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The writers’s grandfather, Donald Cline, in backyard on California Ave. in Oak Ridge, TN.
I pull through Stubb Stewart State Park’s Dairy Creek West campground and I see no one. I see what looks to be a parking lot for recreational vehicles.
Cyclone. Avalanche. Raptor. Hornet. Voltage. Hurricane. Outlaw. Outback. Razorback. Komfort. Mountain Aire. Chateau. Bullet. Cougar. Arctic Fox. Road Warrior. Thor. Aerolite. Denali. Fun Finder.
Thor has a three-legged stand out front, holding a large DirectTv® satellite. The tripod is pinned to the ground with yellow hi-vis twine tied to orange plastic stakes. Why is Mountain Aire’s “aire” spelled with an “e,” I wonder? And why is Aerolite missing the “g” and the “h” that are normally present in “light”? Does “lite” feel “lighter” without them? Yes, I realize—it actually does.
But then, is a liteweight trailer better than a heavy one? I consider cyclones and hurricanes and avalanches and raptors and outlaws. I’d be inclined towards something heavy, I think. Continue reading MOUNTAIN AIRE by Mr. E →
Michael Rogers had his 6th tardy in my class today. I asked him why. He said this:
I laughed and laughed. Then I gave him a detention.
I remember walking through stores with my grandpa, hand in hand. I grew up with him raising me, from when I was a newborn until I was seven. No matter what the weather was, he would take me out to different places so I wouldn’t bother my uncle and cousins when they were studying or sleeping. It didn’t matter if it was rain, or snow, hot or cold, we would go to places…like Kings Bakery. The bakery held the aroma of fresh baked pastries. You could see the bakers making the bread in the back. It was always busy and filled with people that he knew. Continue reading REMEMBERING YOU – Amanda Mar →
If you weren’t an athlete you were practically nothing. This was a household philosophy. This was my dad’s way of thinking about us kids. If you weren’t in a sport you were working your tail off. It starts in the sixth grade—you do track and wrestling. You follow your older brother’s footsteps step for step; it’s been this way for four generations.
When I was just entering middle school, my dad lectured me about sports and how important they were for me. Then my older brothers all lectured me, saying very similar things to what my dad had said. This was peer pressure, family peer pressure to be the same. Of course I listened to them…I had no choice.
When football started up and I didn’t join, I convinced Dad that football was only for seventh and eighth graders, and sixth graders couldn’t sign up. Eventually he seemed to believe me, but lectured me again on how important sports were and how athletes get paid lots of money. To this day I hear him muttering “If I had ten million dollars, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be hunting every day, trap shooting, and living off the fat of the land.” … Continue reading MY LIFE IS MINE →
This rockin’ piece by Blake Baxter won Honorable Mention in the Documentary category of this year’s Washington State Board of Education Video Contest! Congrats, man!
When Hailey Smith was a sophomore, she decided to take Advanced Drawing Studio with Carole Harris. Hailey wasn’t always the most “Artsy” person. She had never been known as the “The Kid Who Could Draw, ” but did have a lot of ideas. “It was like I could see the image in my head, but once I went to put it on paper it never turned out the same.” Hailey says. “That’s why I chose to take art. I wanted to get my ideas out of my head for everyone else to see.”
Now a junior at Heritage High School, Smith tried different mediums before settling on painting. She took a photography class and attempted sculpture, but neither seemed to leave her satisfied. She always felt as if there was something more she could do, or didn’t feel as if she had put enough of herself into each piece to call it her own. “Painting is just something that feels right with me.” Hailey says. “When the brush is in my hand running along the paper, I feel like I can make anything without the judgment of anyone else. It’s as if (the work) has always been a part of me.”
When Hailey discovered painting she knew this was what she wanted. “I love mixing colors, and making something beautiful out of something so basic,” she says. “It just seemed like painting was something that fit who I was. I didn’t just choose to paint. It was as if I found something that was always with me, and all I had to do was learn how to use it.” Through her painting, Hailey has found a love of the pastoral in her work, focusing on the scenery of plants and flowers. The colors and shapes seem to just stand out to her more than anything else.
