Mark Staten’s English 1 students share their stories

Mark Staten’s English 1 students at Tarkio High School wrote personal narratives. These were the “Teacher’s Choice Award Winners”:
The Most
Heartbreaking Night of My Life
In November of 2012, my dad passed away at our house in Rock Port, Missouri. He had fought a long battle with cancer. It had begun as lung cancer, but the treatment failed and it spread to his brain. They gave him six months to live. At first, they tried chemotherapy, but that only made him feel more sick and lose all his hair. When the chemo failed, they tried radiation (a treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells), but that also did not work.
Wyatt and I were my dad’s whole world. He would do everything that he could to make sure that we had everything we needed and that we were happy. One of my favorite things to do with him was go to the movie theaters; he always fell asleep halfway through the movie, but I didn’t mind. We had the neighborhood kids at our house most of the time, and we would make treehouses and do all sorts of other crazy antics. We once had a cat wedding and there were almost fifty guests; they brought gifts and dishes of food just like a real wedding! He also let my brother, the neighborhood kids, and I paint our garage. We painted it blue, yellow, and red, then we designed it with our handprints.
When my dad was diagnosed, he sat Wyatt and I down and broke the news to us. We were both very young so we didn’t really understand how serious the disease was. After we heard the news, Wyatt and I tried to go to every appointment with him that we could; I remember one day I went with him to a radiation appointment in Shenandoah and that made him so happy.
The day that my dad died was just a weird day; most people won’t believe me when I say this, but I had an off feeling all day long. It was a Friday and I was working at my Grandma’s restaurant. I kept messing up everyone’s order and finally I just went and sat outside on the sidewalk. I knew that something was wrong. After work my mom called my grandma, and we drove to my dad’s house so fast… when my mom came outside his house she said “I’m sorry kids but your dad has passed away.” My whole heart just dropped, but I kept it inside. Wyatt on the other hand did not. We went inside and our close friend, Sally, our Aunt Jolyn, our grandparents, and mom watched us say our final goodbye. It was the most heartbreaking night of my life.
By Cheyenne Gray

Getting My Dog
One summer during early August we went to Colorado for our summer vacation. We had gone and stayed with my aunt and uncle for a week. My Aunt Tina had always bred Shih Tzu poodles and would sell them when I was younger. My brother and I always loved seeing all the puppies when we went to visit, and that was our favorite part about going there. The first day we arrived, my brother and I ran down the stairs to see all the puppies.
To this day we still don’t know why, but my dog, Chloe, came up to the kennel, I picked her up, and she was like my dog for that week. I didn’t really pay attention to all of the other puppies that were there; she was my favorite. She was an all white Shih Tzu poodle. My little five year old self would carry her all around the house and into the yard, and she would just follow me like she had been my dog for years. When the week was coming to an end, I did not want to leave the little puppy I had grown to love in that short amount of time. I cried the rest of the night because I didn’t want to leave her behind.
That night when we were packing up to go, I was throwing a fit and wanted to take the dog home. My parents did not want to bring another dog home because we already had three at the time. My Aunt Tina came up and told me I could have the dog for free, but it was all up to my parents to make the final decision. She had basically backed my parents into a corner and luckily they gave in and said I could take her home. Since I had gotten a puppy my little annoying three year old brother, Connor, just had to take one home too, and since Connor always gets his way, he of course, got to pick out his own dog, also. Even though I was only five years old, and I don’t remember anything from my childhood; I remember sitting in my aunt and uncle’s living room and brainstorming names with my parents. We wanted names that would flow easily with our other three dogs at home: Molly, Matty, and Lucy. I remember my parents naming off names “Lily, Phoebe, Daisy, Callie, Chloe” and we decided Chloe.
By Aubrey Brown

