English 11: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
When I was at my grandfathers house I was scrummaging through his hope chest. I came across a mahogany smoking pipe. It was a nicely carven piece of wood with a black filter. It was small in size and still had that old tobacco smell. The pipe had a great curve and was very smooth. It was dark brown and weighed very little. It was sitting on top of a piece of cloth and rosary beads.
It was said to belong to my great grandfather. It was 1823 and my great grandfather, Albert Macdonald was 16 years old. He was living in Ireland with his mother Mary and his brother John. Albert worked in the potato field all day during the harsh times of the potato famine. He was doing all he could to put food on the table for his single mother and brother. Ireland during this time was tough and there were hardly any jobs. Every night at dinner when Albert and his family sat around the dinner table they would talk about the day that they would get on the boat to Boston.
Weeks past and the famine was getting worse. The family made a plan that a week from Tuesday when the next boat to Boston was leaving that they would be on it. They packed their things and Tuesday at four A.M. they were on there way to the docks, being careful not to get caught by the Irish government. They made it there safely but that was the last time that they would be safe until they got to Boston. Many died on the boats because there were so many people packed together and disease spread easily.
Alberts mother grew very ill and died a week into the voyage. Albert and John were deeply saddened. Both of them though were healthy and had plenty of food and drink from what their mother left behind. One day Albert and John woke up with a gross cough. There was a strange man who was very skinny that told the two to join him in the corner of the boat. He said, Ive noticed you two have been coughing a lot lately and I have something that will stop it before it turns into phnouemonia. Albert replied eagerly, What is it we will do anything to survive. The man showed him the pipe and said, If you smoke the herbs in this pipe it will cure your cough, you can use it as long as you share your food with me until we get to Boston. The boys accepted the deal.
Three times a day for the next week the boys and the man would meet up and exchange food for the pipe. They were one day away from Boston and Albert and John were fully healthy. Then suddenly it hit Albert that he has no mother and not enough money or food to support him and John. That day around five oclock the man with the pipe went to the usual spot to find out that the kids were not there. So he went and searched for them. He found them and asked , Why didnt you come meet me? Albert shouted, What is the point we are just going to die anyway, we have no money and not enough food once we get off this ship to survive. The man replied, That is nonsense my uncle owns a shop in Boston making clothes and needs more workers, you can start as soon as you get off this boat. The boys were ecstatic.
All three men got off the boat and headed to work. The mans uncle was happy to have more workers. They worked the full day but then were faced with another delemna. They had no place to live. Once again the man came through in the clutch and offered them a place to live with him until they had enough money to support themselves. He said Its not much but it is a better night sleep then on the boat. The boys started to wonder why would this man cared so much about kids he did not even know? Albert said, No disrespect sir but why are you doing so much for us you hardly know us? The man replied, Because I made the biggest mistake of my life when I left you two thirteen years ago and this is the least I can do for my two sons. The boys were shocked and could barely speak.But Mom told us you died of disease when we were young? The man said, And I deserve that I was not ready to be a father of two and I ran to own an enormous potato farm but when the famine happened I was left with nothing. So I headed to Boston. As soon as I saw you two I recognized you right away but I did not want to say anything because of your mothers death. The boys began to shed tears and had mixed emotions this was all so sudden for them. They accepted the place to live and started a clean slate with their father.
The boys lived with him until they were twenty two and twenty during the sixth year span that grew to love and forgive their father, not everyone is perfect. The boys got a great opportunity living in America and got an even bigger opportunity living with their father. The day they moved out the father gave them the pipe and told them to keep it in the family incase any of their children ever got sick.
The Walden of my own is a quite secluded place in North Weymouth. It is called Galvins Cove. It is at the bottom of a hill near my friend Martin Galvins house. It is a beach where no one goes during the fall and winter months. I went to Galvins Cove because I needed a place to get away from it all and sort out my thoughts.
The first day I visited Galvins Cove it was mid November. It was a sunny day with violent winds from east to west. I could feel the wind tickling my right cheek. There was a very distinct salty smell coming off the ocean. The entire time I was there I could taste my mother chicken pot pie that I had eaten minutes before arriving to the beach. All I could hear was the rhythmic sound of the wish washing of the waves. When I looked down I saw track marks of a seagull, I followed them towards the water but they came to a sudden stop. I wonder when my tracks in life are going to come to a sudden stop and it will all be gone.
