Abandoned and Home Alone

Abandoned and Home Alone

Posted on December 4, 2006by gramatrudy

Abandoned and Home Alone

By Trudy A. Martinez

She did it again. She left, leaving me here alone again. Why? I do not understand. I’ve been good. Why does she leave me?  When she leaves, she’s missing for days. She locks me in. I can’t get out. I’m left alone. I can’t leave; I can’t reach the door knob; I can’t open it.  I can only sit. I can only look. I can only watch. I can only watch everyone outside living life to the fullest. But what is someone to do when you’re left alone for days on end.

When I am feeling sorry for myself, like I am right now, I mope. I mope around. I sleep. I sleep some more, more than I should.   I guess you might say I’m depressed.  I get lonely.  I tend to get in mischief when I’m lonely and alone.  I think I do it just to get back at her for leaving me.  After all, turn around is fair play.  Isn’t it?

It’s fun to do things you’re not supposed to.  I am feeling down, a little possessive too. I go upstairs to sit and look out the window at everyone playing on the green grass. Then I look for trouble because I can’t play on the green grass. I roam the room instead. When I get to my favorite chair, I find it occupied. Nope, I’m still alone. But to my surprise I am now alone with her stack of papers.

“That’s my chair!” I exclaim.  I quickly throw all the papers on the floor.  But I didn’t stop there.  I am still upset because she left me.  So, I tear the papers into little bits; I shred them!  I even make sure, if she is able to glue them back together, she will never be able to read them.

I poke all the papers full of holes before I shred and tear them.  The ink runs on some of the pieces because I put them in my mouth and get them wet.

Oh is she going to steam when she sees what I did.  I’ll surely get her attention.  She will yell, “My papers!”

Well, they were her papers and she can have them now.  I had my fun.  I’ll bet she’ll think twice before she puts anything on my chair again. I bet she will think again about leaving me alone. It will serve her right. She deserves torment.

What is that noise? I look out the window. The car is home. That means she is home. I turn. There she stood, frozen in time.

  Are those tears in her eyes? She stood glaring at me; she didn’t even blink.  “Hasn’t she learned by now I can out stare her?” I think.  I think, “She’s getting ready. She’s attacking me. No, wait. It’s the look at me when I talk to you time. Just before she attacks, she does this. That’s okay. This time I will not back down.” I keep telling myself, “I will not back down. I will stare back.”

She reaches for me.

I want to run. I just stare. I freeze. I stare. I am frozen in place. I can’t move. “Oh no! Oh, no!”

She scares me. She is so intense.

She is grabs me. I didn’t yell out; I didn’t fight back.  I wasn’t scared.  I did get my motor running though–you know–I start– “Purr, purr, purr, purring.” That always gets her to smile again.  Then, she starts petting me.

She loves me no matter how mischievous I am or what I’ve been into.  I love her too.  But I hate it when she leaves me here alone.

Posted in Analysis, Animals, character analysis, Children, Jounal entry, Life's lessons, memories, rhetoric, short story, short story | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Winners

The Winners

Posted on December 6, 2006by gramatrudy

The Winners

By Trudy A. Martinez

As I approach the Junior High, a hum catches my ear like a swarm of bees.  Occasionally, a high squeal pitch punctures the air, following a towering roar, commanding, “Get over here–leave that girl alone!”

Crowds of mother’s litter the doorway with an occasional father here and there. And of course, there are a lot of small children trying to squeeze through small openings in the crowd.

A long metal table blocks the wide entrance, except for a small passage way leading to the activity floor.  Behind the table, volunteers sit on tan metal folding chairs frantically handing out fliers, signing up enrollees, or answering questions.  It is difficult for early enrollees to push past the eager new participants.  A harsh voice rings out, “Just a minute, Jimmy.”

“Come back here,” says another.

Anxious children who manage to escape their parent’s side pepper the passage way in black outfits that look like over-sized pajamas tied in the middle with a white belt.  The belt wraps around their small frames twice before being tied in the front.  On their backs, contrasting the black color of the pajama, are bold white letters forming in a semi-circle, spelling out “Young Olympians,” an artistic illustration of a block kick in action, and stars, U.S.A., and more stars.

