Katy’s memoirs

Katy’s language arts class is finishing up The Glass Castle so they’ve been writing memoirs. Katy wrote these three.


An Ocean Breeze

    It had been a long drive, but my mom, aunt, cousin and I were nearly there. The water was in my sights. Our car waited patiently in the line for the ferry to the island, boats going back and forth constantly between the two land masses.

Our turn finally arrived, and our car pulled onto the vessel, other vehicles packing in behind us. The ferry next to us, I noted, had a very unfortunate name: the J.C. Dingwall. We began to pull away from the dock, and I jumped out of the car and rushed to the side of the boat. The gulf water was shining brilliantly in the sun, waves rolling gently across the sea.

We continued to sail for another twenty minutes, but soon the time came to hop back in the car and make our way to the island. Naturally, one of the first stops we had to make was a candy store, filled with nearly every type of candy corn and saltwater taffy imaginable. Loving both candy corn and saltwater taffy, I had to get a bag to take with me.

One of the tourist shops had a large collection of floppy sun hats, so I tried on a few just because I thought that they were cool. After trying on a bunch, there was one tan hat with a green and blue border that seemed to call to me. Placing the hat on my head, I immediately knew that this was the hat for me. We all bought our items, and the hat stayed on for the rest of the day.

We wandered around a bit more, but seeing as we were on an island, we had to go to the beach. I tore off my shoes and socks to head down to the beach, my hat flapping beautifully with every step. I ran down to the water of the gulf, letting the cool waves wash over my feet. The sand was littered with shells of all sorts, and I began to collect ones that I wanted to keep. The four of us wandered down the shore, enjoying the sights and sound of waves crashing at our feet.

We couldn’t, however, spend all day at the beach without being able to get more than just our feet wet. We trekked back to the car, leaving only sandy footprints behind. We put our shoes back on our feet, and began to walk along the pier. You could see for miles along the flat ocean, although there were some strange rules. Instead of having typical pier rules, the sign said “Pie Rules”. If you don’t follow the rules, then no pie for you!


There were plenty of people fishing at the end of the pier, and one person seemed to be having a bit of trouble with his catch. Suddenly realizing just what he had caught, he turned to the nearest person: me.

“Can you reel this in for me? I accidentally caught a stingray.”

My first reaction was surprise; this had come completely and totally out of the blue, and was especially strange since I was the youngest person present.

“Uh, okay,” was the only response I could manage as the man handed me the fishing rod. I gripped the handle tight and began to reel. He got out a net, and caught the stingray once it was within reach. He freed it from the sharp fish hook, and released it back into the ocean.

The day passed by quickly, and soon it was time to go back to the house. But very few people are able to say that they helped catch and release a wild stingray into the ocean.



Dancing on the Strings

The summer before I started the third grade, my mom turned to me and asked me a single question that would impact the rest of my life.

“If you could play any instrument, what would it be?”

At that point in time, I didn’t know very much about music or instruments, and I definitely didn’t know what I wanted to play, so I said the first thing that popped into my head.


That school year, my mom signed me up for an after school program known as Music Matters After School. I was the only third grader present, everybody else was in the fourth or fifth grade. So there I was, the youngest person, with a one eighth size violin. Which, if you didn’t know, is very, very small.


The twenty of us began to learn our instruments, although each month the population of our class decreased. We gave one concert in the winter with every other school in the entire program, and another in the spring. By the end of the year, we had become a family.

And so I came back the next year. Even more people had heard about the program, and our class had easily tripled in size.

The returnees, however, had experience. The newcomers did not.

We were separated into two groups, the advanced group, and the beginners. The family, minus those who had left the school, was back together again.

The year passed by the same as the previous, and when summer came, I couldn’t wait to get back to the music. But the program had died out.

The very last Music Matters concert (and a half-sized violin)
The very last Music Matters concert (and a half-sized violin)

The program may have died, but my love for music did not. I began to go to private lessons, ones that did not end when the school year did. I was progressing at a faster rate than I ever had been able to in Music Matters, but I was longing for that family feeling again.

Sixth grade came around, and I immediately signed up to take orchestra. The one issue with that was that the sixth grade orchestra was a beginner’s orchestra, and I had already been playing for three years. We all learned together, and got to know each other as time passed. Private lessons continued outside of school, and I continued to learn more and more.

Seventh and eighth grade passed, with many things accomplished. Both years we had received all superior ratings for Large Group Performance Evaluation, and we had taken a trip to Six Flags for that year’s Southern Star Festival. At the competition, we were able to not only beat all of the other orchestras in score, but we scored higher than every single group present, including high school, honors groups, bands and choruses.

At the end of the year, it was time to start thinking about orchestra in high school. The classes weren’t grade based, but rather skill based, and I knew that I wanted to be in one of the audition groups. Most people, I knew, were going to go into Sinfonia, the lowest orchestra. Knowing that I wouldn’t stand a chance in the highest orchestra, Chamber, I opted for Philharmonia, the one in the middle. I got my audition packet, and worked hard for the month before the audition.

Luckily, I made it in. Of course, everybody else made it into the orchestra they wanted to be in, but I didn’t quite realize that until later.

Summer passed, and it was time for my seventh year of violin, and my first year of music at Johns Creek. The second class began, I could feel the connection between everybody.

Now, a semester later, I feel like I’ve tapped into that family. We all talk to each other and help each other because we care.

This has been the third musical family I’ve been a part of, and I’ve loved every second of it. No matter where I am or who I’m with, I will keep on dancing on the strings.

Marching to a Better Future

    Recently, Donald J. Trump was elected into the Oval Office by the American people. It was a minority vote, but the votes were in all the right places to win. Before the election, there were many women who bought plane tickets to Washington D.C. for the weekend, believing that they were going to witness the inauguration of the first woman president. Seeing as that plan didn’t turn out very well, a group of people got together and began to plan. They decided that they were going to show the world that women still exist, and that we would not sit back quietly. And thus the Women’s March on Washington was born.

My mom had been on a parenting forum called About to Crack for a while, and it was one that she had created with others she had met on other forums. They had become close friends, and the group decided to go to the march together. The plan was to meet up and attend the march together, and then have dinner at one member’s house, as she lived nearby. A group member from Sandy Springs, Molly, was willing to drive us, and so off we went.

The morning of the march, we woke up at six, were out by seven, and were on the crowded metro train with our signs at eight. We got on at Vienna Station, the furthest station out, and somehow managed to get seats. Nearly everybody on the train was there for the march, and somebody started passing friendly notes around the train.


Once we got to the actual march, there was a huge crowd with signs surrounding a stage with people speaking. We had our own three signs: one for me, one for Nellie, and one for Lila, the girls I was traveling with. We held up our signs and listened to the speeches for a bit, but later decided to go inside the National Air and Space museum for a break. We sat down, looked at some of the exhibits, and got lunch all while enjoying the quieter atmosphere.

The actual march was supposed to begin at 1:15, but it didn’t really get going until 2:30. There were so many people present that we couldn’t all go on the planned route, so everybody spread out across the city. We stood around on the National Mall before officially joining the march, but we eventually made our way to the streets. Everybody was chanting, and holding up their signs, and I could feel the electric energy in the air. There was not a single sign that I didn’t love, but some of my favorites were “delete your account,” “you must be at least this ethical to run the country,” “I do not like him, Sam-I-Am! I do not like that spray-tan-man,” and “Dumbledore would never let this happen”.


As we marched, we went past several important buildings, such as the Capitol Building, the National Archives, Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington Monument, and the National Treasury on Alexander Hamilton Place.

It ended up being a long and tiring day, but every second was worth it, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.


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