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A Series Feature on Kidz Corner for International Family Magazine

Welcome to the B.ulldog A.cademy of B.ooks and L.etters or the B.A.B.L. Room at McCracken Middle School in Bluffton, South Carolina

Please do not mistake the B.A.B.L. Room to mean we babble.  We never just chatter or talk foolishly. Here in the B.A.B.L. Room we speak intentionally and from the heart.  We are emerging writers and here are our words.  Listen closely please. Shhh……

Emerging writers for October:

Caroline Ahmetoglu – “Memoir: Moving From New York”

Rahne Ehry – "Suki's War Story"
Chandler Hyer – “Who Am I?”
Johnnie Gaston – “Life”
Kiara Rodriguez – “Me”
Bobbie Sanchez – “Would You Like A Roll With That?”
Leigha Reid – “A Recurring Nightmare”
B.J. Hill – “Great-Great-Grandad’s War Story”

A note from the B.A.B.L. room writing and reading teacher, Cat Wayland, editor and founder of International Family Magazine:

“It is an honor to watch young writers emerge.  In class we do warm-up writing, gather oral stories from relatives to hand down, write college essays “Who Am I?” memoir pieces, resumes, employer cover letters, narratives, descriptive writing, expository work and so much more.  It is especially rewarding when a student thinks they have nothing important to say, and then brilliant, sparkling, gems fall upon the page.  That is my favorite moment with my students.  That is the moment when a writer is born. Please enjoy their work as much as I do.  Remember their names, you might just hear of them again one day on the New York Times Bestseller List.”

Memoir: Moving From New York
By Caroline Ahmetoglu

Moving away from my family, friends and my life was not easy.  I still remember that day. I called or walked to most of my friend’s houses.  It was sad because my best friend Connie and I were not on good terms.  She was mad because I was moving, but what could I have done?  I had to move.  I had no choice.

When my family and I finally left it was dark and late out.  I was my in Mother’s car with my sister Samantha.  My Dad and brother Brian were in my dad’s car.  My Dad had just come back from being in South Carolina.  He had been down there ahead of us for six months waiting to bring us to our new home.  My Dad came back to help us move.  In the car, my dogs were barking, I was on the phone yelling at my friend Connie over the phone, and my mother and sister were also fighting.  Finally, it got so loud that I just hung up the phone and yelled,

“Be quiet!”

I never yell and when I did that everyone was so shocked.  The rest of the 2-day ride was dead silent.  No one knew how I felt.  They still don’t.

“Would You Like a Roll With That?”
By Bobbie Sanchez
(A journal writing exercise in which you answered, “If you could invite any 3 people to dinner, who would you invite?”)

“I can’t wait for dinner tonight!” yelled Bobbie. “David Beckham, Legacy and Oprah are coming for dinner!”

“How did you get in contact with them?” replied Sasha.

“I can get anyone who I want because my Uncle is best friends with them,” answered Bobby.

Bobbie was the spoiled one in the family.  She got anyone and everything she wanted from her Dad.  Like they say in life, “she was the lucky one”. Bobbie was in love with David Beckham for who knows how long.  Legacy was a new rapper from the group, “New Boyz”.  Bobbie thought he might be the new love of her life! But even though Bobbie was spoiled, she wasn’t completely selfish.  She wanted to bring Oprah along because her Mom was a big fan.  Bobbie’s Mom recorded the Oprah show everyday.  So, Bobbie thought it would be nice to bring Oprah along for her Mom while she was busy socializing with David and Legacy.

Nightmares Recurring
by Leigha Reid

Have you ever had a nightmare?  Well, I have.  My nightmare just sits in my head and replays itself over and over, night after night!  My nightmare was the scariest dream I ever had.  It all started with a bunny.  A bunny “alien” thing from a TV show called, “Fairly Odd Parents”.

Night had fallen.  It was time to go to bed.  But I wanted to watch an episode of “Fairly Odd Parents”.  In the episode, there were these bunny aliens and they were attacking a planet.  Timmy Turner had to save the day.  At some point, I must have fallen asleep. 

