Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America














One cold winter day I was visiting with my grandparents and was curious to how my ancestors ended up in America. So over a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate I started asking them questions that I was pondering. And my grandmother proceeded to tell me the story of how my great grandfather of many generations ago came over on the Mayflower.

“Many many years ago way before your time even before my time your great grandfather Thomas Aldrich came over on the Mayflower. He was a pilgrim who was in search of new freedom different from that of England. He wanted a place where he could have his own lot of land with some size to it. Back then land equaled power. When he finally reached the new land he like most all other pilgrims settled in Plymouth. He then set up a large village where all the pilgrims gathered today it is now known as Plymouth plantation. At first Thomas loved the new land much like we all love new things but as time went on he realized this wasn’t what he had come to the new land for.

After he had started his own little family he decided to go out in search for new land, a place where he could have his own plot of land to cultivate crops. After Thomas had come back from his search he and his family moved out to a small place that had few people with a lot of empty land. This like most all other place at the time where very undeveloped. It had vast areas covered with trees. He knew some work had to be done to clear an area for a home but he wanted this new environment for it was the reason he came to the new land. When they got there he and his two oldest sons began to cut trees down to clear an area.

With the trees they cut down they used them to build a house. As time past on the area began to develop more and more. But as it grew stronger Thomas grew weaker. Unfortunately Thomas past on some ten years after they moved to the new settlement. His family would move on and keep the tradition alive and lived there for many generations after.”

This was a man who knew what he wanted and did it. He was a young man who made goals and achieved them the way he wanted to. The desire to live life to the fullest was very much a part of this mans life not knowing what could happen when he came to the new land. He saw an opportunity and seized it. I will always remember this story for one reason it is about a man of integrity who strove to be the best man he could be with out any thought.










   Most barriers are walls built by humans.  The barrier next to my house is unique in the sense that it is natural.  This wall is made out trees and bushes that block my house from the noise of the highway.  This is a place of America for it borders all highways yet nobody notices them.  This space had more to it than trees and bushes there was life.  One thing that caught my attention everyday was a large birds nest, which was the home to two birds.  As Henry David Thoreau said “… a house whose inside is as open and manifest as a bird’s nest and you cannot go in at the front door some of its inhabitants; where to be a guest is to be present with freedom of the house.”  There were like the watchers over the forest.
     Watching the trees go through a change is not only American it is something special to New England.  The only time people pay attention to the natural barriers is during the fall season.  This is so because during that time the leaves are changing colors and they vary for bright red to yellow to orange.  But all the other times they are this plain green and nobody seems to care.  But now it is winter and nobody will pay attention to these barriers until next fall.  It would be interesting to see if people could live next to highways without these barriers.  Would the noise from the cars be too great to bear?
     During my weeks of observation the barriers went through some changes.  With the leaves changing colors they are getting ready for a new beginning.  They have to shed there old leaves so they can be strong for the next spring to block the sound for its friends who live next to it.  Another change that took place was the two birds that were the watchers.  They left the area; perhaps it was to go south for the winter season where it is warm.  Or maybe it was because they had no more protection from the leaves.  Now who is going to watch over the forest?
     More than 5,000 people drive by this spot everyday and never look at it.  Why? I don’t think anybody knows.  This area is taken for granted.  Without it many people’s rides would be very boring.  Looking at concrete walls is not very attractive.  If they took down all the forest next to highways for a few months and then brought them back people would realize that they are important and we need them.  If they realized that, people would better take care of them.  










When Mike was growing up he had a real problem wetting the bed. But as most youngsters did he thought he'd grow out of it. Mike was a little different; he wet his bed all through his teens and right up to college. When making his decision on which college to go to the he never gave his problem a thought. After making his decision he began to worry what his roommate would think.
"Wow freshman year lots of new exciting things, and of course lots of things to worry about,' Mikes new roommate Cal said "like girls, school, and fraternities.' "I'm not worried too much about those things,' said Mike knowing full well he had to somehow break the news to his roommate about his problem with as little embarrassment as possible. Mike put a lot of thought into how he was going to tell Cal. He finally just decided to lay it out.
"Cal if I tell you something will you promise not to laugh and go telling everybody,' Mike finally blurted out. "Well we really don't know each other but sure why not?' Cal replied. "Well ya see it's like this, I have a problem,' said Mike. "What kind of problem?' Cal said. "One that's kind of embarrassing,' replied Mike. "Oh come on it can't be that bad I mean I've done some embarrassing things in my day,' retorted Cal. "Well alright I'm a bed wetter,' mike finally said. "You're a what? A bed wetter ahahahaha that's the grossest thing I've ever heard, I mean you're eighteen years old and you still wet the bed who does that?' Cal replied. "Come on you said you wouldn't laugh,' Mike said. "Ya well I didn't know you were a bed wetter then,' Cal replied. "But I won't tell anybody, How's that?' Cal said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you.' Mike replied. "But remember Mike I'm one up on you.'















