Smile.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my commemoration to my neighbor who passed away a few weeks ago.
im in junior high btw.
ppl ask me how old i am so there.

i hope you guys like this.i wrote it for schooll.

Submitted: May 17, 2007

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Submitted: May 17, 2007

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Smile



There she stood, all four foot nine of her, with her perfectly coifed hair and bright brown eyes. But what I will always remember most about the first time I met Jean, was the beaming, elegant smile that seemed to encompass her softly aging face, and bespeak the unconditional joy in her heart.
It was the summer I would turn eight years old. (My birthday is August 27th, Jean’s was August 1st.) I was turning eight; she was turning eighty-two, so one wouldn’t expect us to have much in common. This, however, would not be the case. Little did I know at that time that Jean would only be in my life for the next four years. But those four years would leave a lasting impression, like fingerprints on my heart.
Jean played many roles in my life. That of teacher, encourager, a stabling force, and most of all she was a true friend. I could not thank her enough for all she has done for me, from the little things that meant so much to me, to the more serious moments where Jean would share the hardest parts of her past. It was always a surprise to me how Jean was not bitter about the hurtful past-times of her life. She chose to look back upon her life as a Japanese American, afraid and alone in the interment camps, with a heart of forgiveness and not of resentment. This optimistic way of looking at life and past life shows the true meaning of the phrase that is often overused, “love and be loved”, and is only one of the many lessons Jean has taught me.
Jean’s parents emigrated from Japan to California, where Jean was later born in 1924, in Modesto, California. Her given name was Miyako.
Jean was quite young when her mother became ill, but she was the eldest of her siblings, so most of the chores and responsibilities of the house fell on her shoulders.
And as if this wasn’t enough tragedy already, during World War II, Jean and her family were placed in the interment camps, where life was hard, and survival a struggle. In fact, Jean’s mother and father died in the camps, leaving Jean and her younger siblings to look after each other. When she was seventeen, however, Jean was sponsored by a family on the East Coast, where she moved and later met the man she loved and would be married to. As newly weds, the Second World War separated them, like many others. Though Jean must have missed him terribly, she kept busy with the beauty schooling she had enrolled in to support herself and save money so that her husband could go to school when he returned. Jean excelled in her studies, and became a well known and respected beautician.
But hair and makeup was not the only thing Jean longed to pursue. Since Jean was young, she had a developed love for drawing and painting. Busy putting her and her husband’s lives back together, and taking care of her children after her husband returned from the war, there was no time to spare for additional art training or practice. Unfortunately, Jean’s amazing talent in painting, drawing, and even sculpting was noticed in her late fifties. When I look at Jean’s paintings, and see the beauty and realistic movement caused by the paint jumping off the canvas, I can only imagine the masterpieces she may have created if more time to study and grow was to be had.
What I will always remember most about my neighbor Jean, was her constant optimistic outlook on life, and the smile I never saw her without; her cheerfulness never failed to brighten my day. Jean was brimming with confidence, and, no matter what the circumstances or her physical condition, it seemed to be her goal to maintain a positive attitude. Even during the last few weeks of her life, when our time together was cherished more than ever before, she seemed to enlighten the world with her smile and fill the room with her oversized personality. I look up to Jean for more reasons than could be explained, and one of them is for being strong through parts of her life where she may have easily broke down and given up. She was literally painting a picture of her granddaughter as an infant up until she died.
When I think about Jean, my mind invisions the image of a rainbow arched across a whispy-clouded sky, an illuminating reminder that the worst is over. That is what Jean was to me. Not only a gentle nudge that pushed me forward in my dreams, but a truly special person who shed light over my darkest moments- over the destruction of the storm.
The day Jean left us for Heaven, I realized that there were two ways to view this. I could feel sorry for myself, missing her here on earth, or I could feel joy for her, knowing that she is now rejoicing in a better place, where age and time have no meaning. With little contemplation, I chose joy, reliving the memory of the first time I saw Jean and her smile.


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