other bits of blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the annoyance that comes with studying

Well, that's what happens! In reading at my school we are doing a civil rights unit (freaky but totally worth the learning), and I started to write a civil rights story. Also, I'm reading 'The Secret Life Of Bees' (not for school), and it might be based a little on that. And for those of you who haven't read this book, you have to do it now, it's really good. So is the movie.

Anyway, this story is called 'Turn Away'. It's about a 13-year-old girl who lives in Minnesota. But she goes to visit the mother that she's never met before for the summer. Her mother lives in Savannah, GA. And Nevada (the main character) makes friends with Harper, who is her mother's maid's daughter (I know, really confusing, but you'll get it once you read it). And I should probably just give you the story, right now...

Turn Away

I don’t understand how those men never said sorry. How could they have forgotten? I never will, unlike most. I’ll never forget the day I was stripped and left bare, except for the one person I had never met. Some people try to wipe their memories clean of anything bad that stepped in their path. Some people block it out, but never forget it. And others turn away, and hide the truth.


I stepped off the train in the middle of the afternoon in Savannah, Georgia. The day was hot, stifling, and dry. “Do they have snow in the south?” I wondered out loud to myself.
“Snow?” asked a girl, near my age. She was black, with long hair tied up in ringlets. Her eyes were dark green, and the sage colored sundress she wore matched perfectly. “Is snow that fluffy white stuff that falls from clouds like rain?”
I nodded. “Only, it’s cold, like ice. But softer than ice, you know,” I answered, still wondering who she was.
“I don’t know.” The girl smiled, revealing a gap between her front teeth. I wondered if she was as old as me, after all.
“Oh,” I said, confused. How does someone not know what snow is? “By the way, I’m Nevada. I’m looking for Dinah, Dinah Gardener, she’s my mother.”
“Then I’m the right person to pick you up, Miriam sent me,” she said.
“She’s my Momma. And she’s your Momma’s maid. Oh, and I’m Harper.”
I nodded again.
Harper liked to talk, but without explaining anything. I still didn’t understand how my mother was here, and exactly who Harper was, and how she was even connected to me and Dinah. I guess I would just ask Dinah when I saw her. But where was Dinah? I just hoped I could trust Harper, ‘cause I did.
Harper picked up one of my bags while I held the other. She pointed towards a dirt road that seemed to stretch on and on forever. I grimaced. I actually had to walk down that thing? Back home, we didn’t have to do that, we could drive Dad’s car.
I missed Dad. But he said that I would be home soon. After all, I was only spending the summer here. I admit, though, that before that day I had never met my mother. She left our home in Minneapolis, Minnesota the week I was born.
Harper broke the silence. “So…” She left the word hanging in the air, trembling on her lip, and about to fall and shatter like glass. I knew I had to answer.
“So, what?” I asked.
“No, silly, just so!”
“So what?” she asked, and we both burst out laughing. I could tell that I liked Harper.
But I wondered about Dinah (that was what I called her, since I had never met her). Would she look like me? How would she act? Was her hair red, too? I had no idea. Harper and I talked for the next mile or so. She told me about her mother, Miriam, who was as fat as a cow (except she said ‘roly-poly’), and her jet-black hair, which was softer than Harper's. She said that she would probably be jealous of it ‘till the end of time. I laughed and asked her if she was so sure.
Then Harper told me about Dinah. She said that she knew right from the start that I was Dinah’s daughter. Dinah looked exactly like me, with dark blue eyes and dark, rich red hair. And she was short, but sturdy, as I was. And her middle name was Faith, just like me.
We stopped talking when the road ended. The dirt road, actually. It blended into gray asphalt that ran through a city. A Georgia city, dirty, dry, and hot as heck, but a city nonetheless. Harper ran through the streets quickly, with me trying to catch up behind her. I was never a fast runner, and it was hard to beat someone as skinny as Harper. She looked like a stick. Still, it was nice to feel the wind in my hair and my suitcase swinging at my feet. I smiled.
As we ran through the busy street, I caught sight of shop windows. I read, ‘Groceries’, ‘Pharmacy’, and used ‘Used Clothes’. But I also saw a large amount of bathrooms and water fountains, back to back. One said ‘Coloreds Only’ and the other ‘Whites Only’. Why were there two separate water fountains? I had heard of segregation, but only as rumor. In Minnesota, blacks and whites are together. I slowed down, thinking.
“Harper, is it true that there’s segregation down here?” I asked, scared. Harper stopped and looked at me, long and hard. It felt like she was a hawk, about to swoop.
“You’re sayin’ they don’t have no coloreds and whites places back in them snow states?” I nodded, frowning. “We treat blacks as equal as us,” I stated proudly. “Well down here we don’t, and you’d better just hang low. There’s trouble for them who talk back ‘gainst segregation. Lots of trouble,” Harper whispered, the smile gone from her face.
We walked on in silence. I started worrying. Did people treat Harper and Miriam badly? I didn’t want to think about it. I made up my mind right there and then that I would stand up for blacks’ rights, even though it was dangerous. I didn’t care. I just didn’t want to see Harper get hurt.

Neither do I. I just hope my story convinced you, too. Do you like it? (comment!) And maybe become a follower...


  1. That's amazing!!!!!! i'm just a little confused about when it's set. what year?

  2. that's great!!! And I read The Secret Life of Bees in less than a week. It's my third favorite book ever. What part are you at??? --Kai from http://enteringtheworldofkai.blogspot.com

  3. kenzy- its set in 1962, but you'll find that out later, it's only the first chapter...
    kai- thnx! i'm still reading the secret life of bees (they just came to agust, june, and may's house), but i don't have much time to read at the moment. otherwise i would be pretty much done by now :)
    irregular- thank you!

  4. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO POST AGAIN!?!?!? you can't just leave me hanging!!!!! :D

  5. oh and about your poll, i think it's a great idea to write that book. but judy blume wrote a book called Tiger Eyes, so i don't think you can use that title. i like memories of a calico! xD

  6. yeah....i remembered that after i did the poll and couldnt cahnge it, so... :)

  7. oh, and yeah, i will post soon, but i BUSY. i found out that im gonna switch schools (from public to montessori, next year, so i excited), and i have about 4 b-day people who i know in feb, so, parties and blahdi, and blah, di, and i BUSY.
    but i will post ssonnn!

  8. ok thanks!! i did Montessori for a while before i did homeschooling, and it's so MUCH FUN!

  9. really? cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    my nieces (check out eating from the ground up, my sista's blog) go to montessori and their dad, my brother, teaches there, and they're starting a middle school in my area, so....yeah!

  10. What's montessori? I probably should have heard of it since I'm homeschooled, but I haven't . . .