Monthly Archives: January 2011

a bit of my story

When I was six, I got to wear the uniform. I became “one of them,” the students at St. Joseph’s School. I had class in the modular classroom with the other first graders, with Dear Sister Loretta, who I loved. Everyday, weather permitting, we went out for what seemed like a lengthy recess. A six grader would stand at the bottom of our added-on wooden steps and sell candy wares, our snack for the day. So much for healthy, this was 1972.

We had a huge playground area. Up a little rise from the plateau of our modular’s, was spread a city block sized field that once was the “backyard” of a columned lady, much like the ones that stood guard just beyond our play domain and housed the brothers.

The soil was clay-like, as everywhere in Clarke County Georgia and green grasses, not domesticated, grew in tufts about it. The grass was worn thin near play equipment and it grew fairly thick along the peripheries where we ran less often.

All of us were let loose at once, the first graders…but I only remember playing with other uniformed ones a time or two. People weren’t unfriendly, at least not people other than me. I pretty much kept to myself. I would play quietly on the parallel or monkey bars or just walk the periphery of the field. I really liked walking that periphery.

An old wire fence held jungly kudzu and honeysuckle at bay. I liked to get as close to that divide as possible. I probably caused Sister Loretta to murmur quite a few Hail Mary’s in my regard, seeing me traipsing around by myself like that everyday. But, I was fine, I was totally content to do so. When I was in that field, I never even paid attention to the other children in our class who were my friends, who played with me at home on my swing set, who chatted with me at lunch. I wasn’t lonely out there in that field, I didn’t even think to miss my friends…I was in my element.

No adult ever asked me if I was okay ( and therefore, scarred me with thoughts that something might be wrong with me.) Surely Sister Loretta had read a little Francis or Ignatius. No one ever questioned my choice of quiet and beauty over noise and people. No one.

One day, this cute little blond-haired, pig-tailed girl from 2nd grade, I think her name was Emily, asked my if I wanted to play some game with a group of girls and her. It was some patty cake sing-song game or something. I played, we all giggled, but nice as they were to me, the next day I struck out on my quest for quiet again.

I remember that day with them, playing and laughing and thinking all along, “Is this what I am supposed to do at recess? Is this what the other little girls do?”

It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t me.


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a favorite place – Micah D.

My place is a place of emotional comfort as well as emotional anguish. The dark coloring of the surroundings wash away every “busy thought” and every unnecessary anxiety or distraction. The blue, deep as the darkest part of the ocean, immerses me in the joy of being completely empty-minded and being able to simply exist as a normal being.

Just the thought of sitting on my Peavey amp makes me calm beyond description. The strength and simultaneous fragility of the small black box reminds me of my own solidarity and instability. I love my entire room, but something about sitting on that amp reminds me of every good, bad, and ugly memory. It’s incredible how such a small, uninteresting package can influence the direction of emotions and thoughts. The cool air of my room compliments the cool surroundings. The rough, uncomfortable surface quickly becomes suitable as every remembrance brings tears and a smile.

I always play my smooth guitar on this musical stool and write every emotion and pain on the neck of that instrument. There is no better way for my own spirit to release the tension from the day than for me to hide in my room, grab my guitar, and settle down on the amp to pour out my heart upon the floor and walls, feeling every pain on my fingertips.


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a favorite place – Karley C.

You all know Miss Karley well by now.

There’s this place behind the cul-de-sac of my street that my friend and I discovered. We had always seen it from a distance, and out of curiosity we decided to go there, to climb up there…the mound.

This was no ordinary little mound; it was massive, probably about seventy feet off the ground from the very top. The setting of this place was phenomenal. When I sat down by the edge on the little grassy patch of the mound, I looked at the bright summer sky, and the forest of trees in the distance. It felt like I could see everything there was to see; I could see…beauty. The way this place smelled was enticing as well. Even with all the dirt, the air smelled so refreshing, and as a wonderful addition to this clean smell, there was just a little hint of that “nature” scent from the forest nearby; an aroma that was so alluring, I just wanted to stay there forever, soaking it all up. All around the top of this mound was dirt, but I didn’t mind sitting in it. How was it any different from grass or sand? I lived by the saying, “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.” I didn’t mind sitting on it and having a huge dirt patch on my jeans when I got up. I didn’t care, and that’s why I loved the place. It was so carefree, so relaxing. Everything about it – the sight, the smell, the touch, and the overall mood – was what drew me to it. It was what persuaded me to take that dreadful climb up it, because in the end, I felt peace.


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a favorite place – Shelbie C.

Shelbie is one of the sweetest girls I have ever taught. I can just see her fashioning this special place when she was little.

In the corner of my old room was a large corner desk.  My mom moved it in there because it did not have another space or purpose.