An air-borne white sock flies high above the heads of the crowd, as if propelled by a rocket–tailing behind a voice commands:  “Go get that sock!”

The activity floor with its waxed and shining hardwood takes on the appearance of a gym. An instructor, giving directions to children from an earlier session, is about to break up.  He says, “Remember now,” taking in a deep breath as he raises his finger to his puckered lips, “Sh-h-h!”  Then he continues, “What you learn here tonight you only use as self-defense to protect yourself from anyone who tries to grab you or hurt you–NOT your friends,” he adds.  Taking another deep breath he says, “Your participation in learning and mastering the techniques I show you can earn you this bright yellow belt.”  Then he asks, “Do you want one?”

A loud sharp, “Ya,” rings out as all the children reply to his question in unison.

Although the educational activity program is sponsored by the Y.M.C.A., a men’s organization, encouragement is given for both boy and girl participants.

Chandra, my granddaughter, eagerly awaits her class to begin.  Her big brown eyes glisten and beam with excitement.  It is difficult for her to remain still.  Her muscles tense and her fists clinch in anticipation.  When her mother says, “Chandra, you need to get your shoes and socks off.”  Chandra immediately drops to the floor as if she is a puppet and the words pull her string; her mother does not need to repeat the words.  She moves quickly, untying her shoes, pulling them off, and then removing her socks; when she finishes with one foot, she instantly repeats the process with the other.

On the activity floor, the instructor tells the early group, “Good-night,” as he bows to them with both hands at his side.  All the students reciprocate and then leave the floor, scampering with excitement back to their parents.

Chandra’s eyes grow in size, taking on a pleading look as if to ask, “May I go?”  Her lips form a smile and she turns her head upward toward her mother, anxiously waiting her mother’s approval.  “Okay, go on.”

The turnout for self-defense and safety awareness programs highlights a growing problem that faces America: helpless children falling prey to unknown assailants and turning into victims.  A concern for the safety of children prompts the offering of the classes.  An overwhelming response indicates parents worry.  Because of the size of the class, some parents participate by holding the block pads and block sticks (foam padded) for the children to practice on, thus freeing more instructors to assist kids who have difficulty mastering the techniques.

The children line up in rows.  Chandra makes sure she is right up front so she doesn’t miss a move.   Chandra’s mom said the first night of class, “Chandra needed encouragement and reassurance. She didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t know anything.” But out there on the floor during her first lesson her shyness disappears.  She certainly did not act like a novice.

“Horse stance,” says the instructor.

Immediately, all the children assume the position:  they spread their legs apart, assume a semi-squat position, double their fists tightly until their little knuckles appear white and hard, and position their little arms in preparation to block and punch.  Their bodies are rigid.  “Punch,” yells the instructor.

The children threw one arm forward sharply with force–”Ya.” they reply in unison.

The instructor has them sit on the floor in a squatting position as he demonstrates the next move.  “When I say, ‘get up.’  I want you to get up as fast as you can–but don’t start until I tell you.”  All the little bodies tense and lean forward slightly. 

One over-anxious little bottom leaves the grown, protruding upward–it is Chandra.  “Down,” the instructor repeats.  “Don’t get up until I say.” 

He went on giving detail instructions on how to block a hit and then immediately follows through with a kick forward.  “Up,” he says.

Little bodies pop up like they are spring-loaded.

“Horse stance,” he yells.  They instantly assume the position.  “Block–Kick.”

“Ke–.” they yell as one arm goes up to block.  “Ya,” they continue as their leg goes up close to their body and instantly shoots forward.

Judging from the height of their kicks, I imagine an assailant dropping to his knees.  “These kids can turn out winners,” I think as my mind envisions an encounter and then their little legs carrying them speedily away from the danger.

