Chapter 1: The Christmas Celebration
Every year around Christmas time, the routine is always the same. We all pile into the car, strap in, and prepare for the 800 mile journey ahead of us. While the road trip is always fun, it always accompanied by a chorus of arguing and bickering. Excitement is the general sense in the air. When we finally arrive in the Northeastern corner of Colorado, we almost start to cheer. On a good year, there are flurries in the air, and the windows are twinkling with lights. When we finally pull up on the gravel road, we are greeted by… silence. When the car engine is turned off, all that can be heard is the crickets, and all that can be seen is the house, and the stars of the night sky. We file into the house, hauling luggage with every free hand, greeting our grandparents, and gazing at the tree. My grandma always has her tree covered in ornaments, with over 300, but nobody really know for sure. On Christmas Eve, my grandmother makes a feast. She invites friends and family, and we play a game of her own creation: the Oven Mitt game. We pass around a present box with multiple layers, and we have to open it with oven mitts. Everyone bonds and has a good time. On Christmas morning, the real fun begins. We start the day at midnight, when we all go to mass. Then we sleep as long as we can, and then we open our presents! Everyone gets a present and a stocking, including my dog. After presents, breakfast, and coffee, my family piles back into the minivan, and travels over to our other set of grandparent’s house. We arrive, and are instantly greeted by luscious aromas; boiling pasta, red sauce, and corn mingle with the scents of roasting ham and beef, cranberry sauce and garlic bread, among a slew of other things. Everybody helps to set the table, and then we dig in. There is not much talking until after the meal, as everyone is engrossed in their food. Afterwards we catch up on news, and then us kids retreat to the basement for the rest of the day. The process is the same, but different every time. Every time a different story, every time a different experience, while still being the same.
Chapter 2: The American Equivalent of The Weasley Twins
Being a triplet has changed me for the better, and definitely for the worst. Having two sisters who are constant parts of your life is draining. From the earliest I can remember, my sister have done their best to annoy me. Abby has always been the quiet one, but could be very loud when she wanted to. She has always been, in relation to me, neutral. Not quite mean to me, but not quite my friend either. Megan is the loud one. She calls herself the “Alpha”, even though I am the oldest. Megan is either super nice to me, or the most evil being on the earth. The two never seemed to get along, and were almost constantly fighting. My mom did the best she could to discipline them, but my dad was the real sibling wrangler. Whenever my mom couldn’t quell a fight between my sisters, dad would swoop in whenever he got home. Whenever he would yell, it would scare us, but whenever it was aimed at another sibling, it was the most wonderful thing to hear, like music in our ears. I was always in the middle, but rising to the top. I did some things that I wasn’t proud of as a kid, and when I got in trouble for it, it was the worst thing. Many a time, it was because of my sisters, who were like my two personal torturers. Some days, unrelenting, some days, none at all. To this day, my sisters continues to be two big parts of my life, while continuing to be as evil as they possibly can. I’m not sure if that will every go away, but my mother says it will. “Someday”, she says. “Someday.”
Chapter 3/ Bonus Thing- My Name
My name means “God is Gracious”. But with my parents, it means nothing, and everything. My name is common among names, and yet it sets me out. My name, to me, is hours upon hours with a nose in a book. My name is known to those who know me, and foreign to those who don’t. My name is from my great grandfather, who is the starter of generations. My Middle name comes from a sibling. Not one that you know, but one that belongs to my father. A sibling who died as an infant. My name is from family, a family that cares. One that thinks about names. My first name is John, like the apostle from the bible. John is a person of wisdom and advice, and I find wisdom around every corner. My middle name is Paul, who is also from the biblical times. Paul is the saint of writers and readers. To me, books are my addiction. I read them every day, and the time just slips away. My name is my name, and will be forever. My name symbolizes me, and I feel like it fits me well. John is me, and I am John. From 2 saints and family ties, John Paul is my name. Two names that have existed for hundreds, and possibly thousands of years, but have only been mine since 2003. Although “God is gracious” means John, John doesn’t necessarily mean “God is gracious”. My name means weird things when you check Google, but nobody really believes those names. The name that has been the symbol of me for all of the 13 years and 11 months that I have been alive. And that name is John.
Chapter 4: Reflection
These vignettes that I wrote in this story have defined who I am because they have been a constant part of my life. My name is mine, and will always be mine. My sisters have been with me since birth, and I don't think Christmas is going away any time soon. As these events happen, whether it be once a year or every second, it changes the definition of my life.
In HOMS, the main character, Esperanza, has struggled with finding people to be friends with. I have shared the same struggle. From the time I started school until now, I have had trouble finding friends. Even until 4th or 5th grade, I only had one or two people that I could call friends. Like Esperanza, I have had a falling-out with one of my friends, but we managed to patch our friendship back together. In middle school, I opened up to others, and soon began to gather more friends, and better relationships. If you become more open to friends, friends become more open to you.
I believe that my own personal coming of age was when my first dog died. He died on the morning of All-District band, and I was distraught. It was hard to concentrate on my performance with the death of my dog so fresh on the mind. At first, the loss didn't hit me as hard, but after a few days it hit like a ton of bricks. Here is when I realized that loss is something that happens, and that you may have something to do, you have to power through the loss and do it.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the House on Mango Street, but not for the regular reasons people like books. Some people like the book for it's story, or characters, but I like this book for the lessons that it teaches. Some of the things talked about in HOMS are things that would never be discussed otherwise, and it is nice to have a literary outlet to explore these lessons in. I would, however, only recommend this book to a select few people, those that enjoy the vignette style of writing.