One day I was sitting in my room looking at this thing that had invaded my only space, and I came up with the idea of taking a sheet and draping it over the front, thereby blocking me from the rest of the world.  Inside my newly developed Kingdom, there were two shelves that held up the desk.  The back corner was open and you could look straight up to the ceiling.  The right shelf held all of my kitchen toys and any play house toys.  The left shelf was my very own, never falling and always there, my first homemade Barbie House.

I made it my own so I could design it to look the way I wanted it and so that no one could ever touch it.  I laid blankets all over the floor to give me the comfort I needed to feel inside my very own, favorite spot.  Along the walls of the desk, I placed my favorite pillows and stuffed animals.  I also placed a lamp in there so I could always see.  I drew windows on two papers, one with the sun shining and one with a storm, and taped them to the wall.  Soon after, I drew a TV on a paper and placed it on the wall to complete my little house.  Later, I snuck some colorful sheets in to hang from the roof of the desk giving color and life to my house.  The final touch to complete my space was to add my small, purple CD player.  I would sit in there for hours listening to my chosen music or favorite books on tape.  Everyday I would lift the sheets to crawl into my hidden kingdom where everything was mine and, at the time, perfect. I would sit down on the softness, always newly washed with lavender blankets and go about my new day in my small little kingdom.  I would play with my Barbie, or listen to music, or play house.  This was my first me place.  This was my special place.


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a favorite place – Madi N.

The apartment

My grandmother, we call her Mema, had a beautiful house..a dream house, some might even say.  She had the pool, jacuzzi and the huge yard; but it wasn’t the swimming or the playing of football that made her house so special to me. It was the little cozy apartment downstairs. I can still remember racing down the red carpeted stairs, turning left and entering the best room of the house.


The little apartment had three rooms. The first room I’d enter had a few couches, a little table for a family of four, and a kitchen area. It was the perfect place to play house. The second smaller room held two beds, with comforters from the 70’s or 80’s era. Then, there was a little bathroom attached to the bedroom. This apartment was more than place for my aunts and uncles to rest when they needed a place to sleep for awhile; it was a kids dream land.  It’s strange how, throughout the day at Mema’s, all the grandkids would end up downstairs. Then, all of my older cousins would start up a good game of hide-n-seek, and we’d run throughout our “play house” looking for a good spot to hide. That little apartment wasn’t just a living area; it was a memory maker. Though I can’t remember much about the look of Mema’s house, I will always remember the fun times I had downstairs in the little apartment.


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a favorite place – Morgan H.

I haven’t known Morgan that long, but I sure do like her. I think we would have been pals in school, were we the same age. Of course, she can write. All my friends are writers.

There is a place, a place that has been a part of me since I was a little girl. Over the rocky hill by my house is a muddy trail that leads to a wide, metal gate and into the woods. Once here, you can choose two different paths. One leads to a tiny, green cabin by a bubbling creek. The other, to a big, open field of fresh, green grass with various patches of tan, dead grass. These are the patches where life has been taken by the cold winters or eaten by the cows that once resided there. Out beyond the clearing is a clump of trees. In the middle of them all stands the biggest tree I’ve ever seen. The Beech tree is a magnificent piece of wood that has a century of memories carved on it. It is the place I go when I feel alone. When I look up at all the carvings of my ancestors and people I loved dearly, it gives me a sense of companionship. It’s as if they were right there with me. My initials as well as my parent’s and best friend’s are in many places on this tree, too. To see them makes my soul smile because I feel like I’m a part of something special. I often daydream about meeting all of those people one day. I’d love to ask them questions like, “When did you carve this?” or “Who was with you?” The responses could be very exciting. I know I will find out someday. I’m looking forward to telling all of those people that they gave me peace and hope even though they weren’t there with me when I ran my fingers over the carvings they created…or were they?


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A favorite place – Jess H.

It is a quaint, cozy, welcoming, old-fashioned one story house with brown shutters; it has grandma and grandpa written all over it.  It is where I always wanted to be when I was growing up. It’s where I want to be in this stage of my life, sometimes.  It represents the past; now I am making new beginnings. All of our Thanksgivings and Christmases and Easters were spent there with warmth, love, laughter, happiness and most importantly, health. The darkness, also known as cancer, intervened and they had to sell their house and move closer to my family. All the summers spent there, running around all the beautiful acres of land in the front and back yards and the watermelon spitting seed contests will never be forgotten. Their home was my refuge, my place of comfort; the sumptuous smells of all grandma’s cooking and grandpa’s popcorn at night watching our favorite shows were the best. The hunter green swing on the front porch was my buddy, especially while eating homemade vanilla ice cream. There is only one “house” that I call home and it is that one. Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Huntsville was our whole families’ home away from home, my HOME.


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