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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: My "Grand" Parents
By Joshua Janoski


“I hate you! Leave me alone! It’s my life, and I will choose how to live it!”

Those were my bitter words spoken, as I ran into my bedroom and slammed the door. I threw myself onto the bed, burying my face into a pillow. It was my 17th birthday, and I was not happy to be alive. I hadn’t been happy in years.

I remember the day Social Services took me away. I kicked and screamed, as I was carried out the door. I was only seven at the time.

“It’ll be alright. Your mother is sick. She can’t take care of you right now. We are getting her some help. When she becomes better, then you can return to her.”

Mom ended up running off with some guy and abandoning me. She didn’t want me back…

“James, we are sending you to live with your grandparents Wally and Erma. They are now your legal guardians. They will take good care of you.”

The man and woman who gave birth to my monster of a mother? How can they take care of me any better than she did?

“Welcome home James! We have a room setup for you upstairs. We were told that you like military fighter planes, so your Grandpa Wally painted some on your walls. We hope you like them.”

Trying to bribe me with good deeds? I’m not your son, and I never can be. No matter what you do for me.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…Sing with me James!”

Grandma Erma had lost her mind, always talking about this Jesus fellow and forcing me to go to church.

“We must forgive others just as Christ forgave us. For, he showed us his love by dying on the cross to free us from our sins.”

It’s easy to talk about love preacher when you have never lacked it. I bet you knew your father. I never met mine. I bet your mother still cooks you meals when you visit her. My mother bought needles and pills instead of groceries. I can’t forgive.

“The key to good fishing is patience, James. You have to throw your line out there and wait. Part of the fun is enjoying the beauty around you while you sit and anticipate the big catch.”

I’m getting too old to be hanging out with Wally. If my friends at school saw me out here with him, I would get teased for weeks.

“Here you go son, the keys to your new car. Grandma Erma and I were anxious to give it to you. Enjoy it, and be careful.”

The car is great, but why did you have to call me son?

“James, we found these pills under your bed. We are a Godly household, and we will not allow drugs in this dwelling. You are grounded to the house tonight, even though it’s your birthday. Sorry dear, but your grandpa and I love you too much to let this go uncorrected. We need you to stay alive and healthy for a long time.”

Yeah, well I don’t need either of you. I need my mother and father.

I heard the sound of an envelope being slipped underneath my door. I picked it up and opened it:

Dearest James,

It’s hard to even contemplate what you must still be feeling, even after ten years. Your grandfather and I longed to have children, and when we were blessed with your mother, we couldn’t have been more overjoyed. Unfortunately, Tammy chose to make some wrong choices, which hurt not only her, but also you.

The good news is that God used the situation to bring a wonderful young man into our lives. You see, James, you do have a heavenly parent who cares for you, and he entrusted us to help you find him. He is waiting for you James, and even if you choose to not like Grandpa Wally or myself, I hope that you will at least give Jesus a chance to show you what a great daddy he is. No child has ever been abandoned by him. He loves you so much, and so do we. We only want the best for you, because we don’t see you as our grandson. We see you as our real son.

                                                                                        Love from your parents,

                                                                                            Wally and Erma

“Real son? My parents? Really?”

I ran downstairs. Grandpa and Grandma were there waiting with open arms…and so was Jesus.

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This article has been read 723 times
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Member Date
Sara Harricharan 04/10/08
Ooh, it started off sad, but had a lovely ending! I was with the grandparents, Wally and Erma, hoping that James would open up a bit and let them love him. I especially loved the use of your italics between his thoughts and the actual 'story'. Very nice! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 04/10/08
Very well written, capturing a teen's anguish perfectly.

The ending seemed a bit too "pat" for me; in my experience turn-arounds rarely happen so quickly.