Posted in Analysis, Childhood memories, Children, Death, Duty, Life's lessons, Out of Sight, That's Life! | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Life of a Rose

by Trudy A. Martinez

The Life of a Rose

 

image

by Trudy A. Martinez

The Life of a Rose

The beauty of a rose is seen at its’ fullest.

The beauty of a life is seen at its’ end.

A pedal sings of its’ beauty

Through the touch of a hand,

Through the sniff of a nose,

A unique softness,

A sweet smell,

With a mere glimpse a haven unveils,

The beauty of a life is seen at its’ end.

Tales spring forth at the close,

Though a memory deposed,

Bringing forth an inter-beauty,

Touching,

And caressing our soul,

Revealing a purpose,

As a departed lives on,

Conveying an ultimate plan,

The beauty of life begins again.

For a life at its’ fullest

Lives on in our hearts at the end.

 

-Trudy A. Martinez

 

 

Posted in Analysis, Art, comparative analysis, Death, Graveside Service, Literature or books, Out of Sight, Poems, rhetoric, That's Life!, Understanding | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Core of Truth

 

The Core of Truth

Posted on October 6, 2007by gramatrudy

The Core of Truth

Getting to the core of the Truth is like peeling an onion.

As you peel away the dead skin,

You may feel a little tinge.

However when you slice/chop to get to the center of the matter,

So you may savor the flavor,

The tinge begins to sting as tears swell.

Seeing through the tears is difficult

Because everything is out of focus,

Causing us to dwell on the effects of an action,

Instead of waiting to savor the flavor we originally sought.

Trudy A. Martinez

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A Comparison of Original Work to Film Version of Plath’s “The Bell Jar”

gramatrudy:

This is an edited version of the original posting

Originally posted on Grama's space bubble:

A Comparison of Sylvia Plath’s Original Work Versus the Film Version of The Bell Jar: If I am an Arrow

by Trudy A. Martinez

In the film, The Bell Jar, the prelude imitates a young girl’s position within society; cinematic techniques create this allusion through the girl’s symbolic actions responding to a confining realm. As a result, the culminating points they make by way of the lighting, the music, and the movement implies restriction and thus derives meaning.

The culminating points correspond with the story line of Plath’s original work. For instance, as a monotone piano tone ushers in the figure of a young girl turning slowly in a circular motion, slight glimmers of light encase her form within the darkness of the set. As her hands extend outwardly and then upwardly, a strum of a harp is heard. The outward extension of her hands represent her striving for educational…

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A Comparison of Original Work to Film Version of Plath’s “The Bell Jar”

The following is an edited version of the original Posted on April 10, 2008

A Comparison of Sylvia Plath’s Original Work: The Bell Jar, Versus the Film Version: : The Bell Jar: If I am an Arrow   By Trudy A. Martinez

In the film, The Bell Jar, the prelude imitates a young girl’s position within society; cinematic techniques create this allusion through the girl’s symbolic actions responding to a confining realm. As a result, the culminating points they make by way of the lighting, the music, and the movement implies restriction and thus derives meaning.

The culminating points correspond with the story line of Plath’s original work. For instance, as a monotone piano tone ushers in the figure of a young girl turning slowly in a circular motion, slight glimmers of light encase her form within the darkness of the set. As her hands extend outwardly and then upwardly, a strum of a harp is heard. The outward extension of her hands represent her striving for educational achievement, while the upward movement demonstrates she lacks satisfaction with education alone and wants to spread out further than those limits in the direction of the American Dream. The arrangement of light symbolizes her enlightenment of the dream; whereas, the darkness of the set signifies it is hampering her. Consequently, because of her desire for upward mobility, the strum announces restrictions.

The strum recommends the hands stay within allowable boundaries. After a few attempts to extend beyond the imaginary confines, the hands are placed within the pockets of the skirt and the defining light dims. Movement of the hands into a forward protrusion under the skirt renders the shape of a pregnant woman. Immediately, Gerald Fried’s music converts to a lullaby as the girl is seen swaying back and forth to the regular succession of sounds, chanting a villanelle, a “Mad Girl’s Love Song”:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.) . . .

