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Living Up The Street: Narrative Recollections - Part 2 (pp. 33-62)

Author: Gary Soto

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Deceit

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For four years I attended St. John’s Catholic School where short nuns threw chalk at me, chased me with books cocked over their heads, squeezed me into cloak closets and, on slow days, asked me to pop erasers and to wipe the blackboard clean. Finally, in the fifth grade, my mother sent me to Jefferson Elementary. The Principal, Mr. Buckalew, kindly ushered me to the fifth grade teachers, Mr. Stendhal and Mrs. Sloan. We stood in the hallway with the principal’s hand on my shoulder. Mr. Stendhal asked what book I had read in the fourth grade, to which, after a dark and squinting deliberation, I answered: The Story of the United States Marines. Mr. Stendhal and Mrs. Sloan looked at one another with a “you take him” look. Mr. Buckalew lifted his hand from my shoulder and walked slowly away.

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:33AM) : he went to st jhons cathlioc school. more

st. jhons is a school filled wihth psychos that obisiloy do not use school untensils correcty

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Nov 9
Matthew Hernandez (Nov 09 2015 1:02PM) : This catholic school is crazy [Edited] more

Gary has attended St.John’s catholic school for four years. There were nuns who threw chalk at him, chased Gary with books and squeezed him into cloak closest. Gary had a new teacher named Mrs.Sloan who had a habit of chewing tar.

If I was Gary I would leave the school immediately.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 9:34AM) : st johns is a school where alot of crazy kids go there and atrract bad stuff more

i think that since gary is a bad kid they put him there .

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Oct 5
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 05 2015 9:40AM) : Why the nuns got to be like that to Gary because in the text hey thrown erasers and hit him with big books and calk too. [Edited] more

I think why Gary tells us this is because he wants us to know that catholic school is dangerous.

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konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 05 2015 12:30PM) : the have very harsh methods of puneshment. more

this school can be very harh to kids.

if they did that to me it would rain BLOOD.
why would they do that?

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Oct 21
Yasin Winston (Oct 21 2015 12:56PM) : i don't know more

it is harsh they do so many bad things and you will think that catholic school is the best

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Oct 5
Faith Castaneda (Oct 05 2015 12:42PM) : The nuns threw chalk at him and they will squeezed him in a cloak closets. more

why will they do that, that is so mean

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Oct 5
Damian Espinosa (Oct 05 2015 12:49PM) : St.John's Catholic is a Crazy School more

St.John’s is a school filled with psychos that obviously do not use school utensils correctly.

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Oct 6
Raleek Wynn (Oct 06 2015 2:56PM) : he went to st johns catholic school. more

they picked on him probably because his looks and they bullied him because he was probably a little kid.
i think they bullied him because he probably looks like the kid to just pick on.
its good though because he is probably not fit in the school so he probably going to change it

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Oct 15
KYANA CHISHOLM (Oct 15 2015 11:47AM) : strict!! more

i wonder what era this is… Catholic schools are known to be overly strict.. some people think that Catholic schools are the best form of educational strategies but i assuming for Mr.Soto it wasn’t his cup of tea…

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Oct 21
Yasin Winston (Oct 21 2015 12:48PM) : sounds tough more

catholic school sounds harsh having to clean the blackboards picking up books i would never go to a catholic school

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:30AM) : on the day of the beauty conrtest jimmy was in his bathing suit and a tshirt and some nice shoes. more

how come gary could not give him one of his pants so he will not wear a bathing suit.

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Nov 13
Raleek Wynn (Nov 13 2015 3:10PM) : for four years he attended st.john catholic school more

i think he attended four years because he really liked the school or he had alot of friends that didnt bully him like his other elementry school

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Oct 7
Damian Espinosa (Oct 07 2015 12:44PM) : Gary in Jefferson Elementary more

Why Gary is the way he is in school

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Nov 9
Zakelle Brown (Nov 09 2015 12:42PM) : his principle name is buckalew. more

And because that was his name kids made fun of it always.

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:31AM) : the nuns nthrew halk at gary and thy squeezed him in a cloak closets. more

why would they do that becuse that is really so mean.

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Oct 6
Raleek Wynn (Oct 06 2015 3:01PM) : sent to jefferson elementry. more

this was probably a good fit for him because the principles liked him.
also the people in his class was not type to fight.

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Oct 5
Destiny Delgado (Oct 05 2015 1:03PM) : "You take him" more

Gary must have felt confused and thoughtless as to why both teachers had that look.

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Mrs. Sloan took me into her classroom where, perhaps, the most memorable thing she said to us all year was that she loved to chew tar.

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 05 2015 12:35PM) : she...shhh.she eats tar! [Edited] more

what the fudge is wrong with her that stuff is poisinus.

r.i.p mrs.sloan
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Oct 6
Damian Espinosa (Oct 06 2015 3:01PM) : Mrs. Sloan used to chew tar. more

Mrs. Sloan is a weird unusual teacher that likes to chew tar.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 9:37AM) : you know his school is crazy when he teacher said she loves to chew tar . more

thats dirty her mouth probably stink

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Our faces went sour. “What kind of tar?”

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“Oh, street tar—it’s like gum.” Her hands were pressed into a chapel as she stared vacantly over our heads in some yearning for the past.

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:34AM) : he hands were pressed. more

her hands were pressed because he and his mom was getting ready for church.

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Nov 9
Zakelle Brown (Nov 09 2015 12:47PM) : her hands were ready more

she had her hands like that because she was ready to write.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 9:38AM) : gary hands were ready more

as if he was ready to write

And it was an odd year for me because there were months on end when I was the sweet kid who wanted to become a priest. In turn, there were the months when I was your basic kid with a rock in his hand.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 9:42AM) : that year it was odd for gary because he realized he wanted to be a priest . more

i think he’ll be good at that .

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:35AM) : he was just a little kid when his mom wa taking him to church. more

i find this intersting bcause he always bliked to go to church sometimes in his life but sometimes he did not like to go to church.

