Page 1

Ellis Carter - Gr. 8

SCRIBE 2017


Scribe 2017

CONTENTS Directly Between, Tate Beech, 7th grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Brooklyn Heights, Bella Caffuzzi, 8th grade. . . . . . . . . . . .2 A Delicious Pomelo, Tyson Boynton, 8th grade . . . . . . . . .2 Untitled, Lucas Basham, 5th grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Two Countries, Tessa Marker, 8th grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Letter to Addiction, Jack Donnellan, 8th grade. . . . . . . . .4 The Blind, James Griffin-Frankel, 8th grade. . . . . . . . . . . .6 Who Am I to Me?, Summer Green, 7th grade. . . . . . . . . 7 April Who Doesn’t Talk, Claire Borden, 8th grade. . . . . . 8 The 25th, Avery Lee, 8th grade . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Ethan Sheehan, 7th grade

E

very spring at the conclusion of the academic year, the Middle School celebrates writing and the creative arts through the publication of Scribe. We encourage students in all classes to submit their writing for publication, and works from every grade are represented. We wish to thank the English faculty for continually inspiring and supporting their students’ creative writing: Kathleen Clinchy, Jeremy Hawkins, Samantha Laserson, Erin Mansur, Rachel Mazor, Alison Mirylees, Sarah Schlein, and Margaret Trissel. Alison Mirylees and Rachel Mazor, Scribe Faculty Advisors Joan Martin, Director of Communications Glen Pinder, Head of Middle School The Middle School is proud to honor the following recipients of regional recognition in the Scholastic Writing Awards. Works cited below in bold appear in this edition of Scribe.

Stopping by Pizza on a Warmish Evening, Adam Gottesdiener, 7th grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 My Smile is Your Smile Your Laugh is My Laugh, Alina Stoll, 5th Grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 You Can’t Make Homes Out of People, Kayla Nelson, 8th grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Recycling, Nina Haskins, 7th grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Home, Daelynn Glinton, 8th grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Time, Mae Walker, 6th grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Dancing on the Moon, Hal Claire, 7th grade . . . . . . . . . 17 When I Step On Stage, Lila Ehrlich, 7th grade . . . . . . . .17 Halmoni, Clara Shapiro, 7th grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Boy on the Moon - Dedicated to Diego Underhill Eliza Baron-Singer, 6th Grade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Claire Borden, honorable mention, “To the Prejudice Against Women” Tyson Boynton, honorable mention, “My New Mount Rushmore” Jack Donnellan, silver key, “Letter to Addiction” James Griffin-Frankel, honorable mention, “The Blind” Tessa Marker, honorable mention, “The Gettysburg Address; A Reminder” Clara Shapiro, honorable mention, “The British Are Coming!”; silver key, “Home”; gold key, “Halmoni”

Scribe © 2017 Brooklyn Friends School 375 Pearl Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 718.852.1029 brooklynfriends.org

Sophia Leone, 7th grade


Directly Between Tate Beech, 7th grade

why is the changing of your age Every year {STRICT as clockwork} so important? In exactly one month i will be Thirteen A powerful age With such amount of change (-i.am.not.ready-) I still want to be a child Unworried & Supported & Always taken care of but it cannot be true in my last month as a child -the me i have always knownwhat will change? Yes, I know what they say “you don’t have to change you can always be a child at heart” it’s not true. i must find out W.H.O. i am and why i am here

