Character Study

I’m late on this writing assignment from the TeachersWrite Summer Writing Camp. I was inspired by reading Sheri’s camp work!

The prompt, on Kate Messner’s blog, is about getting to know a character through multi-media by Julia True Kingsley.

First, I chose a picture. This beautiful photograph of her aunt was taken by Bev Sykes and shared on Flickr with a CC-BY-2.0 license.

Fictionalized Character Study

A winning smile, bright blue eyes, straight white teeth mark Matilda’s beautiful face. All those teeth are hers, except for the caps on the front two that broke off when she dove into the neighbor’s pool when she was ten. Looking at her, you’d never know she was sick. She’s physically able and robust. When she was first diagnosed with Alzheimers, she realized her stoutness would be a detriment. She often said, “It’s not like I had to go to the hospital  with two broken legs and a broken arm after a car accident. I don’t have anything wrong with my body, but I had to come anyway.” In spite of her initial fear and sadness about her illness, she now doesn’t remember she has anything wrong. She doesn’t actually even remember where she lives, a nursing home called Happy Siesta, with a renowned Alzheimers unit.

Tilda loves to walk the halls of her nursing home.  Most of the time she is happy and singing. Her grandchildren, still forced to come and visit her, cry whenever she sings, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” knowing that she won’t. Vestiges of her wit and intelligence linger, but lucid moments are fewer and further in-between.  In the moments that aren’t lucid, she is content and oblivious, enjoying her happy siesta with continued good health.

External song – I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Internal song – Oblivion Soundtrack 

2 thoughts on “Character Study

  1. Love this character sketch, Denise. You made the character alive and love the little story about why her two front teeth stick out a bit. The line about Alzheimers as a disease where you don’t physically see at first is so true. Fitting name for a nursing home and I like how you tied it in at the end.

    Good for you that you stuck with Teachers Write with Kate Messner. I signed up but life got too busy and I chose not to make writing a priority this summer.

    I read on your teaching blog that you’re only teaching one English class. Why is that? I’ve picked up three periods of 7th grade Eastern Hemisphere and am a little worried about doing a good job. Any tips for teaching social studies?

    I’m going to continue to read some more of your Teachers Write.

  2. Kris,
    Thanks so much for commenting and reading. As you can see I didn’t stick with it much longer than you did! I read a lot more this summer than I wrote.

    I’ll be teaching two English classes–both 7th and 8th. Last year, I had reading and writing, but now only one literacy period. I am going to do my best to make the most out of each minute, though.

    Here is a suggestion for a collaborative project I joined. It’s a
    Geography Passport Project
    for middle school. Perhaps your Eastern Hemisphere classes would benefit.

    Thanks, Kris!