In my nightmare I saw lasers and stars, Cosmo and Wanda.  Cosmo and Wanda are the fairies from the show.  I then began to see thousand of alien bunnies.  I ran in fear and terror from the army of cute plushies.  Thump!  Oh no! I had tripped over a rock and I couldn’t get up.  The bunnies formed a huge furry pile on my back.  I tried to escape and get the bunny pile off my back.  But I simply woke up sweating in fear, not knowing what was going to happen next.

3 days passed.  I had the same dream almost every night.  I would dream of tripping over something and bunnies running after me.  Finally, the dream went away by confronting the bunnies.  How did I do it you ask?  Well, I decided to watch the whole episode over and this time stay awake.  Reality had won over my dream.

Now, I love bunnies!

Suki’s War Story
by Rahne Ery

Where I used to live on the day now called “Halloween”, October 31st is the day of the devil, and it’s a cursed day. That day I was born, and my mother died. My father loved my mother and older brother, but despised me. My older brother Haku was the only one who really noticed me. He gave me a nickname because I didn’t have an official one. He called me Suki; which means love. Haku was three years older than me. I was thirteen and, he was sixteen. My father got remarried and after a while forgot about losing my mother, and they had a child. A few months later my stepmother got ill and passed away, and after that war struck out. Our small village was attacked, but wasn’t hit that bad. My brother and I were some of the survivors. As the war went on our small baby, stepbrother got ill and passed away along with my father. “Nii-san…” I said to my brother “Why is this happening?” He replied, “It’s because people are greedy and always want more.” That’s what Haku said as we left our small house with our stepbrother and father inside crossing over to heaven.

We packed what we needed before we left our once quiet village. “Suki there’s another village that could be safe from the war. It’s near the coast. We’ll be going there.” Haku said. “Ok nii-san.” I quietly replied. Since it was towards the coast we headed north from where we were. A few days later we came to an empty village that we had to go through. We stopped to eat and saw a little girl, a survivor of about the age of six. She walked right up to us. She had long black messy hair and was dirty. “You don’t have long,” she said. “What do you mean? Don’t worry we’re not the enemy.” Haku said. “Chihiro.” She said. “Is that your name?” I said. “h-hai” Chihiro stuttered. “Ok then are you hungry Chihiro?” I asked. “Hai.” Chihiro confirmed. She sat down next to me and ate. “You can travel with us. Are there any others?” Haku asked. “No they are all gone.” Chihiro said in a plain voice. “Ok, then I’ll be back and we’re leaving so eat up!” Haku said as he walked away.

Haku was getting supplies that we needed and then he came back. “Alright time to go,” Haku said as we finished up. After walking about half way through the village, Haku stopped walking. “Chihiro close your eyes and hop on my back. Don’t open them until I say, ok?” Haku said. ‘Ok nii-chan.” Chihiro did what he said. “Suki hold my hand and close your eyes. Don’t open them until I say ok?” Haku said to me. “Ok…” I did what he said. I felt silence in the air. All the sounds that were there before suddenly vanished, all I could sense was death. I felt a chill come up at me, and it felt like there were angels and demons fighting in front of me. They were giving me an icy stare, loathing my pure existence. I kept that feeling for about two hours. “Alright you can open your eyes now.” Haku said. “Don’t turn around, we’re heading out now.”

As they walked ahead of me, I couldn’t help but look and see what was there.  I turned as the wind gently blew and my eyes filled with tears. The sight was horrible and just then I realized what Chihiro had said earlier, “You haven’t got long.” As I stood there crying, my brother came and took me by the hand. “I knew you’d look. Suki, the cherry blossoms are only beautiful because of the blood of the dead underneath,” Haku said as we walked. We walked for about three hours, not once did I say anything. All you could hear was the cries of those lost in the wind as they swept away my tears.

