* Inside the Teen Brain * Garden Talk * Wasabi Has Benefits * Sushi & Relationship Advice
A FREE journal written by young people for young-minded people
s you grow and mature, things you have learned from your past randomly intersect with your life in the present. Sometimes this is referred to as the 6 degrees of separation. When these alignments occur they create a moment of insight that may spark a new idea. An idea that truly inspires you will grow if you focus and do diligent work to push it forward, know it, and nurture it to make it real. Later on your idea may take on a life of its own and suddenly the idea you were pushing is pushing you instead! Several years ago while looking through my pile of New York Times articles which I tear out determined to read later there was one about the human brain. Ohhh - someone had written a book called My Stroke of Insight and it was getting great reviews. Soooo cool! Brainy grey matter: its hidden secrets, the 2 hemispheres, and its power - if used wisely! The author was a neurobrain-scientist, who by synchronistic chance had a stroke (when a vein ruptures in the brain) and was able to give an inside view of the experience from a brain scientist’s point of view. How synchronistic is that? It then mentioned that the author was from Indiana - ha, what do you know: I am a “Hoosier,” too. She grew up in Terre Haute - my hometown! Gosh I might know her. Jill Bolte Taylor…OMG, both our mothers were professors and very good friends. And, I knew her brother! Here and now I have had the pleasure of meeting several young writers who want to explore doing interviews. Would Jill Bolte Taylor give one? She gets hundreds of email requests: Oprah, for one. Jill is one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks and has graced the cover of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2008. We had to ask! Thanks to Caleb McNamara, she answered a few questions about the teen brain. Well, my past had just intersected with my present and I grabbed it.
On the cover: Eden O’Clair (fairy) strumming her ukulele at the Woodstock Day School Photo by Chloe Rovitz
Summer issue coming next! Deadline May 9th.
High School Messages Board (anonymous) Photography/ Boxing Article making, Indians on the Hudson Page 4 • www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com
Interview: Las Noticias.................................................. p. 13 Advice......................................................................... p. 14-15 The WALL.................................................................. p. 16-17
SUBMISSION INFO: GoodLife accepts work done by young people aged 10 to 20. Work is stored if not used . Deadline: Winter: Nov 9th, Spring: Feb 9th, Summer: May 9th, Fall: • Permission: Need a parental email if you are younger than 16 (giving permission to publish your work & receive payment.) Need address. • Topics Examples: Lifestyle, music, book & movie reviews, sports & fitness,political & environmental. • Writing strategies: Reflecting, Reporting, Explaining, Arguing, Opinion and Humor! Length 200 to 500 words
Feature Story: Inside the Teen Brain..................... p. 18-19 Adventure Home-N-Abroad................................... p.20-21 Reality TV........................................................................ p. 22
Be CREATIVE and send work that you would be proud to have published All articles must be appropriate for ages 10 to 100! Send to: Goodlifejournal@gmail.com or GoodLife Journal
Body Image / Health...................................................... p. 23 Home Design.............................................................. p.24-25 Poetry.......................................................................... p. 26-27
20 Mountaiview Ave. Woodstock, NY 12498
Contents Interview :Jenny Brown................................................... p. 6 Gardening.......................................................................... p. 7 Fiction section............................................................. p. 8-12
Books /Library........................................................... p. 28-29 Band/Youth Center................................................... p. 30-31 Support / In Memory............................................... p. 32-33
Editor-in-Chief........................................................ Cathy McNamara Art Director...............................................................Grey Ivor Morris Senior Copy Editor......................................................... Julie Schmidt Copy Editor..........................................Monique Winum Martindale
Marketing & Sales Director.......................................Carolyn Handel. Sales................................................................................... Marie Shultis.
Thanks, Cathy McNamara (publisher) (845) 332-3353
thank you to our generous sponsors! GOLD
Nick Alba Marilyn Manning Lydia Yeung Joan Reynolds
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Throughout the Hudson Valley, Published by GoodLife Publishing 20 Mountainview Avenue Woodstock, NY 12498
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 5
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
by Jonah Martindale, age 14
ferent way of life and show others how we can live happy lives without causing harm to others. (When Jenny was age 10 she was diagnosed with cancer and her right leg was amputated.)
JM: Do you think losing your leg influenced your life path and decision of starting the sanctuary? Photo by Dylan McNamara
met with Jenny Brown, founder and owner of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, on a rainy, February day in her home to ask her some questions
JONAH MARTINDALE: What inspired you to start the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary?
Jenny Brown: It was actually a little cat I had gotten when I was a little girl; it opened my eyes to the fact that non-human animals have emotions just like you and I do. And in my years of being an animal advocate - going to circus protests, becoming a vegetarian at age 18 and reading about animals that are used in laboratories - when you look at the percentage of animals that are abused and treated very poorly, 97% of those animals are livestock. After you treat those animals with kindness and get emotional ties with a cow or a pig you start to see they act very much so like a companion animal, such as a dog or a cat. After visiting another sanctuary and seeing farm animals there, it showed me how powerful that can be. The idea of putting people in the situation where they can be face to face with an animal they’re only used to eating is a really good idea to me because it shows people they have feelings, too. So I left my career and became an animal activist full-time, and having a sanctuary means I get to hang out with farm animals all the time which I love!
JB: I think it made me sensitive to suffering because the cancer hit me when I was ten years old. When you’re a kid the adults make all the decisions for you and you’re not really in control of your own life. I realized that the same was true for animals: they have no voice, and the voice we have we don’t always listen to. It was more an issue of the innocents; I couldn’t control what happened to me with losing my leg and missing school and all that, but by helping animals I can help control what happens to them.
JM: What has been your biggest challenge in life? JB: The biggest challenge is people want to say where can I buy humane eggs? Is it better to buy better meat? But for me I don’t condone eating animal products at all, although that may be a step in the right direction for some people. It shocks me how uneducated people are with the way the livestock industry works. When they keep chickens in cages the chickens are prone to peck each other so they chop theirbeaks off so they can’t peck at each other. Then what they do with the males when they are just chicks is absolutely terrible. They are literally ground up alive or they all go into a garbage bag while they are all still alive - when the bag fills up they bring it out to the dump. So the biggest challenge for me is knowing all these facts and not being able to get it through to everyone’s mind how truly awful the industry is. Thank you for the interview, Jenny. It was a pleasure.
JM: Are you happy with your decision of devoting your entire life to animals and the sanctuary?
Jenny wrote a book, called The Lucky Ones. I highly recommend it. It not only has great animal stories in it, but also many things that will really make you think about eating meat. Something that has stuck with me since reading the book is the fact that animals suffer at our hands. Just because they can’t speak up for themselves doesn’t mean they should be treated badly. Jonah Martindale interviews Jenny Brown. “I’d like us to be compassionate, not because tests show similarities between our intelligence and theirs, but because imposing pain, fear, loneliness, and imprisonment on sentient beings of any intelligence simply isn’t right.” – Jenny Brown, The Lucky Ones
JB: Absolutely, I feel very happy to be working for something that I care so deeply about as a career; I want to be a revolutionary for a dif-
For information about donations or volunteering at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, visit http://woodstocksanctuary.org/.
JM: What was your career before you made the decision of starting the sanctuary? JB: I worked in film and television for about ten years and that’s how I met my husband: we worked on a television show together in Boston. I worked on Nova and other similar shows. I had gone to film school and really thought I was where I wanted to be. Then I did undercover footage of what happens to livestock that are too sick to get on the trucks that bring them to slaughter houses. After seeing how those animals were treated that week in 2002 I made the decision to devote my life to taking care of animals and try to prevent things like that from happening.
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Gardening Tips from Sunfrost
his March I had the privilege of interviewing Matt Ballister, the owner of Sunfrost Farms in Woodstock. When I walked in the store was bustling. The fruits and vegetables lining the aisles looked ripe and delicious, even in March. The employees work with a smile on their faces, and this happy atmosphere rubs off onto the customers. I sat down with Matt in the juice bar, and we began our talk. I asked him if he had any tips for an inexperienced young person who wants to start a garden. He told me that the number one thing (besides sun and water) is the soil that you use. The three most important ingredients are nitrogen - for good green growth, phosphorus - for flowering, and potassium - for healthy roots and stems. These ingredients are commonly referred to as N.P.K. (The soil bag will specify.) Also learning about composting to enrich the soil. I asked where to situate a garden. Matt said the best place for a garden is somewhere where you can get full exposure to the sun. This is especially necessary for fruits and vegetables, because they love sun. Some flowers like shade. Another thing he said was that it is important that your garden is in a well-drained area, so that you don’t get water piling up in your garden. In response to my question of what plants are easy to grow, and do well in this region, Matt said the list is infinite. Some of the plants he listed were leafy greens, squashes, tomatoes, cabbages, eggplants, pep-
Garden Cafe Review
Photo by Dylan McNamara
his is hands down one of my favorite restaurants in Woodstock, where my family has a country house. If I have a choice of where to eat it’s here for lunch! Everything is Organic and farm fresh and vegetarian. My family and I always pretty much stick to the same thing here because we love our favorite dishes but when we try something new its always a winner. We always order the Vivacious Violet smoothie which is a delicious blend of blueberries and cocoa and soy milk. My favorite lunch is the Macro Meal. I get the tofu, arame, sauteed greens, brown rice and tahini sauce. This dish could make even the worst child eater a fan of healthy food. My Dad tried something new this time…it was a lentil
Outdoors Article and photos by Leo Lasdun, age 14
pers, potatoes, beans, asparagus, apples, plums, peaches, and cherries. Matt said that on average, an hour a day was needed to properly take care of a garden. He said depending on the size of your garden you might need more time, or you might need less time, but on average about an hour a day. The more time you put into it, the more you will get out of it. I inquired as to what a gardener should be doing in March to prepare for gardening season. Matt said to start planning, and drawing out your garden on paper. He said to start ordering seeds, and to start making compost. Compost can be made out of scraps from your kitchen, and fallen leaves. Matt says, “You can’t make enough compost.” According to Matt, the benefit of growing and eating your own food is personal satisfaction. He says the fact that you’ve put work into this food and now you’re eating it makes it taste all the better. Also, he adds that food you grow in your own garden is some of the best, most nutritional food you can get your hands on.
