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Blaine's Way

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Blaine's Way - Page Text Content

BC: Thank you for reading my MixBook on "Blaine's Way" by Monica Hughes. This book gave insight to the World War I, from a veterans point of view, and was both informative and interesting. Mattea Cowell

FC: Blaine's Way | By Monica Hughes Mattea Cowell ELA A30

1: Chapter 1 | "I'm not one for dwelling on the past, not anymore... It was like I'd built a dam across the memory of those growing up years." | "I held out my penny, the king's bearded face pressed flat, the letters around the edge stretched out as if they had been written in chewing gum.” At a young age, trains fascinated me – their power and speed, as if they must reach their next destination as soon as possible. I too have flattened various coins on the railway tracks, and still have each and every compressed piece of metal. In fact, I clearly remember one camping trip where my father, my brother, and I made a trip to the train tracks – it is little experiences like that, that say in one's memory for many years to come. | "For just a second I saw her the way she must have seen herself, in a washed-out cotton dress and an apron made from a sugar sack, her shoes split at the sides, past mending even if we could have afforded to pay the cobbler.”

2: Chapter 2 | “'Blaine, you just listen to me. If you get the chance to go away once you're grown, you take it. Nobody in their right mind'd be a farmer. Nobody!' But Dad wasn't a fool. He couldn't be. He was Dad." | “Real flames that ran down the slope of dry grass and licked at the pine fence-posts and the split rails that Dad had repaired only last fall... It wasn't fair for trains to set light to fences and fields. Didn't the rich people in New York and Detroit understand what it was like to be a farmer? People in cities were supposed to be that much smarter than us, weren't they?” | “He grabbed me so hard by the shoulders that I thought he was mad at me. Then he squeezed me against his chest until I couldn't breath and my face was bruised against the buckle of his overalls.” When my brother was seven and I was nine, he and I decided to climb a 60 foot spruce tree in our yard. It was only until we were at the top that we let my parents know our location. Worry flashed in their eyes, skin paling a few shades past normal. Only after spending twenty minutes progressing back down, cheeks flushed with exhilaration, did we see how relived our parents were. Only now I realize that parents will always worry about their children!

3: Chapter 3 | "I was in love with Grace McIver that summer. She was in Junior Second and had tight fair braids on each side of her round face. I walked her home from school every day, carrying her books. I never said a word, just walked alongside her and carried her books." I love young children's romances. Between babysitting, teaching highland, and having a general liking of children, I hear plenty of love stories – the ones where faces redden from the thought of holding hands with the opposite gender, where fairytales of princess and knights capture nighttime dreams. I remember this age, where you are too innocent and young to know of the challenges and concerns that come with age. Love was like magic – beautiful, mystical, uncomplicated. And from a child's eyes, that's exactly what relationships are. | “Only the railway line was clear, a dark line ruled across the white page of the countryside. A snow-plough engine had been through right after the storm, huffing and puffing and pushing the drifts aside as if they were nothing. For the trains had to for through. I'll ride them one day, I promised myself. One day.” | “Sam moved swiftly into the room. We began to giggle. Then we saw that it wasn't just snow on his face, but frozen tears. The giggles stopped. Sam was nearly thirteen. Big boys don't cry unless something awful bad is happening.” | “Though I didn't understand what was happening, I knew that my orderly world was coming to an end.”

4: “Gramma never seemed to stop baking.” For as long as I can remember, cooking has been an important part of my family history. Christmas suppers, Easter dinners, boat rides with cookies and hot dogs wherever we are, there is always food. I have inherited my grandmother’s cooking talents, and have since then perfected their chocolate chippit and butterscotch cookie recipes. It seems that everything is easier to handle over a glass of milk and cookies or a slice of warm pie! | Chapter 4 | "Her eyes were shining with a kind of scared defiant look in them and she had a bright spot of colour in each cheek. Don't go, I wanted to say. Then I thought: It's okay. Dad won't let her go. He'll make her stay." | “’That train It don't ever stop at Cornell, do it? So it never was your train, not really. Gold and fine clothes and city life. All kind of a dream really.’” | “’There's not a mite of difference between the pain in the empty stomach of a good man or a bad ‘un.’”

