If only I could have saved her
First Place $50
By Evenlyn Zepeda, Cleveland HS (Reseda)
I have to say that my favorite object or possession would be myself or my family. I’ve already had an experience in a burning home but didn’t really know what I was doing. First of all there are so many valuable objects that you just love but sometimes you just have to give them up. The only thing I wish that I would have taken with me was my mother. Even though my mother wasn’t an object she was a person who I wished I could’ve helped but couldn’t.
You really don’t think about anything but yourself because you are trying to get out. In my home, I had so many things that were valuable but was it worth for me to waste my time and risk my life to get something that was an object instead of myself? I really don’t think that anybody would risk their life to get an object. For me I really wish that I could have gotten my mother, but couldn’t for reasons that God wanted to take her soon.
Book of memories
Second Place $30
By Keshia Wright, Long Beach Polytechnic
I stand outside safely with my family near. We watch our home and all of our priceless possessions slowly become worthless. We watch the firemen try their best to save what little time is left our house full of memories. But it’s too late; we can tell already that by morning nothing will be left but ashes and smoke. I’m crying on the outside, but I know I haven’t lost everything.
Before running out of the house, my first instinct was to grab everything I could. But, the fire was already getting far out of control so I grabbed the one thing that I knew held that most memories, a three ring binder. I know you’re probably thinking what good is a three ring binder; it could easily be replaced right? Wrong! Inside this one binder are my most cherished poems, pictures, awards, notes from my friends, letters from my family … everything I would need to stay on my feet and remain happy during this time of tragedy no matter where our next step would lead us.
This whole entire book is important to me, but my favorite thing inside is a notebook full of poems. A year ago I was on the Greyhound bus and I sat next to this one guy who wrote song lyrics and played a guitar. He let me listen to his CD that he had made before he left and he shared some of the lyrics with me that he was in the process of writing. Then he asked me if I wrote. I told him I didn’t and then he started encouraging me telling me how easy it was and that writing helps you to organize your feelings. It didn’t really occur to me to start writing until a week later when I was coming back on the Greyhound. Turns out I was really good at it. I shared my songs and poems with my brother who really liked them. So, for my 15th birthday he brought me a notebook where he wanted me to write down all my poems inside. The notebook is half way full and every poem has a meaning and a story behind it.
The next thing of importance inside this binder are my awards. I have so many awards and all of them bring back memories. I have awards from the president (both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) and I love showing these off, I don’t know what I would do if these ever got lost.
Then there are my pictures. There are snapshots of me, my friends and my family. It just reminds me of all the fun we’ve had. There are so many memories in one picture. I have pictures when I graduated from the 8th grade, when my brother graduated from the 8th grade, and when my older brother graduated from high school. I love taking pictures and I put my favorite ones in the binder. It makes me smile just to look back and reminisce on old times.
Last but not least in my notebook are notes that were passed during class. They are organized according to the first one that was written to the last one. This is like a book to me. Every now and then I go back and read it from beginning to end and can’t help but laugh. It shows how I have changed and grown over time. These notes take place over a course of four years so they hold a lot of memories and show how I’ve matured from 6th grade to 9th.
Well my house didn’t really catch on fire, but if ever it did this would definitely be the first thing I would grab. It has the most valuable, non-replaceable, priceless memories in it. Everything else in my house are all "material things" and I know over time would be replaced. But you could never get back memories. And some memories are easily forgotten so it helps to have a picture, note or poem as just a hint of a reminder.
Third Place $20
By Melissa Bustamante, Hollywood HS
I met Eduardo when I was in the eighth grade and it developed into a three-year relationship. He became the most significant person in my life. He was my first love. Through him I was able to learn so much through experiences, some I love while others I despise. It seemed like a perfect relationship. We had so many plans and dreams that we hoped to fulfill together. Unfortunately, things would not go as planned and I learned that there was no such thing as perfect.
Eduardo and I began arguing. Living in different cities, and attending different schools caused a separation between us. I was a cheerleader and had to dedicate a lot of my time to my team. Eduardo and I split up, but usually ended up back together. At times we were so in love, and then there were others when we could not and would not speak for days, even weeks. After trying to fix our relationship, we later made it worse, and stopped talking around Halloween. He continued to try, but I pushed him away.
Finally my sixteenth birthday was coming up, so I expected Eduardo to come back into my life. November 14 was my birthday. I attended school, and expected to hear or actually see Eduardo when I arrived home. To my shock and amazement there was no sign of him. I could not believe it. We had an agreement that no matter what we would put our differences aside for holidays and birthdays. I was so disappointed. Being the stubborn person I am I did not call him, because I felt he should be the one calling me.
The next day I attended school and expressed my sadness and disappointment to my best friend, Sandra. I went home right after school with Sandra. As we entered my house I had a weird feeling. We were in my room when my oldest brother walked in with his friend. They looked at me with fear and sorrow. They told me that Eduardo was killed Monday, which was two days before my birthday. I immediately collapsed to the floor in shock. I felt as if I had died. I was empty and depressed without him. I truly believed that he was my soul mate. He was my world and more!
About two days later I went to his house. His mother wanted me to take anything I wanted from his room. While sitting in his room devastated, reliving all our memories, his mother walked in and handed me his gold necklace. She told me that since I was his girlfriend she wanted me to have it. I began to cry. Eduardo always wore this necklace. It seemed as if he never took it off.
Once when we were together he gave it to me, telling me that he wanted me to keep it, but after an argument I gave it back to him. He insisted that I keep it, but stubbornly I refused. Ever since his mother gave it to me it rarely take it off. I don’t know what I would do without his necklace. Wearing his necklace helps me feel safe. It’s like he is still with me. Without it I feel empty and naked. I am so grateful that his mother gave it to me. His necklace protects me and is my most prized possession!
I treasure everything he has given me. The scrapbook I made of us is also distinctive to me. It contains our pictures, letters, and everything else we have shared. Every time I look through it, I can picture us at each moment and relive it. Reading his letters, it’s as if it is the first time ever, although I’ve basically memorized some. Looking at his pictures brings me so much bliss, yet madness and sorrow.
Everything Eduardo has given me is a favorite possession. One of the first things he did give me was a "Cookie Monster" doll, and since then I have been sleeping with it, if not, I cannot sleep. When hugging it, I feel and wish it is him. The last Valentine’s gift he gave me was a "Beauty and the Beast" snow globe. I cherish it so much and every time I see it, I smile and remember that day.
Eduardo had a huge impact in my life and helped me grow into a strong person, because of him I am the person I am today. Eduardo walks every step with me, experiences everything I do, and most important always with me, whether enjoyable or dreadful.
It has been one year and seven months since he has passed. My love for him will never fade, but will only grow stronger. I love Eduardo and always will. Although Eduardo is no longer with me physically, I know he will always be with me mentally and spiritually. Wearing his necklace helps me relive every moment we had together—all the wonderful memories and even the dumb arguments. It was all worth it! There is nothing I would not trade or give up to bring him back, see him or even hear his voice. I believe that Eduardo is watching over me and is my guardian angel.