Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: Traumatic Experience
By Roger Brannon
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All of us have had various events which have helped define us whether for good or ill. One such happened during my middle teen years and it still haunts me to this day. I think of it sometimes when April 1-2 approaches.
In 1974 my household had a lot of tension in anticipation of something dramatic and not very good. It began the last weekend of March when my then stepfather urged us (my mother, sister, and me) to visit a friend in a town in Florida called Lynn Haven. This sounded very unusual and suspicious, and my mother felt he would try and burn our home. At the time, he wanted to sell it and had gotten desperate. We did go, and apparently he showed the home to another real estate agent who agreed to buy it. We had lived in this wonderful home for not quite a year. On the last day of March, we visited our grandparents in Cottondale, a small rural town in Florida’s Panhandle. I had no idea of the bomb which would drop the next day.
April 1 came with no hint of anything wrong, and the first thing which I knew of a problem happened when my stepfather came home and made the shocking announcement, “Well, guess what! I sold the house!” With that announcement, he gathered a few items and left our lives with a few exceptions in later years. The next day, I had to give an oral presentation in my 9th-grade Spanish class on a Latin American country, and for the first time in my life I became speechless. Then I broke down and cried in front of the whole class. It really felt humiliating to me that the timing had been so bad. I later did the report, but this series of events really made its mark on my life. If anyone has anything like stage fright or something like that, I can identify with that person and have done so a few times in my life. I pray that what I suffered will help me continue helping those who have had to go through a traumatic experience like this.
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