Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Thomas Paine Contributed to the America of Today

Reading through works written by early American writers one can easily notice changes in the style of writing from the writers in the early 1600’s to those in the mid-1700’s. The change in style becomes more apparent over the years, especially in noticing the ease at which the later works can be read and understood. One author that writes in such a “simple” style is Thomas Paine, who wrote so that the common man could understand. Despite living in America for only two years when he published “Common Sense”, he is considered to be one of the most influential writers in American history. Why?

Historians believe that Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, “Common Sense,” played a major role in leading to the American Revolution. Again, why? Paine wrote in a style that allowed the most common man to understand what he was saying. His opening paragraph in the pamphlet begins with “In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense…” (Paine “Common Sense” 936). His intention was for everyone to understand and know what he was trying to understand. By using this tactic, he explained that the controversy between America and England had been approached from many different directions, all of which were proved to be useless to solve the conflict. He places the blame on England for making the decision to go to war, “Arms as the last resource decide the contest; the appeal was the choice of the King, and the Continent has accepted the challenge” (Paine “Common Sense” 936).

In his view, the Colonies had every right to revolt against a government that imposed taxes on them and did not grant them the right of representation in the Parliament at Westminster. He even believed that there was no reason for the Colonies to stay dependent on England, and so on the 10th of January in 1776, Paine put together his ideas on American Independence in his pamphlet we know as “Common Sense.” (Leemhuis)

Paine argues that independence from England is inevitable because America had lost touch with the mother country. How so? Even though the Colonies boasted the protection of Great Britain, citizens did not consider, “that her motive was interest not attachment; and that she did not protect us from our enemies on our account; but from her enemies on her own account, from those who had no quarrel with us on any other account, and who will always be our enemies on the same account” (Paine “Common Sense” 937). He underlines this statement more by saying that France and Spain were never the enemies of America itself, but because the Colonies were an extension of Great Britain, they were forced to be enemies, whether America (or Spain or France) had anything against the other. Basically, America was guilty by association, whether the country wanted to be or not.

In argument, some say that Britain is the parent country. In response, Paine says that Great Britain is not the sole parent country, that “Europe, not England is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe” (Paine “Common Sense 938). In turn, these refugees are running not from the mother, but from the harshness of the monster that restricts them from their beliefs.

Our country is still a place of refuge for many of those who are persecuted in other countries. Our Constitution includes Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Speech. As citizens of the United States of America we are permitted freedom to dream and the chance to accomplish those dreams, to practice whatever religion we choose and the poorest person is permitted to exercise his or her right to vote. Our country is the land of opportunity; same as it was back when we were fighting for our own independence. Maybe now the reasons for people to come to America are more widespread, immigrants are still coming here for a chance at a better life, much like first settlers of the continent.

Paine goes on to say that the disadvantages of America staying as a part of England are without number and that not a single advantage is apparent. “Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe, and our imported goods must be paid for by them where we will” (Paine, “Common Sense” 939). At that time, Paine made a very logical and good point: that through trade with all of Europe, America could flourish, but is not able to while under Great Britain’s rule and so only through independence would America and other European countries be able to reap the benefits of trading with one another. This fact still stands true today as shown in our trade agreements with Canada and Mexico (American Federal Trade Agreement, AFTA) and our membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Paine ends his “Common Sense” pamphlet calling out to the country to stand up for freedom, to allow the American people and nation to become the asylum for the oppressed people of the world who have no hope of freedom in the rest of the world: “O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the Globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her as a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind” (Paine “Common Sense” 942). This is an excellent conclusion, summing up what he had previously discussed, saying that the rest of the world had given up on freedom and the last place that citizens of the world could run to is America. The people of this new nation need to stand up and fight for those who are oppressed because political and religious oppression is the primary reason why settlers traveled to the New World in the first place.

This idea of fighting for those oppressed still rings true today in our fight against terrorism, especially seen in the war in Iraq. Our country stands for freedom and democracy and has from the start. We are still fighting for the equality of all men and women, and children, trying to make the future better for our families and our future generations. This quote from “The American Crisis,” also written by Thomas Paine speaks of the separation happening during a time that will happen so that the children will not have to suffer much longer, “Not a man lives on the continent that but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace”; and this single reflection, well applied is sufficient to awaken every man to duty” (Paine, “The American Crisis” 945).

