Sixty Five Years Together

Bill and Marge met in 1955, married 2 years later, and will celebrate their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary on this New Years Day.

The two often sat at the dining table eating dinner together and reflected on their lives together. Life had been kind to them. Some ups and downs but they stayed together.

He was the proverbial bad guy, from the lower end of the city, and she was the good girl from a well – to – do family, in the upper east side. Marge was immediately smitten with his good looks and charm.

Her father had found out about her interest in him and warned her that he was from the wrong side of the city. A bad seed.” her father would say. “He and his family are simply trouble.”

Like most teenagers, she didn’t listen. She and her friends would find excuses to go to a small diner in midtown every day. Even if it was for a milkshake, just so she could see him. He worked as a busboy and dishwasher there.

She admired him from a distance. Watching him as he cleaned the tables and wiped the sweat from his brow. Her glances did not go unnoticed.

Periodically, he would look up and smile at her. This would make her blush and giggle. Her friends urged her to say hi but she was too shy.

Finally, after months, Bill had the courage to talk to her. See, he was just as shy as he was. He knew what people thought of him and his family.

” Well, I see you watching me every day and I too look forward to seeing your smiling face and those beautiful hazel eyes. I want to know if you want to go to the movies with me on Friday night?”

“I have the night off and saved up extra money to ask you for a date with you, if you will go with me. I usually give my mom all my earnings to help pay the bills so I worked a few extra hours. So, what do you think? Will you want to go with me?”

Yes. Yes, I will go. I will meet you here, at the diner, at 7 on Friday.” Marge didn’t want her parents, especially her dad, to know she was going on a date with the boy he warned her against.

Friday night came and Marge had told her parents she was having a sleepover at a friend’s house. She lied.

She had her hair up in a ponytail and had her favorite pale blue sweater on along with a knee length gray skirt on.

She thought to herself, this was the first time she would see Bill without her friends around, so she was a little nervous. Was he going to be different?

It took 25 minutes on a bus then another 10 minute walk to the diner. Bill was standing outside waiting. He had a simple white t – shirt on and blue jeans. She remembers how her heart skipped a beat when she saw him standing there.

He looked up and saw her coming. His face lit up. “I am glad you didn’t back out, Marge, from our date. You look beautiful.”

These dates went on for months. Marge would sneak away to see him always telling her parents she was doing something with her friends. She hated not telling her parents the truth. She knew her dad would not understand.

Bill asked her to meet her parents. He wanted them to get to know him. Marge had already met his mom. She stopped by the diner, one day, while they were eating dinner.

Marge felt very comfortable around Bill. She decided to tell him the truth. “My parents do not know about you, Bill. My father would not approve. He had seen me looking at you awhile back and told me you were a bad seed.”

Bill was dazed by what she said. He couldn’t believe that all this time she had been sneaking around behind her parents back.

“Please do not be mad Bill. I didn’t want to disappoint you or my parents. I have fallen in love with you .”

“How can your father think I am a bad seed if he hasn’t even met me? Is it because I live where I live? And I do not have a father who stayed in my life?”

“I do not know. We never talked about it again. My father just wants to keep me safe, I guess.”

Bill stood there in silence. He was lost in deep thoughts. “Marge, I truly have feelings for you but we cannot keep hidden forever. Now that I know, I feel we need to tell your parents. I want them to meet me and have them realize how wrong their thoughts were about me.”

Bill stood there in silence. He was lost in deep thoughts. “Marge, I truly have feelings for you but we cannot keep hidden forever. Now that I know, I feel we need to tell your parents. I want them to meet me and have them realize how wrong their thoughts were about me.”

Eventually her parents grew to love Bill. They met his mother and heard the whole truth about Bill’s dad and why he wasn’t around. “It goes to show that you shouldn’t believe the gossip people spread,” Marge’s dad said over dinner one evening.

Sixty five years later, they stand next to one another, looking out the window. The city is busy with people heading to have dinner with family and friends.

“Marge, I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone but you. Thank you for being my wife and accepting that first date with me.”

Bill, my love, I knew from the very start, once you made my heart skip a beat, that you were the one for me. Happy anniversary.”

And so they bring in the New Year together……..once again.

Written By: Angel

“Happy New Year Everyone! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is another day. Look to the future and enjoy each day as it comes. Life may be difficult some days and we find ourselves sitting in despair. Just remember life only gives you what you can handle but always makes you a stronger you in the end.” – Angel

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Vocabulary:

proverbial – adjective : stereotypical

well – to – do – adjective: wealthy

bad seed – noun: a person regarded as bad

admired ( someone or something ) from a distance – idiom: attracted to someone without letting him or her know

periodically – adverb: occasionally

courage – noun: strength

date – noun: a social or romantic appointment or engagement

sleepover – noun: spending the night away from home

nervous – adjective: anxious

lit up – idiom: noticeably excited

comfortable – adjective: feeling comfortable or relaxed

sneaking around behind ( someone’s ) back – idiom: being secretive or sneaky

conversation – noun: a conversation between two people, informal

skip a beat – idiom: feeling nervous, excited or anxious

Question ( s ):

Have you ever judged someone by appearance without getting to know that person? If so, were you wrong about them?

