I Haven’t Forgotten

( Advance Level )

Elizabeth O’Leary was just like all other typical teenagers, trying to fit in with her peers. High school was difficult, especially for a young teenage girl new to the school.

Beth, as her grandparents called her, was no exception to the cruelty of her peers. The first three months, at her new school, were pure hell for her.

Beth’s parents sent her to live with her grandparents in the city, so she would have a better opportunity with her high school career.

Somedays Beth wondered why her parents sent her into the lion’s den when she was with her grandparents. She felt going to high school in her little community would have suited her just fine. She knew everyone and was comfortable with her surroundings, but her dad wanted more for her.

As an only child, her father had great expectations for her to become a lawyer in the future. This wasn’t truly what Elizabeth wanted. Not wanting to disappoint her parents, she reluctantly agreed to focus on becoming a lawyer. They gave her everything she ever wanted growing up so this was the least she could do.

It has been three months of complete turmoil since she started her first year in high school trying to get used to her new teachers and classes. Additionally, it’s been quite lonesome for Elizabeth. She tried to make friends, starting idle conversations with classmates, only to receive a cold shoulder.

“Beth, why such a sad face? You’ve been very quiet for weeks now.” her grandmother asked over dinner. “I have tried to make friends but I just do not fit in with these city girls.”

Her grandmother listened intently, remembering how difficult it had been for her when she arrived, like Beth, to attend the university. “It will get easier. I promise you. In the meantime, just focus on your studies and be yourself.”

Elizabeth looked up at her grandmother and gave her a half smile. She thought how easy it was for her to say this. She had no idea what she faced each day when she went to school.

Elizabeth helped her grandmother clear the dinner table and then retreated to her room to work on homework. She sat quietly at her desk. After thirty minutes she found herself scrolling through social media on her tablet.

Classmate after classmate had tons of pictures. Each with amazing positive comments and likes, adding to her misery. She didn’t understand what they had that she obviously was missing.

Elizabeth turned off her desk lamp and turned in for the evening. With the mood she was in she didn’t want to watch TV. As she drifted off to sleep she thought about changing her outward appearance. Possibly cutting her hair or getting a nose piercing. The latter she knew her parents would not appreciate.

The following morning, Elizabeth woke up in a much better mood. She had decided to change her appearance so she didn’t look like a country girl as she heard others say about her.

After school, she would stop by the corner market to purchase hair dye. Not just any hair dye. She wanted blue or pink or even red. It all depended on what was in the store in stock. Her long locks would also be cut. The ponytail look was definitely out.

Her parents allotted her monthly spending money which she never really had to use until now. The plans were to go shopping for more trendy clothes she has seen others wear on social media.

Was all of this going to help her fit in? She had no idea but she had to try. She is lucky her school allowed such individual expression as long as it was not offensive.

The market had blue and red dye. She looked carefully at each and decided the red would accent the tips of her dark black hair. She walked out of the store, after paying with a smile. For now, this was her secret. She knew her grandmother would try to talk her out of such a change.

When Elizabeth arrived home, her grandfather was watching TV while her grandmother was busy preparing dinner. “Hi grandma.” Her grandmother turned and greeted her.

Well dear, you seem to be in a better mood today.” her grandmother said as she passed a spoon covered with chocolate. She had just finished making pudding for tonight’s dessert.

Elizabeth eagerly licked the chocolate off the spoon. “Yes grandma, I am. I am making some changes.” Her grandmother looked at her quizzically. She knew Beth would tell her soon enough so she didn’t pry for more information.

The remaining days of the week crept by. Elizabeth had checked on the bus schedule so she could go to the mall this Saturday for new clothes.

She could have asked her grandfather for a ride but she didn’t want to impose not have him wait for her. She had no idea what she was going to buy.

As chocolate pudding was served Elizabeth mentioned she would be taking the city bus this weekend to go shopping. Her grandfather looked at her as if it was not a good idea.

“Beth, You do not know the city enough yet. I don’t think this is a good idea. I will be more than willing to drive you anywhere.” Her grandfather furrowed his brow with concern.

“I know grandpa. I want to do this on my own. I will have my cell phone with me so you can check in at any time and I will check in with you also.” This still didn’t appease her grandfather’s concerns.

Elizabeth finished her dessert and excused herself so she could start on her homework. “I could have used a little help dear. Beth shouldn’t be gallivanting the city alone.”

Elizabeth’s grandmother smiled at her husband. “We need to let her do this, honey. She is having a difficult time in school.” Their conversation dropped after each mentioned their side and finally agreed not to agree.

Elizabeth couldn’t wait until the weekend. When the day finally came she was up at seven. Usually, she would try to sleep in but today the excitement didn’t allow her this pleasure.

The mall didn’t open until nine but she was ready by quarter to eight. Her grandmother had prepared eggs and toast for breakfast which she ate quickly. The bus ran every thirty minutes and it would take her about ten minutes to walk to the bus stop.

At eight – thirty Elizabeth was ready to head out. She gave her grandmother a kiss on the cheek and headed to where her grandfather sat. “I will be careful grandpa.” She kissed his cheek also and left, closing the door behind her,

The bus arrived on time and the trip was rather fast. She arrived at the mall a little after nine. She walked in and was immediately amazed at how large this building was. Store after store lined each side.

A promise was made she would be back home no later than three in the afternoon so she started down one side of the mall going into the stores she found interesting.

Elizabeth finished her shopping within an hour and a half. It was still early so she decided to go to the salon that she noticed on the first floor. The salon did everything.

Her intention was just a haircut to chop off that little country girl ponytail for good but she decided to get acrylic nails also. This was such a big step for her but when it was all said and done she looked at herself in the mirror. The girl she saw looking back at her made her gasp.

Elizabeth was pleased with how different she looked. The woman who had finished her nails told her how beautiful she looked. She smiled at her and paid for everything.

She picked up her packages and headed out the door looking back one last time to say thank you to everyone.

On the bus ride home, Elizabeth looked at her cell phone camera. She didn’t look like the little girl who had left in the morning. She wondered what her grandparents would say.

The walk from the bus stop to her home was filled with excitement and apprehension. She loved the new look but will her family? Her grandfather would be the one who would be most critical. As the only grandchild, and a girl, he wanted to keep her young and innocent.

She turned the doorknob and entered. If her instincts were correct, her grandfather would be the first to see her. He, most likely, would be sitting by the TV.

One step, two steps and a deep inhale as she walked through the door. There he was as she expected. Her grandfather looked up. His eyes peered over the top rim of his glasses.

“Oh my. You went shopping hours ago as our Beth and you returned as Elizabeth who grew up over a day of shopping.” Elizabeth looked at her grandfather trying to read his body language.

Her grandmother heard voices and came into the living room from the kitchen. She stood quietly absorbing what she saw. There stood a mini version of her own daughter. “Oh Beth, you look so much like your mother did at your age.”

Her grandmother walked over to her and gave her a hug. “Really grandma? I look like my mom? I always thought I looked like dad.”

Grandpa sat there looking and listening to the two exchange their comments. At this moment he felt older. “You look beautiful,” he said, then turned his attention back to the show he was watching.

Elizabeth and her grandmother made their way to the kitchen. Elizabeth was excited to show her grandmother all the clothes she had bought. She knew grandma would comment on a few.

Over dinner, the three had idle chit – chat. Elizabeth casually mentioned she had planned to dye the tips of her hair dark red. Her grandfather raised his eyebrows, once again.

“Why would you do that?” he asked. “That would be like putting red paint on the Mona Lisa.” Elizabeth chuckled. “Don’t be silly grandpa. It will wash out eventually.”

Shush. I have all the faith in Beth.” her grandmother interrupted the two of them before the conversation went sour.

“Grandma, grandpa. I haven’t forgotten who I am and where I have come from. I wouldn’t change any of this. I just want to express my individuality. Let people know I am not who they think I am. A country bumpkin.”

She sighed as she looked at her grandparents, “Unfortunately. I am not the first girl to feel this way on how others treated me and I will not be the last. The new hair, the clothes and the nails are for me. I initially did all of this to be accepted but now I realized it all was for me. I like who I am.” She kissed each of her grandparents on the cheek and headed to facetime her parents to unveil her new look.

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

We are all guilty of changing who we are depending on the situation, whether it is in our voice or the vocabulary we use.

With friends and family, we are more casual and relaxed but when we are in a more formal setting our voice pitch elevates and our vocabulary is precise. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Vocabulary:

peers – noun: within the same social standing

cruelty – noun: callous indifference

the lion’s den – noun: a place or state of extreme disadvantage

suited – adjective:  appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation

surroundings – noun: the things and conditions around a person

great expectations – collocation: the feeling that good things are going to happen 

reluctantly – adverb: unwilling or hesitant

focus on – phrasal verb:  give most of your attention to someone or something

turmoil – noun: confusion, uncertainty

cold shoulder – idiom: cold and unfriendly treatment from a person

intently – adverb: eager attention

half smile – noun: a smile that is uncertain or short-lived

scrolling – noun: the action of moving displayed text or graphics up, down, or across on a computer screen in order to view different parts of them

misery – noun: discomfort or distress

obviously – adverb: easily understood

turned in – phrasal verb: to go to bed for the night

allotted – verb: to give

trendy – adjective: very fashionable

offensive – adjective: causing hurt, upset or angry

eagerly – adverb: expect

quizzically – adverb: in a way to ask a question

pry – verb: inquire

crept – verb: move slowly and carefully

furrowed – adjective: marked with lines or wrinkles

appease – verb: satisfy a feeling

agreed not to agree – idiom:  to agree not to argue anymore about a difference of opinion

gallivanting -verb: go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment

head out – idiom: to leave or depart

intentions – noun: intended

( when) all said and done – idiom: after considering or doing everything

apprehension – noun: anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen

critical – adjective: expressing comments or judgement

chit – chat – noun: idle talk

casually – adverb: relaxed and informal way

interrupted – verb: to stop something from continuing

went sour – idiom: become unfavorable

unveil – verb: uncover

Question ( s ):

How important is it for you to “fit in” with others?