By Finn Doering, age 10 loaf with some kind of mango sauce and it was really good. He often gets the Grilled Portabella Panini which has roasted peppers, caramelized onions, garlic aioli and is on a whole wheat foccacia. The place is always crowded and you have to have a bit of patience because it always takes awhile to get your food…but it’s worth the wait. The garden is really pretty and offers extra seating. Dont miss this little gem of a place in the heart of Woodstock!
“...this little gem of a place in the heart of Woodstock”
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 7
The Tree That Dreamed
here once was a very large sycamore tree whose age was beyond anyone’s memory. In the nooks and crannies of the roots that sprawled at her base, different creatures, including humans, had slept. Many of them were dreamers. By and by the tree became more and more aware of these dreams until its roots began to absorb them. They finally became woven into the very growth rings of her tree trunk. As time went by the dreams taken in by the tree roots became more and more vivid and interesting to the tree. Soon it was as if they had taken on a life of their own. And the tree began to have strange yearnings that it had never experienced before. Some were truly fantastic and even included the desire to fly. The dreams became so pesky to the rooted nature of the tree that she decided to banish them to her leaves, where she believed they could do no harm. The leaves were even more strongly affected by the dreams then the tree. Their small green bodies literally quivered and shook from the force of many of the dreams. Being so stimulated by the dreams, filled to overflowing with their contents, the leaves developed a strong desire to communicate with one another. The mother tree paid no mind to their doings, thinking it was only the usual silly
chitchat of the leaves blowing in the breeze. And it came to pass that a large group of leaves developed a desire to fly. They wished to cross the sky in search of new adventures. In their enthusiasm they sent out the thought to the mother tree that they wished to fly, and wanted her to uproot herself so that they could do so. The mother tree was very upset by the idea of being uprooted; she saw any possibility of it happening would mean the end of them all. So no matter what the leaves said, she remained firmly rooted in her position which was a resounding no. But that message did nothing to quell the wish of the leaves to explore. And their desire to fly grew more and more. Eventually they hatched a plan. On the next full moon, when the rest of the tree was asleep, all the leaves soaked up as much moonlight energy as they possibly could. Individually no single leaf had much power, but thousands of them working together were able to create an incredible lift. When all the leaves were filled to almost bursting with moonlight, they tried as one body to lift the tree. As gently as possible, they rocked the tree back and forth in an effort to loosen the roots without waking the rest of the tree. Eventually they were successful and the tree lifted off the ground into the full mooned sky as softly as a soap bubble rising. The leaves were amazed at all the beautiful sights they could see. By working together, they learned how to steer. Some of them especially liked plowing through low lying clouds. Finally the sun came up and the rest of the tree woke up. There are no words to describe how totally surprised and shocked the mother tree was about their situation But in the end , being a very practical creature, she asked the leaves if they had seen a good place where they could become rerooted. The leaves, not wanting to upset the mother tree further, quickly made the suggestion to root at a nearby swamp. It appeared to have much dark rich earth. They soon settled down with roots sinking back deep into the earth. In no time many of the creatures living there, including alligators, frogs, and dragonflies, greeted the tree and made her feel at home. Soon the tree became so comfortable with her new neighbors that she began to feel that she had always been there. And she may be there still…though I have heard the leaves whispering lately about how they may want to catch a rainbow someday.
Illustration by Allison Paton
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By John Covenant, children’s author
Everlasting By Elias Sorich, age 17
Illustration by Caleb McNamara
made camp at the foot of the mountain, I could hear the sound of acorns dropping off of faraway trees. It was graceful and serene; flowing off of my skin as beads of water do. The tent was pitched and I needed food. Stalking through the woods, I moved ghost-like. Hearing a snap, I turned my head and saw a deer. Quickly and instinctively, I loosed two arrows from my bow. Silently and methodically I ran to fallen nature. It had died quickly, but I felt a wave of sadness in the exchange. We had shaken hands and then it had all fallen away and we were stripped of all the masks we had ever thrown on. So I gave respect to the thing; it was the least I could do. Back at the camp I ate my meal, it was cooked to perfection. I slept the night and the wonder-taker visited my dreams. He told me that the world is dead and that it will never be the way it should be. I woke up disbelieving, but fell back asleep more or less convinced. Walking up the mountain was a dreamlike affair. The sun was rising, as suns usually do, and the birds were chirping, as birds usually do. A bee stung me, which was odd because bees like to rise late, and over to the edge. It was a fairly sheer cliff. Looking down I felt, though a wolf pack dashed across my path. They knew I was there, which was my eyes told me different, that it was an endless expanse. It drew me also odd because I could feel that they didn’t care for me, nor would in, and I felt myself inching forward. It was alarming, I gritted my they ever care for me. It was saddening and I shouted, teeth and tried to walk backwards. Nothing doing. I was coming ever “Why? Please know me!” so close to the edge. My toes were dangling off of it and I grunted with But they just looked at me with eyes of stone and left. shock. Then, in a second, I tipped off the ledge like some behemoth So I walked up the pebble path, cursing the way of things. It was a crashing to the earth. long hike, and the man-of-day smiled at me from far, far above. I would Falling, I thought where does it come from? The air, I mean. I blinkrun as fast as I could at times, just for fun. Then, when I could take it no ed. Then I remembered that I had forgotten something. I couldn’t lay more, when I was in agony, I would fall on the ground and pant for five a finger on it. Then I did! It was my fingers! I snapped and found myminutes. Then I would get up and do it again. My muscles were fire for a self at the bottom of the mountain. I made camp, and I could hear long time, flowing lava and liquid iron. It was fine, though. acorns dropping off of faraway trees. One of my eyes lit up bright blue, Along this tempered journey I found an item of passing quality. It a supernova spreading out within it, while the other was a deep gold was a stone, and did not look as stones do. It had a crack running with emerald speckles dotting its surface. I stared out into the sky and through the middle, almost sundering the entire piece in two, but not spotlights of temporal-purple created everlasting beacons. Then I did quite. This crack was filled with dust. What was best about it, however, it all again because, well, what else does Time do? were the miniature craters that marked its surface; they were rust-red. It made me question if the rock was a little planet with little people that had been bombarded by little meteors. I put it back down and maybe, accidentally, killed the native population. I was almost at the top of the mountain, and opted to rest for a while. I sat on a rock that was covered with moss and poured water into my mouth. Ants crawled along my legs, but that was okay. While I sat there, I saw a couple walking down the trail. They had presumably just come from the top, so I looked at my hands and pretended I was doing something. I didn’t want to risk hearing what the summit was like. It would ruin everything! The two walked past me, hand in hand, and I couldn’t help but feel that they were somehow wrong for the place. A while after they passed me, I stood up and resolved not to stop until I reached the highest point. Reach it I did. The sun was close to setting, I was above the mountains so it had WOODSTOCK DAY SCHOOL nowhere to hide but down. I walked onto the 845-246-3744 ext.103 NURSERY THROUGH GRADE 12 plateau. It was wonderfully flat and grassy, and woodstockdayschool.org I took it all in for a moment. Then I walked
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Has Its Benefits
Photo by Rebecca Schackne
ot having even a single vague idea of what to make for dinner, he looked in the fridge, only to find nothing edible other than sauces and spreads. He sighed. I guess we’ll have to eat out, he thought. “Hey! You want to go out for dinner? I don’t have anything at home,” he said loudly to his female friend. He heard a muffled sound in the distance in reply. Suddenly, his friend appeared in the kitchen, looking excited, “Yes! I’ve been craving sushi!” she declared. Later… She hummed as they walked along the sidewalk, heading towards the closest sushi bar. She danced around as she walked, almost like a child. “Why are you wearing a dress? It’s freezing,” he said, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I don’t know… I’m just really used to the cold, I guess. I kind of like the cool breeze,” she said, running to catch up with him when she had noticed he had gone farther ahead of her. “Are we almost there yet? I’m really hungry.” “Yeah, we’re almost there, it’s that restaurant right there. It’s the one with all the students walking in. Apparently, the sushi there is really good. I’ve never actually eaten there before, but I know the people who own it,” he said with a slight groan, pointing to the restaurant that fit his description. She instantly brightened up and grabbed his wrist before running over to their destination, “Come on! I’m hungry!” Upon entering, they were greeted by a smirking shady looking host. He looked like he was in his mid twenties. “What do we have here?” he said, looking back and forth at both of them. A woman with tanned skin and cat-like eyes came out from the back and immediately mirrored the guy’s smirk. “Well, if it isn’t the pipsqueak!” She walked over and abruptly locked him into a head lock and ruffled his hair. “I haven’t seen you in a long time, kiddo! It’s about time you came and visited us!” she said, laughing at his expression. “You even brought a cute girlfriend!” “Shut up!” he scowled and pulled her arm off of him, not even caring to deny what she said. “Can’t we just eat in peace? Come on,” he took his friend’s wrist and led her to a table near the window, away from the other two. The tanned skinned woman chuckled evilly, “Should we follow him and make his life more miserable?” Tell his dad that his little son finally got a girl friend? The shady-looking host smirked, “No, not yet. For now, we wait,” he said, his tone drenched with mischief. “Could you go take their orders,
