One Sunday afternoon we
were over at my Grandparents house for dinner. The conversation during
dinner turned to what I was doing in school and how things were going.
After talking about my life for awhile I asked my grandmother what her
life was like when she was younger. She was happy to tell me all about her
life. My father’s grandparents came from Italy to the United States right
after the turn of the century. Life was hard in the old country and they
wanted to see if they could make a better life here in America. My
grandmother, my father’s mother was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts a year
after they arrived. As it turns out life here was not the “road paved with
gold” that they expected. Separated from family and friend’s back home and
an even bigger hurdle of language they started to doubt that they had made
a good move.
After five years of trying to make it work here, and the prospects of
war looming in the horizon, they decided to return to Italy. When World
War II, ended my grandmother married a soldier from the same village. They
found life in Italy very hard. The economy was poor and jobs other than
farming were almost non-existent. Just as her parents had done she and her
new husband decided to move to the United States and try their luck here.
She was already a citizen since she was born here so it was her job to
come to America and get things started.
The prospect of coming to the United States back then had certain rules
and regulations that had to be followed. First a sponsor had to be found.
This had to be someone who lived in the United States and held a job and
was responsible for you. They needed to make sure you had a job and a way
of supporting yourself. If you could not work the sponsor was financially
responsible for you. You needed to be able to find a job to stay here.
There was no public assistance.
Once you had found a sponsor you then had to have the money to make the
crossing from Europe to the United States. Airline flights were costly so
the best means of travel was by ship. The accommodations were not in first
class. Money was hard to come by right after World War II, ended. Passage
on a ship to America was usually third class. Often the weather was stormy
and rough seas made people feel sick. After eighteen months her husband
and my father came here to live. She told me it was emotional to be
reunited with your husband and son after being apart for so long.
My grandparents realized it would take years of hard work to become
true citizens of the United States. They were determined to make this work
and put all of their efforts into making their American dream come true.
They took English courses so that they could understand others and be
understood, they studied history so that when they took their citizenship
test they would understand how our country started and pass the test that
made you a United States citizen.
What a proud day when my father and grandfather raised their right
hands and became American citizens. Their American dream did come true. It
was not like the story they heard about streets paved with gold. The
American dream takes hard work and determination. For an immigrant to come
here and learn the culture and the language takes time, patience and hard
work. It was a very interesting visit to my Grandparents home and I
enjoyed listening to her life and contrast it to the way I live my life
“Our life is frittered away by detail,” wrote Thoreau.
His feelings about living on Walden Pond make us want to take time to
look at nature more closely and to explore the reason why we exist at all
and to question life in general and ask who is really in charge and making
the rules for us to live by?
Garden is a place that people associate with food and maybe
flowers but it can also be a meditative or calming spot and a location
where life hangs in the balance. In the garden in the back of my house is
just this kind of area. Any person who takes the time to visit should
want to stop and sit there for awhile and think about what is taking
The first place you come to is the brick patio. Looking straight
ahead are tall trees that continue to move in the breezes of summer and in
the winter they nearly touch the ground with the weight of the heavy new
snow. If you stop and watch the trees you forget all that went on during
the day and even that you are breathing at all. You watch the trees
gently moving back and forth as the sky moves slowly overhead. They seem
to wave at you and involve you in them. As if beckoning you to come
forward and listen to a secret. As you look all the way up the tree it
pulls your thoughts towards heaven and what lies beyond the earth above.
If you look down the bricks are alive with busy insects. They are
constantly moving and at first it looks as if they are just running wildly
with no plan in mind. Watching carefully you then discover that the plan
is pretty clear. They are searching for food and once located they move
their prize back towards one of the many tunnels they have built. As
small as they are they have been given the ability by a higher power to
organize their colonies and provide for themselves. This is a plan of
nature put into action by a divine creator to ensure future generations.
Only a superior life form could arrange and generate all the functions in
a universe. A high power dedicated to creating a perfect world for all to
Looking towards the garden I notice that the sky has darkened and
become angry. The clouds have disappeared and have been replaced with
gray skies and stronger winds. I like nothing better than a good strong
storm that can bring the rain from the heavens down to my level.
I walk closer to the garden and find that grass is lying flatter and makes
a pathway for me. The wild vegetation flutters in the wind and leaves
begin to blow away. I grab for one but it shoots by as if to tease me. A
prank by a once living object. At one time alive and now gone. A lesson
The rain begins slowly and small puddles form in the garden. The green
plants look shiny and spring back each time a drop of water falls off.
