Sunday, March 22, 2015

Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli

Over spring break, I started to read some of the Jerry Spinelli books that I selected for the final project. I began by reading Smiles to Go, and I was excited to read a book that was more positive and joyful than the books we read for this week. Although this is a sweet story about friendship and love, and everything turns out okay in the end, Spinelli's story brought up some not so pleasant memories for me.

The main character in the story is Will and he lives a pretty typical life. He is a freshman in high school, is somewhat of a science "nerd", has a great group of friends, and a good family. His sister Tabby is a lot younger than Will though, and she seems to do anything and everything to get on his nerves. It isn't until Tabby seriously injures herself that Will realizes that her pesky behavior is just her way of trying to get Will to notice her and love her.

Tabby's accident and the scenes in the hospital reminded me of a similar situation that happened to my family. One day in the summer my family was in Syracuse visiting at my Aunt's house and swimming in her pool. When my Aunt and Mom went inside to make all of us lunch, they had us get out of the pool and put me in charge of watching the kids as we colored and waited to eat. I became very focused on the picture I was coloring and did not hear my younger brother Mikey sneak away. He ended up hoping the gate and jumping into the pool without his swimmies on. It was not until I was heading back to the deck that I saw him face down in the water. I don't remember much of what happened next, but I do know that I was the one to pull Mikey out of the pool and call for help. What I remember most about the accident was visiting the hospital and seeing Mikey unconscious and his skin was black and blue all over. We were all very scared that Mikey would not wake up or that he would have permanent damage from the accident. Fortunately, Mikey woke up and was quickly back to his energetic and spirited self.

Even though I was the one who saved Mikey, I still feel responsible for what happened to him and my family. Just like Will, I felt like if I had been a better sister, I would have done a better job at watching Mikey and he would never have been in such a risky situation. From this experience, I learned at a young age just how precious our time with our loved ones is and how quickly they could be taken away from us. Although it was a terrifying experience, it is one that has made me prioritize the people most important in my life and the anniversary of the accident every year is a reminder to slow down and appreciate the ones I love.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Christina, what a terrifying experience for you and Mikey. I taught swim lessons for a number of years and ran a waterfront camp in VT, so I can completely relate to your sense of fear and panic at seeing Mikey in the water like that. Those images are haunting. He was lucky you were there.
    I am also lucky you picked this book. I can't believe of all his books, I didn't even KNOW about this one. I am looking forward to reading it soon. Thanks for giving me a little insight on what it is about.