Kendall Lambert - Gr. 7

Peter DeSantis - Gr. 7 1


Brooklyn Heights Bella Caffuzzi, 8th Grade

My favorite time to go outside in Brooklyn Heights is when it is dead outside. No one on the streets. No weird, out-of-place street festivals or pop-up shops. You are all alone when it’s dead outside. The most dead the Heights ever gets is Christmas. Christmas, when it is piercing cold, your cheeks and nose turn red, and you want to keep your hands in your pockets. When taking strolls in the Heights, you can take two routes. One route is to the main street, where the popular pizza restaurant is. This is where all of the “happening” people are and you see the Hello Fresh salespeople everyone comes to hate. The other route is my favorite. If you walk down Pineapple Walk and take a left turn on Cranberry Street, you get access to a whole other world. It has everything legendary or memorable about Brooklyn Heights. It has the house where the movie Moonstruck was shot. It has the only falafel restaurant. But most importantly, it has the promenade. The promenade, where you can sit and reminisce with your best friends. Where you can take aesthetically pleasing Instagram photos. Where you can look into Manhattan’s Midtown and admire it like a faraway land you never deserve to be in. I go there with all of my friends, and not one of them found the significance that I found so easily with it. They all just wanted to go back to my house. Whenever I go to the promenade it makes me want to stay there forever. Sometimes my father teases me about moving, and even when he makes the smallest suggestion I feel tears filling my eyes. The fact that I would have to leave all of the memories and joy behind makes me want to just curl up into a ball and never go anywhere. Not going anywhere would not get me attached to anything, right? I guess this is just a part of growing up, a phase. But I do want to thank the Heights, you and your people have taught me everything I know, and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. You are a part of me.

A Delicious Pomelo Tyson Boynton, 8th grade

I never got one. I never tasted its succulent insides. I never ran my finger down the coarse, citrus filled skin. The peeling sound. A light crackle with a rip and a rub, and it comes off. Then, a juicy crunch with juice flying into the sky. And in your eye. Then the glamourous red, vibrant and alive. A thousand liquid-filled crystals, all congruent and chorusing in harmony. A tear, and the juice flies. The smell, a belligerent odor, forcing itself in an obvious fashion into your senses. A ripe taste. A delicious pomelo. 2


Untitled

Lucas Basham, 5th Grade My window is illuminated In the full moon’s glow. While. Somewhere in The Distance, Wolves howl As. The night train’s rickety wheels Add to the sound. Tonight. I lie In my bed. “Along with your life” The waves crash said While. As. Tonight. Moves on. My life continues. Maya Loeven - Gr. 6

Two Countries

Tessa Marker, 8th grade I am American and British. I’ve got two countries, twice the joy, twice the shame. Cadbury chocolate and the Iphone. Brexit and Donald Trump. It is an interesting mix, America and England. In both countries, I’m a fish out of water. My accent is always off. I’m constantly pronouncing ‘pasta’ wrong in the U.S and ‘water’ wrong in the U.K. Furthermore, I never seem able to understand any references to TV shows or movies, but that might just be because I never watch TV, just loads of sitcoms on Netflix. A few years ago, I asked my mom why she came to the U.S from England with my dad. “Mom, why did you and Dad moved here?” “We moved here for your dad’s job and we liked it so much we decided to stay.” “Wow, exciting.” “Stop being sarcastic, it was! We arrived here on my 30th birthday.” “That was in 1820 right?” “Thanks, Tessa.” “You’re welcome.” After my parents moved here it was never necessary for me and my brother to be citizens of both the U.S and England, but we are. My citizenships are more than just legal documents; they are like my hands. I need both to function properly. 3


Letter to Addiction Jack Donnellan, 8th grade

Scholastic Writing Awards silver key

Dear Addiction, Today, I write to you with the greatest hope that you will take into account the many serious wrongdoings that you have committed in my society, in my country, and in the world. Furthermore, I write to you with the hope that the other people around me will be inspired to stop your treacherous path.

Addiction, you are an unforgivable, unacceptable, and unjustifiable force of power. You still bestow a sense of hatred and misery among families today. If we can try to end addiction in the future, a great variety of tasks will lie before us. But even then, we could come across even more barriers we hadn’t seen before. You have brought about unwanted death in my family, which causes sadness and anger, and the need to reflect on your power. But seeing so much suffering doesn’t only bring about sadness, but increased motivation to build a better future in our society. I am not in chains from your power, and I never will be. But you are taking advantage of adolescents across America who are experimenting with drugs like heroin and underaged drinking practices.

You are the force that tears apart families, that sickens far too many, and worst of all, that changes people’s lives from something promising to bitter despair. You alter people’s viewpoints, lead to poor decision making, and crush dreams. You bring about sadness and despair to people and their families. While it may seem that way, you are not an issue that only exists in certain places, one that only certain people are affected by, or one that is not important and relevant to our society. You are a disease. You are the disease that made 23.5 million Americans over age 12 need special treatment for alcohol and illicit drug use. Half of all new drug users are under age 18. The encouragement of experimentation with drugs is what ultimately leads to you, addiction.