The weary plants look happier by the minute as water reaches their roots
and gently flows upward. The trees in the garden swing back and forth as
if urging me to return indoors and leave them alone.
I walk slowly back towards the house and feel the presence of something
watching me from somewhere else. Giving me silent messages from the
flora. The earth can be happy and peaceful sometimes and then it can be
angry and harsh with destruction. There can be mystical moments watching
the trees and creatures and then there can be the seconds when mortality
and reckoning creeps in.
As time goes on it becomes clear that somewhere there is a spiritual
being that had amazing plans and ideas of what life should be like. The
garden is an example of how life begins and then ends. To be able to have
the ability to think freely and explore life and what the garden
represents is a truly American experience. To have free will to explore
and let imaginations interpret what life is all about is a freedom that is
in fact American.
Brian and Joe are good friends and every weekend
they try to find something fun to do. One weekend they went to their
friends' homes at night after dark and put their faces up to the window
with a flashlight under their chins. They got it all set up then tapped
on the glass and nearly scared them to death.
In class one day the history teacher assigned their class a project.
There was an exhibit at the local Museum that the teacher wanted them to
research and write a paper about. When they heard that they had to go to
a Museum they weren't really very happy.
"This is dumb man," said Joe.
"Yeah, I hear ya man," agreed Brian.
So, the following Saturday they headed off for the Museum. They
weren't the happiest they had ever been. Brian was driving and it was
raining pretty hard and since he was kind of ticked off he drove directly
into puddles and tried to splash the people on the sidewalk. Every time
they splashed someone they cheered and weirdly that helped to cheer them
At the museum they started looking around. At first they were not
taking this seriously. At one exhibit the artifacts were enclosed by
glass and several times Brian started trying to rock them and tap hard.
This made Joe laugh a little too loudly. A security guard started
following them around.
"Hey, if were gonna lose this joker lets look cool," said Joe.
"Ye, Ye, Ye, be cool dude, look interested" said Brian.
They finally found the painting they were supposed to be researching.
The security guard had moved on. Joe pulled out his notebook and black
magic marker. Brian got up close to the painting and Joe couldn't see it.
"Get out of my way man," said Joe.
"I'm lookin' first dude," said Brian.
"No you ain't," said Joe.
"Yeah, I am man," said Brian.
"Get outta my face man," said Joe.
With that Brian shoved Joe and his black marker hit the painting. A
huge black streak was now down the middle of the masterpiece.
"Whoa, man," said Joe.
"Look at what you did man," said Brian.
Joe shoved Brian and he hit the corner of the frame and it fell to
the ground. They backed up a few steps and stared at each other. Brian
picked it up and tried to put it quickly back on the wall. Joe tried to
grab it from him and fell back. As he fell the frame broke from the
pressure and the painting fell out.
Sirens began to go off and they could hear running feet. They felt they
had to get out of their fast. There was no way they could explain that it
was just an accident that this priceless masterpiece was ruined. Now
scared they picked up the painting and started running for the exit. Joe
shoved it inside his jacket.
As they stood at the top of the stairs in front of the exit, a
security guard they hadn't seen before came into view. They were sweaty
and shaking but trying hard not to show any emotion.
"What's happen'en, boys?" Asked the guard.
"Whatcha mean dude?" Said Joe.
"An alarm went off did you see anyone suspicious?" Asked the guard.
"Dude, we saw this freak going down that hallway, he had long hair
and a moustache, and he scared us!" said Brian pointing in the other
"Yup, Yup, Yup," stuttered Joe.
"Okay, stay here, you may have to identify the person," commanded the
As soon as the guard left they started running towards the exit that
was right in front of them.
"Just move dude and don't look back," said Joe.
"Whew, we were almost caught," said Brian.
"What do we do now man," asked Joe?
"Let's get outta here," said Brian.
Brian pushed on the exit door and it was locked. He pushed again
harder and then slammed his fist against the door. At that moment the
guard appeared again and pointed his gun at them.
"Hey," shouted the guard.
"We give up man!" don't shoot they shouted.
"Just come with me, right now," commanded the guard.
They followed the guard into the office and sat down where he
pointed. He asked them to explain what happened.
"Man, we got no money to pay for that paintin', said Joe.
"Yeah, it was a bad happen'en man," said Brian.
"Just a accident, you know," said Joe.
