MULTNOMAH COUNTY OREGON / ADULT COMMUNITY JUSTICE VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 4 / JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2001 Our mission is to help corrections clients develop their academic skills so they can take charge of their lives, build and sustain positive human relationships, achieve their goals and realize their potential. In all our work, we will place human dignity first and celebrate our clients’ accomplishments. The Learning Curve The Learning Curve is a bimonthly newsletter published by The Donald H. Londer Center for Learning, Multnomah County Oregon, Adult Community Justice. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Learning Center or the Department. Please direct questions or comments to Al or Esther, editors, at 988-3466. JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2001 PAGE 2 The Learning Curve JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2001 LEARNING CENTER LAB HOURS 988-3466 The weekly schedule is: Six days a week, Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; except Thursday morning (closed for staff meeting from 10 to noon); in addition, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (For Saturdays only, please call ahead and make an appointment.) If you need more information, call the Londer Learning Center at 988-3466 or Cindy Stadel, Program Administrator at 988-6828. JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2001 Donald H. Londer Center for Learning Dept. of Community Justice Multnomah County, Oregon Mead Building 421 SW 5th Avenue Seventh Floor Portland, OR 97204 The Learning Curve The Learning Curve This issue features student work that was produced in two Creative Writing Workshops recently held at the Learning Center. On Friday December 8, sixteen women from De Paul Treatment Center attended a Creative Workshop presented by Glenda S, instructor at the LLC. One student wrote about her ideal job. THE PERFECT JOB If I could have any job that I wanted, I would be a Head Person at Disneyland. I wouldn’t be a stuffed shirt, suit and tie type. I would want to design some new rides; of course, I would have to test ride them. I would also like to take part in some of the skits. The best part of the job would be to dress up as one of the characters. I think Cinderella would be the greatest: to go from old, ragged street clothes and be transformed into a beautiful princess with a flowing ballroom gown and glass slippers; then I would end the evening going home in my wonderful, exotic, pumpkin carriage. I would be rewarded daily by all the families’ smiles and happiness. Teri W. student These students wrote about a special time. A PERFECT DAY My perfect day was in Wallowa, the place where my grandparents lived. My grandfather, grandmother, and my father were planning to go to Wallow Lake. We could see the huge Wallowa Mountains in the background as we were driving to the lake. Once we got there, my grandfather unloaded the packhorse. We were going hiking six miles to Mirror Lake. I was dressed in my blue jeans, my Keds tennis shoes, and my blue cowboy hat. The best part of the whole trip was fishing with my grandfather, side by side. I was six years old; and my grandfather to this day, always tells me that this was the most perfect day. Amy B, student I can recall a day almost a year ago that was so wonderful for me. I was just waking up in the morning and found my three children lying all next to me in my bed. As I awoke, I noticed my two younger boys smiling and giggling. We all gave a family hug, and I told my children how wonderful they have made my life. I haven’t had all my children together since, but it was a day that none of us will ever forget. We will always be together in our hearts. April A, student We were living in Silverton, Oregon. I awoke and there was almost a foot of snow on the ground. The moon was still shining, and the sky was crystal clear. Our family finally had a real home again, but this time it was out in the country. My mom and step-dad were headed out to the barn. I tiptoed behind them. Just as we arrived at the barn, the most beautiful thing was happening. A big ewe was giving birth. I’d never experienced a birth of any kind before. It all was so wonderful. Margaret J, student It was a warm summer day, about eighty degrees. The lilacs were blowing their scent my way. I was watching my kids on their slip and slide when my son who is only six years old said, “Mom, give it a try.” I gave him a laugh and said, “I’m too old.” He said, “Come on Mom, it’s fun.” So, I ran across the lawn with all of my might onto the yellow slip and slide. It was so much fun that we spent hours that day playing. I’ll never forget that day, every time I smell the lilacs of summertime. Mary R, student In another workshop, 27 budding writers from the Volunteers of America spread their