Would you change yourself to fit in?

Reflection

“Happy New Year!”

” I wanted to take a moment to say a deep heartfelt Thank You to my followers and those who have read my stories. It is because of you I continue what I am doing.”

I wish all of you health and happiness for 2023!

~ Angel & Bella ~

happy new year text

( Advanced Level )

The last two and a half years were tough for everyone around the world. John and Elizabeth were no exception.

John had lost his job of eighteen years, losing his pension, which he hoped to get in two years. Due to the strict measures put in place and his wife’s long stint in the hospital after testing positive, their future plans abruptly came to a halt. Due to exorbitant hospital bills, their lifelong savings were depleted.

They sat at the kitchen table eating their breakfast in silence. John was busy going through the morning newspaper. Elizabeth stared out the window deep in thought.

The silence broke “Honey, what should we do for New Year’s Eve? It is two days away. The kids are busy with their own plans and our friends have made their own plans.” She looked over at her husband who sat opposite her.

John curled down the edges of the newspaper, and looked up as he answered, “It has been a difficult year for us Lizzy. I think we should stay home and spend a quiet night at home.” with great disappointment, she nodded in affirmation.

This answer is not quite what she wanted to hear. Spending almost a month and a half in the hospital she looks at life differently now. She was lucky. Not all of their friends were as lucky.

On the other hand, John felt disappointed. He lost the job he loved. All his dreams for their retirement years vanished and he had no control over the situation.

“John, we cannot look back at what we had. We cannot change things. Think about it. I would like to at least have a dinner here and invite a few friends over. Then we can tune into the TV as they drop the ball in New York. Promise me you will think about it?”

It was John’s turn to nod. He agreed to consider having dinner with a few friends. “I will.” They finished breakfast in silence. Lizzy cleared the dishes as John retired to the front porch so he could read the rest of the morning paper.

Elizabeth finished the morning dishes and started straightening up the house. John had finished reading the articles in the paper that caught his interest. He sat with the newspaper folded on his lap. His thoughts drifted to his conversation with his wife.

When Lizzy finished what she was doing she joined John on the porch. Living in Florida in December was an advantage. The morning weather was comfortable. She sat on the chair adjacent to her husband admiring the neighbor’s Christmas decorations.

John broke the silence,” Lizzy, it won’t hurt to invite a few couples over for a New Year’s eve dinner. Maybe you can make your famous lasagna and have garlic bread.”

Elizabeth smiled at her husband, “Great! I have to call our friends then and head to the supermarket.” She stood and kissed her husband on the forehead. “Do you need anything while I am out?”

She didn’t wait for his answer. She needed to arrange everything and head to the store. During any holidays stores are a madhouse to navigate around with the crowds of people.

John was watching an old western movie on the TV when Elizabeth returned with groceries. He helped carry them in. “I invited Brett, Marge, Sam, and Linda over for dinner for New Year’s Eve..”

“It will be nice to see Sam. I haven’t seen him in a while. If you don’t need me I think I will take a walk to the park. I need the fresh air.”

Elizabeth was already busy setting out all the ingredients for her lasagna that she didn’t answer. John was used to this. He smiled and headed out the door.

John sat on a park bench watching people pass by. There were mothers with their children, older women exercising along with men like himself filling up their day with idle talk with friends.

He thought how lucky he was to still have his wife in his life. He may have lost her when she was in the hospital. He couldn’t imagine life without her especially after being together for over thirty-two years. This was the deciding factor for the green light to have a few close friends over for dinner.

After thirty minutes or so, John headed home. It was getting close to lunchtime. When he arrived, his wife was busy setting out soup bowls. She had made a simple creamy potato and broccoli soup for dinner.

Great timing. I just finished the soup. I hope you don’t mind since I have a big dinner to cook tomorrow. We can eat what is left for our dinner tonight.” John gave her a quick kiss.”

“Just let me wash my hands and I will be back in a few minutes. “ Lizzy set the soup pot on the table along with a sleeve of crackers. They exchanged small talk as they ate lunch.

The day flew by for Elizabeth. She was preoccupied with making sure tomorrow’s dinner was excellent. She too, had thought about how lucky she was to be able to walk out of the hospital.

There were days when she felt about giving up. Her breathing was labored but John’s words struck a nerve.Honey, I need you. Don’t give up.” She knew he would be lost without her. Somehow she mustered the will not to give up which made her husband pleased.

At dinner that evening the two discussed the next evening’s festivities. Lizzy noticed it was her doing all the talking and her husband listening. She looked up more than once smiling at her husband’s selective hearing as she called it. He listened to what he felt was important and tuned out the unimportant.

They headed to bed around nine that evening. John read a little from the crime novel he had been reading as Elizabeth checked the list she made of things that still needed to be done.

John closed his book. Turned off the bedside lamp and said, “Good night.” Elizabeth gave him a kiss on the cheek and uttered “Good night” back to him.

John woke the next morning to find his wife already busy, in the kitchen, with preparations for the night’s occasion. On the table sat the morning newspaper and his coffee cup. Neither of them liked to eat much in the morning. A couple of pieces of toast each was about all they ate.

“Good morning my love, Is there anything you need me to do today?” His wife quickly said “No. I have it all under control.” She turned and smiled at him. He knew she had everything planned out to a T. She had always had a knack for this.

The guests would be arriving around six or six thirty, depending on the traffic so John and Elizabeth had showered around four. Neither wanted to rush at the last minute.

Brett and Marge were the first to arrive. “It is so good to see the both of you. I think it has been close to two years.” Lizzy hugged Marge as John shook her husband’s hand. Marge chimed in, “We felt like prisoners. Enough of this talk though. Let’s enjoy tonight.”

Sam and Linda arrived shortly after. “Sorry we’re late, the traffic was terrible.” “Nonsense, dinner isn’t for another twenty minutes. It’s perfect timing!” Everyone exchanged hugs and handshakes and headed to the living room.

The night couldn’t be more perfect. The dinner was amazing. Everyone had a second helping of lasagna. After the leftovers were put away in the refrigerator, Elizabeth joined everyone in the living room.

John had turned on the television so everyone could watch the celebration in New York., while they engaged in idle talk. Watching the ball drop at midnight welcoming in the new year, whether you watch from the comfort of your own sofa or in person, signifies a new beginning.

Two minutes to midnight, John opened the bottle of wine. He poured everyone a glass getting ready to toast twenty twenty three.

“Ten, nine, eight, seven. six,” each smiled as they counted. “ five, four, three, two, one. Happy New Year!” Glasses clinked and hugs were exchanged.

John turned to his wife, “Happy New Year, my love. We’ve seen thirty – two New Years together and I want another thirty – two.” He hugged her tight. “Me too, John, me too.”

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Many people focus on the negatives of the past few years. I did too but I realized there were many things to be thankful for including my health. So many people around the world lost their life.

We reconnected with our immediate family. We rediscovered what is really important to us. Is it the nice car? Or the big house that comes with a costly mortgage?

For me, it is the little things that matter. Your child’s smile. Your spouse’s hug. Or simply enjoying a movie together. You cannot change the past. Accept what you cannot change and move forward.

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Vocabulary:

no exception – idiom: inclusion

stint – noun: time

abruptly – adverb: suddenly

halt – verb: stop

exorbitant – adjective: unreasonable, too high/ too large

depleted – verb: use up, diminish

deep in thought – adjective – preoccupied

affirmation -noun: confirmation

vanished – verb: disappeared

tune into – phrasal verb: watch or listen to a television 

straightening up – phrasal verb: organize or tidy

drifted – verb: less focus on what is in front of you

adjacent – adjective: next to or adjoining

madhouse – noun: extreme confusion

navigate – verb: steer

green light – verb: go ahead with

small talk – noun: unimportant conversation

preoccupied – adjective: distracted

labored – adjective: difficult

struck a nerve – idiom: angry, upset

lost without (her) – idiom: helpless

mustered -verb: collect

selective hearing – adjective: selective auditory attention

preparations – noun: make ready

to a T – idiom: perfectly

knack – noun: an acquired or natural skill at performing a task

idle talk – noun: unimportant talk

toast – verb: to drink by raising one’s glass together with others

Question ( s ):

Are you looking at life differently now? Why?


The Lesson

rudolph plush toy

( Intermediate Level )

Christmas was just around the corner and Mrs. Greenfield decided to share Christmas songs and stories that she grew up listening to. Each afternoon just after lunch, a new song or a story was told. The students always looked forward to this. They quieted down and listened with great intent.

This was an excellent exercise for them to sharpen their listening skills and their communication skills, not to mention they loved to sing even if they were not the best.

One of the favorites happened to be Frosty the Snowman who magically came to life once a silk top hat was placed on his head. At first, the class was disappointed that Frosty quickly melted once the temperatures rose.

Mrs. Greenfield had to quickly reassure them that Frosty does come back every year once the snow begins to fall. sharing his laughter and songs with all the boys and girls. This particularly made little Bethany happy. She had cried once Frosty had said goodbye.

At the start of each day, Mrs. Greenfield opens the door to their classroom greeting the children with hugs and smiles. As they sat down ready to start their day she would tell them what song or story was in store for that afternoon.

“Today we will listen to the song “Rudolph”. It is about a young reindeer who was born with a noise that was very different from all the other reindeer. His parents loved him regardless.”

