Sunday, November 8, 2015

Maple Park Next to Grandparents' Home

 This essay of mine was graded A by UMass Lowell Professor Allison Harriman in 2007. Required rhetorical mode: descriptive.

Maple Park, Next To Grandparents'

The scenery around my grandparents' home was beautiful. My grandparents owned a hotel across the street from Solpei County's Maple Park in Chanti. Two wide gray, limestone walkways ran across the rectangular park. There was a pond at the center of the park from which the Furjit River flowed upstream. A five-story tall cotton tree stood at the corner. The cotton tree flowered in the summer, and cotton flakes fell like snow drifts. My older brother, Francis, and I stayed with my grandparents, Aunt Jen and her daughter, Ana, for two weeks when I was ten while my parents went abroad. Aunt Jen was a professional nurse who helped at the hotel for a while. This visit was the only time in a year when my brother and I got away from our piano and violin lessons.

It was a Solpei County fair day late afternoon when my parents dropped us off there. I later learned it was not our first time visiting the park. They later showed me a photo of myself stuffing my cheeks with candy while sitting next to the pond, but I was too young to remember the other times we had visited. Aunt Jen and Grandmother took us to the park, packed with people. At the entrance, beverages, cotton candies, craft dolls, and alike were sold to tourists. Francis and I tried not to talk to any strangers. Some girls, who looked classy, flawless, and sophisticated, stared at us when I watched them pass by. We thought all the other families were strange and poor, even if they sometimes had newer shoes. I wondered where they bought their bamboo picnic baskets. We approached the cotton candy stand, and Aunt Jen said, "Two, please," to the vendor. We each got our cotton candy. Aunt Jen also bought us orange soda, which my mother prohibited. Bursting in my throat, the cold, sweet bubbles were phenomenal. I learned that my brother liked the orange soda a few years later.

We walked along a walkway to the pond while I watched the limestone pattern change to different contemporary abstract patterns. An artist connected leg and arm patterns interlocked, and I tried to step on the leg-patterned stones. My grandmother liked to pick up flower seeds. "I've never seen such an enormous seed; maybe it's not for a flower," she said to Aunt Jen as she put it in her pocket. The pond was full of pink Lotus flowers. Francis thought there must be fish in the pond and tossed a cookie morsel into the water. Some black and red Koi approached and swallowed the morsel. The ripple of the water diffused from its mouth. I took another piece of cookie to feed the fish and tried to grab it when it approached, but the Koi was slippery, and I only touched it. The Lotus leaves were all waxed on the top. In the sun, water drops shined from the wax contact. My hand smelled like soil mixed with algae, much like the smell when we helped my mother garden at home.

Ana was in second grade, and I knew we, the more advanced ones, must be very appealing to her. We invented a "Taekwan-Wrestling" game and showed Ana we must step on the maple trunk and jump to boost our "Energy." She couldn't help but join us in the new game. Francis helped her whenever she was about to lose a round of a jump. Aunt Jen and Grandmother rested in the pavilion next to the pond to watch us play. Swallows started to fly in large flocks, and sparrows began to chirp loudly when the sun was about to set. We continued our wrestling match in Grandparents' home with a dozen different styles of "energy boosting." The pseudo-South Pacific residences did not have bed frames; mattresses were all laid on the wood floor, making them perfect for wrestling. The adults were overwhelmed with us in the house. My grandmother wanted us to watch the "Weekend 2100" TV variety show with Grandfather, and we finally calmed down.

Francis spent two weeks reading three Sherlock Holmes books, and I dug out pieces of cardboard and styrofoam from the hotel's dumpster to build gliders. I struggled to build a glider that flew in a zig-zag pattern. Aunt Jen asked me why I made the glider fly that way. I explained confidently to her, "The center of gravity is supposed to be located here for a stable flight," as I pointed at the fuselage. "If I control  the wing's movement toward the head of the plane, it will lose lift, and I have a silicon integrated circuit, which can form a periodic movement of the wing in the wind, which can dramatically change the flight pattern of different concepts." It was in over my head, and I lost my point, but she asked me, "Is that how they make microcapsule controllers and all the decoding in James Bond?" I lowered my voice and nodded, "Y-e-a-h." I went to the park almost daily, except avoiding the weekend crowd, to test my glider. Some really green trees were trimmed to form a neat fence around the park. I swept my right hand along the top of the trees and felt the smooth needles after being pruned by the gardener every time I walked along the side of the park.

My mother's other younger sister, Aunt Edna, was only eleven years older than me. She went to college and wasn't with my grandparents in the summer. We used her room and slept there. I browsed through her books, read two pages of her college psychology book, and learned that most people have auditory hallucinations, hearing a voice that does not exist right before they fall asleep. The book also said that most people don't realize that it is happening and ignore it. One night, we turned on her radio next to the bed frame. The radio was last tuned to a classical music station when Aunt Edna left for college. One of the pieces they played was a piano solo, and the music was as soothing as Johann Sebastian Bach's "Man's Desiring." Visitors were leaving the park late at night. Some cars passed by, projecting their headlights through the windows, forming triangles flying across the ceiling. I wondered if the people in the cars felt the same kind of peace I did. Then I heard a classmate call my name, "Gibson." I thought it must be the girl who I liked in school. It wasn't. But the college psychology textbook was right, and I fell asleep shortly after.

Evaluation received from peer editing:

Rhetorical mode: Descriptive sound, smell, and touch (bubbles touching throat) are all included in every paragraph. The ending paragraph's auditory hallucination is a broad sense of sound.

Thesis: The author loves the grandparents' place. It is implied but strongly suggested.

Structure: Progression from outward views to inward voices (auditory hallucination) and thought (textbook was right) consistent direction.

Give: 5 minutes of reading may boost the reader's understanding of psychology.

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