By Mimi Ngo, age 15
please? We have some snooping to do,” he directed a young waitress with black hair. “So, they’re your family?” the girl asked curiously. “Sorta, they’re my distant cousins. They could be considered my aunt and uncle, or my guardians since they’re old enough,” he said, looking out the window. “It’s hard to tell that they aren’t a part of my family. They’re just as nosy as my dad, if not more.” She laughed and followed his gaze outside the window, “They seem nice and fun, though. I wish I had relatives like them!” “Excuse me, may I take your order?” asked the waitress, bringing over tea. He turned and nodded, “Yeah, could we have this and this,” he said pointing to some items on the menu. “Thanks.” The waitress nodded and wrote the items down before walking away. ~oOo~
“Kissing helps with spicy food”
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“Yay, food!” she said as she picked up a piece of sushi and dipped it in soy sauce. She squealed in delight at the heavenly taste, “You’re right, this sushi is amazing!” He nodded in agreement, spreading a large amount of wasabi on his piece and stuffing it in his mouth. She stared at him in amazement, “How can you stand the spiciness of the wasabi?” “Itch reary notch tatch schpishy,” he said with his mouth still full. It translated to, “It’s really not that spicy.” He swallowed, and spread wasabi on his next piece, and dipped it in soy sauce before biting half of it. “I can’t even stand a little wasabi,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief. “Here, try some. It’s not that bad, I guarantee you’ll like it,” he held
Fiction out his already bitten piece of sushi with his chopsticks and gestured her to try it. She hesitated for a moment, for two reasons. One, she didn’t want to try the wasabi. Two, she would be eating his already bitten piece of his chopsticks. It wasn’t that she was a germaphobe, she just thought it
Photo by Caleb McNamara
was a little weird. Despite that, she ate it anyway, her mouth lingering on his chopsticks for a couple of seconds too long. “Hmm… you’re right, it really isn’t that spicy,” she said, jinxing herself. Right after she said that, her tongue started to go on fire, along with her throat as she swallowed it. She started fanning her mouth with her hands and her eyes were getting watery, “W-water!” Instead of laughing like she expected him to, he looked at her, sur-
prised. Realizing that she was probably dying, he looked around, but found not a trace of water. He knew he wouldn’t find milk since milk didn’t mix well with fish, and she probably wouldn’t want tea since it was burning hot. He continued to look around urgently, and saw that his cousin was watching them. She gestured him to do something with her hands, but he wasn’t getting the message. She point at her mouth, and stuck her lips outwards. What? A fish? Or a duck? he thought. His cousin slapped her forehead as though she had heard his thoughts, “Kissing helps with spicy food!” she said loudly. He widened his eyes, sending her a message with his eyes saying, “No, that’s ridiculous, I’ve never heard of such a thing!” “Just do it!” his cousin said, slightly frustrated. He looked back between his cousin and her, his thoughts conflicting. She was looking at him, pleading for him to take away the burning sensation in her mouth. He didn’t know what to do, so he just impulsively did what he was told. He kissed her. He was leaned over the table and his eyes were shut somewhat tightly. Her watery eyes widened, and she blinked several times. Instantly, the burning sensation in her mouth was gone. Was it because he kissed her? Or was it because of the surprise that he kissed her? He pulled back quickly, and turned away from her, flustered. “So, uh… is your mouth burning anymore?” he asked, rubbing the back of his head. She sat dazed in her seat, Did that really just happen? Did he just kiss me, and somehow miraculously erase the burning feeling in my mouth? she thought, nodding at him. His cousin, who was watching from the side lines, was a little disappointed with the results. Maybe she should have told him to make out with her instead, but the look on his face made up for the disappointment. It was a good thing she had gotten the waitress to record it on her camera so she could use it as blackmail. Ah… he’s so innocent, she thought, chuckling.
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 11
The Hobo & the Bottle Aladeen bumped into hobo Joe, who granted his wish. Hobo Joe said that to undo his wish he would need to get a bejeweled bottle gaurded by Jophare, the fattest and most disgusting person. Aladeen , our hero is being chased by Jophare in the final Part #3.
he next morning, Aladeen woke up thinking it was all a dream, until he opened his eyes, saw the bottom of the bridge and realized the ugly truth. After he used his burger money to get breakfast at a nearby café, he set off for the alley where Joe lived. He was two blocks away when the fireball landed right behind him. He looked up, saw a rippling blob falling straight towards him, and started running. The sound of the landing made his eardrums explode, and he felt the strong shockwave on his back, but it felt like the impact was absorbed into his coat. He kept on running, but when he dodged another fireball he lost his balance and fell. Jophare was closing in on him and he lost all hope of making it. Right at that moment, something amazing happened. A blur passed over him and suddenly Joe was holding back Jophare’s flaming fists. A flash of blue light erupted from Joe’s palms and Jophare staggered back. “You didn’t tell me you two could do magic,” Aladeen said, an amazed look on his face. “I knew you would run if I showed you when I first met you,” said Joe while knocking a fireball off course. “I am good at that,” Aladeen admitted, but then stepped back as a fireball landed in front of him. Joe put both his hands on Jophare’s head and flipped onto the fat man’s back. Jophare attempted to get him off, but he couldn’t reach. “Aladeen, throw me the bottle!” said Joe. Aladeen picked the bottle off the ground and threw it. It was flying too far to the right, but Joe drew it to him with a flick of his wrist and caught it in his grasp. Joe let the bottle dissolve into his hands, and then he started to transform. His body became taller, and muscles bulged all over his body. His skin changed colors, from tan to greenish-blue. His hands grew to three times their original size. There were even new bones growing
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and old ones shifting. Once he was done changing, he clapped his hands together, and when he drew them apart there was a blue orb in-between his palms. Jophare’s body was starting to twist into the heart of it. Once he realized what was happening, he let out another scream that Aladeen would never forget, not of rage, but of sheer terror. His last word was “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and then he was gone. Aladeen’s heart was pounding in his chest. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. “So,” said Aladeen, “you’re a genie.” “Yup.” Joe said. “I always have been.” “Thanks for the coat. It did protect me.” “You’re welcome” “I’d like you to have my lucky flashlight in return.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” “Can I tell you what you did today?” “Sure.” “You not only helped me destroy Jophare, but you also saved the city of Hoboken and the rest of the U.S.A. along with it. Jophare planned to use the power of the bottle to turn the city into his kingdom. From here he would spread throughout the states and eventually take over the country. Also, when I undo your wish, it won’t just be yours, I’ll be undoing the wishes of people all over the city. So be proud of yourself.” He went into a deep bow, and suddenly Aladeen’s ears popped. He didn’t even need to hear anything to know his wish was undone. He shook hands with genie Joe, waved goodbye, and started walking home. He wasn’t mad at his parents anymore. In fact, he was actually happy that they’d had a fight that made him storm out of the house. If that didn’t happen, the country would have been Jophare’s. Now that he’s had time to think about it, Aladeen thinks camp is a great idea.
Illustration by Megan Stack
By Sammi Corwin, age 14
Las Noticias Q&A Below is an interview with Antonio Flores-Lobos, the editor of Las Noticias, the Spanish language newspaper of the Hudson Valley. The paper is published by the Kingston Daily Freeman. I am considering becoming a journalist and not just because of the perks, but because you get to have great experiences and meet interesting people. Most weeks Antonio chooses a person to meet, interview and write a story about. In each issue of the paper he also authors an editorial and a column about current topics like immigration, gun control and foreign affairs. Here’s the interview:
Tessa: What are your favorite parts of being a journalist? Antonio: I like to think that I am providing the Hispanic community with entertainment and information that is of importance to their everyday lives. I like to travel and to meet people who are making a difference for the rest of us.
Tessa: What made you decide to be a journalist and are you glad that you chose to work in this field? Antonio: I don’t necessarily feel this way now, but when I started, I felt that being a journalist was going to make a big difference. I was always interested in what was happening in the world and I had an opinion about it. By writing about what I thought, I hoped that I’d influence the people around me. I probably did, to some extent. However, one journalist’s influence may not be so great right now because
By Tessa Ana Flores, age 15 there are so many media outlets. Today one’s voice becomes like a raindrop in the ocean. I am glad I became a journalist, even though it is a very demanding job.
Tessa: You have travelled a lot. What are you favorite places you have been to and why?” Antonio: I have only traveled to thirty-nine of the almost two hundred countries that there are in the world. Each country I have visited has shown me an interesting perspective on life. So it’s hard for me to pick one and say this is my favorite. Each country has its natural beauty and its unique people. Each place has something special to offer. Since I like history I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Hiroshima in Japan and the Dachau concentration camp, outside Munich. I sensed the impact that these catastrophes had on peoples lives. These places had a huge impact on me because I got a sense of the horrendous suffering people endured during the Second World War. On a lighter note, I enjoyed swimming with crocodiles and piranhas in the pantanales of Brazil. I loved sitting in a Spanish plaza and watching flamenco dancing and or walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I look forward for the adventures and stories that lie ahead.
