Recently in family stories, poems Category

Everything I Ever Need to Know

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Logan wrote this for his TAG English I class. Lessons to be learned!


Everything I Ever Need to Know I Learned From Swimming


    I've been swimming for a long time, almost since I could walk. I was at practice one day, cooling down from the main set, when it hit me - everything I knew about swimming was mirrored by something in life. I had just never noticed until I finally became good enough to be able to look back at how far I'd come. It suddenly seemed so simple, and I knew I would most likely discover more connections to life as I became faster and better at swimming.

*        Stay afloat, don't sink - don't fall behind on your work.

*        Breathe steadily - even in times of stress.

*        Keep good form - the most basic things can be the most important.

*        When you see the wall, swim faster - rise to the challenge.

*        Practice makes perfect - keep practicing to get better until you come out on top.

*        Just dive in - if something is daunting, don't think about it. Just do it!

*        Reduce drag - don't let anything slow you down.

*        Stay in your own lane - it's your life, so make good choices.

*        Be a shark, not a minnow - go after what you want.

*        Just keep swimming - even if you are tired, find your pace, and push through to the end.


A Life in the Civil War

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Nolan's historical fiction story for Black History Month in February. The district's theme this year was African Americans in the Civil War. What a great kid we have.


A Life in the Civil War

By Nolan O.

 Wham! John ran into a pine tree when he frantically glanced behind him. He had been running from his master for a long time. John was an African American slave from a plantation in Virginia, and his master was a cruel man who was known to starve, beat, and even kill his slaves. The minute John hit the tree and fell, he knew he would be caught, and as he got up he could hear men crashing through the forest. But even though he knew it was worthless to run, John forced himself to go on. Thud! The men had seen John and started throwing rocks at him. Thump!  A rock flew from behind and hit John in his right calf. He fell over in pain and totally blacked out.

When John woke up, he was in the back of a rickety wagon with some other slaves. A stern white man with a shotgun was sitting on a barrel in the wagon and looking at them. When John tried to sit up, he heard a low muttering. The sound came from a woman sitting on the wagon floor, nursing a baby. He caught a few words like "liar" and "backstabber" when suddenly the white man kicked the woman and shouted at her to shut up. Then with a sudden jerk, the wagon came to a halt, throwing John sideways. Laughing, the man got up and kicked John, too, as he climbed down from the wagon.

The white man ordered the slaves out of the wagon. John hobbled out with his leg stiffly trailing behind him. John could hear gunshots from far away and wondered what was happening. Another white man was walking in front of the slaves, saying either "take" or "keep." When he got to John, he paused. After what seemed like a long time, he said, "Take." The man from the wagon got up and roughly grabbed John by his arm. He led John and the other "takes" to what looked like a wooden fort. The closer they got, the louder the gunshots were. Inside, John saw white men shooting at targets. "Grab a shovel and start working," snarled the man from the wagon. "You're in the army."

Days later, water fell on John's face as he looked up. It had been sprinkling for a long time and almost as long as he had been walking. The white men watched from horseback while the slaves marched. The white men looked queasy, and John knew why. They were going to battle in Maryland, a Union state. When the army stopped, the slaves built the camp, and everyone went to sleep. The next morning, they had just taken down their camp and started to move on when a gunshot rang out. The Union army attacked.

The Confederate army was thrown into chaos but quickly regrouped and fought back. During the battle, John saw his chance to escape, but as he was running away, he saw a Union colonel get shot in the shoulder. No one was looking at the colonel because of the battle. John ran toward him. When he got to the colonel, the Union man was covered in blood and unconscious. Ripping his own shirt, John made a bandage around the wound. As two soldiers fell dead to the ground right next to them, John started dragging the colonel to safety in the trees. Near the edge of the woods, a bullet came whizzing by and hit John in the calf, exactly where the rock had hit him. This time he didn't faint. He got the colonel to the trees with his leg searing painfully, and in a daze he fell unconscious because of the pain.

When John woke up, he was in a Union hospital. Sitting up, he heard a kind but stern woman's voice. "Sit down or you will injure that leg even more!" she said. Looking over, he saw a plump and kind woman measuring a cup of medicine. "What happened?" asked John. "Well, you saved Colonel Joe Pinkerton's life and lived from a shot in the calf. That is what happened," replied the woman.

It took a few months for John's leg to recover from his gunshot wound. The colonel visited John often to check on him. When the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in January of 1863, the colonel asked John to be a soldier in the war. John agreed to help the Union and protect his new freedom. He and the colonel fought in the same battles against the Confederates. Once, John even saved the Union flag from the Confederate army. In another battle, John saw his old, cruel master get shot in the heart by a well-placed bullet. Both sides sustained great losses, but the Union came out on top, and the war finally ended.

          Years later after the war, Joe helped John get an education and start a business. They remained friends until they died. They both believed that skin color didn't matter, and what was on the inside of a person did. That belief led them to each other. War and slavery had shown John death, cruelty, and pain, but he was awarded with freedom... and a friend.

The Shell

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© 2009 


The Shell

Paper thin and fragile

What once held life

Drifts empty

Upon unceasing waves

To be battered on jagged rocks

Until tide draws back

And on lonely shore remains

The shell of a shell


Memories (Logan's Poem)

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I am from pets,

from soft fur and funny antics,

from the leaves sent

flying through the air.

(soft, fluttering, it

felt like nature)

I am from the pond,

the fish going blub-blub.


I'm from fishing rods and gaming systems,

from homemade cooking and take-out pizza.

I'm from Don't touch and Quiet down,

from flopping trout

to jumping clams.


I'm from the nightmares and dreams,

the THUMP-CRASH of my brother

kicking the wall.

I'm from the noises, frightening

and soothing, from the creak of

trees to the croak of toads.