The guard listened to what they had to say. Then he explained the
"The painting is a replica," said the guard, "It is only worth a
couple of hundred dollars, the real masterpiece is hanging in a Paris art
"So, we ain't headed for prison?" asked Joe.
"No, you just gotta pay for the one you destroyed, and that's it,"
said the guard.
"Cool," said Brian, "we can do that man."
The author expresses his feelings in imagery to
help us understand his pain. James Russell Lowell conveys the sense of how
he grieves for the child he lost. This poem gives you the feeling of the
deep sorrow that never completely goes away when a parent or parents loses
a child. It helps us understand that even though you have had other
children, the one you lost is no less important to you.
By using a snowstorm at night he shows confusion. In the poem he
starts out by telling you that the snowstorm starts right around
night-time when the light of the day is fading and people have a feeling
that they want to be somewhere safe and out of a bewildering situation.
"The snow had begun in the gloaming, (evening) and busily all the night."
Right away you can visualize that snow is piling up outside, swirling and
making the area look different. Then he goes on to write "Had been heaping
field and highway with a silence deep and white." As the snowstorm
continues to rage on everything outside looks strange and unnatural. This
imagery helps us to understand how the author has felt because his child
went away. The confusion of why my child why did this have to happen to
With this paragraph he shows a connection between the way he values
his child to riches a king would wear. "Every pine and fir and hemlock
wore ermine too dear for an earl…And the poorest twig on the elm tree was
ridged inch deep with pearl." This is worded to show how the snow was
being compared to a fur like ermine that traditionally only people like
kings would wear and this is how important that even though she is gone
that his child is still deserving of love. Lowell valued his daughters
life very highly as if she were a princess in a royal family.
Lowell shows how the protection that can be given by nature. His
memories make him picture the cemetery where her headstone is now being
covered in drifts of snow. "I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn Where a
little headstone stood; How the flakes were folding it gently, As did
robins the babes in the wood." Lowell has some comfort in relating how
the flakes of snow were like a blanket that protected his daughter were
similar to the way robins in a nest would cuddle their baby birds
underneath their wings for warmth and security. Even though he himself
cannot give that protection and comfort to his lost child he pictures the
drifts of snow wrapping her tightly and keeping her safe.
With his poem he brings the living here on earth and the dead in
heaven together. Mabel his daughter asks him an innocent question, "where
snow comes from?" "Up spoke our own little Mabel,…Saying, "Father, who
makes it snow?" He replies, "And I told of the good All-Father…Who cares
for us here below." So even though he is sad he has some feelings of being
comforted because God is taking care of his lost daughter while he takes
care of his living child here on Earth. Since God made all things from
human beings to snow flakes, he is making a direct connection between the
With his kiss he connects a living child and a lost child. When he
gives Mabel a kiss, he seems to be able even for just a second to bring
back the feeling that he is somehow able to reconnect with his lost child.
He says, "Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her…And she, kissing
back, could not know…That my kiss was given to her sister folded close
under deepening snow." Mabel is unaware of how her father is feeling at
that moment. Mabel is a very powerful instrument for Lowell and because of
her he can bring back to his senses how the other child looked and felt.
For just a second he helps us feel that we are back in time with him and
his other daughter.
James Lowell has been able to give people who read his poem and have
lost a child or someone special the feeling that he can relate to them.
He can help them to understand that they are not alone in their grief and
others have felt the exact same way that he does. He makes it seem like if
they want to, people are able to bring back the wonderful memories and
sensations that they have of the person they lost.
The actual definition of cricket would be an outdoor
game of uncertain origin, played with a ball and bat. That definition also
includes the players who dress in white outfits and hit a ball that weighs
from five to five and a quarter ounces and is slightly smaller than a
The rules are complicated in cricket. One team sends two players to
a wicket one behind the other. The other nine players are placed around
the field where they are likely to get the ball. An umpire is stationed
at each wicket. The bowler throws the ball and the batsman may hit the
ball in any direction. After hitting it he can elect to run to the
The first cricket clubs in the United States were established during the
1700's, not long after they made their first appearance in England.