You are now rapidly beginning to control once quiet, suburban communities with your mighty force. In what way is tearing apart families justifiable? What about ruining the lives of young adolescents around the world with your power? In the simplest of terms, you believe in hatred, in sadness, in death, and in destruction. You have the absolute power and control. You have the potential to do something so awful that one could never, ever even think of forgiving.

Even worse, those who need treatment aren’t always able to get enough treatment. Of the 23.5 million in need of treatment, only 2.6 million were able to receive it at a special facility. This treatment doesn’t come at an affordable rate, either. For just one year of methadone maintenance, it costs about $4,700 per patient. For many families, this money isn’t easy to come by. Far too many barricades are in place in the obstacle of curing addiction. These can be financially related and health related, in which a patient is unable to cure their addiction even if they are able to afford special treatment.

However, you don’t have the power to control me or my community. You can try, but you will never succeed. You have taught the world the true meaning of despair. You have taught us to stay away from your taunting grasp. You have taught us about the personal issues that we must face because of you, both on an individual level and amongst our families and friends. We have seen the what you can do, but we don’t have to be afraid of you, Addiction. Your greatest weakness is us, coming together and fight4


Jade Lichtenstein - Gr. 7 ing for a unified cause. Together as a community, as one nation, we can be beyond your reach. We have learned your most powerful lesson: stay away from you. But you should not expect us to stay away. Rather, you can expect us to fight against you, Addiction, and everything that you stand for. By writing this very letter, I am doing so right now.

what type of pain and sorrow each and every death of a loved one means to people. You are the one that slowly drags those with a once promising future and crushes dreams. You are the person that turns the best, straight-A student into someone that can barely even support themselves. You are the person that makes the most joyful, happy person sick, sad, and tired.

The bitter truth is that, while I may be beyond your reach, while I have learned my lesson, so many others have not. As previously stated, 23.5 million Americans need treatment from alcohol and drug use. Just picturing that many people shows the great task that remains before us in our city, our state, our country, and on a greater level, our world. Such a task will require the energy and the action of millions of generous and devoted Americans.

You have committed all of these hateful deeds to my family and far too many others around the world. Worst of all, because of you, I never met my uncle or my grandfather. You have committed an unforgivable crime to my family and to the world and you will never know the heartbreaking feelings of hopes and dreams being crushed right before you.

Addiction, you have no idea what type of effect you can have on people’s lives. You have no idea

You will never be able to control me, no matter how hard you try.

I close with the most sincere hope that you will one day change and all people will have the chance to grow up and live happy and carefree lives.

5


The Blind

James Griffin-Frankel, 8th grade

Scholastic Writing Awards honorable mention

Where are you with your majestic ways? For it is so cloudy these few Autumn days I see in you what no one else can I know what you don’t know I see I see You may not know now though soon you too will see Whose garden this is

It really is quite queer One day I went to see This dove was there up in a tree Its head turned towards me It went right through me then smoke came out through my mouth I could not see and I could not feel Now it is your turn my old friend.

I do not know They’re drinking In the tavern now Nobody sees, nobody notices that horn over there It may not be much but soon their life will be over and the world will be in the sea The old cabin across the bog and through the woodland which nobody sees It is strange over there Every time somebody goes there they do not come back

Justin Hohn - Gr.7 6


Zoe Tirinzani - Gr. 5

Who Am I to Me? Summer Green, 7th Grade

Who am I? I am known as “that one girl” Who am I? I am “That kid” stuck inside her fantasized world Who am I? I am “Daydreamer Number One” Who am I? I am someone who only longs to have fun Who am I to me? I am “Summer Green” Who am I to me? I am a child, racing through her dreams Who am I to me? I am “Do Not Disturb; Leave me Alone” Who am I to me? I’m “I don’t care what gender you are! Have fun, Bro!” So don’t comply to what they are putting you through And ask them yourself, “Who are you to you?” 7


April Who Doesn’t Talk Claire Borden, 8th Grade

Today at school, I ate this disgusting sandwich. It had tuna in it; at least that’s what the

chef said. I also sat with Freddy. You know, the kid that’s always wearing his pants on backwards. He is a bit annoying to be honest with you, but I had no one else to sit with. He kept telling me it was Wednesday, but I knew for a fact that today was Friday. Are you listening to me?