5: Chapter 5 | "The cars moved forward up the first hill, balanced for an instant on top, and swooped down, leaving my stomach at the top. My hands were glued to the front of the car. I shut my eyes and screamed." When my family and I went to Disneyworld in 2006/2007, we planned on hitting every roller coaster in the area. On our first day, on the first major roller coaster, my brother became nervous and scared. So much so, that he refused to try another one. Mum told him that if he is ever feeling scared, just scream – let it all out. In just a few short days, he went from screaming in horror to whooping with joy! | “How could Mom bear to live in this crowded stuffy city?” | “He nodded towards me and I stared, my mind in a whirl. What did Charlie mean? Would Grandpa's farm be mine one day?”

6: Chapter 6 | "Could death touch us, the young?" Everyone fears death - its unpredictability, and its ability to steal loved ones, right from our hands. Each and every person will face it - the rich, the poor, the old, and sometimes the young. I have often thought about the risks every living being takes - from hopping into the car to jumping on the back of a horse to lighting a campfire. Our lives are full of these risks, as we gamble to fate of our life without a second thought. It's terrifying, but that is what should make us value each day more so than the last. "Each day's a gift and not a given right." | “’But it's something I've got to do. You feel so free up there, like the weight of the depression and all just slides off. Nothing matters any more. Just the sky and the feel of the plane, like you're part of it. I can't really describe it.’” | “’What'd you wish?’ ‘To get away from here. To be free.’” | “’I'm sorry Susan. I'll never hurt another girl's feelings like that, I swear. And I won't go out with anyone until I know for sure it's for real.”

7: Chapter 7 | “Grandpa never said one word for or against Goldie. It was almost as if she were invisible. Then one day, after I’d had Goldie for about a month, I surprised him squatting on the path close to the barn fondling her ears and muzzle, while she tried to lick his face. He stood as soon as he saw me. ‘Fool dog got something in her eye,’ he said and stomped off.” My grandfather was one of the kindest people I knew. Though he would never admit it, he couldn’t bear seeing an injured or sick animal, and found a special place in his heart for each and every one of them. I can still remember one summer night when Grandpa was out for a campfire and wiener roast at our farm. The dog, dripping wet and smelling less than pleasant, jumped up on a chair by Grandpa and fell asleep, under a kind, loving hand. | “The more impossible it seemed, the more I wanted to keep Goldie.” | “He didn't want anyone's love he wasn't going to let himself be hurt by anyone ever again. Even if he had to shut out the whole world to shut out the pain.” | “But she had escaped. That part was real. Could I do the same thing?”

8: Chapter 8 | “The time we shared that summer was like the still point at the center of a hurricane. Outside things were beginning to change.” | “I thought for a long time about that train, travelling across Ontario, stitching together all the little communities into a single patchwork.” I think every trip that I go on, I enjoy coming home the most. Flying over the patch-work of fields is home to me – I was born in the prairies, have grown up here, and hope to continue living here. I know what it is like to eat among wheat stalks, what a combine ride is. Pick-up trucks are the best type of vehicle, “off-roading” generally means driving down a dirt road, and evenings are spent driving in circles around town. I have gone to school on a snowmobile, I have counted my mosquito’s bites and compared with others, I have gone trick-or-treating in a blizzard. I love Saskatchewan, and hope to continue my life here – with the occasional trip, of course! | “He said it so casually that I didn't catch on for a minute. When I did I stared at him, the skin suddenly tight across my face. He laughed at my expression. ‘That's what war's about, isn't it? Killing.’” | "Suddenly I saw a kid sitting on a fence by the right-of-way, waving like mad. It might have been me, ten years earlier, sitting on the fence at Cornell, longing to be on the train. As I waved back I thought triumphantly: I've made it. I'm on the train.”

9: Chapter 9 | “Two hours later we were sitting side by side in a patch of sun watching our lines The silence was okay now. It was no longer awkward.” Fishing has a sort of power that can make all your worries go away. I know many have the belief that it’s boring, or that fish does not have a pleasant taste, but I have to admit, it is kind of fun! When I was younger, I couldn’t understand how my grandfather could fish for an entire day and not become bored, but as I have progressed and become more mature and the stresses have built up, I understand why sometimes we just need to take a break and do nothing! | “’Do you think you could?’ I asked Alex one day when we were on kitchen fatigue. ‘Do what?’ ‘Kill a guy with your bare hands?’ ‘Sure, if it was him of me. And so could you, laddie, and don't you forget it.’ He wagged his potato peeler at me. ‘I don't know if I could.’ I still felt uneasy.” | “I wanted to talk to him about that yearning for adventure I'd had ever since the day I'd squashed the penny on the line and begun to count freight cars for luck.” | “The only person I really enjoyed writing to was Nancy, and her letters back became the high points of my week and mail call the best moments of the day Reading her letters was like walking beside her and listening to her talk; I'd find myself answering as if we were really together. I wrote back page after page in our letters we walked right out of that summer 11941 and into a private world outside time.”