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed

And snug me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.

(I think I made you up inside my head.) . . .

(I think I made you up inside my head.) . . .

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Before the framework of the opening sequence is complete, an underlying theme suggests societal restraints force the girl to succumb to limitations and the fear of pregnancy is the reason for her ultimate mental instability.

Under the direction of Larry Peerce, actress Marilyn Hassett (a Barbie doll double), introduces herself as Ester Greenwood. “I ‘m an all American girl,” she says, “A girl wonder, a scholarship student.” And then she utters, “I think I made her up inside my head.” Consequently, she questions her status: “Me a poet? Are you kidding?”

In this manner, an inferiority complex that diminishes her accomplishment is established, requiring her to justify her actions in order to bring herself back within the acceptable norms of society: “I am a very proper New England girl. I attend a very proper New England college where I win prizes.”

The main prize Ester wins is a trip to Ladies Day magazine. This prize builds the American Dream in others, announcing and enhancing the status of being an American citizen:

Look what can happen in this country, they’d say. A girl lives in some out-of-the-way town for nineteen years, so poor she can’t afford a magazine, and then she gets a scholarship to college and wins a prize here and a prize there and ends up steering New York like her own private car (2).

A showering of gifts announces and intensifies the film’s American Dream aspect at the magazine’s headquarter meeting. However when company officials announce they will even supply men, the camera switches to a view of excitement glowing on the young participants’ faces. Conversely, when the film dramatizes Ester’s attraction to “a whole life of marvelous, elaborate decadence” of luxurious fashions that Doreen symbolizes for her (4), it adds a dimension, suggesting the attraction to Doreen magnifies a hidden lesbian tendency.

This hidden dimension contradicts the initial underlying theme the prelude produces. The film draws inference to a lesbian inclination through Esther’s countenance in the sequence where she sits in the bar with Lenny (Robert Klien), Doreen, and Frankie. Her indifference to Frankie is highlighted when he asks her to dance and she replies with a firm “No.” The camera focuses on Doreen’s exhibitions that keep Lenny in awe, and then switches back to Ester, giving the impression that her apathy towards Frankie is a reflection of a more than a casual interest in Doreen. In this way, the film does not convey Plath’s intention: “The thought of dancing with that little runt . . . made [Ester] laugh” (9).

The similitude enhances later at Lenny’s apartment, when Doreen and Ester dance together. Just outside their immediate circle in the background, Lenny dances by his self. Subsequently, all three of them dance wildly together. And then the camera switches to all of them tumbling on the bed. Ester is seen caressing Doreen, reinforcing the lesbian concept. Consequently, Ester runs away when she realizes the magnitude of this drunken action.

The film frames the lesbian notion around Ester’s deteriorating life and makes it seem as if she is “. . . coming apart at the seams,” as she says in the introductory sequence, because she does not accept the affinity.

In order for the film version to communicate openly what is purported to be Ester’s secret thoughts, Joan’s part in Ester’s life expands from a mere acquaintance who Ester only knows from “a cool distance” (160) to her best friend. Joan’s overly emphasized reactions to Ester’s every word and move as they discuss the different modes of suicide suggests her sexual designs on Ester. In a much later scene Joan learns after making an advance and requesting sexual favors that Ester loathes this unnatural attraction. The film implies Ester drives Joan to suicide. And as a result, Ester has to face her own lesbian desires to be free of her own suicidal drive.

In the original work, Ester’s suicidal drive stimulates a feeling of inadequacy (not lesbian desires). Instead, she feels stupid for buying “all those uncomfortable, expensive clothes” (1). She feels stupid because she’s attracted to Buddy Willard who went to Yale after she learns Doreen thinks “Yalies” [are] “so stoo-pet!”(6). She feels stupid because she “felt very low” after Jay Cee brings to the surface “all [her] . . . uncomfortable suspicions” of inadequacies (24).