I looked at April. She was staring up above her, and I joined her. I could see the sky

covered with a beautiful dark blue velvet fabric, full of twinkling dots. And I quickly caught sight of the moon. It was bright and painted a beautiful shade of grey. I could see the ginormous craters shaped into it, like elephants that once roamed the small balloon in the night with their huge feet. April and I like to imagine ourselves dancing in the sky and on the moon. I quickly turned to April and asked, What are you thinking of? She of course didn’t answer, but that’s what I like about her. She will sit there and let me pour out my feelings, like pouring cold milk into a clear, clean glass. I am not sure if she listens to me rambling on and on, but I am able to spend time with April.

April, I appreciate you letting me talk. I never do this at home because my parents think

I am boring to listen to. You know, you don’t talk much with your words. I think I have only heard you say something a few times since I have known you. But maybe you are saving your voice to share something beautiful one day. You do say a lot though, but with your eyes, and you listen with all your heart. Just laying there on the pokey grass, I can see that you are enjoying this time to look at the night sky. You don’t do this very often, I can tell. Just to let you know, I am also enjoying this time. I have had a very busy Friday so far and I can’t wait to get a good night’s rest.

You are one of my greatest friends, did you know that? I love how you find the good in

everything. You think that every little mistake and imperfection was sent from up above. You find the beauty in every situation, even Grandpa Harvey when he used to sit on that bench on the corner of Love Lane. I bet you would like my friend Caroline. You find the beauty in every person and she writes about the lives of every person.

I can see why this country wanted to send people to the moon – it must have been a

beautiful site to see. I love how the moon outshines the stars. It’s so different from everything else we see in the sky. April, what are of thinking of at this very moment?

Someday the moon will fall down onto Earth, so we can all see the beauty together.

8


The 25th

Avery Lee, 8th Grade She loves that vibe. Daphne likes that feeling that she gets when she goes to walk in the woods or the forest. She likes that vibe where it’s full of white flakes that fall from the sky, and those woods are full of snow. The song, “Carol of the Bells,” is playing in her head, in the air, where she’s by herself. It’s where she goes to stay. In the frosted wonderland woods, I can feel the frosty winds under the cracks in my window. It’s getting super cold out there. I can see her hands swing back and forth into the woods, as she goes. Those forests. It’s where she never comes back. “It’s getting dark,” they say to her, trying to reel her back. I can see the cabins in the distance as I watch this scene unfold. She hears silence, except the song in the frost. Alone in that white wonderland forest, she goes. It’s where it takes her.

Charlie Bertoldo - Gr. 7 9


Stopping by Pizza on a Warmish Evening (with apologies to Robert Frost)

Adam Gottesdiener, 7th grade Whose ‘za this is I think I know The shop is in Manhattan, though They will not put it on my tab To sink my teeth into the dough My purebred pup must think it queer To stop without a treebox near To savor pizza quite alone There’s nobody to share with here He whines and tugs, and for his sake, I tell him there is no mistake The only other sound’s the crunch Of chowing down on crust and flake The taste, the texture and the heat Make leaving this pizza quite a feat Still there’s more pizzas I can eat So many pizzas I can eat

Lila Allen - Gr. 7 10


My Smile is Your Smile Your Laugh is My Laugh Alina Stoll, 5th Grade

My smile is when I have a pocket full of gold Yet it is imaginary My smile is when I find a letter From you My smile is when my bucket is full Your smile is when you have a pocket full of silver Yet that is also imaginary Your smile is when is When I Smile Your smile is when your bucket is full My pocket of gold is you You are my pocket of gold You are my Gold Your pocket of silver is me I am your Silver My bucket is full when I get a laugh out Of you Your bucket is full when You see me put hearts in your Bucket I will smile when you smile That’s what make me happy You will laugh when I laugh That’s what makes you happy My smile is your smile Your laugh is my laugh Together this is when our bucket is full You’re my gold, I’m your silver And this will never change My smile is you smile and your laugh is my laugh 11

Jade Lichtenstein - Gr. 7

Eve Lipkin - Gr. 7


You Can’t Make Homes out of People Kayla Nelson, 8th Grade

You can’t make homes out of people That’s not the way it goes And if you think that’s a good idea You’re going to feel alone You can’t make homes out of people. They are unstable. Unpredictable. They can fall at any minute, and you can’t blame them because we weren’t made to be shelter for someone else.