All that Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense” was used when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. The message that both authors wrote of in their works is the same, but the audience is different. Paine wrote to the people of America whereas Jefferson wrote to the King and Parliament of England. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was based off of what Paine had written: it is no longer necessary for one nation to be ruled by another when the “parent” country is so far across the ocean from the “child” and so the old country does not know or understand what the new country is going through. In addition, the old country tries to protect the new one from enemies for her own sake, not for the sake of the new country when the new nation may have the opportunity to be friends or allies with the enemy of the old country. Therefore, because America is a part of England, she is forced to go to war with England against a nation who would be America’s ally had the nation been free from England. This being said it is also unfair, unrealistic and illogical that “He [the king] has abdicated government here BY DECLARING US OUT OF HIS PROTECTION, AND WAGING WAR AGAINST US” (Jefferson, “Declaration of Independence” 972). It is time for the King to let his child go and admit his wrongdoings. Jefferson writes that the King forbade laws to be passed that were of the utmost importance and he disallowed his citizens to speak up for themselves because he did not believe in the expression of the opinion of his own people.

Jefferson is basically “calling out” the King of England saying “we want to fight you for our freedom because you messed up.” Paine writes of common sense and the problems that are in existence between America and her mother country, proving several key points. He also writes of why America needs to stand up for herself and other oppressed nations. He writes informatively and persuasively, convincing his readers of what needs to be accomplished, in turn leading to the writing of the Declaration of Independence, which was clearly based off of what Paine himself had written. Thus, Paine is credited with the start of the American Revolution.

Works Cited
Leemhuis, Benni. “Biography of Thomas Paine.” From Revolution to
Reconstruction…and what happened afterwards. A Biography of Thomas Paine 11 October 2005. From Revolution to Reconstruction - an .HTML project. 8 October 2005 <http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/B/tpaine/paine.htm>

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is going on?

I don't know what's going on in my life. Graduating in a few months has me very confused. I'm in limbo...not sure what to do and not sure what kind of job to be looking for, if at all, or when. I thought I knew, but it seems like every chance I have doesn't work out. The Peace Corps is looking more and more inviting. If only I could find the motivation to finish the application. Fear stops me though. Fear of the unknown...of the possibility of rejection. :-(

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poem: Surprise Me

waiting...
...so patiently...
for something to come along
for my life to change
must i make something happen?
or will something simply occur?
waking up crying at night
wondering where you are
confusing state of mind
searching for an explanation
wanting an answer
yearning for my life to be complete
i am empty, unsolved, lost, broken,
INCOMPLETE
...without you
i am completely, 100%, entirely, solely, relentlessly, forever
IN LOVE
...WITH YOU
hearts break, tears fall, souls shatter, hopes die
when we are...ALONE...in this cruel cruel world
so with you, i feel so ALIVE
AWAKE, like i can breathe again
you are my reason, my happiness, my blue skies
there is one reason,
one reason only,
why i am waiting...
I'm waiting for you to come along.

SURPRISE ME.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Selected Poetry

8 March 2007
lives change
dreams drift away
guilt consumes me
stress overcomes my mind
concentration is nonexistent
so many distractions
as the words attempt to appear
out of the cloudy thoughts in my mind
pen to paper
mind to matter
and the concentration continues to waive
I look up and once again
our eyes meet and soon…
nothing else matters.

2007 Spring Break Collegiate Challenge - Habitat for Humanity
One week shared
on a mission under God’s eye
We are his hands in helping others
coming together to change a life
and we change each other’s too
Friendships made—for a lifetime?
Only time will tell,
or maybe just a brief passing
who came to us for a reason
to prove we have a strong connection
we didn’t know existed at first.
We were almost strangers
who chose to spend a week
doing something for a good cause
and we’ve come out with such a
great satisfaction and brand new friendships
-maybe for a lifetime?
We walk away with so much positive energy
I smile wide, I nod
and I am so genuinely happy
so happy with being accepted
Maybe this time…
maybe this time I can take this beautiful chance
this opportunity to run
and begin a new life
Thank you for the inspiration…

Impression
Closer to God
and comfortable with myself…
A stress free life
leads me to believe I need
to change something

Something’s telling me
to take a load off
clear things off my plate
re-evaluate the important things in my life

And I have discovered that you are
and so is HE
school and family mean so much
so much more than work

What does that say about me?
What does that tell you about the kind of person that I am?
(c) March 15, 2017

Struggling

So many pages, so little time
so little inspiration
the thoughts linger in my mind
the feelings exist
the words slowly appear before me.

