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I pretty much grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. My dad would always take my family and I for vacation whenever we would have school off. We would stay at the Showboat hotel. Most of the time we would stay there, we would be on the boardwalk, and go to our favorite area, that looks on to the pretty ocean. On the way to our favorite spot, there was a little “no trespassing zone”, but as a 9 year old, I had no worries in getting in trouble. I walked down the steps to the sand where I saw a big black and white cat. I’ve always liked every type of animal, especially the young ones. I saw that the big black cat had a litter of kittens and I just fell in love. An older girl from another family that was enjoying their vacation was down there in the sand with me, and she picked up a kitty, and took it home. I asked my parents if we could take one home and they agreed, only because it was my birthday. There were about six to seven kittens wandering around their resting mother. I went down with my older sister to choose which one we wanted. The one that stood out to me was the tiny, black and white fuzzball that was cuddling with his brother or sister. The cat was black and white like its mother. From what i remember, the kitten was black with white paws, a white spot around its nose, a white tip on its tail, and a tiny white spot on one of its ear. On the way home from Atlantic City, my mother suggested that it would be a good idea to choose a name as soon as possible. Since it was pretty much a present for my birthday, I got to choose the name. I would call puppies puppy, and birds birdies, and so on. One of my clearest memories with her was that on the way home, we had to stop for gas and I remember making my dad get out of the car and buy milk, to feed Katie. then, I figured out that cats don't really like milk. I've had Katie for a year, and that year was a great one. After Atlantic City, we brought her home to my old house, and she slept, ate, played, and even moved new houses with us. Katie was pretty much trained, and she even was a quick learner. After we moved to my new house, she learned her way around the block, and so my mom let her take a walk and let her do her business, and she would always come back home to us. Sadly, one day, she never came back. Obviously, this made us all very sad, but life goes on. And who ever
stole her, ran her over, or whatever happened to her, I hope she had a good life with me.
I entered this world on May 31, 1995 at 6:00 A.M. I was born a pretty big baby; 9 pounds, 5 ounces, which might explain why I am so tall. I was born at the St. Johns Hospital, in Queens, New York. As I sat around the dinner table, I remembered to ask my parents about the day of my birth. My mother and father started talking at once, telling me about the day I was born. First, they told me how out of all the hospitals, my mom chose mine as the best, and most comfortable one. My sisters were getting jealous, so I knew this was going to be a good story. They then told me that my grandma on my dad’s side had been staying with us until my mom had me, to help out around the house, and watch my 2-year-old sister, Michelle, while she was sick in the hospital. My mother couldn’t keep running back and forth to be with her, and make sure she was getting enough rest at the same time, so my grandma was willing to help out. My dad told me that I was a “surprise baby,” which to him, meant that my parents did not want to know the gender of the baby they were going to be having. Then, I started getting worried about what my mom was telling me next. She told me how the umbilical cord got tangled around my whole body, and my head, so when I came out, I wasn’t crying. They got me out after a while, but I was rushed to the emergency room. While telling me this, my mom had this nervous look on her face, as if she was remembering that very memory. She was telling me how she saw my father crying, and she was trying not to panic so much. She was trying to be strong. After that, I was a healthy baby girl. My parents then told me about my infancy and what my hobbies were as a very young child. I was told that I loved to listen to music, watch television, eating ice cream, and going to the Queens Center Mall and riding on the carousel.
