Listen to Crumple Zone here


Car makers have created a “crumple zone” on modern vehicles that absorbs the impact of an accident. Typically, the crumple zone is located in the front of the car and acts to minimize the dangers of being in a collision.

“If the car wasn’t already so full I’d invite you to come. And you’d love it. You should see my mom try to ski dude… she moves like 2 miles per hour and screams the whole way. It’s hilarious” Peter said through curved lips. We walked back from class and he told me all about his upcoming trip to Vermont. His aunt from Poland was coming to visit and the whole family was going to hitting the slopes for a week straight. Already sick of the December weather, I assured him that I would be having the better time with my trip down South.

“Have fun with the cold, I’ll be thinking of you while I lay on warm beaches in Florida!” I yelled to him as we split off to our respected houses off campus.

Peter is one of my fraternity brothers, a member of the Geneseo swim team, and a swim coach. He’s also my “little” brother in the frat and has made me double over more than once with his many impersonations and spot-on accents. I remember the first time I saw his sideways grin and wispy blonde hair. He had had a little too much to drink and his otherwise pale cheeks were glowing a red that said “I could do Katy Perry karaoke for another 2 hours.” Pete is the kind of guy nobody has a problem spending time around, but I still chuckled to myself as I imagined him squeezed in the back seat with his two sisters while his parents and aunt crammed in the front. I was not envious of that six hour drive from Westchester.

Vacation, for many, is the one or two weeks a year where you can truly be free. It was beach visits and lobster rolls on the boat for me, and hot cocoa and ski slopes for Peter. However, only one of us had the luxury of relaxation and fun over that break. I woke up on my fifth morning to a continental breakfast. Seated oceanfront in our floral bathing suits, my father and I ate platefuls of eggs, sausage, and pancakes. My sister had forgotten to put sunscreen on the day before and was holed up in the hotel room applying aloe while my mother was already in her second hour of tanning. We were more than content with the tropical weather and seaside breezes that had become all too familiar during the first half of our vacation. It was as I finished my third pancake of the morning that I looked at my phone and saw an unusually long text from my fraternity president. I read through once and couldn’t believe my eyes. Two or three more readings and I still could not comprehend the words before me.

“JAKE!” My father snapped, clearly losing his patience “What could possibly be so important that you aren’t answering me?”

“Um…You know my fraternity little Peter? Well apparently he…uh… was in a car accident last night. An eighteen wheeler swerved across an ice patch and hit them head on. I- I think his parents are dead.”

I dialed his number four or five times only to get one ring and then an electronic voicemail recording. I sent texts to all my friends asking if they had heard updates, only to find them as lost as myself. Sitting by the pool that afternoon I searched the internet for any news I could find. Tuning out cannonball splashes and the overwhelming smell of coconut sunblock, I focused on countless dim google searches that turned up no news about the accident. As my mom and dad walked the beach looking for sea glass, my sister invited me to go get pizza in the hotel restaurant. She yammered on about the latest gossip and celebrity tid-bits but my mind kept circling back to Peter. Guilt and shame came over me whenever I remembered what he must be going though. How could I joke with my family or soak up the sun without a guilty conscience? The texts and google searches continued over the next days, but I never got the sense of closure that I was hoping for as more information unfolded.

Peter says he doesn’t remember much of the accident. He tells me he had no idea his mother was tossed through the window, or that his sister had been pinned in the backseat. He laid on the crimson stained stretcher en route to UVM Medical Center and said one thing before he blacked out: “If that son of a bitch killed my parents I’m going to murder him.” He didn’t care about the road conditions or that the driver of the 18-wheeler had been apologizing to the police for hours. He didn’t care about crumple zones or what their fucking purpose was. He cared about crowded car rides and the ones he’d never have again.




me 2 Jake Fleischer is a Junior political science major. He plays club volleyball and only reads Mark Twain novels.


A Fight

Wind-whipped splotches
of red all along her jaw.
Tears dripped over her chin,
down to her collarbones.

