In the jungle-like woods behind my best friend's house, there used to be an enormous, partially-fallen tree. Partially, because it still leaned at about an angle of forty-five degrees from the ground. It was beautiful with its smooth, barkless surface and covered with fungi, sprouting plants and vines, and fallen leaves. We would go there and venture as far out on its limbs as we dared, and then we would settle back onto its trunk, our home base. Then maybe we would sit down and talk for a while, or play on the swing we had set up. It had to be at least four hundred years old--its downed trunk provided more than enough width for two people to run all over.
Originally, this was an English Language Arts assignment last year for Shelburne Community School's Winton House Team's seventh graders. We were asked to find someone who had lived during the 1970's and interview them about what it was like growing up then, so I found an aunt of mine. However, I found this assignment so interesting that I kept asking more and more questions, so this is the end product of that (the first question in each paragraph is the one we were supposed to ask, the other ones were mine additionally). It's not often that we get to here a truthful account of different time periods, as most of the time books and movies portray a different version of day-to-day life. Please take note, though, that this interview contains heavy topics in which some of the younger readers might not be ready for.
The Interviewer: Hannah Frasure The Interviewee: Francis Wagner, born in 1950
I have just left a school that I have known for a long time. I am leaving many things: the familiar--the long hallways I'd walk down to get around, the annoying Skillz 4 Life class we'd have weekly (which quite frankly taught me nothing that I didn't already know) the immature kids at the back of the school bus, the huge cafeteria and all of its shrieking and its disgusting substances titled "Green Eggs and Ham" for Dr. Seuss's birthday. Yeah. I'm gonna miss all that, unfortunately. I'll also miss my friends (which is a given), but I can keep in contact with them so it won't be that bad. But most of all I'm especially going to miss my teachers. No one gives their teachers enough credit. We say we're grateful, but are we really? For all they've done for us: teaching us, putting up with us, watching over us, and all they end up getting is a card at the end of the year and "I'm outta here!!"? Is that legitimately showing we're grateful to them? Without them we'd be no where.
That was the name of my very first snowman, or in this case, snowgirl.
At the time, I was about three and a half years old, soon to turn four, and new to Vermont from Virginia. And while most would say there would be a temperature-shock with the freezing days and night, and not to mention snow, it felt natural to me. Not actually different. Winter was somehow an old friend of mine. Actually, one of the most soothing things to me is to be walking completely alone under streetlamps knee-deep in snow and complete quiet. So full of soothing calm and a strange sense of respect. Or, when the wind is howling and I'm a mass of winter clothing: I bury myself in a snowmound, huddled up in a little hole, and listen to the wind's voice as I look at snow coming down in a furious frenzy.
But anyways, this is about Oatmeal. So back to the story.
Wild and rowdy forestwood; your visions untold, their snarling creatures with such malicious cries and piercing eyes. You’re interior porous of darkness
and lies, and sharp teeth gleaming. There’s a bright, wide bowl gleaming cold-white up high. The frozen days are reaching nigh, where blazing flashes
pass by of gold and maroon, but they have long since met this ground and the dullness of starken white and brown fulfills this wooden town. Barren and desolate describe not quite, though.
A crown of green once donned this fair place; So lest we forget our childrens' infinate emerald songs of passionate serenades of glorious birds trilling, frolicking mice and squirrels’ acorn-shelling, or the quiet perseverence of a single sprout
an upswing of patience and endurance during the long winter’s reign, the winter will be forever in us;