One of my earliest memories was actually, pretty tragic. I remember going to the Queens Center mall with my older sister,
younger sister, and dad. My dad was originally taking my older sister to go get something that she's been wanting, but my younger sister and I were bored and we decided to tag along. My dad yelled out from outside, " Come on girls, quickly!" Natalie, my younger sister, ran to her room to get a pair of shoes and a jacket right away, and I did the same. I found my jacket but I could not find my shoes. I only found my navy blue, with a teal colored stripe, rain boots that were sitting around near the door. I quickly grabbed those and ran into the car. We got to the mall after a couple minutes, and we were getting out of the car to go in. My sisters were singing and I was just chatting with my dad as we were crossing the parking lot. We got in safely and went straight to the store my sister wanted to go into. I do not remember what the store was called, but all I can recall is that it was a furniture/ house decorating type of store. Now, I am thinking, what did a seven year old want to buy in a furniture store? Thats my older sister for you! But anyways, back to the story. The store was large, and wasn't to filled with people, but there were still a lot of people. My sister and I ran straight to the escalator, because we both wanted to get downstairs. This is when the accident started. Somehow, my foot got sucked into the sides of the actual machine part of the escalator. the machine was sucking my foot in and i was yelling and screaming because i was scared that my foot would get cut off, and also i was 5, what else would a 5 year old do? My dad saw me and heard my crying, and he started "pushing" people aside to get down the escalator to press the emergency stop button, since no one seemed to want to hear him when he was yelling for someone to help me since he was higher up. I remember him yelling, " Someone! Click the STOP button please! " That was hopeless, so he just ran down and clicked it himself. The men finally got me out and carried me into the ambulance to see if there was any damage. Luckily, there wasn't, just a couple scratches and a few bruises, but no broken bones. it hurt to walk on it so i got crutches, but i don't remember ever using them. the EMC's were telling me about how lucky i was to be wearing rubber boots. They really saved my foot. So next time you go to a store with an escalator, wear rubber boots!
First grade was one tough year. And no, I'm not talking about the
unbelievably easy math questions, like 1+1=2 or the new spelling words of the day. First grade was when a tragic and historical event happened. This was when September 11th happened. I was in school when this tragedy occurred. I remember how my friends and I were too young to understand what was going on, so now, looking back, it makes more sense. The High school was informed and most of the middle school was also. Lakeville was not told what had been going on so we carried the day on like a regular day, even though this day was a day that changed our history. I remember walking home from the bus stop and my neighbors were outside playing basketball as always, but something felt wrong. The brother that was in High School at the time asked me if I heard "what happened" and after I replied "no", he explained, and I remember running down the street to go speak to my parents. my parents were watching the news, so obviously, they were aware of the situation. I've always remembered hearing about things going on in other countries, and being told that we would be safe here in New York, but they were proven wrong. I told my parents I was worried about my friends that live in the city, and my they promised that they were okay. They were right. I will never forget that day.
Looking back at my childhood, I think about all the freedom I had, and the carefree life. Now, as a young adult, I have to worry about everything I say or do. As a kid, you wouldn't get in trouble for stealing the last cookie in the cookie jar, or playing a harmful prank on your siblings, or parents. you wouldn't get a lecture about what the outcomes could have been, everyone would just laugh and say something silly like, " aw, look how cute she is!" Also, the easy work I used to get in school, I wish I was back in those days because the work i get now, is killer compared to a child's work. now, thinking back, i really should have taken more of an advantage on my childhood. I could have done much more and not get in trouble for it! Ha-ha. I remember that some of my daydreams were pretty much what you see in movies, or what you would hear in a typical young girl. I used to dream that I was a beautiful princess in a huge castle with dragons and moats and shining knights protecting your every move. I dreamt I was a princess waiting for her noble knight in his bright and
shining armor coming to sweep me off my feet. that daydream is still in play, but thats what I dreamt of as a kid. I would also make up silly stories in my head and play them out in my room, or when I was alone. I also remember pretending that I was a singer slash dancer slash famous supermodel slash superhero. My mom told me how she remembered how I would walk out of her closet with her high heel shoes and lipstick all over my face. I would then go play dress up in my closet then come out and gather my family to put on a show for them. I would sing the songs I knew most of the words to and play a Barbie song on my Barbie CD player and make up a dance on the spot and make a total fool out of myself, but my family found it cute, so I kept it going.
My full name is Lauren Linda Franco. Now that I'm talking about names, you should know that I hate my middle name, so I hardly use it, only for some things. While I was sitting with my mom talking about all the things about my childhood, I came across the question, what nicknames do you have? I told my mom to skip to the next question, because I didn't have any. Then she was like, " what are you talking about? Think about what your dad has been calling you from pretty much the day you were born." My dad gave me the nickname Laurie. it's not much of a difference of my name, but it just sounds better if you call a kid that than Lauren. My dad told me he started calling me that when he would talk to me when i was a baby. He said it just came naturally so the name stuck. No one else other than my cousin and grandpa call me that. My dad uses it a lot, but I'm so used to it, that I don't realize he actually calls me that. Luckily, this isn't a name that bothers me. Some of my friends have really embarrassing nicknames, and I kind off feel bad for them. But getting a nickname is special, and it means something to everyone that calls you that. But I learned that over the years, people use the nicknames less and less, but it is never forgotten.