Bethany’s eyes widened with excitement. She hoped the morning would go by quickly so she could eat lunch and she could hear more about this reindeer named Rudolph.

Bethany was the first student in the classroom after lunch was over. She sat quietly as the other students arrived. Some of the boys took their time arriving. They were preoccupied with playing their game of tag.

“Billy, Chris, Nathan hurry up. Mrs. Greenfield will play the song for us as soon as you sit down.” Bethany yelled. Nathan rolled his eyes at her. She gave him a stern look back and he sat down avoiding looking at her again.

Their teacher busied herself connecting her laptop to the monitor on the wall above her desk and cueing up the popular children’s Christmas song. She looked over in Bethany’s direction. She was sitting with her hands folded on her desk with a huge smile on her face.

The music began to play. The animated characters captured all the student’s attention. When the reindeer wouldn’t play with Rudolph anymore Bethany’s smile turned to a frown. She buried her face in her hands with disappointment.

The music continued ” Then one foggy Christmas eve.” and Bethany looked once again at the monitor. Her smile returned. All of his friends returned. Rudolph became a hero and saved Christmas.

As Mrs. Greenfield turned off her laptop, Bethany asked her, “Why was Rudolph judged just because he wasn’t like the other reindeer?” Nathan blurted out, “He has a big nose!” Once again he received that same stern look from Bethany.

Her teacher thought for a minute to find the right words to say, ” Some people are quick to judge others without really getting to know them. All Rudolph wanted was friends to play with. It was when Santa asked for his help that his others wanted to be his friend again.

“Well ,that is silly. I hoped they all learned a lesson.” Mrs. Greenfield closed the lid to her laptop and said, “ I believe they did and maybe all of you have too. Now let’s get busy. Get your math books out and turn to page seventy-two.”

Bethany couldn’t wait until the end of the day and thank her teacher for another wonderful holiday song. She ran all the way home, anxious to share this song with her mom and baby sister.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me:

topenwithangel.com “Deafening Silence”

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

Children have the purest soles and do not see differences. Their world is seen through rose colored glasses.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support this website:

I receive 100% of all donations. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Vocabulary:

just around the corner – idiom : not far away

sharpen – verb: to improve

magically – adverb: in a beautiful way

reassure – verb: say or do something to remove the doubts or fears

in store – phrasal verb: coming in the future; about to happen

regardless – adverb: despite the circumstances

preoccupied – adjective: distracted

stern – adjective: serious

cueing up – verb: set a piece of audio or video equipment in readiness to play 

captured – verb : catch

Question ( s ):

Have you ever listened to a song and try to find it’s true meaning behind it?

Raymond’s Gift

photo of green leafed plant on wicker basket

( Intermediate Level )

Mrs. Margaret Broomfield was known as the most caring teacher at Public School Number Nineteen. She taught second grade for over twenty two years. Each school year, when a student was in need of something, she made it a point to help them without making it a big deal out of it.

For many years she bought backpacks, crayons, winter coats or even shoes for her students using her own money. She was the epitome of what people describe as a kind and generous person.

This year turned out to be a little different. Mrs. Broomfield had come down with pneumonia and she missed a lot of school. It had taken her quite a bit of time to recover.

Her students missed her even though their long term substitute teacher was wonderful. She wasn’t Mrs. Broomfield. Raymond missed her more than anyone had realized. He had lost his grandmother a year ago and he became attached to Mrs. Broomfield’s wonderful motherly demeanor.

Thanksgiving came and went and still Raymond’s teacher hadn’t returned to work. Raymond had become very quiet in class. He had always been very eager to participate and answer questions but now he was quite the opposite.

Miss Sally, the substitute, talked with Mrs. Broomfield often keeping her up to date with her students. She had mentioned Raymond’s behavior and this bothered Mrs. Broomfield. She knew he was a sensitive little one.

“Tell Raymond that I am on the mend and should be back to school soon. Until then I want him to keep an eye on things and to be your helper.”

Sally smiled and thought this was a fantastic idea. Keeping his mind busy would be a great thing especially with Christmas coming up. “I will tell him on Monday morning.” They hung up the phone with one another until Monday evening for a new update.

Monday morning came and Miss Sally had asked to speak to Raymond. His classmates thought for sure he was in trouble and you heard them chant, “Oh, Raymond is in trouble. Raymond is in trouble.” Miss Sally quickly shushed them.

Raymond looked at Miss Sally as she sat at her desk, “I talked with Mrs. Broomfield on Friday and she is asking a special favor from you. She would like you to help me as you had helped her. She is hoping to be back at school very soon until then you will be my special helper.”

Raymond smiled with delight. He accepted the new role as Miss Sally’s helper and he said, “I will do my best. Tell Mrs. Broomfield to hurry back until then I will help you as much as I can.”

That evening Raymond couldn’t wait to tell his parents of his new role in the classroom. “If you think of Miss Sally being the president then I would be the Vice President” His dad chuckled. “This is a very important job, you know. I know you will do good as the Vice President.

For the next few weeks Raymond and his classmates had one thing on their mind. With almost three weeks for their winter break from school and Christmas which was right around the corner, their excitement grew.

Mrs. Broomfield was told by her doctor she would be able to return to work just after the break. Miss Sally had shared the fantastic news with the students.

I will miss all of you,” she said. Especially you Raymond. You have been such a great help to me but I know you are all anxious to have Mrs. Broomfield back.”

Raymond stayed behind as the others headed to the lunch room. He wanted to talk with Miss Sally about his special gift for his teacher.

Miss Sally. Can I ask you for a favor?” Raymond’s face was serious. “Of course you can. What is it Raymond? Raymond drew in his breath and began. “Every year Mrs. Brookfield takes care of us. If we ever need anything then we can ask her. If she is able she gets what we need.” Miss Sally had heard this about his teacher.

“So what exactly do you want me to do? Raymond quickly ran over to his backpack which was on a hook by the door. He pulled out his piggybank and returned to Miss Sally.

“I have been saving my money for a long time and I want you to take it and buy Mrs. Broomfield a Christmas tree. I know she wasn’t able to get her own this year. she cannot have a Christmas without a tree.”

Miss Sally sat there absorbing Raymond’s words. At age eight he showed her the true meaning of Christmas. He could have asked for dozens of things but instead he thought of his teacher.

I think that is a fantastic idea. Let go one step further and the class can make all of the decorations and you can make the special star that sits on the top. I will deliver it on Friday.”

He hugged Miss Sally. “ I will miss you too.” He turned and ran towards the cafeteria with a huge smile on his face. He couldn’t wait to share the news with his classmates and tell his parents what he decided all on his own.

In class the next day the students busied themselves making decorations for their teacher’s tree. Miss Sally would go out that evening to purchase a small tree since Margaret’s apartment was small. She would bring it to class so the children could see it .

Raymond made the star for the top. He carefully glued sparkles all over it so the light on the trees would make it shimmer. He was proud of his masterpiece.

At the end of the day Miss Sally collected all the ornaments the children made. They even made a very long paper garland made of green and red construction paper. They felt it would add the perfect touch.

She promised the students she would deliver everything tonight. It was the last day of school and it was Miss Sally’s last day teaching their class. Each student hugged her as they left for winter break.

Sally knocked on Margaret’s door about six that evening. She carried a box of homemade ornaments in one hand and a small live tree in the other. “What’s all this,?” as she helped Sally with the box..

“All of this is from your students. It was Raymond’s idea. He wanted me to buy you a tree. He said Christmas isn’t Christmas without a tree.”

“He is so kind and I will miss that little one.” Margaret sat down on her sofa going though all the ornaments and reading the messages on the back.

The two women set the tree up and decorated it with all the student’s ornaments. Sally’s contribution was a string of holiday lights that glowed red, green and white.

Margaret stepped back and looked at the final product. She wanted to take pictures so she could show her students after break. “Wait. I have one more special thing from Raymond.” She went to her coat pocket and carefully unwrapped his shiny star for the top.

Sally handed it to Margaret so she had the honors of placing this precious star on the top. Both stood back in admiration. Not only for what the children made but what they did out of love for their teacher.

Tons of pictures were taken by both. Sally, so she could remember the students and Margaret so she can share them once she returned to school. They sat in silence, drinking coffee and eating sugar cookies while they looked at the tree. To each of them the tree stood for something but one thing they both agreed on, the tree stood for more than just a tree.

Written By: Angel

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Through the years Christmas somehow became commercialized. The true meaning seems to be washed away or hidden behind the frill.

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Vocabulary:

making it a big deal out of it – idiom:  to treat (something) as very important or too important

epitome – noun: a perfect example of a particular quality or type

generous – adjective: showing kindness toward others

demeanor – noun: outward behavior

eager -adjective: wanting to do or have something very much

sensitive – adjective: quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences

on the mend – idiom: improving in health or condition; recovering

delight – noun : great pleasure

fantastic – adjective: extraordinarily good

absorbing – adjective: intensely interesting

cafeteria – noun: dining room in a school or a business

shimmer – verb: shine with a soft light

Question ( s ):

What is the definition of Christmas for you?


The Little Red Truck

models of truck and trees

( Intermediate Level )

Nadine and her son, Vince, had been window shopping all day. Vince spotted a little red truck in the window of the toy shop in the town square. He would love to have it but Vince knew he couldn’t ask his mom. Christmas was just around the corner and would definitely ask Santa for this truck. At his tender young age, he knew things were a little tough this year for them.

Last year Nadine and her husband went through a divorce. She tried to keep things normal for Vince’s sake but it was too difficult.to make ends meet as a single parent. The two ended up moving back to her hometown where she grew up.