literary wings at the LLC’s, Creative Writing Workshop – Writing from the Head and Heart. Becky K, a corrections counselor for Adult Community Justice, who writes professionally as Rebecca Kelley, led the workshop, but the real stars are the women who participated. They learned how to show rather than tell a story. How to make their words come alive in the imaginations of their readers. See for yourself what talented writers these women are as you read the following samples of work from the class. As she began to unpack her bag once again, she looked around the room. It was cold and dark. It reminded her of her grandmother’s basement, which she only had vague memories of, but the musty, moldy scent engulfed her from head to toe. As she picked up the hand mirror off the old worn dresser, tears filled her eyes, wondering why me? What did I ever do to deserve being all alone? Even though, Mr. and Mrs. Green, her new foster parents, seemed to be nice, why couldn’t she have a family of her own? After all, this should be one of the happiest days of her life. It was her birthday, but it wasn’t a very sweet sixteen. Elaine H, student Motionless, her body was paralyzed, crippled with fear. She heard the floor creaking as footsteps came toward the bedroom door. Her mouth opened to scream, but nothing came out. As the stranger approached the room, she noticed the candlestick lying on the cherry wood table, next to her Victorian laced bed. She grabbed for it as the stranger walked into the night filled room. Then, she noticed it wasn’t a stranger at all, but her dear friend Sally. But wait, she thought, Sally died ten years ago. Terri Z, student It was a warm muggy day and the corners were filled with groups of people doing exactly nothing. Her mom was driving down Burnside when she approached the stoplight. She gently reached out and touched her knee. As a single tear ran down her cheek, she began to explain the dilemma her family had with her addictions. Patricia B, student She had a bad day at work because she worked double time and she was really tired. She scraped the mud off her work boots. Shirley M, student As he stood in his cold and lonely kitchen, gazing out the window, reality was before his eyes. The energy of tense and restless bodies shuffled through his mad house. He took a deep breath and as he exhaled, stress is what he released. Confusion scattered through his head and a sharp extravagant pain hit his heart as he said to himself - why am I still here? Francine T, student The hospital was stark and industrial. The waiting room for emergency patients was thick with sickness and trauma. His breathing was labored. The walls were a pasty yellow and intentionally drab. Obviously, the nurses were impatient and the doctors overworked. He wondered if he would grieve for any of these strangers, who would die today. Himself? No, he couldn’t allow that. He had a serious journey to attend to. He must find her at all cost. His vows rang in his head along with the fever – in sickness and in health, til death do we part. Jennifer P, student She walked out into the backyard. It was cool and dark outside. She looked up at the moon and stars. She took in their magnificent beauty. Her mind wondered full of memories of days that passed. Her heart fluttered as she thought of the image of his face that is etched, so deeply etched, in her heart. She smiled. Victoria S, student As the night sky got darker and the stars began to show, he looked around as the people began to diminish. th Knowing this neighborhood well he looked up at the street sign – 130 Street and Powell. He began to walk south, walking around a familiar pothole. Two blocks down, he knew he was almost there. He took a right turn to the first house on the left. The flowers in the front yard had grown since the last time he was there. The lawn was a little overgrown, which made him remember last summer when he would help out and mow the lawn. The night air gave him a slight chill as he walked to the door and knocked. Her familiar face smiled when she answered the door. He smiled back as he stepped forward and embraced her with a big hug. She hugged back, saying, “I missed you. What took you so long?” Sara W, student Completely engrossed in his desire to get the Roadrunner, Wiley Coyote was unaware of the locomotive coming at him. He’d been trying to catch that Roadrunner for what seemed like years. He’d seen his opportunity of laying a trap on the railroad tracks for that slippery guy. The tracks lay right in the middle of the lonely canyon where Wiley’s obsession crossed on a daily basis. This sun was shining on this day and the time was near for the capture. Wiley had seen the Roadrunner lazily resting on these tracks numerous times so he had gathered ropes and a huge boulder to finally eliminate that pesky Roadrunner. He’d seen the train coming so he hid himself