Friday, May 28, 2010


Miss 12 just graduated from 6th grade. She is our last child to go through school at this particular school, and it has been an emotional wreck of a week. (I can not get the underline turned off, forgive me.) In place of a tissue needing, tear producing, emotional wreck of a post that would match how I feel, I instead am copying a story that Miss 12 wrote last week for class. If you knew where she came from, and the work it has taken to get her to this point, you would be amazed. This story is her own. The only parameters she was given were that she had to include a monkey, a lost island, a talking cat and a fisherman. I did not correct mistakes other than to remind her to capitalize, to punctuate and to indent. There are mistakes, yes, but this story is so far beyond what I even imagined possible that just reading it makes me cry. Not because it is a sad story, but because she has come so far, and it's because of all the work the school was willing to put into her, and all the hard work we have done at home. She amazes me every day, as do my other children, but today, for me, it's about her and her progress. Miss 16 will get her day in the sun soon as well, just in case she's reading here today. I'll brag her up when she's least expecting it. In the meantime, enjoy Miss 12's original story and think of how far she has brought herself.

A Darkened Sky

Mariah’s diary day 3, week 6, year 1938, Me and Simon are below deck again because we’re going by Avalax and you don’t want to know what they would do if they found me. Here I go again talking about now and not telling how I got on a ship or how I got Simon. It all started when I was out getting flowers from the corner store. I was getting them because we were having a huge party to celebrate my sister getting married. My sister, Eliza, always seemed to be the star child to my mother. On Eliza’s thirteenth birthday she got a beautiful white and blue dress all I got for my thirteenth birthday was a cheap doll that broke within the first hour.

“Hey Mariah wait up!” Oh that’s Simon my best friend. We’d been friends since I fell out of a tree at a park; he was the only one who didn’t laugh at me. “Are you that upset about the party that you can’t even talk to your friend?”

“Hey Simon.”I said.

“I’m going to take that as you’re more upset then I think.” he said.

“No, I’m not it’s just that she always has to act like she’s the perfect child.” I said. “She always made me look like the bad guy.”

“Maybe if you came over to my place you would feel better.” he said.

“I wish I could but my mom is practically making me setup the whole party.” I said.

“Ok then I’ll see you later.” He said.

“Ok, bye Simon.”I said. As he turned and walked away his head was hung so low he looked like a solider defeated in a battle. As I turned around Mrs.Lossen’s carriage drawn by a beautiful white horse came down the road. I glanced over my shoulder to see if she was out looking for Mr. Lossen again somehow he always managed to sneak out of the house with his poker buddies without her noticing. All I saw was Simon crossing the lane. The next thing that happened went by so quick I didn’t even have time to think: Simon walking across the lane, the carriage getting too close for comfort, me dropping the flowers on the walkway and running to push him out of the way, and finally a horse along with a carriage hitting him and ending his life. The carriage hit him just before I could reach him, nearly 17inches away from my hands. I dropped to my knees and I looked him. His shirt was all stained with blood, his body spread out on the road. “Simon?” I said my voice quivering. The only answer I got back was the sound of the market. I started to cry. Not even one person stopped to help the little girl crying in the street. I looked down at him. His lifeless eyes stared up at me. Don’t cry, I thought, his life was good, great even. But I wasn’t that strong. I got up not wanting to bare the sight of him anymore. I took one more look at him and started to run away this time. Suddenly I was bombarded with memories of him. From when we meant at the old park all the way to his death. Nearly sixteen years of memory all at once.

I finally found myself out side of town in the old field Simon and I used to play in. I collapsed on to my knees and screamed up at the sky. Why take my Simon’s why not someone else? Only then did I realize I was being completely self-centered millions of people lose loved ones every day it was bound to happen to me eventually. I hugged myself and cried more than I ever had before. Finally I got up no time for self pity maybe I’ll feel better if I set up for something happier.

As soon as I stepped in the door mom gave me lecture number 34, the parties going to start soon where have you been. Then she wrapped it up with number 13, why can’t you be more like your sister. I answered calmly and softly “Simon died mom not that you would care.” “Honey your sister’s getting married we’ll worry about that later.” As soon as the party started I was being bagged on by mother “where did you put this and that and where do you think you’re going every time I tried to sneak away. I should really take lessons on that from Mr.Lossen. I thought.

Finally after I thought I couldn’t take it anymore the last guest left. I started to leave again but my mom yelled after me “Mariah Scarlet Ryan!” oh no, I thought, she’s mad she only calls me that when I’m in trouble which technically is all the time.

“Yes mother.” I yelled

“Pick up your skirts and come here.”

I walked to the front room where mother stood along with Mr. Bowvare, Simon’s dad, and also the best fisherman in the world.

“Honey Will here is going to take you up shore.” She said

“Why?”I asked questioningly.

“For goodness sake child do you remember anything that happens in a day?”She yelled “He knows you and Simon were really close so he thought that you and him would go on a trip to take your minds off his death.”

“It will be fun.” He said.

“Go pack your bag you’ll be leaving soon.” Mother said.

“But mother don’t you need help here? You don’t have sister to help you anymore.”

“You say that but you won’t really help me you’ll be way too sad.” She said.

“Can I please just stay for his funeral?”Mother looked at Mr.Bowvare as if he was my dad and she didn’t quite know what to say. He nodded his head as in a yes I didn’t know. He always nodded instead of speaking he could have been saying you look beautiful miss and you wouldn’t see the difference.

“Fine you may stay for that but as soon as it’s done you are leaving,” she said. “Do you understand?”

“Yes mother.” Now Mariah, go start cleaning up from the party. Now that was more like her.

