Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America
















One day I went to lunch with my grandfather. He is a big man with large powerful hands and built like a worker even after many years of no hard labor. He has a deep voice that demands obedience at the slightest word, yet soft if he wishes. We were sitting at our usual lunch spot, the 50’s diner and I ask, “ Pup, were you born in Italy?” and he says, “no, no, I was born here but my father came here from Italy.” This got me thinking of who his father was and what he did so I asked Pup about him. He answered me in his usual strong voice, which just came natural. “My father was a concrete worker and made foundations for houses and sidewalks. He lived in Avalino, which is towards the south in Italy.

He wanted to come to America and start a family so he got enough money together and came over.” I interrupted and asked “was he a concrete worker over here too?” Pup replied, “yes, but he wanted to start expanding his business. He started building foundations in West Roxbury and he built 90% of all the foundations of the older homes in West Roxbury. My father then bid a few sidewalk jobs here and there and bought a few trucks. He kept on doing well so he kept expanding it. He then started to do roads. He was only 17 when he came here and he paid for my mother to come here and she was 16 and they got married.” “They had just my brother and I and we both liked the business. But a weird thing ended up happening; we both started our own separate companies apart from each other and my father’s.” I thought that that was very ironic and wondered why they want to all have different companies, but I later will find out that it runs in the family. Pup continues and says, “My father, brother, my cousin, and I bought a piece of land in West Roxbury and built our first garage there.

Later on your grandmother and I had 3 kids, your father, uncle Paul, and ‘auntie didi.’ (Short for Dianne) Your father is the oldest and he seemed to know what he wanted to do all his life, work. Your father worked all the time and he got Paul into it too.” “Your father went to two years of college and then left cause he wanted to start a business of his own. He started his own shellfish business and named it Cape Cod Shellfish.” I already know a lot of this story but I listen as if I never have heard it before and like I didn’t know what our shellfish company was. The shellfish company is actually in Boston and my father just wanted it to be named that. Pup kept telling his story, “ The shellfish company was very successful and made a lot of money. Your uncle didn’t really know what he wanted to do, but your father told him to take the company cause he wanted to start his own construction company like mine.

Your dad and uncle now own both Todesca EQ. and Cape Cod Shellfish. At one time your father’s construction company was the top privately owned construction company in new England, but after your brother’s accident, as you know, he wasn’t there for 5 years and it fell. (My brother was killed in an accident 5 years ago) Your father is trying to keep the company alive now and he’ll do it!” he says this with a commanding voice, with a lot of confidence and determination to help make it happen.

He continues, “But Cape Cod has always been up at the top and now it is the biggest shellfish dealer in Boston.” By the time he ended the story, it was time to pay the check and to head home. I think that this was a kind of a great success story with a very sad ending, but with hope still hanging on. Not all Italians or any immigrants have that much success as my great grandfather, his sons, and grandchildren had had. This also brought a new respect for my great grandfather and a strengthened respect for my grandfather and my dad. They all also had a huge affect on where we live today.

My great grandfather built most of the foundations of the older homes in West Roxbury, which is a lot of houses, and my grandfather and father have paved many roads that all of use drive on every day, including 495, hypark ave., the CM parking lot and many more. In that way, they have affected many lives in our area and have had an impact in our cities today.











Things change every day, every second, but in some places things change more slowly. Some places are quiet and undisturbed, like a little place on Weatherbee Dr. in Westwood. I watched it and realized its beauty and purity. Emerson once said, “I am like a transparent eyeball…” I felt the same way as I watched this place and saw how it was unchanged day after day with me there watching it or without me there. Even though I only have taken notice of this place for the past two weeks, it has been there the hundreds of times when I passed it by and not take notice of it.
I was leaving my house and had many things on my mind, I needed a place to think and be alone. Walking down the street for only about 100 feet I come to a little corner of land that is peaceful and quite. I walk through two trees side by side and see an open little field, no one around, and warm. Forgetting for the moment why I came to the place and looking around I notice birds in the trees, a car passing once in a while and feeling the soft green grass with my hands as I sit there and I start to think, this is what nature and America is. It was something pure, someplace where you could only whisper or the usual hymn would be broken and something foreign would enter.  As I sit there I think of how no one is aware of me or this place, I’m alone with no loud horns or busy traffic or hundreds of people walking by on their way to work, just me and nature. It seems that there isn’t a lot around me and that I am far away from civilization and reality but just over this little hill or behind the row of trees is my house or neighbors.
This is what an American place should be; it doesn’t have to be someplace in Washington DC or a place where a famous American battle has occurred, but a place that no one even notices unless you slow your every day life down and take a look around you, its that tree in the park that no one pays attention to or that field down the street. As I watched this little corner of untouched glory each day and respected it for just being there, I noticed that it didn’t change every minute or even every day and that is doesn’t have to be seen and admired to be as American as it is.
Many places like this have been ripped up and built on for homes or for cities. These places are special but they aren’t as pure and beautiful many times. These quite places are special because this is what America originally was. They are special in a way that they bring back the feeling of being with nature and being connected to it, not being between buildings or under a roof. Not many people take the time to stop and look around but it is the places like this that makes life worth living and all the troubles because without places like this, there would be no place to get away from reality and relax.  With all the stress and craziness in the world today, everyone needs to take time to think about what’s happening, because people are forgetting what it is about to be united. Nature is peaceful, nature is pure, we should whisper now and take lessons from nature, like how to live in harmony with others even if they are different, because without it life is too hectic and life just gets harder.