Max Lardschneider - Gr 8

You can’t make homes out of people because they aren’t always who they say they are. They lie. A lot. And when they lie it hurts more than that feeling you get when you see something that you didn’t want to see. You can’t make homes out of people because they can’t just be there when you’re done with the day. People aren’t shelters. You can’t use them when you need them and go on with your life when you don’t. You can’t abandon them when you find something better. And if you really think that you can find something better than a home that cares for you, about you, and worries about you when you don’t return for days. That constantly wishes the best for you even when you’re being the most obnoxious person ever, even after all the wrong that you have done. You must be really ungrateful. You can love people. And you can let them love you. You can put your faith and hope in them. You can let them know how much they mean to you. You can be their safe space when they need you. And they can be yours. There is nothing wrong with having someone to be there for you when you need them. But please. Don’t make homes out of people. Because when that foundation comes crashing down they’ll be left in the cold rain, staring at the broken pieces of the foundation that they thought was strong and secure. And I don’t want to see someone as kind and vulnerable as they are standing out in the rain alone. 12


Recycling

Nina Haskins, 7th grade I made a lot of mistakes In my past Mistakes of pain and brutality Causing a family trauma And Everlasting agony Now on death row Regretting my past Solitary Confinement was worse than prison However, it did get me To reflect on my merciless ways And eventually I decided: I wanted to be recycled.

Zack Elliot - Gr. 8

-I know this sounds crazy But disregard the Solitary Confinement, and just listenI knew I was an old plastic bottle Tumbling through the streets I’ve been down too many blocks, and have seen too many things‌ So I kept on tumbling Never wanted to go back But tumbled onto the wrong street My wish: to be recycled To have an opportunity to turn into someone else To have a chance of building a new life So I can never make those mistakes again Those mistakes of pain and brutality 13


Home

Daelynn Glinton, 8th grade I had a house in Charlotte. I don’t remember

was an unused building that was well taken care of.

much of it. I do remember me covering the whole

My grandpa says it is because “people judge a book by

house in baby powder as a baby and leaving my tiny

its cover.” That is true. To the six families living there,

footprints in them. It was like a bunny rabbit hopping

it seemed like it was a home, but it wasn’t my home.

through the snow, leaving its paw prints behind so

that the hunter could help hunt it, but it’s not like my

ment building that only went up to the 11th floor.

mom tried to eat me.

We lived on the 2nd floor, right down the hall from

I had a house in Ayden. I lived there for about

my aunt and her family. It was a weird building with

3 to 4 years. It was a yellow, one story house, with

one big laundromat on the first floor. All the grand-

a mini barn, shed, and a garden, and a drive way. It

mothers in the building would tell us “Y’all be careful

housed my grandma, my sister, mom, two of my cous-

‘bout that laundry room. Don’t go in there or y’all fin-

ins, and me. It housed a few of my birthday parties. I

na be sorry.”

don’t remember anything else about either house in

North Carolina.

room. I was a little scared, only because it was dark

I lived in three different apartment buildings

and creepy, and it felt like there was something lurk-

in New York for the past 8 years. I lived in apartment

ing throughout the room and you would never know.

buildings. One on 123rd, one one 126th, and now one

on 155th. I lived in two apartments in the same Lati-

was a fight and some groups of guys would be in the

no neighborhood, yet I never understood or learned

lobby, smoking and chilling in the lobby and talking

much Spanish from living there.

loudly.

The house on 123rd was a 4 story, red brick

The house on 126th was a wide and tall apart-

The little children were afraid of the laundry-

Overall, the building was quiet unless there

It was nice hanging out with my family down

building. The vines grew on the side of the building,

the hall. Eating curry chicken, rice, beans everyday.

like a snake, slithering on a surface that made him

Occasionally, we would have an Indo-Trinbagonian

visible and dangerous although he was beautiful and

dish called dal, curried lentil soup with rice and the

harmless on the inside. The building was mysterious

spiciest dried pepper ever existing. My aunt and my

and was the ugly duckling of the block. You would

oldest cousin, Tannis, would tease me about how I

have sworn it was a church when you saw the outside,

couldn’t stand the heat of the pepper. “Gyal, you no

but once you saw the inside, you would’ve been very

take weh da heat? Why you eat tree peppers if you

confused.

