The Candle Flames | A Short Story By Lucy La Fave
This story was submitted for the 2015 Winter Quarter Short Story Contest. While it wasn’t a finalist entry, the judges enjoyed it, and felt it merited being shared with the community. Congratulations, Lucy!
Dust motes swung lazily to the floor of St. Laurence Chapel, and the warm coloured light of the stained glass windows began to wane as evening darkness fell across the bustling city of Chicago. Father O’Connor’s worn black rosary beads made a clicking sound as they tapped against the dark stained pew, the noises lost on the old priest as he furrowed his brow in concentration.
The small wooden altar before him stood thick in shadows, the sanctuary lamp’s small glow sending flickering patterns over the tabernacle and altar cloth.
A purple Advent wreath stood far off to the side, near a small carved statue of the Mater Dolorosa.
This statue was the object of Father’s eyes as he whispered his prayers, and was the only beautiful ornament in his humble chapel.
Suddenly his reverie was shattered by the unexpected clang of the chapel doors, followed by a flurry of biting snowflakes which swept down the narrow aisle.
A slight figure hustled in its wake, struggling to close the doors against the near gale winds. Stillness once more returned to the sleeping chapel, disturbed only by the small grunts emanating from the intruder as he rid himself of the needlelike snowflakes that clung to hstatis red jacket.
Father O’Connor sighed heavily as he once more turned to the statue of his heavenly mother. He would wait for the boy patiently; it would be only a matter of minutes before he would come.
The skinny boy looked at the dark altar as he signed himself with holy water from the cracked font. He tugged his forelock as he made the Sign of the Cross; it was an unconscious movement and one that Father knew to be part of the riddle of the boy’s problems.
The lad breathed deeply before marching up the aisle and halting at the end of Father’s pew. The boy hesitated, unsure whether to squeeze in beside him or to walk around and enter from the other end, but Father moved his cane and made space for him.
The priest’s soft green eyes welcomed Kurt to explain his most recent mishap, and after a moment’s silence, the lad gingerly slid down beside the now seated priest.
Kurt could feel dirty slush dripping down the side of his face, but his attempts to wipe it away with his grubby bruised hand only made things worse.
Father O’Connor deduced from the flutters in Kurt’s harsh blue eyes that it would be a while before the lad would find the right words to begin. “What has happened this time, my child?” the priest murmured as he patted the bony back and raised his eyebrows expectantly.
Kurt’s eyes glazed as he recalled the struggle…It had happened only a moment ago, or was it an eternity?
The icy sidewalk flew beneath the speeding feet of Kurt Steinzur as he raced along with his arms outstretched. His glaring red jacket flashed like a cardinal’s in the snow as the lad raced along his route back home. He was imagining he was his favorite hero—a hero from his father’s homeland, Germany—Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron.
This man was the highest scoring fighter pilot in World War I and the idol of a poor boy from a German immigrant family. Kurt was born in America not long after the end of the Great War, but his heart was still with Germany and the glories of the old Fatherland stood large in his mind.
Kurt’s loyalty was for his new home, but his love was for Germany and that was the source of his troubles.
Two boys had watched Kurt fly by in his imaginary red plane killing the enemies of his Fatherland and meriting scores of medals for bravery.
One of the onlookers wore a dour face as he saw the outstretched arms of the fighter pilot whiz past.
His younger brother stood towering beside him, a look of concern pasted on his drawn face. “Stilts, m’ boy, there goes that Jerry!” the older boy growled, much to the consternation of his partner.
“But, Darey, he isn’t really a German is he?” came the slow reply.
“Remember Uncle David, Stilts! I shoulda met ’im, ’cause I’m named after him; but the Jerrys got him ’fore I was born.” came the outraged response.
Stilts—whose real name was Joseph, but who was nicknamed ‘Stilts’ on account of his unusual height for his age—looked convinced but still hesitant. “Darey, we taught ’im a lesson last week, why does ’e need another one? They never seem t’ change a thing.”
Darey did not seem to like the answer, for he glared at Stilts before disappearing around the corner at top speed. Stilts felt panic mounting with every moment of his inactivity, so he leapt after his brother in long sweeping strides.
Kurt heard the rush of crunching footsteps behind him and one glance over his shoulder informed him that two enemy planes were approaching at top speed. The red jacketed figure dashed onwards as fast as he was able, but the assailants were rushing faster.
