Wednesday, January 16, 2008


While I am going to college I am living with a couple named Jack and Alice. I am not related to them, but my best friend is Jack's nephew. I have a lot of trouble because I thought being a man meant playing football and going too far with girls. Jack and Alice pay all my expenses along with my medical bills. I talked about Alice in my first paper and now let me speak about Jack.

Jack is hard to write about. He has done so many things, and knows so much I can only give a small picture of him. I could tell about how he became a teacher by accident, and how he was elected to head the teachers union in his city at 28(the youngest to ever hold that post). Also how he gained benefits for the 3800 members of his union, and how he defended any teacher who was going to be fired, on the grounds that every person deserves a defense. And then at 31 he was elected(again the youngest) president of the state teachers' union. He traveled the state, organizing local unions and defending accused teachers on the grounds that every person deserves a defense.
Or I could talk about his personal life. How he turned down jobs paying 4 times as much as he earned so he could spend more time with his family. He can play all the Mozart piano sonatas on the piano, and he has an unbelievable amount of knowledge about boxing, football, opera,politics and on and on.

But most important to me is how he helps young people and never asks for credit. Years ago he hired a young 20 year old man named Rick to do his yard work. That is Jack's one luxury; he hates yard work. Rick was a very good high school baseball player but a really bad student. So he could not go to college and instead mowed yards. Jack felt sorry for him, and ask Rick one day if he would like to work with the school system's yard crew. Rick was very excited,but then he told Jack "I can't(sp?). Jack got him an application and then he understood. Question 9 was "Have you ever been arrested on drug charges?" At 18 Rick had been arrested for possession of marijuana. Jack filled out Rick's application and put "no"on question 9.

Well Rick did get hired. He had to be at work at 7, so Jack or Alice would call him every day to make sure he got to work on time. Alice was always a little disappointed when his girlfriend would answer. But Rick worked in the 100 degree heat and never missed a day. When Rick's brother shot his girlfriend and then himself only 2 of the 7800 employees of the school system went by Rick and his parents' house to express sorrow: Jack and Alice.

A few years ago Jack and Alice ran into Rick at a shopping mall. They talked for a couple of minutes. Rick had gotten a promotion, and then another one and worked his way up to a supervisory job in security for the district's 120 schhool. He made 45000 a year, a high salary for our area. As they got ready to leave Rick grabbed Jack's arm and said "You are the only person who ever tried to help me'. Back in the car Alice cried and Jack, as he does, said "That was a nice compliment".

And then I came along. I wasn't(?) into drugs big time but, with going too far with girls, I was the worst. But somehow Jack and Alice thought I needed help. A few weeks ago Jack and I were at his huge credit union building where Jack had been the first teacher to ever be on the board of directors. I stood with him in one of the teller lines until he went to the teller. I stepped aside. I saw a very old women with a cane coming across the lobby toward me with a big smile on her face. I thought she was going to shake my hand because she had mistaken me for someone else. I held out my hand and she put her tiny hands around my large hand. In a shaky voice, because she was so old, she said, "I'll bet you are John Haynes' grandson". I lied. I said "Yes". Just then Jack came up and the old lady said "You have a fine looking grandson". I was scared because I had lied. But Jack said"Yes, and we are very proud of him". And then we went on our other errands, and Jack has never mentioned my clumsy effort to be someone.
Anna suggest a title PLEASE. I don't think Jack of all trades is good.


  1. Anna I really need help on a title. Dr. Ellison wants students to get help on the mechanics he calls them. But next year hhe will concentrate on the mechanics and the helpers will comment on the style. Your offer to help really releived me. Jack just isnt' up to it now. God bless you. Frank

