Abby Schwartz's Autobiography
Chapter One: My Name
My full name is Abigail Sarah McNeill Schwartz. Abigail, I believe means "father's joy". I was named after my Great-Grandmother Pearl Abigail Hurwitz. I have four names instead of three because my mother didn't want to get rid of her maiden name. Also my initials would not have been favorable without the "M". Sarah is my middle name because my mother liked it. Schwartz is my last name because it is my father's last name.
After looking on "behindthename.com" and "wikipedia.org" have found that I was correct. Abigail means 'father's joy' or 'my father is joy'. Abigail is a name originating from ancient Hebrew and translated into English. אֲבִיגַיִל or 'Ah-vee-gy-il' is the Ancient Hebrew word and is also my Hebrew name which was given to me at my baby naming ceremony when I was a few months old. These days my name is exceptionally common ranking eighth on the list of popular girls names in the U.S. The funny thing is that when my parents named me they thought that they were being original.
I like my name. I think that my name is beautiful. My parents wanted a name that sounded strong. They used to tell me that they wanted a name that would sound good if I became the first woman president. I love my name and I think that it is a good representation of who I am. Abigail means father's joy and my father is wrapped around my finger. He is one of my favorite people and he would do anything in a heart beat to help my well being. I definitely would have chosen the name Abigail and I can't imagine having a different name. I will never change my name because that would make me someone that I'm not.
People call me "Abby" or "Abigail". My mother calls me "Abs", "Snickerdoodle", and "Button girl" because when I was a baby I was cute as a button.
Chapter Two: The Day I Was Born
Around December of 1999 a husband and a wife who had just entered her second trimester sat in their minivan stuck in traffic which was unusual for a Sunday night at eleven o'clock. The car was unnaturally stuffy and Joyce, the wife, rolled down the window as cool air whipped in burning the rough chapped skin on their faces. The trees whistled in the wind and the brisk air moved them back and forth against the night sky. The two soon to be parents discussed baby names on the way back to Springfield, PA from Montclair, NJ. The father, Alec, joked that they should name their daughter Yokeli. The mother refused, throwing her head back in laughter at the ridiculous proposal. They later decided on a name nearly feet away from their driveway at around twelve thirty in the morning. Alec blurted out a name which made Joyce stop and turn toward him nodding in approval and grabbing a pen and paper to write it down. That was when they knew.
On May 23rd, 2000, in the Bryn Mawr Birth Center, a small baby girl of just 18.25 inches who weighed only 6 pounds 2 ounces was born. The room was bland and colorless but the small child brought more light and vibrancy than any picture could have. The new parents full of joy and excitement, named her the name that they had planned for months.
This name would represent Father's joy and would help them remember the ones they loved who have passed. This name would become part of her identity and shape her life and who she will become. Her name would be the same as three other girls in her grade. It would become very popular in the U.S. This name would stand for strength, beauty, ambition, and power.
The small baby girl born 14 years, and 4 months ago would grow to become dedicated, hard working, strong, and independent. She would grow into the young woman she was meant to be. This now freshman in High School who was once the little girl who hated her name learned to love it. The name which stood for father's joy and her deceased great grandmother would live up to its meaning.
The four names that these parents gave their small daughter would stop being weird at age twelve when they would start to make her feel unique and special. Last names she shared with her family would create an unbreakable bond for life. Names which would identify her and give her something to strive for. A name which would give that sweet little girl something to grow into. Nicknames of endearment which would show there love in years to come.
Her baby naming at around 6 months in age would give just another aspect of her life where she had a new identity. At 7 years old there would be no one in her Hebrew school class with a name like hers. That 7 year old would become the youngest member of her synagogue to ever read from the Torah at age 10.