Suddenly the red plane beheld a massive icy cloud bank before him, and his failed attempt to bound over it ended with his being hauled out by his ankles. Dirty slush blinded the downed bird, and he struggled to wipe his eyes as they pulled him to his knees.
A punch aimed for Kurt’s right eye was cushioned by the hand that was desperately trying to dislodge the crusted white fire from his eyes. Kurt’s golden crop of bristly hair was filled with dirty snow, and the now furious victim gave a clenched grin as he yanked Darey off balance by twisting his wrist.
Stilts stood awkwardly aside, watching as Darey delivered retribution for his deceased uncle. “Don’t just stand there helpless, Stilts! Hold ’im back for me!” came the panting urge from Darey.
“But you’re big enough t’ do both, David,” came the shamed reply as the skinny bean pole averted his eyes. Kurt was shorter and skinnier than Darey—even though they both were nine years old—so the lad’s reach and strength did minimal damage against Darey’s powerful thrusts.
The job was over in less then three minutes; not even Kurt’s ferocious fighting spirit could preserve him from defeat. He lay groaning on the pile of shoveled snow that had been his downfall and Darey stood heaving beside him.
Stilts looked sick and tried to walk away before Darey could rope him into doing anything. But Darey grabbed him by the shoulder and yanked him back, yelling, “For Uncle David…Now, Stilts!” Then Stilts gave Kurt a half hearted flick with his boot before bolting into a side alley to await the end of it.
Darey sprang to attention, then turned and marched off belting out the Star Spangled Banner. But not before he had gotten ten paces did Kurt heave himself up on one elbow and through a bleeding lip bellow, “God bless the Kaiser! And der rote Kampfflieger!”
This act of defiance nearly made Darey jump out of his skin in fury. He sprang like a panther onto Kurt and after another vicious scuffle, Darey succeeded in beating him into silence, for the rebel had been shouting something in German.
Darey wiped blood from his nose. Kurt’s parting blow was beginning to throb, but that did not matter; he would teach him. Sitting on the loser’s legs, Darey pried the beaten boy’s shoes from his flailing feet. Upon succeeding in this, the victor tied the shoes together and expertly threw them over the phone wire above, sneering in satisfaction.
Since Kurt just lay there breathing, Darey decided there was nothing left to do but go home knowing that his family had been revenged once more.
That was Darey’s nature; he admired Kurt’s defiance and the boy’s spirited fights, but he hated the Germans dearly, for the loss of several relatives was still fresh in the family’s mind. Kurt could be forgiven, but only if he corrected his misplaced patriotism, and Darey would ensure that proper encouragement was delivered.
A while later, the crumpled red plane righted itself with many a creak and groan of complaint as the battered machine’s components protested their injuries. Stilts sat crying in the alley, hidden behind a crate, but Kurt was too groggy to notice as he stood ankle deep in the slushy side street.
Sniffling a little, the tough lad glanced up at the darkening sky to see the first star shining in the distance. He saw his shoes swaying gently as they hung seemingly from the roof of the sky. Kurt stood uncertain for a moment, his face becoming increasingly unhappy as a fresh breeze bit into his flesh accompanied by a flurry of sharp snowflakes carried from the nearby snow pile. He began to shift from one foot to another as the snow burned into his unprotected skin.
Suddenly the lad’s face brightened as his gaze came to rest on the little steeple of Saint Laurence; it was only around the block…
Kurt looked up at Father O’Connor’s glowing countenance and decided not to burden the priest with his troubles, but Father was already quite informed on the matter. Looking into Kurt’s bleary eyes, Father whispered, “You see that wreath near our Mother Mary?” Kurt nodded. “The candles on that wreath count off the weeks till Our Little Saviour is born. And when those little candles are all lit, Jesus knows that we are prepared for His coming. Would you like to light those candles tomorrow before Mass?”
Kurt thought a moment before replying, “Father O’Connor, I think Darey would like to light them more…”
Father O’Connor smiled warmly. “Kurt, my son, I think that would show the Christ Child that we are ready for Him this year. Now, let us go and see if Mrs. Steinzur has dinner ready for you, eh?”
The old priest hunted for his cane in the gathering dark, and just as he clasped the knotted piece of wood, his old eyes rested on the damp bare feet dangling beside him. “Did your shoes run away from you?” he exclaimed quietly, a sparkle of humour hiding in the depths of his eyes.
