Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America


The Rudolf Garden















One day I was sitting in English class like I do everyday when Mr. McGonegel began singing and producing all sorts of music from his guitar when I noticed that there was large writing on the front board which said “1st draft for essays on your family moving to America. Right then it struck me that I didn’t know the story of my family moving to America.

Eager to find they answer to this painstaking dilemma, I burst out of the class and throughout the hallway only to find that my crutches refused to keep up with me. One thing led to another and I ended up on my face before I knew it. Upon getting up I stumble upon a conclusion, which was to call my Nana when I got home because she knows everything. By the time I got out of the front door my father was already outside waiting for me and I dove inside with my question boiling inside me.

As soon as we got on my street I was unbuckled and ready for departure, which was appropriate being that I flew up the stairs like a plain ignoring the fact that I couldn’t walk. When I got to the phone I had to dial the number three times because I messed up trying to dial it to fast. After I finally got through, she answered the phone with a “Praise the LORD.” I said “hey Nana it’s me Ryan, I am writing a paper on how my family came to America. That was the last thing I got to say because before I was finished she said “ Well Child I don’t know exactly how we came to America but I cam tell you how we came to Massachusetts.

It all began in Maysville, NC with my parents Daniel Webster Hicks and Mary Lee Baker. My father Daniel, you great grand father was studying there to become a dentist, but due to WWII he was called to work in the Quincy ship yard as an engineer. Before he left, he made sure that he didn’t leave the most important thing there, and that was my mother Mary. They got married and then embarked on there journey to Massachusetts, but they weren’t traveling light, Mary was pregnant with baby Doris and she was born December 4 , 1939 in Boston, the first Hicks to be in Boston, ME! We moved to Genessey St. in the South End. My father now working at the ship yard often left my mother home to watch me, but that was not enough, then my mother had Daniel jr. followed by Franklin, Frederick, Sherley and Gary. With all these children my mother figured that she should start a Daycare Center.

Because Boston didn’t have some of the wild things, Mary and Daniel were used too in North Carolina they began to go bowling and they loved it, only problem was with eight people going every time it began to get pretty costly. So what better way to Bowl for cheap than to Bowl free, and what better way to Bowl for free than to make your own bowling Alley. So that’s what my daddy did, Making Daniel’s Bowlerama on 124 Herald St. But being such adventurous people as they were , they soon got board with Bowling, and it turned out that Baseball was the new best thing. So our family began playing baseball, but there weren’t that many leagues to play family baseball.

So what better way to find a league for family baseball than to make you own, so that’s what he did founding the Crawford house little league which can still be found today.” Sounding out of breath My Nana said Is that enough? To me that was more enough an it filled a void inside me which had been nagging at m for all these years, I just never knew it. It also showed me that knowing where your from is a big part of knowing who you are, and when you know who you are, you know where you belong, and that is a wonderful thing to know.











The Rudolf Garden

     Once upon a time a transcentalist wrote, “Many think that seeds improve with age.” After observing my space,  I have realized that this person is wrong. It takes more than age to make a seed improve. It takes a little light, water and tending to. In a similar way, so did my space, but instead of light, it needed mowing, instead of water, it needed attention and instead of a little tending. It took a lot of tending.
      My space is a small and little area located at the bottom of my street. It has a couple of trees still left but the tallest one is now gone. It is more of an urban garden which is now disrespected and ignored by everyone, except by  a squirrel who often runs across the power lines, jumping onto trees. There is a flower garden and this place has a zillion different types of flowers, but people don’t give them enough attention to them so they are half dead or are dying.
      People walk pass this area all the time but never stop and admire it. Many say they do this because it’s hiding at the bottom of the hill, and it’s all about location, location and location. I think it’s because people just don’t have the time for nature anymore but people have the time for cars and computers. They just don’t have time for simple things. They only reason they go to the garden are for their dogs to use the bathroom or to get vegetables.
     This garden is an American garden because it was changed from a dump to a beautiful garden, the way colonists did when they moved here to North America. It actually used to be an trash dump where people dropped of their garbage for the week so trash men could pick it up. With some hard work and effort, people straightened it up so that it now looks presentable. This drastic change is what makes it an American garden. The change began with a few pretty rocks being added, then some colorful decoration and now there is a flower garden right in the middle, which took the place of a large willow tree. The tree made the area look sad and ugly is now gone and opens the view that show much of Jamaica Plain.
     After all that this space has been through, I think that the appropriate name for it should be called the Rudolf garden. I think this name is good because as you know “ Rudolf” the red nose reindeer had a shiny nose which nobody liked him for.  After Santa Claus needed him  everybody realized how beautiful Rudolf’s nose was and they began to appreciate it. Much like Rudolf, this space has very beautiful qualities but unnoticed, until one day somebody needed it to grow vegetables. After that, people began fixing it up and using it the way it should be used. That is why I named it “Rudolf.”














