Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America

















It was after my first date, coming home from the movies, that I became curious and asked the question to my mother. “ How did you and Dad meet?” I then sat back and listened to my mother’s account of how she met my father. She described to me how she knew all about my father because she was dating his best friend.

But it was awhile before she would actually meet him. She said that her boyfriend went on and on always about how great looking my dad was and how all the girls were crazy about him.

My mom said that when she finally did meet him, at a gas station in Canton, she didn’t think he was “that great, but then no one could have lived up to the description her friend had said about him”. My Mom and Dad actually double dated together for two years and all during that time my mom always said, “she would never date anyone like Randy”. My mom broke up with her boyfriend and for two years never saw my father. He was away at college in upstate New York and she was at school in Boston.

Then one day her bosses’ wife told her, I’m tired of you not having a boyfriend and since it never worked out with my boys, I’m making Randy your last patient of the night.” My mother is a dental hygienist and after an hour’s appointment, my Dad asked my mom out. He said the big mistake he did was asking her if she was hungry. My mom loves to eat and that night they went out to diner at the Charley Horse in Braintree. That was in December of 1977 and they have been together ever since. They were married in Canton on June 27, 1982.

If my father’s best friend didn’t go out with my mother, it is entirely possible that they would never have met and in that case my brother and I would never have been born. It is amazing how fate works sometimes, especially when you consider how many times my mother told her friends she would never go out with Randy. Its shows us how every little minute in life matters, and that fate works in strange places. After listening to this story I have learned to listen to my heart.











   When I hear the word nature my mind immediately goes to an essay entitled “Nature” by Ralph Walden Emerson.  Inside the poem there is a line that best describes life as a transcendentalist and it is “I become a transparent eyeball; I see all.”  After reading this line I realize that it also shows that I have become a transcendentalist because for the past two weeks I have taken written documents from an American place, my backyard pond.  As I sat back I did as a matter of fact just become an eyeball letting nature take its course and giving it a chance to flourish in its natural surroundings.

     Over the course of the last two weeks I have been carefully observing a place that most Americans have, a pond.  As an American in this fast paced country we never get the chance to stop and appreciate these places that are there everyday of our lives.  My pond, in my backyard, is something that after these two weeks I have noticed the great amount of small changes that have taken place.  As of now autumn has ended, many leaves have fallen into the very little amount of water that is in the pond due to the small amounts of rain we have gotten in the last two weeks.  Also a tree has fallen right in the middle of the pond due to a heavy windstorm that took place on only the second day of my observations.  Due to the poor amount of rain and the fallen tree my dreams of winter skating on the pond has ended.  I learned though that autumn is a season of changes that can make a beautiful view or just a mess of leaves.

     When I stopped and looked out I realized that nature by itself can be very beautiful, and I grew to appreciate the hand that God plays in it everyday.  While thinking this a question popped into my head “Does God not want this pond skated on this year, why else would the tree fall and there be little rain?”

     It felt good to do something that few Americans ever do in their everyday lives and that is slow down and look at nature and the small changes that are constantly taking place.  When I did this a song played through my head and that was “Let it Be” by the Beatles as I just wanted to let nature take its course and I was sure everything would be just fine.




















"What is the lowest grade you are allowed to give on a report card?" Lano asked Brother Heron on the last day of Physics class for the 2nd quarter.
  Brother Heron responded by saying "a teacher can give a 55 and usually will, unless we go down to the principals office and ask to give a mark less then that."
  Mike O'Dougall laughing asked Brother,  "Would you give, oh, I don't know say an 18 if the student deserved it.  Just as Mike had said it, Mike and Scott quickly glimpsed in the way of Lano who had his head down in shame.
  "Would you do that?" Lano asked almost not wanting to hear the answer.
  "Lets just say Mr. Lano that you might as well sign up for summer school and do it twice while your there with your average!" said Brother Heron much to the laughter of MIke and Scott.
  "They told me that last year and I just brought in a fake note saying that I completed summer school and got an "A"" Lano said.
  "Well, thank you Mr. Lano, while I am in the office talking to the principle about your grade I will inform him of your summer school scam," Brother Heron responded to Lano's flip remark.
  Mike and Scott laughed histerically and couldn't believe what had just taken place n the classroom.






















America is the land of hard work and of course, pride.  People came to America in the first place to be a part of the “free land” and to have the ability to work for a living.  Americans take pride in their work, for hard work is what brings fortunes. Walt Whitman’s, “ I Hear America Singing” shows the greatness of America with this poem about the everyday jobs that makes it what it is.  Walt Whitman knew so much about these little hard working jobs because he was a true American also born is Long Island and raised in Brooklyn.  His entire life was spent in the United States.