can’t take weh da heat? Back home you get dem

Yes, the building had a church on the side of

licks if you no take weh da heat.” They would say.

the first floor, and it was also a place where people

I always replied with the same ole response, “Eh-eh

new to the city lived. But it was my grandpa’s build-

Tanti. I can stand the peppers, they are not spicy.”

ing. Each apartment had a bathroom, one to two bed-

Who was I fooling? We all knew that I couldn’t

rooms, and a kitchen. But the mysteriousness of it all

take the heat, but I can now. Well, I’m not too sure

was the fact that it looked nothing like an apartment

about that.

building and the average person who have thought it

14

In my old neighborhood, all that you ever


heard in the street was Spanish or a dialect of some

the chicken soup from the Caribbean restaurant on

sort. Most of the time, the people in the street would

125th. I miss my Caribbean/Hispanic neighborhood.

stop me and talk to me in Spanish. I was always con-

But, it was never my home.

fused and said “No hablo Espanol.� I was always an-

noyed by it, but after living there for a long time, I got

than the past, and definitely on a higher floor. I never

used to it. I do miss the smell of tamales and tacos

lived anywhere above the 4th floor. Now we are living

and grilled corn with cheese drowning my nose when

so close to the sky, nearly at the top of the building,

I would walk through the predominantly Mexican

but only at the 21st floor. We have stairs and eleva-

section of the neighborhood.

tors. We have stairs and a glass door. All of that in

New York City.

I do miss the smell of baked chicken, rice,

I just moved to my new house. A lot larger

beans, sweet plantains, and pastelitos as I passed the

But never did I have a home. Never did I live

Dominican restaurant by my house on 123rd. I do

in one house for more than five years. Five houses,

miss the smell of roti, jerk and curry chicken, spicy

but zero homes.

rice and beans, and the hot and delicious smell of

Julien Polycarpe - Gr. 5 15


Time

Mae Walker, 6th grade

Sometimes I live in the moment; When everything can be beautiful, my tree- filled mind blooming with crimson blossoms. Sometimes I can’t stop thinking about every moment going by, losing time into a deep, dark, endless hole, that’s represented best by my swirling thoughts. Sometimes I’m oblivious to the precious time passing This happens when I’m consumed in a thought, a plot, a book, a look. When this happens, I have to verify that I’m fine, Not going insane, I’m just losing time. But that’s not okay, I have to make wrong right, Change the world, so it’s good again I can’t waste my time. Yet I’m wasting my time thinking I’m not right, Thinking I’m useless, when I’m not. I’m not. Sometimes I ponder the past. When the worries flew by like birds in the sky, drifting away, as I yelled goodbye. I would chase the butterflies, before I had machines to eat up my time, ravenous monsters waiting for someone to come along and simply click a button- a trap. I would play with my imaginary friends, play that we were older, our minds hungry for the future we had been waiting for what feels like forever. We thought we’d grow old as friends, we promised we’d sit in our grey haired- circle, awaiting a perfect ending. Sometimes promises are kept, a precious thought you guarantee will live in your drumming heart for eternity. But everything ends. Eternity is only an idea, floating in our heads, like the stars on a cloudless night. You can’t promise eternity. You can’t go back. Now is the only time you have. Yet, sometimes, I ponder the past. 16


Dancing on the Moon Hal Claire, 7th grade i’m dancing on the moon. swaying in the shadows. lifting in the wind. smile. i’m dancing on the moon. screaming in the meadows. crying in the desert. help. i’m dancing on the moon. breathing in the darkness. falling to the light. stay.

Alexei Brusiloff - Gr. 8

When I Step On Stage Lila Ehrlich, 7th grade

The adrenaline begins to rush Filling my body with a jolt of lightning I can’t see the audience I can only see my girls The music starts My body takes control of my mind I’m not thinking anymore I’m dancing Dancing Like I’ve never danced before Dancing Like this is the last time I’ll ever be able to Because it is. Claire Kuno - Gr. 7 17