A few days later, we came up to another village and we searched for supplies.  We got food, water, and some medicine which was good because Chihiro wasn’t feeling well.  We stayed overnight in an old house that we found.  “We have about two more villages to go through before we get to the one by the coast but that is a good while away.” Haku said.  “How far away?” I asked out of curiosity.  “About six days to the first one…and one to the other,” he stated.  “How do you know?” I asked again.  “I brought a map in case we got lost,” he said.  “Oh, okay then, goodnight,” I said as I lay down to sleep.  When I woke up it was still dark, but I could feel the dawn creeping up from behind the darkness.  I was being carried on Haku’s back.  “Are we leaving?”  I asked climbing down.

I looked and we were out of the village.  “You were sleeping onne-chan.”  Chihiro said.  “Good morning,” Haku said.  We had only five more days left to get to the village.  We were walking down and we just kept walking…it seemed like an eternity.  We walked straight through the first village but it wasn’t what we wished it would be.  There were wounded soldiers everywhere.  As we walked through we were lucky that no one had bothered us.  About halfway through a soldier stopped us, he was a little older then my brother.  He asked if we could spare any medicine and he stopped when he saw Chihiro.  “Chihiro? Do you know who I am?” he asked.  Chihiro’s eyes went wide with tears as she jumped into his arms.  “Kyoseumei!” she exclaimed. Kyoseumei turned out to be her brother and one of the soldiers who couldn’t go back into war.  Chihiro decided to stay with him. 

We stayed a few days and then said goodbye to Chihiro and Kyosumei.  Four days later we arrived at our new village by the coast. The war hadn’t struck there yet so it was safe for now.  We got a small house on top of a hill with a huge cherry tree nearby.  About three years passed and we kept in touch with Chihiro and Kyosumei.  The war was still going on but it hadn’t hit us yet.  Haku was nineteen and I was sixteen.  It was near the end of October and the cherry blossoms were everywhere.  Most of the tree was bare and the grass was brown.  Everything was orange, brown, pink and red.  My brother went out one day.  “I’ll be right back okay?” he said.  “Alright, but be careful,” I yelled after him.  “Don’t worry, I will,” he said as he walked out.  The cherry tree was a good walk away from our house.  Some time went by and Haku still hadn’t made it back.  It was three hours before I went to go look for him.  I walked around the village but couldn’t find him anywhere.  As I walked over to our house, I saw something by the cherry tree. 

I ran over and my eyes overflowed with tears.  I couldn’t speak.  All I could do was stare at the motionless body that was my brother.  “Your name,” I heard him say.  “Mother, named you before she passed,” he continued in almost a whisper.  “Kokoro, kokoro heart,” were his last words.  I stood crying after hearing my real name.  I finally understood the reason of life and death and unlocked the reasons of war.  But it came at me so hard and all at once and I couldn’t take it.  I lay there with my eyes closed.  I was just glad to be next to my brother, and finally gave in to all the tired of my bones. I must have laid there for days. As my own heart began to fade to a halt on the fourth day, I could hear the wind and felt it carry the cherry blossoms across my cheeks.  “This war has taken everything and this day is cursed, “ was my last thought. 

My Great-Great-Grandad’s War Story
By B.J.Hill

My great, great Grandfather was in the war.  When he was going back to his hiding spot, he twisted his ankle.  So he had to crawl.  My great, great Grandad was crawling and he had a gun to protect him.  He was doing fine until he saw an enemy.  Great, great Granddad snuck up behind him and shot him. He was almost to his destination when he saw another enemy.  The enemy said, “If you move, I’ll shoot.”  Luckily his friend was nearby and shot the enemy and carried my great, great Grandad the rest of the way.  I wonder if things hadn’t turned out that way, whether or not I would have ever been born?

By Kiara Rodriguez

My name is Kiara Rodriguez, I’m 14 years old, and I was born at Andrew’s Air Force Base in Maryland on April 18, 1995.  I was told the President of the United States keeps his airplanes at Andrew’s Air Force Base.  Lots of people think I’m African American because of my skin color, but I’m really Puerto Rican and Dominican.  I have two sisters, Jaelis and Hailey.  Jaelis is 11 years old and Hailey is 7 years old, so I’m the oldest.  We fight a lot but we still love each other.

