A Lesson in History and Culture

PICTURE MaryGrowing up, my street never changed. In the summer, zinnias bloomed. In the fall, acorns would brush against the concrete pavement as my car glided onto the driveway. Winter lights flashed as dead leaves piled on our porch, and in the spring, bees and pollen and mosquitoes from the river would dance outside my window.

I grew up in a community where people lived in the same house for years. Where neighbors would let me pick the grapefruits and oranges off their backyard trees, and tell me the garage code to let their dogs out when they were at work. My neighbors came over for Christmas, knocked on my door for butter, asked me to pick up oatmeal when they knew I was going to the store, and invite me on fishing trips or bike rides along the river.  When I say I live in Arlington, people react as if they had just bit into a lemon thinking it was an orange. I hear “ghetto,” “ruined,” “integrated,” and “trash,” as if my side of town is just a landfill for everyone’s negativity. People often forget the beauty, the people, the history, and culture that is right at my fingertips.

The Fort Caroline National Memorial holds the history of the Timucua Indians, one of Florida’s first settlers. Walk through and find mounds of oyster shells that touched the hands of these ancient people. Blue Cypress Park holds soccer games, play grounds, nature trails, even a pier to see the St. Johns River where one can bike ride or just sit and watch the sun set. One of my favorites is the Jacksonville Arboretum, where every year they have an annual gathering with music and food that after helping clean the park, one can join in. People often forget the little stores like the Plant Place Nursery, where the owner allowed my mother and her autistic student to volunteer, giving her student the chance to feel as if he was a part of something and have a job.

The community of Arlington holds a necessity to Jacksonville’s history and culture, and no matter where one is from, their community does the same thing.

-Mary Feimi, Junior Editor-in-Chief

Sisterhood

(Chelsea Blog Picture)gal-sisterhood-12-jpgMany say that you will forget the people you meet before college, or even in college. They say that you will probably be able to walk past people you hung out with 24/7 in high school like they’re strangers. It is hard for me to understand this concept since I have had the same group of friends since I was a year old.

I met my best friend of 15 (almost 16) years ago in Pre-K. Before we knew how to talk or what certain words actually meant, we understood each other. It’s been that way ever since, even though we’re 375 miles apart and never seem to be available at the same time. When we happen to have share spare time, we talk and it’s like we’re in that Pre-K classroom again, feigning deep conversation.

I met the rest of my friends in K-4. We unintentionally bonded while running around the playground and pretending to nap. Nothing has changed, except now we spend most of our time sleeping at each other’s houses with one of us being forced to sleep on the floor while the rest of us try not to hang off of the bed. And we hardly ever run.

When I imagine my future, I don’t see a lot of concrete details. I see colleges floating in the air, and grasping majors. I see career opportunities rolling away like tumbleweeds in a deserted town. The only thing I can hold onto, the only thing real, is the image of my friends and I, together. I envision it as a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants or Sex and the City scene, as something iconic

I don’t talk to my friends every day. I hardly talk to my best friend during the week and I see the rest of my friends about once a month. We don’t have a movie friendship where I have them all on speed dial. We don’t have the Disney Channel friendship where I can walk to their house in five minutes or less. We have our own type of friendship and I can’t see myself walking away from that or passing it up for anything.

-Chelsea Ashley, Junior Website Editor