Do you know anyone who’s been married as long as Bill and Marge?

Unexpected

( Intermediate Level )

High school is the time of your life when you discover yourself. You hang out with friends, have a girlfriend and if you are lucky, be part of the popular crowd.

Billy Randall was just this. He was a promising young athlete. He made the varsity football team, and with that popularity follows. Not to mention, all the girls wanted the chance to date a member of the football team. It had not taken him long to have a girlfriend by his side.

You had to prove you had extraordinary talents, as a freshman, to be on the varsity team, which was reserved for juniors and seniors and an occasional sophomore.

Billy’s passion for football had started at a young age. He remembered the day when he received his first football. It was on his fifth birthday.

His dad and he would play for hours every Sunday. Tossing around the football at each other. Billy would tell his father, one day, he was going to be a professional. He would play on an NFL team.

Billy’s high school football team had an exceptional winning season. They had one game left in the season. The championship game against a rival school. This Friday would determine the overall season champions.

The day before the big game, Thursday, it was traditional to have a homecoming dance. At this dance they would vote for a king and queen, usually, those who were the most popular were voted for.

Of course, Billy had asked his girlfriend, Amber, to go with him. She, like Billy, held special popularity status. She was the head cheerleader for two years in a row.

Thursday night came quickly. Billy was given permission to drive his dad’s car to the dance. His father had given him strict instructions.

You may pick up Amber, and go directly to the dance. Once the dance is over, you are to come directly home after you drop her off at her home.”

Billy was a little annoyed that his father made such a rule. He felt he was responsible enough. After all, he was on the varsity team and always kept his grades up at school.

The night had come for the homecoming dance. Billy had borrowed his dad’s blue tie and sported his favorite dress shirt along with a new pair of dark blue pants.

Like most moms, Billy was busy taking pictures and telling him how handsome he was. She took pictures of him alone, then with his dad, and of course one with her.

After all of mom’s excessive picture taking, Billy had made his way to the front door. He gave his mom a hug and told his dad he would be home right after the dance. This was a promise.

He arrived at Amber’s house about twenty minutes later. She was so beautiful. She wore a long blue gown that had matched Billy’s tie. Her hair was pulled up into a bun with ringlets cascading to her shoulders. Billy smiled and told her how beautiful she was.

Billy and Amber arrived at the dance. His fellow teammates were already there. The two made their way over to the group. Everyone was having a great time. They danced and talked endlessly.

The time had come where they would announce the winners of the homecoming court. Everyone gathered by the stage. All the votes had been tallied and the announcer held the results in her hand.

The announcer looked around the room keeping everyone in suspense. She then said, “The homecoming king is Billy Randall!”

The crowd clapped and whistled as Billy made his way to the stage to receive his crown. His teammates had given him high fives as he passed them.

Now for the homecoming queen,” said the announcer, is Amber Smith!” Her friends, too, ran up and gave her big hugs, congratulating her.

Each, now, wore their crowns to the dance floor where it was customary for the newly crowned to dance a few minutes alone with spotlights on them. Others could join after a few moments.

As Billy and Amber danced he said to her,” This night is magical. Thank you for coming with me. Whoever thought I would be a king and here dancing with such a beautiful queen.”

The night had come to an end. The team had their championship game tomorrow night so each said their goodbyes. Walking out together, Billy yelled, “See you at the game tomorrow night!”

Billy opened the car door for Amber, he waited for her to slip in, then he shut the door. He made his way over to the driver’s side. As he got in, Amber said, ” I will never forget this night.”

They pulled out onto the street heading towards Amber’s house. As they talked aimlessly regarding the night’s events, Billy had pulled up to a red light and stopped.

They were talking about how much fun they had. Laughing when they spoke of someone’s dancing skills.

Billy had not noticed the light turned green until the car behind them beeped their horn. Billy signaled to the driver an apologetic wave and proceeded forward. This was a mistake. He had forgotten to look both ways.

What was a fun-filled night ended in tragedy. Billy and Amber were hit by a drunk driver speeding through, what was now, a red light for that driver. Glass shattering, the sound of metal bending and screams were heard.

Many stopped and tried to help. By the time the paramedics arrived, unfortunately, it was too late, Amber and Billy did not survive.