The letter was a nice touch, as were the italicized thoughts contrasting with the dialogue and the action.
Laury Hubrich 04/10/08
This is very good. I agree the ending was a bit rushed, but is to be expected in 750 words. Great writing! You've got the teen attitude and voice down pat:)
Lyn Churchyard04/11/08
Lovely story! What wonderful grandparents. I'm so glad James realised and accepted their love. The confusion and anger of the teen was well captured. Well done! Well done indeed.
Holly Westefeld04/11/08
Heart-breaking. Gut-wrenching. This brought tears to my eyes.
William Stevenson04/12/08
I can relate to this for I have seen it happen. Bible salvations were all sudden turnarounds and so are many today,

The few words you have in a challenge also limit what you ca say. I Love it. Keep it up,
LauraLee Shaw04/12/08
HOnestly? I think you nailed the topic in a very authentic and touching way.

I think if you had just separated the memories with a line or an extra space or something, showing them more as slices of life as the time passed, your ending would not have seemed rushed at all.

Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but I did read these as separate instances all connected together to make one big wonderful happy ending. And I absolutely LOVE a happy ending. Well done.
Joanne Sher 04/12/08
OK - first of all, this does NOT stink ;)

Your MC was very realistic, and I liked how well you characterized him, and what a good job you did staying in his POV (I know I would have been tempted to "jump around" to give another side).

I also agree that the ending was a bit pat - but I love that last line nonetheless. This felt real.
Dee Yoder 04/12/08
I agree, Josh, that this is a very good story. I like the inner thoughts that sandwich your story and the letter at the end, too. Maybe stopping just short of your current ending would still let your reader know that the MC is having a change of heart, but not rush the character too much toward a sudden change. I like the way he expresses his feelings through-out the story. This is definitely NOT a stinker!
Kristen Hester04/12/08
Very nice entry. It's challenging to write a story that covers so many years in just 750 words, but you did and it was clear and easy to follow. That's not an easy task. I thought the feelings seemed realistic. These entries need a satisfying conlusion, but everything doesn't need to be resloved. I know you were unhappy with your ending, but I thought this one was satisfying. Great job! (NOT a stinker!)
Chely Roach04/12/08
Great work, Josh! I liked the dialogue and characters...nicely done.
Glynis Becker04/12/08
I love the rhythm of the back-and-forth thoughts vs. dialogue. I'd love to read your alternate ending, because this is good, but a great ending would make it even better!
jodie banner04/12/08
Josh, this is a great story. You did a really good job not just expressing your MC's feelings but why he felt that way. I wasn't expecting the ending with him being saved, I was just hoping he realized how blessed he had been with his grandparents. I liked it a lot.
Marlene Austin04/13/08
Good feel of the emotions of your MC. Realistic thoughts and actions. Esp. clear display of the Grandmother's faith. Good job.
Betty Castleberry04/13/08
Josh, I enjoyed this. You are too hard on yourself. I think you did a good job developing your young MC. Thumbs up.
Joy Faire Stewart04/14/08
Well written and I enjoyed the fact the MC didn't have such a hard-heart after all.
Benjamin Graber04/14/08
I liked this one! I thought you did a great job showing how "great" grandparents can be! :-) Though I'm sure it isn't easy for someone in realy life to be raised by grandparents, they can be a real blessing, too...
Lauryn Abbott04/14/08
Josh, this was beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes and I loved it. You really captured the attitude of a teen and the love of grandparents. Good job!
Debbie Wistrom04/14/08
Loved your format, the teen angst and the grandparents who knew when to step back. Keep writing, your talent shines in this submission.
Mandy White04/15/08
Josh, this was not your worst entry ever! This was excellent writing. It is hard to wrap up everything in so few words.

Wonderful take on the topic and clever title.
Becky Depp 04/16/08
I love this entry! It's really good. Great job and keep writing!

Sheri Gordon04/16/08
You did a great job expressing the anguished teenager. And, unfortunately, this story is all too realistic.

I don't think the ending was too pat or rushed. Often, with conversions, something will finally just "click." I think your ending works, given the word limit.

Nice job with the topic.
Tim Pickl04/16/08
You perfectly captured the thought-life and feelings of a TWICE adopted child. (Once by the Grandparents, and once by Jesus.) God bless you for having the courage to write and submit this story.