Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America


















My family consists of a few members. These members include my mother, Lorna, my father, Dennis, my sister, Carol, and finally I, Franklin. My parents families are a total contradiction to our family. My parents were brought up in large families, consisting of six or more members. Surely, these seemed to be the times when it was a tabbo to have large families.

Originally, my family lived in Nairobi, the capitol city of Kenya, an African country. We all slowly made our ways to the United States, within a matter of years, although we were quite comfortable back in Kenya. My Mother was the first to move to to America, back in 1987, while studying for her degree in Information Technology. She stayed in America, while my direct family, including myself, remained in Nairobi. She was later followed by my aunt, Jane, who came to major in Dentistry. My father later came to qcquire his accounting degree. Other uncles and aunts followed, and we are now a big family dispersed all over the American states.

I do know most of my relatives, although there are some whom I have never had an encounter with in my life. The people that I am usually close with are my grandparents. The reason for this is that, they seem to be always welcoming, joyous, and ready to spend every minute they can with their grandchildren.

On my Mothers side of the family, I still have two existing grandparents, and they are Mr. and Mrs. Ogembo. It is always a pleasure to meet them. Whenever I am together with them, they usually take me for long walks, and most of the time, this is usually accompanied by many interesting stories of the past. Some of these stories include the days when they went to school, how life was back then, compared to now, and many other stories. I am always happy whenever they come around to pay us a visit.

On my Fathers side of the family, I am sad to say that I have no grandparents existing. My grandfather died back in 1988, when I was only four years old. It was a sad day for my father together with the whole family. The doctors said that his death came as a result of a prolonged cancerous sickness. I never got to know him well, since I was very young to understand the true value of a grandfather.

On the other hand, my grandmother Rosebella, from my fathers side, died in August 2001, from a certain chest ailment. She was seventy three years old. Unlike my grandfather, I grew up to know and understand her. She was always warm, kind, funny and welcoming, just to name a few. She always had good stories of my fathers upbringing, his younger days and many other stories of the past.

For sure, I will always cherish the times with my grandmother, and she will always have a special place in my heart.







As you walk along the midst of Washington street, West Roxbury, your eyes perceive nothing short of clean streets, proper lighting, well kept grass, tall trees, and a few leaves scattered on the various land areas. Everything seems to be perfect, and the fresh scent of the cool breeze often slaps you on the face, while the tall mahogany trees sway along from side to side.

     On one Summer day, as I walked briskly along the side of the main road, I witnessed a scene that seemed to be out of place. Out of all the clean and well maintained areas, that I had experienced, this area was the odd one out. It definitely seemed out of place.

     I moved closer to the area, and as I glanced through the area, I could see an archaic housing structure, clearly in a state of deterioration. The area had a sizable yard, that had certainly faced neglect, and there was the presence of trash dispatched all over this particular land area. There were a bunch of leaves scattered all over the partly brown grass, and I also witnessed a couple of broken bottles on the ground area. There was also some evidence of a rusted pepsi can, that seemed to have been lying on the ground for ages.

     As you moved closer, you could see the bark and remains of a half-cut tree, and adjacent to it, was this big, brown, wooden house. The windows seemed to be filled with dust, and some of the windows appeared to be broken. The wooden house seemed to be having holes, that made my eyes easily penetrate through to the inside of the house.

     Surely, the house itself seemed to be scary, dark and haunted, and I kept having second thoughts on whether or not it would be the right idea, to try and break an entrance into this abandoned housing complex, whose environs are certainly the opposite of what I had experienced.

     I finally made a bold decision of not entering into this premises, since it would be a violation of the law, for I would be regarded as trespassing on private property. I also assumed that there was probably some pest infestation, including snakes that might have made this abandoned complex a habitat.

     I came to a conclusion that something needs to be urgently done, to curb this particular problem that my neighborhood is facing. I think that the house needs to be thoroughly improved or demolished, for in its present state, it lowers the standards and status of the neighborhood I currently live in.














John and Greg met each other at the neighborhood they lived in, and they soon became best of friends. They often performed a lot of activities together, and one would say that they had a pretty mutual relationship.

They often went to parties together, and on this particular ocassion, something happened while they were out enjoying themselves, that can be considered to be quite funny. In the following excerpt, I will explain to you in clear words and sentiments, on the events that unfolded before, during and after the party.

" You feel like goin' to a party John," asked Greg. "Only if there are going to be a bunch of girls," replied John. "Offcourse, but we have to leave by 7.00pm, to make it there on time," replied Greg.

