Essay 1 – bath furnace
Among a handful of good things that happened during three years with Miss Kawano was that she made us write a short essay every day. Most of the time, we treated it like the diary, starting with, “Today I did this and that….” Sometimes my essays caught the eyes of Miss Kawano, and she read it to the class. I remember two particular essays, both of which I wrote with help from my grandmother.
I was struggling to come up with the essay topic, so I went to my grandmother, who was adding firewood to the furnace that heated bathwater. I think it was rare in the ’80s in my neighborhood to have a bath furnace. My grandfather chopped the firewood, and grandmother placed them into the furnace. The heat and the roar of the fire scared me, so I rarely went near it unless my grandmother was there to open and close the lid.
She suggested I wrote about the furnace. She told me that the reason the firewood made cracking noise in the fire was that the bugs underneath the bark were burning. It fascinated me and grossed me out at the same time to imagine the bugs writhing in the fire. In the essay, I described the shape and the workings of this antique household structure and the wonder of nature we didn’t usually ponder about. I also wrote about the roles of my grandparents, whose domestic skills were also antiquated.
The following day, Miss Kawano read it to the class and praised my vivid description of the scene. I reported to my grandmother that HER essay was brilliant. She smiled and told me I was a good writer.