With great difficulty
I attempt to express
the love that I feel
the happiness within
and the confusion, the frustration
that constantly lingers
somewhere in the cobwebs
of my clouded mind
(c) March 15, 2007

Reason
at a loss for words
the well has run dry
and for what purpose must I search?
to find new reason to put words on paper
excitement, passion
love and humor
anger and hate
the feelings come together
and the well is no longer dry
I’ve found what I was searching for
a reason to write
a reason to love
a reason to live…
(c) 12 July 2007

July 2007
it’s been too long
and sometimes not long enough
it depends on the situation
on the breakup
the good blood or bad blood
how much heartache
and how long it takes
for the heart to heal

25 July 2007
you’re the one I want to be with at night
and wake next to with the morning light
I love the feeling of our bodies so close as we sleep
I never thought I’d find a love this deep
into your eyes I look and smile
knowing my time with you is worthwhile
sleep tight now
I’ll always love you, this I vow
for in the morning, we’ll start anew
and prove again that our love is true
day by day, moment by moment, we grow stronger
pushing to be together longer

August 2007
the music fades
yet the tune lingers on
lyrics inspire the poet
and words begin to flow
I reach out to you
trying to make you realize my pain
now you try and succeed
you make my heart melt each time
just like when we first met
I love the looks in your eyes
the way you put your arms around me
the love I feel flowing through us
is stronger than I imagined possible
and here I sit stumped
not knowing what to write next
your brown eyes see deep into mine
shivers ravage my spine
and butterflies tighten my stomach
nervousness, happiness, pain, love
it’s all worth it in the end
you’re worth waiting for
because you are so beautiful to me

summer 2007
maybe we have been lonely too long
looking for someone to lean on
to hold us when the tears fall
when the glass is half empty
and the pieces of our broken hearts
are small enough to fit
through the eye of a needle
each night I pray as I look to the stars
that this won’t be the last time
I see your smiling face
the phone calls mean so much
the words just seem to flow
and I wake each morning
knowing I will see you today
and my world brightens
I’ll miss these nights
and everything we’ve shared
so as we sit here and talk
hold onto these moments
and cherish the memories forever
because true friendship lasts for a lifetime
the heart will always remember
when a wish upon a star came true
and the pieces of our broken hearts
were made whole once more

30 August 2007
when I am angry
when I am hurt, feeling so alone
it’s your touch I long to feel
when the tears are close to falling
when I don’t know what to do
it’s you I turn to
when the world comes crashing down
when the possible feels impossible
it’s your voice I long to hear
I’d love to feel your arms surround me
your body pressed hard against mine
forever protecting me from the evils
I am trying desperately to escape
when I see you gazing down at me
everything else just fades away
I’ve never been so cared for
I’ve never felt so loved

27 September 2007
take me back to the place where we first met
‘lest we wont forget
though we must go forward
take the time to know who we are
I love you and you love me
so much time together—forever
but if you get there before I do
don’t give up on me
I will meet you when my chores are through here
just remember this for me—
between now and then
until I see you again
I’ll be loving you
I promise I will be there someday
I don’t know when or how long I’ll be
but please, don’t give up on me
I’d do the same for you
so just remember one more thing for me—
I’ll always be thinking of you
because you hold a special place in my heart
and have made a footprint on my soul


Why Do You Love Me
some days are better than others
like today when I felt your arms embrace me
I knew everything would be okay again
after extended times of not seeing you
I tend to lose my cool, my emotional security
I begin to wonder why anyone would love me
then you prove to me again and again
why you love me so much
and explain so many times why you love me
you must be tired of it
I must hear it though, spoken from your lips
to build me up in times such as these
when I feel the world has turned against me
so I ask when I need to hear it most…
why do you love me?
and other times you volunteer information
you call me nicknames, compliment me
it used to be enough for you to give me a look
and I’d know, but I need to hear it now
please tell me—why do you love me? how much?

