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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Century or Centuries (02/17/11)

TITLE: Class Assignments
By Mildred Sheldon


“Hey Jim, do you have any idea what or how to write about this weeks assignment dealing with, of all things, the word century or centuries”

“Well Max, I’ll check with my century masters and go from there.”

“Very funny Jim. I’d like to know how Professor Gerardo comes up with these assignments. Writing a paper on one word in my opinion doesn’t help me further my career in the field of literature.”

“ I guess he figures learning about a single word and expounding on it will broaden our minds and get our creative juices flowing.”

“Are you going to the library to dig through those dusty tomes on the word century? That sounds so boring, but you lead and I’ll follow.”

“Come on man, I’ll show you my century masters. You will learn from one of a kind master on last century.

“Oh yeah, and where is that Jim?”

I jumped into my jalopy and motioned at Max. We headed out of town to the wide open country side. Two hours had passed when I turned onto a dirt road that seemed to lead to nowhere. After going about 2 miles I turned into a driveway and followed it around to a big old country house out in the middle of nowhere.

“Darned Jim, I didn’t even know anyone lived this far out in the boonies. That house is extremely old. Who lives here?”

“Wait and see, my man. Wait and see.”

I parked my jalopy jumped out motioning Max to follow. I walked up to the big front door like I’d done so many times before and walked in.

“Hey Gramps, where are you? I hollered.

“We’re in the kitchen Jimmy. Come on back pull up a chair grab yourself a glass of milk, and enjoy some of Grandma’s fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.”

“Hello everybody, this is Max Wellington my friend from college. These are my grandparents and my great grandparents, the Bailey clan. Well, we need help on an assignment from Professor Gerardo. He wants us to write a paper on the word century or centuries.”

My grandparents looked at my great grandparents and everybody laughed gaily.

My great grandpa looked at me and said. “Well James my boy what would you like to know?”

“Well, could you please give us a brief outline what life was like in the early 1900’s.”

“Well, James, your great grandma, Hester, and I lived on this farm. We traveled by horse and buggy. We canned our own food, and what we didn’t can sold to the store in town, which is gone now. We ordered our shoes from the catalogue. We raised chickens for eggs, and a couple of cows for milk. What we didn’t make or have we bought at the little store. We walked most places and depended on our neighbors for help. When a neighbor needed a new barn we had a barn raising. We all pitched in and after it was finished we had a barn dance. On Sunday morning everybody was in church. For entertainment we had barn dances, church socials, picnics and the like. We worked long hard days tilling, planting, and harvesting. We got up with the chickens and went to bed when it got dark. Well, James and Max what do you think?”

“Whoa, Mr. Bailey you are the best century teacher, but I can’t fathom living life with no TV, computers, cell phones and the like. Life back than was so different than it is now.”

Mr. Bailey chuckled and said to Max. “Max, if the good Lord blesses you with a long life and you talk to your great grandchildren they will probably thing the same thing about your life. Time doesn’t stand still and man is coming up with new inventions all the time. Only God knows what life will be like when you become great grandparents.”

We all threw our heads back and laughed at all the possibilities that lay ahead.

“Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Bailey thanks for the wealth of information on what life was like in the early 1900 hundreds. I think Professor Gerardo will be surprised at our papers especially mine when I tell him my great grandparents are still alive and well in the 21st century.”

“Well Jim, my man, shall we head back so I can get this down while it’s still fresh in my mind?”

I hugged everybody jumped into my jalopy, and headed back to town.

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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay02/25/11
quite fast moving and a clever way to explore the subject. the tale of the 1900s was interesting and informative, i did not get a real feel for the characters in the story the two college friends or the grandparents. i personally would have liked a bit more description,but that is my preference.
Sunny Loomis 03/01/11
Good story. They had to make their own entertainment back in the early 1900's. A bit more proofreading might help, and descriptions of the characters. Thank you.
Linda Hayes05/19/11
Enjoyed your article. I've been writing about my life in the 40's and 50's. Things have changed.