The mother whose eyes are the same blue marbles as her daughter is still proud of who that little girl has become. The Father's brown eyes light with joy every time he sees her. The Great-Grandmother still smiles down upon her when she sees her. The Great-Grandmother's name was Pearl Abigail. The toddler version of the small girl had pearl-like teeth growing in and eyes shaped like oysters hiding innocent thoughts and ideas behind them. This little girl had insecurities that she would grow out of. She would start to learn that every single aspect of herself, no matter the size was important and should not be changed out of fear of becoming something that she is not. As a freshman, that girl would finally begin to feel comfortable in her own skin. She would strive for perfection, keep her had proudly raised even when others stared, she would become okay with her awkward features that once made her cringe. She would love and care for her name. This name, which she had thought she shaped, had inevitably shaped her.
That fourteen year old is me. My name is Abigail Sarah McNeill Schwartz. It gives me pride and satisfaction to have it to myself. I love my name and will never change it. My name is Abigail Sarah McNeill Schwartz and I am unique no matter how many people share my name.
Stats When I Was Born (Chapter Two Continued)
My birthday is May 23rd, 2000. According to the age calculator I am 5,246 days old. On May 23, 2000 the waning moon was about 78% visible. There was a minimum temperature of 53.1*F, a mean of 58.6*F, and a maximum of 68*F. There was 0.02 inches of rainfall reported. There were calm winds of 7.5-18.5MPH with a mean of about 11.1 MPH. It was a fairly clear day on the day I was born.
Antonis Samaras; The 185th Prime Minister of Greece, Emperor Qinzong; Emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, Matt Flynn; Drummer for Maroon 5, Ursula Plassnik; Austrian diplomat and politician, and the Foreign Minister of Austria (2004-2008), Philip I of France; King of France from 1059-1108 are all famous people who were born on my birthday.
On my birthday in history these things happened:
1430 – Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.
1498 – Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy.
1533 – The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.
1568 – The Netherlands declare their independence from Spain.
1788 – South Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution as the 8th American state.
1846 – Mexican–American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declares war on the United States.
1900 – American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney is awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner in 1863.
1907 – The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathers for its first plenary session.
1911 – The New York Public Library is dedicated.
1967 – Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and blockades the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping.
A postage stamp cost $0.33 in 2000. a luxury car cost 75,000, an economy car cost 24,000, and a 4 bedroom house in Media cost about $350,000-$400,000 in 2000.
A gallon of milk cost about $2.80. Also, in 2000, 1 movie ticket cost $5.39
Bill Clinton was the president when I was born. Beanie babies were the must have toy and I loved the "Tickle Me Elmo" from 2-4, also "Little People" which were mini figures that never left my side. Gladiator and Xmen were movies that were out around the time that I was born. Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman were the biggest movie stars during this time. CSI, Gilmore Girls, Malcom in the Middle, and Dora the Explorer were popular shows. “Breathe” by Faith Hill was one of the most popular songs. Beach Volleyball became a very popular sport in 2000. Peasant tops, shiny pants, neckties as belts, beaded wire chokers, fishnet stockings, halter tops, and flowy dresses over jeans were fashion trends when I was born.
Chapter 3: Storage Trunk
Chapter Four: My Personal Alphabet
A is for ambitious. I always go for what I want and never back down.
B is for busy. I have lots of things to do and I rarely have a moment to breathe.
C is for confident. I think that if I am confident and sure about things that I always do better and so I have tried to become confident in all that I do so that I can always do my best.
D is for detailed. I like to make sure that every last detail is perfect.
E is for exceptional. I always try to pass limits and averages and I am forever competing against myself and everyone around me.
F is for fearless. I try to eliminate all of my fears so that I can live fearlessly and never back away from things because I am afraid.
G is for grandiose. I'm magnificent by just being myself. I also have quite the impressive resume of accomplishments.
H is for honest. I almost never tell lies because they almost make things worse and more complicated than they need to be.
I is for idealistic. When I picture clean white boxes or perfect situations I can calm down almost immediately.
J is for jewish. I am jewish and I am very involved with my synagogue.
K is for knowledgeable. I like to think that I know a lot and I love learning and all things school related.