His eyelids were heavy;
a boxer’s wrists after a match;
slumped with defeat;

He closed his eyes,
shook his head,
brought his hands up to

Stop. Flinch.
A small gasp was
sucked in and suffocated.

“Did you think I was going to…?”


12219490_10204716434784023_4463850371972246542_nJulia Kinel is a Sophomore and an English major at SUNY Geneseo. She is a member of the Alpha Delta Epsilon sorority and works in the School of Education. She is from Syracuse, New York.


Going Nuts



3:45, September 3, 2015

Back in Long Island, squirrels do not mean much to me. When I arrived in Geneseo in the late summer of 2013, I was not immediately captivated by these creatures, as I figured they were like every other squirrel I had ever encountered. No more than a couple weeks into my freshman year, my interest had already been piqued by a furry little guy standing much too close for comfort. Never before had I seen a squirrel come so close to my feet and not scurry off. I was perplexed by the little creature.

As I was walking home from Sociology 245, in my junior year mind you, my eye was caught by a tiny ball of puff making his way across the field hockey field. I immediately stopped and watched as the squirrel made his way from one end to the other. It must have felt like an impossible task for such a small creature. The squirrel stopped several times to catch his breath and look around for potential friends to join him on his quest. I would have loved to have been on all fours, running around the field with my buddy, but that would have looked quite questionable.

I have spoken with many of my friends and professors on campus, asking them their opinion on these wild squirrels and sharing our experiences. As a junior, most of my friends find it quite amusing how much attention I pay to these Geneseo squirrels. This year, I was outside the library enjoying an already odd conversation with a townie, who I have come in contact with before, and he began to just spew information about his conspiracy theory dealing with Geneseo squirrels. This crazy guy might have been messing with me because of my obvious interest in the squirrels up here, but the thought he provided was remarkable nonetheless. “In this town, the population of squirrels is larger than the student population.” Already questionable information, right? Well it gets weird. This guy claims that he has witnessed a “gang” of squirrels “planning or plotting” to destroy parts of the town. I began to laugh. He looked at me as though we were about to go into battle. Quickly, I realized this guy clearly has some form of PTSD from an encounter with a squirrel. The squirrels up here are quite friendly and interesting. Some squirrels you meet downstate are full of rabies and waiting to pounce on the first poor soul in sight. I have managed to escape all my close calls with squirrels downstate, but it seemed as though this old guy was not as lucky.

Doing research on squirrels and how to stay safe, I came across a very disturbing article in the Genesee Sun. This article claims that some lone squirrel “accidentally” took out the power in Geneseo. I immediately was suspicious of foul play because of that crazy old guy. As I have dug deeper into the situation from the summer of 2014, it seems as though the squirrels have covered their tracks quite well. I have not been able to speak with the townie on what our next move should be, but I am quite certain that he will be battle-ready.

On a normal walk to class this semester, a squirrel was following me. At every turn I made, I would assume he had scurried off; but there he would be, sitting, staring, waiting for me to call him out on what he was doing. When I sat down in class, Elliot made fun of my story, saying, “You just haven’t been sleeping enough bro, you’re seeing things for sure.” I silently accepted his statement, knowing I had no real case for my claim. When I got home that day, Elliot and my housemates confronted me on my dilemma with the squirrel. My four best friends told me that I have told many stories along the same lines as the one I had told Elliot most recently. I quickly disregarded them, assuming they were trying to make me seem crazy. That night I couldn’t believe my eyes! A squirrel just perched on my windowsill, eating his nuts. I knew if I woke anyone in my house, the squirrel would run away and add to my level of craziness in the eyes of my friends.

5:00 P.M. Saturday. I have been in a staring battle with the same squirrel that has been following me and he looks like he has the same shade of brown as the little guy that was having a midnight snack at my window the other night. I have been more and more concerned that another squirrel attack on power or some other necessary facet of life is not far off. There has been no sign of the townie in weeks; maybe he got spooked by the same squirrel and took off for a place with less squirrel power. I am nervous to step on their territory and disturb their hiding places for nuts. Just the other day, a squirrel ran up a tree and was daring me to chase him; I didn’t have good enough grip on my shoes that day, so I kept falling down.