6 October 2007

I don’t know what to do
I don’t know what to say
I don’t know if it matters anyway
you’re the best thing about me
so that’s the only thing about me
it’s the only thing I can see about me
as being positive
you are everything to me

14 November 2007

taking my time
to think of what to say
there’s almost no words
to explain the way I feel for you
our history is so diverse
we are so connected
and that is the best way
I can explain our love
and now this is turning to be
so well written, so carefree
but I have no confidence
-maybe it’s one of the worst poems
I’ve written in so long-
but I am doing my best
you are my best friend
you are the one I turn to
in times of need
we are so much alike
yet so different
you are the one I want forever
you are the one I need always
for the rest of my life
we are so much in love
I don’t see that changing anytime soon
I love you baby, always

Come Together

coming together as one
creating one life out of two
committing to spending the rest of our lives together, forever
promising our love to each other
friends forever (and ever)
lovers always and eternally
I promise to keep on loving you
to stand by you in times of need
and celebrate with you in times of greatness and happiness
we will celebrate together in victory
and grieve together in sadness

Thankfulness
we sit here and talk about us
sometimes I wonder what’s with all the fuss
but it’s worth it in the end
you are my best friend
we may not be perfect or the best
for we will always be put to the test
despite these issues we have going on
I hope we will be together for many more years to come
I know there will be many tears
in the future endeavors we will face throughout the years
these lines have become so long
all I can say is, one of us will be wrong
in some way or another
someone needs to take the blame
I don’t think there is any shame
each new day brings a new sunshine
and it will also bring a new time
another chance, another chance
another song, new music, a new dance
another day to fall in love once more
too much to believe? more than asked for
we have always gone above and beyond—it’s who we are
we have always done our best to go above the par
to exceed the expectations placed on us
so what’s with all of the fuss?
do I have to write pages upon pages?
is this the way I will earn my wages?
to prove our love to all of you?
well, I promise it will always ring true
like the bells in the bell tower
as true as the deep colors o a red red rose flower
even in the darkest hours of the night
or the highest hour of the daylight
we will always be questioned from day to day
even in the heat of the night as we lay
but we will be stronger for it, so strong
and to me, it doesn’t matter how long
it can take forever and a day
or not even a minute. What do you say?
Are you ready to stand beside me for the rest of time?

This Is For You

this I write for you
to show my love rings true
as I sit here and dream of us
you are the one I will always trust
it is amazing to me
how this could ever be
we are so comfortable like this
I hope it never ends, you are the one I would miss
all of the moments that we share
and all of the ways you show you care
a hug, a laugh, a kiss, a smile, a look
so special that I am writing it here in this book

8 March 2007
lives change
dreams drift away
guilt consumes me
stress overcomes my mind
concentration is nonexistent
so many distractions
as the words attempt to appear
out of the cloudy thoughts in my mind
pen to paper
mind to matter
and the concentration continues to waive
I look up and once again
our eyes meet and soon…
nothing else matters.

2007 Spring Break Collegiate Challenge - Habitat for Humanity
One week shared
on a mission under God’s eye
We are his hands in helping others
coming together to change a life
and we change each other’s too
Friendships made—for a lifetime?
Only time will tell,
or maybe just a brief passing
who came to us for a reason
to prove we have a strong connection
we didn’t know existed at first.
We were almost strangers
who chose to spend a week
doing something for a good cause
and we’ve come out with such a
great satisfaction and brand new friendships
-maybe for a lifetime?
We walk away with so much positive energy
I smile wide, I nod
and I am so genuinely happy
so happy with being accepted
Maybe this time…
maybe this time I can take this beautiful chance
this opportunity to run
and begin a new life
Thank you for the inspiration…

15 March 2007
Impression
Closer to God
and comfortable with myself…
A stress free life
leads me to believe I need
to change something
Something’s telling me
to take a load off
clear things off my plate
re-evaluate the important things in my life
And I have discovered that you are
and so is HE
school and family mean so much
so much more than work
What does that say about me?
What does that tell you about the kind of person that I am?

15 March 2007
So many pages, so little time
so little inspiration
the thoughts linger in my mind
the feelings exist
the words slowly appear before me.
With great difficulty
I attempt to express
the love that I feel
the happiness within
and the confusion, the frustration
that constantly lingers
somewhere in the cobwebs
of my clouded mind

28 June 2007
driving down the interstate
running thirty minutes late
already pissed off when someone cuts me off
I flipped him off as rain begins to pour
then my cell phone rings
but I don’t like to answer while driving
driving down the interstate
running thirty minutes late
and that’s why my mother’s calling
calling about the dinner date I failed to keep
and this is only the end of a hard day’s job
customer’s demanding I want it done right
employees stressing, quitting, staying late
just for the extra money
will it ever end?

