Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America
















One day, about a year ago, I sat down with my grandfather and I asked him how the Bogue family ever got to America. He told me the whole story. I was told that my great-great grandfather, Steve Bogue, left Ireland in the late 1800s to find a job and a home for his wife and kids.

There was no longer any work for Steve Bogue in Ireland and he knew that with his small savings it would be impossible to feed his family much longer. My great great grandparents had a plan. He would leave first, find work and a home while she stayed behind to sell their home and whatever furniture she could. Their hope was that she would have enough money by selling their things and the house to pay the children and her passage. It took two long years to sell the house, for Steve to save enough money for a home and for her to finally buy tickets for crossing the Atlantic from England to New York.

Crossing the Atlantic was very long and difficult. Because they had so little food and the ship’s fare did not include meals, great grammy Bogue gave most of the food to her three sons. During the long trip she became ill and because she was weak for lack of food she was not able to recover and died before she reached America and her husband.

Great-great grandpa Bogue ended up bringing the boys to Boston, Massachusetts. While in Boston he lost his eyesight and felt that he was no longer able to care for his sons, Steve, Jr., John and Frank. So he placed his boys in an orphanage, at the ages of three, six, and nine. Great uncle Frank was adopted. He was still very young, but no one was interested in adopting my great grandfather or his brother John. When they were 15 and twelve they escaped the orphange and found work with a roofer. Both boys remembered that their father had been a roofer in Ireland and later in America and it just felt right to them.

After learning the trade, they went out on their own and started Bogue Roofer’s which still exists. The business still exists today, ironically, run by my dad’s cousin, Steve Bogue. My great-great grandfather came here in search for a home, money, a good job, and a better place for his family. His dream was fulfilled by his children and their children. The sacrifice was made by my great great grandmother with her life and by my great great grandfather with the lose of his sight and his children.












The day they came to cut down the row of six pines is still fresh in my mind. As each one fell, my dad reconsidered their plight.  In Henry David Thoreau’s, Walden, he writes, “For a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” He decided to leave two of those large pine trees. One of which touches our house, the other so close you can’t tell where one tree ends and the other begins.

     I spent time admiring these two trees and it seems no one even notices them. During periods of high winds, these trees almost appeared to dance with the wind. More like a waltz then the way we dance now. They sway as one. Then there was the noise. There was almost a mourn during the height of that sudden wind storm. It is like the wind makes them talk.  To each other or to me?  Could they have known I was watching them? Could they have been talking to me?  Warning me to stay inside where it is safe.  I could not tell what made the sound. Was it caused by the branches breaking or the trees rubbing against the house?

     Years have passed since Dad made his decision to save these trees.  There have been times, however, that he might have made a different choice if he had known then what he knows now.  We have a cat that has a habit of climbing one of those pines to access the porch off my parent’s bedroom. This cat is declawed.  Yet he can make this climb if he gets a running start.  When he wants in, he will cry or pound on their door until someone gets up and lets him in.  It could be three in the morning.  The cat does not care, Dad does. Dad now threatens to cut down the tree just to stop the cat.      

It was a good day when Dad decided to let those two trees stay.  They are too large to notice any growth, but their color tells you if it has been dry or that the seasons are changing.  They offer a challenge to my cat that I like to watch. Their movement tells me how windy it is and when it snowed it told me how heavy it was as the branches dropped under the weight.  They are friends that talk to me.











It was my second day staying home sick without my mom. But today I had to go to the doctors and the only problem was I really wasn't sick. It's easy to fool my mom but how am I going to fool the doctor. I thought about this for awhile and I came up with a plan which I thought would work. My appointment was at 2:30, so at about 2:00, I went for a run, came home, put on three layers of clothes, without getting a drink of water, I heated up my car and off to the doctors I went. I thought if I did this I would defiantly have a tempature, and be able to fool the doctor.
     I got to the doctors office and I was hot, and no one was there. I wasn't there two minutes until the nurse called my name.
"Ryan Bogue"
"Yeah right here" I said, and off to the room I went.
"How are you today Ryan?"
"I'm not to good, my throat hurts. I have diahrea, and I feel really hot.",
"I'm sorry, I'm just going to take your tempature, wow a 103degrees, I guess you really are sick, the doctor will be in, in a couple of minutes to see what's wrong with you", my plan was working perfectly.
In came the doctor, "Hi Ryan, I see you are sick",
"Yeah I know", I said.      
"Wow your throat looks pretty bad too, I think we are going to have to do a throat culture, I bet you have streph, why don't you going in the waiting room and the results will be out in a couple of minutes."
Genius Bogue, pure genius, I thought to myself. While waiting in the room I decided to go to the bathroom because I was dieing for a drink of water.
About five minutes later the doctor came out, and said  "It's negative, so why don't you come back in the room, and I will try and find out why you have such a high tempature",

At this point I didn't know what to do.
     "I'm going to check your tempature one more time", he said, I knew this wasn't good.
"Wow this is weird it says you have no tempature"
"That is weird, well I'm going to go."
"I don't get this said the doctor'
"It's a miracle I guess." I responded.
"I'm going to call the nurse back in here"
"You don't have to do that."
In came the nurse, "what's wrong"
"Well you rang him up with a tempature of 103, and I just checked his tempature again and it was completely normal."
"Are you serious" said the nurse.
At the point I didn't know what to do, so I said "Well I'm fine right",
"I guess so said the doctor."
"Well I'll will see you next time, thanks" and I left.