People keep asking when I’m going to shave. How could I think about my physical appearance at this stage of the attacks? This past week three squirrels stole my paper I had to hand in for English and caused me to fail the assignment. When I explained myself to my professor, she gave me a puzzled look and asked if I had been sleeping recently. Sleep? Shave? Why do these people not understand what is going on? I have lost hope in my friends, but I still think the town can be saved. I just began writing for the Lamron and I suggested the topic of this week’s issue be centered around how to properly defend yourself from squirrel brutality. The panel of editors laughed in my face and asked for my real idea. I seem to be all alone on my quest to defeat squirrels and force them to relinquish their control of the town of Geneseo. All I could think about was the townie; he had to come back, if not for me, at least for the pride gained in saving a town from tyranny.

I am now hiding here in the Union. The squirrels were in my bedroom and always in my backpack when I had to get ready for school. I have given up on my studies and have entered survival mode. It has been a couple days since anyone but the cleaners have come in here and I have begun thinking the town has headed my words and shut down activities until further notice. I am uninformed on how many attacks have taken place since I entered hiding, but my guess would be at least 50 casualties and 5 deaths. I saw a lot of good men and women losing the fight out there. I was lucky to escape with my life but I fear as though I may be trapped here forever.

One night I awoke to the townie rummaging through Fusion trying to acquire fluids. He did not have the same ragged look to him; he was wearing all white and had luscious blonde hair rolling down his back. There was a sort of glow to him that I had not noticed in our earlier encounters. I asked where he had been and why he left me alone but he looked at me as if I was out of my mind. Great; now I even look crazy to this nutcase. The townie did not appear like he was ready to join me; in fact, he looked like he had an agenda of his own already. After pleading with the townie and begging him to help me, he vanished. The townie who once opened my eyes to the world of evil around me has abandoned me in my true time of need.

I awoke to the sound of a very familiar voice: “Connor! Connor! Where the hell have you been?!” I could not see yet, as the light in the Union was blinding me.

I answered, “I have been surviving here for months, waiting for the right time to rejoin humanity.”

“Dude, we have been waiting to leave for 3 hours…”

I look to my right and see the Union bulletin read, “December 20th — Enjoy the break, students.” I don’t know what to make of this sign. I can’t tell if the person who woke me up knows how long it’s been since the bulletin was updated. Elliot is standing over me waiting for me to do something, but it can’t be safe out there. I won’t go back out there; it’s not time yet. Next thing I know, I am being dragged across campus screaming for my life as tiny squirrels are gnawing at my ankles and throwing nuts at me. Elliot won’t slow down and appears unaffected by the squirrels. He keeps telling me to shut up and that it will all be over soon.

Thank God it’s over. I haven’t been visited by a human in years. I am stuck in this room without free use of my limbs and all I eat is pills. The squirrels stop by every now and again but usually only before bed. The room I am in is extremely cushiony and allows me to sleep anywhere I want. I just wish someone here could tell me if Geneseo survived and where the townie is.


Connor Quinn is a Junior Communications major at SUNY Geneseo. Quinn hopes to make a career out of journalism and has been inspired by the creative writing course he took in college.

Chain Link



9/21/15 3:49 pm

When you go about installing a chain-link fence, you first erect what are called “terminal posts” at either end. They must be set into concrete to withstand the enormous force to which the rest of the fence will subject those outward limits. Chunks of rock-laden concrete hold the terminal posts of a crooked splatter of fence at the edge of the campus, beyond the furthest extent of any place it would be reasonable to go, past the baseball diamond that sports a more presentable, straight metal mesh. That excellently thorough, crusty oxidation, that earthy brown like a layer of dirt consuming an abandoned carcass, ties the gorgeous diamond repetition to the scene. Each link begins to dissolve and rot away, falling to the patch of summer below. The man-made joins the natural in bits and pieces as flies, dandelions, dry weeds, and sharp shriveled things consume the dropping rust. I catch this process frozen in action. My eyes can’t see how it whirs through the seasons and changes day by day.