On the other hand, the film portrays Jay Cee (Barbara Barrie) as vindictive towards Ester. Her command, following a snicker of laughter, “We are looking to you for a certain kind of intellectual elevation,” implies malicious intentions. In a much later scene, Jay Cee makes Ester feel extremely inadequate by saying her views are “poison.” Jay Cee tells Ester she needs to identify with other college students who never heard of Joyce. Ester conveys, by aggressively playing with her pencil, she is unable to deal with criticism. Jay Cee then asks her: “Did you think this was one of your cinch courses that you will get an “A?”

Ester isn’t getting “A’s” in her personal life either. Instead, indecisiveness takes over. Deciding what she should or shouldn’t do, makes her feel even more inadequate and sad (23-25). She feels Doreen serves as a “concrete testimony to [her] own dirty nature” (19). The bell jar symbolizes her fear of sex and pregnancy which imprisons her in a world of double standards: She says, “I couldn’t stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not” (66). She “. . . knew . . . what [Buddy] secretly wanted was for her to flatten out underneath his feel like Mrs. Willard’s kitchen mat” (69). The film obscures these concerns and completely ignores Ester’s sexual fears: She tells Dr. Nolan, “What I really hate is the thought of being under a man’s thumb . . . A man doesn’t have a worry in the world, while I’ve got a baby hanging over my head like a big stick, to keep me in line” (181). The bell jar is an extremely significant symbol in Plath’s original work; whereas in the film, the bell jar only serves instrumentally to frame the ending.

The symbolization of the bell jar entraps Ester in the stereotypical domesticity of the role of mother and housewife. Society’s expectation of woman’s domesticity is a condition which indirectly bears responsibility for Ester’s inferiority complex. Fear is the controlling factor. Even though Ester may want to experiment with sex, she feels she is not free to do so because of the fear of pregnancy. Individual female education goals and desires are secondary in society’s framework. This is apparent when her mother (Julie Harris) stresses women must be practical and learn shorthand. In other words, woman must heed what a society of man dictates. Learning shorthand serves as a message to Ester of her place within society. As a result, she feels inferior because even with all her education she does not have the knowledge she needs to survive in the world:

“Not knowing shorthand meant not getting a good job after college. My mother kept telling me nobody wanted plain English major. But English major who knew shorthand was something else again. Everybody would want her. She would be in demand among all the up-and-coming young men, and she would transcribe letter after thrilling letter. The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters”(61-62).

Plath suggests Ester’s inferiority complex is an extension of a societal norm, a norm that does not accept women as equal to men in any way. Regardless of a woman’s educational accomplishments, she can only hope to please a man by doing his bidding or serving him. The double standard extends not only to the workplace but also to personal choice, limiting a woman’s sexual freedom through fear by trapping her in the stereotypical role of mother and housewife.

The introductory framework of the film also gives the allusion of entrapment. However, when the film introduces the abnormality of a lesbian sexuality into the story, it changes the original theme of fear and entrapment by serving lesbianism up as an avenue of escape from the bell jar hanging over head. The film is not brought back into perspective with the original work until after the death of Joan with Ester’s exclamation: “I am. I am. I am.” Then the film immediately diverges again, framing the beginning with the end by addressing the person in the bell jar: “To the person in the bell jar blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream” (193). Ester recounts, “I asked [Dr. Nolan] if I would survive. She said, yes. She at once freed me and condemned me back to life”. Then as if an afterthought she says,” If am the arrow, I cannot fly through darkness.” In other words, all the change and excitement she wants is null and void because she can’t “. . . shoot off in all directions [herself], like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket”(68).  

Bibliography:

Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Bantam Books (published by arrangement

with Harper & Row). 1972.

Kellog, Marjorie, The Bell Jar. Directed by Larry Peerce, Based on

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Posted in Analysis, Books, character analysis, comparative analysis, Film, Film Analysis, Literature or books, Novel, rhetoric | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Guarantee My Work”

 

The following is an edited  re-posting of a true story I Posted on April 10, 2008 I am left with guaranteed memories because of it.