Tessa: Thanks Dad. Antonio: De nada, corazón. El Fin
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Fluffy Advice by Griffin Stewart, Brooklyn Age: 13
seconds, think about something you love. For me, I would always think about that amazing piece of chicken, a golden perfectly-cooked piece of chicken…mmmm! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Anyway, then afterwards, if you still have anxiety, talk to someone about it-say your friend, your mom, your dad, anyone who’s close to you.
be a pecking order between brothers as there is in dog packs. Be more respectful of your brother even if he is your little brother, even if he is five years old. Don’t see him as an underling. See him as an equal. And if you’re the younger brother, annoying him will not help. Trust me, I have seen it so many times. Annoying him will just not work, instead, try to be more adult with him. And if you are an older brother, stop taking stuff that he likes. It’s not going to help. Same with the younger brother. Honestly, revenge is a double-sided sword. Even if you do slight your brother, it will come back two times harder. So, here’s my sushi wisdom to you: Try to make a treaty. Shake hands. Say I am sorry. Make friends, even if you were the one who was right. And even if you think you are right and the other one is wrong, he is probably thinking the same thing. Brothers think alike. And don’t forget this guy is going to be by your side maybe for your whole life, if you treat him right. And that is my sushi wisdom to you.
“Just thinking about it makes my mouth water”
Hello fans, and welcome to the latest Ask Sushi. You have all sent in great questions but I may not be able to touch on all of them. First, let me tell you a little about my life. Lately, there has been a lot of training. Everyone is trying to get me to stop barking. They are using everything they can. They tell me this: “No noise.” I get they want me to stop barking but I never really got the “no noise” thing. Now, they are even trying to give me treats so I won’t bark and so far, it’s not that bad. I mean, they’re delicious little cookies. What’s not to like? Now, it is time to answer some questions.
Rebecca: I just moved to NYC to go to school and feel stressed by the fast-paced life style. How do you deal with stress? SUSHI: Stress! That is a tough one. There can be a lot of forms of pressure. Yours is about being over-rushed and feeling as though you won’t be able to complete it all. It’s always good when you are getting stressed-out to stop, stand still and take deep breaths. Then close your eyes and just keep saying to yourself, “I am okay.” After doing that for a few
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And now for my sushi wisdom: what you are worried about isn’t always as bad as your brain makes it out to be. If you’re stressing about, I don’t know, getting to school on time - think about it. I mean, even if you were late, it’s one day out of the week and you’re only going to be late maybe two minutes, three minutes, ten minutes. So all I am trying to say is, stay calm, think about the real truth of it, and think about whether it is really something you should be stressed about. And that is my sushi wisdom to you.
DYLAN: Dear Sushi, My brother and I fight a lot…is there any thing I can do to help us get along better? SUSHI: All right, from watching my pack a lot, I can summarize that fighting with your brother is very different from fighting say, with a friend. You keep some things back with a friend even if you don’t realize it. If you didn’t, you could offend a friend and never see them again, but if you piss off your brother you will most likely see him tomorrow and the next day and the next day and so forth. So, fighting between brothers most likely will be quite often. First of all, instead imagine your brother as one of your closest friends, because if you fight too often usually most friendships would probably break up. So, in that way the animal kingdom is very different. There shouldn’t
ANONYMOUS: When someone gives me a compliment I get really self-conscious and don’t think they really mean it. How can I get over this awkward feeling? SUSHI: Whenever, I get a compliment I do a big circle and then lick their hands. Of course, I am not saying to lick their hands. That awkward feeling might not even be what you think it is. It might just be that you are excited and you are happy, but you don’t want to embarrass yourself. I mean, after all when you are a dog you can embarrass yourself whenever you want and it’s cute because you are a dog. So, all I am trying to say is just, say “Thank you,” smile, and when you go home, look in the mirror and say, “That was really nice.” Then you can be as embarrassed as you want and no one will see…well, no one except your cat, maybe. And don’t worry, your cat doesn’t judge. So, that is my Sushi wisdom to you. Thank you for all your questions and don’t forget to add your name!
Keys to Having a Better Relationship
By Esther Harrington, age 17
Photo by Megan Stack
k, ladies and gentlemen, for my newest relationship installment I will give you ways to keep your relationship alive and thriving. Here are my top ten ways for a better relationship ride. I know we all need help once in awhile with our relationships and I hope that my readers will take this to heart. This can help with personal, romantic, or other platonic relationships. 1. Communication : I cannot stress enough how important this is. I know we all hear, “Communication is the key” and think “Wow that’s lame.” But in reality communication is a way for people in a relationship to open up to each other. Just asking how your partners day was can really help open up about what they’re feeling or what is happening in their lives. This can lead to a more in-depth talk with them in which you can communicate your feelings. So, happy talking! 2. A Calendar : This is a really good thing to have in a relationship. You can write down dinner dates, birthdays and other events. It helps you remember so that your partner isn’t yelling at you for forgetting his or her birthday. You also can get a better idea of when you want time for yourself or to be with your partner. 3. Humor : relationships need humor or they get too boring. Try a joke book so that you can make that special someone laugh. It will make them and you feel better. 4. Unusual Dates: I know we all go on them. But its time to rethink the date. Go dancing instead of a movie. Watch the stars or visit a museum. Do something you usually don’t do. 5. Time with the family : This is good for couples because they can see the people their partner grew up with. They also can find out more about their partner through family members. 6. Space : At the same time people need their space. It’s okay if you don’t see your partner for a day or weekend or more. Remember you need you time. 7. Cuddle Time: It creates good feelings and comfort. We all need it even as kids. It’s a staple for everyone. 8. Accepting: We all have our secrets. Some are good some are bad. But when it comes to having a partner we want to be able to be open with them about our past. So when your partner or you has to talk about something that’s important, keep an open ear. 9. Time: Don’t move too fast. Take your time with the relationship. You need to sit back and enjoy yourselves, not stress the relationship. 10. Love: I think this is the main ingredient in any relationship. Love is what turns the world. It’s what we all need. Remember to always cherish love. www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 15
illustration * art
Artwork by Rachel Reimer, age 15
Artwork by Monty Stewart, age 17 Game by Haana Gillstar, age 13 Page 16 â€˘ www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com
id you hear about the new Call of Duty? Cool. Another first person shooter... there have been a lot of those lately, haven’t there? Ach, I grow tired of all these new games coming out-- no originality. Can’t they even TRY to come up with an original idea? It drives me mad! But you see, that’s MY problem. I am afflicted with a horrible disease. I like to call it “Monty’s Syndrome”. It is when you’re allergic to anything trendy. Whenever something becomes popular, I don’t go near it—it gives me a rash. Instead, I have to venture away from the crowd and find things that are unique and different (not trendy). For example, when kids started listening to Dubstep, I started listening to Heavy Metal. Have you ever heard of Dio? It’s an acquired taste, but I love it! Here’s another example: Skyrim. When it came out, everybody told me that it was the best game of the year. “You haven’t played it yet? Dude! You gotta try it,” they told me. “Nahhhhhh...” I said, “It’d probably make my eczema flare up.” Instead, I decided to go on a little video game adventure. In my travels I discovered several games that no one has ever even heard of before. Stop me if you’ve heard of them: Vectorman, Fatal Labyrinth, Brutal Legend, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, M.U.G.E.N, Age of Mythology, Lode Runner. Any of those ring a bell? Well that’s what
Opinion With Monty Stewart
we’re here for! I want you to think more critically about things! Ask questions! Why do I like this game? Why does everyone else like this game? Why the heck am I playing this game? Together we’re gonna take a look at the overlooked, delve into the mysterious, try new things, and examine the unexamined! Pour out your apple juice and take a sip of this gatorade, (metaphorically speaking, of course.) It has got a bitter sweet taste, but there’s just something so magical about it! That’s what I’d like to do with this column. Together we’re gonna take a look at video games, books, movies, novels, TV shows and other things that I like because of my special disability. I want to show you some things you’ve probably never seen before, or maybe you have, and they bring back happy memories! Then I want YOU to decide whether or not you’d play this game or read this book or watch this movie, etc. Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your opinion! I’d love to hear it! Well, I think I’ve spent most of this article explaining my goals and ambitions, so next time we will actually begin our idiosyncratic search for new media. This was Monty Stewart, signing off now. And don’t forget you can also check me out at http://thecriticalcrustacean.blogspot.com. *DISCLAIMER: Critical Thinking is not about judging or attacking other people’s points of view, beliefs, or favorite things. It is simply about exploring and discussing alternatives.
“Whenever something becomes popular, I don’t go near it—it gives me a rash.”