I had many childhood friends, and I'm lucky to say that most of
them are still my close friends now. I moved to the Great Neck School district in 1st grade, so I made many new friends quickly. I met most of them in recess, so I thank outdoor recess for that. I met Samantha Rickey, Stephanie Ross, Maya Levy, Rachel Stand, Rebecca Nikolai, Jilian Weihs, Jamie Klebanow, Sophia Berlin, Olivia Bernstein, Jeremy Bernstein, Ben Todaro, Mishaal Ahuja, Brandon Brown, Aaron Brenner, Matt Zieger and more. When we would go out for recess, we would all meet up on the football field and all just have fun together by talking, or playing sports. In JAM, a dance studio I went to for 5 years, (starting from first grade) I met the girls that I go to school with now, but went to different Great Neck schools. Some of the girls I met were Rachel Dienstag, Sydney Dymond, Natasha Deane, Ashley Hod, Emily Kanner, Shuli Hamooz, Emma Mirsky, and more. We would all hang out and dance together of course. One of my first best friends was Julie Ehrlich. We met in first grade, and although we had different teachers, we would be with each other every chance we had. Julie and I still go to the same school, but sadly, we are not friends anymore. I mean, were friendly, but we don't talk or hangout. Julie is pretty with brown hair and green eyes. We used to be the best of friends. I still remember everything we'd do together. She taught me many things like how to crochet, she taught me songs, dances, and taught me about nature. I remember we went to her grandparents house once and went outside and went fishing in the pond in his backyard. that was fun. Also, i remember how we took her guinea pigs out for a walk outside. we did strange things, but thats what made our friendship unique. I am not sure how our friendship began, but I'm happy it did. Having this relationship when i was so young, taught me about being a friend. You have to have trust, respect, care, and love. this helped me with other friendships I've had.
Chapter 1- The year that started my life's story. Gan Dalia- The name of my daycare center. I started going there when I was two years old. Disney World- The first time I went to Disney World was when I was three years old. Goodbye, pacifier- The year I turned four, I got rid of my pacifier. Kindergarten- I started P.S 174, my first school.
Loose Tooth- I lost my first tooth when I was six years old. JAM Dance & Fitness- I started the first out of the five years of dance at JAM when I was seven. First Fish- The first time I caught a fish by myself was when I was eight years old. I caught a flounder while I was on a fishing trip with my dad. Mommy gave the news- My mother told my sisters and I that she was pregnant with a baby boy. Elior, my new brother- My brother was born when I was in fourth grade. I was 10 years old. Cody- I got my dog Cody when I was 11 years old. He was a Jack Russell Terrier that we got from Nevada at the Beaver Creek Kennel. Middle School- I started middle school when I was 12. Bat Mitzvahs- 7th grade was when Bat Mitzvahs happened every weekend. Camp Edward Isaacs- I went to this camp the summer going into 8th grade. Still going on- Now I'm 14 and my life's story is still being written.
I watched a lot of TV as a kid, and since I'm Israeli, most of the shows were in Hebrew. There was one show that I remember in particular, and thats Kofico. Kofico is like a pet name for a monkey, which was the main character in the show. The show was about a monkey (person in a costume) who was living with a human family. Kofico was a fun and energetic "kid". he was always moving, singing, talking, jumping around, and of course, he was hysterical. I remember that my sisters and I would sit around the couch and watch Kofico, and one of us would always be on the floor laughing. I actually have all the tapes of each episode and I remember how I would watch them each night before I went to sleep. My sisters love it too, but I don't think it made such an impression on who they are now. The impression the show made on me didn't exactly change who I am today, but it taught me to make everyone smile and have a good time whenever you can. Making someone laugh is priceless, and so is making someone happy. From Kofico, I learned to always have fun and to be funny, but also, to care about everyone.
