Moss (Photo by James Qualtrough)

Writing, photography, and more from the Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner Teen Wrinting Workshop at the John Jermain Memorial Library

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The House Across the Street by Hope Taglitch

On the street I grew up on, there were oak trees the sunshine would flicker across, so gloriously in the summertime they would be scorched red when autumn came. One of these oaks resided in the sea-sized shade of some lady who lived across the road from us, a crone of trifling memory whose name escapes me. I will not attempt to chase it.
I don’t really remember her, but I do remember hearing stories about her. She was said to have loved dogs and hated people, especially, as my dad liked to remind us, children. But apparently, he forgot all about our reclusive neighbor’s intense dislike of singing and laughter and all things remotely pleasant the day me, my three sisters, and about ten friends were playing “Tickle Tickle Tee” with Dad on the trampoline.
“Tickle Tickle Tee” involved jumping aimlessly about like fireflies released from a jar. Dad would be butt-bouncing and crushing our hopes of balance the second his toes hit the ground, pushing us and tickling us with all his might. Dad was a strong, decibel-disconscious New Yorker whom my mother at once adored and resented.
She never showed up on the trampoline to play Tickle Tickle Tee with us. Her place was more in ordering the pizzas we’d be devouring in mass quantities at the end of the day.
Anyway, this obscure neighbor of ours showed up, her frizzy bottle-red hair visible through the tops of our cracked old picket fence. And she screeched words that I’ll never forget, words that define most of my dad’s life to this day:

The Spirit of Resistance

By Jake Merrell

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.–Thomas Jefferson

Occupy Wall Street is entering its fifth week of resistance, and the press has had its fun. I know there were Communists there, but it feels like Fox News missed the end of the Cold War. How did we ever come to dub protest class warfare? What makes students feel free to hold a publically-announced meeting solely to ridicule the protesters, at the decided exclusion of liberals? These are lessons from Political Maneuvering 101—check out Nixon’s campaign against Jerry Voorhis—but we can’t keep relying on ideological rhetoric to make our decisions for us. Communists aren’t just the old enemy of Capitalism; they’re the classic sign of deteriorating economies. That feels infinitely more interesting than the observation that hippies attend protests. But it’s not just the media that likes to overreact. Look at our own school; with mention of a dedicated anti-liberal Conservative Club, we should be concerned about how the dialogue of politics is playing out. I checked out the protests with friends last weekend expecting to find it an interesting case of ineffective resistance, but found my presumption to be way off the mark. So we have to be open conversationalists, and here’s where we’ll start.

Let’s take this seriously. Students like us are at an age where we can’t help but demonize as soon as we can criticize. So we have to drop any preconceived notions we might have about the potheads in Zucotti Park (the same potheads enforce a stricter drug and alcohol policy than Taft). Paul Gilding, an Australian environmentalist and author, would say that the decline of the economy is the result of pressing up against the limits of economic expansion. According to Gilding, we are entering a “Great Disruption” where ruthless economic growth has coupled with a weakening democratic process in such a manner that is unsustainable and self-destructive. And as the fuse on Wall Street burns, where (more…)