Halmoni

Clara Shapiro, 7th grade

Scholastic Writing Awards gold key husband was impatient, longing for a son, though Halmoni felt that each of her three--now four--girls could be as valuable as any son, if not more. Halmoni pinched Moon Eok’s scrawny legs, and the baby screwed up her long face in preparation for a wail, with what little baby fat she had dissipating into the hollows of her cheekbones. Halmoni grimaced. A gaunt, long face, especially in a baby, foretold poverty and starvation according to popular Korean belief. Worse, Moon Eok had been born on the fourth day of the fourth month as the fourth baby in the family. Her unlucky face was compounded by the unluckiness of so many fours because the Chinese character for the number four looked similar to the Chinese character for death (and Koreans also used these Chinese characters). Halmoni could hear the hissing gossip of the village women outside the door, impatient to judge how unlucky the week-old baby looked. The shaman, the fortune teller, would be coming from the hut in the mountains soon to read Moon-Eok’s thin, red face. As the sun set over Taegu province, Old Gok, the shaman, gave a feeble tap at the door with the head of her walking stick. The gossip of the village women sputtered out as Old Gok hobbled her way into the house. She made her way into the bedroom, where the baby lay in the arms of Halmoni. Incense candles smelling of myrrh wafted a drowsy smoke into the air, the musky tendrils of perfume coiling around the meager furniture. Upon Moon Eok’s birth, Halmoni had done a bit of amateur face reading herself. She had predicted that the child would be unlucky, but the village women coerced her into seeing a professional shaman before Halmoni announced such a harsh fortune for her child. The shaman sat down, fixing a blank stare

Halmoni “I will only suffer three days longer,” Halmoni croaked softly in Korean to her second daughter, Hyun Ja. The only English words Halmoni knew were scrawled in tiny, dog eared notebooks she had kept since her arrival in America twenty-five years earlier, but most of the phrases were mundane such as, “How much is this rice?” Expressing feelings about dying was not something the textbooks had covered. Gazing up at the ceiling as if she thought heaven would take her now if she asked, Halmoni wished for her suffering to be over. Eyes were the only part of Halmoni’s face that weren’t wrinkled, but they reflected change, time, and worry accumulated over ninety-three years. With some effort, Halmoni rolled over to cradle the face of her daughter. Hyun Ja gazed down, not wanting her mother to see the tears forming in her eyes. She chided herself. Hyun Ja had known the end was coming for a while now, and she knew resisting the cycle of life was fruitless. Halmoni had dozed off, leaving her features slightly more relaxed, not contorted by the pain of her old age. Hyun Ja’s father, long dead, had often commented on the beauty Halmoni had once possessed. Halmoni had been sought after after as a young woman, her pristine skin glowing like moonlight, her hair an ebony silk, and her eyes warm and gentle. Hyun Ja had no reason to doubt her mother’s death prognostication. In Halmoni’s village back in Korea, Halmoni had been known to make accurate predictions. Moon Eok “It’s a girl? Aygu! Wife, you have angered me with the birth of yet another daughter!” bellowed Halmoni’s husband before storming out of the house. Halmoni stared reproachfully down at her new baby girl, Moon Eok, wishing she could blame someone other than herself for the gender of the baby. Her 18


every day that he was stupid and would never amount to anything.

into the gaunt face of Moon Eok. Halmoni glanced nervously at Old Gok, waiting for her to speak. Finally, Old Gok took a raspy breath and began her prophecy: “Face and fate are horribly sealed, but beneath the fog of her visage, a noble mind is concealed.”

Whether of a broken heart or sickness, Moon Eok died when Chul was still only a child, with only Chul to mourn the loss, for her husband only missed her dinners and housekeeping skills. And so, Halmoni’s prediction had come true.

Halmoni could have contemplated the shaman’s words long after the incense had burned low, but Old Gok went on talking, this time in a regular voice. “She will struggle with her misfortune, but this child is smart. Four...four... four...horse-face... too skinny,” muttered the shaman as she turned away and shuffled out of the house. The weight of the misfortune crashing down on the baby made the room turn cold, though the fire in the hearth continued to dance in a graceful flicker.

