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A Young Writer Looks Up to an Elder

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net). Support: YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to donate to YWP, go to youngwritersproject.org/support.

Prompt: Elder

My dad’s mom, one of my grandmas, is Judy Openshaw Findeisen. She was born in 1932 on Friday the 13th of October in Rhode Island. My dad always says that we Findeisens have luck on Friday the 13th because of Grandma.

Growing up, she attended Northampton School for Girls through high school. Then, just like my dad, she attended St. Lawrence University where she met my Grandpa Findeisen.

When my grandma moved to Vermont, she tried many jobs, including driving a school bus, running a bank and selling real estate with my grandpa. She moved to Vermont because she had two young children and wanted to move away from the gang violence and drugs starting in Staten Island.

Now living in Killington at 80 years old, my grandma is still very active, traveling to numerous places such as China and New Zealand, and skiing and mountain biking whenever she has the chance.

By living nearby, I am able to spend time with her, and she attends many important events that my brother and I are in, such as my band concerts.

Some of my favorite activities that my grandma and I do are baking Christmas cookies and playing double solitaire, her favorite game. I look up to my grandma because she is a strong woman who lost her husband, my grandpa, at an early age.

Prompt: General writing

There is no painting like a book

Winning over the heart

Nor any sculpture like a word

Creating works of art

When overcome with cold despair

A page warms the spirit

And like a sax, it plays a tune

All who want, can hear it

  Prompt: Survival

“Get to the boat!” screams my mother.
“No, I need to save Ben, he’s still in the room!” I reply as I scramble around a table, and attempt to sprint to our room.

But my mother stops me before I can bolt. Her eyes are filled with tears. She smiles that gentle smile that she only gives me when she’s going to tell me bad news. My eyes widen, I cling helplessly to my mother’s arm but she is stronger than me and she flings me on the last rescue boat. The lines rub against the pulley making a terrible sound as they drop us into the water. 
“No!” I scream, as my arms reach out and try to grab her. My mother watches me as tears slide down her face. The magnificent ship moans and makes a big crack sound. I try to reach the side of the boat to make another attempt to grab my mother. I reach too far though, and the last thing I remember are dark blue waves pulling me down deeper and deeper ...
I choke on the water that blocks my breathing tube. A soft hand pats my back as I try and breathe. I freeze. How am I alive? I drowned, right? Am I in heaven? I slowly turn my body to face the thing behind me. It’s an angel. His eyes are a pure sky blue. His hair is blond and wavy. Tears come to my eyes. I laugh to myself. It’s not fair. I died at 15. My mother sacrificed herself, and yet I end up in heaven.
“You know that you’re still alive right?” whispers the boy standing next to me. 
My eyes widen with surprise. I ... survived?
“Who are you?” the boy asks.

I answer his question with one of my blank stares. Who is this boy. Did he save me? Where am I? I slowly try and place my body in a sitting position, but I wince with pain and immediately lay back down. 
“You were hurt pretty bad when you floated to shore on a piece of wood. Your right arm was broken along with two ribs. But I’ve found some strong sticks to hold them in place.”
I squeeze my eyes tight as I endure the pain. My long brown hair is carelessly scattered around my head. I grab the boy’s hand and gesture him to lift me up. He seems to get the message and lifts me up with my left arm wrapped around his neck and my broken one dangling. I look up at him. He returns my stare with a grin. I grab a stick and carve out letters in the sand.
“Why are you helping me?”
“I’ve been alone for so many years now. I’m pretty sure I got abandoned here when I was 11, it’s probably been five years now so I’m most likely 16. Being alone is scary, so I don’t want you to experience that feeling.” 
“I need water,” I write…

Read the complete story at youngwritersproject.org/node/85794