Clarksville hadn’t changed much since she was a little girl. Only one thing was missing, her mom. She had passed away two months ago leaving her dad at a loss. Moving back was a no-brainer for all involved. She hoped it would be temporary. She just needs to save enough time to save enough money and get a place of their own.

The first thing was getting a part-time job. She hadn’t worked since she gave birth to Vince. She was determined and talented so she didn’t worry too much. Small towns didn’t offer much in the way of great opportunities. Nadine wasn’t looking for anything special. She just wanted to provide for her son to the best of her abilities.

Her father could watch Vince while she worked and her son would be great company for her father. The loss he had just suffered would soften.

“Did you have fun today in town, Vince?” Grandpa asked as they arrived home. “Yes Grandpa. Mommy and I walked by the toy store and they had many decorations up. There was a sign that said Santa would visit on Sunday. I am going to ask Santa for the red truck I saw in their window. Grandpa, it was the brightest red truck I ever seen!” Little Vince couldn’t contain his excitement.

His grandfather chuckled. “Well maybe you can show it to me someday. I’d love to see this special red truck of yours. Now go upstairs and wash your hands. I heated up some soup for dinner, and I got you those animal shaped saltine crackers you like so much.” Vincent smiled and hurried upstairs to wash up.

Nadine looked at her dad. “I don’t want to disappoint him. I need to find a job dad. At this time of the year it will be difficult to find one. Try not to encourage him. I don’t have the extra money.”

“Santa hears all little boys and little girls wishes, Nadine. You never know.” Her dad smiled, turned and headed to the kitchen. Nadine stood there and shook her head in dismay. He obviously didn’t understand.

Vince talked to his grandfather about the red truck he saw then became preoccupied with the animal saltines in his soup. Nadine ate in silence. She enjoyed hearing her son’s excitement finally. He had taken the break up between her and her husband hard and didn’t quite understand why daddy wasn’t going to be around any longer.

As Nadine tucked her son in bed that night he asked mom if they were going to see Santa on Sunday. “Mom, we are going to see Santa on Sunday right? I want to ask him for that little red truck.”

“Of course we will go but Vince asking Santa for that truck now, so close to Christmas it may be impossible for him to fill the order. His elves work all year to make enough toys for everyone. So don’t get your hopes up ok?”

Vince smiled , “I love you mom.” He turned over and pulled the covers up over his shoulder. “Love you too.” She turned off the lamp by the bedside and headed out the door, closing it quietly behind her.

Nadine’s father was sitting in his favorite chair when she arrived downstairs. He had busied himself reading one of his favorite books, again. “Don’t you ever get tired of reading those books over and over again?”

Her father glanced up and shook his head. “Of course not. Classic books are meant to be read again and again.” He smiled and went back to reading. Nadine spent the remaining part of the evening quietly watching the television.

Today was going to be a big day. Vince and his grandson would head into town to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Vince had woken up earlier than usual and dressed. He bounded downstairs wanting to get an early start.” You ready Grandpa?”

“It’s way too early . We will leave in a few hours. Maybe you can show me that special red truck today.” Vince took off his coat and mittens to sit down to a bowl of oatmeal his grandfather made for him. The sweet smell of brown sugar made Vince’s mouth water. His mom didn’t like him eating so much sugar but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt.

Finally, Vince and his grandfather headed into town. For Vince it seemed an eternity but it was actually an hour and a half. Vince grabbed his grandfather’s hand and hurried him to the toy store. There in the window sat the infamous red truck. It sat amongst a tiny village and Christmas tree lot.

“See Grandpa, there it is.” Vince’s nose was pressed against the store’s window. “One day, when I grow up, I will own my own red truck. I want it to look just like this one!” Vince’s Grandfather looked down at his grandson. He saw how important this truck was to him. He would need to talk to the shop’s owner before Christmas.

From the toy store the two headed to the tree lot on the edge of town. “I want the tallest and fattest tree ever! “ They both laughed. After running up and down the aisles of trees to choose, Vince picked out the perfect blue spruce. Its needles shimmered the perfect blue green in the morning’s sunlight. It stood nearly ten feet tall.

“I hope we have room for this tree. I think you’ve picked the tallest tree they had here.” Vince was smiling from ear to ear. He couldn’t wait for his mom to see his tree.

After dinner the three decorated the tree. Topping it with Grandma’s favorite angel that grandpa had given her on their first Christmas together. Vince had fallen asleep on the sofa. His day was filled with excitement from the start to the end. Tomorrow will also be an eventful day. Vince would finally get to ask Santa for that little red truck.

Vince and Nadine stood in line to see Santa. Grandpa had told them he couldn’t make it. He had a prior engagement to go to. Of course, Vince was a little upset but he soon forgot as he stood in line with all the other boys and girls.

As they moved closer and closer to the front of the line Vince’s excitement grew. He could hear all the others ask for trains , dolls or a ball. There was something in Santa’s voice that sounded familiar to Vince but he shrugged it off.

He was finally there at the front of the line. He climbed up on Santa’s lap and was asked, “So, what do you want for Christmas, Vince.” Vince looked at Santa in amazement. He knew his name.

Vince looked out at his mom who stood in front with her cell phone recording every moment then at Santa again. ” I want a few things Santa. I want my mom to find a job. I know she worries about this and for my grandpa, I want him not to be so sad anymore. Grandma passed away and he has been very sad. And for me Santa, I want the little red truck I saw in the window at the toy store. Ever since I saw it I have wanted it.

Santa looked out at Vince’s mom and saw tears in her eyes. He thought, what a special young man she raised. “Well Vince, let me see what I can do for you. Merry Christmas.” He hugged Vince and gave him a candy cane as he climbed off of Santa’s lap.

Christmas was in a few days. Vince helped his mom bake sugar cookies and assemble a gingerbread house. The days flew by. Nadine had shown the video to her father of Vince meeting Santa.

“I thought there was something very familiar about this Santa and it wasn’t until I watched it for the second time that I realized you were Santa. I could see it in your eyes. Vince has your eyes.”

Her father looked at her. He smiled and winked. “I have been Santa’s helper for the past six years. It gives me something to do. This year I almost declined until you two came to stay with me.”

Nadine hugged her dad. This Christmas was turning out to be special and surprising. Her own son is selfless, wanting her and grandpa to be happy before him.

Christmas morning Vince had woken early running downstairs to see what Santa had left for him. To his surprise, there on the coffee table sat his little red truck with a tiny Christmas tree wrapped and sitting in its bed.

It wasn’t until years later when Vince headed off to college that he was told his grandfather was Santa that year and that truck signified more to his grandfather then he realized.

His mom told him that he brightened up his grandfather’s life when he most needed it. That one day when he was shown the truck and he picked out the biggest and fattest tree from the lot had given him the will to live on.

To this day, Vince still has that little red truck. Hoping to pass it on to his own son and telling him the story of his own grandfather being Santa’s helper that year.

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Sometimes, the smallest of treasures can hold the most memories.

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Vocabulary:

tender young age – idiom:  a time in your life when you are still young and lack experience

sake – noun: out of consideration for or in order to help someone

make ends meet – idiom: earn enough money to live without getting into debt

no-brainer -noun: something that requires or involves little or no mental effort

dismay – noun: surprise

preoccupied – adjective: preoccupied

classic – noun: recognized and established value

bounded – verb: walk or run with leaping strides

what (she) didn’t know wouldn’t hurt -idiom: if someone does not know about something, he or she cannot be damaged by it, blamed for it, etc.

eternity – noun: infinite or unending time

infamous – adjective: well known for some bad quality or deed

amongst – preposition: surrounded by; in the company of

shimmered – verb: shine with a soft tremulous light

shrugged it off – phrasal verb: ignore it or treat it as if it is not really important or serious

declined – verb: politely refuse 

selfless – adjective: concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish

Question ( s ):

Do you have any holiday memories that you will share with generations to come?


Thanksgiving Will Not Be The Same

( Intermediate Level )

For years all the boys would make their way back home for Allister’s family Thanksgiving. This year Marge and Glen would have to celebrate without their eldest son, Brandon. He joined the military one year ago and had been stationed overseas after finishing boot camp.

Their other two sons, the twins, Mathew and Eric, were both attending the local university and staying in the dormitory. Each had confirmed they would be home since their school would be on a five-day holiday break.

Eric had asked if he could bring his girlfriend, Bernadette since she is from another state and she wouldn’t have time to go back home. “Of course,” his mom replied, ” No one should be alone for the holidays. Tell your brother he can bring a friend too.

Marge tried to keep her spirits up but this year she would miss Brandon. He chose to join the military instead of going to a university. He felt it was to his advantage for him to see the world while he was young and learn a trade. “There would be plenty of time to further my education, once I get out, Mom.

Reluctantly, and with Bill’s convincing, she felt her son had made a good choice. “Honey, he is grown now and he is making his own choices now. You knew this day would come.”

Shedding a tear, “It doesn’t mean I have to like it.” She smiled up at him as Bill wrapped his arms around her allowing her to cry on his shoulder.

Thanksgiving week was next week and Marge had busied herself with preparing Brandon’s bedroom for Eric’s girlfriend. She was then setting up a spare twin bed in Mathew’s room where the two boys would sleep.

The boys didn’t want her to fuss over them coming home but she wanted to keep her mind busy. They planned on heading home on Wednesday night after their last classes. “We are not sure what time we will be in so don’t hold dinner for us. We will grab something on the way home.”

“Well I will make plenty just in case you get hungry later on“. she told Eric. He shook his head and smiled as he talked with her on the phone. ” I figured as much. We will see you soon!” They hung up and Marge’s spirit was higher. She hadn’t seen her sons since Easter.

On Monday, Marge and Bill headed to the local grocery store to buy last-minute things they needed for their Thanksgiving dinner. Bill was in charge of the wine and eggnog while Marge looked for all the ingredients she needed to start baking.