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An Interview Dr Jill Bolt Taylor, Harvard-Trained Neuroanatomist By Caleb McNamara
r. Jill Bolt Taylor is a neuroscientist whose studies on the Recently, Dr. Taylor has been studying the teenage brain and has human brain and her own stroke have redefined our un- given a new TEDX Talk about it. It’s common knowledge that young derstanding of how people think, move, remember, worry, people experience drastic changes in their bodies during their teenage love and much more. Dr. Jill’s book My Stroke of Insight years, but they go through extreme changes in their brains as well. We was a New York Times bestseller. Her TED talk went viral on the are all born with an abundant amount of neurons in our brain that Internet and swept around the world. The TED talk video and book make connections as we grow. Around the time children enter pubecame so popular that Dr. Taylor was chosen as one of Time Mag- berty, another process also begins, called synaptic pruning. Synaptic azine’s 100 Most Influential People in pruning is the process by which extra the World. She was even interviewed neurons are stripped from the brain, by Oprah for her “Soul” Series. ultimately making it more efficient. Dr. Taylor first became interested in In her talk, Dr. Taylor advises teens to studying the brain when her brother “Tend the garden of your mind” bewas diagnosed with schizophrenia. She cause only the neurons that are used wanted to understand why he had deare the ones we keep as adults. veloped such a disorder, and she hadn’t. Dr. Taylor was kind enough to grant Ironically, Dr. Taylor eventually suffered me an interview with her: from a brain disorder of her own when she had a stroke at the age of 37. She was Q: Is there anything a teen can able to study her own brain while sufdo to attain a more peaceful and fering from the effects of the stroke. As harmonious thought process durshe started losing power in the left (anaing such a complex time in his or lytical) hemisphere of her brain, she her life? discovered something amazing. While A: I believe that the more a person unusing only the right side of the brain, derstands what is going on inside his she felt at one with the universe and evor her brain, the easier it is to undererything around her. She experienced stand why one feels the way one feels, the joy of life without the constant brain thinks what one thinks, and experichatter of the left hemisphere that most ences what one experiences. Learning of us have every day. She had to keep resome simple skills of observing what minding herself that she was in trouble “This is your brain. This is your instrument. This is your tool. is going on inside of one’s head can and needed help. Dr. Taylor eventually make an enormous difference in how regained power in her left hemisphere, This is your power. What are you doing with your power?” we view what is happening. Practicing but the experience was very enlightening. It made her realize that though the left hemisphere is obviously paying attention to one’s thoughts and emotions and understanding a very important part of the brain, if we learn to embrace the right that these are the product of cellular circuitry can help make these experiences seem more predictable and simple. hemisphere just a little more, it can change our lives.
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Eye photo by Sophie Corwin
Q: The teenage years are an important time in the growth of the brain. What should a teen do to ensure that his or her brain evolves during their teenage years? A: Brain cells eat and poop. 1. Sleep is a beautiful thing as it gives the brain cells an opportunity to rest and for the garbage and waste to be removed. It’s also a time for organizing codes and information, so when we are deprived of sleep, our brains simply don’t function as well. 2. Movement of the body is really important too as it increases the flow of blood through the brain, which helps flush the waste products out from between the brain cells. 3. What you feed your body will ultimately nourish your brain. Good nutrition is important as it provides the building blocks for healthy membranes and cells function. 4. It is important that we monitor what we say to ourselves. You can tell me that I am bad but it does not have any power, unless I choose to say it to myself. Taking responsibility for our self talk is enormously important.
Q: Most parents understand that raising a teenager can be a handful. What should parents understand about their teenage child’s brain?
in which circuits we run and which we don’t. Paying attention to the self talk is really important. No one has the power to trigger our thoughts or our emotional circuitry without our permission. Being willing to observe rather than engage with our circuitry is a strong first step in taking control over what’s going on in our minds. We can teach ourselves new habits and habitual thinking after 21 days of practicing. We have the ability to pick and choose who and how we want to be in the world.
Q: Lately, more and more teenagers are being diagnosed with anxiety. Is there anything natural a teen can do in relation to understanding their brain that can contribute to the management of his or her anxiety? A: Anxiety occurs when the cells in our limbic system, specifically our amygdala, don’t feel safe. Information streams in through our sensory systems about the external world and then that information goes to our amydgalae. (We have two, one in each hemisphere). Our amygdalae are asking the question, moment by moment, “Am I safe?” When enough of the information streaming in through our sensory systems feels familiar, then we feel safe. Our amydalae are calm, the cells of the hippocampi turn on, and we are capable of learning and memorizing new information. We feel safe when the external world feels familiar. We have the ability to use our higher cognitive minds to consciously choose to bring our minds back to the present moment, look around, take new pictures of where we are and what is going on, and realize we are safe. Bottom line: we are neurocircuitry, and the better we understand what is going on inside our brains, the more power we have over how they behave. You can buy t-shirts that say “I love my Amygdala” at this place: happEStore.com/ DrJill (All proceeds go to the education of the public about the beauty of the brain through the not-for-profit Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, INc.)
I was totally blessed to have my mother as my caregiver. She let my recovery unfold naturally, step-by-step.
A: Parents become more compassionate when interacting with their teenagers when they understand the neuroanatomical transformation going on inside the brain. Learning about the relationship between the amygdala and the hippocampus is enormously important. They can learn more about that at this TEDX for Youth link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO WPea4KDZU&feature=youtu.be
Q: Lack of confidence has always been a problem that many teenagers face. Is there anything teenagers can practice with their thought process to improve their confidence? A: Every thought we think is a product of the cells inside our head. We have a choice
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A Day in the LIfe of Vertical Limit Stables —Photos by Hannah Neu, age 19
“The horse knows. He knows if you know. He also knows if you don’t know.” — Electric Horseman Ray Hunt
Compromise, friendship, and emotional control are only a few bittersweet lessons that horses have taught me. Every day I am reminded to be humble. Respect is earned. Dreams are achieved through hard work, patience, and will power. When (not if) you fall, dust yourself off and try again. When (not if) you lose control, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and approach the obstacle from a different angle. When (not if) you think you’ve reached your limit, you’re capable of more. And last but not least, true mutual love is a bond that will be tested but never broken. www.rockmountequestrian.com
“The horse is a mirror to your soul… and sometimes you might not like what you see in the mirror.” Friendship isn’t about always seeing eye to eye, it’s about meeting in the middle.
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- Buck Brannaman
The beautiful Hawk Honesty
Travels in Europe —Photos by Maya Fischer, age 18
studied abroad in Europe for a year and lived in the south of Germany. My father visited me for 2 weeks in the spring and we traveled to 5 different countries. It was our last trip before I graduated high school and we traveled to Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Paris and London. It was a wonderful time visiting and experiencing different cultures and countries.
By Tessa Flores Reininger, age 15
Clockwise from upper right: Fish & Chips at The Sussex Pub in England, Canal Street” in Venice, Place de la Concorde in Paris and Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Rome.
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 21
Body Image & Health
Tyrants & Tiaras
ach weekend on stages across the country, girls parade around wearing wigs, heavy makeup, spray tans, and false eyelashes to be judged on their beauty and personality. To many Americans, this image is quite familiar, illustrating the typical beauty pageant scene: dozens of women gracefully gliding up and down the stage in their sky-high stilettos and dazzling evening gowns, targeting the first prize tiara and aiming to be the most beautiful contestant in the show. At first glance, by America’s current standards, this situation seems acceptable. However, after subtracting at least twenty years from each pageant contestant’s age—that’s right, twenty years—the situation changes a bit. If picturing a toddler strutting on a beauty pageant stage seems too difficult for the imagination, simply change the television channel to TLC’s reality series, Toddlers and Tiaras. The series follows families on their pursuit of glittery tiaras, big titles, and gobs of money. Much like every other reality television show today, Toddlers and Tiaras exploits its cast members and promotes downright unacceptable, offensive behavior. Through Toddlers and Tiaras, TLC has successfully highlighted the concept of bad parenting. The catty, greedy “pageant moms” in the series live vicariously through their toddlers’ lives of glitz and glam. As a result, they obnoxiously push their daughters to be the best contestant, while also clashing with each other. The sixth episode of Season Five, for example, focused on an intense rivalry between two Ohio pageant divas and, of course, their moms. The viewers learn early on in the episode that Lori and Beth, the mothers, despise each other, as do Alaska and Gabby, the seven-year-old beauty pageant contestants. Naturally. Throughout the episode, Lori and Beth’s grudge becomes so severe that even the pageant director is aware of it. Despite the pageant director asking the mothers to let the girls settle their own differences on the stage, the episode continues to focus solely on the drama between the oh-so-loving mothers. At the same time, the young girls imitate their mothers’ cattiness toward each other, adding even more behind-the-scenes drama to the series. This is exactly what the reality TV writers and producers seek to expose (as if the sheer exploitation of the toddlers wasn’t enough). With caked-on makeup, skimpy costumes, fake tans, and sometimes even fake breasts, the four-year-old
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By Emma Christiantelli preschoolers are made to look like twenty-four-year-old show girls. What happened to childhood innocence? It followed responsible parenthood and morals right out the window. Some may wonder if Toddlers and Tiaras has crossed the line. Feuding mothers, sexualized toddlers, and constant drama: the line was not crossed—it was blatantly pole-vaulted. How does one actually take a show of cranky, greedy mothers and pint-sized divas seriously? The constant bickering, screaming, and “I can’t believe she just said that on live television” comments by the participants in the series make the show simply ridiculous. However, on a more serious note, how does one not turn his or her head away in disgust at the manipulation of the toddlers by their own mothers? In the fifth episode of Season Five, three-year-old Paisley Dickey took the stage dressed seductively in a costume based on an outfit that Julia Roberts wore as a prostitute in the film “Pretty Woman.” In the fourth episode of that same season, Lindsay Jackson dressed her four-yearold daughter, Madi Verst, as Dolly Parton—complete with the fake breasts and butt pads. To top it all off, in the seventh episode of Season Five, four-year-old Destiny Christian was told by her mother to smoke a fake cigarette on stage while dressed as Sandy from “Grease.” Let’s recap: dressing a toddler as a prostitute, encouraging the use of fake body parts, and promoting the smoking of cigarettes to young, impressionable minds. It is safe to predict that none of these women will be taking home the “Mother of the Year Award.” This downright repulsive behavior by the “pageant moms” fits the mold of reality television perfectly. Their selfish, melodramatic conduct generates both entertainment and controversy, which together generate ratings—the top priority of reality TV. The constant exploitation and sexualization of the children further classifies Toddlers and Tiaras as the typical reality series, aiming to expose as much as possible in the one-hour episode. How far is America willing to go in order to be entertained? Promoting the exploitation of toddlers by unfit, tyrant mothers seems to be, if nothing else, a step in the wrong direction. Perhaps a re-evaluation of our idea of “entertainment” is in store. Broadcasting this show into millions of living rooms across the country speaks volumes about the severe lack of morality seen in American television today.