When the relatives came over to talk to me and pat me on the head, they often smiled and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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Oct 5
Christopher Dahnir (Oct 05 2015 12:39PM) : when the relatives came over to talk to him and pat him on his back ,they often smiled and asked what he wanted to be when he grew up more

this relates to me because when i was a little kid grown people used to ask me questions like what do you want to be when you grow up n i always responded with i want to be a artist

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“A priest,” I would say during those docile months, while if they caught me during the tough months I would answer, “A hobo, I think.”

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Oct 7
Damian Espinosa (Oct 07 2015 12:38PM) : Gary The Preist more

Why does he want to be a preist.

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Oct 21
Yasin Winston (Oct 21 2015 12:51PM) : facts more

priest are kind of lame all they do is wait what do they do

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Oct 23
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 23 2015 10:23AM) : In this paragraph Gary is telling the nuns what he wants to be when he grows up. more

Gary says ‘’a Priest’’ and they smile and chuckle and said oh Gary

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Nov 2
Destiny Delgado (Nov 02 2015 12:44PM) : Some days were different than others for Gary. more

Some days Garry was just a kid with a rock in his hand, other days he had carrier goals to be a priest.

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Oct 5
Faith Castaneda (Oct 05 2015 12:46PM) : Gary want to be a priest. more

why does he want to be a priest?

They would smile and chuckle, “Oh, Gary.”

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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 2:57PM) : i think they was happy and proud of Gary more

because they smile and chuckle at him and said Oh Gary

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:29AM) : They would chuckle and smile "Oh Gary" [Edited] more

I think everyone looked at Gary different and it was hard to believe that Gary change his ways .
Gary used to be a bad not even the worst kid acting like a savage and now he hes a priest.
Maybe Gary really did change Like They Say “Every Man Deserves A Second Chance”

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Although I was going to public school, my brother, sister, and I were still expected to go to church. We would dress in our best clothes, with Debra in a yellow bonnet that she would throw into a bush just around the corner. “Stupid thing,” she muttered as she hid it under the leaves with the intention of getting it later.

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:34AM) : Although Gary was going to a public school he was still expected to go to church. more

Even though Gary was still going to public school he still had his priorities to take care was to go to church.

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Nov 2
Destiny Delgado (Nov 02 2015 12:47PM) : Gary and his siblings where church kids. more

Even tho Gary and his siblings were in public school thay still were expected to go to church and do what they had to do.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 9:45AM) : even if gary and his sister and brother go to school they'll still have to go to churhch more

i think thats good that they go to church and they should dress they best .

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 08 2015 9:12AM) : Debra would throw her bonnet behind the bush more

Debra threw her bonnet away because se was embarrassed.

this could relate to me because sometimes i don’t like to extra stuff.

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Nov 2
Destiny Delgado (Nov 02 2015 12:50PM) : Debra hated wearing her church clothes. more

Debra hated wearing her church clothes she would alwsys thow her bonnet into a bush, although with the intention of getting back later that day.

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After a month or so Rick and Debra didn’t have to go to church; instead they lounged in their pajamas drinking hot chocolate and talking loudly of how they were going to spend the morning watching television. I was, as my mom described me, a “short-tail devil in need of God’s blessings.”

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Oct 5
Faith Castaneda (Oct 05 2015 12:48PM) : after a mouth later his brother and his sister did not have to go to church but he does. more

that is so unfair that they does not have to go to church but he does

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 08 2015 9:16AM) : debra and rick stopped going to church more

I think they stopped going to church because they were bored.

This could relate to me because sometimes i felt like i didnt want to go to church

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Oct 16
Faith Castaneda (Oct 16 2015 2:56PM) : they think that they did not go to to church because they was bored more

your post reminds me of something that happened to me.one time my grandma wanted to to go to church with her because did not want to goo bye herself so i said no because church was boring

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Nov 2
Destiny Delgado (Nov 02 2015 12:54PM) : Only Gary nneded to go to church now. more

After a month or so Gary was the only on eout of his brothers and sister that had to go to church, his mom sed he needed blessings because he wasnt so good of a kid, with his attitude.

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:40AM) : Gary no longer has to go to church anymore so he took advantage of that. more

Since Gary no longer has to go to church all he does is drink hot chocolate and sitting in his pajamas all day.Since he no longer have something to occupy him in the morning his mom told him that hes a "Short-Tailed Devil in need of Gods Blessing.

So each Sunday I put on a white shirt and stepped into a pair of pants that kicked around my ankles, my white socks glowing on my feet in the dark pews of St. John’s Cathedral. I knelt, I rose, and I looked around. I muddled prayers and knocked my heart with a closed hand when the priest knelt and the altar boy followed with a jingle of the bell.

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Oct 20
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 20 2015 10:20AM) : Gary dresses formal every Sunday more

to go to church

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:45AM) : Dress Attire needs to be appropriate more

The way Gary gets ready for church is simple he puts on a white shirt, some pants that kick around his ankles,some white sock that go up his feet,and black hush puppies and hes looking ready for church

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For the first few weeks I went to church, however reluctantly, but soon discovered the magazine rack at Mayfair Market, which was only two blocks from the church. I read comics and chewed gum, with only a sliver of guilt about missing Mass pricking my soul. When I returned home after the hour that it took to say a Mass, my mom was in the kitchen but didn’t ask about the Mass—what the priest said or did I drop the quarter she had given me into the donation basket. Instead, she handed me a buttered tortilla as a reward for being a good boy, and I took it to eat in my bedroom. I chuckled under my breath, “God, this is great.”

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 08 2015 9:22AM) : Gary went to the market because he was bored of the church. more

i think he did that to have a little fun but Gary regretted that he was in the market instead of the church.

this relates to most people because they would rather have fun.

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:49AM) : Gary went to the Mayfair Market more

Gary was so bored of Church that he went to the Mayfair Market were he read magazines and chewed gum all the time.