A break between the leaning stretches of links lazily gapes out onto a scrubby hillside. Here is the end of the fence, the terminal post, the place that allows a person to conquer the fence’s purpose by sliding between horizontal metal bars like a ghost through a wall.

As a child, I wandered to the edges of the fenced-in grass confines behind a square schoolhouse refurbished into a preschool. I would shimmy away from the playgrounds of wood and colored plastic and the sandbox, fathoms-deep and full of buried toys, and my sister stumbling around a Fisher-Price slide. She was enveloped by two layers of confinement: the post-infants were coddled in an even smaller expanse of outdoors, fenced apart within the larger play space of those children on the brink of self-awareness. In the heat of the summer, we all envied the littlest ones and their caretakers. The trees planted in their pen provided the thickest and coolest shade. When the air began to drag us all down, I was not the only one to poke my fingers through the metal links and to quickly be chased away with the bark of “Go play.” But for the rest of the year, there were few who joined me in my wanting in. I missed my sister, who I was never denied access to at home. But mostly it was the fence that frustrated me. Most of the time, I could barely distinguish Lindsay’s downy head from that of any other tot, and that sparse bit of grass on which they all plodded was so close. If I wasn’t hampered by this thin barrier, I could peer into little round faces until I found the one I knew so well. Instead I called her name. Sometimes I would be chided away, but sometimes she would follow my voice before they could stop her. She would smile at me and hang onto the links to abet her foundering balance. But she wouldn’t look at them as a cage, or as an enemy, or even as a friend. She looked right through them without seeing what they were doing: keeping her away from all that she saw.

I, on the other hand, was free to scamper to the outer fence, and to gaze up to where the chain link met the tall trees. The terminal posts were tarnished and they mingled with weeds and vines that twisted around them and followed them up out of my reach. The greenery looped back to the trees held just beyond my access by the fencing. They provided just a sliver of shade at most times of day, and they formed a demure partition between me and the dark brick of the apartment complex beyond. I wished that I could climb or fly, or even jump really high. I wasn’t unhappy to remain, and I was instilled with fear and awe of what would actually happen if I escaped. I would surely be rounded up and scolded, or perhaps jailed. Still, there was a passionate thirst to walk down the grassy slope to the street that connected the buildings of apartments together. It was a neighborhood like my own, with mailboxes and front doors. I could just barely make out that much through my thick, round glasses. But beyond that street, and beyond the next one— surely the world couldn’t keep going on like that forever.

Somewhere there were mountains, I knew, and forests of trees like the ones on the other side of the fence, but different because they had never seen a car pull into a driveway. I could barely imagine how fantastic the pieces of the world I would never see might be. From the limited wandering I had done thus far in life, I had begun to notice that every step brought a new marvel: enormous mushrooms the size of my head clinging to birch trunks, bumpy brown frogs I could hold, squirming, in my hands, and sticks that could be batons or wands or anything until an adult made me drop them. And trees, so many trees. It was already becoming clear to me that a big tree can be as promising as a playground. When there’s only one tree in the schoolyard, it becomes the center of every child’s attention; it brings them all together and it joins in their games. Hundreds of little hands pick at its bark, and hundreds of light-up, Velcro sneakers make perilous jumps from root to root. Just one tree becomes a base, a house, a safety. An entire forest of them was almost too much to hope for, yet it must have existed.

The idea thrilled me, and as I stared up at the fence, I wished to be the shining child who shocked them all by grinning to my astounded classmates from the other side of the fence and skipping away into the horizon, toward the mountains, toward the trees.

