Autobiography

A journey through the mind and life of Liam Theveny

Chapter 1- My Name

Liam Theveny. Mull that over for a few minutes. Pronounce the 5 syllable phrase out loud. Roll it off your tongue. How did you pronounce that? Lee-um? Lie-um? Theh-veny? The-veny? Or something completely different? Most people can pronounce the name nowadays, but back before Liam was popular, you'd be surprised.

At 11:21 A.M., Wednesday, November 10, 1999, a newborn child was dubbed Liam Michael Theveny. Names such as Aiden, Declan, Rhys, Eamonn, and Michael were thrown out in the process, and my parents finally settled on Liam. The Irish name they wanted was chosen, the common cultural point of my family. The movie Michael Collins, about the Irish independence movement, was the inspiration for the name of that heritage. I went out of the hospital and into the world a newly named Irish child. The name was chosen for its ease of pronunciation, but little did we know my name would be impossibly hard to pronounce for people.

As soon as I was carried out of that hospital and into the world, people mispronounced my name. "What's his name? Leon?" asked the other mothers, as they bustled about, tending to their children during our baby play sessions. "What his name?" a clerk would ask at the store. My mother would reply "Liam," and the clerk would then ask, "Leo?". "'Lie-um'?," a new teacher or a sub would call out. For most of these, I have no actual recollection, but, like a shadow, the ideas remain. For whatever reason, people could not pronounce Liam.

Now, I shouldn't really be holding a grudge against people. The year I was born, the name Liam was around 150th on the most popular names list. It was an unusual name, I'll give them that. The uncommonness of the name also led to never getting a personalized name mug or other knick knack that all the other kids would get. As the name became more popular, the pronunciation got better. But then the other shoe dropped - people couldn't pronounce the rest of my name.

Flash-forward to elementary school years. Young Liam Theveny walks into class, and sits at his seat, where his name is labeled. Patiently, I listen to the names being called, waiting for my own name to be read aloud. I had more understanding for names by the time kindergarten rolled around, and being able to read, I wasn't too bad at pronouncing names myself. I was getting anxious, as a kindergartener sitting through 20 names waiting for their own would get. Finally, my name was called. "Liam ...uh, Theveny (pronounced as The (hard e)-veny)," called the teacher. "Theveny (pronounced Theh- veny)," I corrected, "and here." At the time, it seemed like a simple mistake, and it seemed as though that was the end of that problem.

Soon my teacher and classmates had my name down pat, and I forgot about it for nearly a year, until my new teacher couldn't pronounce my name. This became more and more of an annoyance as years went on, until middle school rolled around. When middle school started, the problem got even worse, as I had nearly 10 times the teachers, all of whom took two weeks at the least to learn my name. I was getting more and more frustrated, when eventually, I realized it just didn't matter. It may be annoying, and it may cause pain, but it doesn't matter, because as Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet,” -so a Liam Theveny is still a Liam Theveny, even if he's called Leo Theveny. I didn't flinch as my band director mispronounced my name after having me for three years. I barely even noticed when my principal called my name as Theh-Veeny at the awards ceremony. I had finally found peace with my name, the yin and yang of my liking my name balanced by the difficulty others have with it.

Liam Theveny. Liam, which means "determined protector". Liam Theveny, a blueberry jam flowing smoothly over a piece of bread. A first name with strong Irish roots, a surname with a French end. Though people had trouble speaking the flowing name, thinking it had hard vowels in it, there are few names to choose over Liam. Liam Theveny, which could have been Eamonn or Aiden or Rhys or Declan or Michael, but over which Liam prevailed. Liam Theveny.

Chapter 2 - My Birthday

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Chapter 3 - My storage trunk

An uncovered light switch with exposed wires, when activated, shed light upon an unfinished room behind the walls of a finished man-cave-like basement. The cement floor in this unfinished room was spotted with dust, pieces of wood and nails, and other miscellaneous objects. The walls were held by 2-by-4s, and the insulation was exposed and visible through the posts. Makeshift shelves lined the walls, holding up various memories, tools, and things from the past. The boiler in the back creaked and groaned. In this room, the past is boxed and ready to be discovered.

On my trip down, I discovered two things from when I was younger that really caught my eye. The first thing was a train set from when I was younger. Called the "Name Train", this train was created in Lancaster, where my mom went out to buy it. When assembled correctly, it spells out "Liam". As a small child, I loved to play with these trains. I would drag these trains across my carpet for hours on end, mesmerized by the turning wheels rolling across the green carpet. The small wood train was saved because it reminded my family of when I was a young boy, when I loved trains and Thomas. This reveals that our family values handmade objects and craftsmanship. We think that the work put into handmade objects should be recognized and the objects created this way should be bought. The same day that the train was bought, in fact, my parents bought a handcrafted bed.