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The next week at the magazine rack I read about Superman coming back to life, chewed gum, and took swigs of a Coke I had bought with money intended for the far-reaching wicker basket. But the following week I came up with another idea: I started happily up the street while my mom looked out the front window with hands on hips, but once around the corner I swung into the alley to see what I could do.

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 08 2015 9:35AM) : he had a idea.hes probably up to no good again. more

Gary is probably up to no good again.

this could relate to me because i’m always up to no good

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Oct 16
Faith Castaneda (Oct 16 2015 3:00PM) : Gary was doing something that was up to no good more

I look forward to seeing what you write next because you put good thought in your writing.

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 11:56AM) : Next Gary went to Magazine Rack more

Gary went back so he wouldn’t have to go to church so he went again and ready a magazine about superman coming back to live

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That Sunday I played with Little John, and the following week I looked through a box of old magazines before dismantling a discarded radio. I gutted it of its rusty tubes and threw them, one by one, at a fence until a neighbor came out and told me to get the hell away.

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Nov 2
Damian Espinosa (Nov 02 2015 12:50PM) : Gary just stop going to church more

So Gary just stop going to church and just read magazines all day.

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Oct 08 2015 9:38AM) : that's so mean goes to show that neighbors are mean more

Gary was just minding his own business and the neighbor just flips out for no reason.

I would never play with rusty stuff.

Another Sunday I went up the street into the alley and climbed the fence of our back yard. Our yard was sectioned into two by a fence: The front part was neatly mowed, colored with flowers and cemented with a patio, while the back part was green with a vegetable garden, brown with a rusty incinerator, and heaped with odd junk—ruined bicycles, boards, buckled wheelbarrows. I climbed into the back part of our long yard and pressed my face between the slats: Rick was hoeing a flower bed while Debra was waiting to clean up with a box in her hands. My mom was washing down the patio.

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Oct 20
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 20 2015 10:21AM) : Couldn't Gary just use the front door more

or the back to get in the backyard

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:30AM) : Gary had to climb the fence to his backyard more

Why did Gary do all that when he could of just walked in the front door

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I laughed to myself and then made a cat sound. When no one looked up, I meowed again and Mom looked in my direction for a second, then lowered her eyes to the water bouncing off the patio. I again laughed to myself, but quieted when Rick opened the gate to dump a load of weeds into the compost. I was smiling my evilness behind an old dismantled gate, and when he left I meowed again, chuckled to myself, and climbed the fence into the alley to look around for something to do.

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Oct 5
Faith Castaneda (Oct 05 2015 12:51PM) : he was laughed to himselfe and he made a cat sound more

why did he make cat sounds?

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Oct 6
Raleek Wynn (Oct 06 2015 3:20PM) : i laughed to my self and then made a cat sound. more

he probably did something right

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Oct 16
Faith Castaneda (Oct 16 2015 3:04PM) : Gary did something good more

I am not looking forward seeing what you write next because you do not use put detail in your comment like for an example you can say faith went to the store and bought candy and chip and a soda and you say he got money but you do not put detail as in how she got money

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:32AM) : I laughed to myself and then made a cat sound more

Why a cat sound???

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coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Oct 08 2015 9:42AM) : why is he making cat noises more

why is he making cat noises,its not like they would care if that hes making cat noises.

gary looking for attention.

This would continue all through the summer of my twelfth year, and by fall Mom said I didn’t have to go to church because she had seen an improvement in my ways. “See, I told you, m’ijo,” she said over dinner one night. “The nuns would be very proud of you.”

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Nov 12
Matthew Hernandez (Nov 12 2015 9:41AM) : Gary lied to his mother [Edited] more

Gary stopped going to church and spent time at a comic store. He spent his time reading comics and chewed gum. Gary drank coke that he bought with his money. He went to his house and mom said “you don’t need to go to church because I have seen an improvement.” Gary swallowed his beans and said “Yes mom.”

If I was Gary I would have told the truth to his mom and say sorry.

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Oct 5
Faith Castaneda (Oct 05 2015 12:54PM) : his mom saw him and told him m'ijo more

what does word mean ?

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:37AM) : His mom told him "m'ijo" more

Why did his mom say something spanish

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I swallowed a mouthful of beans and cleared my throat. “Yes, Mom.”

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Oct 20
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 20 2015 10:23AM) : that's a lot of beans for him more

and how could he even talk too

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:41AM) : He swallowed alot of beans to cleared his throat more

How does beans help clear your throat??

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Still, when relatives showed up at the door to talk to my mom in Spanish, I hung around to comb my hair and wait for them to open their purses or fiddle deeply in their pockets for a nickel or dime. They would pat my head and ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A priest,” I would answer, to which they would smile warmly, “Oh, Gary,” and give over the coin.

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Oct 5
Christopher Dahnir (Oct 05 2015 1:01PM) : still,when relatives showed up at the door to talk to his mom in spanish,he hung around to comb my hair and wait for them to open their purses or fiddle deeply in their pockets for a nickle or dime. more

this relates to me because

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 11:02AM) : They asked Gary what he wanted to be when he grow up more

Gary said he wanted to be a priest and they reacted like he wasnt going to be a priest.

Catholics

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I was standing in the waste basket for fighting on the day we received a hunger flag for Biafra. Sister Marie, a tough nun who could throw a softball farther than most men, read a letter that spoke of the grief of that country, looking up now and then to measure our sympathy and to adjust her glasses that had slipped from her nose. She read the three-page letter, placed it on her desk, and walked over to the globe to point out Africa, a continent of constant despair. I craned my neck until, without realizing it, I had one foot out of the wastebasket. Sister Marie turned and stared me back into place, before she went on to lecture us about hunger.

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Oct 16
Raleek Wynn (Oct 16 2015 10:39AM) : SISTER MARIE CRUSIED SLOWLY UP more

SHE probably was walking slowly because she was going to sneak up on somebody and kill them

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:50AM) : Sister Marie can throw a soft ball faster then most men more

She was probably throwing a softball since the age of 2 if she can throw a softball faster than most men

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 10:03AM) : sister marie got hungry after playing rob said she got the body of its vitality . more

i think they needa feed her .

