A Letter from Paul

Dear Jake,

I know it's been a while since we talked but it's been crazy out here. I’ve seen so many people die horrible deaths to the awful and deadly french artillery. Friends I’ve had for years have died and sometimes you don't even know they’ve died because sometimes people go missing to find food or materials to improve our trenches so that's what you assume when you don't see your buddy for a couple days. You couldn't even imagine the food we get out here, it's horrid. The food is definitely past its date by six years at least. If you're lucky you’ll get a slice of bread and maybe if you're insanely lucky some sausage. But out of everyone on this battlefield I have it best, some guys suffer minor injuries and die because their body doesn’t have enough energy to keep fighting, so it just gives up. 

    I bet you’ve seen in the paper, the prisoners we are holding behind our line, it's true and it’s gotten to a point where there are so many of them people are pressed up against the fences of the base. You know how I said I have it best out of everyone, these people were great soldiers and now they are being held here begging for food and trading everything they own for at a maximum of two slices of bread and some blood sausage. These men are scraping the surface between death and life. These men are starving and some even are trying to die quicker to escape the horrors of this horrible war. Some still have a sliver of hope that the war will end before we run out of food to give them. But that point is near and the war is nowhere close to done, at least I think so. 

    Even though we are similar in age I’m considered one of the older soldiers and so would you but outside the war I still have so much longer to live. Out here I might have five years left or five seconds you never know what is going through those French minds. Outside the war still feels like I’m at war but with myself. When I qualified for leave time, going home felt off. I would walk around town and feel like I was a sitting duck for an artillery shell or better yet a sniper. Everytime I heard a car horn I would flinch and duck my head to protect myself but it was just a car. I’m starting to think that this war is having an effect on me. Everytime I walk in an open area whether it be at home out of the way of danger or out here behind our lines. This isn’t a way to live my life so I'm trying to get a job as a guard so I don't have to go back to the front lines. But watching over the prisoners while they are starving and dying knowing you can't do anything is almost as bad so I’ll see what happens and I’ll write you a letter about what job I get very soon. 

    Alright, I just wanted to catch up and hopefully I’ll be able to write to you again. If i don't write to you by the Fourth of May, assume that I was busy. I will make it out of this war alive and I’ll see you soon. 



Your friend, Paul

Chapters 6 & 7: Two Conditions of War

War and its aftermath...

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“This is a war to end all wars.”

-Woodrow Wilson

War changes the way soldiers look at life. In the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, the war has changed the way everyone looks at life, especially the soldiers. In Chapter 6 the main character Paul Baumer Is dodging artillery shells at all hours of the day and he watches many of his childhood friends and friends he has made die. The soldiers run into many problems but the main one being not having enough food .In the following chapter, chapter 7 Paul is greeted with food which when he was away with the army you were greeted with a hand shake not a drink.  In Chapter Six of All Quiet on the Western Front Paul and his Comrades are defending their outpost not from enemies but from rats. The rats are taking their bread which is already very scarce.

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WW Fenn Public Speaking

I wandered as lonely as a cloud....


by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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Power of Place

Away from My Place

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Have you found your place to escape? I found my place, that place is a freezing cold ski hill. I found my place the second I realized ski racing was a sport I wanted to pursue. The freedom I feel when my skis touch the snow is not comparable to any feeling in the world. 

    I love skiing because it lets me escape my problems and stress for a couple hours. That's why this one year in 2018 I needed the mountain the most. It was January 2018 which is the prime ski season in the east when I was told I couldn’t practice or ski in general. My parents were on the other side of the world, and all I wanted to do was ski.

    In January 2018, my parents left for Africa and my grandparents probably didn't want to get up at 5am every weekend for my training. The only thing  I wanted to do when I thought about missing my parents was ski to escape the bad thoughts. I almost begged my grandparents every weekend to bring me to train just once so I could relax for a couple hours. But when my parents returned the only thing I could think about was skiing. That cold brisk morning in the beginning of February my skis hit the snow and I was relieved of every ounce of stress imaginable that had built up over those last weeks.

    In January 2018, my parents left for Africa and my grandparents probably didn't want to get up at 5am every weekend for my training. The only thing  I wanted to do when I thought about missing my parents was ski to escape the bad thoughts. I almost begged my grandparents every weekend to bring me to train just once so I could relax for a couple hours. But when my parents returned the only thing I could think about was skiing. That cold brisk morning in the beginning of February my skis hit the snow and I was relieved of every ounce of stress imaginable that had built up over those last weeks.