  2. Frank,

    Spelling/grammar: I would put a comma after “I am not related to them”. “now about Jack” would sound better as “now I talk about Jack”. I would put a comma after “knows so much”. There should be an “and” or an “or” before “how he defended any teacher”. “state teachers union” should probably be “state teachers' union”. I would put a comma after “traveled the state”. “Or I could talk about his personal life. How he” would be better as “Or I could talk about his personal life, how he”. “sonatas on the piano, how he has an” should be “sonatas on the piano, and he has an”. “unbelievable about of knowledge about” should be “unbelievable knowledge about”. “opera.politics” should be “opera, politics”. “crecit” should be “credit”. “Jacks one luxury” should be “Jack's one luxury”, and I would put a “;” after it instead of a comma. “playerr” should be “player”, and I would put a comma after it. “and ask Rick one day” should be “and asked Rick one day”. “school systems yard crew” should be “school system's yard crew”. [Remember, the rule is, if the “s” is there because you are showing possession – the yard crew that belongs to the school system – then you need an apostrophe with it.] “Rick was very excited, then told Jack “I can't.” would sound better as “Rick was very excited, but then told Jack “I can't”.” (You spelled “can't” right, but you forgot the quote marks after it.) I would put single apostrophe marks ' and ' around “Have you ever been arrested on drug charges”. (And spell arrested and charges right.) I would put a comma after “Well”. “morningg” should be “morning”, as I'm sure you know. “whnn” is “when”. I would put a comma after “But Alice understood”. There shouldn't be a space between “promotion ,” and the comma. “so proud he had” would sound a little smoother if you said “so proud that he had”. “though less” should be “thoughtless”, I think. “Ricks brother” should be “Rick's brother”. [There's that possessive apostrophe again. The brother of Rick = Rick's brother.] I would put a comma after “girlfriend and then himself”. “there house” should be “their house”. “sorrow. Jack and Alice.” should be “sorrow: Jack and Alice.” “shoppingmall” should probably be two words: “shopping mall”. “district's 120 schhool” should be “district's 120 schools” [But good job on getting the possessive apostrophe right there]. I would personally put a comma in “45,000”, but I don't know that you have to. Put a comma after “As they got ready to leave”, though. Rick's compliment you began with a quote mark “ and ended with an apostrophe mark ': better to begin and end with quote marks “”. Put commas both before and after “as he does”. “wasn't” is spelled just right. “hugh” is probably supposed to be “huge”. (or “high”?). “very old women” should be “very old woman”. “coning” is “coming”. “myhand” is “my hand”. “sge” is “she”. Put commas before and after “because she was so old”. “John Haynes grandson” should be “John Hayne's grandson” [that possessive again].

    Title suggestions: Jack's Big Heart. Jack of the Big Heart. Jack the Helper. They don't sound very good to me, but I don't know.

    If your teacher doesn't mind, I think you would find it a lot easier to deal with the spelling and grammar if you first typed up your paper in a computer program like Microsoft Word that's set to automatically check your spelling and some of your grammar for you. I can still double-check it for you to catch what it will miss.

    Good paper. I liked reading it.

    God bless,

  3. Frank,
    How about this?

    A tear for pity and a hand
    Open as day for melting charity.


    What do you think?


  4. Caitlin. I'm not sure I get the quote. What does "melting charity" mean? Thanks. Frank

  5. Anna. I have really tried to clean this up. I hope it looks better. I don't want you to get disgusted with me and leave. Frank

  6. Anna. Things are tough around here now. Alice could show me how to do what you suggest, and would be glad to, but I hate to ask her right now. Jack says "when you get older you are like an old car; you fix one part and another part breaks down." I promise to be more careful, but don't leave me now. Frank

  7. Frank,

    Try this. Do you see a "Start" button (probably green) on the very bottom left of your screen? If so, click on it. Then move the mouse on top of where it says "All programs" and wait for the menu to pop up. Look over the different things on the menu: you're looking for something that says "Microsoft Office" or maybe "Office" with a year after it. If you see that, move the mouse over the top of it. Another little menu will pop up: look for "Microsoft Word" or "Microsoft Office Word" or something like that. If you find it, click it. That will open the word editor program where you can type up your papers. To save them after you have written them, you click on "File" (upper left) and then "Save": it will prompt you to give it a name.

    A different way to do all of this is to write your essay out on paper first. Then, when I make corrections, you can look at your paper and make corrections on it. If you do this, you have to rewrite the whole thing, though, to make it look nice before handing it in, which could be annoying (unless maybe your professor doesn't mind you turning in something in pencil).

    Anyhow, this rewrite looks pretty good, but there's still a spot where you have "playerr" instead of "player" (Rick the baseball player) and "schhool" instead of "schools" (district's 120 schools) and "hugh" isn't a regular word: I think you mean "huge" (huge credit building) and "coning" instead of "coming" (the old lady coming).

    God bless,