A gap in this fence on the edge of campus renders the entire affair purposeless. Whoever or whatever put it here didn’t feel any obligation to expend the energy to seal off their creation. No one is being kept in. The fence is simply a guideline; we are expected to know where our business is and to have the sense to conform to it. We are adults now, after all. The need for security is diminished by the terminal posts which have been erected within ourselves. I could cross the street and walk through the shining muck and the piles of garbage, and through the trees in the middle ground and toward the mountains of the horizon.

I have a clearer picture now of what I’d find, and how I’d begin to feel if I didn’t bring enough food, and the dread of losing my way, and the drudgery of not losing my way. For all the things to see and new paths to find, as I play out the hypothetical adventure in my mind, there arises a slew of conjectures. True, nothing is stopping me but the ingrained practicality that separates me from the wide-eyed excitement and impatient anticipation of the world that I held as a preschooler. I could wander through backyards and cornfields and parking lots now, maybe even through forests, all the way to the mountains. But I have little time, piles of work, and a desperate cling to what is familiar and safe which now restrain me. Reality has kicked in, and it serves very much the same purpose as a terminal post.


Casey Headshot (800x687)

Casey Vincelette is an English and Communication double major and an honors student at SUNY Geneseo. She is employed by both the Philosophy and English departments of said institution. She is from Bethlehem, NY.

Silent Trees



I stand still in the too-quiet courtyard, about to be calm, to lose myself in nature, when my eyes travel to the trees. Something is off. They seem lost, in a land that’s not theirs. For all we know they can be screaming. I shudder at the thought of something so mundane living in torture, but now I am drawn into a new world, a world where trees scream, where plants live in constant distress. For us, trees don’t scream. We see them, breathe in and exhale slowly, and think about our love of nature, like we would to a fresh-mowed lawn. If only we knew that the smell was the grass’s chemical distress signal. The quiet blades like soldiers in quicksand; all they can do is release the scent into the air, a battle cry of what’s to come for the surrounding troopers. That’s how they evolved, to warn rather than to fight. That gruesome smell is for me a welcoming summer scent.

My dad’s standing at the front door, his grey shirt drenched in sweat, a sign that the lawn was mowed. His white sneakers are stained green and caked with dirt. I reach out for the anticipated hug. I do miss him, just not the sweat. My head turns to rest on the outside of his left shoulder. I try to ignore the wet warmth which now heats my arms. All my nose can do is focus on the grass scent, and then release. The hug is over. Dinner will be ready soon. The grass’s odor is replace with thoughts of barbecue, its cry for help long forgotten.

I am ten, sitting amongst the others in the field where gym class is taking place. The gym teacher, his face flushed red from shouting, is busy barking instructions as my mind goes to the clouds. My body is still on earth, seated amongst the grass. My fingers run through the blades, occasionally plucking one up and peeling it the way I did so many times to string cheese. I do this for the entirety of the lecture, innocent to what atrocities my fingers committed. If I saw a human ripped limb from limb, surely I would be horrified.

Not only can they feel pain, but they can tell when they are getting eaten, too. A test was carried out at the University of Missouri on thale cress leaves. This plant’s predator is the caterpillar, who is notorious for munching on their leaves. As researchers replicated the vibrations a caterpillar would make as it munched on the leaves of the plants, the thale cress leaves began to do something most people wouldn’t assume plants were capable of: attempt to defend themselves. Like the grass, the thale cress leaf operates with chemicals and for the thale cress leaf, this chemical is mustard oil. When mustard oil is released throughout the plant, it becomes less desirable to eat for the predator. After the experiment, researchers found that the leaves that were exposed to vibrations similar to those a caterpillar would make produced more mustard oil than average, an attempt at protecting themselves. Yet we all still continue to plug our plastic forks into their raw hides.

Downstairs in Letch cafeteria, I am sitting with a friend, her straightened bangs swept to the left as she looks down, carefully munching her salad. As a seasoned vegetarian, she is fine with eating lunch with me, a mere omnivore. However, my eyes go to the prongs of the cheap plastic fork her hands wields as it punctures the lettuce. It looks painful. At least the meat of my hamburger patty was killed beforehand.