Through the garden, from

under the lazy oak,

I am at peace with myself,

My memories swirling through my head.


--Logan, September 2009, 7th Grade

If you build it, they will come

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School got out for the summer yesterday, and the boys look forward to a summer of relaxing and doing whatever. But I do want to encourage them to work on their writing skills -- with all this era's wonderful computer and Internet advantages, the good old-fashioned "sit with a pencil and write" seems to have been lost, at least with my kids. So this summer, with journals in hand, we are going to write a little each day. Stories, poems, books, thoughts -- whatever inspirations lead us to. Remarkably, the boys haven't groaned too much about it!

And after school let out yesterday, we welcomed new visitors to our yard. We've seen many a toad in the yard from time to time, but yesterday the male toads found the new pond. Three of them set up at strategic spots on the pond rocks and croaked. And croaked. And croaked. We saw two of them -- the third was clever enough to croak AND stay out of sight. We didn't witness any mass migration of female toads to them, but those males sure tried to entice them. I really like how all three toads croaked at different pitches. I fell asleep with the window open, just listening to them...

For our morning journals, we decided to all write garden poems. I'll admit we were all sort of groggy when we attempted this...


Call of the Summer Wild, zinnia06-04-09.jpg
by Meredith

Sun rising
Birds chirping
Good morning, summer, all

Kids running
Playing hard
Will their mom stay sane

Dogs wrestling
In the yard
Splashing in the dog pond

Flutter by
Flowers growing tall

bull-toad1.jpgGet off of
My zinnias RIGHT NOW

Sun is hot
Ack, more weeds
Compost, cactus happy

In the night
Bull-toads croak
Seeking their true love

And eating mosquitoes. YAY.






Garden poem, by Nolan

Birds, birds flap their wings
Birds can do almost anything

Our pond is great
We found toads that might mate
We cannot wait

Butterflies, butterflies everywhere
But we care






My backyard, by Logan

Birds flitter past,2dogs.jpg
While my dogs run fast.
The garden's filled with plants,
The perfect home for the
   common ant.
When the dogs meet a skunk
    it really
Sprays them well,
And when the dogs do come in
I really hate the smell.
My backyard's a habitat
For animals thin and small
But watch out when it's dark,
For the dogs might startle you
With a sudden bark.


Droofus and the Cymbals

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by Nolan, 8 (written November, 2008 -- inspired by his brother playing the euphonium while Nolan was trying to write a story for school)

  Once there was a dragon named Droofus. He lived with his family of dragons. He had a mother, a father, and a brother. Droofus was the youngest of his family.

  One cool crisp day, Droofus and his family went out for a picnic. Droofus brought the tablecloth and the blueberry pie. His mother brought the picnic food. His father brought the napkins and silverware. His brother brought the cymbals.

  "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals. Droofus said, "Stop it." "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals again. The mother said, "Quiet down." "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals again. The father said, "I can't eat with all the racket!"

  The brother banged the cymbals again. The birds flew away. "Bang clang," the cymbals were hit again. Far above in the mist of the mountain, a pebble moved from its place, and a gigantic rock on the pebble tumbled down. The rock was heading toward the picnic.

   All of Droofus's family looked up to their horror. The rock was about to squash them. Droofus pushed his mother, father, and brother quickly out of the path of the rock. Then he yanked the picnic to the other side of the path. But he left the cymbals. The rock tumbled down onto the cymbals and squashed them. It stopped moving.

  The mother and father cheered. The birds came back. The brother was annoyed. And Droofus ate his blueberry pie.

World of Turkeycraft

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by Nolan, 8 (written around Thanksgiving, 2008)

NolanTurkeycraft.jpg   Once there was an army of turkeys. They had a peaceful time except one day. It was a dark day. Dark clouds were overhead. The turkeys had never seen such weird things. So the army turkeys quickly got their bows and arrows, spears, swords, and battle axes and ran to go tell the villagers. Once they got there, they told the villagers about the dark clouds. They squawked, "Gobble, gobble, gobble." The villagers looked at the clouds. The black clouds loomed even closer.

   The turkey army told the villagers where they were going. They were going to the city called Turksong Hold. It was a huge city with lots of beastly monsters on the outside.

   The turkey horde boarded a zeppelin. When the turkey horde got to Turksong Hold, they were greeted by the guards. The turkey army moved onward through the city. Finally, they found Lord Gobbler gobbling at his guards in the Hall of Heroes. They told Lord Gobbler about the dark clouds. He said it was probably the Lich King. The army groaned. Lord Gobbler told them to be ready for battle.

   When the army got back to the village, they described the situation. The villagers got on the zeppelin that went to Northfrost so the villagers would be safe. The army had built a defensive wall with slits for the turkeys to shoot through. The Lich King's army of death knights were close. The turkeys were ready for battle. Finally the Lich King's army was there. The turkeys fired. The Lich King's army shot. It was a big battle. Swords and battle axes went clang, bash. Bows and guns went vroom, bang. The turkeys won. Then the turkeys went back to get the villagers. And that is the story of "World of Turkeycraft."


recent comments

  • Meredith: Welcome back to the modern age, Nana! Love you, too! read more
  • Nana: Great words of wisdom for any age. Thanks for sharing. read more
  • well, let's go with that the fire department has to read more
  • I'm guessing the last time was as your wedding... (suit, read more
  • Mom: This is a very special gift for Grandaddy. I know read more
  • Meredith: That makes me smile, Marilyn! The picture with Logan was read more
  • Marilyn: Thank you Meredith! Love the picture of Dad with Logan! read more
  • Meredith: What, and be on the other side of the camera? read more
  • Pictures? read more
  • Interesting interpretation of the resurrection story. :-) read more
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