    Just the feeling of my skis hitting the snow was a relief on its own but the feeling of being back at my home mountain felt great. Flying down trails and getting air just made up for the weeks that I had missed. The runs only last a couple minutes at most but the relief I felt when I was done overcame me. I was so happy. It didn't matter how long I was away or if my friends didn't like how long I was gone the mountain was there for me to escape to. 

    There is a place for you. You just need to find it.

The Power of Family

Family is my support system

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“It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.” — Peter Buffett

Whenever I need it my parents or grandparents always hear me out and I would do the same. I could be mad about anything like grades, siblings being annoying or being stressed but I knew I could talk to my parents. The fact that I can talk to my parents about anything makes me less stressed. My parents want me to talk to them so I will without the worry of saying something bad.  No time where I needed to talk to my parents more was after a long week where each day got worse as the day went on. I had so many tests, some good, some bad, and my exhaustion did not help with that. I walked into my house on a gloomy Friday night and my parents knew something was up. I walked into my room and the tears began running out of my eyes like waterfalls. The next thing I know my parents were in the doorway of my room trying to figure out what is wrong. My mom arms around me so tight, my dad asking me why the week was the worst imaginable. It didn't matter what I did or what happened, my parents and family supported me. The thing is my family, it won't matter who is bad or good this week. My family will try and figure out what's wrong or what they can do. The only thing that mattered to my parents was that I was okay in the end.  Family will always be something to fall back on, and I hope that in the future it will stay that way.

Poet X Letter

Dear Janssen

I know you may not care that I’m writing this but I'll make you care. I don't know if you know who I am, but I’m writing this as a way to get to know you. I’m Jake. I'm from Concord and I’m almost 14. I’m pretty happy where I am academically and my outside of school life is pretty boring. I’m just like every other kid, I play sports like Football (American Football), baseball, and Ski racing. But I want to get to know you, How’s Belgium this time of year, because Massachusetts is starting to get to that point where it's either gonna be 10 degrees or 80 degrees. How’s the workload with six million kids sending you a paragraph every second. If you want to know what book we’re reading in English, it's called “Poet X”.

The book “Poet X” is pretty good in my opinion. It is about this girl Xiomara and her everyday life. Xiomara lives in Harlem with her dad, mom, and twin who’s name hasn’t been said. The relationship between Xiomara and her twin is really good even though they are so different in so many ways they still love each other. Xiomara is more street smart than book smart and I bet you can guess what her brother is, he goes to a private high school in the same city for what she calls “school for geniuses ”. But the school Xiomara goes to seems like a galaxy away, walking through metal detectors everywhere you go to limit the number of fights. Overall the book is great.

As we continue to read the book I find myself wondering what’s gonna happen next even outside of school. The book has really shown me how much someone can change just by the environment they are in. Like Xiomara’s brother is in a school not even 30 minutes away and he isn’t on guard 24/7. The amount of things I have learned and noticed about this book makes me realize how good I have it. But no matter what happens between the two of them they stay close to each other. My siblings aren’t the same we argue but it takes hours for us not to give each other a dirty look. There are so many poems that show how similar and different they are from each other.

If you aren’t interested in the book I’m sorry, but I want to show you how important the element of family is in this book. In one of the many amazing poems in this book “people say” really is about how family can save people. Like Xiomara even says it she says 

They say twin, and I saved him. 
That if it was for us, 
Mami would have kicked him tomorrow. 

This just shows that Xiomara and her brother have someone to look to when or if their life goes a little off the rails. It’s crazy how little you think about what your family and what they can do for you, other than put a roof over your head. There's other quotes that will make you think like this phrase quote in the same poem. “They say Papi was broken” I think that without Xiomara and her win I think their dad would have continued down that awful path. Like I haven’t experienced seeing someone go down an awful path like that but I pray to never see anything that Xiomara sees on the daily. The other quotes in that poem are as inspiring as the last, like this line quote “Mami would have kicked him to tomorrow” and this final phrase quote “if it wasn’t for us”. I have already told you enough about the book but you can tell from that one poem how valuable family is in this book. 

Alright I have probably taken up all your time so I’ll let you go. But if you ever get around to reading Poet X let me know. I’ll talk about this book with anyone. It’s been nice to get to know the person I didn't know about until two months ago. Have a great day and I hope you like the rest of my essays I send you from now on.


Jake Fahey

The little boy in Massachusetts