The Perfect Addition to our Family
On June 13, 2014, my mom and I went up to Omaha, Nebraska. After that day our lives would never be the same. I really wanted a dog ever since we had lost our other dog, Callie. My mom didn’t think a dog would be the best addition to our family. My mom and my dad finally gave in and decided we could get a dog.
When my parents gave me the okay for a dog, I started searching the internet to find the best one for our family. Our old dog was an Australian Shepherd. This time, my parents wanted a small dog that didn’t shed. One of my dreams when I get older is to have an Australian Shepherd and breed it. I had looked on so many different websites, until someone told me that they found their dog at Tully’s Kennel in Omaha, Nebraska. I got online and started looking. They had hundreds of dogs online. It was so hard to choose my favorite one.
I finally came across this little black and white furball, that was so adorable! There were a few other dogs that I liked, but the black and white furball was my favorite. My dad and brother had no care in the world what dog I picked out; imagine that! One thing that they didn’t have listed on the website was prices for the dogs. My mom called the company and asked how much a few different dogs would cost. Needless to say the black and white furball would cost a very pretty penny!
My mom and I loaded up our vehicle with everything a dog would need. I was so excited when we got there. I remember saying, “Drive faster mom!” I was very nervous that it would be closed by the time we got there.
When we finally got there, I was very overwhelmed by all the dogs at the kennel and all the people in the place too. We walked around looking at all the dogs and I could not make a decision on which dog I wanted to take home. Then I came across the same little black and white dog I found online.
We found a worker, and she took the dog out of the kennel for us. The building that housed all the dogs was a huge shed. They put all the different dogs in a kennel with their brothers and sisters. They had places that looked like horse stalls where the dogs could be played with. We took that little black and white furball into a stall and she did nothing. We held her and she did nothing. We squeaked a toy and she did nothing. I thought to myself, this is the dog that we need. She doesn’t do anything. It will be so easy! So we decided she was the one!
We told the lady and she said they would get her a bath, and we could go in and pay for her plus get any toys. This dog, for me, was like taking home a newborn baby from a hospital. So with a new baby people are so scared and worried they don’t have everything, I was the same way with my dog. I kept on telling my mom “We don’t have enough stuff.” She said, “It is fine, Ashlynn. We don’t have to buy the whole store!”
After what seemed like ages, Lucy got done with her bath and we were able to leave. I was so scared that my mom was going to get us in a wreck on our way home. We decided that we would stop at my dad’s work and show him the new dog. We let her down, and she hid behind the wheel. When we finally got her put back in her kennel she puked. So we had to stop at Dollar General to get some soap. She got her second bath of the night and we tried to blow dry her hair because that is what they did at the kennel.
That night we put her in her kennel. We had planned on having her sleep in her kennel. She barked all night, and that is when I thought maybe this was a bad idea.
Turns out getting a dog was great! Lucy is a great addition to have in our family; she also thinks she could defend an army coming to get us! The first few weeks might have been rough, but I could not image our family any other way!
By Ashlynn Meyer

Jasmine or Jazzman?
In the fall of 2006, I got my first cat named Jasmine. I was coming home from my grandparents when my mom called my grandma and told her that she had a surprise for us when we got home. I remember badgering my grandma, trying to get her to tell me what the surprise was. When I got home, there was a fluffy, grey and white, blue eyed, kitten sitting on the bench in my breezeway. I was crying because I had always wanted a cat and I finally had one! My mom told me that they had brought him home on the four wheeler from my grandpa’s. They said that all of the other kittens had been eaten by coyotes, and they didn’t want this one to be all alone.
From that moment on, I did everything with Jasmine. I pushed her around in a pink stroller, dressed her, gave her baths in the sink, and even let her sleep in my room without my parents knowing. After about a month of having her, we decided that it would be a good idea to go get her shots and make sure she was healthy. The veterinarian told us that “she” was actually a he. My mom suggested the name, Jazzman, because it still sounded like Jasmine, but it was a boy’s name. I thought it was a great name, so from then on the grey and white, blue eyed, fluffy kitten’s name was Jazzman.
Every single day I would get up and go outside to find Jazzman until, May 25, 2009. My mom, sister, and I were coming back from getting our hair done because it was dance recital day, when my mom ran over him. My mom didn’t tell me until after the dance recital because she knew that my sister and I would be inconsolable. For a week after Jazzman passed away, I wouldn’t eat or talk. My mom tried making my favorite foods and giving me stuffed animals that looked like Jazzman, so I could sleep with them and not be sad. Finally, my parents decided that I needed another cat. On June 9, 2009, my mom, sister, and I went to Rock Port and picked out a new cat. She was black and white. We named her Oreo, and I still have her to this day.
By Morgan Parshall

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