 

Guaranteed Work

By Trudy A. Martinez

“I am here,” a young woman announces as she taps lightly on the counter to gain my attention. Then she leans over the counter, smiles, and whispers, “You can tell everyone else to go home–the job is mine.”

“Do you have an appointment?” I ask abruptly while pretending to have not heard her last remark.

“Most definitely,” she answers smiling in anticipation to my next question. She begins to introduce herself: “My name is Margo–.” Before she finishes speaking her finger is on my clipboard, pointing to her name. “There’s my name right at the top of your list–,” she hesitates and then adds, “–where it belongs.”

I think to myself, “This young lady is certainly self-confident (a main requirement for the position of New Accounts clerk I am interviewing for). But, she appears almost too sure of herself.” I call her into the conference room, request that she take a seat, and then ask her point-blank, “Why do you think you are the best choice for the open position here at the bank?”

She smiles and quickly exclaims, “I guarantee my work!”

“You what?”

“I guarantee my work,” she repeats.

I can hardly believe my ears she says she guarantees her work. I sit in silence, not knowing what to say next. Never had I been at a loss for words before; this is usually a fault of the interviewees. I only ask her one question; but yet from the very moment she makes her presence known to me, she begins to demonstrate all the qualities I am looking for. “Margo, you stir my curiosity. What do you mean by your statement: ‘I guarantee my work’”?

“Curiosity killed the cat,” she replies. “But you need not be curious, my work is accurate; I don’t make errors. But if you find one and prove me wrong, I guarantee I will fix it.”

I hire her. But because she is so overly confident that her work is error free, I begin to scrutinize it, looking for one fatal error. A year passes; no errors surface. I become lax. I stop looking. “Perhaps it is possible for someone to do their work errorless,” I think.

I feel confident can trust and rely on Margo to follow procedures without my looking over her shoulders.

Then I went on a business trip for the bank for a few days. When I return, the vault teller requests I enter the vault with her to prepare and fill an order of cash for a merchant. I did. While there in the vault, I notice there is a stack of $100 dollar bills segregated from the others. I ask, “Why are these bills here separate from the other bills?”

The vault teller replies, “Margo asked that they be kept in the vault, separate from the other bills, until you return. She says: ‘ They are counterfeit.’”

I ask, “Does she know who passed them?”

“Oh yes, a new account customer opened a time certificate with them.”

I inspect the bills. They are definitely counterfeit. But since an employee of the bank accepts them as legal tender, I fear we are now faced with an operating loss. This is a first. I had never suffered an operating loss for accepting counterfeit bills. I think to myself, “When Margo makes an error, she does it good. Why didn’t she notify the police or the F.B.I.?” Only Margo can answer my questions. She knows procedures. Ignorance is definitely not the reason. “Why didn’t she follow procedures?” This whole thing didn’t make sense.

I approach Margo and ask, “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

She knew immediately what the one word question meant.

“The manager told me to wait until you return.”

“How did the manager get involved with it to begin with?”

“He brought the customer to my desk. I thought he knew him.”

I excuse myself saying, “I have to make a few calls before 5:00 P.M., I’ll get back to you later concerning this matter.”

Immediately, I call the “Feds,” explain what happened, beg their forgiveness, and make plans to entrap this mystery man if by chance he attempts to do it again.

Margo had shared with me his statement: “ I will be back to open another account when my certificate at another bank matures. That’s a promise.”

The F.B.I. gave me instructions. I had to fill Margo in. But because of the frantic hassle and the circumstances, precious time slips away and so did Margo–she left the bank for the day. “Oh well,” I tell myself, “Tomorrow is another day.”

The next morning disaster hit. A family emergency occurs delaying my arrival at the bank.

When I did arrive, Margo met me at the door. “It’s fixed,” she exclaims!

“What’s fixed?” I inquire.

“My error,” she stammers with excitement, “I told you: ‘I guarantee my work.’”

What had she done? My mind cannot conceive how she can correct such an error.