In May of 2010, one of Hailey’s pieces was displayed in the Evergreen Public Schools Art Show. The piece was titled “The Sadness”, and was showcased in Olympia, Washington for several months.
“I’ve never really considered how my art reflected how I saw the world.” Hailey says. “I guess in a way every painting I do is my own personal view on something beautiful.” She puts a little bit of herself into each of her paintings. “I guess in a way,” Hailey says, “my paintings don’t really reflect how I see the world, but they reflect the way I see myself.” In her mind, every painting tells a story, every portrait of an unknown character has its own story, and every flower has its own detail that makes it its own being. Continue reading A View to Something Beautiful →
I often sit and reflect on how good we had it when we were younger, mostly when I look into my little sister’s soft eyes. We have never been of the upper class although I know I wouldn’t have classified us as lower, either . But looking back now, I realized we are, without a shadow of a doubt, in that lower level. A day came when I began taking out my emotions on seven horizontal layers of wood held together with glue; Wood made mobile by bearings pressed within wheels and metal trucks, and made awe-inspiring by my dedication. This was the day reality opened its palm and slapped me into the realization that everything isn’t as okay as it seems.
My roots were deeply embedded within the streets of Portland, which is where I was born and raised for twelve years of my life. I did not know what the term “eviction” meant, but I did remember the chilling shiver that the word sent down my spine when overheard in my parent’s “grown up” talks. Eventually, the word became real, and Portland was in the past.
I showed up to Vancouver a scared little fifth grader with absolutely no friends. I might as well have been wearing a dog collar with the words “New Kid” engraved on it. This was really upsetting to me, as I was well known in my former school by both students and teachers alike. Like a dog with my tail between my legs, I did not attempt to interact with many people, and no one really went out of their way to socialize with me. The tide had definitely turned when I moved here, and for the longest time it was hard to cope.
Slowly I left my shell behind as I met neighborhood kids, all of whom had a passion for skateboarding. All it took was for my friend to explain the concept of how tricks really work for me to be fixated on this barbed hook that is skating. The board’s sandpaper grip began to devour skate shoes of all brands, until the gaping holes screamed out “time to let me retire.”
Like the very first time you ever were beat up or even your first kiss, you never forget your first Ollie. I began to count how many times I could land it out of ten tries until it was 100% successful. The sun disappeared quickly that day, possibly because I spent most of the day looking down at my foot placement and monotonously making minute adjustments. I swear I dreamt of nothing but skateboarding that night, I awoke with exhausted legs as if I had really been skating all night.
I started to hang with the same skate group the rest of my skater friends did. We spent all day, just about every day, challenging each other to get better and better. Even in the rain, we found a way.
During the summer we grew so eager to skate that we cut into our sleep to be at Battle Ground Skate Park as early as 4:00 AM. We were the kings of the park—we got to practice any line we wanted without judging eyes and interrupting kids we referred to as “poseurs”.
If there ever was such a thing as having an escape from all life’s dirty laundry, skating is as close as it comes to me. No matter what everyone else has planned for their day, I can always rely on my board. Stress melts away as I spend countless hours battling with gravity and physics with multiple flip variations and gaps. Skating brings out every emotion—from the rapture that is pulling off a move, to the sadness when your board snaps. From pleasure when you really land something to the pain when you fail, and fall. Each of my snapped boards holds a story that is special to me—their various battle scars where vicious stings left their mark all serve as a reminder to never forget how I became who I am now.
Essay and Images by Sean Hauff
Freshman summer. I spent it working on my grandfather’s farm, but it wasn’t for fun or because I wanted to. It started during the school year when my life started to take a turn for the worse—The friends I was involved with and things I was doing weren’t things that parents want their kids doing. But I was blind, thinking I was always right and that no matter what I did nothing would come from it.