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:37AM) : some girl had read a three page letter. more

that Gary had gave to her that day.

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“Hunger is a terrible, terrible thing,” she began. “It robs the body of its vitality and the mind of its glory, which is God’s.”

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Oct 5
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 05 2015 12:28PM) : this is what happens when people don't eat and starve to death. more

this is pretty bad

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Oct 16
Faith Castaneda (Oct 16 2015 3:07PM) : this happen when people do not eat and starve to death more

Anthony i will like if you put more detail in your comment you are like Raleek

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:53AM) : This is what happens when people dont eat and starve to death. more

When people starve themselves they not same everything is different to them.

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Sister Marie cruised slowly up and down the rows, tapping a pencil in her palm and talking about death, hunger, and the blessed infants, which were God’s, until the students hung their heads in fear or boredom. Then she brightened up.

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Oct 6
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Oct 06 2015 3:11PM) : SHE BLESSED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING HUNGRY. more

THEY WERE LEARNING ABOUT HUNGER,DEATH.

THE STUDENT WERE BORED OF THE TOPIC.

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 10:57AM) : Sister Marie was tapping a pencil in her hand while talking about death more

I think Sister Marie trying to kill someone..you cant have a pencil in your hand and talk about death for no sudden reason

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 10:06AM) : i guess she really is hungry because she over here talking bout deff and stuff. more

i feel like i have a connection with her because when im hungry i needa eat or ill complain as if im bouta die .

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“With hunger, heavier people would live longer—they have more fat, you see.” She tapped her pencil, looked around the room, and pointed to Gloria Leal. “If we didn’t have any food whatsoever, Gloria would probably live the longest.” Hands folded neatly on her desk, Gloria forced a smile but didn’t look around the room at the students who had turned to size her up.

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Nov 4
Damian Espinosa (Nov 04 2015 11:05AM) : She pointed at Gloria Leal more

If Sister Marie didn’t get what she wanted they would be consequences to pay

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Nov 9
Zakelle Brown (Nov 09 2015 9:44AM) : his aunt gloria would live longer. more

i find this intersting because she was the oldest an he said that she would live longer than the youngest.

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Oct 5
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 05 2015 12:32PM) : this is Gary school photo from 1959 more

and color in the photo is black and white so this was in the old times

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Oct 6
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 06 2015 2:55PM) : *shows you this picture* "matthews friends" XD more

trololololololol

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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 3:01PM) : really bro
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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 3:00PM) : I think Gary is one the kids in the second row more

because some of them look like him

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Sister Marie walked up another row, still tapping her pencil and talking about hunger, when she pointed to me. “And Gary … well, he would be one of the first to die.” Students turned in their chairs to look at me with their mouths open, and I was mad, not for being pointed out but because of that unfair lie. I could outlive the whole class, food or no food. Wasn’t I one of the meanest kids in the entire school? Didn’t I beat up Chuy Hernandez, a bigger kid? I shook my head in disbelief, and said “nah” under my breath.

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Oct 6
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 06 2015 3:16PM) : SHE POINTED OUT GARY AND SAID HE WAS GOING TO BE THE FIRST TO DIE. more

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS TEACHER EVEN LICENSED TO TELL KIDS OF THERE DEATHS.

I THINK SHE MEANT THAT IF HE DID’T CHANGE HIS WAYS HE WOULD DIE YOUNG.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 10:09AM) : i know he felt a type of way because he wanted to be pointed out but he couldnt becuase that unfair lie more

i think if he handnt lied he probably would of got his way

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Sister Marie glared at me, almost bitterly, as she told the class again that I would be the first one to die. She tapped her pencil as she walked slowly up to me. Scared, I looked away, first up to the ceiling and then to a fly that was walking around on the floor. But my head was snapped up when Sister Marie pushed my chin with her pencil. She puckered her mouth into a clot of lines and something vicious raged in her eyes, like she was getting ready to throw a softball. What it was I didn’t know, but I feared that she was going to squeeze me from the waste basket and hurl me around the room. After a minute or so her face relaxed and she returned to the front of the class where she announced that for the coming three weeks we would collect money daily for Biafra.

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Mar 15
Faith Castaneda (Mar 15 2016 9:25AM) : when kids turned and at looked at Gary more

The kids in Gary class looked at gary and while they was looking at gary,Gary got mad i would get mad too if somebody or everybody was looking i would yell at them and then i would walk out the classroom.

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Nov 6
Zakelle Brown (Nov 06 2015 10:39AM) : his sister mari looked at him with an attitude. more

i tws with an attitude because she kept on and kept on tapping him with a nasty face and grin.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 10:11AM) : his sister marie looked at him with an attitude more

i wonder why …

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“The pagan babies depend on our charitable hearts,” she said. She looked around the room and returned to the globe where she again pointed out Africa. I craned my head and pleaded, “Let me see.” She stared me back into place and then resumed talking about the fruits of the world, some of which were ours and some of which were not ours.

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The Beauty Contest

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It had been a sticky and difficult week of two nose bleeds from bigger kids when Karen, the coach at Romain playground, announced that there was going to be a children’s beauty contest. I was in the elm tree above the picnic table where we played Old Maid and Sorry. Two kids were bent over a game, and I was bombing them with small pieces of bark, thinking all along that their shaved or tangled heads were World War II Germany. They laughed when the bark landed quietly as flies, and shook them from their hair so I would do it again.

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Oct 6
Ezekiel Harrison (Oct 06 2015 3:17PM) : The little boy is a part of a beauty contest and the boy was getting dressed and he was talking about the world war II. more

Basiclly this is about the kid thats a boy going to the beauty contest like a peagent

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Nov 13
Anthony Ruiz (Nov 13 2015 2:22PM) : In the beginning of beauty contest Gary tells us that its been a difficult week because there was two was nose bleeds and kids bombing bark at other kids. more

The reason that Gary is telling this is because to let us know how crazy his school is.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 10:12AM) : this little boy was part of a beauty test and he got dress and started talking about world war 2 more

i think that he wanted to know more about it .