Early one Thursday an unfaithful newly wed woman took a day off from work because she had worn herself out the day before, or so she said. Anyway, while her husband was away at his office she was at home *1kreepin’ with another man, when she heard light tapping which to her ignorance was actually footsteps and she said the man “quick, hide in the closet” where he stayed until further instruction.  Her bedroom door squeaked open as it always did and with the most nervous look on her face, she was surprised to see that it was only her eight year old son.  She asked him “why aren’t you at school?” and he replied with a smart Al icky tone, “you tell me”, and she was so busy with her own matters that she forgot that it was her job to get little Billy dressed and ready for his interview for a knew school. Then she heard the same tapping and with no delay she pushed him into she closet telling him” if your father finds out that you missed your interview, he’s going to be *2ripped.”  
 So without much of a choice he found himself in the closet, but his mom forgot that she had her other little friend in that hiding spot already. “what the? What are you doing here?” Said the little boy and before the man could come up with an excuse, the boy had knew what was going on and he said to the man ”I have a baseball for sale” and the man replied “ yeah, so what?” With the same voice the boy responded to his mom earlier he said” my dads out side” and the man replied “Ok, How much kid?” And the boy said “it cost seventy dollars” and the man knew that he was being robbed  but he had no other choice than to pay for it.
The husband came into the room tired and wet into the bathroom to run the bath, when the wife snuck the man out  and soon after the boy exited the closet as well.
 The next day the woman had the same guy over while her husband was supposed to be on a business trip. While she was in the middle of doing whatever she was doing ,she heard footsteps and went through the same routine as she did the day before telling him to get into the closet.  Also as it occurred the day before, it was little Billy again but this time he was all bruised, battered and barefoot. His mother with the most angry voice asked him “what the hell happened to you? And he with that voice again responded”, wouldn’t you like to know? You were supposed to pick me up, Remember? And because you didn’t I had to take the train and I got jumped and *3ran for my new Jordans.”  Right then she heard the pool house chimes on the door ringing which meant the door had been opened. When she went to the window she saw her husband’s car outside and quickly an to get the man out, but he was making his way up the stairs  and instead of taking the man out she pushed her son in without thinking, because she knew if his father found out he would start *4throwin bows. So the boy was in the closet with the man once again and the boy said to the man “I have a baseball glove and having already been through this before  the man just asked  the kid “How much?” And the boy replied One hundred and thirty dollars.” Without the man arguing hew just gave the boy the money and the boy didn’t say anything.
The father had walked in and the woman said with a fragile voice “Honey, what are you doing home?” And he said “my meeting got postponed until Sunday and I'm going to be home for most of the weekend, so I’ll have time to spend with little Billy.” While he went  back to the pool house to check the temperature on the jocose, his wife snuck the man out.
The next day the father asked little Billy “do you want to go and play two on two with Johnny up the street and his father.” But the boy responded” I can’t because I got jumped and ran for my sneakers so I can’t play basketball.” “Well there is nothing that we can do about that, so  get your cleats and we can play catch”, but the boy explained to his father that he sold his ball and glove so he couldn’t play that either. “Well”, the father replied ”How much did you make?” And the boy said “Two hundred dollars” The father said “that’s not right, You robbed whoever bought them from you and stealing is a sin. Get ready, you going to confession to ask for forgiveness for what you have done.” When the boy and his father were on the way they stopped to pick the boy up some sneakers so he could have something to were on his feet while he was at church. When he arrived at the church the boy went into the confession box and he said to the priest “ I got a new pair of sneakers” and the priest replied, “don’t start that mess again.”
*1 Kreepin’  v. From the language of Ebonics-  cheating on a loved one or having an affair.