During that time wealthy men from the British upper classes and also
British servicemen were the first gentlemen of leisure who played the game
in America. Believe it or not, several of this nations founding fathers
were known to enjoy cricket. Other historic references to cricket include
games in Georgia in 1737 and in Baltimore in 1754, the same year Ben
Franklin brought a printed copy of Cricket Rules of Play home to the
Colonies, almost one hundred years before the first book of baseball rules
was published. There is evidence that some of George Washington's troops
played a game of "wickets" at Valley Forge in the summer of 1778. John
Adams made a statement in Congress that, "if leaders of cricket clubs
could be called presidents, there was no reason why the leader of the new
nation could not be called the same."
The first recorded American cricket match was in New York in 1751, on the
site of what is today the Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan. Shortly after
United States cricket clubs made their appearance, clubs in Canada began
to develop. Soon there was cross border traffic and friendly rivalry when
the first international cricket games started in the modern world. The
United States even sent touring cricket players abroad. Its greatest
success came when the United States of America defeated the West Indies by
nine wickets in an international match in British Guyana in the 1880's.
Murray Goodwin and Neil Johnson are amateur cricket players of today
who feel that in the world of Cricket things are getting competitive and
one day they may be playing in a World Cup championship. In an interview
Goodwin stated, "generally pressure is everywhere in this game. First,
you bat in the order that is set up. Sometimes I am the batsman, which is
the player with the long flat, laminated willow bat. That position has a
lot of responsibility and playing can be stressful at times because
pressure fluctuates." He goes on to explain some of the terms like,
"Bowling A Maiden Over," which refers to the play where you bowl six balls
without giving the other team a run.
Johnson then interjects that he has "unfortunately had a 'duck' which
means a batsman is sidelined for not getting any runs." This has made him
not only mad at himself, but other team members who are highly competitive
are also angry with him.
When both men are questioned as to what a "sticky wicket" means, they
laugh and say, "that it actually refers to conditions created by close
cropped, recently wet grass which can add a deadly spin to the ball."
In America there was a cricket player called Pele who was known world
wide for his championship playing ability. He says, "the years that he
spent playing were the best of his life." While showing off some of the
prizes he has won he tells about how "cricket was an extremely competitive
and hard game to play." He added that, "it was a disappointment to him
when Cricket in America did not catch on." Pele has called Cricket "the
The 4th Annual Philadelphia Cricket Festival is part of what is considered
by some to be an American renaissance of sorts. A renewed interest in the
game, however, is not due to a rediscovery by Americans, but to the recent
influx of immigrants from British Commonwealth countries. Today, there are
about 250 cricket clubs active throughout the country with a pool of about
10,000 players. Greater New York is said to have 75 teams, Miami 31,
Philadelphia 16, Washington 18, and Houston 10 with others spread about.
Most clubs don't have their own grounds and play on matting wickets laid
down in parks or baseball fields.
The distinction of being the first cricket club goes to the Union
Cricket Club of Camden, New Jersey, which started around 1840. The most
important club in those days was the St. George's Country Club which moved
from Manhattan to better grounds across the Hudson in the Elysian Fields
at Hoboken, New Jersey, known also as the site of the first baseball game.
The coach and groundsman was the famous Sam Wright. His sons, George and
Harry, were equally adept at baseball and cricket.
Cricket player turned professional sportswriter, Henry Chadwick wrote "The
First Rules of Baseball." Henry said during an interview, "Ask a
cricketer about baseball and they'll tell you it was derived from cricket
but there is another idea that it was copied from the English game of
'rounders'." Chadwick added, "most Americans think Abner Doubleday
invented the game but he had little or nothing to do with cricket."
In the 20th century, cricket declined in the United States because in
the late 1800's it had remained a strictly amateur sport played by the
more elite classes. During the biggest days of amateur cricket, the
talented North American players could beat any of the best teams the world
had to offer. Cricket died off because it catered to the upper classes
only and soon the interest stopped. Fields were done over to accommodate
golf and tennis, which were becoming the new national pastimes in America.
During the 1970's, a rediscovery of American cricket began. As
cricket loving immigrant numbers grew in North America, their potential as
an income sport began to interest entrepreneurs, corporations and
organizations wanting something to invest in. Deb Das a cricket player, is
hopeful that the sport can reclaim some of its former glory in this
country. "We may never have a cricket Big Ten in America," he told me.
"But if you're thinking soccer, even tennis, yes, we can get to that
level. Twenty years ago soccer was as foreign as cricket is today. Then
they introduced it as an alternate sport in elementary school. This is our
challenge: to get it on TV and into schools. And have cricket camps for
American kids." Maybe, the United States can recover its interest in the
game of cricket and become a major participant in the world cricket game
in the 21st century.