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Oct 5
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 05 2015 12:46PM) : hes be having a problems in his life more

why little kids have beauty contests

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Oct 8
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Oct 08 2015 9:29AM) : he received two nosebleeds that week from kids when his coach announced a beauty contest. [Edited] more

Gary fought a lot of people and got beat up a lot too.This does not relate to me because I never physically fight and i never been in a beauty contest before.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:13AM) : it had been a dificult week for him and his family. more

i think it had been a dificult week for them because they had alot of things to do that week.

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Oct 6
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 06 2015 3:21PM) : THE COACH ANNOUNCED A BEAUTY CONTEST more

THE COACH PROBABLY DID THIS FOR FUN.

BET ALOT OF THE LITTLE ONES WERE EXITED FOR THIS

I asked the coach what a “beauty contest” was, and she answered that it was like a game to see who was the best looking. “But you’re too old, Blackie,” she told me. “It’s for little kids.” Since I was nine I dismissed it from my mind and went on dropping bombs, but later, when I returned home to smack together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I thought of my smaller brother, Jimmy. A tough kid, he was jumping up and down on the couch with a sandwich in his hand—a chipped front tooth showing gray when he was ready to bite. As I worked on my second sandwich I thought more and more about entering Jimmy. Strong build, a chipped tooth, half Mexican and half white—he might win, I thought.

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:23AM) : Gary was asking the coach what was a beauty contest. more

why did he asked that the name was in the title BEAUTY.

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Nov 16
Stacy Roman (Nov 16 2015 12:54PM) : gary had asked her what beauty contest means and she was like a game to see who was the best looking . more

i alwyays thought that to .

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:25AM) : the coach told Gary that he was too old to be in contest. more

the coach should have leaved Gary alone because if he want to be in the contest he can be in the contest.

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Nov 17
Stacy Roman (Nov 17 2015 12:50PM) : as he got home and got hungry he had made himself and peanut butter and jelly sandwhich and thought of his brother more

i feel like that reminded him of something about his brother .

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:17AM) : he was starting to eat his second sandwhich. more

i find this intersting because he was really hungry.

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Jimmy was not yet four, so when I told him about what I wanted him to do, he said OK. I ran to his drawer and searched for a bathing suit—an orange thing with an anchor in the front and a paint stain on the back. Undressed, he tugged his way into it and that afternoon he practiced walking.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:18AM) : jimmy had turned four years old. more

his parents had figured out that he was turning a big boy.

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“Leave your hands at your side,” I instructed him as he marched from the kitchen to the living room. “Look left and then right, like you’re going to cross the street. Yeah, that’s good—and smile like you’re going to eat some chicken. They want to see that tooth.”

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I combed his hair and shined his face with Jergen’s lotion and made him walk until he got it right. After that we turned on the television and waited for the week to pass.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:20AM) : he was combing peoples hair. more

he really liked to do that because his mom did this.

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Nov 17
Stacy Roman (Nov 17 2015 12:52PM) : as he shined his face with jergens lotion he made him walk into he got it right more

i wonder what is a jergens .

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On the day of the event I dressed Jimmy in his bathing suit with a clean T-shirt and lent him my rubber thongs. They were too big, like snowshoes, but I thought them more appropriate than his high top tennies. I slipped into hemmed cut-offs, a white shirt, and shoes that gleamed black as roaches. I smeared his face with Jergen’s lotion and combed his waxed hair until it followed a stiff but clean grain. As we walked through the street a few neighbor kids were playing a game of “pickle”; they stopped for a few seconds to ask where we were going. Why were we so dressed up? They looked at us in awe, and I felt important at telling them that we were off to a “beauty contest.”

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Nov 17
Stacy Roman (Nov 17 2015 12:53PM) : gary lent him use his bathing suit more

i wonder why he let him share it

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Oct 6
Faith Castaneda (Oct 06 2015 10:41AM) : on the the day of the beauty contest jimmy was in his bathing suit and a t shirt and some nice shoes. more

How com Gary could have gave him one of his pant and not wear his bathing suit.

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We got to the playground just as mothers arrived in station wagons—mothers in bubble-shaped sunglasses, straw hats with different fruits on the brims, and sharkskin skirts. Cameras dangled from their wrists; purses were pressed under their armpits. Some banged aluminum folding chairs from car trunks and set them before the swimming pool where the contest would be held. Jimmy and I looked happily at the balloons that tossed softly on the gate and the strings of plastic flags—those familiar ones from used car lots —drooped on the fence.

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:17AM) : when Gary and Jimmy got to the park they saw mother with there son or daughter .the mother was wearing sunglasses and straw hats and a skirt. [Edited] more

why will the mother wear something like that in front of their daughter or the son those mothers are bad .

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Jimmy and I sat under the elm with Rosie, Raymond, Caveman and a few others, and although none of us said anything we were awed by the blond and fair-skinned kids in good clothes. They looked beautiful, I thought, with their cheeks flushed red from the morning heat. The kids stood close to their mothers and wore fancy shirts, sundresses with prints of zoos or bright balloons, and tiny hats—sailor, farm boy, or grassy things with plastic animals holding hands.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:30AM) : jimmy and gary sat away from the crowd. more

i find this intersting because i thought that gary was the type to sit next to alot of people.

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:21AM) : The kids who was in the contest was looking beautiful in the morning heat . more

why do they have to have it in the morning how come they can not put the contest in the afternoon.