Kurt looked down as if remembering for the first time, before replying hesitantly, “No, Father. They flew away, up into the air and wouldn’t come back to me.”
Father O’Connor sighed resignedly and, digging in his cassock’s pockets, produced two thickly knit mittens that he had received the morning before, an early Christmas present from his only remaining sister. “I know these are hardly proper replacements, but I suspect they will do the job well enough.” He aided the boy in stuffing his bony feet into them.
The chapel door opened stiffly against the howling winds that persistently growled through the alleys and streets. The old priest moved slowly, cautious lest he slip on the treacherous sidewalks that led to Kurt’s home.
The lad, however, fluttered about him as a moth would around a candle, and the two chatted cheerfully as they occasionally passed under the flickering streetlamps. They had to pass Darey Gordon’s house, and Kurt could have sworn that from the upper window a jeering voice had barked out, “Monkey! Monkey!”
But Kurt was not going to tell Father that his treasured mittens made the boy look funny, and even if they did not work very well in the watery slush, it was the act of kindness that would have to keep him warm.
Father O’Connor parted ways with Kurt when the lad had finally reached the street on which he lived. Kurt darted down the lane and over the broken gate that led up to his house, nearly tripping on a small bundle that was tucked on the steps leading to the door.
Crouching down on the cold concrete, Kurt saw his shoes. They had been carefully cleaned and faintly smelled of shoe polish! And by the light which shone through a crack in the Steinzurs’ front door, Kurt read a scrawled label, “I didn’t mean you any harm, sorry -S-.” Kurt looked down at the spoiled mittens, and even though it hurt his bruised ribs, the boy’s relieved chuckle echoed in the stillness of the night. “A third candle lit tonight!”
The years roared by, but David never seemed to be able to convert the lad who yelled at him in German into a solid American patriot. Joseph remained a delicate soul and always emanated good will towards Kurt; and though the two men never really spoke with each other, it helped that both their childhoods had been influenced by a central figure.
David attended a local university, and Stilts entered the seminary, but Kurt, who did not have the means for further schooling, found employment helping an engineer, with the hope of one day making that his profession.
One Christmas Eve saw Kurt bustling along a snowy lane on his bicycle. Ever since he could remember, times had been hard and cars were too expensive for poor families. As he flew along on his red bike, the lad whistled a cheerful Christmas carol, only to skid to a halt at the sound of David’s infectious laughter.
Kurt listened as David’s voice boomed down the sunny street; he was declaring his contempt for any citizen who did not love the country to which he belonged. This in turn made Kurt chuckle to himself, but he sobered once more at the thought of the war in Europe. Kurt knew that things were bad between the United States and the new military Germany of which he knew so little. He bit his lip and zipped away, thinking the entire day on David’s words.
That afternoon, Kurt raced up the steps of Saint Laurence Chapel; he slid into the peaceful church, smiling at the remembrance of old times. He felt the cracked font and glanced at the bent figure of Father O’Connor praying in the same pew he always had.
Kurt’s golden hair changed colours as he walked past the stained glass windows to stand at the end of Father’s pew. Father O’Connor’s green eyes were dimmed, but he made room for the young man as he had always done as long as Kurt could recall. Kurt’s vibrant blue eyes seemed lit with a burning purpose, so Father waited for him to speak first. “Father?”
“Yes, my son,” came the cracked reply.
“I have decided that I should help our country in its war with…Germany… Do you think it is wise to join?”
Father looked long and hard at Kurt, knowing full well the battle raging within those dangerous blue eyes. “I hope this is not because of what young David has been saying,” came the low reply as the priest shifted creakily.
“Father, I think it’s time for me to admit that the new Germany is nothing like the old. I will always love the old Fatherland, but the new Germany….I cannot love something that doesn’t push for the good of anything but itself.” Kurt fiddled with his watch, unsure of what he was trying to say.
Father O’Connor patted his muscular back, answering softly, “I will not counsel against this, but think long and hard of what you are choosing. Battle is not always glorious victory, it is bloody and horrific. I do not say this to dishearten you, Kurt, only to warn you. The only thing I can recommend is that you talk it over with your parents, and God.” Kurt sighed almost with frustration; he had been hoping for a direct answer, but Father was right.