The drunk driver survived with only a few scrapes and bruises. He was, obviously, unaware of the tragedy that had just occurred. He would wake up later, in the hospital, in handcuffs.

Parents of both Amber and Billy were notified, later in the evening of the accident, by the local police. Each disbelieving what they heard. Eventually realizing their children would not be coming home.

It was too late to cancel the championship game since the opposing team would be traveling from another city. Tonight’s championship game would not feel the same.

The community was still in shock from the evening before. They lost two promising members of their community.

There was a mix of emotions throughout the town. Some were angry towards the carelessness of the drunk driver as others felt sadness for the parents whose children were taken.

As the bleachers filled with onlookers for both teams, the team had gathered in the locker room. The team captain spoke, “We lost an important member of our team. He is here with us today, in spirit. He would not want us to give up. Let’s win this one for Billy.”

As the team entered the field, everyone stood. In one hand they held Billy’s jersey number pasted on a bright red piece of paper, the same color as the team’s jerseys, and in the other hand, a peach-colored rose for Amber. It was their way of showing Billy and Amber would be missed. It was difficult for everyone to hold back their tears.

Both coaches had walked to the center of the field. Here they would, usually, have a coin toss to see who would have possession of the ball first, but instead something different happened.

Billy’s dad walked slowly onto the field with his head down, making his way to where the coaches stood. He had asked to speak to the crowd. He stopped and gazed at everyone sitting in the bleachers, trying to gather the courage to speak.

After a few minutes he began to speak, his voice quivering and holding back his own tears, “No matter how we try to protect our children, things can happen unexpectedly. Your outpour of love to myself, my wife, and Amber’s parents has not passed unnoticed.”

“I am here today to ask that you remember Billy and Amber, not as victims but as two young people full of adventure. They would have wanted you to remember them as kind, and determined, and being the best they could be.

Let them be role models to everyone. And parents, life is unexpected sometimes, remember to tell your child you love them and are proud of them….. before it is too late”.

He, then, turned and walked silently off the field, looking towards the ground. He could no longer hold back his tears.

Written by: Angel

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Vocabulary:

varsity – noun: the principal sports team representing a high school 

popularity – noun: being liked or admired

extraordinary – adjective:  unusual or remarkable

reserved – adjective: slow to reveal emotion or opinions.

passion – noun: strong, controlled emotion

professional – adjective: belonging to a profession

NFL – noun: National Football League consisting of thirty-two professional teams

exceptional – adjective: outstanding

rival – noun: competition

traditional – adjective: habit or long-established

permission – noun: consent or authorize

annoyed – adjective: irritate

sported – verb: wear or display

excessive – adjective: more than necessary

ringlets – noun: curls of hair, corkscrew-shaped curl

homecoming court – noun: a group chosen to hold various titles at the homecoming dance, for example, the queen, king, prince, princess, duke, and duchess

tallied – verb: calculate the total number 

high fives – noun: a gesture or greeting in which two people slap each other’s open palm with their arms raised

customary – adjective: usual practices 

aimlessly – adverb: without purpose or direction

apologetic – adjective: regretfully excusing an offense

proceeded – verb: continue a course of action *this word is often confused with precede which means come before*

tragedy – noun: suffering, devastation, or distress

paramedics – noun: a person or people trained to give emergency medical care 

unaware – adjective: no knowledge of a situation

disbelieving – adjective: expressing disbelief, questioning, or understanding

opposing – adjective: in competition with a specified subject

carelessness – noun: negligence

onlookers – noun: observer

outpour – verb: flow

unexpected – adjective: not expected

Question(s):

Were you ever on a school sport team?

Is popularity important to you?

Do you think laws are strict enough to prevent drunk drivers in your country?

Chara

( Intermediate Level )

At eight years old, Chara knew she wanted to become a dancer. She had seen a dancing competition show on television and was, immediately, mesmerized.

Whenever she heard music, her body would move. She would move around the room interpreting each chord.

She told her mother that, one day, she would be famous. Her mother would frown and tell her that she needed to get such a silly notion out of her head. “You know your father would never permit this.”

Chara was hoping to graduate from high school and move to America where she could study dance at the Juilliard School in the upper west side of New York.

Was this a dream or could she really make this happen? She was determined to make it happen. Her mom’s words never dampened her spirit.

As the years passed, Chara’s natural talents were obvious. At age sixteen, she had become more confident in her abilities.

Still, not having any formal training, she would perform for the young girls in her village. Always receiving huge smiles and an ovation after each performance.

Chara had always timed her performances while her dad was at work. He felt her dancing was silly. He had told her she was to marry a nice boy, soon, and to give up this idea of hers.

One late afternoon, while Chara was helping her mother prepare dinner, she heard a group of younger girls outside chanting ,“Chara! Come out ,come out and dance!”.