When Glen caught up to her in one of the aisles he looked in the cart. “I thought you only needed a few things?” as he smiled. “You shush, I want to make a few pies, and a couple of homemade loaves of bread, and the rest of these things are for the dinner itself.”

The boys didn’t want you to fuss. I guess they forgot who you are!” She smiled back and the two headed to the checkout. Third, in line, they had plenty of time to make sure they had found everything they needed. As Marge surveyed the items in the cart she heard, “Hi neighbor.” Marge looked up to see her neighbor Delores and her husband standing in the net line.

I see you are doing the same as us. We had a friend of Craig’s friends come unexpectedly for the holiday. He is home from the Army. He will spend a short time with us and then go see his parents.”

Immediately, Marge thought how lucky that man was to be home for Thanksgiving. “Brandon said he was unable to come home now. He said he may be able to come home after the first of the year.”

Delores quickly changed the subject seeing it was making Marge sad. “It was nice seeing you. If you have time on Thanksgiving stop by for coffee and dessert in the evening.”

The twins will come home on Wednesday with a friend or two. If we have time, Glen and I would love to stop by.

That evening Marge busied herself making a couple of loves of whole grain loaves of bread and dinner rolls for the holiday dinner. She hadn’t given her conversation with Delores a second thought.

Tomorrow she had three pies to make. One apple, one pumpkin, and of course a pecan pie. It was one of Brandon’s favorites. Even though he wasn’t going to be home, a Thanksgiving wouldn’t be without having one of these pies.

Marge hoped all prep work would be done by Wednesday night and would leave her free to visit with her boys and their guests. Glen would want to have a card game for sure.

Everything came into place by Wednesday morning leaving Marge free to welcome her boys home. The smell of freshly baked pecan pies filled the air. She had to get up early to finish the last one.

It seemed senseless to have this particular pie since Brandon was the one who liked it the most. Hopefully, Eric’s girlfriend would, otherwise what it may get thrown away.

The phone rang and Glen answered. “Ok, I know your mom is anxious to see you. See you soon. He hung up and turned to Marge. “That was Mathew. Their classes were shorter today so they will be heading out within the hour. He said to expect them around three this afternoon.”

This put a smile on Marge’s face. She had made reservations at the Italian restaurant in town. Normally you wouldn’t need to make one but since it was the eve of Thanksgiving she wanted to make sure they were able to get a table.

Around three twenty the boys rolled into the driveway. Marge hurried out to greet them and smother them with kisses. Glen followed, allowing Marge to be first.

Eric introduced Bernadette to his parents. She was a beautiful young woman with auburn hair. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of your family’s dinner.”

“Nonsense, we wouldn’t want you to be all alone.” Marge gave her a hug. After mom got all her kisses, Glen made his way to his sons. They each shared a long hug with their dad.

Glen wasn’t one to shower you with pleasantries. Getting a high from him meant everything. You felt his love at that moment.

The rest of the afternoon they exchanged stories and settled in. Being home for five days and eating their mother’s food they would most likely gain a few pounds.

“What’s for dinner?” Marge laughed. It was the same old Mathew she remembers, who was always hungry. “I made reservations at Guido’s. I have a lot of cooking tomorrow and didn’t want to bother cooking tonight. Our reservation is at six so we need to leave here by five.”

That evening at dinner they all had a wonderful time telling stories. Some from the past and some recent. As each course finished the waitress came with a small spoon of sorbet for each to cleanse their palate.

Before they knew it two hours had passed and it was getting late. Marge needed to get up early to start cooking the twenty-seven-pound turkey. They enjoyed eggnog and cookies when they arrived home. Even though they claimed to be full, the boys managed to eat almost all of her homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.

“Good night everyone.” Marge hugged each of her boys and then turned to Bernadette. “If you need anything Glen and I are in the bedroom next to yours.” She gave her a hug too then headed upstairs.

Glen stayed up for another hour then he too bade them a good night. The rest followed within the hour. The boys knew their mother would be busy in the morning and wanted to help as much as possible.

The smell of turkey roasting in the oven woke the boys around nine. Bernadette was already up and in the shower. As they headed downstairs they heard a familiar voice. It was Delores from next door.

She was in a panic. The oven quit working halfway through roasting her turkey. She came over to see if their mom had room in the oven to finish cooking hers.

Of course, Marge made room and invited her and her husband and his friend to dinner. “We have more than enough food. On Monday when everything opens up you can call a repairman. No need to worry about Thanksgiving. You will spend it with us.

“Thank you, Marge. I wouldn’t know what to do without you. Have the boys come over to get the card table out of the garage in an hour. I will clean it up and we will have more area to put food. I had already cooked a lot of things last night.”

“Sounds good. Dinner will be at two.’ Delores hugged Marge and headed home smiling. Everything was working out.

Around one Delores came back to help with last-minute preparations. Potatoes needed to be mashed. Gravy needed to be made and vegetables needed to be steamed.” My husband and his friend will be here shortly. I knew you would need help so I came a little earlier.”

Bernadette and the boys set the tables. Each table had beautiful orange table clothes with burnt orange cloth napkins. The centerpieces were simple- a platter of ornate multi-colored gourds with a few leaves scattered as an accent.

The doorbell rang and Glen answered the door. He stood there in silence. There stood his neighbor and Brandon. For the past few days, Brandon schemed with the neighbors to surprise his parents.

“Marge. You need to come out here.” Glen said with urgency in his voice. “Marge, did you hear me?” “My gosh Glen, I am trying to finish up our dinner. What is so urgent that you insist I come leaving the gravy thickening?”

As Marge came closer to the door where Glen stood, he pushed the door completely open to expose who was on the other side.”Brandon! Oh my God, you made it home! She quickly threw her arms around him.

Mathew and Eric had no idea and came running once they heard their mother’s conversation with the person at the door. Many hugs and smiles followed.

Delores and her husband stood watching the scene unfold. “Happy Thanksgiving you two.” She hugged her husband and held him tight. She was happy to be part of Brandon’s plan to make this Thanksgiving special for his family.

Written By; Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Of all the holidays we celebrate in America, Thanksgiving is the one I hold close to my heart. I have so many fond memories of our family dinners. Talking, eating, and catching up with one another then ending with a good game of cards. ( Mind you, I had a great aunt who liked to cheat at cards! )

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Vocabulary:

eldest – adjective : oldest

attending – verb: to be present

dormitory – noun: a room at a school for a student to stay

advantage – noun: favorable condition

reluctantly -adjective: unwilling, hesitant

convincing – adjective: capable of causing someone to believe that something is true or real

cry on (his) shoulder – idiom: to tell one’s troubles to someone in seeking comfort or sympathy

fuss over – phrasal verb : to pay a lot of attention to (someone or something)

spirit – noun: mood

ingredients – noun: contents,makings

shush -verb: a signal to be quiet

surveyed – verb: look carefully and thoroughly at

unexpectantly – adjective: surprising

anxious – adjective: a bundle of nerves

eve – noun: period of time immediately before an event or occasion

sorbet – noun: a dessert consisting of frozen fruit juice

palate – nouns: a person’s appreciation of taste and flavor

gourds – noun: a large round fruit with a hard skin

schemed – verb: make plans, especially in a devious way

Question ( s ):

Do you have a favorite holiday?

How about a memory associated with this holiday?


A Sense Of Peace

red leaf trees near the road

( Advanced Level )

Have you ever thought about the things that bring you the most joy? Or a sense of peace? Malina has. For her, it is walking down the path by her grandparent’s home, with the smell of autumn in the air. The trees are getting ready for the winter months ahead. Their leaves turn brilliant shades of orange and yellow before they fall from the tree leaving the trees barren.

Malina’s grandparents fled Poland to Romania with only a few personal belongings. They, along with thousands of others, walked and boarded ships to any destination as long as it was far away from the invasion. After two years without a country to call home, they settled in upstate New York by 1941.

The trip was arduous, testing every fiber of their being. Some days they felt they wouldn’t make it. Going days without food or rest. Going forward day by day, hour by hour. With the grace of a higher power, they made it.

Malina remembers these stories but at the time she was too young to really understand. It wasn’t until she talked to her mom to great lengths that she began to understand the journey her grandparents made during a time when their own country was in turmoil.

As an adult, Malina fully understands the hardships and sacrifices her grandmother had talked about every time she refused to eat vegetables or drink all her milk at dinner. “We were lucky to have a decent meal when we first came to America and here you want to waste food?

Malina turned to writing to fill her days once she retired. Her first book was about her grandparents. What they did allowed future generations of their family to live without fear of persecution.

If you had the opportunity to meet Martha or Abraham, you would never know that their lives had been in disarray back in Poland leaving them no choice but to leave. They never told others what they had seen or felt. The two were well-loved in the community and were always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.

When they passed, a year apart from one another, the community felt a great loss. The two used to volunteer at the local food bank. On many occasions, they cooked meals at their own home for holidays. Making sure no one went without a warm meal. Malina’s mom had told her they didn’t want others to feel what they had felt going days without a warm meal.

Malina remembers her grandparent’s kindness and patience when it came to her. As an only child and spoiled she was used to getting her way but this was another story when it came to them and how she often tried to push their buttons. They never lost their patience insisting she does things as they said.

Despite her grandparent’s past, they had shown much love to everyone and everything around them. Malina was about nine, she thinks,, when she went to the grocery store with her grandmother. As they stood in line to pay for what they put in their cart her grandmother had eavesdropped on the conversation between a mother and her daughter who were ahead of them in line.

“Mommy can I have a candy bar?” the cute little girl with blonde curls had asked. “No honey. Sorry. I only have enough for these few things. Daddy doesn’t get paid until next month. Remember he just started his new job.”