As the war progressed, Kurt had his decision made for him; he was drafted into the army along with most of the eligible lads from the chapel. Even Joseph Gordon’s superiors sent him over to Europe to help priests carry out their duties in the war zone. David never spoke to Kurt even when they were assigned to the same unit. They watched each other, showing little emotion of any kind…then they were deployed to Europe.
Combat was different from what they had expected, and when Kurt and David were sent to different regions, they had much more important things to worry about than each other.
The terrible experiences each went through were enough to break even the strongest spirit, but both soldiers held up if only in hopes of sticking it out longer than the other; it was their method of trying to remain unchanged.
Father O’Connor followed the happenings of all the soldiers from his little congregation, and he kept the members informed of all he knew. However small the information he learned, it seemed to comfort those families in his little chapel and that was all he desired.
Months slid by and the fall season was once more filling the countryside with wild explosions of color. The frequent bursts of booming thunderstorms shook the city and haunted the inhabitants with its resemblance to the rumbles of war.
The troops in Europe were falling as leaves; thousands daily were destroyed in the fading season. Crunching leaves and chilling fogs were dangerous for the soldiers and wore steadily at their spirits. David was stationed in a base dedicated to bringing food to the outspread troops in France, but Kurt was fighting in Germany itself.
Though it nearly killed him to destroy what used to be a glorious memory, Kurt stood fast in his work and longed for its termination in whatever form.
One particularly damp afternoon, Kurt was posted near a small German town with two other sentries accompanying him. Kurt was not acquainted with either of them, so he positioned himself alone in the nearby dripping brush.
They had just relieved a company of soldiers who had recently attacked the town, and consequently the Germans were expected to be cautious and vengeful. Kurt could feel his nerves trembling, and he tried to keep his hands from twitching, but the memory of his last battle kept turning over in his mind.
He could almost see the phantom figures of armed children milling about in the confusion; he had understood every word they screamed. A snapping twig to his left nearly brought Kurt to shoot the approaching figure, but he recognized the person in time. “Stilts!” he whispered huskily. “What are you doing here, sir?”
Joseph Gordon looked thin and pale, but the spark in his eye seemed to speak of the hidden flame therein. “Not sir, Kurt. Its Father now,” came the happy reply as the young man crouched down beside the wearied sentry.
“Well, Father Gordon, I’m guessing the need for priests has moved your training along?” Kurt asked, flashing a smile that faded as he rubbed a dirty hand across his eyes.
“Actually, my experience in the field and the brief time I spent studying in a French seminary were credited for my early ordinations. Though the bishop had to receive special permission, and I am guessing that your reasoning is nearer to the truth than mine.” Father Gordon looked about before settling more comfortably into the soggy leaves, sighing as some drizzle began to mist down on them.
“Well?” Kurt asked, a little confused as to why Joseph of all people should have appeared from nowhere and for no apparent reason.
“I came to you for help, Kurt,” Joseph answered, grimacing at the thought.
“What can I do for you, Father?” came the tired but firm response.
“You still speak German?”
Kurt grinned. “Better than most other Allied soldiers I’ll wager.”
“I was hoping that was the case, because I need someone to accompany me into that town.”
Kurt’s eyes followed the outstretched finger into the mist shrouded town. “Suicide…that is what you are asking of me!” Kurt’s exasperated face contorted with indecision. Father Gordon then began explaining his reasons in hope of rationalizing the venture to the battle-wary soldier.
The next hour saw two figures stealing across the long grass that thrived along the outskirts of the old town. Father Gordon sadly noted the jerky movements of his friend as they crossed behind a rotting barn. “Which house, Father?” Kurt hissed through his teeth as he peered around the corner.
“She spoke very poor French, I hardly know anything aside from the fact that the roof is green, and someone is dying.” Father Gordon explained once more, his sheepish voice echoing across the mute barn yard.
“Hush, Father!” Kurt hissed, his head once more darting around the side of the barn. “Alright, Father, I see a little green roofed house in the heart of the place. I don’t think we will be able to reach it.”
Father Gordon shook his head resolutely, saying sternly, “I must try, Kurt. It is my duty to try at least.” Kurt began to unbutton his jacket, stowing it near his rifle beneath the small wet plants that fringed the barn’s decaying base.
Minutes later, two figures strolled down the main street of the town, and a careful observer would have wondered at the muddy hue of one’s pants and the lack of a jacket in the freezing fall weather. Kurt was laughing and chatting away in flawless German, and his tall silent companion would nod or humph a little at most. They arrived at the house and Kurt made sure it was safe before Father Gordon slid inside the small abode.