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With a bullhorn the coach called for the girls to line up. Mothers bent to give hugs and whisper lastminute instructions to their daughters before they were pushed gently through the gate where the coach smiled, pinned numbers on the backs of their suits, and lined them up by height. When they were called out to walk around the pool, some of them looked scared as they searched for their mothers, who clung to the fence or took pictures; other girls looked down at their feet, with fingers in their mouths. They paraded around the pool until they had been sized up by the three women judges who scratched notes behind card tables. The girls were then asked to sit down on the lawn that outlined the pool as the boys were called through the bullhorn to make a line at the gate.

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Jun 15
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Jun 15 2016 10:20AM) : Little kids act like models. more

In this chapter they basically say that little kids act like models and then are judged by 3 people who decides who wins.

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Jimmy and I ran to the gate. I reminded him what to do and, somewhat scared by it all, he nodded his head “yes” and tugged at his bathing suit. The coach called for the line to march in, and it moved slowly into the pool area with most of the boys looking down at the blue of the water, not at their mothers.

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:31AM) : The coach told the boy to come out the boy was looking at the water not at their mother. more

That is do mean because you should be looking at their mother.I should know i was looking at my mom when I was in a beauty contest and i lost so know Jimmy feel.

Because he was the smallest, Jimmy went out first and did as I had instructed: He looked left, then right; he smiled like he was going to eat chicken, pulling back his lips to show his tooth. He walked stiffly before the judges and took his place behind the tallest boy.

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I clung to the fence, with Rosie and Caveman at my side, as one after another the boys marched around the pool and past the judges who tapped their pencils and looked at one another before they scratched notes. Rosie touched my arm when one of the boys, just before he was called, put on a pair of sunglasses with pistols at the corners. As he started, I heard laughter from the elm tree and the words: “Sissy boy.”

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When all the boys had circled the pool, they, too, were asked to sit on the lawn with the girls who were reddening like crabs from the warm weather. The judges craned their heads together, whispered seriously, and then whispered again.

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With the bullhorn the coach asked for the boys and girls to join hands and parade around the pool. They looked at one another, unsure of what she was saying. The coach talked with the bullhorn again, but still they were confused at what to do. One kid stepped up to the edge of the pool and, looking up at the coach, asked: “Do you want us to jump in?”

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The coach climbed down from her station, smiling and shaking her head as she passed the parents to go over to explain to the kids what they were supposed to do. Finally, hand in hand, they paraded awkwardly —the boys looking at the water and the girls waving at their mothers.

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The judges converged behind the children who once again had lined up by height. One judge took control and waved a paper crown of glitter over the girls while the parents clung even harder to the fence. When the crown dropped softly on a little girl with curlicues, moans were let out. One mother squeaked, clapped her hands like a loud rain, and looked around for someone to share her excitement. The other mothers looked away and tapped the cameras in their palms. When another crown dropped on a boy’s head, there were more moans. Another mother smiled but contained her happiness as the boy was given a trophy and tickets to see the Fresno Giants. Raymond, who was lost in the green leaves of the elm, called down at the winner: “You’re a sissy.” A mother searched the tree, with a sour and disgusted look, but couldn’t spot his brown legs.

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I was disappointed. Rosie and Caveman ran away to play on the swings without saying anything as I stepped away from the fence and sat under the elm. Raymond dropped a piece of bark on my head and made the sound of a bomb exploding. Without looking up, I told him to leave me alone, and he did. The tree shook as he moved to a higher limb.

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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 10:31AM) : Rosie and Caveman are fun people more

because they know how to have fun

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The Prince and Princess again went around the pool while a reporter from the Fresno Bee on one knee took pictures. At the ceremony’s end, the gate was swung open and the losers were handed ice cream sandwiches as they left to join the onlookers. The coach spoke through the bullhorn, thanking everyone for coming. From a top branch Raymond called his own thanks through cupped hands: “See you later, alligator; after awhile, crocodile.” He laughed at his joke and the tree shook again as he moved to another branch. The coach, Karen, walked over and, shading her eyes, squinted into the branches. Raymond dropped a piece of bark on her and made the sound of a bomb exploding. “Raymond, is that you?” she shouted.

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Oct 8
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

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(Oct 08 2015 9:44AM) : its okay gary theirs always next year. more

i think jimmy is mad he lost.

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:34AM) : When the coach walk over near Raymond dropped a piece of bark on her head and a bomb exploding. more

why will he so that, that is so mean.

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“Raymond, is that you?” he mimicked. “Get down here right this minute,” she warned. “Get down here right this minute,” a branch said. More bombs fell, followed by explosions.

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Karen shook her head at the mothers who were gathering chairs and lugging ice chests back to their station wagons. “These kids are so terrible.” She shook her head, tsssked “Is he in trouble,” and sent me to the game room for a football to knock Raymond from the tree.

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Oct 23
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 23 2015 10:34AM) : Maybe in this sentence this may back up from the first chapter Being Mean where Gary says We was terrible kids. more

because Karen said that he might be in trouble for throw a football to knock Raymond From The Tree.

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Baseball in April

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For three springs my brother and I walked to Romain playground to try out for Little League, and year after year we failed to impress the coaches. The night of the last year we tried out, we sat in our bedroom listening to the radio and pounding our fists into gloves, and talked of how we would bend to pick up grounders, stand at the plate, wave off another player to say you got the pop-up. “This is the year,” Rick said with confidence as he pretended to back hand a ball and throw out the man racing to first. He pounded his glove and looked at me, “How’d you like that?”

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:42AM) : Gary and his friend was trying play for he little league and Gary and his friend failed to impress the coach. more

If i was there i will pick them and practice with them to make sure that they now how to to play baseball.

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Nov 17
Raleek Wynn (Nov 17 2015 10:21AM) : for three springs my brother and i walked to romain playground to try out for little league and year we failed to impress the coaches. more

i think the failed the coaches because they was lazy to play they sport they dont wont

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Oct 8
Faith Castaneda (Oct 08 2015 9:46AM) : the night when they tried out they sat in his bedroom and pounding in there glove. more

I feel bad for them because they tried so hard for trying out for baseball.I feel so sad .

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:34AM) : him and jimmy was playing baseball. more

they was playing baseball because that was his favirote sport.