At 7.00pm, they left for the party, and it was apparently filled to the brim. John and Greg began drinking, and by around 9.30pm, they were totally drank. They then began acting wild, and talking a lot of trash, that the owner of the house (where the party was taking place), had no choice but to throw them out.

The two boys had to find their way home, but they could not drive, for they were heavily intoxicated. They began walking home, and they did not seem to agree on the right direction to follow, because of their blurred perception. They both agreed to a direction that led to a river filled with mud. They were unaware that they had plunged into muddy water until they actually got into the water.

They started making strange noises, and within a flash, a police car that was patrolling the area, showed up at the scene. They were taken off the muddy river, and loaded onto the police car, by the elderly officer. They were then driven to the local police station.

Tthe amount of alcohol in their blood was measured, and it was found to be way over the average limit. They were then thrown into jail for one night. On the following morning, they had sobered down, and they were able to answer various questions unlike the previous night. The questions were centered upon where they lived, and whom their parents were.

Soon, their parents showed up at the police station, clearly angered by their childrens' actions. John was grounded for a month, while Greg was grounded for two months.

Today, when the two friends meet each other, they often laugh at how stupid their actions were during that particular ocassion.


















Walt Whitman's poem, "A noiseless Patient Spider,"is an admirable expression, on how the spider functions on a daily basis. The author confidently narrates, in brief but straight to the point details, on the amazing world of the spider.

            This is clearly explained in the lines, It launch'd  forth
            filament, filament, out of itself, Ceaselessly musing,
            venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect
            them, Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the
            ductile anchor hold.

The above lines definitely show how the spider works tirelessly, yet patiently, to accomplish its desired goals. Whitman portrays a constant rhythmical flow in the above lines. The lines also make the reader aware of Whitman's ability to condense the major issues( relating to the spider,) into a common focal point.

Whitman brings about his major themes, by articulating them in a seemingly artistic form, that is readily understandable to the reader. The manner and rhythm by which he impresses upon his writing, is quite distinctive. Whitman clearly expresses a talent of being able to capture the reader's interest, by using simple language, rather than complex statistics, which could bore the reader. It would be right to say that Whitman uses plain words, easily digested by the intuitive reader.

I believe that Walt Whitman is a very talented and descriptive author who brings about his message in a very unique style.

















 In the following excerpt, I will explain to you in brief but straight to the point details, on the history of Lacrosse, and how it was gradually Americanized.

     In the early days, Lacrosse was mainly played by the native Americans. According to James Ryan (of the Boston Globe), “The Cherokees called the sport, the little brother of war, because it was considered an excellent military technique. A team consisted of hundreds, even thousands of players, often an entire village or tribe. The goals were often miles apart, and a game might have lasted as long as three days. Most players concentrated on using the stick (the major tool), to injure opponents.

     The six tribes of the Iroquois called their version of the game “baggataway” or “tewaraarathon.” There were twelve to fifteen players per team, and the goals were about one hundred and twenty feet apart.

     According to a magazine article by Brian O’Toole, “Lacrosse was revived in Upstate New York during the late 1860s by the Onondaga tribe, which was among those still active in Canada.”

     White players in Upstate New York began to play Lacrosse in about 1868, and the sport quickly spread to Metropolitan, New York. Colleges in the Northeast soon took up the sport, including Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton and Stevens Institute, just to name a few.

     The U.S. Amateur Lacrosse Association was founded in 1879, and it adopted Canadian rules. Seven Colleges formed the first Inter Collegiate Lacrosse Association, three years later. This was later succeeded in 1905, by the Inter Collegiate Lacrosse League, later to be called the U.S. Inter Collegiate Lacrosse Association( USILA), in 1929.

     According to my interview of John Combs, who has done extensive research on Lacrosse, I was able to learn about the roots of Lacrosse’s popularity in America. John adds, “Lacrosse’s popularity spread in America, when it was introduced at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, by some students who had seen the sport on Long Island, and it quickly became popular throughout Baltimore.”

     During my research, I was also able to learn about the viewpoints of different individuals, on the sport of Lacrosse. John Combs made it clear, that he is happy about the emergence and assimilation of Lacrosse, as an American sporting event. On the other hand, Brian O’Toole’s magazine article entitled, “The History of Lacrosse,” clearly indicates how on one hand, he is happy that America embraced the sport, although he believes that it is not a substantial sport, and it will never achieve mainstream appreciation and acceptance, like other major sports.

     In Conclusion, I would like to add that the above data on Lacrosse, clearly shows how America welcomes new methods of activity( sport), and how the country systematically adopted and incorporated this particular sport, as part of its wide range of sporting activities.