12 July 2007
Reason
at a loss for words
the well has run dry
and for what purpose must I search?
to find new reason to put words on paper
excitement, passion
love and humor
anger and hate
the feelings come together
and the well is no longer dry
I’ve found what I was searching for
a reason to write
a reason to love
a reason to live…

July 2007
it’s been too long
and sometimes not long enough
it depends on the situation
on the breakup
the good blood or bad blood
how much heartache
and how long it takes
for the heart to heal

25 July 2007
you’re the one I want to be with at night
and wake next to with the morning light
I love the feeling of our bodies so close as we sleep
I never thought I’d find a love this deep
into your eyes I look and smile
knowing my time with you is worthwhile
sleep tight now
I’ll always love you, this I vow
for in the morning, we’ll start anew
and prove again that our love is true
day by day, moment by moment, we grow stronger
pushing to be together longer

August 2007
the music fades
yet the tune lingers on
lyrics inspire the poet
and words begin to flow
I reach out to you
trying to make you realize my pain
now you try and succeed
you make my heart melt each time
just like when we first met
I love the looks in your eyes
the way you put your arms around me
the love I feel flowing through us
is stronger than I imagined possible
and here I sit stumped
not knowing what to write next
your brown eyes see deep into mine
shivers ravage my spine
and butterflies tighten my stomach
nervousness, happiness, pain, love
it’s all worth it in the end
you’re worth waiting for
because you are so beautiful to me

summer 2007
maybe we have been lonely too long
looking for someone to lean on
to hold us when the tears fall
when the glass is half empty
and the pieces of our broken hearts
are small enough to fit
through the eye of a needle
each night I pray as I look to the stars
that this won’t be the last time
I see your smiling face
the phone calls mean so much
the words just seem to flow
and I wake each morning
knowing I will see you today
and my world brightens
I’ll miss these nights
and everything we’ve shared
so as we sit here and talk
hold onto these moments
and cherish the memories forever
because true friendship lasts for a lifetime
the heart will always remember
when a wish upon a star came true
and the pieces of our broken hearts
were made whole once more

30 August 2007
when I am angry
when I am hurt, feeling so alone
it’s your touch I long to feel
when the tears are close to falling
when I don’t know what to do
it’s you I turn to
when the world comes crashing down
when the possible feels impossible
it’s your voice I long to hear
I’d love to feel your arms surround me
your body pressed hard against mine
forever protecting me from the evils
I am trying desperately to escape
when I see you gazing down at me
everything else just fades away
I’ve never been so cared for
I’ve never felt so loved

27 September 2007
take me back to the place where we first met
‘lest we wont forget
though we must go forward
take the time to know who we are
I love you and you love me
so much time together—forever
but if you get there before I do
don’t give up on me
I will meet you when my chores are through here
just remember this for me—
between now and then
until I see you again
I’ll be loving you
I promise I will be there someday
I don’t know when or how long I’ll be
but please, don’t give up on me
I’d do the same for you
so just remember one more thing for me—
I’ll always be thinking of you
because you hold a special place in my heart
and have made a footprint on my soul

Why Do You Love Me

some days are better than others
like today when I felt your arms embrace me
I knew everything would be okay again
after extended times of not seeing you
I tend to lose my cool, my emotional security
I begin to wonder why anyone would love me
then you prove to me again and again
why you love me so much
and explain so many times why you love me
you must be tired of it
I must hear it though, spoken from your lips
to build me up in times such as these
when I feel the world has turned against me
so I ask when I need to hear it most…
why do you love me?
and other times you volunteer information
you call me nicknames, compliment me
it used to be enough for you to give me a look
and I’d know, but I need to hear it now
please tell me—why do you love me? how much?