This conversation tugged on her grandmother’s heartstrings and she interrupted and asked the little girl, “Which candy would you like?” The little girl looked up at her mother and saw her nod that it was ok to answer.

Can I have this one?” Martha smiled and gave the girl the candy then quickly handed the cashier money to pay for it. The cashier happily accepted the money and mouthed the words. “Thank You.” and smiled.

Each night Malina sits down at her la top to work on her novel paying homage to her grandparents. With a cup of coffee sitting beside her, the words flow through her fingertips as she remembers all the beautiful memories.

She was finally on her last chapter. Like her grandmother, she didn’t want to go into great detail about her grandparent’s life in Poland during the latter years before they left. Malina felt many knew of this dreadful time and felt there was no need to relive it. Instead, her focus was on Martha and Abraham the immigrants, and the life they created for themselves.

As she typed the last words she thought of her grandparents deboarding the ship and setting foot on American soil for the first time. Absorbing the new surroundings and finally feeling a sense of peace.

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Remembering our past, whether it is our own personal past or that of our ancestors, gives us a sense of who we are and why.

If you appreciate what I do, Please “Buy Me a Coffee”

I receive 100% of all donations

Vocabulary:

brilliant – adjective: very bright and radiant

barren – adjective: lifeless

fled – verb: run away from a place or situation of danger

invasion – noun: an unwelcome intrusion into another’s domain

arduous – adjective: involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring

every fiber of their being – idiom: with all of one’s effort

journey – noun: traveling from one place to another

turmoil – noun: confusion, or uncertainty

hardships – noun: suffering

sacrifices – noun: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

decent – adjective: acceptable

disarray – noun: disorganization

lend a helping hand – idiom:  assistance

spoiled – adjective: allowed to do or have anything that they (child) want

pushed their buttons – idiom: to do or say something just to make someone angry or upset

eavesdropped – verb: secretly listen to a conversation

tugged on (her) grandmother’s) heartstrings – idiom: feel strong emotions, usually sadness or pity

homage – noun: special honor or respect

dreadful – adjective:  involving great suffering, fear, or unhappiness

relive – verb: live through (an experience or feeling, especially an unpleasant one) again

immigrants – noun: a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country

deboarding – verb: to leave a plane, train or ship

Question ( s ):

Do you remember any stories told by your grandparents or great grandparents?

Halloween 1971

( Intermediate Level )

Noreen saw her granddaughter staring out the window to the streets below. She was fascinated that the people looked like ants running back and forth. From the seventeenth floor, everything looked small.

Emilee and her parents just moved to the city. Her dad’s previous job had closed its doors and living in the country finding work was far and few between. He and his wife hated the idea of moving. They wanted to raise their children outside the city. For now, they only had Emilee, who just turned five, but they wanted more children in the future.

She hadn’t started school yet. Her birthday fell in October which meant she couldn’t start school until September of the next year.

By moving to the city she had left all her friends behind and her parents both working during the day all she had was her grandmother to entertain her. Noreen would take her to the park at least once a week or take shopping at the mall or just sit home to have a tea party with her dolls.

One of her favorite things she loved was having tea parties with Grandma. They always had cookies and milk to serve to their guests. One day Emilee had told her grandma, ” Mr. Bear loves the chocolate chip cookies the best and he would appreciate having them more often.”

The weather starts to cool off in October and Noreen dislikes the cold. Their playdates at the park would soon come to an end until spring comes back. This meant Grandma Noreen had to come up with another activity to occupy her granddaughter’s day.

“Tomorrow we will go shopping for a craft to do together or a puzzle maybe. What do you think, Emilee? It is getting too cold for Grandma to go outside so we won’t be going to the park again until springtime.”

“Can we go to the mall that has all the Halloween decorations? Daddy says we cannot trick or treat this year. He doesn’t know the neighborhood and said maybe next year we can go out.” Noreen agreed to take her to the mall.”

Over dinner that evening Emilee asked her grandma, “What Halloween was like when you were a little girl like me?”

‘It wasn’t as exciting as it is now. We didn’t have haunted houses or parties. When I tuck you into bed, I will tell you about a very special Halloween that my mother did for me. Now you finish eating your dinner. Your parents should be home from work shortly.”

Emilee finished dinner and had her bath. Her parents came home and visited before she headed to bed. As promised, her grandmother began to tell her of a very special Halloween.

“It was 1971 and my parents had moved to the city, the same city where I lived ever since. I married your grandfather here and had your father here.”

“When we moved here I was just about your age. I left all my friends behind, just like you.” Emilee was listening carefully. Her grandmother seemed to know how her granddaughter felt.

“It was, I think, late August when we made the move. We moved into a neighborhood that had many families but all the children were much older than I was.”

“We lived on the third floor in one of the older apartment buildings. I think it is gone now. I used to sit on the balcony and watch all the kids play but not one invited me to join them.”

“I sat and cried many nights wishing to move back to where all my friends were. My mother told me, Give it some time, honey. You will make tons of friends soon. I didn’t believe her.”

“Before you knew it October had come. Almost two months of sitting and watching. My mother had seen my unhappiness and tried to entertain me. One weekend we drove out of the city to a very well-known pumpkin farm. We could go out into the field and pick our very own pumpkin.”

“What happened there that day was truly magical. I saw my very first scarecrow. He sat by the entrance of the path to the pumpkin field, with an inviting smile. I remember looking into his eyes and feeling happy.”

“Come along Noreen. We need to pick out our pumpkin, I heard my mother saying. After walking up and down rows and rows of pumpkins, I found what I thought was the perfect pumpkin.”

“It was a bit too heavy for me to carry so my mom carried it back to the car. I remember stopping once more to look at the scarecrow. My mother hurried me along as it was about an hour’s drive back home and she wanted to get ahead of the traffic.”

“I remember glancing back one last time at the scarecrow before we drove away. My mother had noticed my fascination with it and asked me if I would want my very own scarecrow and he can sit out on the balcony with me?”

Emilee was laying on her side now with her head propped up by her hand. She was curious about this scarecrow. “Go on. What did you tell your mother?”

Noreen smiled down at her granddaughter. “Of course, I told her yes! The very next day we went to the goodwill store and picked out the oldest men’s clothes we could find. Pants, an old red plaid flannel shirt, a pair of old boots, and even found a straw hat. It was a little lopsided but we knew it would add character to our scarecrow.

“As we approached the check out to pay for everything I remember asking my mom what we could use to stuff Harry and what about his head?”

“Harry? You’ve given him a name already?

“The cashier heard our conversation and asked what we were making. I immediately told her Harry the scarecrow for Halloween. He will sit out on our balcony for everyone to see.”

Noreen glanced at Emilee to see if she had fallen asleep. She hadn’t. “That was a perfect name, Grandma. I would have called him Harry too!”

The cashier rang up all the items my mom and I had picked out. She kindly mentioned we could use a pumpkin for the head and if we wanted we could stop by her father’s place and get some straw to stuff the clothing with, to make the body.”

“She jotted down the address and phone number then handed a slip of paper to my mother. We thanked her and headed home.”

“That evening I could barely sleep. My mother had promised we would create Harry the next day after we picked up the straw.”

Emilee let out a loud yawn. “We can finish this story tomorrow.” She shook her head no. “I want to hear more about Harry.” Noreen smiled and continued her story.

I wasn’t sure what time I fell asleep but I know I woke before the sun was up. I remember staying in bed until my mother said goodbye to my dad as he left for work. “

I ran to the kitchen to find my mom having coffee at the kitchen table. When can we go to get the rest of the things for Harry? Mom looked at me with amazement. She asked how I could have so much energy in the morning?.

“I quickly answered her. It’s the day Harry comes alive just like the snowman in Frosty The Snowman.” Emilee knew which story her grandmother was talking about. “The snowman with the magical top hat that came alive once the hat was placed on his head. Right grandma? Noreen nodded.

“My mom had made my breakfast and tidied up the house before she made the phone call to the cashier’s dad. She finished the call and had come into the kitchen. I was just finishing my breakfast.”

“He said we can meet him around ten this morning. He also said he has a small pumpkin patch if we would like to pick out a pumpkin for Harry’s head. I couldn’t wait to leave. It seemed that time was moving slowly.”

We met John a little after ten. His home was on the outskirts of town, an area my mother rarely went to. So we didn’t make a mess in our apartment. He suggested we bring the clothes we wanted to stuff with straw.”

“I had held Harry’s clothes tight against me for the whole trip. I left the straw hat at home. This was the magical hat that would bring Harry alive for the Halloween season. I didn’t want anything to happen to it.”

“John was very helpful. He helped us stuff the clothes and even tied off the ends of the pants and sleeves with rope so the straw wouldn’t fall out. Then he walked us to his pumpkin patch. It wasn’t as small as we had thought nor was it as big as what we had seen on the TV.”

“Now, Noreen, you can pick any pumpkin you want. Just go up and down the rows until you find the perfect one for you. I looked up at my mom with a huge smile on my face and off I ran.”

“It seemed I ran for miles until I found the perfect pumpkin. It wasn’t too small or too big. And definitely, the straw hat would fit. I found it, I yelled. It’s perfect. I gently picked it up and carried it all the way back to where both John and my mother stood waiting.

Mom thanked John and his daughter for their kindness and they packed up everything to head home. I had given John a hug before I got in the car. I still remember his big belly and how hard it was for me to get my arms around him.”

“By the time we arrived home, mom had to start dinner, dad would be coming home shortly. Mom promised we would assemble Harry after dinner. I hurried and ate my dinner and asked to leave the table. I kissed dad and went to the balcony to wait for mom.”