She looked at her mom, her mom smiled and nodded. This was Chara’s cue that it would be ok.

Chara ran to her bedroom, grabbed her radio and then ran outside. To her surprise not only a group of young girls were standing by her door but, what seemed to be, the whole village. Mothers and fathers and grandparents!

It was an intimidating scene for her. She had never performed for such a large gathering. She took a deep breath, turned and set the radio on the ground. She turned it on and listened to the music.

She took a quick glance back and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath and let her body interpret the music. She moved gracefully around her front yard. Her body tells a story to the music.

Chara could hear the crowd, as she danced, and their sounds of appreciation. Only opening her eyes periodically. She let her mind be free, with the music.

She had not realized, as the song ended, that the crowd had become silent. As she finished, she opened her eyes to find her father standing in front of her. He looked down at her and just stared.

He had gotten home much earlier than expected. He saw the crowd standing in front of his house and pushed his way through to find out what was happening.

At that distinct moment, Chara felt a shiver of fright. Her father had told her to give up this silly idea of hers. He had his own ideas for her future.

Was he going to be upset? Was he going to make a scene?

The crowd stood there in complete silence as father and daughter stared at one another. The group of girls had no idea of tension in the air and began to clap and squeal in utter happiness.

Chara’s father stood, very silent, gazing into his daughter’s eyes. Then, she noticed a small tear run down his cheek.

At that moment, he said,” My Chara, my quiet one. You have shown me I was wrong. I just witnessed something I refused to see before. My little girl had grown up to be a graceful young woman. You danced so beautifully!”

At that moment, Chara wrapped her arms around her dad as he kissed her on the forehead. She held her father tight, she thought she may never become famous, as she once dreamt, but she would be in her father’s eyes.

Written by: Angel

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Vocabulary:

mesmerized: hold the attention of someone 

interpreting: explain the meaning of word(s) or regarding actions

frown: facial expression showing unhappiness

notion:  impulse or desire

dampened: less strong 

determined: not changing one’s idea or thoughts

ovation: applause by clapping

chanting: say or shout in a singing tone

cue: a signal

intimidating:  threatening effect.

glance: brief look.

appreciation: recognition

shiver: tremble

tension: emotional upset

utter: complete

gazing: look with intent

Question(s):

When you were young, had you a dream to become someone famous?

Is it important to stop something you love to do when family feels it is not important for your future?

Sarah’s Story

( Intermediate level )

As Sarah lay in her bed, in the dark of night, listening to the clock on the wall she wondered why she was such a failure. Her heart was in the right place, just her choices were not always the best.

She had one failed marriage and, now, is unhappy with her current husband. You see, he was a wonderful man, in the beginning. Always there for her. Sharing the same interests and doing things together.

As the years went by, his drinking became incessive. Starting early in the morning until he passed out at the end of the day. This was, usually, around four or five in the evening . Sarah usually tried to avoid him during the day so the arguments wouldn’t begin.

She thought many times that she was the cause of his drinking. He used to tell her so. He never laid his hands on her but the emotional abuse was real.

Her friends would ask her why she was with such a man. They would tell her she deserved better. She knew if she left him he would surely die. He would drink himself to death. This is why she felt she had to stay.

Many times she would try to talk with him, regarding his drinking. He would just nod his head and tune out. Agreeing with her just to shut her up.

Now, as she lay listening to the clock she felt she could not continue on. Can she make it on her own? Can she move on without guilt? Her days were consumed with misery . Her work was suffering. Something had to change with her situation and it was only her who could make this change.

She saved as much money as she could in the course of the following months. It took about nine months and she, finally, felt she had enough to get away and have a new start.

Sarah kept swaying with her decision, until the very last minute. Should she go or should she stay? She knew if she stayed nothing would change.

While her husband lay passed out on the sofa, Sarah quietly packed one simple suitcase with the barest of necessities to get her by. She quietly took off her wedding ring and laid it on the table.

She chose not to say good-bye but to leave. No arguments or drama. She took one last look at him on the sofa and walked out the door, closing it as softly as she could.

Sarah has not looked back since that day and has made a secluded life for herself. She is content and now has to heal from years of emotional abuse.

She now can lay in bed at night, listening to the clock and her thoughts can wander to what new and exciting things tomorrow will bring.

Written by: Angel

It is never too late to turn the page and start the next chapter in your life.

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Vocabulary :

Incessive: intense , a lot

arguments: opposite views, usually in heated discussion

emotional abuse: a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person.

guilt: feeling of doing something wrong

consumed: used up

misery: feeling discomfort of mind or body

decision: making a choice, deciding something

secluded: private, quiet

Question(s):

If you were Sarah, what would you have done differently?