In late November I revisited Galvins Cove. The sand was very hard from the rain earlier that day. There were many small rocks that were sleek and slippery that got washed up from shore. They almost felt like the soap when you are in the shower slipping out of your wet hands. I could still smell that same salty smell from the ocean but this time it was not as sharp, I think it was because of the rain. The seagulls keep squaking there high pitched calls around to each other. My mouth was very dry and tasteless this often happens during the colder months. In the sand I picked up all different kinds of seashells some gray and white others a darker tan color. The seashells remind me of how different people are not one the same, coming in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Later that week I got the great pleasure to go back to Galvins Cove. As I walked down the beach I could hear the waves hitting into the granite rocks. Making a loud crashing sound. For about five minutes straight I could not take my eyes off the beautiful sky. If you looked straight out at the water u could see the sky and ocean meet. I was eating winter fresh gum so that was all I could taste at the time. There was a faint smell of salt but the more dominant smell was of gas from the trucks driving by. I walked down to the water and picked up a large, soggy log and threw it into the water wondering where it came from. I too wonder where my family originated and why they came here years ago, probably floating in a boat like the log.
Early in December I went back to Galvins Cove. The first thing I noticed when I went there was the wish washing of the waves, it was very rhythmic. It was very dry out and there was very little smell only the smell of the salt coming from the ocean. I was eating beef jerky that I got from the 7-11 up the street so that was the dominant taste in my mouth. I picked up a snowball and threw it at the sea wall the snow ball exploded off the wall, but my hands were extremely cold after. The snow covered all the shore like a blanket protecting and preserving the sand. We often need a blanket of protection that keeps us from harm of the world today.
In Mid December I made my last trip to Galvins Cove for a while. As I walked down the sea wall I saw many seagulls perched on giant granite rocks. When I got down to the sand I saw all the melted snow it almost looked like peanut butter when it mixed with the wet sand. There was a beautiful scent coming of the ocean water after each breeze came, it reminded me of trips my family would take to the beach when I was younger. I picked up the sleek multicolored rocks and skipped them across the clear blue water. I could taste watermelon bubble gum that was starting to loose flavor in my mouth the only sound that could be heard around was the crashing of the waves into the granite rocks. There are times in my life I feel like I am crashing into rocks and my life is falling apart.
I went to Galvins Cove with no respect for the little things in life and I left with a strong respect for nature. The piece that captured me the most was how every part of nature fits perfectly with the other for example, the rocks and the water making a beautiful crashing sound.
Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most influential writers of the nineteenth century. His works consist of horror based fiction. A great example is the short story A Tell Tale Heart. This story goes above and beyond all others with its references to horror and gore.
The first implication of horror and gore in The Tell Tale Heart is ALL IN VAIN, because death is approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him and enveloped the victim. (1) The old man is lying in his bed sleeping while Poe is sitting at his feet planning his attack. Death is larking in the shadows for the man. Another example is And now at the death hour of the night amid the dreadful silence of that old house so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. (2) Poe is waiting motionless for a ray of light to strike the old mans eye.
Poe throughout this story builds up suspense and horror. A perfect example of this is The old mans hour had come! With a loud yell I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He striked once only once. In an instant I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him. I smiled gaily to find the deed so far done (2) Poe has been building the reader up the entire time until he finally snapped. Poe pounces on the man and struck him dead. His eyes will trouble me no more (2) Poe is now satisfied that he will never have to deal with the means dark, blue, glossy eye.
Poe makes scenes in this short story even more horrific with his use of the first person. Poe includes himself in the poem as a crazed killer. What could I do? I foamedI raved I swore! I swung the chair which I had been sitting and grated it louder. (3) Poe is sitting across from the police officer in panic. Another example of this is I gasped for breath (3) Poe is panicking as he hears the pounding heart of the old man in his floor. Poe at this point has begun to go mad.
Poe separated himself from all other writers of his time. Poe has the ability to drag people in with his great word usage and terrifying moods. Poe was the best horror writer of his time. One person that compares to Poe in todays times is the great writer and director Wes Craven. Poe would have made a great director himself.
The sport of lacrosse is becoming more and more popular each year in America. Originally played by Indigenous Americans lacrosse was considered an excellent practice of war. The first attempt to make lacrosse a modern sport was by The Montreal Lacrosse Club formed in 1856. White players in upstate New York were the first to play the modern game of lacrosse in 1868. The first time collegiate lacrosse was played in Massachusetts was in 1877 by Boston University and Harvard. The sport of lacrosse is truly an American sport it combines speed and agility with power and strength. The ability for the sport of lacrosse to survive since the Indigenous times throughout all of its changes shows what great a sport it is. Many people across this nation especially in the east enjoy playing this sport.