“Finally, we assembled Harry on an extra chair. Once he was in the right position where people could see him from the street. I had the honor of placing his magical straw hat on his head. He looked better than the one we had seen at the pumpkin patch. That one didn’t have a straw hat. I was so proud of our creation.”

“The next morning I begged my mom to have my breakfast out with Harry. I sat there and talked with him as if he was a friend. As the days passed the neighborhood kids started to notice Harry. Some actually came close to get a better view and talked to me about him.”

Eventually the kids invited me to come and play with them. Sometimes they ate lunch with me and Harry out on the balcony. So the magic that Harry had was giving me the opportunity to make new friends in this big city.”

Grandma? Can we make our own Harry? One I can sit with?” Noreen looked into her granddaughter’s eyes, “Of course, we can. And you know what I have after all these years? Harry’s straw hat. I kept it with me, hoping to build a Harry for my children but life got too busy. So kiddo, you and I will build our scarecrow tomorrow.”

“Now it is time to go to sleep.” Noreen bent down to give Emilee a kiss good night. Her granddaughter threw her arms around her neck and whispered, “You’re the best grandma in the whole world.” Emilee turned over and pulled the covers over her shoulder.

Noreen turned off the bedside lamp and turned around to see her son, Emilee’s father, standing there at the door. “ I agree with her. Not only are you the best grandma in the world but I think you are a darn good mom too“, her son said as she passed him at the door. He bent forward and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Written By: Angel

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Memories are precious and worth sharing with the next generation.

If you appreciate what I do and want to see this site continue, ‘”Buy Me A Coffee”

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Vocabulary:

fascinated – adjective: attracted and interested

far and few between – idiom: infrequent

entertain– verb: provide amusement or entertainment

playdates – noun: a time or date when children play together

occupy – verb: fill the mind or thoughts

decorations – noun: ornaments

balcony – noun: an upper floor area in apartments where one can sit outside

scarecrow – noun: an object made to resemble a human figure, set up to scare birds away from a field where crops are growing

fascination – noun: excitement

curious – adjective: eager to learn or know something

lopsided – adjective: disproportioned

amazement – noun: surprise or wonder

tidied up – phrasal verb: arrange or small cleaning

outskirts – noun: the outer parts of a town or city

Question ( s ):

Do you have a special memory of a holiday growing up?

Conduit

( Intermediate Level )

His English name is Billy and this is what his ESL teacher, Miss Clara, calls him. This is her second year seeing this young boy and his demeanor had changed dramatically since the year before.

Last year, in class, he listened carefully, participated when he could, and usually sat quietly in the classroom. This year it wasn’t so.

It was the beginning of the new school year and Miss Clara saw familiar faces and new ones. Billy’s was one. He made it a point to say hello and greet her with his usual high five and wonderful smile. This is the Billy she remembers.

It takes a few weeks of the new school year to have a permanent teaching schedule given to you. This allows the school time to work out the classroom sizes, and the amount of native English teachers available.

In the first few weeks, Miss Clara hadn’t seen Billy in any of her classes. It wasn’t until the fifth week had she received her permanent schedule and the classes she was responsible for.

As she followed her new schedule and alternating classes she discovered Billy was in her assigned classes along with other familiar faces. He was happy to see her and reached out for his usual high five.

On her first day teaching this class she noticed Billy had kept to himself more than before. She chalked it up to it being the beginning of the school year and everyone, staff and students alike, was adjusting.

It wasn’t until her third or fourth time in his classroom, that she noticed her once quiet student, from last year, was now very disrupted. He would stand up and flail his arms about, mumbling words that no one could understand, sometimes hitting himself about the body and head.

What had happened to make these changes in this student of hers? It is very difficult to get answers from other staff members, especially in a foreign country. Either they don’t question why or they assume he is a special needs student.

Clara was saddened to see this behavior in Billy. How was she to teach him now? She did the best she could. Involving him when she could and leaving him alone when he had his bad days, hoping he was listening when she taught.

As the weeks went by this same behavior continued until an incident happened that shook Clara. She kept her thoughts to herself for a while knowing the world is full of naysayers.

On this particular day, Billy was having a horrible day. He was unusually loud and physical. His homeroom teacher went to his desk not once but twice to quiet him. She motioned for him to get something out of his desk.

There are two students in this class who when they act out are to get out their small desktop whiteboards and write, draw, scribble, or whatever they choose to do. This is what his teacher asked him to retrieve.

Billy followed her instructions and he began to write something with great passion. He stood up and carefully showed the class what he wrote. Turning so as not to miss anyone seeing what was written.

He sat down and the class turned their attention once more to Miss Clara. She looked over at Billy and saw he was intent on what was on his whiteboard.

For the second time but much quieter, Billy stood up showing the class what was on his board. This time he made sure Miss Clara had seen.

What she read was unbelievable and no one knew what it truly meant except for Clara. She remembered seeing those words before.

Her morning teaching assistant and her locked eyes for a moment and she rolled her eyes. Clara thinks she must not truly understand.

For the remaining time of the English class, Billy sat quietly and Clara couldn’t wait to go on break so she could check on the internet to verify.

Tick tick tick the minutes went by. Miss Clara said goodbye to her students making sure to give Billy a high five. She was happy he responded. It was as if he was content with his mission of showing the class and her his message.

Clara sat at her usual bench outside pulling her cell phone out of her bag. She loved sitting there as it was in the sunshine plus the students would come down for their recess time soon., She loved watching them play.

She typed in the words she read on Billy’s whiteboard. She really tried to grasp the fact the words were above his grade level, they were written in English and with amazing penmanship and not a single spelling error.

She typed in the words he wrote “Korean International Flight 801”. Sure enough, this was a devastating plane crash that happened in 1997 before Billy was born.

She sat there just staring at the article. Trying to make sense of it. How can he know of such an event? How did he know how to spell it correctly? We are talking about a young boy at the age of seven soon to be eight. Not to mention his low-level English ability.

She finally shared this incident with her teaching assistant for her upper classes. He listened carefully and added his thoughts, “This student could have come across an article on the internet or heard someone talking about it.

This could all be true but things weren’t adding up. It was not a recent event and she quickly realized the conversation would go nowhere with her assistant. She shrugged it off and changed the subject.

That evening she thought about the incident once more and thinks that maybe it may have been one of the victims of this disastrous flight using Billy as a conduit from the other side. He or she wanted to get a message to someone on this side.

Maybe Billy has a special gift that he doesn’t quite understand. No one will ever know unless he discovers this himself. For now, Miss Clara feels honored that she witnessed this firsthand and shares her story with others that believe.

Written By: Angel

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Thoughts From Angel:

Usually, my writings are about life and circumstances that revolve around us as humans. Today’s story is a situation that hit close to home for me.

This story is 100% true. I was the teacher to this young boy. I have changed the names of those involved and will not share real pictures.

Can I say without a doubt what I think is happening is true? Absolutely not. I believe some people have the gift of spiritual connections and being a conduit for those on the other side.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to see this site continue, “Buy me a coffee”

I receive 100% of all donations

Vocabulary:

demeanor – noun: behavior

dramatically – adverb: large extent

participated – verb: take part in an action

chalk (ed ) it up – phrasal verb: to consider something as being caused by something else

flail – verb: to wave or swing arms wildly

mumbling – adjective: speaking in an indistinctive way

naysayers – noun: a person who criticizes, objects to, or opposes something

motioned – verb: direct or command (someone) with a movement of the hand or head

intent – noun: purpose

locked eyes – idiom: used to say that someone is looking at someone or something and not looking at anything else 

content : happiness

devastating – adjective : destructive or damaging

disastrous – adjective: causing great damage

conduit – noun: a channel

firsthand – adjective: personal experience

Question ( s ):

Do you believe?

One Step, One Dance

red flower fields

( Intermediate Level )

Each morning Amy asks herself what she is grateful for and she answers, “Clint. His love and his amazing courage and his sheer strength to overcome difficulty.”

She married the love of her life at age twenty-one. They bought an older two-bedroom home in the countryside. It was far from Clint’s work but he felt when the two decided to have children, he wanted them raised outside the big city.

After three and a half years of marriage, he was heading to work as he did every day and a semi-truck lost control causing a huge six-car pile-up. Clint’s vehicle was one of the vehicles involved in the accident.

Clint was hospitalized for months due to multiple fractures in his spine and a broken left leg. The doctors were concerned that he may not walk again. There was a lot of swelling and it was too early to tell. Every moment of her day Sally was by his side at the hospital.

She encouraged him when he had physical therapy and on those days when he felt he was less of a man or husband. “You’re young and beautiful and you shouldn’t be wasting your time with me. Go and find a man who can take care of you properly.”

“Clint, you quit talking like that. I will do no such thing. I am your wife and you are my husband. For better or worse, right?” She kissed him on the forehead and continued massaging his legs as he sat in his wheelchair.

“You realize I may never walk again or never be the same man you married. The doctors cannot promise anything.” He looked down at her to see her reaction.

“Either way Clint, we will make this work. I already had someone build a ramp so when you come home we can get you in the house without any problem. I moved our bed closer to the wall to have enough space for your wheelchair just in case.”

“Stop worrying. All I want is to have you home with me so keep trying your best. For me. I miss you not being at home with me.”

Clint, like most men, felt he wasn’t a proper man if he couldn’t provide for his wife. Go to work. Does the handyman work around the house? Instead, his wife, the love of his life, would have to take care of him. This didn’t agree with him and saddened him when he thought of it.

He would try his best to make a full recovery. He honestly didn’t want his wife to see his struggles but she insisted he come home to be with her. This meant she would have to take care of him around the clock until he was able to do it for himself.

The doctors had told him if he continued to make progress and everything was stable he would be released from the hospital in a week or a week and a half. Being a man of thirty-two he was still quite strong and healthy. This was a plus on his side.