By the time I finished cleaning up it was well past 12:30 at night. Everyone else would be asleep. I needed to talk to Mr. Bowvare about this trip he would probably be awake. Other times when I would say at Simon’s his dad would be awake past 2:00 in the morning. I wrote a note to mother saying….mom, went to talk to Mr.Bowvare I need to talk about this trip I’ll be back soon bye. I set the note on the dining room table and quietly walked out the door. Before I had left I had grabbed the old book Simon and I had made when we had first meet it had all of our secrets and memories in it from then and now, we had filled it up over the years and it was completely overflowing. I had thought that his dad at least deserved to see what his son had written about him. Up twelfth, down Sixteenth until I got to twenty second street it was normal. I was passing Mozes CafĂ© when none other than Roy Adams came out just my luck he had a record for the most times getting caught by the sheriff. The problem was that whenever he saw me he tried to steal whatever I happened to have. He started to walk toward me I got ready to smack him with the book.

“Mariah I’m sorry that I am always stealing your stuff” he said though he didn’t even look me in the eye.

“Excuse me?”I said. “What got in to you?”

“Nothing I’ve just changed” he said as he turned. Just then I had the flash back of Simon doing the same thing. I gasped.

“Oh, and by the way sorry about your friend.”

“His name was Simon.”I said sternly “thanks.”

By the time I did get to the Bowvare’s it was later than I expected. But I had to talk to him so I knocked on the door. He almost immediately he opened the door he was still fully dressed.

“Oh my aren’t you early well since you are here lets head out!”

“Mr.Bowvare I just wanted to talk to you.”

“No no dear we have to go,” he said. “Here your mother gave me your suitcase let me grab mine and we will shove off.”

Next thing I know he was practically shoving me out the door down the street and to the harbor. When we got on the ship he exclaimed “dang I forgot Simon I’ll be right back girl.”

“Um Mr. Bowvare sir.”

“Girl hasn’t your mother told you not to be rude?”

“Yes but...”

“Girl do you want a passage on this ship or not.”

“Sorry sir.”

“Ok then.” He said as he jumped over the railing on to the cobblestone path.

I waited for him to return but I must have dosed off. For one because I saw a talking cat that oddly enough was playing with Simon and singing our favorite song ‘happy days are here again’ that made me smile. And two because when I opened my eyes Capitan Bowvare, which is what I should start calling him, was standing over me with a small monkey on his shoulder. He started to laugh.

“Girl I pushed off the shore over two hours ago I thought yous was dead.”

“No sir.” I said “Not yet anyway but with the condition of this ship I’m not so sure I’ll last too long.” The smile on his face disappeared in an instant. So I started laughing.

“Anyway we will be going by Avalax soon so you should get below deck.”


“Is that all you can say?”

“Sorry why do I have to go below deck?”

“Better, because I don’t want the people there to think that I kidnapped you and I don’t want to pay your bail when you get put in jail for not having a passport and take Simon with you to I not suppose to have animals on the ship.” So that’s how I got here below the ship with a monkey and the journal.

“Mariah you can come up now plus you should see this.”

When I walked up the steps I was meant by the salty sea air. Captain Bowvare was standing at the bow of the ship.

“Watch closely now.” Suddenly an island appeared out of nowhere.

“Wow.” I whispered.

“The reactions of those who’ve never seen it before,” he said shaking his head.

Now we are landing on the lost island of Potea, which ironically means lost. Until I get back on the ship I can’t write so bye until then.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Give Back

Please go here and comment to make a book donation to a child in need. That's all you have to do, make a comment, someone gets a book. Simple, right? No child should go without books of their own.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Tenants

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Miss 12, it's hard to fathom where the years have gone. Just yesterday she was having tantrums where I had to pick her up and carry her off to calm down, and today she is 12. Honestly I remember very few meltdowns from this year; what a change.

Miss 12, you are the light of my eye. You are an amazing young woman. I can't figure out how we got to this point in your life. I remember a lot of hard work, but what I remember the most is how suddenly you just seemed to blossom. Oh sure, there are still moments where you ignore someone who is speaking directly to you, you tuck your upper and lower lip into your mouth, bow your head and avert your eyes. If they give you a compliment you tend to ignore them, and just keep walking. But if they tease you- look out! You have become the master of teasing, and you know just what to pick on with people who understand you. You have a keen wit, and a sharp, quick mind that floors those who think you are just a shy, quiet girl. Your sense of humor has sent me into fits of giggles on many occasions this year.

I can't imagine how it must baffles your early grade school teacher when they see the books you are reading now. The librarian is completely astounded with the books you finish in a week. (Not the books from her library, as really those are at this point much too easy for you.) We are so proud of you. Though you struggle with spelling, your reading aptitude is incredible. Though multiplication facts are still beyond you, your capability for problem solving, in the most unusual ways, is amazing. To see you volunteer to be the song leader at mass after so may years of you being so shy makes all the adults (and your parents!) at your school beam with pride.

Your athletic ability, even in sports you don't typically play, is awesome. Watching you take on the boys from your class, and challenge them outright, and win, makes my chest want to burst with pride. Although I would never tell you- I wouldn't want you to get a big head! It won't be long before those boys will decide not to take you up on those challenges, because they know they will lose, but right now they still think that since they are boys, they will win. I love the grin on your face when you prove them wrong.

Making friends with more of your classmates, putting yourself out there by attending dances and activities you have never done before, calling people on the phone just to talk, asking adults questions of your own accord, ordering at restaurants, becoming Secretary of the Student Counsel and giving the speech to do that, these were all new and big steps in your life this year.

Next year is middle school, you keep telling me how nervous you are, and that you don't want to go. But I think it's just a front, I think you are very anxious to go to a new school, with more friendship opportunities. My wish for you as you turn 12 is that you continue to put yourself out there, because the rewards, as you have discovered this year, are great, and you are more than capable.

I love you Miss 12, please never stop challenging yourself!