As the school year dwindled on and my life was still spiraling down, I was too blinded by my influences to even notice. It took doing probably the stupidest thing that I have ever done to realize that my life choices hadn’t been so great. One day my friends thought that it would be funny if we tagged this kid’s house. I jumped right in and that night sneaked out of my house and met up with my friends. When I got there they were all bummed because we had no spray paint. Knowing we couldn’t just buy spray paint we did the only thing that would could—steal it.
We went into the store scared and nervous, but I had never been more excited. Blood was racing through my veins and my heart was pumping so fast. Me and my friend went and grabbed two cans each and just ran. One of the clerks chased us as we fled to the nearest neighborhood. Thinking that they might have called the cops, I tried to suggest that we do the tagging another night, but my friends just called me names. Upset, I grabbed the spray paint and decided to just say screw the plan and went to tag the first house in the neighborhood. My friends joined in. I was almost done when the house’s garage door started to open. Not knowing what to do, I jumped in the backyard and laid down, hoping I wouldn’t be seen. But sure enough, he called the cops and since they were already at the store near us they got there quick. I was so scared that I panicked and tried to jump the fence, but I got caught.
They brought me to my house and my dad has never been so mad in his life. He wouldn’t even look at me. My mom took me to my room and told me to go to bed. I didn’t get to speak to my parents that night but I will always remember their words. Mom said “I just can’t take it anymore. I’m losing my son.” And my Dad “You’re going to your grandpa’s this summer.” The next couple of weeks were spent at the house I tagged, cleaning up the mess and anything else he needed just so he wouldn’t press charges. The whole time I was thinking that after those weeks I would be done and able to do what I wanted again…but that wasn’t the case.
Three weeks and a 10 hour car ride later I arrived on my grandpa’s farm, rejoicing that this was the best they could do as punishment. I expected to do nothing, and that night I slept like a baby—until four in the morning came around and water was thrown in my face. “What the f?” I said. There were clothes on the chair next to me but they were overalls and a flannel, which I refused to wear.
As I walked out down the hall to the kitchen a great big meal was waiting for me with pancakes, toast, eggs, sausage, and just everything you could want for breakfast. After I devoured the meal I went back to my room to sleep, but my grandpa told me to go outside because “We got work today”. He said we would go easy to start off. He wanted me to push-mow all 3 acres of his lawn. I threw it off with a laugh and said “Really, grandpa,” and with the blankest stare he told me to get to work. All day I never stopped complaining, and all day it took me to mow the lawn and pick up all the grass. Dead tired after the day’s work I crawled right into bed to go to sleep.
Day after day after day the workload continued and the more resistant I tried to be. One day I ran in to the grain field and lay there all day long and it was so peaceful I just never wanted leave. At about 9 o’clock my grandpa walked out to where I was and laid down with me. He started crying. Why though—I just didn’t know why—so I asked him.
“Grandpa, are you alright?”
“Yeah. I’m fine Christian, I’m just worried for you.”
“Why are you worried?”
And the answer was something I would never expect—He told me that he was just like me when he was a kid. A little rascal who always had his nose in trouble. I couldn’t believe it but the next thing he said changed my perspective.
“Christian, life is what you make it. And if you continue to make the choices you are making, you’re going to get hurt and just get in more trouble. I went down the path you did and I can promise you that nothing good is to come from it. Start to rethink your values…or your life as you know it will be no more.”
He left me there lying in the grain. All I did was think, but as time passed by a tear ran down my face. The first time since I could remember I started to cry, because I knew he was right—I knew what he was saying was true. I ran to him and hugged him. I told him that no one had ever taken the time to relate to me like he did.
I promised from that day to make better choices and give life all I’ve got. The rest of the summer flew right by. I spent most of my time that summer swimming in their little river, feeding the chickens, or even helping my grandpa around the house. That summer I will never forget because to me it was a wake up call.
Essay and Images by CHRISTIAN BRETT