Amy spent most of her day by his bedside. Going home in the evenings and returning as he was having breakfast. She would bring him some of her biscuits and gravy or an omelet since he didn’t care for hospital food.

His doctor always made early hospital rounds. If they had any questions this was the time to ask them. It was always the same question. “When can my husband come home?” from Amy or “When can I go home doc?” Clint chimed in usually.

The day finally came. Clint was discharged from the hospital. He was given a schedule to follow for his physical therapy. “Time is important, Clint. Follow this schedule and don’t miss a session. If you want the best chance to walk again, please do as I say.”

Clint agreed to do as the doctor told him to do. He was elated to finally be going home. Amy assured the doctor that her husband would follow the schedule. She knew the importance of this matter.

Clint’s father was at their house upon arrival. He had retired a few months earlier so he was able to make the drive to his son’s place. Clint’s mom still had obligations at work for another six months before she could actually get away and they both agreed it may be easier for their son if only dad had come.

The trip home had made Clint tired and he wanted to rest a bit before visiting with his dad. He wheeled himself to their bedroom and sat there in his wheelchair for a moment taking in the surroundings.

A new bedside commode was situated by their bed. A urine bottle hung on the headboard. There was a trapeze put into place hanging just above the head of the bed to help him get in and out of bed easier.

His room looked like a hospital room. He shook his head and pulled himself onto the bed. He laid there for a moment or two thinking this crap had to go as soon as possible. It made him feel more of an invalid than he imagined.

His father stayed two weeks and was a great help to him and to Amy. She was able to go into town to take care of business and buy groceries without worrying about Clint. Father and son were able to spend quality time together.

“I hate this Dad. You have to babysit me. I should be the one who takes care of you and mom now that you are getting older.”

“Who are you calling old?” His dad wanted to make the conversation more upbeat. He felt how embarrassed his son was needing help to do the minor things we tend not to think about doing like reaching for the coffee pot on the kitchen counter.

“It will be around as long as you let it be around, Son. It is up to you to do all the work to make yourself like you were before that terrible accident. We can be here to help you but you have to do most of it yourself” Clint shook his head in agreement. He knew what his dad said was the truth.

The next few months were exhausting and sometimes painful. Many times he wanted to give up and his father’s words echoed in his head. “We can be here to help but it is up to you.”

Once a month, Clint would see his doctor. He was pleased with the notes he read from the physical therapist. “Your therapist thinks you will be ready to bear weight on those legs of yours with braces.”

“As early as next week she will start you off with a few steps if you can handle it. Hopefully, your legs will build up their muscles again and the braces can come off. In another four to six months maybe you will not need therapy or that wheelchair.”

Clint knew this meant a lot of hard work was heading his way but he was determined to be back to his normal self as soon as possible. He had a plan to surprise his wife. Their four-year wedding had passed recently.

He wanted to have a night out with her but the wheelchair restricted what he had in mind. He was still determined to make it happen. It would be a little late in coming. With his parent’s help and his determination, it will be possible.

As the doctor forecasted, Clint began his weight-bearing between two bars in the therapy room. The first time he tried to have his legs hold his weight they nearly buckled underneath him.

He couldn’t believe how difficult this was. It was just months prior he was walking and wrestling with his wife for fun. Now his legs won’t hold his body up. He was frustrated.

“It will get easier. Your legs haven’t worked in a few months. Your spine has healed now you have to believe in yourself and do it.”

Clint looked at his therapist with dismay. It was easy for her to say these things. How could she know his pain and frustration? Maybe it was a standard thing she said to all her patients.

Each day Clint made a little more progress. One step then another. It was like a child beginning to walk for the first time. He looked up to the therapist and his wife to see their excitement for him just as a baby would.

This went on for many sessions. One step then another until his legs held up his body for the whole length of the bar. It was a great milestone for him. “Are we ready to take these damn braces off my leg yet, Doc?

“Not yet Clint. Let’s give it at least a week more than we can try without the braces. We can’t rush things now. Have patience.” This isn’t what Clint wanted to hear. He wanted those damn restrictive braces off. As much as they helped his legs hold up his body they also limited his movements.

After what seemed to be a lifetime, Clint had his leg braces taken off for his therapy session. As he took his very first step he felt his leg muscles strain to hold up his weight.

It was an odd sensation for him to step and feel so unstable. He thought he was strong enough to do this but now he has doubts.

It is normal what you are feeling. It will take a while for your brain to tell your legs what to do. Don’t give up now. You have come this far.” His therapist had seen his frustration and disappointment.

Sometimes his therapist’s positivity annoyed him. How can she be so enthusiastic if she couldn’t feel what he felt? She hadn’t let him down at all so he continued to do as she said and tried to keep positive.

Clint saw his wife’s smile and in her eyes, he could see the worry. How he admired her. She had never given up on him. It gave him the strength to keep pushing forward.

On Monday, he was to see his doctor again. Clint knew his doctor would read the reports and see the progress he had made over the past few months. Again, he found himself childlike, needing verbal confirmation he was doing great.

“If this progress continues you shouldn’t need therapy after a month. Your therapist says you are doing much better than she anticipated at this stage.” These words gave Clint the spark he needed to try even harder in the upcoming sessions.

That evening, Clint called his father telling him the good news. “Remember what we talked about?” His father acknowledges the conversation.” Well, I want to put things in motion. Can you do this for me?”

“Do you think you should wait? Maybe a month?” His father said with apprehension in his voice. “No, I want this dad. Amy deserves this. She has been by my side throughout these past few months. I want to show her how much I appreciate her.”

They hung up the phone and Clint rolled his wheelchair into the living room where he found his wife busy watching a movie. She was snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa on the coffee table.

How are your parents? she asked. “They’re doing fine and my dad was happy to hear the news of my progress. They’re planning on coming in about a month to see us.” He knew she was half listening to him. She was busy watching her movie.

The day came when Clint no longer had to rely on his leg braces. The therapist suggested he keep the wheelchair around for another month or so just in case he needed it.

After months of therapy sessions, she said she was no longer needed. “You have all the knowledge and you know what you are capable of. As time passes you will be better than today. I am only a phone call away if my services are needed again but let’s hope not.”

“No Doc, I will not be back,” with his wife by his side and with the help of two walking canes, he walked out of the therapy room on his own. Taking one step after another. He used the canes only for balance leaving his own two legs to work on their own.

His parents arrived at their house that evening and Clint’s mom smothered him with hugs and kisses. She felt terrible she had not had the time to help him through his journey.

Clint was able to speak with his father on the sly asking him if everything was in place. “Yes, everything is set for Saturday night. I contacted everyone and they will help.”

Amy had no idea what Clint had planned. All she knew was he wanted to go to his favorite restaurant on Saturday and have real food. A real steak.

He loved this place because of its atmosphere. It had live music and a dance floor. She figured it would be a relaxing night out with his parents and a way for him to feel normal once again.

Saturday night came and the foursome headed to the restaurant. Clint had put on a nice dress shirt and had his haircut that day with his father. It was the perfect excuse for the two of them to check on the arrangements that were placed over a week ago.

They pulled up in front of the building and Amy noticed how many cars were in the parking lot. “We may not get a table. It seems it is quite busy tonight.”

It will be ok, “he chimes in. As they entered Amy heard the band playing and as she came around the corner she noticed her friend and family had filled all the tables.

Across the staging area where the DJ stood, a banner was strung across. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AMY and CLINT. Amy quickly looked over at her husband and she saw he was smiling ear to ear.

They made their way to the front of the room where a special table was set for the anniversary couple and his parents. Everyone in the room applauded as they walked through the room.

A few moments passed and the DJ was heard asking Clint to come to the front. Clint stood and instead of grabbing for his canes, he took the steps towards the DJ unaided.

The DJ handed him the microphone and Clint turned towards Amy and the crowd. “After months of dedication, I am able to stand here in front of all of you and especially my wife who never left my side.”

“Our anniversary passed and I wanted this night to be special for her to show how much I love her and thank her for loving me.” He turned to hand the microphone back to the DJ and extended his arm out to his wife.

The DJ started the song. Stand By Me. The words echoed, “Whenever you’re in trouble, just stand by me.” Amy held her husband tight as she swayed to the music and whispered the words of the song to her husband.

Written By: Angel

Follow me:

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Instagram: morningangel847

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Thoughts from Angel:

I admire anyone who overcomes an obstacle in their life. Whether it is big or small they do not let it stop them from living life.

If you appreciate what I do

and would like to support this website, “Buy Me A Coffee”

I receive 100% of all donations

Vocabulary:

sheer – adjective: completely

grateful – adjective: feeling or showing

countryside – noun: rural

semi-truck – noun: a combination of a tractor/truck unit with a trailer carrying freight

fractures – noun: the cracking or breaking of bones

discharged – verb: allowed to leave

elated – adjective: happy

obligations – noun: commitment

trapeze noun: a horizontal bar hanging by two ropes or chains

invalid – noun: a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury

minor – adjective: less important

exhausting – adjective: tiring

restricted– adjective: limited

forecasted – verb: predict

weight-bearing – noun: supporting the weight of something

dismay – noun: distress

milestone – noun: event marking a significant change 

sensation – noun: feeling

positivity – noun: to be positive 

enthusiastic – adjective: eager

keep pushing forward -idiom: continue doing something

anticipated – verb: to predict

put things in motion – idiom: to begin

half listening – idiom: to not listen closely

atmosphere – noun: mood of the situation

unaided – adjective: no assistance

Question ( s ):

Have you or anyone you’ve known gone through physical therapy?

Can you imagine the frustration of not being able to do things that you had normally done in the past?