• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks or on the Web, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, Slack, and browsed web pages. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Grant R

Page history last edited by Grant Ross 12 years, 8 months ago


All is Well in the Land of Iced Tea

by Grant Ross


     In the spring of 2007, my parents took my sisters and me to a restaurant in Tucson. We sat down at the old-fashioned tables; they completed the restaurant’s quaint 1950s diner look. I, like always, rashly ordered everything that appealed to me (“I’ll have the chocolate milkshake, pancakes, bacon, cereal, and waffles. Oh, and the hot chocolate too!”). After my family had settled in, our bellies fit to burst, my parents asked me if I liked the burning, sweltering city of Tucson. I, despite my personal opinion, said yes. And then they asked me another question: “Would you like to move here?”


     It took a while for me to say anything. My body started to respond to the question as if I was being physically attacked. I tensed up, my heartbeat raced. I had heard of something called a fight-or flight reaction in biology, where an assaulted animal makes the split second decision on whether to resist or to flee. At that moment, I really wanted to flee. How could I leave my friends? The house in which I had grown up? My absolute horror was contradicted by the joy on my sisters' faces. “Grant, you’re so lucky! Tucson is so much nicer than Cleveland. Warmer, too.” Why would I want warm weather? The winter, playing in the snow, making snow forts, was the most fun part of living in Cleveland. I didn’t know why they cared, anyway, since both were going to college. They wouldn’t even have to deal with the repercussions of my parents’ horrible decision-making. We left that restaurant with me feeling no better about the decision. My family decided to come back during Spring Break to look at schools.


     When I got home and told my friends about the decision, they were just as angry as I was. Pretty soon, the entireire school (my grade was about the size of the entire St. Gregory Middle School) knew I was leaving, and made a point to ask me about it. My school was filled with the insecure children that society calls bullies, and the kids like me (i.e. intelligent, sarcastic, super-awesome) were their fodder. The annoying brutes told me bad things about Arizona, in vivid detail. “You’ll be bored there: the only thing they know how to make is Iced Tea!” they said. “You’ll die of heatstroke! And then the scorpions will eat you up!” they shouted (of course, they said other things, but these seem most appropriate). I was still angry, but I was slowly warming up to the plan, if only to prove these bullies wrong. I will move to Arizona, and I will be happy there.


     The first school we went to was Orange Grove Middle School. Still acting as if I was totally against the decision, I refused to go inside the building. That night, my parents had one of those pained, awkward conversations that no one likes to have. They told me that I needed to accept that we were moving. In an attempt to humor them, the next day we toured the other candidate for my schooling, St. Gregory College Preparatory School. Meeting the various Middle School teachers, I found out several interesting things. The kids seemed much nicer than the children at my old school. It didn’t look as if one child or a group of children was being psychologically tortured by some group of bullies, as was the norm at my old school. The teachers seemed more focused and comfortable with their students (again unlike my old school, which had a number of teachers I didn’t really like. I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual). We left deciding that the school was as close a perfect fit as we would be able to find in Tucson.


     Back in Cleveland, the bullies continued to holler insults about the “Great Land of Iced Tea." This time, instead of agreeing in order to appease them, I hollered back.


     We sold our home surprisingly quickly to a family with two daughters. That my house wasn’t mine any more was only mildly mitigated by the fact that it was going to other children. To this day, I wonder how they like it. Since my family had to leave the house before we had decided to move to Tucson, we stayed with my grandparents. I was sad when I saw my grandparents. I might not see them for a long time, since I was living on the other side of the country. They might not be there at all of my birthdays or with me for dinner during the holidays. It was quite sobering to realize that for the first time.


     The last thing I remember of my life in Cleveland occurred the night before we left. Lying awake in a sofa bed in my grandfather’s office, I decided to turn on the television. The thing was so tiny, and my eyes struggled to watch it. I finally decided to watch a movie from the 1980’s, some action flick called Iron Eagle. The movie was about the flyboy son of a fighter pilot, who had to save his imprisoned father from some unnamed Middle Eastern country. I was probably attracted to it due to my obsession with fighter jets. I fell asleep thinking about how I was similar to the pilot’s son. I, too, was going to a strange land on a mission.


     So then, on June 15, my family boarded a plane for Tucson, Arizona.


     It took us an entire year in Tucson to find a suitable house. Until that point, we lived in a small apartment. There were three of us and a dog in a place with 4 rooms and two bathrooms. That was the opposite of fun. When we found a new residence, though, it was perfect. Of course, it took months of renovation, but that’s another story.


     St Gregory College Preparatory School was a totally different environment than my old school, Beachwood Middle School. With more interesting and kind inhabitants, my personality did a 360. Instead of being quiet and reserved, I am now proud to say I am an eccentric, zippy, social child (anyone who knows me can verify this).


     As has been shown by this story, I was changed by this experience. Confucius said: “They must often change, those who would be constant in happiness and wisdom.” The philosopher was right; I dare say I am happier now, in Tucson, than I was in Cleveland. In fact, I love it here.


     I know, my story wasn’t very interesting. Probably, when I’m rich and famous (as I tell myself I will be, sometime in the future), my biographers will probably treat it as a footnote to the wonderful story of my life. An “Oh yeah, he moved.” But for now, to me, it was a life-shattering, nail-biting, uber-suspenseful ride that I will cherish for the rest of my life.


Comments (7)

mrosenberg@... said

at 11:26 am on Sep 10, 2010

the story was captivating from beginning to end. It really captured your voice well. i could hear you saying everything. well done Grant.

Aaron Warner said

at 7:37 pm on Sep 20, 2010

This was funny. I could see a movie being made from your story.

McNerney said

at 3:28 pm on Sep 21, 2010

I agree with Michael, this really captured your voice well. Great story, I enjoyed reading it. I especially like the fact that you quoted Confucius at the end. Good job!

nhand@stgregoryschool.org said

at 4:20 pm on Sep 21, 2010

Grant, this is great. I love the story and your adjectives are the best! Zippy,uber-suspenseful, they're amazing.

Victoria said

at 8:07 pm on Sep 21, 2010

Haha I was a little sad there were no dinosaurs in this story :) Great job Grant, loved to hear what the people back in Cleveland thought of Arizona XD It's true, there are scorpions everyyyywhereeee. Awesome writing and fun to read.

Peter said

at 10:38 pm on Sep 21, 2010

This story was entertaining and funny! It really conveyed your personality well.

Also, if your personality turns around 360 degrees it ends up exactly where it was before.

Diana Cortez said

at 7:52 am on Sep 22, 2010

I'm glad it all turned out well for you, it had random pieces of humor that really took it a step up, also I liked how you quoted Confucius at the end. Good Job.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.