The Fundamental Truth: Healthy Body Image
s a child, I never really felt like I fit it in. By the time I was 9, I was focusing on the parts of my body that I was uncomfortable with. Unfortunately, I became incrementally more uncomfortable physically, emotionally and socially every day. Little did I realize these were the seeds that planted my “perfection obsession.” I spent too much time internal-
Body Image & Health
By: Cassandra Hastie
American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape and 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight (Martin, 2010). The thing that not everyone realizes is that what matters most is what’s on the inside and not what’s on the out. I know that sounds sort of cliché and if someone said that to me a few years ago I would’ve looked at her like she was crazy but seriously, it’s true. If you believe early on that you have to look a certain way to fit in, life can become very unpleasant. The desire to be perfect robs children of their childhood. At the end of the day what matters most is what type of person you are. If you know who you are and you treat people decently, then you’re set! Everyone is truly beautiful and unique in his or her own way. There is not one definition of beautiful. Being beautiful can mean so many different things and it’s important that you find out what’s beautiful about you (I promise you, there are many things!). Right now I am working to raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders in our community and the importance of loving your body. At school, a group of students, which is involved in Students Against Destructive Decisions, is beginning to inform our community about these issues. If you have any questions for me about my experiences, body image, or you would like to be involved feel free to email me at email@example.com. Also, check out my website at www.anewbeautiful.weebly.com for more information! Remember, beauty comes in all shapes and forms.
“In our culture, it has become more difficult not to be influenced by the media.” izing my discomfort with my body and over the years paid a huge price for this. Starting at the age of 14, I starved myself on and off for 2 years. There were nights where I didn’t sleep because I was so hungry and days where I would break down in school because I couldn’t handle the pressure I was putting on myself. Luckily with the help of my family, friends, and professionals, I recovered from the mental and physical illness that I was suffering from. After going through this life changing experience, I became motivated to make a difference. I decided that it was time to start informing the youth in our community about the importance of loving their bodies. After 5 and a half years of an unhealthy mindset, I learned the hard way that loving the body I was born with was crucial for living a healthy lifestyle. In our culture, it has become more difficult not to be influenced by the media. Did you know that 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991) and that 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991)? Many young girls and boys look at magazines and think “I wish I had her body” or “I wish I was as fit as him.” Of www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 23
Modernism at Evolve An Interview with Sari A. Myers
Article and Photos by Kayleigh Myer
Number of International Artists, along with local furniture made by our own Hudson Valley Residents.” This is what Sari Myers tells us is just a portion of the things you will find in Woodstock’s Evolve Gallery. “More specifically Finnish designware... Tabletop trays, trivets, placemats - that kind of thing.” Along with this ensemble of home delights comes pillows, bags, upholstery, dining ware - an array of items both “eclectic and with an international flare” all at once. Evolve Design Gallery items are mainly designed in a very contemporary fashion, with abstract art among the walls of the shop that are for sale and are surely an aesthetic pleasure to all that walk by and let the paintings strike them. The pieces you will come across in the shop tend to be “less figurative and realistic,” says Myers.
“Trending styles and personal interests can be combined beautifully as long as it’s done sincerely.” Being that the art, furniture and home accessories tend to stray on the lines of representational or even interpretive, when paired well with an open and artistically-oriented mindset, certain aspects of the Feng Shui concept can be achieved. Feng Shui is an artform or practice with roots in the Chinese culture that focuses on creating harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of yin and yang, as in arranging furniture or determining the siting
Sari A. Myers, the Finnish proprietor of Evolve Design Gallery, standing next to three live edge Locust wood stool/tables with crafted steel legs by Hudson Valley furniture designer George Panosh.
of a house. “Feng Shui may hint to certain practices like keeping the mens items a specific way on a certain self or something like that.” Sari tells us. “While I may not go that far with this form, in terms of acknowledging that everything is energy and we are energy, I do respect these principles”. When you have access to the guidance and professional input of a designer that seems to feel the same as much of her clientele - like Sari - this method of home design can re-balance your life and embellish your thoughts with energy, color, liberation and a new way of thinking. But as Sari tells us before, design can be interpretive, exciting or however your senses react to space, motion and layout. Trends such as the modern-minimalistic/vintage fusion are rising among designers
Upholstered pillows and fashion bags by Finnish fabric designer Johanna Gullichsen and upcycled metal lamp sculpture by Woodstock artisan, Jesse Reimer.
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(L) Japanese hand painted art deco 6 panel screen, (C) “Cloudy Relations” sculpture by Woodstock artist, Sara Conca, (R) Abstract original painting on canvas by national artist Dick Phillips.
and individuals alike that are looking to fill their space with a bit of openness and airy or lavish decor. Depending on the way in which the prospective client goes about revamping their space, a home, storefront, cafe or personal gallery of any sort, it can forwardly output the true vibe of the individual. Design represents the human being, as it does the way our minds coalesce. “Trending styles and personal interests can be combined beautifully as long as it is done sincerely.” said Sari. Later on she explained how vividly a space can portray a person and who they are as a character. “Use as much expression as you would like. If you like it, mix it.” A personal space is yours to spend time in and is likely to be a place that you will write, play music, brainstorm ideas with friends, meditate, sort photos, study, listen to some old records or throw on some Spotify playlists on late evenings. A human being’s surroundings impact their actions and is a lense of others and the world around them. The result of a space that is too clogged up can make us feel buried (almost in a literal sense), stressed and closed off from nature and an open world. A space that is lacking in substance and is empty can make us feel just that. Be as bold or modest as you wish with the way you go about decor, functionality and aesthetic. You are a human being, and you need your space! Thank you to Sari A. Myers and her very open and knowledgeable mind for inviting me into Evolve Design Gallery of Woodstock to do this interview. www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 25
T.A.R. I’m dreaming about sticking my fingers in the polluted rivers
By Shannon Marie Meyers, age 19
Bubbles and bones
By Jazmin Kay, age 15
of Tibet, the ones that no one really knows about, because their
The crisp current of the body
eyes are perpetually closed. They open for advertisements, they open
Flows and creaks Down the spine
for sales, they open for salmon pink, baby blue, overtones, undertones,
bubbles and bones
lies, convenience, gossip, scandals, whatever comes on next.
release the limbs to the music of time And we begin to dance against the clock
Here, people become stampeding rage machines, killing one another over the last $19.99 blender. Photo by Katie Martucci
There, people run flaming through the streets, screaming for freedom, for peace! I wish to give them my soil, my freedom.
The restless coma Of one lost in thought It’s hard to see past The heavy mist Clouding the conscious
By Eliza Siegel, age 16
It would be nice To fly around the earth Slowly And watch the planet rise from its starry bed Opened eyes would follow Pulled by the leash of the scarlet sun
To wake feeling rested For once Instead of the usual Fishing for the button
Illustration by David Fletcher
That will inevitably stop the
Life is disposable Nature knows no limits It does not stop for the slow moving The peacemakers
Incessant noise crowding the already full
The young at heart
Darkness of another intolerable morning
For the religious Or even for the last dandelion
To gaze out the window onto My side of the waking world
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Which has yet to shed its Seeded dreams
By: Clara Griffin
A moonlit gathering of the fairy queens Happens as I watch with unbelieving eyes
By Athena Leisching, age 12
A small smile escapes across her thin lips as their eyes lock as he holds out his hand,
However, their violet eyes twinkle in mischief
She takes it willingly, without touching the dance, gliding over thornless black roses at her feet.
But I know their hearts tell a very different story They reach out to one another as if for comfort
Her curly golden main flies out around then as the spin.
Even though no one here could ever be afraid
She licks her lips hungrily as the roses burst into flames.
Their silver wings transform into deep dark blue as the moon seems to radiate from within them
They go up in smoke together.
And then ever so slowly their feet leave the ground as they float, like Chinese lanterns up into the heaven
No one really likes her, no one really cared,
Or perhaps their kingdoms that lie in the air suspended away from all but time
With Trouble and its King.
But no one expected her to danceâ€Ś
And then too quickly they are gone from this world Only leaving a trail of glittery dust behind in the night sky That morphs into a new constellation in the dusk that has settled upon the world Photo by Katie Martucci
And I feel that if I could only reach them in time I might experience my wildest dreams, my most unbelievable fantasies But by now it is far too late For I have just woken up
From a dream that will forever elude me
Photo by Chloe Rovitz
By Jazmin Kay, age 15 The ocean moved with her legs. As the sand seeped in between her cherry apple red toe nails and the wind propelled the apricot sails of her hair, she approached the gateway of the water. She no longer needed a key, or to fill up her stomach with a broiling breath, all she had to do was give herself to the ocean. She knew she was soon to be the grains of salt among the fluid surface of the sea, so she just stood there and watched the dusk paint ribbons on the aqua glass. Fuchsia, red, orange, and mustard yellow pedals feel on the glass sheet of blue that radiated before her. She looked at the arches of the waves and then rode one out to sea as she drifted above the swelling teal waves until they filled up her bones and turned her red blood cells blue. And with one last heated inhale, she drowned again until the sun rose.