     Emily Dickinson can be characterized as different not only in the way she lived but in the way she wrote her poems.  Most of her poems used slant rhyme and were short, while most other poets at the time were writing poems with exact rhyme and were longer.  After a year at Mount Holyoke, she left and became self-educated at her home in Amherst.  There she rarely ever left and wrote letters to her sister who lived across the street.  She liked to think about things differently than others as she does in “The Brain-is wider then the Sky’’.  In this poem, Dickinson uses the brain, something that we all use everyday and compares it with sky, sea, and God which are things that we all have come in contact with at one point in our lives.  
             “The Brain-is wider than the Sky-’’ is a good poem that uses imagery of everyday things and ties them together to get you to think about them differently. “The Brain-is wider than the sky-” It takes something so simple as the brain and the sky and compares them to one another.  The imagery she uses are simple for the reader to understand which makes it enjoyable to read.
     Everybody thinks that the brain can only do so much.  Dickinson, on the other hand, explores the new capacities the brain has for development.  She makes you think about brain differently, rather than it being something that just makes us function.   “The Brain is deeper than the sea-“ this is a quote that tells you the brain is deep and can do things beyond your belief.  We all know that the sea is deep and everybody can have deep thoughts.
             Dickinson uses hyphens to reinforce the poems message.  These are also used to tell us that there are no ends to the lines in the poem or even an end to the poem.  She doesn’t want to put a cap on your brain; she wants you to explore and to find a deeper meaning in her poem.  “As Syllable from Sound-’’ with the hyphen at the end she wants to keep the poem going she never wants it to end or for you to put the ending on it yourself.  It is a good way of making people think and want more.
     The poem uses imagery to get our minds thinking about the topic then compacts together for a specific meaning.  It also takes the brain, which is a simple thing and makes the possibilities of it endless. There is the essence of hyphens.  There are used so she is not limiting your thoughts on her works.  She wants you to think about her words more than just is what is on the paper.



























      Sport is a competitive athletic activity that requires skill or physical prowess.  Wiffleball can be considered a sport because it takes skill to take a plastic ball and bat and make hours of fun with it.  It requires physical activity such as running, throwing, and swinging.  When people start leagues and tournaments the sport can become very competitive.  It all began when David and Stephen Mullany were playing ball with a plastic golf ball and a broomstick because baseball resulted in too many broken windows.  So their father decided to play around with some different plastic balls to see which would be the best to play with.  His experiments resulted in what we know as now, Wiffleball.(Mullany)
     Wiffleball is a sport with little notoriety and is often forgot about.  It is similar to baseball in that it has a bat and a ball yet they are completely different.  Baseball is played in a gigantic stadium were thousands of people go and watch multimillionaires slap a ball around for a few hours.  “My family and I play every time we get together at a family function.  Sometimes the games get serious but it’s all just for fun.”(Brown)   As captured in the quote Wiffleball is different; Americans play this in their backyards at a family cookout or on a nice spring day.  No fancy stadiums, big crowds, or even millions of dollars, just pure fun.  
     Wiffleball started out as a sport that was played for fun, “a friendly game” but as has developed in American society they have turned it into something more competitive and even play for money.  Jeff Marshall use to play with his brother when he was growing up.  They use to play endless games in their back yard, when he grew older he took his game elsewhere: to the countries first permanent multifield park.  In their first season as a team The Benders named after Jeff’s curve ball went 28-0 winning the leagues title.  "It made me think Wiffleball doesn’t really have an age limit, and maybe I should do something with it at work. Cincinnati is the birthplace of professional baseball. So why not make it the birthplace of organized Wiffleball?”(qtd. In Fleming)   Jeff is an average hard working American who just wants a place to play his favorite sport in an organized fashion.  The thing that makes wiffleball show its red, white, and blue is that it is closely related to baseball.  Baseball is said to be Americas past time, you cannot get more American than that.
     Wiffleball in the past has not been a very popular sport, but as time has past it is beginning to soar.  Americans devote great amounts of time practicing and playing just like they would as if it were for something big like the World Series.  “When the Sox won the pennant in ’67 my whole life changed, I was in the seventh grade, and nothing else mattered to me.  All I wanted to do was play in Fenway and send one over the Green Monster.”(qtd. In Alson) Twenty-one years later he constructed a mini Fenway Park in his mothers back yard.(Alson)  Here is a man who wasn’t in it for the money or fame he just wanted to live a dream and it is safe to say that sports are high up on America’s favorite things to do list.  People spend millions of dollars every year on sports whether they are gambling, playing, or watching they all deal with money and money has been something that in America you cannot live without.  Wiffleball is different if you have two dollars and forty-nine cents and a friend you can play wiffleball.  
     Wiffleball is not a sport you think about, most often you are thinking about baseball, basketball, football, hockey whatever your favorite sport maybe but wiffleball will always be an American sport.  There are diehards out there that will not let the sport be diminished from American society; it is what they look forward to doing when they get home for work.  Believe it or not it’s a lifestyle for some people.