What a day…

Thursday, that is. Whew!

First of all… I received a very auspicious email, although I haven’t received any “offical” emails/letters yet, so I will wait to do an official “happy dance,” only because I might be a little superstitious and don’t want to jinx anything! Ha ha.

Except… I’ve told just about everyone and their mothers. It was a little hard to hide it from my housemates, because I shrieked like a little girl and have had a huge grin on my face since then. Other than that, I’m completely professional. Really.

Also– Hi Mrs. H!! Of course I remember you! Mrs. H was my Sophomore Honors English teacher in high school, and I just received a comment on this blog from her 🙂

begin:flashback/

I have to say– the reason that I enjoy writing (papers or otherwise) is mostly because of Mrs. H. Not to sound corny or anything. After a fairly horrendous freshman honors English/History combined- class guinea pig experience (the teacher of which will remain unnamed) I thought that I wanted to become a computer engineer. Seriously. I even went to computer camp one summer and learned HTML and QBasic.

I had decided that I hated reading novels (even though I was, and continue to be, addicted to a good story) and that “interpreting” them was stupid. Writing about them was even worse, because it seemed like you could just make anything up– as long as the teacher thought that it sounded good.

Then came Sophomore Honors. I had heard horror stories about how difficult the writing would be, and was pretty scared of how much I’d have to read.

But the class was different from Freshman Honors! Instead of reading long, dry “classics” and memorizing mundane facts about the authors’ lives (ahem. DICKENS. ahem, ahem.), we read a variety of novels, plays, and poetry. First up was “The Great Gatsby,” and we learned about colors and symbolism and the historical facts that made the story relevant.

We read “Grapes of Wrath,” which is probably the book that sticks most in my memory from high school. Part of why I found it so interesting was because my dad was living at the time outside of San Francisco (near where Steinbeck based “Tortilla Flat” and “Cannery Row”– which led me to read those books also) and I could actually go see some of the places he described in the books, as well as the Steinbeck Museum.

But I especially remember the project we did along with the book. My first photo project!

We had to photograph representations of poverty. I remember joking with my classmates about how, in our homogenous upper-middle class town, everyone would turn in a picture of the one homeless person that always sat outside of Starbucks. That picture was quickly listed as one that would get you zero points on the assignment, and we had to think of more creative representations of poverty.

I used a disposable camera to do the project while I was visiting my dad in San Francisco. I remember having a lot of fun, getting to take pictures of whatever I wanted (as long as it represented poverty in some way). I still have that project, along with all of my other photo albums at home. 🙂

Writing about the themes we read in “The Grapes of Wrath” was much easier and much more interesting when we had a concrete way to relate it to our own surroundings.

Mrs. H is also the one that recommended one of my favorite authors to me: Isabel Allende (the book was “Daughter of Fortune”), which I credit in part for my fascination with Latin America (the other credit goes to my Spanish teacher Junior and Senior year– hi Sra! and the fact that I have yet to have a “Spanish Literature” class in the classic sense of the term. Maybe I should change that and take one this summer?)

We also read “The Crucible,” “Catcher in the Rye” and “Lord of the Flies” that year– all very memorable books. They’ve since changed the curriculum, and I don’t know what books are included now. I seem to remember there being some controversey over almost all of the books we read in Sophomore Honors… I hope they’re still a part of the curriculum!

Our class was very sad when Mrs. H changed schools mid-year. I honestly can’t remember who we had second semester… which is strange, because Sophomore year was a fairly memorable year (qualifying for the state competition on speech team, getting the lead in a play, dating a total jerk of a first boyfriend, the International Relations class that I loved– another reason I like to write, winning an award in Model UN at Harvard, almost failing Chemistry, almost crashing in driver’s ed… geez. high school.).

/end:flashback

Post Script: We lost power last night (Friday) for about five hours, which is why this is posted on Saturday.

Post-Post Script: Berkeley said “no.” But I’m definitley more than okay with that. I guess I won’t be living on the West Coast for another 6-8 years or so 🙂 ah, life.

Post-Post-Post Script: Alright. I think I can go ahead and say, since Simon is hiking in Arizona for a week and won’t be home to pick up any official letters that are on their way (!)– Michigan said “yes”!!! •••happy dance•••

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1 Response to “What a day…”


  1. 1 Anonymous February 28, 2007 at 5:40 am

    those were some very flattering words. i meant to leave my email address, if you want to send a thought or two: wilhsi@niles219.org

    i’m glad you remember the poverty photo-essay. it was one of my favorite assignments.

    mrs. h


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