This Little Girl

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The following piece was written and performed by one of our students, Giulia Rosenthal, in response to an assignment that asked her to give a 5 to 7 minute speech using vivid descriptions and sensory language. Enjoy!

I have this little girl inside of me and she is filled with wonder. Every now and then I like to search for her back in the corners of my mind, take her out, and let her tell me her stories. I’m going to tell you about a few traditions I held dear to me back then. These traditions had once made up my life. Looking back, they seem like such little things, but then, I didn’t have to worry about much else.

When I was younger, my best friend and I would have tea parties under water. We looked at each other with excitement about to burst from the tops of our heads, knowing what we were about to do. We took a huge gulp of air, held it in, and plopped down, beneath the surface as quickly as possible. Everything was black as I squeezed my eyes shut. When completely underwater I opened them and saw there before me a blurry blob of my big-bellied friend. The giggles escaped and could not be held in even though I knew that breath in the back of my throat was running out. I didn’t have any perception of time or worry back then. We sat cross-legged and proceeded to pour imaginary tea into our imaginary cups. Feeling all prim and proper in our imaginary world. There were muffled sounds of us trying to communicate in the body of the river. When we knew we were not being heard we screamed into song. Singing into the infinite depths. The sound waves hit my skin like indefinite bubbles. When we couldn’t hold our breath in any longer, we pushed ourselves off the ground and came up, breathing heavily the clear air that was missed, and feeling slightly dizzy. This was one of our little traditions.

The summertime was filled with endless adventure. When all the little plump raspberries were ready to be picked in my best friend’s backyard, we would bring out buckets that we knew couldn’t be filled because most of the berries would end up in our bellies. We couldn’t help ourselves. We stuffed our mouths, eating one after another without thought, trying to get as many as fast as we could. Thinking they might disappear if we didn’t get to them in time. We would yell at one another for eating all of them and not putting them in our buckets but then proceeded to do it ourselves. The raspberries mushed in our mouths and the taste, a juicy, sweet, bitterness. Our faces and hands completely covered with the red stains that we would still have going to sleep that night. We would go through a struggle of sharp thorns to find the biggest and most delicious. All cut up and bleeding, we didn’t care one bit. It was worth it. Whatever leftover raspberries we had, we would take into the kitchen, closing the door, because we wanted our parents to be surprised with our final, ultimate creation. We mashed up the berries and ran out to get mint leaves that were hidden next to the barn. We mixed it all in the jar adding on whatever we wanted. Sticky maple syrup and mini fistfuls of sugar. In the end, we created our rockin’ jam that would knock your socks off. At least that’s what we would say. We would take two mini spoons, tap them together and say cheers, and try the ooey gooey creation. We laughed with delight. So proud of what we made, we went around the room giving everyone a spoonful. We told them it was like a dose of magic. It could make you do the greatest things. This was one of our little traditions.

My best friend and I would go through the woods, it was a place of mystery where there was always something to do. We found different paths to hike up. When we reached the tops, we still had energy and without a word, both ran as fast as we could back down, watching our feet as they moved through the sticks and dirt, not caring about falling. The rush filled us with a warm, tingly feeling. We walked to the store and mixed the blue and red slush into purple. Sucking our slushies’ down like water and instantly getting brain freezes. We put our hands on our heads trying to get the intense cold feeling to go away. This was one of our little traditions.

Giulia as a not-so-little girl, but still filled with wonder

Our minds were the sizes of the entire planet back then. Filled with life like a tree that branched out and grew buds of exciting ideas that would blossom into creation. We could think and do whatever we wanted and we never asked what if. That little girl is still inside of me but she tends to hide herself most of the time. Blocking her sense of adventure with walls and traps of what ifs, buts, and maybes. That little girl just did, without thinking twice. She took the simplest things in life and made them into so much more then just breathing, eating, walking, or being with another person. I want everyone to look for that little kid inside and say hi. Because he or she is always going to be apart of you everywhere you go. And sometimes we have to let that kid free. “This world is made out of sugar, it can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.” We need to see through that vision sometimes. Look at the world with big wide eyes of wonder, a smile for adventure, and a laugh that could send you backwards in time.

Author: Kyle Callahan

Hi, I'm Kyle. I'm an advisor at LiHigh School. I've been involved in progressive education since I was in high school. I was an original member (and student representative) of the Progressive Program at Green Mountain College, and for my Master's degree, I attended Goddard College, which started the trend toward progressive education in the 1960s. Along with teaching at LiHigh School, I teach courses in creative writing and communications at Green Mountain College. I live with my wife and daughter in Poultney.

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