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My My Hey Hey
By Rae Ellis
Woodstock Union High School, Grade 10
"It's better to burn out than to fade away." -Neil Young
My grandmother has arthritis.
Her hands have been twisted and warped
into gnarled knots of fading twine.
They twitch when she reaches for a plate,
and then they lay in her lap,
a pile of helpless bones.
She has to sleep with a splint on her wrist
so that while her mind is elsewhere,
her hands won't fade away entirely.
She used to be a teacher,
an avid correspondent.
Now when I look at her hands,
I feel guilty about all the times I made fun of her.
All the times I complained.
When my grandmother isn't in the room,
and their spouses
and their friends
shake their heads and say
"that poor woman,
she doesn't have much time left."
When my grandmother laughs,
she loses control of her body.
She forgets for a moment to tame her wildly twitching hands
that are curling into a knot,
By Grace Corbett
Renaissance School, Grade 6
Sheltered from the chaos beyond them.
As the war rages on,
A little bubble of hope drifts down from
Telling them not to worry.
The clouds part and the sun shines on
The raised American flag.
The war is at an end.
By Haley Harder
Heartworks Renaissance School, Grade 5
Laura put one arm on Martha's shoulder, and the other on Josie's.
"Here we are," she said. Martha knocked on the heavy, wooden door. A large man answered.
"You are the new mill girls, right?" Josie opened her mouth to make a smart alec-y remark, but Laura stopped her.
"Yes," she said.
"I'll show you to your looms," said the man.
Josie and Martha had come from Canada. They had similar lives; both of their fathers had lost their jobs. When they heard about the cotton mill, they decided to cross over to Vermont.
Josie and Martha met on the train. They had become fast friends, even though they were opposites. Josie was loud, Martha was quiet. Josie was short, Martha was tall. They met Laura when they got to Vermont.
Laura liked Martha immediately, but it took some time for her to like Josie because her first words to Laura were, "And I thought I was short!"
Mud Turtle Rock
By Warren Ouellette
Renaissance School, Grade 5
At my camp on Lake Champlain in Colchester in about 1945 my grandpa, who was 14 at the time, was watching his dad's friend and his friend's son go out on the lake in a speedboat. My grandpa was thinking it was a wonderful, warm, summer day when suddenly . . . CRASH! The speedboat hit a giant rock just 150 feet from the shore, throwing both his dad's friend and his dad's friend's son into the water. My grandfather thought they were badly injured. The speedboat was destroyed, but no one was hurt. They were saved by another boater on the lake. The rock was the size of a small car and was named Mud Turtle Rock.
After the incident, my grandpa reported it to the Coast Guard. He wanted to mark the rock with a buoy, but the Coast Guard said no because it wasn't a navigable waterway on the navigation chart. My grandpa said, "Well then it's going to happen again."
By Amber Brooks
Rivendell Academy, Grade 9
I fled. Ran as fast as my skinny legs could manage, past the horse pasture and then the barn. I halted next to the well and pulled the lever. Grabbing the pail and splashing the cool water upon my face, I attempted to wash the traces of sweat and dirt. I sprinted toward the house and climbed onto the deck, my dress bunched in my hands. I leaped over the lazy old dog that lounged on the porch, and leaped up the steps to the screen door. I scrambled in the door and stopped as I saw the scowl on my mother's face. I smoothed my hair down over the planes of my face and wiped away the gritty dirt that was embedded in my skin on the back of my dark dress. Mary stood with a hand propped on her hip and narrowed her eyes at me.
“About time,” she sneered
By Kay Bushman
U-32 Middle School, Grade 7
When my grandmother, Queda, was a kid, her parents had a rule that she needed to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Rain or shine, wind or snow, below 0 or above 100, they made her go out and entertain herself for half an hour.
By Bridget Iverson
Mount Mansfield Union High School, Grade 10
I didn't want to, didn't intend to when I got up this morning but the afternoon was hot and lazy and there were no customers except Charlotte the ghost by her curtains and b'sides, I liked the man's face. It was wide and clear, like a child's. He stuttered some when he asked me, and dropped his hat on the polished floor and knocked over his tripod trying to pick it up and looked at me so pitifully; a dog, begging for scraps. I helped him up. Nodded. "Okay."
By Nina Cavender
Crossett Brook Middle School, Grade 7
Anna looked into the camera, her eyes aglow. She, a modest mill girl, was being photographed! Her heart thumped loudly and quickly. Not knowing what expression to give to the camera, she peered over at Lily, her cousin, standing to her right. Lily's face was serious, like she was trying to peer into the very soul of the camera. She then looked over at Mary-Ann, one of her closest friends. She was smiling a big, broad smile, obviously trying to look like she was happy. That was very far from the truth though. Mary-Ann basically lived at the mill, never wanting to go home, for fear of her parents beating her. Anna then looked into the camera and gave it a simple, blank expression, wanting to have a face of her own. The camera man, under the little black cloak that was attached to the camera, said "Smile!" and the bulb went off like lightning.
The Missing Shoe
By Kira Margolis
Richmond Elementary School, Grade 1
Chapter 1: The Shoe
Alice was 13, Samantha was 19, and Jessica was 18. One day Alice lost her shoe. She needed it by now. Her mother, who they called Marmee, was sad when she heard. So Samantha decided to look for it. She looked everywhere. She could not find the shoe. Jessica was going to help, but she failed. Alice looked everywhere—-out on the street, even in people’s houses because people could have stolen it.
That night Alice looked out her window. Then she looked up at the stars. She saw a constellation. The stars formed a shoe. “My shoe,” Alice gasped. “How I wish I could find my shoe,” she said with a frown. Then she went to sleep.
When morning came Marmee said good morning to all the girls. First was Samantha, second was Jessica, and third was Alice.
Chapter 2: Samantha Fell in Love
Three's a Charm
By Jenna Rickson
Essex High School, Grade 11
Only by the callouses on our
fingers can we expect to
get a few cents a day
though it's never enough
to keep loved ones hopeful and
years of torment
weighing and trying to balance
our terrible home lives with how
well we perform in our
only by the sweat of our brow
can we provide for our family
for a muddled father
who would rather sit and waste
his wages with a foaming mug
than get medicine for a
sick and dying sibling
or food on the table every night
only by the determination of our minds
can we amount to anything useful
scolded by school teachers who say we're
nothing and that all we can expect
to become is mothers of children who
won't make it past the age of three
wives of husbands who are never faithful
daughters of parents that wish
we had never been born
only by the tears that fall down our
cheeks can we remember to keep going