     This poem, by one of the best American poets of all-time, is about pride, it is about hard work. But most of all it about people being happy to do their job to not only help themselves but also help America.  The people of America are strong as Whitman showed by saying “ Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong.”(page 413)  This line shows that people of America are not scared to shout out their praise.  Whitman says her that a free land is what this poem focuses on and it shows the happiness the just simply doing their jobs brings to these men.

     America is sometimes called the land of opportunity, a land full of jobs,  Whitman vividly shows this by displaying various professions.  An example of this is “ The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission, or at sundown.”(page 413) In this line Whitman says that even the lowest ranking job can make a difference and make America what it is today.  This also shows us that Whitman greatly appreciates the “little jobs” in America from the men and women enough to mention them in the poem.  None of the jobs that he writes about are the “high class” jobs, instead he speaks about the hard working jobs that bring in amounts of money just to get by.

     Youth in America is something that makes us all proud and Walt Whitman brings up an excellent point saying that “ The day what belongs to the day and at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.”(page 413)  The point that he brings across here to the readers is that America is about youth and happiness, therefore when the day is done there is time to party and relax.  The energetic youth have the strengths to do work and have fun, a great symbol that describes America still today.

     Whitman’s “ I hear America Singing” is a poem that is not written in any certain style but instead it is written from his heart to the hearts of all Americans.  Every line does not have a certain amount of syllables or rhythm scheme like so many other poems, but instead every line has a deep meaning that if all Americans can relate to if they look into their hearts.  As an American you cannot help but appreciate this poem in so many ways. It forces you to think about the little people that make America great.
























A simple definition that can be given for sport, is anything that involves an event or playing in an athletic game for the purpose of proving one teams superiority over their opponent.  The sport of Rugby fit this definition perfectly because it is a battle.  To win in the game of rugby you have to prove to be tougher, stronger and faster then your opposition.  The game of rugby is an old game, one that is easy to learn and in order to do well, you must beat the man across from you, this alone can serve as a definition of sport.
     The early origins of rugby were related to soccer in that the rules said that nobody could touch the ball with their hands.  These games of “ soccer” were looked upon, as games played by working class men not men in universities who would go on to become scholars.  The students at these universities decided they needed team sports since none of them were able to do single sports like they had done at home.  At one of the games a player picked up the ball with his hands and therefore breaking the rules of one game but starting a new game of rugby. (Encyclopedia Britannica,566-595)
     It is only fitting that the game was created for scholars that the first team in the United States was Harvard.  In the spring of 1874 Harvard University was ready to play in a game.  The only problems though, there were no college team in the Unites States for them to play.  McGill University in Montreal, Quebec came to the rescue and provided a team for Harvard to play against.  On November 13, 1875, Harvard was able to play again this time again Yale University, the two teams met in New Haven and played twice.  The first time with fifteen people on each side, but then with the request of the Yale team they switched to eleven forever changing the game of rugby.(Encyclopedia Britannica, 56
     The reason that rugby was never fully popular in the United States was before long the game of rugby was changed into what is now known as American Football.  There are still some teams in the United States, but they are few and far between due to the popularity of American football.
Rugby on the professional level, is a game that can be won by any team on any day.  Its all in who wants it more that day.  Eddie O’Sullivan of Team England, thought by most to be the best team in the world, is getting ready for the Six Nations tournament which starts soon.( The world cup of rugby)  O’Sullivan knows that no matter how talented your team is it comes down to heart.  “Expectations are high after the autumn (season), still in the six nations championship on the day anybody can beat anybody else.”(Sports Illustrated, Rueters)  This quote coming from a true professional shows the importance of hard work, and heart in the game of rugby.
      My father played rugby for fun in college and he told me that he enjoyed the game because, “Rugby is the only game that you can’t relax, even for a second.”  This showed the determination you must have for the game, even to play it on a simple level.  Also he said that, “If you like, football and competing against your opponent then rugby is the game for you.”
     The voice of rugby, 79 year old Bill McLaren has just retired, from a career that few that are close to the game of rugby will ever forget.  McLaren said this when he announced his retirement “ My career, the whole thing, is just a lovely dream.  I look back on all of it with great satisfaction and knowledge that I’ve seen the great games in the great venues.” For all who have heard McLaren broadcast a game he will be surely missed in the sport.(Sports Illustrated, Rueters)  McLaren is a man that sums up all of what rugby is.