The House on Maple Street

December 21, 2007
By Mara Palma, Easthampton, MA

The Girl Who Didn’t Know What to Do

“One’s writing truly reveals one’s character. There is something raw and honest about putting words down on paper that forces the writer to tell the truth, whether they realize it or not.”

This sudden thought struck me in the middle of doing homework. It was so wonderful; I had to write it down because I knew it was going to come in handy someday. I wrote this statement for myself because the night before, I had written a piece of literature which I felt had no point. This thought, I felt, applied to me because I am often unfocused and I feel my written work portrays this same feeling. My whole life has been unfocused, so it only makes sense that I, as well as my writing, am unfocused. For example, I have lived in five (5) different houses over 14 years. Five schools have tried to educate me. My aunt and mother are always telling me to make my decisions quicker and the more they drill it into my head, the more I start to believe it.

I am constantly reminded of my indecisiveness. My much loved books by one of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, always include a chapter on “Focus”. One of my all-time favorite books says the key to getting into a top college is to have a main focus. Even now, I can’t focus enough to introduce myself properly to my audience.

I currently live in Easthampton, Massachusetts. I left behind my friends from New Hampshire to attend high school. I expect a lot out of myself and that is why I’m very disappointed that I have no focus. What upsets me even more is that I won’t do anything to focus on improving my focus. (But I digress.)

What I do know for certain is that I am destined for success no matter where I am. No, success does not mean the same thing as power, money, or fame. The success I am destined for is doing what one loves and loving what one does.

Together but Separate

My family lives in a tiny townhouse in a small town. There are four units, A, B, C, and D. We live in Unit A.

To the right are the Unit B people whom we know as Ms. Dawn (the mom), Rachel and Bradley. I never really got to know them until my cousin (socialite that she is) went over to play and I would just tag along. I never really was good at those kinds of things. Rachel loves to run so when I am brave enough, I ask her to run with me. She has the perfect build of a runner so sometimes I have to work hard to stay in pace with her.

Two doors down in Unit C, lives Miss Francine. She’s not married yet but I know she’s not single. She loves to run, too and I can tell she works out a lot.

At the very end live Mr. Dan and Ms. Deb. I’ve never seen Mr. Dan, but I did meet Ms. Deb once. Ever since our meeting, I’ve been scared to go see her again.

All of us live together in interconnected houses, but I feel like we’re still separate. I wish all the units could interact more and get to know each other better.

The Only Child Syndrome

My aunt says that kids who don’t have any brothers or sisters are bratty and don’t know how to share with other people. She calls it the, “Only-Child Syndrome”.

Ironically, my aunt is an only child and I have to tell you, she has “Only-Child Syndrome” (well, at least it seems like it to me). My cousin, my aunt’s daughter, has been diagnosed with “Only-Child Syndrome” by me, her doctor and fellow patient suffering from O.C.S. …

I, Dr. Palma, have declared (my cousin) a hopeless case. Because this is a special case, it was necessary to create a treatment that will go unused. The treatment includes: 1 dose of humility, 1 dose of wisdom, extractions of material possessions, extractions of “Brat” cells, extractions of junk foods, and 2 doses of her own medicine. Each supplement must be administered with care every day for eternity.

Should this treatment, by some miracle, be administered and the patient shows signs of improvement, DO NOT BELIEVE IT! Patients with O.C.S. have developed a special power to persuade any person who gets between them and their object of desire. This ability called, “Deadly Charisma”, is found only in species with O.C.S. and has no cure once a person has been mesmerized.

The Library That Knows My Name

I like to think that I inherited my late grandfather’s love for books. As a little girl in the Philippines (a country in Southeastern Asia), I remember that bookshelves lined the wall in my bedroom. I recall Lolo Mel (“Lolo” meaning, ‘grandfather’ in Tagalog, my native tongue) always encouraging me to read and reading stories aloud to me. Mom tells me that I could read at the age of three, a story that I speculate she tells me to boost my already-large ego.

Naturally, my love of books leads me to seek out the libraries in the town that I live in (although I can’t quite remember if there were libraries in the Philippines). When I moved to Massachusetts in June 2007, we quickly found the local library.

One thing I love is the library’s technology. One can log onto the website and request books from other libraries to come to one’s nearest library. I feel that I alone keep this operation running (this is, of course, a dramatization).

However, I used the “Request” system so much that I have 10 or 12 books coming in at one time. Whenever I walk into the library and ask the person at the desk if I have any books to pick up, they fiddle with the computer, and proclaim, “Yes, you do!” On one occasion, a lovely woman hands me my pile of book and says, “Oh, thank goodness. You helped me clear my shelf.” I use the library so much that the librarians are actually starting to learn my name.

Oh, the power of reading is vast and often unexplored! What a frontier for those willing to explore it.

A Dreamer Who Dreams

Recently, I was given a book to read by my aunt called, The Secret. The author tells of an ancient secret called the Law of Attraction. Part of using the powerful Law of Attraction in everyday life is to envision one’s self carrying out one’s desire. Most would probably consider this day dreaming, but I consider it dreaming. It is dreaming of the possibilities that the present gives someone and the opportunities still unknown for tomorrow.

Despite lacking focus in certain areas of my life, I am sure of one thing: that the Performing Arts will always be a part of my life. Ever since my discovery of acting that first Drama Club practice in 7th grade, I live to act. I feel it comes as second nature because of some unexplainable being within me.

I know that someday I will achieve success because I am destined for it! No, not the superficial success many equate with power, money, or fame. Instead, the success I will achieve someday is the act of pursuing my passions and loving every second of it.

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