The dying soldier knew a little French, and was able to receive absolution and last sacraments. Kurt was able to translate a few of the man’s requests, but there was little else he could do but kneel and pray beside the weeping family.
The tearful thanks from the young man’s father were all that Kurt was willing to wait for as the evening shades threatened their return to camp. Kurt and Father walked swiftly down the street, hoping to avoid any curfew enforcers.
They had almost reached the rim of town when an elderly German man exclaimed and grabbed hold of Kurt. Kurt flushed and muttered something in return, but it only seemed to excite the man further. Kurt shook himself free at the sound of marching boots and grabbed Joseph’s arm in panic. “Run, Stilts, RUN!” The two figures darted towards the tall grass in hope of finding cover should time prove the woods unreachable.
The crack of a gunshot rang out across the expanse and Joseph pitched forward in a heap. Kurt tripped over him and lay sprawled for a second before leaping up and dragging the priest to his feet. Joseph tottered and stood, his gaze transfixed on the gushing hole in his chest. Kurt snapped into action and began to heave Joseph along with his arm around the priest.
Father Gordon was minimal help and continuously stumbled over the uneven ground, causing their progress to suffer tremendously. Kurt could hear the Germans running towards them, and he thanked God for the growing density of fog. Guns went off regularly and the fugitives staggered onwards more steadily because of it. Suddenly Joseph collapsed, sputtering to the ground once more, and Kurt could not make him stand up.
The fog encompassed them, wiping away all sense of direction with it. Kurt sat clamping his hands over Joseph’s chest as he listened to the tramp of the searching soldiers. Blood seeped to the corners of Joseph’s mouth, and he would not remain silent. He constantly mumbled how it was entirely his fault for Kurt’s endangerment.
Finally the voices and tread of the soldiers drifted a little further off and Kurt began to rise. “Father, do you think you could bear being stood up?”
Joseph choked, and responded in a rasping voice, “Was it me who gave us in?”
“Don’t worry about that, Father. The old man thought I was his grandson; he even knew my last name. My father spoke of this area once, but that is nothing now…can you manage?”
Joseph swallowed more blood before replying, “You’ll get caught, Kurt. Just leave me here.”
“And die every day knowing I had left you behind?”
Kurt struggled to his feet with Joseph’s arms clasped around his neck. Kurt staggered a few feet closer to the wood before shouts of exaltation told them that they were once more detected. Stumbling rapidly, Kurt began to near his destination and the safety it would provide.
Sensing the loss of their quarry, the Germans decided to kill them rather then let them escape. Bullets whistled past Kurt and Joseph, but their hope buckled with Kurt when a bullet brought him to his knees. Joseph tried to fall away, but Kurt’s stubbornness made him clutch Joseph tighter. “I’m fine…it’s nothing really, just a scratch.”
Kurt began to army crawl towards the thicket where his buddies should have been watching, but the Germans had begun to run. A backward glance saw one lad far outpacing the others as he practically flew along the ground to land beside them. Kurt felt Joseph roll off and strong hands turn him over, but what he saw shocked him to the soul.
It was like looking at a reflection. The German lad jumped back in surprise, then began to exclaim in wonder. Kurt saw the rosary ring on the soldier’s finger and decided to bank on mercy. Switching to German, Kurt beseeched him in the name of Jesus Christ to let the priest escape.
The lad was remarkably quick on his feet, and with a dejected face called back to his comrades that the men were nearly gone and that enemies sounded nearby.
Joseph and Kurt heard a groan of disappointment that soon turned to voices rising in good humour as the soldiers hurriedly returned to their posts in town. The German lad slipped away from them and returned to the Americans, saying in broken English, “Sky dark before moving, yes?” Kurt nodded for them both and thanked their saviour in German, noting the look it brought to the lad’s face.
After shaking hands, the German ran after his comrades and left the soldiers to fend for themselves, since he was willing to break only so many rules for them. After an hour of waiting, Joseph began to lose consciousness, and Kurt decided they must move. Regardless of those who would certainly now be scrutinizing the area, Kurt tried to stand. A stab of pain soon brought him crashing down with a muffled exclamation.
Lacking the use of his left knee, Kurt dragged himself and Joseph the remaining hundred yards. Falling into the arms of the worried sentries he had left behind, Kurt berated them for their costly inactivity.