The second item I found on my journey to the center of my basement was a old christmas village set. It included 42 pieces, though some were missing from damage over the years. There were buildings with lights running through them, some light posts with (ironically) no lights in them, and lots of little people. The best of all, though, was the little electric train that ran along the village. I could go watching that train for minutes on end, fiddling with the track to make it run the way I wanted it to. We put out this village every Christmas since the 2000 Christmas (it came out the Christmas before the edition year), and it symbolizes the joy felt near Christmas time, both with the smiling faces of the small ceramic villagers and the joy it has lived through throughout the years. After the train went into disrepair and was permanently left in the box, I became significantly less interested in the tiny town. I was actually surprised to find out it still goes up every year, glowing in our dining room window for passers to see. The small village is significant to my family because it shows that my family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas, and loves the holiday and the joy and merriment it creates. We are a Catholic family, and this small village shows the tradition and the happiness that this holiday brings us.

My trip down to the basement was an interesting one. I saw many things that revealed things about my family and my younger life. Though there wasn't much of anything from my ancestors, I learned about my current family, and that's just as important in my opinion. The traditions I discovered were captivating, and the train set I found really took me back. All in all, this project taught me a lot about my past. I also found my birthday present, so that's something.

Chapter 4 - My alphabet

Liam Theveny


A is for anxious. I am a frequent worrier and am always fretting, though I’ve calmed down over my school career.

B is for bibliomaniac. I have more books than I could ever possibly read, and I love reading.

C is for cacography. My handwriting is dismal, to say the least. Have fun writing anything I write on paper.

D is for dawdle. I enjoy my time and take as much as I can.

E is for egalitarian. I believe in justice and equality for all. It’s a moral taught at my house.

F is for finical. I'm a perfectionist in almost anything, including simple matters. It can take me a long time to do things, since I do them until it’s right.

G is for gullible. I usually believe what comes out of people's mouths. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but mostly a curse.

H is for habitual. My morning and days are all very similar, and fall into a pattern.

I is for interloper. I am quite the nosy person, and I’m usually in peoples’ businesses.

J is for jocular. My mom thinks I'm funny. I can’t say the same for all people, but at least my mom does.

K is for kempt. I like to dress nicely, with button downs and khakis

L is for logical. I like to think, and I try and make sense of things.

M is for mild-mannered. I'm a pretty easy-going person unless someone intentionally makes me mad.

N is for nerdy. I enjoy science and math, the two nerdiest subjects. Enough said.

O is for observant. I take in all the details surrounding me, and I’m relatively aware.

P is for peevish. I get really mad or annoyed really fast. Mercutio was the perfect role for me.

Q is for quizzical. I ask a lot of questions if I don't understand.

R is for rational. I am clear minded and make good decisions.

S is for sciapodous. I have size 12 feet and I'm 5 foot 9 inches. I think that equates to pretty big feet.

T is for technical. I have a specific skill for STEM-related endeavors.

U is for unique. Cheesy but true, there isn't another person like me, though there are close ones.

V is for vernal. I'm only 15. Don't count me out of my young years yet.

W is for wily. I'm pretty clever if I do say so myself (and my family agrees).

X is for xenophile. I enjoy learning about and meeting people of different cultures.

Y is for Yankee. I live in the upper half of the United States, which used to be referred to by Southerners and British as yankees.

Z is for zealous. I can be very passionate about my education and music, amongst other things.


Chapter 5- Thanksgiving

Part One: My immediate family consists of my mother, my father, my brother, and my sister. My mother is basically the definition of strict. Though she is fair for the most part, she is very straight-forward and to the point. She is kind, and sympathetic, but she lays down the law. My dad is like my mom, but in a low-key way. He is strict, but less-so. He will sit quietly until a situation arises where disciplinary action is called upon, and will reprimand appropriately. Though his fuse is relatively short, he’s a very nice guy, and hilarious. He’s smart and easy to be around when he’s in a good mood. My brother is a humorous boy. Though he is annoying and a pest occasionally, he’s funny a good amount of the time. He’s notably athletic, as he is the second-fastest miler in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. My sister is the youngest in the family, at 9 years old. She is, by far, the most annoying member of the family. She tries to make jokes, but they’re so dumb they make no sense. Though she can be funny unintentionally, and she means well, she is annoying. She enjoys acting and theater.

