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Our readers write from the Napa Valley, California

(Editor's note: Teacher and editor Lorraine Ruston sent stories from students in her non-credit Napa Valley College ESL class that meets in Calistoga. Those who wrote include Consuelo Avila, Maura Gonzalez, Veronica Guzman, Yadira Juarez and Rosario Ruiz.)

My childhood swing
by Rosario Ruiz

I remember when I was a child of five years I had pertussis disease. They told my dad that it was good for me to ride on a swing when I reached a crisis. That would make me comfortable and help me rest. As a good dad, he made me a rope swing. He told my brothers and sister that it was just for me. So when I started coughing I ran and got in the swing. It was always available for me.

On one occasion, my older brothers cut three of the four strands forming the rope and they told me, "We will get on your swing." I yelled, "No!" Then I ran and got on my swing. It was very nice. My sister asked me, "Do you want me to push you?" I accepted innocently and the rope broke. I fell down and it gave me a hard blow.

My brothers and sister were punished for their cruel mischief. But it wasn't enough to remove the severe pain of my fall.

My difficult childhood
by Yadira Juarez

Hi everybody. My name is Yadira Juarez. I'm from Hidalgo, Mexico. I remember that my childhood was very hard because when I was eleven years old, my mother went to the United States. My sister and two brothers and I cried for a week after she left. I had the responsibility of taking care of my sister and brother. We lived in our grandma's house because the other house was in bad shape. The ceiling was a sheet of metal and it had a lot of holes in it. We only had one bedroom and one kitchen. We didn't have a bathroom. When my mother was with us, she put water in a bucket in the sun outside so we could take a shower. It was better for us to stay with our grandmother.

The time passed and when I was eighteen, I arrived in the United States. I have been here since 2005. I worked at Hotel Eurospa for one year. After that I worked at a restaurant as a dishwasher for one year. Today I am twenty five years old. I'm married and I have one son. He is three years old. His name is Diego. My husband's name is Trinidad. Now I go to English class in the morning four days a week.