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com â€˘ Page 27
Woodstock Library: Keeping Up With The Times
By Arianna White, age 18
Photo by Dylan McNamara
hat comes to mind when you or broken down then stored within two hours rary “mod/futuristic” style with the sweepthink of a library? Books, depending on the needs of the public. The ing beauty of our natural environment. He right? Well, in this ever- technology that will be available includes a incorporates innovation and sustainability evolving technological era into his adaptations for media. The library we live in, readers and tablets are becomhas hired Sanders because he understands ing as popular as books and magazines. the vision for the annex and has expertise In order to stay up-to-date with media needed for building projects like this. The trends, the Woodstock Public Library annex will have a 21st century learning enhas chosen architect Joel Sanders to tear vironment inside, with a traditional style down the old laundromat across the for the building itself, to blend with the street that was purchased by the Woodstyle of the town’s most important buildstock Library and rebuild it, with the viings. Creating a certain vibe is difficult and sion of it becoming a multimedia annex expensive, but Sanders’ “consideration offering occasion space and all types of and quality come at a price.” Without a e-sources. doubt, his design will transform that lot In 2007, the Woodstock Library did a into a community center that’s ready for study to find out what aspects it was inthe digital age. adequate in. The conclusion was that the The Woodstock Public Library has library does not properly meet all the deneeded an addition for years; the last time mands of the town. Living in the age of the Woodstock Public Library Board votes to hire Architect it was worked on was 1986. In such a small Internet, modernizing is a must. Though Joel Sanders for Annex Project. town, the library plays a major role in the the library has an extensive book collection, mobile computing lab, laptop/tablet carts, a community, and what it offers needs to stay it lacks electronic and recreational resources built-in projection system, and more. As the current. With the assistance of fundraisers like extra electrical outlets for laptops and library director, Amy Raff, described, “The and a few benefactors, Woodstock will now meeting space for programs to gather. The annex is the manifestation of turning our or- have a beautiful and modern media center annex will not house any books, but will ganizational no’s into yes’s.” that is able to keep up with the demands of While the interior of the annex is crucial the townspeople. house the World Wide Web instead. One of the biggest points of creating the annex is ex- to creating an atmosphere, the exterior is just panding the library’s space. With the help of as important. Joel Sanders is internationally For more information about the library or architect Joel Sanders and his firm, the An- renowned for his architectural designs, which annex, please visit: www.woodstock.org nex Campaign aims to create an interior with convey an “inside-outside” concept. This For more information about Joel Sanders, furniture that can be assembled, rearranged enthusiastic architect combines contempo- please visit: www.joelsandersarchitect.com
Library Calendar Phoenicia Library: Sats: Story time- 11:0012:00 Visit the new Teen Room too! call 845688-7811/ or visit on the web
ley Sawhill 845-679-7149 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Olive Library: Tues: Story Hour 10:00-11:00 Tue:Home School Study 1:00 Mon:4-H 5:00 activities for children, teens call 845-657-2482
West Hurley Library: .Mon: Pre-school story hour 10:30, Weds: Knitting Group 6:00830, Movie every 4th monday Call 845-6796405 or email@example.com
Woodstock Library: Tue: Story Time 4:00 Wednesday: Toddler story time 10:30. Thur: Lilliput Players 4:00 Fri: Story 4:00 Saturday: Family (stories/performers) 10:30. Call Les-
Kingston Library: Tues: Toddler Story hour, 10:30 Wed: Story Hour 10:30 Thur: Teen Art Club 3:30 Sat: Super Saturdays March 16-Music,20-Magic May 18 Juggler. Call
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845-331-0507 x7 Stephanie Morgan/or Web Poughkeepsie Library: Teen Room Open: Mon/Tue2-6, W/Th 2-8 Fri/Sat 2-5. Reading Buddy Program. 845-485-3445 Gardiner Library: Tue: Story 9:30-1045, Wed: story 1:30-2:30, Thur: Group Guitar 5:00, Sat: Young writers 11:30 845-255-1255 Stone Ridge Library: Story Hour Tue/Thurs 2:30-3:30, Tween Book vs. Movie Club, Mar 11, 3-5 April 8, 3-5. 845-687-7023
The Penultimate Bookworm: Recommendations
hese days, it’s difficult to sort through all the books published every year and find one that will meet your expectations. Therefore, the Penultimate Bookworm will present to you a list of popular books, and less popular books with which it shares some qualities. If you liked “The Hunger Games”, you would probably enjoy “Divergent”, a dystopian novel by Veronica Roth. “Divergent” takes place in a future Chicago, where there are five factions. Each faction has their own separate belief of what they think is the root of all evil. In Divergent (and its sequel In-
“Hopefully ...curl up with a good novel on a rainy day” surgent), one faction is trying to overpower the others. If you are looking for another Harry Potter, “The Dragon’s Egg” by Kaza Kingsley is a good choice. “The Dragon’s Egg” has two main characters who are boarding in a castle while entered in a contest to become one of three rulers. If you really liked John Green’s latest Young Adult novel, “The Fault in Our Stars”, you might consider reading “The Future of Us”, a book by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. “The Future of Us”, is a book where two main characters receive a hard drive from AOL in 1996. The hard drive enables them to see their Facebook profiles twenty years in the future, and they can change their future. Another fantastic Young Adult novel is Libba Bray’s “Going Bovine”, a book about a boy with mad cow disease, and his
By Helen Schauffler, Age 12 Woodstock, NY journey to cure it, accompanied by his hypochondriac friend and a garden gnome. If “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of your favorites, the Stravaganza trilogy or “When You Reach Me” might be suitable. The Stravaganza trilogy, penned by Mary Hoffman, is about travel through time and space to an alternate universe of sixteenth century Italy. “When You Reach Me” is a Newbery Medal winner by Rebecca Stead, in which Miranda is receiving letters from the future. If you are a Roald Dahl fan, I would say that his best is “The Witches”, in which a boy’s grandmother tells him about the danger of real witches, only for him to accidentally run into a witch convention. Another book similar to Roald Dahl’s work is “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow, a fantasy book where different creatures and a boy fight a society devoted to hunting cheese. “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer is similar to “Cinder”, by Marisa Meyer. “Cinder” is novel based on Cinderella in futuristic Japan, and the heroine is a cyborg. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy (which is increasingly misnamed) shares traits with “Borgel”, one of Daniel Pinkwater’s many books. They are both nonsensical stories that take a confused protagonist into outer space. Hopefully, these book recommendations will give you a new reason to go to the library, or curl up with a good novel on a rainy day.
GoodLife Writers & Readers: Save the Date, April 18-21!
The Woodstock Writer’s Festival www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 29
Kingston High School Marching Band
By Alexis Parkhurst, age 15
he Kingston High School “Tiger” Marching band started bers are students that are in the show itself. Colleen Smith, senior and performing at the Syracuse Carrier Dome about 6 years drum major for two years, showed her appreciation for her leadership ago. In the large State Division Three, the band was origi- role in band. “I was given responsibilities not typically given to high nally happy with schoolers, and trusted and rescores in the mid to high 60s. spected by the adults and direcAs each season passed, the tors of our Band.” It is incredibly marching band progressed. By rare that a band rely this much 2011, the band was receiving on its students, but it is in fact consistent high 70s and low what makes KHS band run so 80 scores, and landed second smoothly. place for the second time at Score-wise the band went Syracuse. In the 2012 marchthrough a bit of a roller coaster ing season, the 230 kids gaththis year. The scores quite literered together again, ready to ally went up and down, with push the band to its greatest some days scoring higher than ability. expected and some lower than When talking to Nick Avossa, felt deserved. In the end though, the field show designer and viKingston left Syracuse with an sual instructor of KHS march85.6 and the top score in their ing band, he clarified the diffidivision. “This band without a culties marching band members Kingston High School Marching Band meets actor Timothy Hutton during the doubt in my mind deserved evhave to face. “To do it well re- Woodstock Film Festival erything we got, first place and quires a level of focus and attenall. I will be filled with pride tion that I think exceeds that of athletic endeavors.” Marching band forever and always with the KHS Tiger Marching band!” said the dehas extreme physical and mental requirements in addition to a variety lighted Colleen in reflection of this year’s season. of skill sets. Every marching band member has to be able to memorize The Kingston High School marching band has grown from a band and play music, control their body, and place themselves within the which only performed at football games, to one which has truly made visuals throughout the show. In addition to this they have to make a name for itself. Avossa feels this is because the expectation the band sure the performance isn’t just cognitively correct, but emotionally has in itself as a whole has risen. “As a group they are buying what connects with the audience. Just one person out of step or off in the we’re selling” he puts bluntly, meaning that the band has always had music can bring the entire band down, so the kids have to constantly the talent, but now the students truly realize and take pride in it. This be on their game. This becomes exhausting during rehearsals, which can be seen clearly when watching how seriously rehearsals were run usually run 4 to 5 hours long. throughout the season. As a whole the band was eager and determined As for the KHS band specifically, a huge difficulty is dealing with to put on a truly amazing show, and because of this kept an extreme the fact that it is one of the largest if not the largest LS3 band in the level of focus. Colleen represented all 200+ kids when saying “It is an state. “We don’t exclude any individuals.” Avossa explained, “We train immense amount of work, but worth every ounce of effort put in.” them to the best of their ability and expect them to get better. Some Marching band isn’t about the score or the status, but truly about take longer than others but they always improve!” Music-involved the assimilation and growth of devoted high school students and parkids also tend to be really involved with other activities. It is common ents who create a community of their own by the end of the season. for a marching band to have to work around sports, dance classes, and It teaches students time management and discipline, and allows them rehearsals. With the 200+ members in the KHS band, this is stretched to make fiends they may not even have met otherwise. With the band to the limit. progressing both in skill and emotionally as a whole, who knows what A band this size also requires more leaders to keep control of it. this amazing group of students will achieve in the years to come. Ninety-five percent of KHS marching band’s instructional staff mem-
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Photo by Dylan McNamara
Ping-pong is only one of the many activities available.