At the tryouts there were a hundred kids. After asking around, we were pointed to lines by age group: nine, ten, and eleven. Rick and I stood in our respective lines, gloves limp as dead animals hanging from our hands, and waited to have a large paper number pinned to our back so that field coaches with clipboards propped on their stomachs would know who we were.

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Oct 5
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 05 2015 12:48PM) : thats a lot of kids more

and it was just only try outs too.

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konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

Oct 8
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Oct 08 2015 1:01PM) : Gary was at the tryouts more

Gary must have been really nervous.

I never had tryouts for anything.

Nervous, I chewed at my palm as I moved up in the line, but when my number was called I ran out onto the field to the sound of my sneakers smacking against the clay. I looked at the kids still in line, then at my brother who was nodding his head yes. The first grounder—a three-bouncer that spun off my glove into center field. Another grounder cracked off the bat, and I bent down to gobble it up: The ball fell from my glove like food from a sloppy mouth. I stared at the ball before I picked it up to hurl it to first base. The next one I managed to pick up cleanly, but my throw made the first baseman leap into the air with an exaggerated grunt that had him looking good while I looked bad. Three more balls were hit to me, and I came up with one.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:35AM) : it was his turn to pitch the ball. more

it wa shis turn to pitch the ball and he was so nervos.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:37AM) : he pitched the ball. more

i find this intersting because i did not think that he was really going to do it.

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So it went for me, my number flapping like a single, broken wing as I ran off the field to sit in the bleachers and wait for Rick to trot onto the field.

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He was a star that day. With the first grounder he raced for it and threw on the run. With the next ball he lowered himself on one knee and threw nonchalantly to first. His number flapped on his back, a crooked seventeen, and I saw a coach make a check on his board. He then looked serious as he wet his lips and wrote something that demanded thought, for his brow furrowed and darkened.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:38AM) : he lowered him self with the ball. more

he finally made a score and him and his team won the round.

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Rick lunged at the next hit and missed it as it skidded into center field. With the next hit he shaded his eyes for it was a high pop-up, something that he was good at, even graceful, and when the ball fell earthward he slapped it with his toe and looked pleased as his mouth grew fat from trying to hold back a smile. Again the coach wet his lips and made a check on his clipboard.

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Nov 12
Zakelle Brown (Nov 12 2015 9:39AM) : he had to do the next hit. more

and when he had did it gain he was really really scared.

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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 3:04PM) : sounds like every coach more

when there checking something

Rick did well at fielding. When the next number was called, he jogged off the field with his head high and both of us sat in the bleachers, dark and serious as we watched the others trot on and off the field.

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Finally the coaches told us to return after lunch to take batting practice. Rick and I ran home to fix sandwiches and talk about the morning, then what to expect in the afternoon.

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“Don’t be scared,” he said with his mouth full of sandwich. He was thinking of my batting. He demonstrated how to stand. He spread his legs, worked his left foot into the carpet as if he were putting out a cigarette, and looked angrily at where the ball would be delivered, some twenty feet in front of him at the kitchen table. He swung an invisible bat; choked up and swung again.

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Oct 16
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 16 2015 10:05AM) : what a good friend more

because he told him to be brave

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He turned to me. “You got it?” I told him I thought I did and imitated his motion as I stepped where he was standing to swing once, then again and then again, until he said, “Yeah, you got it.”

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We returned to the playground, and I felt proud walking to the diamond because smaller kids were watching us in awe, some of them staring at the paper number on my back. It was as if we were soldiers going off to war.

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konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

Jun 15
coporal Gabriel Villanueva

konichiwa,hello my name is gabriel i’m a student in new direc… (more)

(Jun 15 2016 10:23AM) : Gary felt very proud of himself. more

Gary felt proud of himself because the little kids were looking at him in awe.

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“Where you goin’?” asked Rosie, sister of Johnnie Serna, the playground terrorist. She was squeezing the throat of a large bag of sunflower seeds, her mouth rolling with shells.

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“Tryouts,” I said, barely looking at her as I kept stride with Rick.

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At the diamond I once again grew scared and apprehensive. I got into the line of nine-year-olds to wait for my turn at bat. Fathers clung to the fence, chattering last minute instructions to their kids who answered with, “OK, yes, all right, OK, OK,” because they were also wide-eyed and scared when the kid in the batter’s box swung and missed.

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By the time it was my turn I was shivering unnoticeably and trying to catch Rick’s eyes for reassurance. When my number was called I walked to the plate, tapped the bat on the ground—something I had seen many times on television—and waited. The first pitch was outside and over my head. The coach who was on the mound laughed at his sorry pitch.

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At the next pitch I swung hard, spinning the ball foul. I tapped my bat again, kicked at the dirt, and stepped into the batter’s box. I swung stupidly at a low ball; I wound up again and sliced the ball foul, just at the edge of the infield grass, which surprised me because I didn’t know I had the strength to send it that far.

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I was given ten pitches and managed to get three hits, all of them grounders on the right side. One of them kicked up into the face of a kid trying to field; he tried to hang tough as he walked off the field, head bowed and quiet, but I knew tears were welling up in his eyes.

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I handed the bat to the next kid and went to sit in the bleachers to wait for the ten-year-olds to come up to bat. I was feeling better after that morning’s tryout at fielding because I had three hits. I also thought I looked good standing cocky at the plate, bat high over my shoulder.

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Rick came up to the plate and hit the first pitch on the third base side. He sent the next pitch into left field. He talked to himself as he stood in the box, slightly bouncing before each swing. Again the coaches made checks on their clipboards, heads following the ball each time it was smacked to the outfield.

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When the ten hits were up he jogged off the field and joined me in the bleachers. His mouth was again fat from holding back a smile, and I was jealous of his athletic display. I thought to myself, Yeah, he’ll make the team and I’ll just watch him from the bleachers. I felt bad—empty as a Coke bottle—as I imagined Rick running home with a uniform under his arm.

