September 11, 1944
First, I would like to introduce you to my family and give you a picture of my home. There are only four of us, my gifted, exacting father, my sweet, ever-busy mother, my impish, nature-loving sister and myself. During the summer we all worked harder than ever for before the war we had a man to do most of the heavy work and the chores which consist of taking care of the animals. we have quite a menagerie: goats, a dog, chickens, some geese, ducks, pigeons, and a horse. The house is an old rambling one, parts of which are about a century and a half old. we live on a farm, which must be quite evident by now, about four miles from town in the beautiful quiet of the country. No barking dogs, except our own, no honking horns, no crying children disturb our peace. All is quiet.
What I like to do best after a day of weeding, sawing, haying and harvesting is to rest. Not by punching a bag as one of our helpers did but by drawing or reading. I suppose drawing is one of my hobbies although I can think up much more beautiful pictures than draw them.
Of all things I like such simple ones as lying in bed at night and listening to the cold wind moan and whistle past my windows, the quiet sifting of the snow as it softly nestles into place on my window sill, the silent, subdued appearance of the world when I awake while the snow is still falling, a springtime twilight symphony, the rain in my face, a lovely melody, a thunderstorm, a gold and amethyst sunset, the feel of a fresh morning breeze, dust drifting in the sun shimmering like particles of gold, the clean smell of newly laundered sheets, the beauty and the heavy fragrance of the wisteria in full bloom and fresh black bread with butter.
Those things I like and these I dislike: getting up from a warm bed into the icy cold of the room, the prickle of hay down my back, so-called modern art, jazz and swing, the more complex parts of grammar, remembering dates, washing pots and pans, and oatmeal for breakfast. I dislike it just as much when I don’t know how to stop writing, so if you don’t mind, I’ll end right here.
6 thoughts on “Erika High School Essay, Age 15”
Love it! Fresh black bread with butter! Amazing that you still have the essay.
Erika Sweet portrait—are those pix actually the farm house? Wow! What lovely memories-
Tonight’s our MFA dinner-you’ll “read” first as an appetizer 🌞
I think Linda is going to read my story since my reading skills tend to be “read too fast mumble and cry at the sad parts.” The story is too long about 3000 words but then I’m not a short story writer so it would be shorter if I was. I doubt it’ll ever see the light of day after this evening so we’re going to read the whole thing through—it’ll take about 12 minutes.
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Erika, You just grew into an expanded version of this fifteen-year-old girl.
Haha, I like that ending! But I also like your description of the winters you remember. Growing up as I did in Old England, rather than New, I had far less snow – and always welcomed it when it did come. But there was plenty of cold in wintertime so I recognise your account of getting out of a warm bed with reluctance!
Oh, Erika! Of course it should come as no surprise that you have always been a writer. A voice like yours does not come out of nowhere, and now here you are, generously giving us a glimpse of its early steps. The alliterative-rich yet natural paragraph above the second photo—the one that lists the simple things you enjoy—already sings with the musicality and skill of what is to come. Brava!
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This is remarkably good writing for any age but especially for a 15 year old. It foreshadowed your lifetime of good writing. Keep it up! J
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