It’s a violent world for plants, misunderstood by humanity as we continue to bask in the “serenity” of nature. It would be a lie to say that I never felt that way too, almost forgetting about the trees and other plants that make up the background, almost oblivious to their being. Often the only things my ears strain for are the chirping of the vibrant birds, so that I can assume that everything else is in peaceful contentment. But that peace is just the silence our deaf ears hear. Still, I am human, and I can live with that.



Danielle Gonzalez is a Freshman at SUNY Geneseo and enjoys writing in her spare time.




September 21st 2015

There were other lampposts just like it standing nearby, but for some reason this one stuck out to me as I walked through the courtyard behind Erwin Hall. Up till the moment when that green lamppost made of glass and metal caught my eye, standing tall at the crossroads of the stone pathway, my gaze had been transfixed by the almost Victorian-style architecture of the buildings around campus. The air that day was cool yet soothing against my skin and the sun felt warm in contrast to the slightly chilly breeze; a perfect day for a walk in September.

I’m not sure what it was that caused me to stop and stare at that one lamppost. Perhaps it was its location and the striking image it made standing right next to a tall tree. Whether it was strategically placed there by God or by man, I do not know. I gazed up at it, its light now dormant in the morning sun as it stood where the path split in front of Sturges Hall. Like the rest of the lampposts it was out of its time, matching the old-fashioned buildings it stood with but not the age it stood in; it looked more like was designed to stand guard over city streets in the 19th century.

For the first time I noticed the patterns of the lamppost, every intricate detail suddenly popping out at me. I marveled at its design and I thought about how long must have taken to put so much thought and devotion into it and how these lampposts were first created.

Strangely, when I was little I used to think that lampposts were grown, like trees. That’s what C.S. Lewis said happened during the genesis of his Narnia. Having those books read to me every night as a child always left an imprint on my easily-influenced imagination. My ridiculous belief about the birth of lampposts was further fueled by the streetlamps we used to pass on our way to and from my grandmother’s house.

I remember sitting in the car and watching the streetlamps move in and out of sight as we passed them along the freeway. They were gigantic and grey in color with two, long, curved rods protruding out in opposite directions at the top and light bulbs at each end of those rods, resembling eyeballs on stalks that watched us as we drove by. To me, the slight droop of the rods reminded me of the branches of a willow tree. As I looked up at them it with a child’s mind and I wondered how long it took for each one of them to grow and which part of them was used as the “seed” to grow it. And I even sometimes wondered when the very first lamppost was grown and where it happened.

Of course, such a notion of the origins of the lamppost is unrealistic, although very imaginative. This lamppost and the others around it are descendants of their ancestors, the ancient lanterns. They were not grown but they were born of fire, lit by torches in Greek and Roman civilizations. They protected travelers by lighting their paths during their nightly journeys and they warded off robbers by either warning them that a home was occupied or creating the illusion that it was. Slaves, called lanternarius, were the ones who gave the lamps their light and the ‘link boys’ of the Middle Ages were their successors, wielding the lamps to escort people through the labyrinth of streets in their small towns.

That’s how the majestic lamppost first came into being: evolving over the centuries to go from consuming fire in the ancient world of Rome where the first of their kind were fueled by oil, then to consuming gas during the mid-1720s when they were placed along the roadways to guide the carriages during the night, thus marking the birth of the streetlamp. Then, finally, in Russia during the mid-1870s, they began consuming electricity, like they do today. So, they were not organically grown like trees, as I had previously thought. However, they did take their time developing.

I smiled slightly to myself as I remembered how I used to be all those years ago, looking at streetlamps as objects grown by nature rather than manufactured by humans. Now I obviously have a clearer understanding of where lampposts came from than I did back then. Perhaps I’m not that different from the lamppost after all. Like it, I too have evolved over time; having grown from something so small and simple in nature that looked at the world through naïve eyes, to becoming something more complex with a deeper knowledge of the world that continues to grow and shine brighter.


