Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America


An Old Tree















My Family Story


When trying to discover the story of how my parents met I obviously went and asked both my parents about it. What I got was way more then what I bargained for. When I decided to ask them about their first meeting I went about it in asking them at different times. When I did this I got what it seemed to be like two different stories, but in fact it was the same.

To explain this I’m going to have to give you a little background of both of my parent’s families. My mother’s side is the very odd one. For starters my grandmother doesn’t even speak English, and everyone lives a distance away. My father’s side is very distant from each other.

They all to me at least don’t get along very well and it makes it very weird for family reunions. After learning about both my parents and their weird family differences, I wondered how these two managed to meet each other. Even though the stories I got from my parents were different I managed to put together the two, and come up with what I think their first meeting was like. The story starts on a Friday in the summer of 1977, in the city of Brookline at a corner bar. My father, Roger, was with a bunch of his closest friends after a long week of work. While at the bar they men ran into some women one being my mother, Halina. They talked for hours going through a couple of rounds of alcohol between each other.

That is the short version that I got from my dad with a couple of added details from my mom, but this is how I think it went. I believe that while they were talking my father was a nervous wreck and so was my mom, but their differences in some sort of way attracted them and because of their differences it grabbed their attention towards one another. I really don’t know what went on in their conversation, but I guess it had to be an interesting one because they did eventually get married, didn’t they?

 I guess this proves that opposites do attract and that anything is possible as long as you try and make it happen. My father told me an important lessen and I think it relates to this story in some way. That lessen is that we never know when a life changing event will happen but we just need to go with what life presents us with.












An Old Tree

            To me elderly people are unappreciated in life. They get old, they are bad drivers, and simply just get in our way. To the right of my driveway there is a very old there is a very old tree that looks like it is about to fall over and die. There I spent two weeks, with my pen and my senses observing this “dieing” tree and the area around it. Thoreau said, “ I have no doubt time discriminates between the good and the bad…” For this short time in a warm, wet autumn I watched this old tree and thought of the good and the bad of it.
            Everyday I would go to school, and every time I opened my front door, the first thing that my eyes gazed on was that old tree, that looks like a hunchback just waiting there for death to come and sweep him from off of his feet. The tree from a physical shape has been significantly cut down in half, due to the years and harsh winters. On that first morning I realized that there was more to that tree than just a waste of space, but now I began to see the good things as well. As I watched my place on the second day I realized that there was tons of leaves around and under this tree.
             Then I looked around and it looked like most of the leaves on that side of the yard were all huddled under this old tree. I thought to myself, why would all the leaves be under here and almost nowhere else. After this my imagination came up with something that I thought was pretty dumb, but it was the leaves were all under this tree not for protection from rain, but for education and stories, because this is the oldest tree in the yard and it will have the most stories. I found it really interesting that, that happening, considering the tree itself is too old to have leaves itself. After witnessing this I decided to go out and get a closer look. When I got out there I realized three things. One was when I pushed the tree the whole thing shook. Two was it bent like an arrow to the west, and that is the way the sets, and third was under and around the tree in a perfect square was greenest grass in my whole yard. I also found this to be interesting because the best grass was under the ugliest, and oldest tree.
          Those were the good things that I witnessed about my place, but there were the bad. The worst thing that happened, which was also the most funny, was when my neighbor’s dog came up and did his “business” on the tree. To me this looked liked the dog was picking on the tree, and everyone was laughing back, but after the dog was done, the tree still stood standing.
           After watching this tree I have realized there is more to this tree than just an old, dieing one. To me now this tree has a new found respect not just with me, but also with nature, because of all the good things that are around it.
                This tree reminds me of our country because the United States compared to other nations is very young, and we as a nation take advice and pull things from older countries.











When the clock strikes 11:25 at Catholic Memorial High School period FG has begun.  Mr. G's class has sat down, but all the kids keep talking.  Mr. G says, "By now the bell has rung." Just as he said that a student, Rufus, swung the door open and poked his head in to look around.  After a quick look Rufus walked in and right behind him was Mackeydougal.  Mr G. turned to the students who were late and said, "Roofus and Mackeydougal, thanks for coming."
   After Roofus and Mackeydougla sat down Mr. G announced to the class, "Last night I wrote up my vocabulary that I didn't know, as well as you did."  He continued on saying, "I didnt know the word anarchy, and by the time I wrote it down I knew it meant 'no formal government rule'."  
   Then someone from the class replied, "Who cares," and Willma Claughlin replied, "No one."  
   Then Mr. G replied to Willma Claughlin, "one more outburst like that and you will be in jug."  
   Willma replied, "ok."  
   Then out of no where Tommy yelled "EEE!," and Willma and the rest of the class erupted into laughter.  Mr. G made the situation worse by saying, "That was a time to get a good chuckle, but now its time to move on."
   The only problem with moving on was that the bell rang and the class ended with Mr. G saying, "Our time has come to a close."












        The poem that was inspiring and also enlightening was by Walt Whitman called, “I Hear America Singing.” Whitman was an American poet and also an American man. He was born in one of Americas best known cities and that is New York. In this poem “I Hear America Singing,” Whitman captures a sense of pride in our country’s workers, and a message of advice to the people in this great country.

         Whitman in “I Hear America Singing,” he describes images of jobs in America. Out of these jobs Whitman descriptively tells us about ten different jobs, which include:
mechanic, carpenter, mason, boatman, shoemaker, wood-cutter, and mother’s working. They are almost working together, and this is shown in the line, “The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands.” The shoemaker and the hatter have different jobs but they are working together. Throughout the poem Whitman tells us about all of these people working towards one goal, and that is to advance America into a world power.

         Whitman also in this poem shows that women have begun to work in the work force. In fact Whitman shows this in the poem with, “The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing.” I am curious as to why he put this at the end of the poem.  To me he put this line in there because women just started to become an active role in the work force, which is different from the old, passive, stay at home housewife way of thinking. I mean before this time period when the poem was written, women in society were almost like second class citizens.

        Finally Whitman hides his message at the end of the poem for us to discover as a country. He puts his message into the line, “ The day what belongs to the day-at night the
party of young fellows, robust, friendly.” Whitman put this in there as a message to the people telling them that it is now time to take a break, relax, America has been formed.
Also it means that America is not all work, but also America has a society that has goals, dreams, enjoyment, and entertainment.

        Walt Whitman made this poem a remembrance. He praises the workers that made America. He finishes it up with the message to America. Also Whitman shows the unity of the workers and their thrive to move forward. This poem all the way through gave me a great sense of pride in the dedication and hard work that they did to form this great nation.