Sarah's Corner

(The following originally posted 6/11/11)

Thanks to a tenacious sinus infection (hopefully, the second round of antibiotics will finally knock it out of my system!), I have a bit of time to catch up on posting.  Sometimes there are benefits to forced inactivity!  :)

One thing I have wanted to share is my 11 year old's view of the wild weather that recently skimmed by our area. Though the tornado first seemed to be headed straight for our town, we were lucky.  Our hearts go out to those in Springfield and surrounding areas who were affected by this storm, as well as those affected by the devastating tornadoes in other parts of the country recently. This is what my daughter wrote in a paper for school, detailing her own experience coming close to something so scary and powerful.

Springfield MA tornado
photo by Matt Putzel, Wikipedia file image

My name is Sarah Hanscom, and I witnessed a big part in Massachusetts history.

It was about 4:56 PM on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 when I was starting to get a little worried. I had a normal day at school. It was kind of hot outside during the day time. I arrived from school at about 3 o’clock. Mom called at about 3:15 to confirm that she was coming home soon from her work at Coldstone Creamery.  My dog, Trooper had this weird freak-attack. He had been gone for about an hour or so and I went to go ride my scooter outside in my driveway and I see 3 MAC trucks stopped and a bunch of cars stopped. I was wondering what was going on so I peeked over the end of my driveway to see. Trooper was in the middle of the road and a lady had gotten out of her car and pinned him down to the road. I ran all the way up the street and said sorry to all of the people in their cars and I tried to grab him, but he wouldn’t get out of the road. So I had to drag him into some stranger’s driveway and calm him down. He has done this before, but he only does it when there is bad weather coming or when he is really nervous about something that he sences in going to happen. I got him home safely and I told my mom the story. 

At around 4:30 the sky got dark and there was some thunder and lightning, but we just expected that it was just the thunder storm that was supposed to happen. We turned on the news and we hear the weather reporter talking about a tornado in Mass. For a second I thought it was not going to be near our area, so I didn’t panic. But when the black screen came on and it says “Tornado WARNING in Hampshire, Hampdon, Southbridge, Whitinsville, Upton, Mendon, Uxbridge, Framingham, Franklin” and all of the other places in our Worcester area and the Middlesex area. Right then, I got a little scared. We were listening to the news and the thunderstorm. Although all of the crazyness going on on the news kind of blurred away the sound of the thunderstorm because we were so consentrated. There were a bunch of pictures sent into the news reporters by random people near the areas with stange looking clouds, signs of funnel clouds, and also pictures of debree that has been floating around like leaves on a fall day. 

All of a sudden, I see the black screen on the TV again and it lists all of the areas listed before and said to go to the lowermost level in the house or building as soon as possible until tornado warnings have been cleared. It is about 5:05 around now and I ran upstairs and grabbed my pillow, blanket, nail polish, makeup, iPod and charger, some clothes, and also some water incase I got thirsty. My mom brought her laptop and charger, her coffee, and a couple knick-knacks. During this time, only my mom and I were home. My dad was on the road and my brother was at work. My dogs were also down in the basement with Mom and I. We have been watching the live news on Mom’s computer and seeing all of the bad things that have happened. The violent storms came, which included seven reported tornadoes. So far the tornadoes have killed 4 people and had injured several dozen more. News reporters said that at least 48,000 electricity customers lost their power. Governer Deval Patrick activated 1,000 National Guard troops for recovery efforts. 

The time now was about 8:00 PM and we decided to go upstairs into the kitchen. The severe weather was leaving, and so was the daylight, so we went out to Walgreens to get a couple things. Right when we left the parking lot, we saw a bunch of lightning and we wondered what was going on. It was nonstop lightning in Bellingham and Mendon and I thought that the world was going to end. We eventually made it home safely just in time for the Bruins game. Dad was home by now in the living room, sitting down on the couch and playing with his computer. The Bruins had lost 1-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Vancouver Canucks scored the game goal in the last 18 seconds of the game, just in time to make the Bruins lose. After my brother, Ryan, got out of work, he went straight to his girlfriend's house. At least he was safe. 

That night, before bed, there were more thunderstorms that have gone through our area. Lightning was everywhere nonstop. Hapily, that night, I went to bed and woke up to a nice, sunny morning.

I, Sarah Hanscom, am proud to be a wittness of the Tornado in Massachusetts on June 1, 2011.


Reviews of Young Adult and Pre-Teen Books

Book Review
December 9, 2010

The Family Under the Bridge
By Natalie Savage Carlson

The Family Under the Bridge is about a hobo named Armand who lives under a bridge in Paris.  Armand is always very grumpy and strict, and I don’t like that about him, but he is an interesting character.  One day, he meets three children, Suzy, Evelyn and Paul.   The children show up under the same bridge and Armand doesn’t like it at first, but he soon gets used to having them around.  One day he brings the three children to meet Father Christmas and I was laughing when they thought that Father Christmas could bring them a house, but I was also a little upset because they didn’t have a home and that is what they needed.  There is also a gypsy named Mireli who predicts “adventure” for Armand and he does end up having quite an adventure when he meets the three children.  My favorite part of the book is when Armand helps find a home for Suzy, Evelyn, Paul and their mother at Christmas.  That was very, very kind, and that’s what Christmas is all about.

I really liked reading The Family Under the Bridge.  It is a great book and I think anyone would enjoy it.

Rating:  4 stars

Reviewed by:  Sarah Hanscom

Book Review
March 6, 2011

A Ballad of the Civil War
By Mary Stolz

A Ballad of the Civil War was a very educational book because it taught me about how bad slavery was.  I think slavery was very wrong.  In the book, Aaron played with Tom and Jack until he was captured by their father, who was a slave owner and made him a slave. 

Tom and Jack were twin brothers but they didn’t understand each other very well.  Both of them thought slavery was bad, but Jack was very rude in the book.  He was almost the antagonist, but later on you start to see how Tom really cares about his brother anyway.

The prologue and the ending were very similar, because they have the same scene happening.

The most upsetting part of the book to me was when Jack and Tom are older and Jack tells Tom, “We aren’t brothers anymore.” 

In A Ballad of the Civil War, I learned that slavery was cruel to all people.  If you read the book you will find out what happens in the end.  Let the war begin!

Reviewed by:  Sarah Hanscom


  1. This sounds like a great book, Sarah! :)
    It also sounds like you really enjoyed reading it, even though some of it was a bit sad, I'm sure. From what you wrote about Armand, he reminds me a little bit of the Grinch -- he's kind of grumpy, but he does have a heart and ends up helping people! :)
    Keep reading and writing!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jeannine! ;)
    -Sarah Hanscom