10: Chapter 10 | "He could honestly say ‘us,’ which was more than some of the officers could, because he’d marched every mile at our head; and if our feet hurt, his must have been every bit as sore." Though hard work, I know that any exercise or training can feel better if the leader/teacher/coach also does the activity. In gym class, I once had a teacher who would run our twelve-minute runs with us; in highland I prefer the teachers that demonstrate or dance with me; in school activities, I am more willing to work extra if the teacher is also willing to. On the other hand, when the leader can only speak to give instructions or corrections, or they volunteer me for a job rather than taking part, it is discouraging and disappointing. | "I'd found out in the last year that the army was ten per cent marching and ninety per cent boredom.” | "The two of them, I thought, trying to protect each other from the reality out there.” | "But among John's belongings was a model airplane that I'd made for him one Christmas out of a kit, when I was twelve or so. I'd completely forgotten it, but John hadn't. He'd even brought it to England with him. Kept it all this time. I put my head down on my knees and cried. Then I was ashamed of myself, with Anne being so brave. But she put her arm around me and cried too. Maybe it was for the best, because till then she hadn't shed a tear.”

11: Chapter 11 | "That's where all the bodies were. Lying at the edge of the sea, the tide reddening with Canadian blood." I could never connect with this, on a personal level. But I can imagine the feeling, imagine the sight. The earsplitting sounds of gunfire fading in the background as you look down to the beach, look upon the men that you have lived with, have considered friends. Lifeless, only their bodies left behind. The question that races through your mind: Why them? And the feeling of failure, knowing you have failed them, your country, and yourself. You know you can't shoulder the blame, know that it wasn't your fault - you were just doing as you were told. But you are left standing, and others are not. | “Pete and Alex were directly in front of me. I leapt down the ramp behind them, thinking: Today is for you, John. And I tripped and went full length. Pete and Alex had thrown themselves flat on the beach and I'd fallen over them Everything seemed to slow down as Alex were rolled onto his back. His eyes were glazed, staring at the sky. Pete was dead too. Pete and Alex. All along the beach, wherever the landing craft had beached, men were dropping.” | “I reached out and grabbed the gun with my right hand and rolled back down the slope, deafened by a near-by shell. But dammit, I didn't have the gun. I couldn't believe my stupidity. I stared up the slope, blinking a sudden dizziness out of my eyes. There it lay, with the dead guy's hand still on the butt and another hand grasping the barrel. Mine.” | “’Why the hell did you get into this mess if you didn't have to?’ ‘It was the train I thought I could get the train out of there, But I picked the wrong train.’”

12: Chapter 12 | “This, after all, was the place where I belonged, the place I would never again wish to leave. The train had lured me away with its false promises of money and excitement. But I'd been lucky. I'd been given a second chance.” I know that growing up in a small town is not for everyone. Many of my friends have made the comment that they want to leave, to go to the city. But that thought has never crossed my mind. I have always wanted to travel, but I love the small-town feeling; I enjoy walking down the street and knowing each person you meet; I love the laid-back vibe as you walk into the local coffee shop. If I ever have children, I hope that they too, can grow to love small Saskatchewan towns as much as I do! | “I knew what they were thinking. Why should he have lived? Why Blaine Williams and not my boy? I'd asked myself this same question a hundred times already, and I didn't have the slightest idea of the answer.” | “’My, Blaine Williams, you've still an awful lot to learn about women. Your Grandma's been counting the days. How is she ever going to let you know how much she loves you if you don't give her the chance to cook up a storm for you?’” | “And now it’s yours, my grandchildren, and yours, young Blaine, the first of the next generation. It’s in your hands to make this a better world.”

13: The End

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Mattea C
  • By: Mattea C.
  • Joined: about 7 years ago
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Blaine's Way
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Updated: almost 7 years ago