For Thanksgiving, my family took an hour long drive to my uncle's house to celebrate. At the dinner, there were 12 other people. My immediate family was there, obviously. My uncle Rob (a thirty-some man who is extremely cool and funny) and aunt Tiffany (a thirty-some year old woman who is slightly uptight, but is very nice and smart) hosted. My aunt's parents were there too, but I know very little about them. My mommom and poppop were there as well. My mommom is 72, has curly gray hair, and is very kind and insightful. My poppop is older than my mommom, tall with gray hair, and is funny. My two cousins were there also. They are both girls, young, and annoying but inadvertently funny. We ate our dinner in separate rooms; kids in one room, adults in the other.

Part two: For our meal, the main dish was turkey. It was cut into slices, with wings or other pieces with skin on them in each corner. It was premade, so it was kind of cold. However, I enjoyed it for the most part. To compliment the turkey, there was stuffing (which I avoided), sweet potatoes (which I also avoided), sweet potato cornbread, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (again, which I avoided), and corn pudding. The corn pudding and mashed potatoes were notably tasty. The mashed potatoes were creamy and delicious. The corn pudding was sweet and smooth, yet lumpy (a good thing) due to the corn inside. The dessert was even better. I had apple pie and pecan pie, and sampled the pumpkin and sweet potato pie (yes, that is a lot of sweet potato.) The pecan pie put my favorite nut with a chocolate-y interior, and it was absolutely amazing. The other pies were good too, but I honestly can't remember much about them. That's how good the pecan pie was. The food at Thanksgiving was enjoyable and delectable, and overall, Thanksgiving was a good time.

Here's a link to the interview with my grandmother

Chapter 6 - Music

Music is an integral part of my life. I’ve been involved in music performance since the 4th grade, and began actually listening to music in the 6th grade. I play music every day, whether on trumpet, guitar, or piano. I listen to music all the time. I listen in the car, at lunch, going to bed, and times in between. Mostly, I listen to classic rock the most often, with a small amount of jazz and alternative. I listen to alternative on Sunday nights, when I can't listen to classic rock going to bed. I listen to jazz when I'm practicing jazz and Thursdays before jazz band.

My favorite band would be Led Zeppelin, due to their blues/heavy rock mixture. A few other of my most appreciated bands would be the Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles. Though I have no specific favorite song, some of my most-liked songs are Have a Cigar, Satisfaction, You Can't Always Get What You Want, The Ocean, Baba O'Reilly, Carry On My Wayward Son. All of these songs are quick, guitar-heavy, and uplifting due to their beat.

Although my life relies so heavily on music, and although I listen to music constantly, I have no real stories that go along with them. Baba O'Reilly and I Will Survive are both some great songs that I've played many times. I've played many concerts with these two songs, and they are always the standouts of any concert we play. Though there isn't stories, these songs are probably the songs I am "closest" to internally. I sing I Will Survive with my band, and it’s one of the only songs within my low range of voice, so I’ve grown to love this song more than any other song, though it is not my favorite.

Though I could identify with most songs, one speaks to me above the others. The Rolling Stones’ song You Can’t Always Get What You Want speaks to me in a way most songs don’t. I can relate to this song. It goes:

I saw her today at the reception

A glass of wine in her hand

I knew she would meet her connection

At her feet was a footloose man

No, you can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometime you find

You get what you need

I saw her today at the reception

A glass of wine in her hand

I knew she was gonna meet her connection

At her feet was a footloose man

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes well you might find

You get what you need

And I went down to the demonstration

To get my fair share of abuse

Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration

If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes well you just might find

You get what you need

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore

To get your prescription filled

I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy

And man, did he look pretty ill

We decided that we would have a soda

My favorite flavor, cherry red

I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy

Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"