Summer is my favorite season. I love the feeling of summer breeze, and the heat against my skin. But my absolute favorite part of summer is getting on the plane to Israel, and landing in my second hometown. Israel is a huge part of my life because my whole family lives there and I go pretty much every year. I have many friends my age or around my age that live in Israel, so we would hang out a lot. Israel is very different from New York. Children and teenagers in Israel stay out all night, and they don't drive places, they walk. Parents are carefree because they know its not so dangerous at night since there are like a million kids outside. My best friend Shir lives in Shoam, a rich and beautiful town. Its filled with kids, and so every year that I stay in her house, I make a lot of new friends. We would go out each night and walk in the parks right after dinner. After dinner, we would run upstairs and get dressed, do our hair, and then run out the door. We would walk up the hill to the park where we would meet up with a lot of the neighborhood friends. It would always amaze me how late the kids would stay out until. One night, we stayed out 'til 4 A.M! The best is walking back home when its quiet and just talking about the people we knew and loved and what we think we will be doing in the future. There were many sounds we would listen to as we walked and talked. The faint sounds of the kids a couple yards away from us, the animals in the grass, the cars that were still out driving down the roads, and just the crickets chirping in the night. Thats what makes my summer memorable, the sounds, the feelings, the tastes, the memories. I love summertime because it gives me more freedom, off of school work, away from the friends I'm with the whole year, and the time i get to spend with my family and friends. I've learned to make my summers the best they can be so that I have something to dream about and tell stories to everyone who wants to hear them.
My earliest memories are from the Queens Y Nursery School. It was a school I went to before kindergarten, from about ages 3-5. I remember that I met
my closest friends there, two of them who are at this school and are still my best friends today. I remember the unusual playground. It was unusual because it wasn’t on the ground. It was on the highest floor enclosed in a huge area that looks like a sunroom with the strong fence closing the whole area all around, so it was safe. We used to love to play there everyday. There were slides, tubes, and monkey bars. Every time I think of the Y I think about the playground and being with my friends. One of my bad memories there was when my friends and I were fooling around and chasing each other throughout the playground and I ended up accidentally getting pushed off of the high slide. It was dangerous because I almost landed on my back and hurt myself really bad. I went to the doctor to make sure everything was okay and I didn’t hurt myself anywhere because sometimes you don’t feel the pain in an injury until it actually gets worse. I am still in touch with my childhood friends. We don’t see each other a lot but we do meet up once in a while. I also remember that in the Y we would cook sometimes. I only remember making cake and chocolate chip cookies. We made them in groups of about 6 people. I remember my friends and I eating the chocolate chips when the teacher wasn’t looking. When we met up, we were talking about that and surprisingly we all remembered that time.
My mom and dad are both amazing people. They are also very smart. My mom is really good at multi-tasking. She is also an amazing cook. My dad is really good at math and predicting what is going to happen next in movies. They both help me and support me in everything I do. My dad told me a few interesting stories from when he was a soldier in Israel. He told me how they have to wake up really early in the morning and get to work. They would do all kinds of drills. His favorite part was driving the tank. I saw many pictures of him and his work up in the mountains. He used to shoot targets, on land and on water. They would travel all over. What I thought was cool, was that in Lebanon, there stood a large series of rocks until this past summer, when it was bombed by Israel during the war. My dad has a picture on those rocks. One morning, they planned a surprise drill on all of the soldiers. Nobody knew whether it was real or not. My dad said that he and his friends were really scared. He also said that being in the army was one of the best experiences of his life. My mom also served in the army. She, like most of the girls, didn’t do too much of the fighting. She worked with the plans and sometimes in the office, too.
She said that she made many, many friends in the army, some who she still keeps in touch with. I met some of her friends two summers ago, in 2005 when we went to Israel. She said that it was an experience she had to have and doesn’t regret going at all.
I felt like I was in danger when I got lost in Splish Splash. I was about 7 years old and I went to look at the dolls and prizes by the games while my family was standing around waiting for our family friends to come in and join us. I guess they came and they all left assuming I was following along. I didn’t know where they were and I started to cry. I looked all around the area where they were and called their names but I couldn’t find them. I was so scared that I was going to get kidnapped or that they would go home and forget me there. Now I know that they wouldn’t ever leave me there but at the time I wasn’t thinking. I was found crying by a worker who had a walkie-talkie. He called someone to get me to take me to the front gate where they made an announcement for my parents to come. When I saw them I was happy but also mad at them for leaving without me. I got really upset but after a couple of rides I forgot all about it. That has happened to me a couple of times after that, but its because I wander a lot. Its happened in Wannado City in Florida, Adventure Land in Farmingdale, and Play Aerobics, Queens. Hopefully, now that I'm older, it wont happen again. From these instances, i've learned to always be aware of my surroundings.
