Sunday, November 1, 2009

A writing assignment unlike the others

Fridays are creative writing days at our house. It's not always easy to come up with an assignment, and last year I used up most of my own ideas. So this year I often search the Internet for more.

I found the assignment below on some link and let the kids have free reign. What Alexandra came up with wasn't at all what I was expecting. It seems that she was affected by reading A Child Called It and her story took a twist I didn't expect at all. But the rewarding part is not only is her writing style rather engaging, but she has also absorbed some of the sensitivity to the downtrodden that I've been trying to impart to my children ever since they were in preschool.

Assignment:
In your composition book, write a story that starts with this situation:

It’s a regular school day, boring classes, same old things. At last you hear the lunch bell ring. You sit down with your friends and open your lunch bag. There is no sandwich, no chips, no cookies. A mystery package has replaced all of that! Slowly and incredulously, you take the package from your lunch bag. Not only did it appear in your lunch, but it has your name on it! What is inside? Who sent it and why?

Alexandra's composition:
Andrew sat in class with all the rest of his classmates, listening to the drone of his teacher's voice. He couldn't understand what the teacher was trying to say. Whatever it was, it didn't seem to be penetrating his head. Instead, he'd been counting down the seconds to lunchtime since five minutes ago. There were 39 seconds left.

As soon as the lunch bell rang, the teacher announced, "Line up, students!" Andrew raced to the coatroom, grabbed his lunch, and dashed to the door. He was third in line. He shuffled his feet impatiently, fighting the urge to grab his string cheese that he'd seen his mother pack this morning, and start eating it right then and there.

Finally everyone was in a straight line, and they marched off to the cafeteria.

Andrew sat down with his friends, Tom and Steven, at their usual table. Each boy pulled out his typical lunch: a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Andrew reached into his, anticipating the usual bologna sandwich, banana, juice, string cheese, and cookies. Instead, he felt a crumpled bag in his lunch box. He pulled it out and peered inside. He reached in and pulled out a lined piece of paper. It read:


Andrew,

I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist the temptation to take your lunch today. I was very hungry and I knew you'd have some cookies in there; you always do. I told myself I'd only take one cookie, but when I saw you had my favorite bologna sandwich, I couldn't resist. I'm sorry I ate all your lunch. It won't happen again.

Sorry.

P.S. It's just that I haven't eaten since Friday.


Andrew glanced into his lunch box. Indeed, it was empty. Buy who could've eaten it? They hadn't eaten since Friday? Today was Monday!

"Hey guys," Andrew asked, "Do any of you have two bucks?"

"Sure, buddy," Tom replied, reaching into his pocket, "but what do ya need 'em for?"

"There's no lunch in my lunch box," Andrew replied. His friends gave him puzzled looks as they looked at his empty lunch box.

"That's interesting," they commented as Andrew took Tom's money and went to buy himself some lunch.

Andrew looked despairingly at the long line as he got into the last place. Today there were chicken nuggets, so lots of people would be buying.

As he stood in line looking about, Andrew noticed a kid sitting at the end of a table by himself. His name was David, and he was quite shy. For some reason many children didn't like him. He was poor and it showed: his clothes had patches and he looked as if he needed a shower. He was also flesh and bones, seemed to have no meat on him.

David glanced at Andrew, saw him watching and quickly glanced away. Suddenly it hit Andrew that this might be the person who'd taken his lunch. Should he ask?

Once out of line, Andrew hurried to his table. He ate four of his chicken nuggets, leaving 2 for David and some tator tots. As soon as both his friends looked away, he hurried off with the rest of his lunch to David's table.

"I noticed you have no lunch today," Andrew said to David. "Want the rest of mine? I'm not hungry anymore."

David didn't glance up, but mumbled "Sure." Andrew hurried away, feeling as embarrassed as David had looked.

"Where'd you go?" Tom and Steven asked as soon as he'd returned.

"I was done with my lunch," Andrew replied. "Wanna play kickball during recess?" he asked, changing the subject.

"Sure," his friends agreed.

_________________

The next day, when Davy came in to sit at his desk, he found a granola bar waiting for him. Who could've put it there? he wondered. He glanced at Andrew, sitting at his desk, busily writing something. Then he grabbed the granola bar and went to the bathroom to eat it.

_________________

That same day as the lunch bell rang, David hurried with the rest of his class to line up. He didn't bother going to the coatroom, since he knew he had no lunch. But as Andrew passed by with his lunch box, he shoved a paper bag with "David" written on it into Davy's hands. Davy glanced about; no one had noticed. He peered into the bag. He could see a bag of cookies, a banana and a sandwich. Embarrassed, but thankful, he made his way out of the classroom with the rest of the class.

After school that afternoon, near the buses, David stopped Andrew and asked, "Where'd you get the lunch?"

"I brought it," Andrew replied. "Why don't you come over to my house today?"

David looked at him skeptically, then agreed.

From that day on, Andrew and David became fast friends. Andrew always brought him lunch or money to buy some if there was something they like being sold.

Andrew learned from David that his mother and father were divorced, that his mother didn't care what he did, as long as he was out of her sight, and that she used to throw him out of the house if he'd ask for food or was caught taking some out of the fridge. She believed him a nuisance and said he reminded her of his father. If he wanted food, he should earn it.

So David came to live at Andrew's house. Since he'd be at his house all the time anyway, and in the end, Andrew's family adopted him. They always went around together and were quite proud to say they were twins.

The end.

1 comment:

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)