onto a huge loop-
de-loop that was amazing. Then after that as we sped toward another drop. I grabbed
Isabel’s arm and yelled, ”Isabel, I love this!”
The second drop was just icing on the cake, and soon the ride was over, Isabel
looked at me with a smug look and said, “Now aren’t you happy you did that?”
I smiled and replied, “Yes, and thank you for forcing me.” My whole body was
shaking as I exited the roller coaster. I was laughing almost hysterically, although I was
not hysterical. A big smile was plastered across my cheeks.
“Lets go on Alpenghise!” I chanted. Alpenghise was the roller coaster I was
originally afraid to go on and had backed out of at the last minute. Now, after the Griffon,
I was not afraid of any of the roller coasters. We ran laughing to get in line for
Alpenghise we didn’t have to wait very long and soon we were riding to the top of
I was a little nervous, but my excitement overpowered the nervousness by a
landslide. Right before we dropped Sydney called to me, “Logan are you ready?”
“Yep,” I replied smiling.
We dropped and sped up considerably then we went on a huge loop-de-loop that
made the ground seem like the sky. As we flew through the air our, legs dangling, I
yelled, “Woo-Hoo!” I was thoroughly enjoying the ride. We did a few more loop-de-
loops, and I was a little afraid for what I knew came next: barrel rolls! I braced myself.
We came upon the first one, and I screamed, but afterwards I was smiling and laughing.
As we got to the end, I yelled, “Guys can we do it again?” Everyone exchanged a look,
and we all spoke at the same time, “Yes!”
After the second ride, I ran after my friends laughing and singing “I love college,”
by Asher Roth. We ran to get to Escape From Pompeii, a great water ride where you ride
through burning Pompeii as houses crumple in front of you and status fall down and
nearly miss you. At the end, I put my hands up as we dropped, and I could see all of
Busch Gardens. It was just getting dark, so the whole park was all lit up. We ended up
going on Escape from Pompeii three or four times. I can’t quite remember. We rode a
couple times with a kid who looked to be about six years old, but he claimed to be eleven.
Before this, we had gone on our last roller coaster for the day. Ironically, the first one
I wend on was the last one we ended up going on for the day. As we rode up to the top,
for some reason I was not scared at all. We dropped and I just put my hands up and
cheered. The happiness, thrill, and exhilaration coursed through my veins. I looked over
at my friends on either side of me and smiled. I was truly happy as the ride screeched to a
stop, and we all got off laughing and talking merrily. We ran along snapping pictures and
Helen of Troy
In the land of Greece,
God of thunder as father,
Queen Leda of Sparta as mother,
Helen hatched from their swan egg.
With beauty of incomparable price,
lips like roses,
hair like golden rushes,
she walked with all grace and splendor.
Stolen by Athenian King of olive and sage,
when young in age.
Rescued by Gemini,
Helen married Menelaus in state of plunder.
As gold headed Aphrodite’s gift,
deeply in love,
Helen of Troy,
followed Trojan Prince to high walled Illium.
Noon of a dark day,
with one thousand ships,
Atreus sons arrived.
The decade war cry was fired.
One red sunset,
with Helen’s broken heart,
tore away from her,
Paris was burned in grave of fire.
Rather die to reunite with her beloved,
Helen sadly followed Menelaus,
through the sands of Troy,
back to state of plunder.
Selections from a Memoir
Chapter 1: Scar-Face
When I was in the first grade, my friend Nicholas (a redheaded, short, spunky friend who
had problems pronouncing his “r’s”) and I decided to make up a story about a man with a scar on
his face that would come and hang out with the kids in our grade during lunch. This story was
told to my grandmother when she picked us up to take us home one afternoon after a mundane
day at school. We went back and forth between the two of us, relaying details of our odd
encounter with a scar-faced man that appeared on our playground. She was so disturbed by a
creepy man supposedly playing with the first graders that she immediately called my parents.