I remember the day my little brother, Elior, was born. My grandma,
uncle, aunt, and two of my cousins were staying at my house from Israel because they knew that my mom was expecting a baby soon. My aunt and two cousins were staying in Natalie’s room so she slept with my parents in their room. She woke me up in the middle of the night because she woke up and saw that my parents weren’t there. I went to their room and they weren’t there and I looked outside and their car was gone. Right then I had a feeling that they went to the hospital. I called their cell phones at least twenty times each and neither answered once. When they both didn’t answer, I remembered that the use of
cell phones is prohibited in hospitals. I told my sister to come sleep with me in my room and she fell asleep. It was about four in the morning when this happened and I couldn’t fall back asleep. I stayed up and waited for them to call back. It was weird because every morning my alarm would be set to 7:00 a.m. and the night before I set it for 6:55 a.m. for some reason I don’t remember. Anyways, right after I turned off the alarm at 6:55 a.m., the house phone rang. I answered the phone and it was my dad. He told me that my baby brother had just been born and he is adorable. I was so happy and I woke everyone up by yelling their names and I told them all that my brother has been born. They were all happy and one by one spoke to my dad. I was upset because my dad said that even if I stayed home from school, he wouldn’t have been able to take me until later on that day. During Spanish, I was called for dismissal and went to see my brother. I was so excited and he was adorable.
Music is a huge part of my life. Ever since I was young, i would listen to music with my friends and family. As a child, i grew up listening to up-beat hebrew music, and sometimes English music. My style of music would vary from rap, to hip hop, to lyrical, to jazz. It depends on my mood. I had a CD collection of all my favorite music. This collection consisted of Brittany Spears, she was my all time favorite! I loved her songs and I loved going to her concerts. Eminem, one of the most famous rappers, was, and still is, one of my favorite musicians. I remember that my sister and I made a scrapbook of his song lyrics, and his pictures. Dream Street, an all- boy band, always cheered me up because of the words in their music. Although they are corny, as a little kid i thought they were magical. The Spice Girls were the most famous girl group when I was growing up. Their songs were played all over, and their movie was being shown everywhere. I remember how excited I was to watch their movie, and then get it on tape. N*SYNC and Backstreet Boys were also very important in my collection. My sisters and I would make up dances to all their songs, and we would memorize the lyrics to their music also. I remember once how my older sister, her friend Maya, my little sister, and I made up a dance to the Dream Street's song, "It Happens Every Time." We all dressed the same in our matching shirts and shorts. We made up a dance and preformed it in front of my family, and Maya's family. They loved it.
My parents have always wished me the best. They have so much love in care for everyone in their hearts. They always wished for me to be strong no matter what came in my way. They taught me to never be afraid, although it was okay to be. My father told me that he would want me to be successful and happy with my life when i grow up. My mother wants me to also be happy and successful and have no regrets. She said to always try to make the right decisions, and my dad said it was okay to make mistakes, because everyone learns from their mistakes. My parents dreams for me were similar to what dreams I have for myself, which is to get a good education, to be happy, and to stay healthy. They had other dreams too, like to stay safe, and to watch out for myself, and find the man of my dreams. Those dreams never changed. They have been the same since i was a kid, although my parents were probably less worried about having no regrets and always making the right decisions when i was younger, because i was probably too little to understand it.as a kid, i should have always had fun, not thinking about what i have to worry about. I thank my parents so much for caring, loving, and worrying about me. They have always been there for me no matter what. When I was sick, they would make sure i got whatever i needed, when i was scared, they would bring me into bed with them, when i was sad, they cheered me up. When i couldn't sleep well at a friends house, they would come and pick me up. Even if it was 3 A.M. That has happened about 7 times actually. Ha-ha.
Greenkill came along in 6th grade. Greenkill is a YMCA camp that South Middle school
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