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Bonus Writing August/September 2007
From Tri-Community Adult School

(Editor's note: Teacher Victoria Banuelos sent stories written by her students at the Tri-Community Adult School , Pioneer Center in West Covina California . Victoria writes, "The sections in italics are story starters taken from the book, "Write for You--Creative Activities for Building Writing Skills" by Janet Morey and Gail Schafers. Everything else is original."  We received stories from Sandra R. Bem, Irene Choy, Dora Gonzalez and Haidyy Torres. Some stories appeared in our August/September 2007 issue. Watch for the October issue for additional stories.)

A magical day
by Sandra R. Bem

     I was at home waiting for my friend to pick me up to go to a movie. I heard a noise in front of the house, and thinking it was my friend, I went to open the door. But what I saw changed my plans completely.

     What a magical day! I really couldn't believe what I saw.  All the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team and, of course, Ty Pennington, the well-known and lovable home design leader guy were there. They were in front of my house and so were my neighbors showing their enthusiasm and solidarity. Certainly, I couldn't hide my emotion and I cried.

     One month later, I had my house totally remodeled and refurnished. They broke some walls, put coordinated colors on them, added recessed lamps in the kitchen, and replaced the countertop. I'm very excited with my contemporary and stylish furniture. Besides, I love my new landscaping and the swimming pool with its cascade.

     Actually, I'm so proud of my cozy and brand new home and, especially of my fantastic cinema room with its twelve comfortable cushioned seats for my special guests.

     To sum up, I have no words to thank the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" staff. They made my dream come true.


by Sandra Bem

     Mother is a word that brings love in itself.  I really know the meaning of this sweet, generous and at the same time strong word. I wasn't raised by my mother. I didn't get her daily care and worries. In other words, I wasn't pampered as ordinary children usually are. So, there was a lack of love in my heart. Indeed, I couldn't do anything and neither could my mother. Therefore, we had to make do. Our hands were tied.

However, we shared furtive and unforgettable moments. For instance, it's vivid in my mind the day she went to my school.

     She was elegant, glamorous and lovely. I was in the third grade. I studied in a public school located in a poor area of the city. In contrast, my mother lived in a fancy and posh one. "She really looks like an actress," I thought proudly. Besides, I still remember the name of her favorite French perfumes:  "Cabochard,"  "Fleur de Rocaille" and "Muguet du Bonheur."  It's incredible how intense they are in my sense of smell.

     The weekends that I went to her house, she cooked delicious food, those foods that just mothers are able to prepare. We ate out at her uncle's Lebanese restaurant. Also, I enjoyed going to the beach to see famous people while walking on the shore.

Finally, when I was 21 years old I was literally free; we were free to hang out anytime and anywhere. Undoubtedly, it was a victory!

     She was a gentle and cheerful person. She was always in a good mood. However, we avoided talking about the past. We knew that there was a kind of wound, an open wound that could suddenly start bleeding once it was touched. Therefore, she wasn't as happy as she looked. In reality, she developed a defense mechanism in order to hide her sadness.

In 1991, she died. I felt alone again. Our relationship was based on respect and love. I can say that it doesn't matter how distant we are physically. We will be united forever.


An important time of my life
by Haidyy Torres

     When I was a little girl, I was living with my grandmother. I used to call her Mami. Then when I was 12 years old she died and I had to come back to live with my parents, sisters and brother. The process of adapting was a little difficult for me, but with the love of my family it was easier.

     At that time, my focus was studying for ten years; then I could obtain one of my dreams to be in the university.

One day while I was studying I met the man of my dreams. He had known me for two years and never had talked with me. When he saw me for the first time he thought that I would be his wife.

     We had a courtship for one year then I had to make the most important decision; I got married and left my family and my country to begin a new life.

     Now my life in this country has been very good. I can say I am very happy because I have an excellent husband and three wonderful and healthy children.


My Mother
by Haidyy Torres

     God has made an incredible woman and a beautiful and wonderful mother; Rosalinda, she is my mother.

My mom is the best person in the world. I love her very much. I carry her inspiration with me always in my heart.

My mother advises me all the time to be a good, honest, responsible, grateful person. She has been my teacher.  She taught me "When life gives lemons, make lemonade."  Especially, my mom is my best friend; she is very affectionate, confident and understanding.

     I can tell that my mother is wonderful and extraordinary. I want to say, "Thank you, Mom for being my mom and thank you for all the things that you always give to me." I give thanks to God for having given me my Mom. I love you Mom.


Childhood Memories
by Irene Choy

     I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother and I lived in a small house in the countryside. My grandmother was a tall and thin woman. She was very kind, nice, and brave.

     My grandmother taught me many things when I was 5 to 7 years old. She taught me how to take care of and feed little chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs. Sometimes she showed me how to cook. She cooked very well and could cook for 50 people.

     When I was ten years old she passed away. I miss her a lot. I like the animals from those times. She always encouraged me to do things. From my heart, I will always be thankful to her.


Bonus writing from San Jose
About my parents
by Hoang Huynh

(Editor's note: Mary Edmunds of InterLink Training sent us Hoang Huynh's story. Mary writes, "This student is from the Asian American Community Involvement in San Jose , CA. Everyone loves reading the newspapers. Maybe you can put his story up on your website. Thank you.")

            My father's name is Teo Huynh. My father is 71 years old. My father lives in San Jose , California now. He was born in Bac Lieu, Vietnam . He loves my children and he likes to travel. He is happy with his neighborhood. He likes to go to buy electronics, and he likes exercise. He watches TV.

            My mother is named Phan Ly. My Mother was born in Tra Vinh , Vietnam . My mother lives in San Jose now. My mother has eight children. My mother cooks Vietnamese food. My mother likes to exercise all the time. Everybody in my family likes her.


Bonus writing from Salinas

(Editor's note: Teacher and Editorial Board member Alan McEwen wrote to us recently. He said, "I like Easy English Times very much. Each issue always gives me a sense of connection with our lively ESL community. I like the variety of stories and the inclusion of current, important issues. Well done!" And we say, "Thank you!"
     Alan sent stories from the following students who attended his Intermediate High ESL class this summer at the Salinas Adult School: Mario O. Barcena, Hungh Chun, Brenda Higuera, Jun Li, James Park, Julia Rico, Anna Toan, Kieu Truong, Thao Truong, and Lorena Vazquez.)

When I was a child...
by James Park

     When I was a child I went with my sisters to a place where there were three swimming pools. One pool had deep water for older people. Another had deep water for diving. The third pool had shallow water that children could play in.     

     I wanted to go to the deep pool. So I went into the water when my sisters didn't see me. I thought I was safe because I was holding on to the safety rope. But somehow I dropped the rope and sank into the water. I couldn't swim! I drank and breathed in a lot of water. "Help me, help me!" I shouted continuously. Suddenly, someone lifted me in the water.  I thought now I can live! I relaxed.

     Today I am dizzy when I think about this. I don't like water now. My experience had a big impact on me.


My cat
by Julia Rico

     When I was seven years old, that is 37 years ago, I lost one of my precious family members, my cat. She lived with me for about four years. She was fat; her fur was black gray and white, and her beautiful eyes were amber. Tommy was her name and she would always follow me.

     Although Tommy died long ago, I still remember that terrible day as if it was yesterday. When I entered the house, my father told me, "Tommy died." I could not believe it. She was my favorite pet. I felt disconsolate and I wanted to die also. I asked to see her and my mom said, "Don't worry. she has been buried." She said that they had buried Tommy in the backyard.

     I still remember her and feel sad because I miss her, but I also feel happy because I remember all those wonderful days that I played with her.