of quick interviews with all three of the staff members. I asked them how long they’ve been employed at the Rosendale Youth Center and what their favorite part of the job is. I’ll start with the Rosendale Youth Program Director, Kathy Wade. Kathy has been working at the youth center for a whopping twenty-three years! Kathy pondered on what her favorite part of the job was and responded, “Meeting the parents and watching their children have fun.” Then it’s the Assistant Director, Erik Vangaasbeek: Erik’s been working for at the youth center for over three years. He said his favorite part of the job was playing pool. “It’s a constant learning experience for everybody,” he replied. Last is Mike Bush, a rookie that has only been working for about a year. His favorite part of the job is playing ping-pong. With lots of evidence to support it, the Rosendale Youth Center is a fun place to go if you want to hang out with friends, chill out or if you’re just bored. The Rosendale Youth Center is a tan, metal building located behind the Rosendale Community Center. The Youth Center is open on weekdays from 3-9 pm, 1-9 pm on Saturdays, and 1-5 on Sundays. The phone number is 658-8982 and you can LIKE The Rosendale Youth Program on Facebook.
Rosendale Youth Center Nick Plumeri, age 12
ince 1980, the Rosendale Youth Center has offered a variety of activities for the public. Their most famous activity is pool. Every year the youth center hosts a pool tournament for kids in the community. The age range for the tournament is 12-20. The youth center also has available many board games, such as Monopoly, Yahtzee, Pictionary, Chess, Battleship, Connect 4, and plenty more! The youth center’s also offers video games with systems like Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, and Xbox 360. But these fun things to do aren’t the only reason why the youth center is a great place to go. The newly-attained vending machine has many delicious snacks for hungry kids. Some best selling snacks include jalapeno chips, Clif bars, and Twix. Back to the main subject: activities. Ping-pong is also available and our great players can get into some intense rallies. With some aspects of soccer, foosball is played as well. One person is red, while the other is blue. The first person to reach ten goals wins! The youth center also has two recently added Apple computers so the kids can access Facebook, Youtube, Google, or whatever website the kids need or want to get on. During warm climate the kids will usually be willing to go outside and play a fun game of kickball, twohand touch football or whiffleball. But I can’t forget about the friendly staff that lets people have an opportunity to come to this fun and friendly environment. I had a couple
www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 31
By Marykate Marley
think it’s so important to help youth find their passion” co-founder of AWARENESS, Marie Shultis expresses about the adolescents who attend her program. As a youth who didn’t understand how to go about following my passions, I understand the depth of that statement. I’m a firm believer in volunteer work. Not only has my life been changed by volunteers but I believe that through volunteering we find a deeper meaning to work, community and above all else, a deeper meaning to life. After searching for about six months for the right program to volunteer my time to, Marie and I met. She told me that AWARENESS was formed by a group of teenagers and herself in response to a drunk driving tragedy that happened after prom. Soon after I met her, I began volunteering. AWARENESS is held two days a month, one being the last Friday of every month. This is where newcomers get an opportunity to view a life-changing video on why the program formed, get an overview of the program and are given their first peer-topeer interview. Interviews are one of the many things that separate this program from others. Then there are weekly meetings where the youth conduct peer -to -peer interviews and educate each other through case acts and certified information. The program has been running since 2008. Marie Shultis has been a volunteer since then because the program drastically lacks both funding and volunteers. But after seeing so many youth devote their time, turn their lives around, and in a sense, become her children, it’s hard for Marie to give up. AWARENESS has many success stories like Dan, Bryan and Shayne who all turned their lives around for different reasons and different times. Dan is a twenty-year old who had been sent to AWARENESS by his judge. After attending the meetings for a certain amount of time,
Dan was told he no longer had to come. Enjoying the information he was receiving about how damaging drugs are and the support offered through the program, Dan decided to stay on as a volunteer. When asked why AWARENESS works for him, Dan stated, “The program allows the person to see on their own what they are doing rather than the normal ‘you need to change’. It helps you see why it’s wrong. Once you see one person in the group change, you see what they have and you want the same thing.” Shayne is a twenty-one year old from Woodstock. Though he once struggled with alcohol and drugs, he now spends his time volunteering at AWARENESS. “This program keeps me occupied. It keeps my head straight and I like helping other people.” Bryan is another one of these success stories and also an example of how Marie doesn’t give up easily. Bryan was nineteen when he was constantly getting in trouble and sent to court. His judge sent him to the AWARENESS program and told him that if he does not get better he would go to jail. The problem was, AWARENESS is fit to help youth who are just beginning to get involved with alcohol, marijuana and sometimes other drugs. Bryan was past that. So Marie gave Bryan an ultimatum: go back to the judge or attend a rehab. Today, Bryan is almost one year sober and is residing voluntarily in his rehab. He plans to volunteer in the AWARENESS program when he is finished. AWARENESS is an open, friendly environment. It is a place to stay grounded in an excellent life or to find out how to get there. Bring a friend who may be starting to go down the wrong road or come volunteer your time to help others. It’s a great addition to your resume and can help save someone’s life. Contact Marie Shultis at 845.417.1484 or visit www. awarenessinc.org for more information.
“She told me that AWARENESS was formed by a group of teenagers and herself in response to a drunk driving tragedy that happened after prom”
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Death of a Legend
he fog on the bathroom mirror was as dense as could be. It didn’t even look like a mirror anymore. This mirror normally fogged up after I took a warm shower, but I had never noticed just how hazy it got—until now. Clearly, I couldn’t see anything. I heard sirens coming down the street. I thought nothing of it. My road was an emergency access route. There was a fire station nearby. Plus you could shave five minutes off your commute to Dunkin Donuts if you cut through it. For all these reasons, a lot of police, fire, and emergency vehicles used our road, often with their sirens blaring. Go figure. The sounds got louder and louder as I left the bathroom. I could hear them clearly as I walked towards my bedroom. I stepped into my room. Red and blue illuminated my walls and furniture. The source: my window. “Bob!” screamed a voice. “Just sit down!” The voice had to be my mom. Nobody else called Dad “Bob.” I don’t remember what else she said, and her screams became harder to hear over what sounded like a party downstairs. I threw on some clothes and started to run towards the stairs. The narrow hallway made the sounds of my footsteps echo through the whole second floor. I charged down the stairs thunderously. When I got to the bottom, I turned the corner and saw a group of men. They stood far taller than me. One muttered something under his breath to the laughter of the group around him. An older gentleman interrupted the group’s merriment and pointed at me. A look of guilt crept onto the men’s faces, and they dispersed. I followed the screams to their source, my dad’s room. His unsightly yellow walls had always made me feel like I was at the doctor’s office. This had always made me feel uneasy, but now, I didn’t really care. Inside the room, a man was being pulled up by the arms, trying to get his footing so that he could stand up on his own. The man looked old and frail. That man was my dad. He started to curse up a storm. A myriad of words arranged in ways I had never thought possible, stinking up the air something rotten. My dad had always tried to avoid cursing at or around me, because he had
Tom Alba with his young cousin Ricardo
By Cody J. Naccarato
never wanted me to curse. His words were directed at the men helping him up. In response, they let him fall to the ground and try to get up by himself. I saw this, and it was more frightening than my worst nightmare. A man pushed me aside. He and another man were carrying a stretcher into Dad’s room. That was more than my mind could process. I ran upstairs towards my room, but didn’t make it that far. Curiosity got the better of me. I stopped and sat at the top of the stairs. Far enough away to be out of the way, but close enough to eavesdrop. “Sir, you are having a stroke. Please, you need to let us help you,” said a voice. I recognized the voice of the older gentleman who had interrupted the other firemen earlier. I waited eagerly for my dad’s response. I knew my dad could get over a stroke. He didn’t need to go to the hospital or anything! He was the strongest guy I knew. My blind faith in Dad had truly left me blind. I couldn’t even begin to entertain the thought that he might be seriously ill, or hurt. “I’m, . . . .I’m ff-ffine. Lee...eave mee, . . . . .alone,” my dad answered. His response was all I needed. I was about to charge down there and give those firemen a piece of my mind! Who were they to come barging in and telling my dad he was hurt? I was going down to put my foot down. Then I heard more. “Okay,” the older fireman said “If you’re feeling fine, walk over to your bedroom door. And we will leave.” I heard the springs in Dad’s old mattress squeal. He was going to pull it off! I celebrated on the stairs, quietly. But my celebration was about to be cut short. Suddenly there was a loud, painful thud. There was no more noise after that….nothing. Just silence. “Okay, let’s get him out of here,” somebody said. And they took him away. The house that had once been abuzz with life and sound now lay dormant. Tears trickled down my face. I had witnessed the fall of my hero. The silence rang through my head like an orchestra of wind chimes. I had been blind before, and I hadn’t realized how much I really couldn’t see. Like my bathroom mirror, clearly, I couldn’t see anything.
Wojtek Grabowski www.goodlifeyouthjournal.com • Page 33