This year, 16 students from Lyons Elementary participated in the nationwide Grannie Annie Family Story Writing Celebration. They researched and interviewed their families for stories that happened before they were born, and turned these pieces of oral family history into written stories for others to enjoy. In doing so, they not only preserved family history, but strengthened family bonds and their own writing skills. These stories cover a wide range of themes–tragic, poignant, and humorous. The students committed themselves to this project. Much of their writing and revising was done outside of school on their own time. We hope you enjoy the stories as much as we did.
–Pam Browning, teacher
The Recorder is publishing several of these stories weekly. The first part of the series is here.
An attack from an unexpected enemy
by Jack Arthur, fifth grade
My granddad served in the Vietnam War from 1968-1969 (1 year and 6 days) in the Marine Corps on seven operations with the 3rd battalion 26th Marines. His job was a mortar man but he also worked in the fire support crew.
It was a pitch black night in a region of Vietnam between Da Nang and the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). My granddad was alone on a grassy ridge on LP (Listening Post). He heard a steady rustling from the bushes near him. A scared mongoose lunged out of the bushes. Both of them were equally surprised and scared! The mongoose left and he continued LP.
My granddad and other soldiers ate sea rations from WWII. The eggs were coated in green! Almost all of the rations contained ham. After the war my granddad got is PhD and had two boys. While sleeping on boxes to avoid the mud my granddad awoke startled. When he opened the boxes he discovered the boxes were filled with poisonous snakes. I’m proud of my granddad.
How my grandparents met
By Zephyr Jackson, fifth grade
My Grandparents met in June of 1974. My Grandpa was studying over summer to graduate on the one hundredth anniversary of BYU Utah. My grandma was just working in town. They both went to a Mormon church party at Kiwanis park. They both had dogs with them. Grandpa had his sister dog Elsha a Samoyed, his sister was in Europe. Grandma had her dog Noha, a Husky. The dogs instantly ran off the leash toward each other and of course Grandma and Grandpa both ran after their dogs, that is how they first met. My Grandpa worked at the Daily Universe school newspaper. He got special privileges like free tickets to shows so he could report on them. So he asked Grandma out to Sundance ski resort to watch a performance which Grandpa was reporting on.
In July Grandpa asked grandma out on another date, to Bridal Falls to watch firefighter drills.
School was going to start and they both needed a house. They were both renting summer homes and another challenge was the house had to accept dogs. One day they were walking around town and they crossed paths. They talked about the housing situation. Grandpa suggested sharing a house and Grandma exclaimed, “Was that a proposal?” Before they got married, Grandpa did a proper proposal. From when they met to when they married it was six weeks and they have been married for 45 years.
Sink or float
by Wilma Spencer, fifth grade
It was a beautiful crisp day in 1912, and my Mother Grace, my sister Lydia (4 years old) and I, Sylvia (2 years old), were an a train with twins and their Mother headed for the docks. We had tickets on the Titanic. Just then Lydia got sick. We then had to change her clothes. When we finally made it to the docks, we were refused on board because Lydia was sick. The mother and twins went on. Mother then frantically got tickets on another boat called the ROCHAMBEAU that had not yet departed.
A couple days later
We were happily minding your own business on the ROCHAMBEAU when we heard the Titanic had sunk! “On no, poor Peter,” I could hear Mother mumbling under her breath. (Peter is my dad, awaiting us in America, thinking we had tickets on the Titanic.) “Sylvia, Lydia, why don’t you get some blankets to help the passengers we are rescuing from the Titanic.” Mother instructed.
Lydia and I, struggling to carry blankets, were rushing up to deck and down again.
After we had gotten all of our newly acquainted passengers settled (including one of the twins) we were back on our regular schedule, headed for New York. “I miss my Mother and sister, they went down with the ship,” the twin said as she burst into tears.
“Oh honey, it’s alright,” my Mother said to the single twin. Then to us she said,” Girls, Father is probably going to be surprised to see us. We were worst class, so if we were on the Titanic, we would have gone down with the ship,” Mother was telling us. I could imagine Father at home, crying, thinking he had lost his family when we were happily headed home. The next day we would see him again, for we were able to take a horse taxi home.
My family and I will always remember the story of great great grandmother Sylvia and the Titanic, and how sometimes bad things can be good.
A child’s nightmare
by Milan Oosthuizen, fifth grade
It was 1944 and I had just turned five and was full of energy, my mind full of interesting thoughts. I had drawn my new favorite drawing, a boy walking through a lively market. Then my mom walked into my room and told me to get into bed. I lifted up the covers and curled in bed, admiring the quilt blanket my mother had sewn for me long ago. I closed my eyes and listened to my mother singing my favorite lullaby. My mind and body slowly relaxing and finally falling asleep.
What I dreamt after that was amazing. I was on the street outside my apartment, I suddenly shot up into the air and was over the whole city. I was flying, I glided over the city, wind brushing against my face, my shirt waving in the wind. Then I saw something, they were far off into the distance, they were just specks getting closer and closer.
I woke up with sirens blasting through the city, they were getting louder and louder, my ears felt like they were about to blast. The door opened and my mom ran in, she grabbed my hand and we headed for the street. Hundreds of people were running through the street, some crying some screaming, but they all headed the same way, toward where the bomb shelter was. Suddenly I felt my hand slip from my mother’s hand and everything was silent. I looked up in the sky and saw three gray planes flying over my head, then they dropped cylinder shapes from the bottom. All at once parts of the city blasted into flames. I expected to hear screaming but I heard nothing. As I looked around I saw nothing. No adults, no kids, no living thing, all I saw was the planes bombing the city, the houses bursting into flame and complete havoc. But I just stood, I couldn’t move, I was stuck, watching as the flames grew and grew, getting closer and closer, but I was frozen in place. Everything felt eerie, it was so unusual that there was no sound,
I just stood there, my head spinning, and then I snapped out of it. I quickly ran into my house, into my room and hid under my nice quilt blanket laying on my bed. Only then did I notice that I was scared, I could feel the sweat dripping from my neck down my shirt giving chills throughout my body. I huddled up and hugged my knees, shaking like crazy. I closed my eyes and slowly rocked myself to sleep.
This story is about my grandfather who grew up in Wiener Neustadt, Austria during World War II. After this incident my grandfather was severely traumatized, he could not speak anymore, eventually he learned again but to this day he still stutters. Many years later after immigrating to the U.S. he met one of the U.S. air force pilots that had bombed his city.