1. Reaction to King/Walls stories: Both of the authors turned their own personal memories into my own. They used detail to allow me to insert myself in their situations as if I was there when it first happened. Particularly when Stephen King wrote about the “sharp smell of alcohol” and a “loud kissing sound” inside his head. I actually cringed while reading this because he made the scene so vivid that I could practically feel my own eardrum being punctured. Similarly, I felt my own skin tingle in The Glass Castle when she wrote about her bandages being “wadded and covered with smears of blood and yellow stuff and little pieces of burned skin” from the “rough, scabby surface of the skin”. Both of the authors provided good sensory details to the reader that allowed the reader to take a step back into the authors’ memories.
2. One eventful memory from my childhood was the time I fractured my left elbow on the playground at recess. When the loud ring of the school bell sounded, kids flooded the playground. Youngsters from kindergarten to fifth grade scattered to their designated regions: fifth graders dominated the tennis courts, fourth graders held the confines of the open field, first, second, and third graders were forced to share the monkey bars and swing sets, and the kindergarteners kept to themselves at the kiddy park. My friends and I were taking turns spinning on what was called the “umbrella” in a region that was safe for third graders to play on. The umbrella consisted of multiple kids gripping on tight to a metal bar in the shape of an umbrella. As we hung there, my friend Lexi was designated to be the “pusher”, the person who spun the umbrella around as fast as she could. It was common sense to jump off when your hands were slipping, but there was a certain aspect of pride that came with holding on the longest.
We resembled flies in the summertime, joyriding on the tires of a competitive cyclist. Gripping our hardest, despite all the discomfort in our bodies, just to be the one to hang on the longest. As I hopped on for my second ride of the day, I was determined to last longer than my friends. The powerful wind blew through my hair as it would on the minuscule fur of a fly. Every time the wheel rotated, the creatures gripped a little harder, trying to fight off the perspiration that could potentially determine life or death. Luckily for us, we didn’t face the option of death.
The playground kept spinning and spinning but I held my ground. I lifted up my feet to avoid skimming the woodchips and prayed that my hands retained their sweat. When everyone else had flung off, I knew I was the last man standing. As if that wasn’t enough, I challenged myself even more to see how long it would take me to willingly let go. Unfortunately, I didn’t let go willingly. My hands started slipping and in a flash I was lying on my side only inches away from the concrete sidewalk. I lay limp for a moment. Then I realized all my friends and peers playing at the playground had their eyes on me with their jaws nearly to the floor.
Full of embarrassment, I hopped up, brushed my body clean of all the dirt, and pretended like nothing happened. I’m pretty sure I even threw in a chuckle.
“Gabby maybe you should go to the nurse. That looked like it was a bad fall,” said one of the many witnesses. I refused, knowing that I already had the reputation of being a whimp who always goes to the nurse over a tiny scratch. I didn’t even realize all the pain I was in because I was too focused on pretending to be okay. Eventually, a friend walked me to the nurses office, who was very familiar with my face after all the times I have come in from miscellaneous cuts, scabs, and bruises. The nurse handled the situation in a calm manner. She reassured me I was going to live, despite the aching pain I felt from my left wrist all the way to my shoulder. My mom then picked me up. She walked into the school wearing her tennis uniform, having to leave in the middle of her match to come get me. We drove to the emergency room, where I suddenly wished I never went out for recess that day. The bright lights and constant beepings from various machines and telephones made me regret not jumping off the umbrella just a moment sooner. After an hour of waiting around and talking to several nurses, I finally got an x-Ray taken. They draped me with a heavy vest and positioned me in front of a complex machine 5 times my size. A couple clicks and it was already over. My mom and I proceeded to wait until finally a certified doctor came in to tell us the results.
“It appears your left elbow has a fracture.” Thank god I went to the nurse after all, even if I was called a whimp.