Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Bille Holiday

Posted: 2014/01/18 in Stories


Birth information: Billie Holiday’s birth name is Eleanora Fagan Gough. She was born April 7, 1915 in Baltimore, Maryland to her unwed parents. Her mother was 13-year-old Sadie Fagan, and her father, 15-year-old Clarence Holiday; they married when Billie was three. She changed her name to Billie Holiday because of her admiration of movie star Billie Dove. Billie Holiday was also known as Lady Day.

Occupation: Jazz singer. As a young teenager Billie Holiday began singing career by singing along with records by Bessie Smith or Louis Armstrong in after-hours jazz clubs. When she was 13 years of age, Billie moved to New York City when her mother left Baltimore in search of a better job.

Favorite flower: Gardenia. According to the Human Flower Project, Billie initially wore a gardenia because she was having a tremendously bad hair day. She was at a club, getting ready for a performance, when she seriously burned her hair with a curling iron. Sylvia Syms (“the world’s greatest saloon singer”) knew a club down the street where the coat check girls sold flowers. Sylvia must have been a kind and quick thinking woman. She went to that club and purchased a large, white gardenia for Billie to wear. Billie pinned it over the burned section of her hair and took the stage. Billie ended up liking the look very much and continued to wear gardenias in her hair. It became her signature look.

Favorite animal: Dog. Lady Day had many dogs, both large and tiny, but her favorite was Mister, a boxer who accompanied her almost everywhere.

Billie Holiday is captivating because she never underwent any technical training and she did not know how to read music. Even with these disadvantages she was able to quickly become an active participant in the vibrant jazz scenes of our country at the time. At the age of 18 she was spotted by record producer John Hammond who cut her first record. In 1935 her career was catapulted when she recorded four sides that went on to become hits, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Miss Brown to You”. This landed her a recording contract and she recorded a number of master tracks that would ultimately become an important building block of early American jazz music.

What makes Billie Holiday an extraordinary hero to me is that she overcame the challenge of a poverty stricken childhood and the segregation barrier of her time with her music which touched the lives of many people no matter their race. She proved that with effort anyone can succeed.

She risked her career to record “Strange Fruit”, a haunting song about lynching in America, which led to her continued advocacy against racial violence and social equality throughout her lifetime. “Strange Fruit” has been called the original protest song. At a time when political protest was not often expressed in musical form, the song depicted lynching in all of its brutality. The three short verses are very powerful for their ironic language. The side-by-side description of a beautiful landscape with the scene of lynching, the smell of magnolias with that of burning flesh, the blossoms more typically associated with the Southern climate with the “strange fruit” produced by racial oppression hereby creating an imagery of the essence of racism.

Like many other famous musicians, tragedy struck her through the use of drugs and alcohol which landed her in prison for a year and ended her life in New York City on July 17, 1959 at the young age of 44.
She posthumously received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. The United States Postal Service commemorated her groundbreaking African American musical career with a stamp in 1994. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.


The important thing about a story is that it has a main idea.

It tells your many things and it lets you have something to do when you are bored.

But the most important thing about a story is that it has a main idea.


Fun Facts about Florida

Posted: 2013/04/29 in Stories


★Florida was the 27th state in the USA; it was admitted on March 3, 1845.

★State Abbreviation – FL

★State Capital – Tallahassee

★Bordering States – Georgia, Alabama

★Largest City – Jacksonville

★Population – Florida is the 4th most populous state in USA, after California, New York and Texas.

★Origin of the Name Florida – Florida was first seen by the Spanish explorer in 1513, named as “Pascua de Florida”, meaning “Feast of Flowers” in Spanish.

★Florida averages 10 deaths and 30 injuries a year from lightning.

★Orlando attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in USA.

★Crystal River is the only place in North America where it is legal to have a supervised swim with gentle manatees.

★There are more than 30,000 lakes and 1,300 golf courses located in Florida.

★Pensacola’s nickname is the “City of Five Flags” because it has been under the rule of the Spanish, French, English, Americans and Confederates.

★Florida is home to the largest breeding population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states.

★St. Petersburg Clearwater claims to have 361 days of sunshine annually.

★The Florida Everglades are the only place in the world where alligators and crocodile co-exist.

Roberto Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico on August 18, 1934.  He had to work from a young age to earn money for his baseball equipment because his family was poor.  Roberto worked hard after school carrying groceries.  It was soon noted that he had a special talent to play baseball.  During his first year of attending VizcarondoHigh School in Carolina he was recruited to play on a local team sponsored by the Sello Rojo Company.

Clemente’s professional career started with a team called the Santurce Crabbers.  He earned $40 a week.  When he was 18 years of age he accepted an offer of $10,000 from the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He then moved to Montreal to play with the Montreal Royals for the 1954 season.  At the end of the season the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him.  He finished his rookie season with an average of .255.  He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 until 1972.  On September 30, 1972 he batted his hit #3,000.

On Saturday December 23, 1972 the capital city of Nicaragua was hit by a massive earthquake.  Roberto Clemente immediately set to work arranging emergency relief.  He decided to travel in the fourth relief flight from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua.  The plane he chartered was a Douglas DC-7 and was overloaded with emergency relief supplies.  It crashed into the ocean off the northern coast of Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on December 31, 1972.  Only days after his death, he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Latin player in the Hall.  Every year Major League Baseball honors him with the Roberto Clemente Award which is given to a player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.  Hospitals and schools in the United States are named after him.



Suka the little Iguanodon

Posted: 2013/01/27 in Stories


Suka is the name of a little Iguanodon dinosaur that was trying to survive in a very dangerous world filled with bigger dinosaurs.  One day he was trying to run away from an Apatosaurus that was trying to eat him.  Little Suka had to run up a hill in order to escape.  While he was doing this, he saw a mudslide coming his way.  Little Suka was trying his best to get to the top of the hill and was able to do it!  When he got to the top he saw two other dinosaurs, a Triceratops and another Iguanodon.  Little Suka followed them.  At one point the hungry Apatosaurus caught up with them and they began to fight.  During fight the Apatosaurus pulled the other Iguanodon off a cliff and they both fell to their death.   As a result of the fight, Suka was bleeding from injuries and now he was alone.  Suka walked a long distance all by himself when he finally was able to find other dinosaurs.  He was able to make new friends and joined their group.  Suka’s dinosaur pack crossed a river to discover new lands.  Little Suka was very happy since he had many friends and a large group of dinosaurs to protect him.  Now that his life was safe, he had a good chance to grow up to be a large Iguanodon and one day start his own family.