When I was a
kid, I always wanted our family to take a vacation to Disney World, but we were
too poor. Instead of going to Disney
World, I spent my summers in the cotton fields helping my mother earn money to
feed all five of us.I became an avid
reader as soon as I learned to read English which was at about the age of
seven.I read about family vacations, so
I created special summer trips in my mind as I picked cotton.
Summer Vacation in the
on the first day of school, I could count on my teacher’s first
assignment.We had to write about how we
spent our summer vacation and then read what we had written to the rest of the
class.It never mattered what grade I
was in, the assignment was always the same; and it was nothing that my
classmates or teachers could relate to.
I would pick cotton, but nobody else in my class picked cotton.They all had something exciting to read to
the class.Some had gone to Disney World
with their families, others had gone to the big cities of San Antonio, Austin
or Houston to visit relatives, while others had stayed on South Padre Island
for most of the summer.I couldn’t even
begin to relate to those experiences.Some summers, Mom would save enough money to take us to visit our father’s
relatives in Mexico.None of my
classmates ever talked about visiting relatives in Mexico.
I was so
embarrassed about picking cotton and visiting relatives in Mexico that I lied
about what I did during my summer vacation.I would write that I had spent most of my summer on South Padre
Island.That was how I explained the tan
I’d gotten from spending time in the cotton fields.
I wish I had
had then the pride in my culture as I do now.I wish I could have just told my teachers and classmates that I had
picked cotton and visited my relatives in Mexico.
Now that I
am an adult, I am sharing my cotton picking life stories and lessons with pride
and joy.I realize that my experiences
were unique and helped me become the woman that I am today.Picking cotton was hard, but my mom turned it
into a fun and learning experience.It
was definitely nothing to be ashamed of, but I did not know any better.
Mexico helped me understand my dad’s culture and gave me an insight about
another country.The trips to Mexico
that Mom insisted we take helped me appreciate people that are different from
As a child
and young adult, I was so ashamed that I lied about who I was.I am proud of the fact that I am no longer
ashamed.I can let the whole world know
that being different is a good thing.To
this day, I do not fully understand why I was ashamed of my life.I understand that I am proud of every
experience that made me different and helped me become the special person that
Discussion and Writing Prompts:
1.Write an essay about something that you have
lied about and wish you hadn’t.
2.Illustrate a cover that you would use with
3.Do you think that her classmates would have
understood about picking cotton and visiting relatives in Mexico?Why or why not?Explain your answer in an essay.
4.Select a tradition from your culture that you
think is unique.Why do you think others
would have difficulty understanding this particular tradition?Write an essay explaining your point of view.
5.Create an interview with questions that you
would like to ask the narrator of this story.Be able to justify why you would ask each particular question.
These stories will be provided and writing prompts will be provided on this blog free of charge on a weekly basis. These stories and prompts can be provided to you in Spanish for a minimal fee. Other bilingual activities can be reviewed and purchased at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Creative-Expressions
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