          It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When anyone writes a novel or a poem, it is also the personal decision of the reader if its well written.  Walt Whitman is a poet that I enjoyed because there is simplicity to some of his writings.
              Walt Whitman was a man filled with passions, incite and opinions that he easily expressed in his poetry.  His major works were collected in Leaves of Grass, a collection of his poetry, that as he aged and experienced changes in his life and in this country, he frequentely revised, or updated, some of its contents.  Leaving behind traditional writing in rhyme and meter, many critics of his time were very critical of his work.  It is written that John Greenleaf Whittier was so displeased with Leaves of Grass that he threw it into the fireplace. Yet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “   I give you joy of your free and brave thought.  I have great joy in it.  I find incomparable things said incomparably well, as they must be.”
             Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” uses words and form that can be easily understood without hard work or deep concentration.  He shows how it is possible to love something without really understanding it. Whitman is able to so clearly express the differences between those who enjoy the scientific approach to astronomy and his own, non-scientific appreciation of the stars. Those who study “the proofs, the figures,” were truly able to enjoy the lecture.  They   “With much applause” showed their approval for the material being taught. As more information was “shown the charts and diagrams to add, divide and measure them,”  the differences between them and Whitman became even more evident.  The scientific approach to the stars made him physically ill. He “soon unaccountable I became tired and sick.”
          Whitman’s enjoyment of the stars is lost in the words, the lecture. His love is found only when left alone “In the mystical moist night air…” to observe “the perfect silence at the stars.”.  Whitman writes that only “Rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,” Conversation, the lecture, versus his private observations was the difference between liking and disliking the same thing, the stars.  It was not necessary for Whitman to understand the science of Astronomy. It was only necessary to see the real thing to bring enjoyment into his life.
     Whitman made it clear how for him and so many of us, making something complicated can take pleasure out of even the simplest things. So many poems are not easily understood, there meaning lost in words.  As the Astronomer brought understanding and pleasure to many, he also brought confusion and displeasure. Whitman wrote this poem to be understood and his thoughts appreciated.
























   A sport is something that includes some sort of contest which results in a winner, by usually getting more points. Contestants in a sport can be a group of people or individuals competing. Most sports require some sort of equipment and played in an arena of some sort on a court, field, or ring. .Most people who compete in sports do it because it is fun and it interest them. When they are young. Once you get into high school you must be pretty good to compete. If you are very good you can go on to college and play and eventually to the pros.
     I chose the sport of boxing, it fits the definition above because of the fact that there are two contestants using padded gloves to try and strike the other while defending themselves. The contestants compete in a ring of about 20 square feet with ropes of 2,3,4 feet enclosing it. The winner is decided by either a knockout or the judges opinion and point system on who has won the match.
     The biggest part of the sport that has been “Americanized” is the fact that in Britain some boxers started using gloves instead of their fist. The gloves made it more acceptable to Americans. The sport has become pretty popular to Americans probably because of the fact that there are two people trying to kill each other in a ring but no one is being killed. The sports popularity says that Americans like to see people getting beat up.
     Boxing came from the Greek and Roman gladiators. When the English took it over they did it for cash. It became most popular in England. With my bud Jesse who is an amatuar boxer right now. He said “I love the sport because you can get all your aggression out by beating somebody up and not getting I trouble for it.” He also says “It gets me in great shape.” (Jesse Loubier)   The most needed thing he said for boxing is balance and a strong chest and shoulders.
     Muhammad Ali known as one of the greatest boxers says  “What made me fight so hard, was when the people were cheering against me.” He loves the sport of boxing because of the competiveness and the one on one battle. He likes the fact that he controls how hard he works at practice and the fact he only has to rely on himself when he is preparing not on any teammates. Over the last week I got to talk to someone who rights about boxing, and I asked him why he loved the game so much, he responded “I don’t know, ever since I was younger I loved the game, but was never good enough to play it. I believe it’s the hardest and most difficult sport to play, and especially to be good, not just anyone can play the sport of boxing, it takes someone with a lot of heart and determination to play it.” (Joseph Hewwit)