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Young Writers: A Favorite Place

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Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on VPR.net. This week, we publish responses to the prompts, Photo 4; and Favorite place: What is the special place that you really like to be? Read more at youngwritersproject.org.

Prompt: Favorite Place

I’m standing. Scuffing my feet. Crouching down. Glove to the ground.

I’m ready for anything; line drive, foul ball, pop fly, or grounder. I’m alive.

It’s a line drive, I shoot my glove out, more of just a way to protect myself. It’s a foul ball, but I don’t notice at first, so I still dive or sprint for it. It’s a pop fly, but not an easy one; I have to turn and run back, but it’s still too far away, I dive and make the catch. I watch the pitch intently. I watch it leave her hand like it’s in slow motion.

I already knew it was coming to me by previously watching her swing. She swings early. It’s a classic grounder, I watch it come to me, again, in slow motion, remembering the basic fielding skills, funneling the ball into me, and reaching back to throw and make the out at first.

I walk up to the plate. A person on second. I time my swing according to her pitch. Bat back and feet spread, I get ready as the pitch leaves her hand. I swing, making perfect contact over the pitcher’s head and past the second baseman and shortstop, driving in the run. This is where I feel alive. The field.

I dive into Crystal Pond and the ripples, echoing from each other, spread towards the dark, forbidding firs that surround me.

The towering trees create a circle around the water, isolating the blue in the midst of the green.

Their earthy scent wafts down and mingles with the fresh air that lays lazily on the pond.

It’s early in the morning and a shroud of mist softens the shine of the sun. The water is completely clear, perhaps even more limped than a diamond or gem. Other than the ripples I made, the water is a smooth plate of glass, pristine and unsullied.

I dive under water again, loving the feeling of the water rushing past my body. Once underwater, I feel as if I’m in another world. Seaweed lies on the bottom and rocks of all shapes and sizes, some pretty, some not, decorate the floor.

I imagine I’m a fish, or a mermaid, swimming through the rooms of my kingdom. Of course, my need for air eventually overcomes my imagination and I am forced to rise. I surface and climb out. The mist has mostly burned off and I walk away regretfully, already waiting for another chance to dive in again.

My favorite place is Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. I love baseball so much, and the Red Sox are my favorite team. What other place could I call the best?

The sight of the Green Monster just amazes me. I love how they made it so high with seats on the top. With seats on the top of the monster, you might even get lucky enough and catch a homerun.

The smell of the food reminds me of a cheap restaurant with greasy smells. Hot dogs, French fries, wings, you name it. It may make me sick afterwards, but I love it still. When I just look at the field, it makes me feel alive.

Seeing a Red Sox player get a homerun is a sight I could never forget. I can hear the swish as the crushed ball flies past me and into the waiting hands of a lucky fan.

Here in the place of greats, the place of victors, I just want to play some day.

The variety of different kinds of people is just fabulous. I love watching people who just came because they were forced to, people who probably don’t understand baseball at all. Then, there are fans like me, die-hard, hate to see your team lose, yell at the umps if they make a bad call fans. Those are the most special type of fans I love.

Someday I want to be the hero at Fenway, hitting the home run to go to the World Series, maybe even being the MVP. Someday I can see myself doing the impossible — making it to the MLB. It is most likely impossible, but childhood dreams are meant to come true.  

Prompt: Photo 4

It’s 1941, and my family is moving from our house in Oklahoma, where we have always lived, to California. I don’t know where that is, but my mother says it’s nice. Only we don’t know where we’ll stay, we don’t know if my parents will find jobs, and we don’t know how we’re going to survive.

I’m scared. I don’t want to leave this house, these fields where I played while my father worked. I don’t understand why we are leaving our life here to go to an unknown, strange place full of strange people. Here on the farm, we were perfectly fine until those men started coming and telling my father he had to leave. How can they make us leave? I don’t know why my father, who never acts scared of anything, seems scared by these men. That’s what really makes me scared.

I asked my mother why we were leaving, but she just told me we had to go. We never have enough to eat anymore, and we had to sell my pet pig and all our other animals, too. My father isn’t sure we’ll make it to California. I heard him talking about it with my mother. My sister and I were listening. I know we aren’t supposed to, but I wanted to know what’s going to happen to us. My sister always looks to me for comfort, and I always look to my mother, but now when I look at her all I see is a mask, like she’s covering up whatever she’s feeling inside. I just want to stay here and have everything go back to the way it was. I don’t know why everything had to change.

I have been working on this farm ever since I was born. My mama and papa say it’s good for me, it will keep me strong.

I attend the town school about a mile down the road five days a week. I always ride my bike. It seems to be much faster.

On the way back I pick up the paper and a dill pickle from grandpa’s store. Then, once I get home I eat a piece of bread, and go out to milk the cows. Bessie is my favorite of the cows; she gives us a gallon a day. Papa don’t know it, but last week I heard him and mama talking about shooting Bessie because she is getting old and has a hurt leg. I don’t know what to say. The last thing I want is for Bessie to die, but I can’t stand watching her suffer.

After I finish my chores I come back inside and my mama usually has a nice hot meal for papa and me. There ain’t anyone who cooks better than mama. After dinner I do my homework, take a bath, brush my teeth, and go to bed. That’s a little about who I am. Sorry about the picture; I was a little angry that day.

His lips opened

He had so much he wanted to say,

But couldn’t force his lips to part.

Kicking one foot up, he leaned back against the wood paneling of his house.

It was cold and soggy, just like him.

He had been traveling in time

And had seen so much.

He had seen how humans evolved,

How they banded together to form one community

Around the world.

He had seen how they died,

Still holding hands.

But for the time being, he couldn’t say any of this.

He could only see how lovely everything looked

Right then and there.

About the Project

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).

Next prompt:

Kindness. You have performed an act of kindness. What is it? How does it make you feel? What happens? Did the person know? Tell the story. Alternates: Unsafe. Describe a place or circumstance where you felt unsafe; or General writing. Due Dec. 21.