6 October 2007

I don’t know what to do
I don’t know what to say
I don’t know if it matters anyway
you’re the best thing about me
so that’s the only thing about me
it’s the only thing I can see about me
as being positive
you are everything to me

14 November 2007

taking my time
to think of what to say
there’s almost no words
to explain the way I feel for you
our history is so diverse
we are so connected
and that is the best way
I can explain our love
and now this is turning to be
so well written, so carefree
but I have no confidence
-maybe it’s one of the worst poems
I’ve written in so long-
but I am doing my best
you are my best friend
you are the one I turn to
in times of need
we are so much alike
yet so different
you are the one I want forever
you are the one I need always
for the rest of my life
we are so much in love
I don’t see that changing anytime soon
I love you baby, always

Come Together

coming together as one
creating one life out of two
committing to spending the rest of our lives together, forever
promising our love to each other
friends forever (and ever)
lovers always and eternally
I promise to keep on loving you
to stand by you in times of need
and celebrate with you in times of greatness and happiness
we will celebrate together in victory
and grieve together in sadness

Thankfulness
we sit here and talk about us
sometimes I wonder what’s with all the fuss
but it’s worth it in the end
you are my best friend
we may not be perfect or the best
for we will always be put to the test
despite these issues we have going on
I hope we will be together for many more years to come
I know there will be many tears
in the future endeavors we will face throughout the years
these lines have become so long
all I can say is, one of us will be wrong
in some way or another
someone needs to take the blame
I don’t think there is any shame
each new day brings a new sunshine
and it will also bring a new time
another chance, another chance
another song, new music, a new dance
another day to fall in love once more
too much to believe? more than asked for
we have always gone above and beyond—it’s who we are
we have always done our best to go above the par
to exceed the expectations placed on us
so what’s with all of the fuss?
do I have to write pages upon pages?
is this the way I will earn my wages?
to prove our love to all of you?
well, I promise it will always ring true
like the bells in the bell tower
as true as the deep colors o a red red rose flower
even in the darkest hours of the night
or the highest hour of the daylight
we will always be questioned from day to day
even in the heat of the night as we lay
but we will be stronger for it, so strong
and to me, it doesn’t matter how long
it can take forever and a day
or not even a minute. What do you say?
Are you ready to stand beside me for the rest of time?

This Is For You

this I write for you
to show my love rings true
as I sit here and dream of us
you are the one I will always trust
it is amazing to me
how this could ever be
we are so comfortable like this
I hope it never ends, you are the one I would miss
all of the moments that we share
and all of the ways you show you care
a hug, a laugh, a kiss, a smile, a look
so special that I am writing it here in this book

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Poem: Where Do I Go From Here?

don't know what to do
don't know what to say
don't know if it even matters anyway
not sure how to explain
what i feel deep down in my heart

it's like we're going our separate ways
like i'm trying to branch out
and you aren't, you're set in the way you are
where you are in your life is fine for you
i don't understand
i don't know why this is happening
always thought you'd be my best friend forever
that i could talk to you
about anything and everything
but this...
...this is different
and so much more difficult

reaching deep down inside myself
...trying to find the words
...the explanations, the excuses, the reasons
why i feel this way and what i think about all of this

the confusion never waivers
can't help but wonder
...if something better could come along
if there's life out there...
...a better future, more exciting than the one i see
But wondering has never gotten me anywhere

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Semester at Temple!

I am graduating in December...yay! Started classes last Tuesday and already the workload is piling up! I've had so much reading to do and few assignments that I don't anticipate being able to do any kind of personal writing or reading. It's getting to be too difficult to remember all of the assignments, so I have to keep writing them down. I used to be able to remember all of my assignments for each class and when they're due. Of course, I'd have to check each week to see what is due, but now I can't do that!

With graduating college comes mixed feelings and emotions. I am excited for the next chapter of my life and to accomplish my dream of graduating college. I am excited to start a full time job, whenever and wherever that may happen. I am excited to finally be done with school, for now anyway, until I go for my Master's degree, but that will happen eventually. I am nervous that I haven't yet found a full-time job, but that will come and I certainly hope it will happen sooner rather than later. I am nervous about paying off my student debt, especially since I don't have a full-time job yet. Fortunately I do have a part-time job that will keep me on after I graduate and they keep showing interest in me for full-time jobs so as long as I keep my head down and keep working hard something will pay off.


Once I graduate though, I'll have more time to read and write for leisure! Stay tuned.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Undecided About Joining the Peace Corps

For the last two years I haven't been able to decide about joining the Peace Corps after I graduate from college. Now that I'll be graduating in 4 months, I'm slowly realizing that the decision needs to be made soon before it's too late and life passes me by.