   Jared and Chris are good friends and they have known each other all their lives. They are always doing things that are dumb and are very funny when they are together. One day Chris shows up at Jared's house,
"Hey Jared, what's up?" Chris asked Jared as he opened the door.
"Not much, just chillin and waitin for you to get here!" Jared replies.
    As Chris starts to walk through the door, Jared stops him and starts pushing him back. Jared tells him "woah-woah-woah, lets go get somethin to eat I'm starvin, you know the pleasant?"
"Yeah, I'm starvin too and they have awesome pizza, lets go." Chris answered as Jared pushes him out of the way to walk to the car.
As they got in the car and headed out of the driveway, Chris realizes that he doesn't remember exactly how to get there so he asks Jared, "wait, you know how to get there right?"
"Yeah I do" Jared answers
"Don't lie, I don't want to get lost and you could get lost around a rotary!" Chris tells Jared as he laughs.
Jared laughs and tells Chris, "yeah, I know how to get there, you go by CM and its down that street a little bit."
"OK, then lets go" Chris said with a suspicious smile on his face like Jared wasn't too sure where they were going.
They passed CM and were heading down that street for a little while and Chris notices that they are coming to a rotary and he knows that that's not on the way to the pleasant. "Dude, we went the wrong way didn't we?" looking at the unfamiliar rotary.
"Na ahh..." Jared says sarcastically.
"Ya haa, this is the wrong way" Chris says mimicking Jared.
Jared sharply replies, "you know what we had to take that road back there, that's what we did wrong!"
Chris answers very confused with a comical tone in his voice, "what.. WHAT ROAD!" Chris pauses as they both laugh then continues, "You better call your dad and find out how to get there."
Jared answers, "No, its that road back behind us.." still with an unsure voice.
"Oh ya, that one with the 2 yellow lines down the middle of it?" Chris answers sarcastically and they both laugh. "Call your dad!" Chris says again.
Jared agrees and calls his dad, "dad, isn't the pleasant down the road next to CM?"
"No, what is wrong with you, you know its down by Todesca's garage!" Jared's dad says.
Jared gets off the phone with his dad and says, "I knew I was right!"
Chris looks at him all confused and surprised.
Jared continues, "We had to make a turn behind us.. way back by route 1.." Jared pauses and laughs " ya, we have to go back towards CM."
Chris laughs, but is laughing at Jared and his stupidity and says, "Ya, you fruit, I knew we were going the wrong way, its like 11:00 PM and they're gonna be closed and ya know what? we are going back to your house and your cooking me!"
When I heard this story I could not stop laughing just because of how well it fit Jared and Chris when they were together and the dumb things they do. I'm sure you did too.












Emily Dickinson writes many poems that make you think differently about things, like death or the world; she tries to put a deeper meaning into things as well.  The poem “Water, is taught by thirst” is one of these poems. It will draw you to it from the first time you read it. It brings out a lot of thoughts and feelings, but most of all; it speaks to the polarizing tendency of the universe.

The name of the poem, “Water, is Taught by Thirst” is a clear example of the polarity alone. Its saying that you wouldn’t care for water or think it was a good thing without thirst and needing it or missing it. This is how she gets you thinking differently and lets you appreciate things that you wouldn’t regularly notice or think about. She changes how we take things for granted and makes us think more deeply about an every day thing like water.

Dickinson uses a more puzzling example to end the poem. The last line of the poem is “birds, by the snow” this is a very difficult line to understand and that’s how she draws your attention to it. It means that birds are gone so quickly and that we don’t have a lot of time to appreciate them, where snow lays there and we have time to watch it, it doesn’t disappear suddenly and we appreciate it more. It shows you that things do not last forever and if you rush all the time your going to miss them. She makes you think and opens your mind to new opportunities to expand.

She condenses her meaning into tersely written lines. It is only a six-line poem and it has as much meaning and thought in it as a 60-line poem. This poem is short and the way she gets to the point and makes the poem easy to read makes it more appealing to you and even though it is easy to read, it is deep and it will change you as would a large complex poem. By using this method she is making you think deeper to get the full meaning out of her poems.

