Bloodlines ~ Nonfiction

Our students and faculty at Trinidad State Junior College find the time for creative endeavors, whether they are related to coursework or inspired by their life experiences. I hope you, the reader, will enjoy our submissions for this issue of Bloodlines. The work featured here presents a variety of perspectives from faculty and students, and draws from personal life experience, interests, and research. Each selection promises to be thought provoking and engaging.

We hope you will enjoy the work presented here—and maybe even be inspired to create your own!

The Day I Started to Believe

by Cameron Gumke


Being a child is one of the biggest joys in life. Not having to pay bills, nothing to stress over, and having the ability to run outside and play after you’re done with school. However, when I was just twelve years young, I had the most exciting and horrifying experience any child could ever have.

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No Place Back Home

by Destani Garcia


When a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster occurs, many children do not know how to cope with the trauma afterwards. Natural disasters have a huge influence on children; however, it is not just restricted to them. After a disaster occurs, everyone is disoriented, and confused. Their life at that point has been erased and they must start new. I believe the most trauma occurs to children. It has been proven that there are huge impacts on them and they struggle trying to cope with life afterwards. It is important for parents to understand that their children need attention after traumatic events. Nobody ever knows what life will throw at them, so when that curve ball finally comes, what is the outcome?

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My Coaches Through the Years

by Hanna Day


After-game talks were always my least favorite part of high school soccer. My coach would spend nearly half an hour digging into us about how senseless and terrible we were. He would strut through our lifeless locker room full of arrogance. His angry red face was always the brightest thing in the room, aside from his silver-slicked back hair. His black, beady eyes would pierce into our souls, looking for just the precise way to tear us apart. Every loss was our fault and every win was due to his amazing coaching skills.

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One December Changed My Life

by Janelle Casias


My memories with him will always be nothing short of amazing. He was one of the best. Everyone knew him as Stanley or Stan, but I knew him as Daddy. My father is easily my fondest memory and I’ll forever carry him with me. We would spend as much time together as we could. He would take me swimming, bowling, and golfing. He taught me how to ride the bike the entire summer. I received this bike as a gift for my 6th birthday. The memory of seeing the sunset while he guides me home, always brings a smile to my face. It was a beautiful bright pink bike with purple tassels and a white seat. I can still feel the pressure of his hand on my back and see that bright proud smile he always wore. The evenings when the summer days cooled down and became night was the best time to try riding. I was often quite unbalanced, but I knew he would always catch me as I started to fall.

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Asking the Right Question

by Katherine Park Woolbert


Let’s call her Alice, a chunky woman (chunky by her own definition) who sometimes comes into class with makeup I wouldn’t begin to know how to apply—thick penciled eyebrows, heavy eyeliner, multiple shades of eye shadow, mascara that makes her eyelashes look like caterpillar fur. Other times she just looks like the worn out single mom that she is, doing good just to get up and get her kid off to school, living with the reality of being an ex-offender on probation, and eating a big slice of humble pie by coming to the Center for Adult Learning to study for her high school equivalency. On her diagnostic entrance test, she scored only about 9th grade level in reading and writing skills, but we both have theories about that. As her teacher, my theory is what I call the rust factor: being out of school for a while can set up perfect conditions to rust the machinery of the brain, and it simply takes time to wear it away. I joke that I’ve got a can of WD-40 in my backpack just in case. Alice’s theory is that her reading and writing skills have atrophied because of too much texting on her cell phone. I think we’re both right.

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Prison Visit

by Katherine Park Woolbert


One hundred eight degrees. Sticky, cloying, dirty air. Dead fields of desertified dirt. The worst of California’s Central Valley. Hard to imagine a time when the Sierra Nevada rose up clear as a flute song above a verdant valley.

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The Hollowing - An Immigrant’s Love Poem

by Tom Nordgren


America, come clean! You’re a transplant. You charge others of crimes as if your words weren’t lines copped from their dead rightful owners. You’ve engineered a great ethnic joke powered by irony and your every slur has its target’s arrows deep in your own hide. But every family, every Phyllis and Fred in America--in YOU, America--has US, the people, back there alive, alive and stuck to your bones. Who fell dead in love with you at first sight, as I did. Who stood on the quarter-deck and cried out “Liberty!” at dusk at the shine of your harbor light.

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