L is for loquacious. I am extremely talkative.
M is for modest. I dress appropriately and I try to be moderate in my emotions towards my accomplishments.
N is for neat. I like everything to be clean and organized.
O is for omniscient. (sarcasm) I like to think that I am all knowing.
P is for poised. I am graceful and poised when it comes to performing and presenting.
Q is for quirky. I have my quirks just like everyone which is what makes me different from everyone else.
R is for reasonable. I always think rationally and sensibly.
S is for sassy. I have enough sass and sarcasm to fill the ocean.
T is for teenager. I am fourTEEN, therefore making me a teenager.
U is for uptight. I push myself as hard as I can and most of the time I am tense.
V is for vibrant. My motto is work hard play hard, and, though it's hard to believe, outside of school I am full of energy.
W is for worrisome. Even though I try to be fearless and attempt to be stress free, I still have my worries.
X is for xanthippe. I am an ill-tempered female.
Y is for young. I am only 14 years old and I have a long time to live.Z is for zippy. I do things quickly and I have quick reflexes and responses.
Chapter Five: A Family History (Thanksgiving)
All day my dad, mom, and grandmother prepared food for the dinner to come. My immediate family (who was at dinner) includes: my mother, Joyce; my father, Alec; my brother, Spencer; and me, Abby. The people who came to my house for thanksgiving were: my Gamma, Bari-Lynn; my Nana, Carol; my Aunt Mei; my Uncle Bob; my cousins, Andrew and Elisabeth; my sister, Rachel; my brother-in-law, Miles; my half-nephew, Thatcher, and the three Chinese exchange students that Uncle Bob and Aunt Mei are housing: Maggie, Bridget, and Julie.
After everyone got to my house we started loading up our plates. For dinner we had turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, potatoes in sauce, cranberry relish, green beans, baby bok choy, cranberry jelly, carrot cake, and apple pie. Everyone helped themselves to food and then sat down and talked for a while. The adults sat at one one table and me, my cousins, Thatcher, Maggie, Bridget, and Julie sat at the kids table. We ate second helpings of dinner and then ate dessert. Dessert was pumpkin and apple pie. I love pumpkin pie along with most of the rest of my family. However my dad doesn't like pumpkin pie at all. Dinner was great and I interviewed my Grandmother and Aunt and Uncle. My Grandmother is 79 and my Aunt came here from China.
The story of my Aunt Mei and Uncle Bob is very interesting. My Uncle Bob learned Mandarin and went over to China after college to teach English. My Aunt was in his English class and they fell in love. They moved back over here, got married, and started a family.
My Mom and Dad talked about our the languages that our family speaks (Mandarin and English mainly), some of our traditions, how we got here, who our ancestors are, and how their lives were.
I love my family and seeing them and talking to them is always the highlight of my Thanksgiving. I also love the food it may even place higher than my family. (Don't tell them that I said this!)
Chapter Seven: Personal Metaphors
Chapter Eight: A Day in the Life
Chapter Nine: Likes and Dislikes
I like the sunshine that peeks through my window on Saturday mornings at nine o'clock waking me up.
I like the taste of salt water on the beach that tastes like happiness and like all the cares in the world have suddenly disappeared.
I like the smell and feel of clean sheets when you get into bed after washing then earlier that day.
The smell in the air before it rains and the pitter patter on my windows when it finally does, are calming and that is why I enjoy them so much.
I like waking up on the last day before break and being able to think about the next day and waking up late.
Baking cakes, or cookies, cupcakes, or pies for parties, special occasions or just because is something I like more than I wish to admit.
Saving up my money for months for something that I have wanted for a long time.
I love shopping in general especially with honest friends.
The feeling of triumphant satisfaction when you get your final grades and they were worth the many hours of studying and homework.
Finishing lots of homework and having free time.
Getting into bed and falling asleep within five minutes of the lights going out.