Both of my parents have great jobs.  My Dad is a Marine and he builds bombs, missiles, rockets, and yes, he even does paperwork.  My Mom works for the DHEC which is short for the Department of Environmental Health.  Mom is a receptionist; she takes calls, and does paperwork all day, everyday.

What I like to do in my spare time is go fishing, drawing, singing, cooking and swimming.  I love going fishing with my Dad because we catch lots of different fish like Puffer Fish.  I also love swimming and the beaches, but not so much in South Carolina where the water is green and murky.  My favorite beaches are the ones in the Dominican Republic.  Those beaches are crystal clear and blue.  Traveling to different places is another favorite thing I like to do because everything is different.  The history, culture and foods are never the same.

Well, you’ve heard so much about me.  You know I’m a vacation type of girl, and I’m a Marine Brat.  That’s what they call us, but I’m really nice when you meet me.  But hey this is me! I love how I live in my own little world and yes, my family is embarrassing, but also completely awesome.  Now you know me.  The End.

By Johnnie Gaston

I am a 13-year-old girl that lives in South Carolina.  My name is Johnnie Gaston and I was born in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I have two brothers and one adopted sister.  When I was 7 years old, my Mom’s army unit got deported to Iraqi and I had to go live in between houses with my Grandma, great Grandma, and Aunt, who I consider to be just like mothers to me.  Mom was in Iraqi from 2001 to 2003 and came back safe and sound with only a few cuts and wounds.

During the years while my Mom was absent from my life, I got involved in a lot of sports activities to keep my mind off of things.  I started playing basketball, softball, track, swimming and other different athletic activities.  I’ve won competition awards and medals in track.  I won 1st place in the 100-meter dash race for the championships and I placed 2nd in the 200-meter dash.  I just played softball and swimming for fun, like a hobby.

I played basketball just for fun also, but when my Mom came back she wanted me to get serious about basketball.  So, after 2 years of playing basketball just for fun, I joined the 7th grade Bluffton Lady Bulldog’s basketball team last year. We lost against Hilton Head in the championships and then Robert Smalls as well.  We ended up coming in 3rd place.  But this year, with the help of our coaches, we will definitely beat Robert Smalls and Hilton Head Island, take the trophy, and come in 1st place!

Who am I?
By Chandler Hyer

My name is Chandler Hyer.  I lived in Utah for eight years before I moved to South Carolina.  Before I moved to South Carolina, I lived in Georgia for one year with my Aunt and Uncle.  I them moved to an apartment near the Piggly Wiggly grocer for one year.  Now, I live in Heritage Lakes in Bluffton.  I enjoy it very much in Heritage Lakes.  I have friends there, and my parents are great.

I consider myself to be fun and friendly.  I belong to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” which you might know as Mormon.  It was easier to be Mormon in Utah where many people are Mormon.  Here I have many difficulties at school with my religion.  It is hard to make friends without talking about dumb things or swearing and that’s just not me.  That’s not how I was raised.  Luckily, I have other friends that I see after school.

I have a love for reading.  My favorite genre is fiction.  I think one of the biggest reasons I love to read is because my parents would have me read aloud to them everyday to the point in which I loved it.  Now, because of my parents, I read constantly.

One of my biggest aspirations is to be an Orthodontist. I think an Orthodontist would be a good job.  Why?  I believe an Orthodontist gets paid a decent amount of money. I also think it would be fun putting braces on kids and having that type of work environment with young kids around all the time.  My goal for this year is to get straight As.  I know that if I don’t start getting straight As, than it will be harder to achieve my goal to be an Orthodontist. I also hope to lower my running time to 22 minutes in Cross Country.  It would be amazing if by my senior year in high school, I could get a scholarship for Cross Country.

I hope this essay helps you understand me.

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