"I have something to tell you..." There was a pause, her tone was worrying. "It's your grandfather, he's passed away." I was stunned: the grandfather who had always been there for me was no longer there. I could feel someone grinding their fist through my stomach; the pain was unbearable. For the first time ever I was lost for words. Tears started to form in my eyes. I could not contain my emotion. All my memories of my grandfather seemed to rush through my head as I sat in my room isolated from the rest of the world.
I had been asked to write a speech for the funeral; it seemed a daunting task at first but as my emotions took over, i found I was able to express exactly what I was feeling. The speech read:
My grandfather was a man of few words who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life: a bet on the horses and the odd bit of chocolate. I can still taste the Polos that he would give me whenever I came to see him and as I stand here before you today, I know that every-time I open a pack of Polos, my grandfather will always be in the back of my mind.
As a younger child, he would often take me to work with him, down to the school or Letham's farm where he would teach me about birds' eggs, crops and the types of plants and flowers. Pleasure was found in the simple things that I (and the rest of my brothers and sisters) did with him and his country life.
I would often go into the back door at Mitchell Avenue where my granddad worked to a familiar scene and the smell of 'Old Holborn' lingering in the air. The smell of warm pastry hung in the air as my nana would always be baking and listening to Radio Two and preparing granddad's lunch for when he came in from work. We thought they were infallible and would always be there; now their bungalow stands empty as a shell.
The last time I saw my grandfather, he was sitting up in his hospital chair wearing his floral shirt, looking as eccentric as Spike Milligan and with a familiar twinkle in his eye. That's how I'll remember him.
The funeral was held
Becoming A Dancer?
By Jennifer M., East Providence, RI
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Standing in front of the mirror one day, I came to the harsh realization that I fell short of the requirements of my dream. The reflection that stared back was of a skinny brown-haired girl who stood a mere five feet tall. My entire life had been about dedication and striving to be the best dancer in my studio. I'd always had elaborate dreams and high aspirations. I never noticed how hard it might be to achieve something that you really want. Most people spend their whole lives searching for their calling or their nitch, but I've known that I was born to be a dancer since the first time I stepped into Thoroughly Modern Dance Studio at one and a half years of age. I've devoted sixteen years of my life to helping my dream come true, and also taken time out of my personal life to be a dance teacher at my studio.
Last summer I attended what is called an audition class in Boston taught by a highly respected Broadway dancer. At this seminar he explained the procedures for getting into a dance company or production. While I was listening and taking notes, I was thinking that I certainly had the experience, but there was one area in which I didn't quite measure up. He informed us that at most auditions all dancers under 5 feet 6 inches are automatically eliminated or simply overlooked. He said that most casting directors are looking for the stereotyped dancer with long legs, a long neck and a size one waist. Standing half a foot under this height, I felt my heart drop to the floor.
It really is hard to listen to someone basically tell you: "Sorry, but you've been working really hard for sixteen years for nothing, so find a new dream." Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. Dancing isn't just some hobby for me; it's more like an addiction. My complete heart and soul are exhibited in every...