Getting a test back that you weren't sure how you did on and seeing that you got an 100%.
The feeling of seeing friends after summer break.
Reconnecting with old friends.
I absolutely love being right about something that everyone else was wrong about.
I love talking to my relatives and getting hugs from them.
I like the colors of the sunset and the leaves right during the turn of the seasons.
I don't like getting up early.
I hate getting answers wrong.
My least favorite thing is a grade that is 0.01% away from being an A+.
I don't like when people ruin the endings of books before I finish them.
When you pull into the garage and your favorite song just comes on the radio.
Being left out of a group activity.
I despise being picked last for gym class games.
I hate when you're on the last 10 pages of a book and the problems still haven't been worked out.
I also hate when everything has been solved and you still have 100 pages of a book left.
I hate two faced people or slackers.
I don't like the itchy feeling of wool.
I hate when cute clothes don't come in your size.
I despise when small children are reliant on technology to have fun. Go. Out. Side.
I also don't like when kids are bratty or try to play with you when you're having a conversation with someone.
I don't like unfair people.
Most of all I hate when you can't seem to fall asleep but you have something important to do early the next day.
But I also don't like crying yourself to sleep.
I hate thinking about rejection or death or major change.I hate not knowing what's going to happen next or being unsure of how things will turn out.
Chapter Twelve: Year in Reading
"11/22/1963" is written by Steven King. It is a Science fiction/horror novel. I would give it a 6 out of 10. This book is about a man who goes back in time to the day JFK is assassinated. Jake, the main character, tries to alter time and saves JFK. When he gets back in the real world he sees that the world isn't better with JFK alive and that it actually made things worse.
"Prince and the Pauper" is written by Mark Twain. It is a historical fiction novel. I would give it a 4 out of 10. This book is about a prince and a poor boy who trade places. After living in each other's shoes they try to work to go back to their real lives. In the end everything works out and they trade back to their normal lives.
"Phoenix Island" is written by John Dixon. It is a realistic fiction novel. I would give it a 7 out of 10. "Phoenix Island" is a realistic fiction book about an Island where bad kids are sent to figure their lives out. Carl, the main character is sent to this military style camp because he fought with the bullies at school. He ends up escaping this sadistic camp and figuring his life out.
"Paper Towns" is written by John Green. It is a realistic fiction/mystery novel. I would give it 7 out of 10. Quentin says: "We are digging graves for Little margo and Little Quentin and puppy Myrna mountweazel and poor dead Robert Joyner." on page 300. "Paper Towns" is a mystery novel about Margot, a girl who runs off during the last week of her senior year. Her friends try to find her by going on a road trip on graduation day. Once they find her she decides to stay in New York and her friends go home.
"The Ruining" is written by Anna Collomore. It is a horror/ realistic fiction novel. I would give it a 5 out of 10. Annie, the main character, goes to California to leave her horrible life behind to nanny a rich family. Everything goes well until the mother of the family goes insane and locks Annie in her room for days until she starts hurting herself and going crazy. In the end, Annie finds out that Libby, the mom, committed a murder and she gets arrested so Annie's live goes back to normal.
"Flowers in the Attic" is written by V.C Andrews. It is a horror/ realistic fiction novel.I would give it a 4 out of 10. This book is about a mother whose husband dies and has to take her family to her crazy mother's house. She leaves her kids in the attic and runs off with some man while her mother is poisoning her children for two years. In the end her three remaining children escape but don't go to the police about their mother.
"Bunheads" is written by Sophia Flack. It is a realistic fiction novel and I would give it a 4 out of 10. Bunheads is about a bunch of ballerinas who train and compete against each other for the best spots in dances. The book tells about their dramatic lives in New York, their romantic encounters and their eating disorders. In the end the main character quits dancing because she doesn't love it anymore.
"Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters" is written by Natalie Standiford. It is a realistic fiction novel and I would give it a 6 out of 10. The Grandmother says: "A little advice: Choose your battles carefully. Something to think about." on page 214. This quote is one that I, personally, can use in my life. Sometimes we have to make choices about which battles to fight because one person can't fight all of them by herself so the most important ones are the ones that we should fight. "Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters" is about three sisters writing to their grandmother who they believe they have offended. Norrie writes about the boy she ran off with, Jane writes about the blog where she exposed her family's secrets and Sassy writes about how she thinks she killed her grandfather. In the end the grandmother puts them back in her will because their little brother was the one who offended her by spraying her dog with water and harassing it.
"Night" is written by Eli Weisel. It is an autobiography and I would give it an 8 out of 10. "Night" is about the Holocaust and Eli Wiesel's experience during it. Eli had to leave his home with his family and they were taken to work camps. In the end Eli's entire family dies and he is the only remaining family member.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is written by Harper Lee. It is a realistic fiction novel and I would give it a 9 out of 10. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is about Scout, the main character, and her brother Jem and their friend Dill become fascinated with their neighbor Boo Radley. Their father, Atticus, represents Tom Robinson, who is black, against Bob Ewell and his daughter Mayella who claims Tom raped and beat her. In the end Tom is shot by the police and Boo Radley kills Bob Ewell as defense against him attacking Scout and Jem.
"Of Mice and Men" is written by John Steinbeck. It is a realistic fiction novel and I would give it a 7 out of 10. One words of wisdom quote that I found is: "Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella." Slim says this on page 40. "Of Mice and Men" is about Lennie and George who are farmers who go to a new farm for work. Lennie accidentally kills a puppy and Curley's wife and so he runs into the bushes. George goes after him and kills him because he makes his life difficult and is always getting him in trouble.
"Persepolis" is written by Mar Jane Satrapi. It is her Autobiography and I would give it a 4 out of 10. "Persepolis" is a graphic novel about Mar Jane growing up in Iran. She talks about growing up during the Islamic Revolution and how she wasn't allowed to wear certain clothes and she had to change her life. In the end the revolution gets to be too much and her parents send her away with her relatives to be safe.
"Colors of the Mountain" is written by Da Chen. It is a historical/ biography novel. I would give it a 4 out of 10. "Colors of the Mountain" is written by Da Chen about his life during communist China. He talks about his schooling, the big exams he had to take, and his friends. He talks about sneaking out, studying hard, partying with his friends, smoking, and taking road trips to see the one movie that was out with the pretty actress.
Chapter Thirteen: Friendship
I am "friends" with very few people but I am "friendly" with many people. I believe that there is a very big difference between these two terms. I also have many separate friend groups. The women that I sit with at lunch and have known since elementary school includes Emma, my best friend, Tabbi, and Analiese. The men that I'm friends with include Dan who studies with me, Cole, who is on Envirothon with me, Matt Tang, who I always have to compete with to keep up, Liam, who I am friends with on and off because we're so similar, and Zafir, who always makes me laugh and I've known since Kindergarten. Other friends that I made in Middle School include Dora, who is sarcastic as anything and helps everyone and anyone who needs it, Juliet, who is the fiercest person I know and who always speaks her mind, Thy-lan, who is on Envirothon and shares classes with me, KT (Katharine), who always has my back and brings me back down to Earth when I'm not making sense, Anna, Erica, Emma, and Abby who are the sweetest and kindest women I know. I would venture outside of our grade, school and state if I had the time but these are the friends that I spend the most amount of time with. My friends make me who I am and force me to become a better person everyday. A wise person once said "surround yourself with people you want to be like". The people that I am friends with are all people who I hope to be like and learn from.
My friends and I meet after school, at lunch in the library, at the mall, or at each others houses. We basically just hang out, talk, study, shop, or eat together. I met most of my friends at school but those not mentioned I met through my Synagogue or through family friends. My friends make me feel like I have something good to give to the world, something important to say, and something interesting to do. I can only hope that I make each and every one of them feel the same way.