The biggest thing that is holding me back is that the 2 year commitment. I don't want to leave my boyfriend behind for that length of time. In the end though, if we are meant to be, our relationship will endure the time apart.

I am also unsure about student loans. Maybe I can defer? More research is definitely needed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer is almost over...

Wow, I can't believe I haven't been on here in months. Nor can I believe that the summer is almost over!! I will be starting my last semester in college in 6 days! I am nervous excited about the whole thing. Nervous about getting a job, especially with the economy the way it is. Excited too, that I will finally be finished with college and moving on to something bigger and greater!

Well, I better get back to doing laundry and such before going to work...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mixed Blood American

Growing up in a predominantly white community with many ethnicities and without much family around, I never knew what it was like to be an immigrant. My dad grew up in New York City as the grandson of Italian immigrants and my mom grew up in Indianapolis in a family that was already established in the States for many generations. My maternal grandfather was a salesman and his wife was a stay at home mom. My paternal grandfather owned and ran a gas/service station and his wife worked in a few jobs. A few years before beginning their families, both of my grandfathers fought in World War II. The similarities end there.

The biggest differences between my two sides of the family begin with my great-grandparents. Unfortunately, both of my grandfathers passed away when I was young, before I was old enough to understand and appreciate their stories of growing up. I would love to hear my maternal grandmother’s story of growing up on a Native American Reservation in Montana, but since she lives in Indianapolis and I live here in Pennsylvania, it has been hard for us to have any kind of conversation.

Over the years though, I have heard bits and pieces from my paternal grandmother about growing up as the daughter of immigrants. I have had the opportunity to talk with her about growing up.

My grandmother’s name is Rose and she began the conversation by explaining to me that it took 30 days for her mom to come over to America on a boat. She traveled in the section of the boat for poor people, in steerage, and she was sick the entire trip. My great-grandmother’s name was Maria Anna Victoria Francescone and she was 25 when her brother sponsored her to come to America. She did not speak or write English so Rose must have learned English at school. Her father, Luca Francese, worked on the trolley lines as a laborer and doesn’t remember much about him—only that he was quiet and worked hard to support the family. He unfortunately passed away when she was only 11 years old—he had come home early from work one day so her mom went to Bloomingdales on the trolley that was on the next block. He was eating lunch and a piece of food went down his windpipe. She and her sister and brother were home, but couldn’t save him because they didn’t know how.

Parents worked hard to support their families in those days. They did not take them to sports games or activities or anything like that or “fun stuff.” They did not have toys because they were on the poor side. Fun to them was playing outside with neighborhood kids. Rose and her older sister Louise had a tea set that was made of china, but they had to take care of it because if it broke they would not have anything to play with.

My great-grandmother worked hard extremely hard to keep the family together and put food on the table. They did not have any “nice” food like steaks or things like that. They had very basic food like homemade pasta. She was a very loving mother. It did not matter that she could not read, write or speak English—she had a lot of love for her family and was a remarkable woman. She raised five children essentially on her own. She raised my Uncle Al, Uncle Joey, Aunt Louise, Grandma Rose and Uncle Genie. My grandmother remembers her mother in a positive way, “When I think of how hard she worked and how much she accomplished, she never complained. She was extremely, poor but she never complained. She worked so hard and she never ever complained that anything was too hard for her. I remember she had a lot of headaches, but she would just say she had a headache and then take an aspirin and continue working. It never stopped her from what she had to do. She just kept going on,” she said. My great-grandmother Maria Anna Victoria was a wonderful woman.

To help her, when Rose and her siblings started working, they would turn over their salaries to their mother because she did not have anything. My grandmother was barely 16 when she graduated high school and not many people were hiring people that young, but she finally got a job at a dry cleaning place making about $12 a week and most of her earnings went to her mother. Her sister Louise worked at a coal company and she eventually went to there too. When WWII broke out she got a job working as a civil employee for the US Air Force.