I realized that my fun story telling had gotten out of hand, and I tried to explain to them
that I had made the whole thing up. But the story was so elaborate and detailed that no one
would believe me. They thought I was just denying the events happened because the creepy
scar-faced man had told me not to say anything about him or had threatened to hurt me or my
family if I did. Not believing my emphatic denial, my mother called the first grade teacher, Mrs.
Stark an experienced, but mild and sweet teacher, informing her to be on the lookout for an odd
man with a scar playing with children during lunch recess.
After a day of vigilance from the teachers and other school staff who were on the look out
for the creep, it was determined that this problem was too large and serious for one teacher to try
to resolve. The story was then brought to the Headmaster, our Principal of the school. Our
Principal was extremely old and regal character. Her hair sparkled like brilliant silver and she
commanded great respect with her ancient appearance. I was mortified when I learned they
brought it to her attention because to me the Principal was an authority figure second only to my
parents and the President of the United States! All hopes of the principal understanding my plight
of imagination were destroyed when she decided she must take action, and planned to call the
police. She notified parents of an alleged threat that was facing the children of the lower school
Before this principal however called in the National Guard and media, I had one final
opportunity during a final meeting with my first grade teacher. She wanted to see if she could get
me to recount what was perceived by everyone (except a small portion of the student body) as
the truth about “Scarface”. After much coaxing and many, “He won’t get you” statements from
our teacher and days of pointless searching, I finally managed to convince everyone that I just
made up an extravagant story. It was meant as nothing more than a little joke and a brilliant story
to be told after a completely uneventful day of mundane boring school.
I was hoping that after all of the misunderstanding was resolved, Scarface would long be
forgotten. Unfortunately however, this was not the end of Scarface. He would be revived
countless times to new students as they entered the lower school campus. A legacy of my make-
believe story telling most likely lasts to this day. It was also repeated by my parents and
grandparents at every family gathering we have had since my days in first grade. I anticipate it
will continue at many gatherings for generations and years to come!
Chapter 2: The Blind Leading the Blind
Many years later, when Scarface was a distant memory, my fifth grade class was told to
gather outside for a special lesson on the importance of the five senses. In days past, we had
covered hearing, touch, taste and smell, so I expected a lesson where we closed our eyes and
tried to write a sentence or do some other kind of common task that we take for granted having
sight easily accessible. But to my surprise, I was instructed by my teacher to find a partner to
lead me around campus blind-folded.
My fifth grade teacher (I must explain) commonly used our class as a guinea pig group.
She never had taught before, had no teaching certification however she had home schooled her
kids for a couple of years. I imagine she tested out this lesson on them and experienced
success. The goal of this exercise was to trust in our partners and listen to their voices in order to
get back to the classroom. The only way we were able to figure out which way to turn was by
To this very day, I have no idea why I, someone who didn’t know their left from the right,
chose Ben. My dear friend Ben was a hilarious character but was known to also have some
directional issues. It was going to be his job to lead me through a jungle gym of large wooden
structures and I had confidence we could complete this mission. After all, Ben was my best bud,
and I was sure that he would help lead a sightless me to safety.
It all began pretty well. We had done the majority of the task and were heading back
towards the classroom when Ben said to me in a very calm tone, “Go left…. NO RIGHT!”. But it
was too late. I had already run smack into the corner of a large wooden post. I quickly removed
the blindfold, and when I saw Ben’s stunned face. I knew it wasn’t good. When I felt the
throbbing pain, I knew it REALLY wasn’t good. I could feel with my hand, there was a huge red
groove in my forehead. I rushed back to class and looked in a mirror only to see a softball size
lump coming out of my head. The good news, I figured, was that I may look good with a horn,
much like a unicorn.
My mom arrived shortly after I reported to the office for ice. She immediately took me to
the Emergency Room. I remained there for several hours under examination. I was then told
that everything appeared to be okay and I wouldn’t have any sort of brain damage (although I
think that sometimes my mom finds this debatable). Slowly my lump diminished into nothing, and
I eventually returned to school after a few days off. Upon my return, I asked my buddy, my voice
commander Ben what I had missed. He then informed me with a little nervousness that we still
had to complete the blind assignment, but this time, switch places.