Nothing, however, could rewind the clock, and time ran short for Joseph Gordon.
The new winter flooded Chicago with thousands of perfect flakes drifting and collecting in heaps. Christmas bells jingled icily in the cold crisp air and Father O’Connor said there was talk of some soldiers returning home. The Gordon family reclaimed their sons, though not how they had hoped.
The Steinzur family welcomed home their son as well, though he, too, was changed. Crippled from his left knee down, Kurt limped badly and was loath to explain the circumstances of its happening.
The Steinzurs understood that it would be a while before Kurt adjusted to home life, but they nevertheless worried at his frequent moments of complete abstraction. He would sit at the table and beat an unconscious tattoo on the wood with his fingers, muttering to himself repeatedly, “Almost, almost, almost, almost…never enough time….”
A loud unexpected noise would make him start terribly, and his violent nightmares would often wake the little household. The only people who had any positive effect on him were Father O’Connor and David Gordon.
Ever since they had returned to the States, David was constantly with Kurt. He would help Kurt wherever he went, and they were frequently seen walking down to the church and cemetery.
No one had ever seen a lad so devoted to another, and people would remark at the strangeness of it all or ask after Kurt’s maimed leg, but Kurt never let David explain either.
David asked him why, and Kurt would reply with a tense face, “My leg is just a reminder that I failed. I was so close, and still I lost him…” David would try to reassure him with arguments explaining how he did all that was humanly possible, but Kurt was stubborn. David eventually just capitulated on the topic.
On Christmas Eve David turned up at the Steinzurs’ door, wondering if Kurt was planning to attend the Midnight Mass. Kurt answered in the affirmative, and following their customary route, David and Kurt soon stood deep in the snow that covered Father Gordon’s grave. David bent down and scraped the snow from the face of the tombstone, repeating the line carved into the base, “Persecuteth them not, O ignorant one, who suffer in thy fault.”
David stood back and grinned, saying, “I had that put there myself. Stilts used to write that on everything I owned. I can imagine why…” Kurt’s smile flitted by at the memories, but the pinched look swiftly took its place. “You think he would be happy to see you like this, Kurt?” Kurt looked up, his steel blue eyes glistening with a watery sheen. David nudged him, swallowing his own sorrow by chiding his friend’s. “Come on, Kurt, you never cried a day in your life…its Christmas Eve besides. Be happy that God let you see another! It’s time for the past to remain there.”
They stood motionless in the darkness for several minutes as the frigid night wind whipped snow against their faces. Kurt coughed and leaned heavily on David, muttering, “I think it is time for you and me both…”
“Agreed,” came the warm reply. “Let’s go see if Father has Mass preparations ready yet.”
They only had a short distance to walk, but the treacherous sidewalks were a struggle for Kurt, especially since any sudden noise caused him to start in such a manner that he would be likely to fall if it were not for David’s grasp. “You need a cane, old man,” David remarked as he all but carried the lean figure up the chapel stairs. “What do you think you’re for?” was the cheeky response.
Father O’Connor watched them enter, a smile spreading across his weathered features. “There will never be a Christmas quite like this,” the old priest thought to himself as he bustled to make final arrangements.
The two men felt their hearts lighten as they walked down the narrow aisle of Saint Laurence Chapel; the time for peace and for joy had come with the new day.
The soldiers knelt beside each other, and soaked in the richness of the moment. Christmas hymns resonated throughout the chapel, candles flooded the small space with the brilliance of the sun, and the Christ Child was laid in the prepared manger.
Kurt gazed at the Advent wreath, watching the candles flickering together, and he smiled.
About Lucy La Fave
As the eighth of twelve children, I have been very blessed to grow up in a traditional Catholic home. In its encouraging atmosphere, my thirteen years of homeschooling have been extremely happy and have helped me to develop a great interest in writing. An avid reader since childhood, my interest and imagination have been especially captured by the classics, timeless adventure stories, and both fictional and factual accounts of the World Wars. These particular interests have influenced my own writing and have even spurred my ambition to write a book someday. Besides writing, I enjoy drawing and composing musical pieces for the piano, several of which I was able to play at my recitals. I am deeply grateful for the challenging courses which Seton has provided me since they have given me the foundation necessary to earn an academic scholarship to Christendom College—and I could not be more excited!