Grandma Rose’s brothers Joey and Al left high school to work to help the family. They were living with a man they called Uncle Joe Joe who rented the apartment to them. Uncle Joe Joe was like a father to them and took such care of them, but that did not stop my great-grandmother from working hard—she scrubbed floors and did what she had to do to earn honest money. She never complained and never said she was tired or could not do it—it just was not in her vocabulary to complain. The family never went on vacation because they did not have money. Everything that is available now just was not available then. Once my grandmother grew up, got married and started family of her own, she was able to take her own mother on vacations and to picnics, especially because she was such a good sport—she was so wonderful with her grandchildren (my dad and his siblings).

My great-grandmother Maria Anna Victoria Francescone was from a small town called Campochiaro in the province of Molise in Italy. It is located on the eastern side by the Adriatic Sea. My great-grandfather Luca Francese was from Salerno. My grandfather’s parents were also from Salerno. His mother’s name was Palermia Gaglione and his father was Clemente Napolitano. They were married and had their first two sons before they came to America. My grandfather’s brothers Andrea and Imberio were born in Italy. Imberio was named after his grandmother, my great-great grandmother, Imperia. My grandfather Mario was the youngest and his brother right before him, Crispino, were both born in the States. His mother was able to read and write in English and she was an accomplished dressmaker. She was so talented she didn't need to follow patterns. She was able to make wedding dresses from scratch. She came from a family that was not necessarily poor but not necessarily wealthy either.

Mario’s family ended up in a community that was predominantly Italian so they were able to keep all of their traditions within the community, but Rose’s family grew up in Historia, NY. It was a melting pot, a wonderful neighborhood with Italians, Greeks, Irish, Polish, Jews, Germans, everyone. Rose explained that it was very nice to grow up that way because there was no prejudice and one group did not hate the other because they were all mixed. They just learned to live with everyone and everyone was equal. Rose said to me, “We had to go to these places to continue these traditions. We had to go out of our community but because we lived in such a mixed community we were able recognize all of the other communities. We didn’t think one was better than the other.”

Even though my grandmother grew up poor and her mother was a poor immigrant, she still turned out well. My whole family turned out well because of the wonderful work ethic that my great-grandmother had when she came over from a country that was so poor. She worked hard mostly because she wanted to put food on the table. It was extremely important for her and many of the other immigrants to work hard to make a better life for themselves and their families, especially because they started with nothing.

They were determined to prove themselves to the greater society that they could make it, that they were capable of making something of themselves and of their families. I consider myself 3rd generation American born, but 4th generation American citizen and I’m proud of my heritage, of my roots. I’m proud to say that my family is so hard working and determined to make something of themselves and their family.

Growing up in a community so far away from both sides of my family, I always felt like I stood out, like I was an outsider, especially because no one else in the area had the same last name as me or even the same last name of my mom’s maiden name of Dullaghan. People almost always know that I am Italian when they hear my last name and know my family because we are the only ones with the name within the community. I am often asked if I speak Italian, where in Italy my family is from, and if I have ever been to Italy. Only if I mention that I am only half Italian do people know that I also identify with other heritages and ethnicities.

Because I am half Italian, I often identify myself more strongly as Italian than anything else. When I think of my dad’s side of the family, I think Italian American. But when I think of my mom’s side of the family, I think American. Thinking of myself, I think American because being of mixed heritages and ethnicities is what makes someone American. Our country was founded on immigrants and my family began with immigrants (and even partly of native Americans).
The only time I know that I am celebrating something that is distinctly Italian, Irish, Native American or another ethnicity is if I am celebrating St. Joseph’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or even when I look up and see the dream catcher hanging from the ceiling in my room. Both of my parents were raised Roman Catholic, and then so was I. They were most likely raised Catholic because of their ethnicities, but in a way, my religion does not have anything to do with my ethnicity because I am also part English, Scottish, French Canadian and Native American. Somewhere along the way, I had to have had someone in my family who was not Catholic. The ethnicities who had more power, dominated the choices that were made of what religion to practice or what foods to eat or other activities that are participated in.

I see myself as a true all around American girl. My family is completely and fully assimilated into American culture. It took many years of suffering and hardship for many of my ancestors, but my family has made something of our name. We have proven not only to ourselves, but to society that we can make it in this world. We have taken what our ancestors have worked so hard for and made something out of it. With each generation, we continue to work even harder to improve upon what parents could not give us. We will not forget where we came from for if we do, we lose the direction of where we are going.

I will forever remember that I have mixed heritages and that is what makes me truly an American child.