A House on Rachel Lee VIGNETTES by katy adams

Kaitlyn, Katy, Kate

Kaitlyn Zay. My name came from a handful of stories. Kaitlyn was a last minute decision my parents made the day I was born. While my dad had wanted my middle name to be Zay before my brother was born. Zay was a family name passed to my mother and my dad loved the uniqueness of it.

Originally my parents planned to name me Taylor after my godmother, Kristy Taylor. But a few months before I was born my mom's cousin had a boy and had named him Taylor. It would have been cool to be named after my godmother because I think she is an strong woman, she is paralyzed on one side of her body but she continues to live life to the fullest. Though I’m not crazy about the name Kaitlyn I love my nickname Katy because of it’s story. When we were little my older brother couldn’t pronounce the name Kaitlyn so he called me “Keke”, As we grew older it turned into Katy. The reason I prefer the name Katy is because of the history and that it ties me to my family.

My middle name came from both my mother whose name is Wilma Zay and my great grandmothers whose first name was Zay. When I was little I hated the name Zay, it made me different and I didn’t appreciate it. As i’ve grown up have learned to appreciate the history of my middle name and I like the fact that no one has a middle name like me. My mother has never liked the name Zay and has admitted she was against giving me the name but my dad was persistent and I received the name.

Although I sometimes wish I had a more unique name I like that my name has a history and that I can carry around a part of my family with me. My Grandma is one of my favorite persons in my life and I love that I will forever hold a piece of her with me. I think the most important part about a name is the history it carries with you.


Ten to fourteen years is the average life span of a labrador retriever. My dog Ace is thirteen years old this May and my biggest fear is losing him. My family adopted Ace when I was barely a year old and I don’t have any memories without him. As the years have passed I have become more and more aware of his age and my biggest fear has become losing him.

My brother used to tell us that he was going to be batman when he grew up. This led him believe that he had to have batmans black dog, Ace. So our family climbed into the car and headed to the closest Dog Rescue. When we found Ace my brother loved him, he was barely a year old and his body was more legs than anything else. My parents talked to some of the volunteers working at the rescue and found out that the reason his previous family had given him up was because his tail would knock over their baby who was learning to walk. I guess my parents didn’t think about the fact that they had a barely year old daughter also learning to walk.

I spent my first few years of life terrified of Ace and his over hyper personality. My parents believed that he would aut grow his hyperness as he became older. He did but it took him 11 years to do it. I vaguely remember clinging to walls as he came into rooms and telling the guest, if you don’t get against the wall he’ll knock you over. As I got older and taller I started to love Ace and I couldn’t remember a time without him.

When I was in third grade I started to realize that Ace wouldn’t always be there. One night at dinner my brother was being careless and was holding his corncob under the table which Ace proceed to swallow. At first we thought that the corncob would pass but after a week he wouldn’t eat and was throwing up. While I was at school my dad took Ace to the vet who told us he had to have a surgery that he had a 50% chance of surviving. I remember not being able to focus in school the next day and running home to see if he was okay. Ace had survived that surgery and had a remarkable recovery but the fear of losing him has stayed with me to this day.

Although my relationship with Ace started out rocky he has become a constant presence by my side. Ace was a hyper dog, he had more energy than a kid on redbull and has constantly running and jumping around. Sometime last year his hyperness started to fade, it started with heavy breathing after running and only being hyper for short periods of time. The sharp contrast between a young Ace and who he is now shook the ground I stood on. At the age of 13 it is a hassle to get Ace outside or to play all he wants to do is sleep. I don’t think I will ever forget Ace but I hope that he will be with us for a few more years so we can create more memories with him.

A Scale of 1 to 10

When I was 7 I had surgery on my head. I didn’t understand the importance of the surgery all I really remembered was the excessive amounts of ice cream I ate in the weeks following. I can’t remember being afraid that day but I remember feeling the nerves of everyone around me. And the question, on a scale of 1 to 10 where is your pain.

That morning I wasn’t allowed to eat anything and i’m pretty sure I was asleep until we arrived at the hospital. But I remember climbing out of the car with a giant stuffed dog and following my parents into the building. Both my mom and dad were strangely quiet as we walked to the front desk and were lead to my room. The actual room is a blur but the nurse was sweet and my grandparents were there almost right after we arrived.

I had the surgery in december and build a bear workshop had a rudolph and clarisse bears which I wanted desperately. I couldn't grasp the concept of surgery all I wanted was to go to build a bear. A few hours later the nurse told us it was time for my surgery, so she lead us to the room. Me and my mom I mean. My mom held my hand as I was rolled to the room. She kept talking to me in that voice adults use on children, the one they think is calm and comforting but to be honest I was just excited to eat the ice cream after as I was promised.

The room I was wheeled to had smelt clean and sterile and was ultimately boring. White walls, white ceiling, and white table. That was all I could notice as a 7 year old on sedatives. Someone had lifted me from the rolling bed to the table and laid me down. The pillow had been made of gel and my head sunk in, it reminded me of the armrest people have at desk. There was a man talking to me maybe a doctor, I couldn’t tell. A mask was placed on my face and I slowly slipped into a deep sleep.

When I awoke a nurse kept asking me how I felt, on a scale of 1 to 10. I couldn’t focus. I was still sluggish and I just wanted the purple popsicle she was holding. I think I mumbled a number to her and she handed me the popsicle. Finally I noticed my parents who had been sitting in the chairs next to me. The nurse left and my parents asked me again, on a scale of 1 to 10 how do you feel? I mumbled a response about feeling fine and soon my grandparents were walking into the small hospital room.

The next couple of weeks passed in a blur of sleeping and being taken to doctors and sleeping. Every doctor I meet asked me the same thing. On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you feel? To this day this question confuses me, how am I supposed to know what my 10 is? Will I know when i’m feeling the most pain i’ve ever felt or will I experience a greater pain later? This question never goes away though, I hear it on the yearly checkups with my doctor, I hear it when I go to the neurologist, and I hear it every time I have a migraine. I still can’t fathom how I am supposed to know where my pain is at if I haven't experienced my 10 yet, or if I have and I couldn’t remember it.


The vignettes I wrote have shaped me in different ways. Fears has made me more aware about life and death. Not only with Ace but with the people around me, my grandparents, my parents, my friends. Being aware of these things has made me want to be healthier and try to make everyone around me healthier as well. A scale of 1 to 10 tells a part of me that is still growing, the ability to focus on detail, and the question that I can’t answer. I don’t know why this question is so hard for me but I don’t like to be wrong and not being able to answer the question correctly scares me. I probably shouldn’t stress about being able to answer a question but I can’t logic the way to the answer of this question. I answer most things by removing the ones that don’t make sense and then finding the most logical answer. But there are no logical answers to this question.

I think that I connected to a few chapters in A House on Mango Street but the main one was Papa who wakes up tired in the dark. In this chapter Esperanza realizes that her dad who she had never seen cry, could break down too. I can’t remember the exact moment I realized that my parents and other adults weren’t perfect but I think that was a “coming of age” moment for me. When I began to realize that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. I am pretty hard on myself when I comes to most things so I have to stop and remind myself constantly that it’s okay to not be right.

I have mixed feelings about the book, A House on Mango Street. In some ways I really connected with the book and I loved the messages found throughout the pages. Though it is hard for me to get really into a book like this one where you only get a glimpse of certain moments of the characters life. For me I need to know all the details even the miniscule ones like the color of a room's walls so it was hard for me to fully enjoy the book when it constantly left me wondering and questioning myself. On that same note though it is an amazing writing style that leaves a lasting imprint on the reader's mind.


Created with images by Unsplash - "paris france eiffel"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.