Interesting, I love seeing what others think of this series
My answers, if you're curious...
1) Favorite character in TATWATM?
I have to go with Elliot for this one...I had the most fun writing his character
2) Favorite character in TATTATS?
This one's harder since all three of these kids have bits and pieces of me. Simon and Corinne both represent things that I really feel need to be represented, Violet does too. But, ultimately, my favorite character to write is Corinne.
3) Favorite character overall?
4) Ellina (Elliot x Nina) vs. Siolet (Simon x Violet)?
5) Ellina vs. Chuckinne (Corinne x Chuck)?
6) S vs. Chuckinne?
Uhhhhhhhhhhhh...so far, Siolet, but that may change.
7) TATWATM vs. TATTATS vs. TYIB?
8) Favorite scene in TATWATM?
My favorite scene to write was the last chapter.
9) Favorite scene in TATTATS (so far)?
Okay, it's a scene that hasn't even come up yet, but it's between when Simon tells Violet about the anxiety, and when Corinne finds out what the heck is up with her.
10) Favorite scene in TYIB?
Definitely either the scene where Nina talks to her dad and the Ellina confession
Now...onto the chapter...
Corinne and I decided to take one parent each for our heritage project. We decided that I’d take Mom, and she’d take Dad, so Mom agreed to drive me over to Grandma’s to see what I can find out there.
“Honestly,” Mom said. “If you need anything about my personal life from when I was about your age, I have a load of journals full of those stories. Keeping journals when I got to high school fueled my love of journalism.”
I smiled. Mom was a journalist for one of the news companies in Holmdale. She always said that it was the perfect job for her since she’s loved writing since she was a kid.
“We’re here.” Mom pulled into Grandma’s driveway and the two of us got out of the car.
“You really hung the rejection letter up on the wall?” I asked Grandma.
She’d just told a story of a time when Mom was in high school and she tried to get something published and Grandma decided to hang the rejection letter up on the living room wall.
Grandma nodded, “Sure did.”
“Because when she did get something successfully published, I wanted her to see that letter and see how far she’d come.”
Mom cleared her throat, “Mom, we’re here to learn about heritage, not the mistakes I made in high school.”
Grandma laughed, “Alright, fine.” Grandma handed me another cookie and asked, “You know that your ancestors on this side of the family were German, right?”
I nodded. Mom had told me that part of it. She told me that our ancestors had come to the states in the time of the Nazi’s.
“Well,” Grandma started. “It’s a difficult thing to have to decide that you must flee from your own home country.”
I thought about that. Then thought about the number of people I’d probably be escaping with. That scared me more than the actual escape.
“I can’t even begin to imagine that,” I said.
“When my mother was young – maybe around nine or ten – she had to flee from Germany. Just her and her brother. Her parents were hauled away to a concentration camp, so her brother – who was sixteen at the time – was in charge of her. The two of them boarded a ship to flee to Cuba.”
“Hey, that’s where Violet’s from,” I interrupted.
Grandma was suddenly interested, “Who’s Violet?”
“It’s a new friend of Corinne’s.” Mom lowered her voice and said to Grandma, “And someone who Simon has a crush on.”
“Mom!” I felt my face flame. I changed the subject instead, “Keep going, Grandma.”
Grandma continued, “It was a few weeks before they docked in Cuba. My mother used to say that at that time, Cuba was a beautiful place.”
She pulled out an album, and after flipping through a few pages, she pulled out a drawing. “She loved drawing, and she drew this after being settled in the U.S.”
Grandma handed me the drawing, and I stared at it in awe. I loved it. It was a two-point perspective drawing of a large, palace-like building. It was so intricate a detailed. It like I was staring at a photograph of the building. I could never draw like that.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“Do you like it?” Grandma asked.
I nodded, “It’s beautiful. Can I take it to school for my project?”
Grandma nodded, “Just keep it safe.”
I smiled. I wanted to show this picture to Violet.
Grandma continued to tell me about her Mom, and how after Cuba, they were in Miami, and eventually, ended up in Holmdale, where she was born.
I liked hearing these stories. It made me sort of understand why Corinne was so obsessed with cultural stories like this.
“What’d you think?” Mom asked me, driving home from Grandma’s house that afternoon.
“It was amazing,” I said. “I can’t wait to tell Corinne about it when we get home.”
Mom smiled, “I’m glad you liked it. I know this is normally Corinne’s thing.”
I nodded, “Yeah. I really liked it anyway.”
We kept driving a little longer in silence. I liked silent car rides. I never felt bored on them or anything. I just loved watching everything pass by in the windows.
Mom broke the silence, “So, tell me about Violet.”
That startled me. “What about her? She comes over almost every day to hang out with Corinne. She’s Corinne’s best friend, not mine.”
“I mean, tell me about her through your eyes. Your father and I know very well that you have a crush on her. We were eighth-graders with middle-school crushes at some point too.” Mom said.
I believed it. I know a lot of people have a hard time thinking about their parents as kids, but Mom and Dad talked about their childhood so much, that it felt like a book or a movie, playing out in my head when I thought about it.
For one of Mom and Dad’s anniversaries, I painted a picture of Mom, Dad, and Marty as middle schoolers, using the pictures that I found of them. I had labeled it: The Astronomer, the Writer, and the Mathematician (upon Dad’s request after giving it to them).
“Well,” I said. “I don’t know what it is about her. She just- she’s crazy smart in science.”
Mom smiled, “Marty was that way in math. She and Marty make a good team.”
“Tell me more.”
I thought for a moment. “Well, she’s also really nice. Bethany Baker has been being not-so-nice to her at school, and she hasn’t taken any of that out on Corinne or me.”
Mom nodded, “Your sister told me about the Bethany Baker stuff. Poor girl. In eighth grade, Vance Baker and Marty got into a fight.”
“History repeats itself,” I muttered.
“I’m glad she hasn’t been taking it out on you though. I know that wouldn’t be good for you.”
I nodded, “Yeah, it wouldn’t.”
“Speaking of which,” Mom said, putting a hand on my knee. “You’ve been doing really well with the anxiety.”
I looked down at my hands, “Thank you.” I looked up at the road, “I’ve been stressing like crazy over a stupid oral presentation.”
“You’ll do great,” Mom assured me.
“Thanks,” I mumbled.
It didn’t matter how many times someone told me that I’d be fine, I was never fine.
“I’ll just take some of the vitamins that morning,” I told her.
Mom nodded, keeping her eyes on the road.
I really hoped I’d be fine that day.