What was the scariest moment of your life? That’s the question posed to students in grades 7-8 and 9-12 in Monmouth and Ocean counties in the monthly Student Voices essay and video competition, organized by APP.
“When I was little, my family had always driven six or seven hours in our stuffy minivan to go see my grandparents in the quaint little town my mother had grown up in: Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. It was a biennial event — we’d go for Christmas on odd years, and they’d come over on evens.
You might expect the scariest moment of my life to be a haunted house, or an encounter with a spider — a swarm of bees, even! But it’s not.
It all ties back to my grandparents’ house. It was my home away from home.
I have so many memories in that house. I knew it like the back of my hand. It was a meeting point for the whole family. Cousins who are adults now came over to play games with us, and celebrate the holidays. My grandparents’ dog, Buddy, a cocker spaniel and beagle mix, was always up and about.
For my brother and I, there was a toy chest full of tons of old and new things that were positively enthralling to my mind as a child — I was provided endless fun.
There was a smell in the air that made you feel comfortable, like everything was going to be all right. As if in that house, there were no worries for me, as a child, only the support of familial love.
So you can imagine just how soul-crushing it was to me when we showed up for the final time before the house was sold. It had easily been at least several months, if not a year, both of my grandparents had passed.
I lingered outside the building for a while, trying to take it in. There was a storage trunk obscuring the view of the small yard in which me and my brother played in the snow so many times before. And staring into the windows, which were once full of life, and cheer, and hope, and family… it was dim. Dark.
And so the scariest moment of my life wasn’t something like a rollercoaster. It was when I had to sit in my car, buckled up, and watch my mom drive away from the remnants of my memories with my grandparents, from a huge piece of my life, forever.
And the scariest part was that there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
Millstone Township Middle School