*2 Ripped   n. From the language of Ebonics-  a complete state of anger.

*3 Ran   v From the language of Ebonics- (Past tense) to be robbed or to have something taken from.

*4 Thowin’ Bows v  From the language of Ebonics-  to get very angry and or violent.













Walt Whitman is an extremely unique writer, he is known for his ability to write and sculpt beautiful sentences about topics which don’t matter and are hard to elaborate on. He has ways and styles of writing which have near been seen or repeated, for example he abandoned the need for rhythm and meters in his poems . For this reason he was criticized but later loved and exalted for the same reason. The poem relives the his experience hearing the learn’d astronomer, in all of it’s boredom.

 I enjoy almost all of his poems but the one that mostly stands out in my mind is “when I heard the learn’d astronomer”. He writes about the stars and what he does not know about but can only see. By doing this breaks through the boundaries of knowledge by combining hearing and sight. He does this in lines 11 of”look’d up in perfect silence at the stars”.
He  expresses through,” Till rising and gliding out I wandering off by myself, in the mystical moist night..” that the night is or can be understood to be more than just a time but a place with forms of energy all around. He wonders into it not knowing what he’ll find, but only that t is mystical and moist.

By writing these lines into his transformation of his experience hearing the learn’d Astronomers lecture,he adds a whole new scenario, where all of his senses are being used to observe the atmosphere. This poem does a great job of describing this experience which opens up your mind to what your eyes can tell and what your ears can show.
















There are many great sports and many, which are not so great.  Badminton is one sport, which could be argued as being not so great.  In fact, the word "bad" in the name "badminton" is an appropriate description of this game.  In addition, some American sports enthusiasts don’t consider badminton a sport at all.  However, the average American has customized badminton to suite their interests as a sport and they continue to play the game.
Badminton is a sport where two to four people compete with rackets, a bird or shuttlethingy and a net.  It is a combination of tennis and volleyball.  It is a high scoring game, and it has the same scoring system as tennis, 15, 30, and 40 points in a game.  There are six games in a set and two sets in a game.  Originating from Battlethingy or Battledore, badminton was first played in Ancient Greece and early Far Eastern civilization for the satisfaction of kings and queens.  The poor often played with their feet and the wealthy played with rackets.  The first officially scored game with rules was played in thingya, India in 1877 (Boga).
Badminton is an appropriate name for this sport because of the word "bad" in the name badminton.  Many people believe that the game is dull and boring.  I, myself, tried this sport some two months ago, and I found it tiring and also boring.   After trying badminton, I now understand why it is not extremely popular and why some people don’t consider it a sport.  The Executive Director of Badminton USA, Dan Cloppis says, " … it’s a lot easier for my children to make it to the Olympics in badminton than basketball" (Cloppis).   He refers to badminton as being easy and not as popular as basketball which says a lot coming from the Executive Director of the sport in the USA.  Not only do people in professional positions criticize this sport, but amateurs do too.
A seventh grader at the Mission Hill School believes that "the sport is boring and the action is gone in sixty seconds"(Jonathan Howell).  He expresses his feelings through laughter and criticizing gestures.  He also says, "It can’t be compared to great sports like football or baseball because all you do, in badminton, is hit the fly over the net over and over again.  It gets too repetitious."   This is one of many that criticize and accuse badminton of being so boring that it’s not even a sport.  It has been compared to synchronized swimming and "that’s not good".
Badminton although not popular has been Americanized by its television broadcasting and also by its publication.   Therefore, despite its unpopularity, Americans still play the game and have customized badminton to suite their interest.  "Americans have a distinct style of play where they apply force instead of finesse"(Chan).  By their fast pace and mobile playing tactics, these players have Americanized badminton  (Chan).   Even though Badminton is not widely accepted, some Americans do enjoy the fast pace, competitiveness and the high scoring of the game.
Nevertheless, its unpopularity shows that most Americans don’t exactly love badminton, but it is still considered a sport.  Some people believe that because a sport is boring, that it’s not worthy of being called a sport.  However, "Sport" is defined as an activity that involves physical exertion and has a set form of rules.  According to its definition, badminton is a sport because it has a set of rules and involves physical exertion.  With all these things being said, badminton is a fast paced sport, which is not exactly popular to Americans, but has been customized to suite the interest of the average American.