Lacrosse is a contact sport played by ten players on each team. Each team has a goalkeeper, three defense men, three midfielders, and three attachment. The point of the game is to shoot the ball past the goalkeeper into your opponents goal. The team with the most goals is victorious. At least four players on each team including the goalie must stay in the defensive half of the field and three in the offensive half. Three players on each team may roam the full field. Most of the time highschool games are 48 minutes long. There are four twelve minute quarters and each team is given a two minute break between the fist and second period and the third and fourth period. Half time is ten minutes. Between periods teams switch sides of the field. Each team gets two time outs per half. A game of lacrosse begins with a face-off. Face-offs are used after goals and in between periods too. Players can run, pass, and catch the ball. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with his hands. Body checking is allowed only if the opponent has the ball or is within five yards of a loose ball. If the ball or the player with the ball goes out of bounds the opposite team gets the ball. After a missed shot the player closest to the ball when it goes out gets the possession. Attack players are not permitted in the crease around the goal, but they reach their stick in to get loose balls.
I recently attended a highschool lacrosse battle between rivals Weymouth and Hingham. It was a tough fought game that consisted of defensive dominance. Goalkeeper, Eric Walsh for Weymouth was superb with his stellar saves and precise passing. The game came down to a last minute goal by Weymouth to send them to victory against their rivals 3-2. I also watched on television over memorial day weekend the NCAA Division one mens lacrosse championships. The collegiate game is much more fast pace and physical than highschool. Umass lost a tough fought battle to the University of Virginia. To see how many people came out to watch the championship game shows how popular the sport is in America. Umass was loved across the nation because it was a true underdog story throughout the tournament. America loves to root for the underdog.
Syracuse University has produced some of the greatest lacrosse players in the world, which include players like Gary and Paul Gait, Tim Nelson, and John Zulburti. The best of all the Syracuse players may be Casey Powell. Powell was a four time all American at Syracuse and went on to play for the U.S. National team in 1999. Casey was interviewed by Great Atlantic Lacrosse in the fall of 1999, on his experiences at the United States national tryouts. “Growing up north I was familiar with the Syracuse players and their type of game but a lot of other big names were there like the Millons, the Delamasos, and other great players from around America. It feels good to play a game you love competing to play for your country”. This quote by Casey proves that lacrosse is becoming an increasingly popular sport in America, and is being played at a national level.
When I asked my friend Dennis Green who is a starting midfielder for Weymouth high what he thought of the increasing popularity of the sport of lacrosse in America he responded with “It is a sport like no other it combines the skills of all other sports into one. The speed of hockey, the strength of football and the quickness and agility of soccer. When you get to highschool and beyond you find out who the real lacrosse players are in America. I enjoy playing it so much because the constant contact and hitting.” Amateur lacrosse athletes across America would agree.
The biggest criticism of college lacrosse is its tournament system. An article Written by Eric Soderstrom argues that the NCAA does not make well informed decisions come selection time for the tournament. “ There should be a leather couch designated for the sidelines of each playing surface in division 1 lacrosse- reserved for officials. Then maybe the NCAA might be able to make the right decisions when selection time for the mens tournament comes around”. This article in the Daily Collegian shows the controversy in college lacrosse. America is always surrounded with controversy in committees and social groups. This is a negative for the influence of lacrosse in America.
Jack Carey of USA Today wrote a remarkable story of hall of famer, Eamon McEneaney who died in September 11, 2001 by a terrorist attack. Eamon played lacrosse at Cornell University and was a great man on and off the field. Eamon was a poet, he often wrote about personal experiences during his life. “Eamon had always hoped to have his works published, and next Monday that will come to pass, posthumously, when the Cornell University Library releases a 139-page collection of his works, titled A Bend in the Road”. Eamon was an inspiration for Americans every where. He died in a terrible American tragedy. His work being published shows the enjoyment people have for lacrosse and his works.
The future of lacrosse is bright, it has all the ingredients to stay popular throughout America. If a sport can survive the wars of native tribes and carry over the borders of Canada it can have a future for years to come on American soil. The combination of speed and strength make it great to watch and wonderful to play for American youth and even elders. This popular east coast sport has the potential to spread to the mid west and west of the United States. America enjoys this sport for its great stamina and on going action. I see this sport being enjoyed for many more centuries.