Literacy and Liberty


77 years
Posted by: , October 8, 2018, 3:59 pm
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The memorial that I visited today was the World War II memorial in Old West. I stood for a few minutes and stared at this aging plaque on the wall, allowing my thoughts to roam.

“IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DICKINSON WHO SERVED IN THE ARMED SERVICES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1941-1945” it read.

Suddenly, I find myself propelled 77 years in the past. A daughter of Dickinson. I am standing in the same room. The stress of exams fades away. I am not thinking of any paper looming before me. I think of the names of the fallen that I come across daily. I think of the numbness that has begun to come with them. Around the world, people are fighting. An overwhelming amount of them are dying, too. In a few years, the names of my classmates who have lost their lives because of this dreadful, grotesque war will hang on this wall. I will always remember the times that I saw these people on campus. I will remember the laughs of the ones I knew well, recall their accomplishments and feats.

Back in 2018, the personalities of these names are stripped away. All they are now are words on this piece of metal that hundreds of us walk by daily, thinking nothing of it. We so often feel the stress of little things in life, but hardly ever take the time to imagine a time when those names were actually people.

But, I guess this is just simply the point of memorials. There’s more behind the metal, even 77 years later.



Harry Potter is REAL
Posted by: , September 21, 2018, 2:44 pm
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“It has to be real, Chris.” I screamed at my older cousin, who smirked at my innocence. “There’s no way those words were just her ideas. They’re too good.”

This was a real conversation that I remember having soon after I had learned to read. I caught on early to the “book thing”, reading two grades above my level as soon as I got to kindergarten. For this reason, I don’t necessarily remember the exact instance in which I learned to read. I do, however, remember the effect that it quickly had on me.

At the end of first grade, I dove in to the Harry Potter series. My mind, young and naive, became convinced that if words flowed together that well then they must entail reality. I was set on finding Hogwarts, and then, of course, attending. My older cousin Chris was one of many to shut down this notion, with no mercy.

With the realization that people could write as well as J.K. Rowling, I became obsessed with the idea of becoming that good, too. I used the skills that I had learned in kindergarten and first grade, and formed my letters into sentences similar to those that I read. I would write and write and write. I would force adjectives next to nouns and try to make them sound as beautiful as possible. In this way, I began my adventure of learning how to write. My reading and writing skills have built upon each other ever since.



Dear Pa,
Posted by: , September 4, 2018, 6:44 pm
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I have learned that sometimes the ones that we think are the strongest have a cracked foundation, as if they are skyscrapers awaiting their fate of crumbling into ruins.

My life as a child was a repetitive storyline with set characters. Every Sunday, my entire family ate dinner at my grandparents’ house. The head of the table was always occupied by the same character: the patriarch, my grandfather.

My grandfather’s strength was evident. However, he was¬†hiding immense pain. When I was thirteen, he committed suicide. The storyline that I knew by heart was ripped in half, the head of the table suddenly empty. I became empty, too.

To cope, I turned to writing. I wrote letters to him, addressed “Dear Pa,”. I would express my grief, or tell him about my day.¬†This lasted for two years, until I realized I was not getting better.

Instead of writing a letter one night, I read through the previous two years. I began to see that I was clinging to the loss that I had endured, not to my Pa himself. This realization was a turning point.

I no longer mull over my loss. Instead, I contemplate my grandfather’s successes, and reflect on his best moments. In this way, I use the strength that he had taught me. I live in a way that would make him proud. I am okay.

Skyscrapers fall, but that does not mean they weren’t at one point sturdy, and something is always rebuilt in their place.