I said to him

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you just might find

You get what you need

You get what you need--yeah, oh baby

I saw her today at the reception

In her glass was a bleeding man

She was practiced at the art of deception

Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you just might find

You just might find

You get what you need

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you just might find

You just might find

You get what you need

This song originally caught my attention due to it’s down-to-earth mentality. The song was written by a millionaire who hasn’t had to struggle in over ten years, but I thought it really connected with the working-class people. This could be due to the fact that that’s how he grew up, but I think it’s really insightful and relatable to most people. This song connects to me because it relates to my perseverance and work ethic. It says that if you try, you get what you need, so that shows how I work to get what I want. It also shows my patience, because, though it doesn't explicitly say it, I think it is implied that patience, along with hard work, will bring what you need and sometimes what you want. The fact in this song that you don’t always get what you want is particularly relatable, because, as a child, I was slightly spoiled, and I’ve realized as I grew up that you can’t always get what you want. As I read through the lyrics, two stood out to me. The first is, "You can't always get what you want // But if you try sometimes, you just might find. // You get what you need." Obviously, this is the most important line of the whole piece. It really conveys the overall meaning of the song, and is meaningful in that it tells you you can't always get what you want, which is a good moral to learn; that you can't always expect everything to go your way; you aren't always going to get exactly what you expect. The second lyric that was important was, "We're gonna vent our frustration. // If we don't, we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse." Though this is more of a "hidden" message, I think that the message that people need to speak their mind is a great message to convey.

In a hyperbolic sense, music could be described as my life. I listen to music every waking hour not in school, and I play music all the time. I love music; music is a spiritual rest and journey, and it basically makes me happy. Though some may argue that music is not practical, I’d argue that music is the life and soul of modern entertainment, and therefore life in general.

Chapter 7 (originally 8) - the list of lists

Following is the grand list of lists. It's exactly what it sounds like; a big list of smaller lists. Enjoy as I explore the random categories set forth.

My Own List of Lists:

1) People who have influenced me:

  1. My mother

  2. My father

  3. Mrs. O’Laughlin

  4. Mrs. Gruber

  5. Mr. O’Neill

  6. Mrs. Mary Cappillino

  7. Mr. Jared Loss

  8. Mrs. Raichek

  9. Chris Jackson

  10. Daniel Breslin

2) Places that make me happy:

  1. Ocean City, New Jersey

  2. Jamaica

  3. The Bahamas

  4. The kitchen table at my house

  5. My bed

  6. Media Borough

  7. The houses of my friends

3) Places I would like to go:

  1. Rome

  2. Paris

  3. Dubai

  4. San Diego

  5. Hawaii

  6. Venice

  7. Shanghai

  8. Cape of Good Hope

  9. Canary Islands

  10. Madagascar

4) Things in people which I like:

  1. Empathy

  2. Humor

  3. Intelligence

  4. Humbleness

  5. Self-confidence

  6. Insightfulness

  7. Compassion

  8. Responsibility

  9. Kindness

5) Things in people which I dislike:

  1. Inconsiderate

  2. Dishonesty

  3. Haughtiness

  4. Indifference

  5. Ignorance

  6. Hubris

  7. Solemnity

6) Things that worry me:

  1. Death

  2. Isolation

  3. Large crowds

  4. Disappointing people

  5. Subpar test grades

  6. Public Speaking

  7. Embarrassing myself

  8. Being mocked

7) Things I would like to know how to do:

  1. Cook

  2. Drive

  3. Play the saxophone

  4. Speak fluently in French

  5. Speak fluently in Chinese

  6. Play chess well

  7. Ski

  8. Repair and build electronic devices

8) Things that have moved me:

  1. My brother’s birth

  2. When my grand-mom-mom died

  3. Jumping off the second platform at Hidden Hollow years ago.

  4. Alexander Wynn’s aneurysm

  5. Getting my first real pet, my dog.

  6. My first live performance at World Cafe Live with Rockdale.

9) Ideas that intrigue me:

  1. The Black-hole Theory

  2. Socialism

  3. The Big-Bang Theory

  4. The Theory of Relativity

  5. The Meteor-Impact Theory

  6. Nuclear Energy

  7. Genetic modifications on plants, animals, and humans

  8. Money in Politics

10) My Personal Favorites:

  1. My favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla.

  2. My favorite dinner food is spaghetti.

  3. My favorite movie is Interstellar.

  4. My favorite series is Harry Potter.

  5. My favorite instrument to play is the trumpet.

  6. My favorite kind of chocolate is dark.

  7. My favorite color is blue.

  8. My favorite sport to watch is football.

  9. My favorite type of dog is Havanese.

  10. My favorite soda is Diet Coke.

Chapter 8 (originally 11) - A list of regrets

  • Quitting all sports as soon as I got into high school.

  • Agreeing to get braces even though my teeth were nearly fine before.

    • Braces, quite possibly, were the worst decision of my life. Not only were they a general nuisance, but they ruined my trumpet playing as well. My tone became infinitely worse, and my lips constantly hurt, from sores and impressions from playing trumpet a lot. I have trouble producing any sound, and I think braces could have been the worst-thought-out decision I've ever made

  • Being so emotional in elementary school that I was mocked throughout middle school and even still.