By making you think differently, it proves itself to be a great poem, for that is what a good poem should do. If you stop reading and you have tears in your eyes, a smile on your face, or marveled at what you just read, that is a good poem and when you stop reading this poem you will have a smile on your face because of the new way she portrays everyday things. You will smile at the pure amazement that just a little thing given a twist can teach you about life and how to live it.  She takes something as simple as birds and snow and makes them mean something more and connects them.























   Sports are very important and helped build today's society.  Sport is something that you can compete in and prove yourself in competitions with others that you are better or more skilled in that competition. Sport also is something we do that we can spend a lot of our time doing because we enjoy it and we want to get better at it. An important part of sports is that you can be really good at them but you can never be too good or perfect at them. No matter how hard you try you cant perfect any sport, but you can be the best. This is a big part of America because I believe that Americans like to know they are the best and always strive to be the best in anything they do. Americans often try so hard to be the best in work or in sports that they don't relax enough, but some sports can be relaxing as well as competitive. Golf is growing in popularity as it comes along with its growing competition and relaxing quality to it.
     The best modern golfer is Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is only 26 years old and golfers, unlike many sports, stay good, as they grow older.  Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18 2002, on the 18th green of Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., in the final round of the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods will become the first player to complete the modern Grand Slam by winning the four major championships in one year. Nobody has ever done it. But nobody has ever been as good as Tiger Woods is. Woods has won the four majors in a row. The 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the 2000 British Open at St. Andrews, the 2000 PGA at Valhalla and the 2001 Masters. He was the first to do it. He didn't win another major all year. He was waiting for last week to finally start up again. When he did, he won the first major of the year without having any real competition. He has something to play for; he wants to be the first golfer to get a grand slam. He won his first Masters in 1997, but that year he wasn't good enough to win the U.S. Open on the narrow fairways at Congressional. After winning his second Masters last year, he was too tired to win the U.S. Open. The third time will be his big chance to prove himself. "'I've done four in a row before,' Woods said on Sunday night, before the first member's toast to the champ was made. 'It would be nice to do four in a row in one year.'" (Reynolds)
     My Grandfather is a very dedicated amateur and likes to play it whenever he can with friends or family. When asked why he liked this sport he told me, "it is the only sport I can still play and be good at and because it's fun and relaxing." This is a common answer for many people that play it that are older and for the younger crowd that plays it I asked my cousin Paul who also is an amateur. He said, "golf is fun to do with friends and it is challenging and it's also the only sport that you don't have to run around."  These people play gold often and the age difference is very large but they both have good times playing golf and they often play together as well. This also proves that amateurs can have a good time and don't have to be awesome to do it either. I asked my grandfather why he thought this sport was American and he said, "its American because its something that we do so we can spend time with friends and have fun and getting closer is an important thing that America needs. This sport helps us do this" I think that it also gives older people something to do and keeps them active. (Todesca)
Critics like Bill Reynolds often are commenting about Tiger Woods. They tell people how he's doing and what he does that makes him so great. Reynolds says, "Tiger Woods is the new sports icon. More importantly, everyone seems now to be playing golf. The guys in the office. The guys I play pickup basketball with. Everyone." They often analyze the sport and say what is going on overall with it. They like to say thing about specific people and then after they do they go into a broader scheme and say how it might affect you. Critics are usually annoying or great and this is one of the great ones. Some only criticize and don't add anything or tell a story and make something of it. Reynolds adds important information about his story and often connects his story to his own life in some ways. Critics Americanize the sport as well making people more aware of it and letting more people get interested in it. (Reynolds)
This sport as been Americanized because we took this sport and became the best we could at it as we do with everything we do. We have also created the most beautiful golf courses in the world as well as having the best golf players in the world. Many Americans are taking up with sport for its relaxing quality and social interaction it allows. People even have meetings with business associates while playing golf. Because golf has turned into being so popular in America it has been Americanized and is starting to be associated with America. This sports popularity explains Americans obsession with trying to be the best and working hard to get it done. It also shows our need to relax and have fun. This sport for many people is just fun and play to get outside and be with friends. It shows that we like to socialize and be together in groups and that tells a lot about America, not only the competitive side, but the social side of America and the closeness we have and strive for with friends.
     This is one of the few sports that you can be really bad at and have just as much fun as the guy who is really good at it minus the money professional players get paid. It is also one of the very few sports that older people play and younger people play. Many times the older people are better at this sport, which is very unusual compared to other sports. This unique sport and Americans liking it so much helps explain our uniqueness from other places. Our natural striving to be the best, drawn to social interaction, playing in groups, being competitive, love for relaxation, and uniqueness are the defining characteristics of golf and they are given to us when people see us play and love this sport.