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Chicago writes: Fish Day and other stories from 826CHI

WBEZ’s Front and Center project will be launching a series about literacy in late May. We are highlighting writing from organizations around the city as we lead up to the series. The following stories come from 826CHI, "a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write."

Who Wants Love?           
By Quinn Wells, Grade 4

Love is a great thing because it’s made out of hearts and 21 beauty and prettiness and handsomeness and awesomeness. And POW!

Love goes slow. Love is ridiculous. Love is fast like a pony with a wizard costume on and a green mustache. Love is sad. Love is crazy. Love is around the world. Love is a deck of cards. Family Love is happy and cool. Boyfriend and girlfriend love is yuck and nasty.

When it comes to love, a man has to have a job, a good diploma, and has to have an eight-pack. And he has to cook and has to look handsome. He probably has to be in his 30s.

News Brief: Miley Cyrus Visits White House
By Shélan O’Keefe, Grade 10

Miley Cyrus created a sensation at the White House Tuesday after crashing her Hummer through the oval office window.
“I love her so much!” wept a receptionist after suffering several head injuries from the candy-pink vehicle.
It appears Miley fell asleep at the wheel after listening to her latest album.

Mr. Clumsy           
By Eva Lopez, Grade 3

Once, there was a superhero. His name was Clumsy. He lived 79 in New York. His lair was underground. He was clumsy. His weakness was homework. One day, there was a bank robbery, and so Clumsy went over there. He tripped over a box! Then the robber tripped over him, and the police caught the robber.

The news reporter asked him, “Who are you?” and he said, “I am Mr. Clumsy.” Then he went to his job at the library.

Michael and the Red With Blue Stripes T-Rex                   
By Julian Raphael Mercado-Pacalso, Grade 4
Michael was walking to the train and he found a red with blue stripes T-Rex eating on the black train tracks. The T-Rex was in danger. The blue long train was 30 miles away. It was coming near, so he shouted to the T-Rex, “Go Away!”

The T-Rex jumped because it was a good jumper. The T-Rex ran away. Michael thought, “What is a baby dinosaur doing here?”

The next beautiful morning Michael saw the T-Rex again and asked, “Can I call you Buddy?”

The T-Rex replied, “Sure.”

Buddy the T-Rex asked, “Would you like to go to my party to thank you for saving my life?”

“Sure, I love parties,” Michael whispered. “

So let’s go,” Buddy replied.

 They rode the train to the party.

“Here we are,” Buddy said. “Would you like to meet my mother, Mila, and my father, Eric? ” Buddy asked.

“Sure,” Michael replied.

Michael and Buddy played hide and seek, tag, board games, and rested. They had chocolate cake and apple juice. Michael went home. He was happy and they continued to be friends and tell stories together.

Fish Day
By Juan Jimenez, Grade 3

Yesterday, I invented a new holiday called Fish Day. On Fish 119 Day we celebrate the fish that cats eat. We also celebrate the cats because they are smart. All day cats use their claws to grab fish swimming in a small tank. Each cat gets its own tank and it has to be pretty small or the cats wouldn’t go by it because they hate water. Their paws shake the water so it looks like the fish are alive. On Fish Day, people sleep on rugs and cats sleep on beds.

Every day, my cat says she would like to drive the car. On Fish Day I let her. She will go and get her friends and go to the cat mall so they can buy things. I don’t know what but maybe shirts or some boots. And after that she will home and take a nap.

PS: On the bed.

The Time I Lost Half of My Heart                   

By Christopher Dampier, Grade 8

It was November 14, 2009, the day my grandfather died. I was coming home from my little cousin’s birthday party when I saw the ambulance parked in front of my house. I was stand- ing outside while my cousin, Bre, ran into the house.

(Photo courtesy of 826CHI)
All of a sudden I saw my mom running toward me. She threw her arms around me and I saw that she was crying. Then I saw a white body bag being pulled from the house. When I saw the body bag I was sad, but happy at the same time because I knew my grandfather didn’t have to go through any more pain.

When his heart stopped, I felt my heart stopped, too, but my heart had to keep beating even though he was out of my life. I started to think that I had nothing else, but then I opened my eyes and saw my mother and grandmother.

That’s when I started thinking that I had to go to school and do what I needed to do.

When I was down, my grandfather would always help me pick my head up. He told me to never give up on anything, because life is too short to be playing all the time. He told me to live life like it was my last day on earth.

When I realized that he was gone I did not want to waste any more of my life. So I wanted to do better in school and do my best to join the NBA. When he passed, I told myself I wanted to do this so that I could take care of my family. I wanted to show him that I could do better than what other people expect of me.

I decided I would do better by going to school more often. I would get better grades by doing all my homework and projects. I also wanted to go to the NBA so that is why I joined the basketball team. I now try my best in school and at practice. I even started going to after-school to get help with my homework and projects.

I can still remember when my granddad, my mother, and I cooked together for his 73rd birthday. It was so fun. We were all having fun and he was smiling. I will never forget that moment. I remember the smell of his Old Spice cologne, which was his favorite.

I still have his fishing pole that he always had with him. The last thing he said to me was, “Turn off the fan.”

I still remember so much about him. I can remember his shouting. When he shouted everyone would be scared, but usually all he wanted was a glass of ice water.

I can remember when the funeral happened. I was sad because I couldn’t see him anymore, but happy that he wouldn’t feel any more pain.

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