Three Days Later The doctors said there was nothing to do but wait. Halmoni moaned, writhed for a moment, and proceeded to mumble deliriously as she groped the air. The doctors wearing their starched white lab coats whispered grimly among each other in the room next door, while Hyun Ja gently squeezed Halmoni’s age-spotted hands and whispered comforting words into the old woman’s ear. Hyun Ja noticed when Halmoni’s heart monitor went flat with a long, drawn out beep. In a panic, Hyun Ja tore away from her mother’s bedside and raced to the doctors in the room next door. When the doctors saw the heart monitor, they strode away in their matter-of-fact attitude, only one woman stopping to offer a small smile of condolence. Hurriedly, Hyun Ja tried an old trick Halmoni had once taught her. She rummaged around in her purse for a makeup mirror, and held it up to her mother’s parched lips. No fog appeared, and only then did Hyun Ja give up all hope that a whisper of life still fed Halmoni’s heart.

Instead of clinging onto the small bit of hope for Moon Eok, Halmoni spent Moon Eok’s childhood reminding her that she was unlucky. In time, Moon Eok believed she was cursed too. The ruddy complexion of Moon Eok’s baby face faded to be replaced with inflamed acne as a teenager, the countless rice mask remedies only deepening the scars that looked as though millet grains had been embedded in her skin. Halmoni attributed the acne to Moon Eok’s bad luck. Moon Eok was the smartest of all the sisters, but her cleverness and quick wit gave her little advantage, since she was a Korean woman in the 1950s. After all her sisters had gotten married, even the younger ones, Moon Eok went to visit a matchmaker in desperation. She was eager to wed the first man who agreed to marry her as long as he was intelligent. A tall, balding man with a twisted smile and a fancy university degree was prepared to marry anyone who would make sure he was well fed.

It was a blustery day in January, the trees bending over to pay their last respects to Halmoni. Exactly three days after her prediction, Halmoni died on the eighth day of the month -- eight being the symbol for infinity and eternity. Hyun Ja knew Halmoni would have liked that. It was not a sad day or one of mourning because Halmoni’s soul was prepared to continue its journey. Hyun Ja wished she could have asked Halmoni whether she had simply given up the will to live, or if she had really foretold her death. Hyun Ja even wondered if Halmoni had been a shaman herself.

The abuse started scarcely after he had said, “I do.” Her husband had no respect for her, and Moon Eok’s son, Chul, was abused and neglected by his father. Chul’s teachers identified him as having exceeding intelligence, but instead of nurturing Chul’s talents, the child’s father took pleasure in telling Chul 19


The Boy on the Moon Dedicated to Diego Underhill Eliza Baron-Singer, 6th Grade

There once lived a boy who thrived off of pig pictures and American Horror Story. He

grew and changed, but his smile never did. It stayed illuminated, even during the darkest of days. He was a friend to all, especially animals. From his dog to his snake to his closest friend, he took incredible care, making sure they were loved.

He was a dream chaser and a dream catcher. He worked harder than anyone else, and

wished again and again. He watched his sister grow up and move schools. He loved her like nobody else and tried his best to keep her safe. At night, he would leap among the stars. He was loved and he loved others.

In the summer, he would sail in the sparkling blue bay and frolic on the beach. He

would go fishing and barbeque sweet peaches and pineapple. The boy would sometimes go exploring and collect seashells. He would sit at the edge of the warm water and let it lap over his toes.

Some days in the winter, he would go sledding with his sister and drink hot cocoa. He

would run outside and catch snowflakes on his tongue. The boy’s family would celebrate the holidays, and eat until they were bloated. Those cold winter nights, he would sit huddled up against his dog, until he finally fell asleep.

Other days in spring, he would go outside and play in the sunshine. Sometimes he and

his family would go away for two weeks. He would weave flower crowns and sleep under the moon. He would discover new animals and make new friends. The boy would see his extended family and bathe in sea of hugs and kisses.

The boy always stayed put, two feet planted firmly on the ground, but he still wished.

He wished of flying above the earth and living in outer space. He dreamt of living on the moon, looking down on Earth. He would fly to other galaxies and dance among the planets. He would be king of the universe, and all comets would bow down to him. The boy wanted to be a kind king, he would feed the hungry and shower the lonely with love.

But all stories must come to an end, and so it did. But his story was never forgotten.

People still remember him for his luminous smile and giant heart. Someday if you look up at the moon, you might just catch a glimpse of the boy with the green streak in his hair. 20


Carter Roebuck - Gr. 6


375 Pearl Street Brooklyn, New York 11201 718.852.1029 brooklynfriends.org Jazz Hart - Gr. 8

BFS Scribe 2017  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you