“Margo,” I say in a calm reassuring voice, “Face it, your error is not fixable. It cannot be erased as if it is chalk on a chalkboard.”

“But it is,” she replies, “In just that way too–like chalk on a chalkboard.” “You see,” she continues, “The man who gave me the counterfeit came back.”

He said: “I have an emergency. I need my money back.”

“So, I give him–I give him just what he asks for. I give him his money back — his counterfeit bills.”

Posted in Analysis, character analysis, History, Life's lessons, memories, That's Life!, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Moment of Remembrance: For My Mom

A Moment of Remembrance: For My Mom

Originally posted January 29, 2007 (edited 7-14-2014) by gramatrudy

Note from the author

I was prompted to write the poem that follows during my grieving process.  I recall a day my mom (Nellie) came to Uncle Chris and my house.  I was in the front yard watering a small apple tree when she drove up.  Only one apple (a small one) was on the tree.  When Mom sees the apple, she giggles, shakes, and boldly stumbles out, “That apple is mine!”

I smile, and reply, “It is in my yard.  I care for it, so it is going to be mine!”

She giggles some more and with a shaky voice says, “We’ll see.”

I knew there is a story somewhere behind her request just by the way she was acting with her little giggle and shaky voice.  So, I ask, “What is it about this apple that makes you want it so?”

She giggles and shakes some more, and replies, “When our family first move from the Sherman, Texas farm to the Denison, Texas farm, there is a huge apple tree on the property.  It had only one live branch.  On that branch, was one large apple (not quite ripe)?” 

Papa tells all twelve of us children, “Do not touch that apple; that apple is mine!”

“But the temptation wears me down.  I can’t resist.  I climb that tree.  I get that apple. I caress that apple. I shine that apple and then I sit under the dying tree and I eat it.  It is the best.  It is juicy.  Never had I tasted an apple so sweet,” my mom says.  “The apple on your tree reminds me of that day. I have never told anyone about it until just now.  It has been a secret.  A secret I have clung to and cherished since my youth.”

Neither of us ate the apple from my tree.  Instead, a strong Ridgecrest wind came and blew it away.  Only the memory returned so I can share the story with you.

I hope you will enjoy the following poem about my mom,

Nellie Mae Coffin, Smith, De Juan

December 13, 1911 – January 28, 2007         

How Will I Be Remembered?

By Trudy A. Martinez

How will I be remembered?

Ninety-five years have flown by since I came to be,

I sat under a dying tree,

Savoring the flavor of an apple

My dad forbade me to eat,

This is one thing I will remember until my dying day,

How stubborn I was,

And how determined I was

To have my own way,

Who’s to say that apple was

NOT meant for me,

I taste the sweet juice of the apple,

When I recall sitting under that tree.

Now that I have passed

How will I be remembered?

A tender touch, a game of Dominos.

A shiny piece of glass?

Or by the taste of life the apple gave to me.

Nothing lasts forever,

Not even me.

The apple tree died and so do we.

But memories live on,

Just the memories, 

The memories we share together,

Just the memories of you and me,

Memories live forever when they are savored 

Like my apple tree.

Posted in Analysis, character analysis, Childhood memories, History, Life's lessons, Literature or books, Out of Sight, Poems, rhetoric, Roots, That's Life!, Truth | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How does DeTocqueville’s Democracy in America help you to understand and deal with the media in relationship to ideals, values, and myths? by Trudy A. Martinez

Originally posted on Grama's space bubble:

How does DE Tocqueville’s Democracy in America help you to understand and deal with the media in relationship to ideals, values, and myths?
By Trudy A. Martinez

Influence and the ramification of world history had a critical bearing upon the construction of the American order. Whereas, today the influence and the ramification of the media’s interpretation of international and foreign affairs has critical bearing on America’s future.