  • Slacking in math class throughout this year rather than focusing.

  • Getting involved in any forms of social media.

  • Not learning good study habits early.

  • Not working more on my English or Social Studies.

  • Not trying my hardest in the sports I used to do.

  • Starting to procrastinate in the beginning of the year, making the procrastination an unbreakable cycle for this year.

  • Sleeping so little during the weekdays.

  • Taking french (even though I like French) instead of Spanish

  • Not choosing Chinese next year

  • Not finishing my English midterm.

    • My English midterm ending up scoring a 90, a very close score to making me ineligible for the National English Honor Society. However, the 90 on the midterm has almost definitely made me exempt from an A plus in English. This is disappointing for me, as I've probably put the second most or most work into English, and have done extremely well this year, far surpassing my English expectations. It's unfortunate that one test can ruin a grade that would otherwise reflect well on a good year, but I would say I've learned to manage time better with this experience.

Chapter 9 (originally 12) - My Year in Reading

This year has been a fantastic year for reading. Due to the fact that we had an assignment that required us to read books outside our norm, I was stretched in my reading ability. Though not everything was the most enjoyable, such as Dune (It was 500 pages long and tiny font), I gained valuable experiences from the reading.

My main accomplishment in this assignment was that I explored new genres this year. One that particularly stood out to me was romance. Going into this year, I would never read a romance book, let alone admit it. However, I read books like If I Stay and The Future of Us, and I had a completely different look at it. I enjoyed these romance books. I thought that they weren’t only sappy and girly, but had interesting plotlines. I realized that not all romance books are terrible works of literature intended for the female audience, but that some are enjoyable.

My most enjoyed book this year was either Unwind or To Kill a Mockingbird. I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird because I thought it was wonderfully written, had a great plotline, and was overall a classic piece of literature that took on controversial topics with ease. To Kill a Mockingbird is a literary classic with developed characters and a fascinating plotline, and I loved it as a result. I liked Unwind because it was stressful and interesting. It told of a dystopian society, and tackled current issues such as abortion in an interesting and frightening way.

Overall, I’d say that this year was a success. I expanded my range of genres, and I read books that I might not have read before, and loved them. The independent reading assignments were an easy and fun way to get into the reading process, and the in-class reading opened me to some classics that I ended up loving as well. All in all, the reading in this year was a great experience and use of my time, and I think that grades below us should continue this tradition.

Link to my books this year

Chapter 10 (originally 13) - Friendship

Friendship is a strange and beautiful thing, an evasive and stressful thing, a fulfilling thing. Everyone needs a little friendship within their lives. It's unfortunate that not everyone can say they have friends, but luckily, I can say I have friends. My closest friend group consists of Daniel Breslin, Chris Jackson, David Tomlinson, Matt Arndt, Justin Senackerib, Dyanna Cramer, Jordyn Kaplan, Megan McLoughlin, Sydney Goldberg, and Helen Barsz. My closest friends outside of my immediate group (some of these people I'm closer to than some of my actual friend group) would be Matt Rebuck, Dora McCafferty, Thy-Lan Gale, Zafir Minhaj, Marcus Troy, Chris McAvoy, Jonah Lourie, Cait Reilly, Brandon Yee, and Matt Tang, amongst various other friends I have that I'm not as close to. However, I'll be focusing on my friend group in this passage. My friend group hangs out at each other's houses various times throughout the year, 20 times or more a year. Basically, we sit there, eat various snacks, and either watch a movie or just hang around. By "hang around", I mean we talk about any random thing we feel like, while doing random things with objects around the house so we can put it on our Snapchat Stories. It's about as fascinating as it sounds. While our hangouts aren't exactly the most interesting way to spend my nights, they are still a fun way to spend time with my friends, and hanging out with my friends is way better than sitting at home. The age-old question may be at hand, however. “How did you guys meet?” Well, the core of my friend group (Me, Chris, Daniel, Jordyn, Megan, Helen, Sydney) met in elementary school, though the girls weren't friends with the guys back then. As we entered middle school, the uncertainty that was brought with it caused some of the kids in middle school to cluster into friend groups. That's how mine was formed. Through middle school, other kids have been added to our friend group, and some have left, but our original core has stayed the same. We all seem to like each other, though occasionally we fight. We can make each other laugh, and we can all comfort each other when we're down. There's a lot of stress that comes with friendship, but in the end, it's all worth it. Friends can pick you up, make you laugh, and generally spread happiness to the people around them, not to mention that they keep you occupied. Friendship is a valuable thing, and it shouldn't be wasted.