to not give away his plan. But that Roadrunner deceived him again and that train was coming at him and the boulder was falling on him as his chance to finally catch his arch nemesis ended in defeat. Judy H, student The next three articles were submitted by individual LLC students. QUALITIES OF A GOOD FRIEND I need to be able to trust my friend. Whatever I tell my friend must stay inside the room. I need to be able to count on my friend to do what they say they are going to do. I need my friend to be loyal to me. This means that they won’t gossip or talk about me to other people. Loyalty to me also means taking time out of their day to hear my problems. My friend will also not be judgmental of me. He or she will take time to try and understand me and what I am going through. I will need my friend to be open-minded. I would like my friend to accept me for what I am. I need my friend to have the ability to be open to new ideas. If my friend is a female, she may not have the same interests as I do, such as my love of race cars, but she will humor me because she is my friend. I hope my friend will be open-minded and loyal, but most of all, I want him or her to be trustworthy. Lafayette C, student ALL I HAVE LEFT All I have left is more than some people ever get in their lifetime. But what I choose to do with what I have can make the difference between where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ll end up. To make a decision like this one will take me to the past and the future. Will I learn from choices, or be driven by my dreams. All I have left is not just my life. I must realize that it’s not what I have left, but what to do with what I have, to make what I have the best I possibly can. Do not fear my mistakes, and be confident in my future. If I fall, I will stand. If I forget, I will remember. If I lose my way, I will ask for help. So teach me, and I will teach others. Listen to me and you will be heard. All I have left, I will give to you. Please take my choices, but do not make my mistakes. Give them to some who listen to you, hear what they have to say. Remember and you will be heard. All I have left. Victor D, student HOW I’D SPEND A MILLION DOLLARS If I won a million dollars, I would do three things with my winnings First of all, I would help the homeless people. I worked at the Sister of the Road Café, where I was the cashier and responsible for the night clean-up. At the café, I worked directly with homeless people and I saw them as real human beings with real human problems. I became friends with all the people there. In fact, I still go there to eat even though, I don’t work there anymore. I was just there today, and several people said Hi and spoke with me. I feel the reason that I get along with a lot of the homeless people so well is because I can relate to their situation very well, for I was, at one time, homeless myself. Second, I would buy myself a home and a car. The house would be nothing fancy or expensive, but I would like it to have three bedrooms. My car would have to be a Cadillac. Third, I’d like to get married, but I would get a pre-nuptial agreement, just in case it doesn’t work out. So if I were ever lucky enough to win a million dollars, I would help the homeless and get married. Most important to me though is buying myself a home. Glasker R, student Our final piece is a heartfelt poem. INVISIBLE I am a child that’s born in a world that promises justice and liberty, but feeds with the spoon of death. I am a man that time has never known. The color of the skin breathes nothing but despair. I am an old man that has fertilized lands with my blood. The sea has nourished it’s own with the flesh of my bones. I am a black man. Lonnie M, student PAGE 3 PAGE 4 IMPORTANT GED REMINDER Have you taken some GED tests before and have one or two tests to go? Then it’s time to come to the Learning Center and get it done. Remember, the State Office of Community Services has issued a timeline to finish your GED: Date started test: Must be completed by: 1997 or before (Must start re-testing) 1998 3 years from date of 1st test The Learning Center has scheduled GED testing for January and February on the following dates: January 16, Tuesday 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. January 30, Tuesday 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. February 13, Tuesday 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. February 27, Tuesday 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. If you are already coming to the LLC, have a staff person give you a practice test. If you score high enough, you can be signed up for an official GED test. If you are not yet a client of the Learning Center and would like to be, have your PO or counselor call our referral number 988-3136 ext. 27353. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Martin Luther King Jr.