America is an archetype for the world; it was and is a speculative design to emancipate the world into Capitalism, a new world denomination. With the Soviet Union joining the ranks of Capitalism, for a while it appeared the American elite and Soviet elite would become the governing agents of the world. De Tocqueville speaks as if he is living in the twentieth century when he says in his book, Democracy in America,

“There are at the present time two great nations in…

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Tales from Mom 2 by Trudy A. Martinez

 

The Quilt Nellie Makes

The very same quilt Nellie makes, now tattered and worn, that adorns her bed has a stitched piece of the flower sack that once held her secret stash of feathers. Ma shares many secret ways, as part of her Indian heritage, of remembering the past down to minute details. She adopts quilt making as a means of preserving for later recall one’s own history. Nellie did the same. The survival of the flower patch in her quilt is a testament to that.


Her hand touches the patch as she pulls back the quilt, raises herself slowly from her reclining posture, and brings herself to a sitting position at the edge of the bed. “Nev’r nuff”, she utters as her fingers stroke the patchwork. More years than she cares to remember pass since she hand-stitches the pieces together; the once bright and colorful colors, now are fading; but the memory each patch holds are still bright and clear as they rise like the sun every morning, reminding her of her youth, her loves, her sorrow.


Nellie Mae only went to fifth or sixth grade; she no longer remembers which it is, fifth or sixth.


Then every day is miserable for her, coming home with tears streaming down her chubby cheeks and a group of children following her, laughing and teasing and asking, “What the matter? Your cat got your tongue. Are you going to be a clown when the circus comes to town? With that hair, you will surely make everyone laugh. You’ll fit right in.” They always say something about her. Her hair, in addition to the usual, is a subject they just cannot resist this morning.

You see, Ma broke the regular bowl she sets on her head to guide the scissors when she cuts her hair. This morning the bowl is much smaller. As a result, Nellie’s hair is so different from the norm. She not only catches her classmates’ eye but also their criticism. Teasing her is a pastime they all seem to enjoy.

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(Nellie Mae is the girl in the back row (circled in red) with the above the ear short hair –cut. The picture is of the last year she attends school.)


A mounting uneasiness encompasses Nellie during this encounter. Her dread of the situation brought about by her peers increasing violent reaction set her heart pounding. As they poke at her with twigs and sticks, the sound of each beat of her heart echoes and ricochets off the walls of her chest, sending out a desperate cry for help like a drum beating out a message in the deepest, darkest jungle.


She feels like a lamb led to the slaughter. Inwardly, she prays in silence even though all the time she wants to cry out, “Those of you who is without faults cast the first stone.” She wonders as she watches the oldest boy reach down to pick up a dirt ball if he can read her thoughts. At first, he pretends to throw the dirt, causing her to flinch. Then when the others see how she reacts, they follow the older boys lead, picking up a handful of dirt stones and pretending to throw them at her; and then changing directions, they hurl them in the air like a band of jugglers. Nevertheless, when they discover their combine attempt fails to budge her as they try to rile her enough to holler at them so they can laugh at her some more, they throw the stones. Their attack and their teasing convince her to remain silent.


Ma and Pa told her, “A child should be seen and not heard”. However, their meaning and Nellie’s interpretation of the statement under her circumstance differs. She justifies her silence through her representation of those wise words, allowing herself to keep away from what she does not wish to endure.


At home, it is another matter altogether. She makes distinguishable noises that are easy to discern by family members. Even so, she does not say much if she says anything at all. Her eyes do most of the talking. Of course, her facial expressions and body language make it clear and understandable her meaning. With the combination of communicating methods operating together as a unit, she begs Pa to let her stay home and help Ma instead of going to school because the other children, even the teacher, show her no mercy, and she just wants to die because of it.


Ma being sickly, her older sister taking a job at the mill to help out the family financially and not able to help Ma as much, and there being nine children (including Nellie) to feed and care for, and Ma being about to have another helps to convince Pa.

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(Nellie is in the back row between her older brothers. In front is her older sister, holding one of the twin girls, a younger brother, her Ma, holding the other twin, their dog, and Pa)


There is always something for her to do; and whining not her nature, she never complains. She loves taking care of her little twin baby sisters and dressing them and putting pretty ribbons in their hair.

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