Hold this Close to Feel My Love

the author's grandpa and grandma who are featured in the story shown sitting on a couch

January is a snowy month with numerous power outages sweeping across the city of Colfax.  The month also signifies the beginning of the Spring semester at Sierra College and my entire being overflowing with excitement and a hint of dread.  It’s been months since I’ve gone to school, having taken a break due to the ongoing pandemic, and want to reunite with the person I fell in love with.

Even before class started, my mind raced with ideas I wanted to write about: romance, video games. I even had a working title, Digital Love.

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Unthawed Nightmare

Strolling home from work, careless and free
Headed home to make my bed, clean sheets off the line,
What a shame to do at bedtime.

Entering my home, I notice no one, I see, I hear nothing
Suddenly attacked, impaled throughout my body
In and out, with such malice.
Forcibly violated, and left cold as ice.
Floating in a pool of my lineage as it drained from my veins.

Taken from me my spirit, stolen; my spirit.
What gave you the right to me?
Robbing me of my safety, my life, my future?
Who told you it was ok to play God and decide when?
When my last breath was taken, my last moments with family.

42 years I lay frozen, forever a 20 year old with the world at my feet.
Shattered in a moment of impulse.
42 years until my family would rejoice, “I feel like I can go on with my life now.”

The terror, pain and heartache frozen with me
Unthawed as handcuffs squeeze your wrists.
My soul set free, my nightmare unthawed.

 

Written by Vontress Ortega | Photo by Manjari, Pexels

Vontress Ortega smiling with long black hair and legs crossed
Vontress Ortega is a Journalism major at Sierra College and published author. She plans to transfer to Sacramento State University and continue in the major in fall 2022.

Covid-19 through Older Eyes

In this 15:17 minute podcast, Covid-19 through Older Eyes, three people from the local community: Erny (67), Anna (72), and Judy (70s) share their experience. They explain making changes in their lives to stay safer, working at Walmart and Door-Dash, missing spending time with friends, and care-giving elders themselves through the pandemic.

While to some, the pandemic is an inconvenience or something that others need to worry about,  many over the age of 55 are worried about their heath and have made changes to prevent getting Covid-19. This is why their perspectives and what they are going though is so important. We all have family, friends, neighbors who are older and for some of them, it has been life threatening.

Their perspectives matter. Understanding their experiences can help others feel connected and have a better understanding of what the pandemic has been like for older generations. 

 

Susan Stewart is from a small town in North Dakota. She is a Communication Studies major at Sierra College and plans to earn a Masters degree in the field.

Podcast by Susan Stewart 

 

 

 

Dancing the Filipino Debut in 2020

Katelyn Vengersammy in fancy red dress with three girl cousins and red roses behind her for Debut party.

COVID-19 has forced us into a new world. We all knew that technology was going to play a big part of our lives in the near future, but no one expected it to happen so suddenly. It has become the new normal to integrate technology into milestone events, such as graduation, weddings, funerals, and so much more. One thing that greatly affected me is my eighteenth birthday.

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Seeing Beauty in the World

Cut and polished rock

When I used to think of things like the Dust Bowl, Dr. Pepper, or rock hounding, I did not feel any sense of significance or connection to them, but after interviewing my grandfather, I became a lot more interested in all three. While he is not my biological grandfather, I have grown up knowing Rod Reber as my grandpa, or papa, all my life, and it was fascinating to learn so much more about him. There are a lot of differences between his generation and mine, but in each of his stories and responses to my questions, I found some way of relating them back to my life.

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Bend, Not Break: My Grandmother’s Story

I was born in Redding, California. Redding is a small town. It’s the kind of small town that even if it grows, it maintains that small town feel. I always thought of Redding as being small of mind as well. There is not a lot of diversity in Redding, and there is still a lot of racism. There is also a lot of poverty. Though I didn’t live there long, my grandparents have always been in Redding, and I’ve seen them like a beacon of light in the small town.

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Near and Far: An exploration of travel and the human spirit

Photograph of Ruie and Rosemary Shows, circa 2015

My grandmother speaks vividly of life’s adventures, recounting details most lose with age—styles of brothers’ shorts, colors of Easter hats and childhood prayers recited in front of the fireplace. She recalls in similar sentiment the gentleness of her mother’s fingers knitting Christmas presents for 12 children and the clammy hands that clutched her small arms as Axis bombers flew overhead. A childhood lived, in part, under the dining room table and school desks, learning to hide from the worst. For all tragedy of WWII, my grandmother adored the American soldiers who shared chewing gum and oranges with the children of her rural British town. Now, 80 years later and decidedly settled in Northern California, she leaned back on her floral couch and shared stories of youth—of younger years tinged with travel, chance love and unlooked for peace.
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Tribute to April Moore

A photo featuring from left to right April Moore (grandmother), Brooklyn Shinabargar (granddaughter), Sadie Hampshir (granddaughter), and Isabella Delatorre (niece).

The following is a sestina for grandmother April Pamela Moore (December 21, 1947-September 5, 2015), written by Sierra College student Brooklyn Shinabargar (Nisenan/Washoe) in English 20 with professor Barbara Nelson-Burns. Moore was a Sierra College alumni and granddaughter, Shinabargar is the president of the Native American & Pacific Islander Student Club.

You are the woman people admire,
The energy flows through your dance.
Shells and beads twinkle with you,
The ground trembles from your strength,
Still wind makes the moment last.
Proud to be yours, proud of your pride.

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