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We watched other kids come to the plate and whack, foul, chop, slice, dribble, bee line, and hook balls to every part of the field. One high foul ball bounced in the bleachers and several kids raced to get it, but I was the first to latch a hand onto it. I weighed the ball in my palm, like a pound of baloney, and then hurled it back onto the field. A coach watched it roll by his feet, disinterested.

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Oct 20
Anthony Ruiz (Oct 20 2015 10:37AM) : Gary is Describing what the other kids do in the field more

every single time there in the baseball field

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After tryouts were finished we were told—or retold, because it had been announced in the morning—that we would be contacted by phone late in the week.

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We went home and by Monday afternoon we were already waiting for the phone to ring. We slouched in the living room after school, with the TV turned on and loud as a roomful of people: Superman at three o’clock and The Three Stooges at three-thirty. Every time I left the living room for the kitchen, I stole a glance at the telephone and once when no one was looking I picked it up to see if it was working: a long buzz.

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By Friday when it was clear that the call would never come, we went outside to the front yard to play catch and practice bunting.

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“I should have made the team,” Rick said as he made a stab at my bunt. He was particularly troubled because if anyone should have made the team it was him, since he was better than most that day.

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We threw grounders at one another; a few of them popped off my chest while most of them disappeared neatly into my glove. Why couldn’t I do it like this last Saturday, I thought? I was mad at myself, then sad and self-pitying. We stopped playing and returned inside to watch The Three Stooges. Moe was reading from a children’s story book, his finger following the words with deliberation.

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“Does the doe have a deer?” read Moe.

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“Yeah, two bucks,” laughed Larry.

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Moe pounded him on top of the head and called him a “knuckle-head.” Larry rolled his eyes and looked dizzy.

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We didn’t make Little League that year, but we did join a team of school chums that practiced at Hobo Park near downtown Fresno. Pete, the brother of Mary Palacio, a girl who was head-over-heels for me, told us about the team, and after school Rick and I raced our bicycles to the park. We threw our bikes aside and hit the field. While Rick went to the outfield, I took second base to practice grounders.

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“Give me a baby roller,” Danny Lopez, the third baseman, called. I sidearmed a roller and he picked it up on the third bounce. “Good pickup,” we told him. He looked pleased, slapping his glove against his pants as he hustled back to third, a smile cutting across his face.

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Rick practiced pop-ups with Billy Reeves. They looked skyward with each throw in the air, mouths hanging open as if God were making a face between clouds.

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When Manuel, the coach, arrived in his pickup, most of the kids ran to meet him and chatter that they wanted to play first, to play second, to hit first, to hit third. Rick and I went quiet and stood back from the racket.

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Manuel shouldered a duffle bag from the back of his pickup and walked over to the palm tree that served as the backstop. He let the bag drop with a grunt, clapped his hands, and pointed kids to positions. We were still quiet, and when Pete told Manuel that we wanted to play, I stiffened up and tried to look tough. I popped my glove with my fist and looked about me as if I were readying to cross a road. Because he was older, Rick stood with his arms crossed over his chest, glove at his feet. “You guys in the outfield,” he pointed as he turned to pull a bat and ball from the bag.

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Manuel was middle-aged, patient, and fatherly. He bent down on his haunches to talk to kids. He spoke softly and showed interest in what we had to say. He cooed “good” when we made catches, even routine ones. We all knew he was good to us because most of the kids on the team didn’t have fathers or, if they did, the fathers were so beaten from hard work that they never spent time with them. They came home to open the refrigerator for a beer and then to plop in front of the TV. They didn’t even have the energy to laugh when something was funny. Rick and I saw this in our stepfather. While we might have opened up with laughter at a situation comedy, he just stared at the pictures flashing before him—unmoved, eyes straight ahead.

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We practiced for two weeks before Manuel announced that he had scheduled our first game.

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“Who we playing?” someone asked.

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“The Red Caps,” he answered. “West Fresno boys.”

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By that time I had gotten better. Rick had quit the team because of a new girlfriend, a slow walker who hugged her school books against her chest while looking like a dazed boxer at Rick’s equally dazed face. Stupid, I thought, and rode off to practice.

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Although I was small I was made catcher. I winced behind my mask when the ball was delivered and the batter swung because there was no chest protector or shin guards—just a mask. Balls skidded off my arms and chest, but I didn’t let on that they hurt—though once I doubled over after having the breath knocked out of me. Manuel hovered over me while rubbing my stomach and cooing words that made me feel better.

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My batting, however, did not improve, and everyone on the team knew I was a “sure out.” Some of the older kids tried to give me tips—how to stand, follow through, push weight into the ball.… Still, when I came up to bat, everyone moved in, like soldiers edging in for the attack. A slow roller to short, and I raced to first with my teeth showing. Out by three steps.

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The day of the first game some of us met early at Hobo Park to talk about how we were going to whip them and send them home whining to their mothers. Soon others showed up to practice fielding grounders while waiting for the coach to pull up in his pickup. When we spotted him coming down the street, we ran to him and before the pickup had come to a stop we were already climbing the sides. The coach stuck his head from the cab to warn us to be careful. He idled the pickup for a few minutes to wait for the others, and when two did come running, he waved for them to get in the front with him. As he drove slowly to the West Side, our hair flicked about in the wind, and we thought we looked neat.

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When we arrived we leaped from the back but stayed close by the coach who waved to the other coach as he pulled the duffle bag over his shoulder. He then scanned the other team: Like us, most were Mexican, although there were a few blacks. We had a few Anglos on our team—Okies, as we called them.

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The coach shook hands with the other coach and talked quietly in Spanish, then opened up with laughter that had them patting one another’s shoulder. Quieting, they turned around and considered the field, pointed to the outfield where the sprinkler heads jutted from the grass. They scanned the infield and furrowed their brows at where shortstop would stand: it was pitted from a recent rain. They parted talking in English and our coach returned to tell us the rules.

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