Catherine Headshot (640x588)My name is Catherine Henry and I am a transfer student from Finger Lakes Community College who switched from an ASL Major to an English Major after rediscovering my love for writing in my final semester there. Presently a resident of Bloomfield, NY, I hope to expand my skill in the art of writing and use it for whatever plan God has for me. I love books and classic rock and I am currently employed at my local library.

Two Trees



I went on a run, my feet pounding on the hard pavement, feeling the warm air on my face. I ran; I ran through this town, a town which to me is completely unknown. Just a few short weeks ago I was dropped up here and left all alone, leaving behind everyone and everything I have ever known and as I run a feeling that I have never quite experienced before comes over me: not the feelings of loneliness or longing for home that one would expect. Instead, I feel a sense of fear, a fear that things will never be the same again, a fear that I will never again feel at home, content with my place in the world, the way I used to. All that I see is unfamiliar and strange.

Then I see the tree, a tree, up here in this land of unknowns. And all of a sudden, standing here underneath this tree, I am no longer alone; all of a sudden I’m back, back underneath the tree leaning against its rough bark waiting for the arrival of my friends. The sun is shining through the leaves as they rustle in the wind and everything is back the way it should be. As I stand under this tree in Geneseo I can see the faces of the friends I left behind. The laughter rings in my ears as I recall the memories from the hours spent beneath this tree. This tree was just as much a part of me as my own home. I grew up underneath this tree; underneath this tree I laughed, I cried, and I lived. The two trees are strikingly similar: they have the same shape, same size, same bark, same way of providing shade. And when I look at this tree, I am called back to a time when things weren’t as unknown. I’m called back to a place where I truly feel at home. Underneath this tree, almost every day of my life, familiar faces would gather. This tree brings to my mind everything I miss about about home. No matter what was happening in my life, this tree was a constant. Through the ups and the downs, we met at that tree almost every day. Standing there on the sidewalk, looking at the bark, I was back underneath the tree where I had spent so much of my life.

This tree was like a little piece of home up here where home seems so far away, and as I stand underneath this tree and reminisce about the memories, I realize something: the tree back in my hometown is still there and it will always be there, and so are the memories that were formed with it. It didn’t die; it didn’t wither away into nothing. Its still standing there in the same place it stood for all those years. All I have to do is remember it. And as I think about this, the knot in my stomach that has slowly been forming begins to loosen. I turn away from the tree and begin to run again, my mind set at ease as I remember the tree that waited for me at home, but I’m also excited that I’ve found a new tree, up here in the land of the unknown.


DSCN2313-2ndJames Hamilton is from Oceanside, NY. He is currently a Freshman at SUNY Geneseo. He is studying Business and enjoys writing.


Brick and Mortar Milestones



6:17pm, 19 September 2015

En route to sign the lease for my first apartment and over halfway up University Drive, my gaze catches on a building that I had always overlooked before. Polished windows gleam from its nearest wall and the brownish brick mass itself marks an abrupt shift from the green of the lawn. At the same time, however, there is something about these contrasting forms that meshes seamlessly: grass against bricks. Partially enveloped by the hill as it is, the union seems to beg the idea that it has grown with this town, perhaps an integral part of what makes it up. A more likely story is that it’s similarly overlooked by most, and that it only means much of anything to the few people who care to know it. The fanfare-like gold lettering adorns its burgundy awnings in a desperate way: “CANNON & VAN ALLEN, LLP. ATTORNEYS.”

At a time when letters of the alphabet were still indecipherable symbols to me, I recall another place like this one, just around the corner from my house. Once a deli, then a bakery, and now just vacant space, I never knew the true names of this shapeshifting establishment. In its two most recent lives, the building had labelled itself with forgettable titles; like the attorney’s office, these marked their territory proudly, with a touch of desperation. Back then all I knew these places for were the delicacies they had to offer: kid-sized cheese subs and Snapple drinks and half-moon cookies. Our parents treated us to these on lazy afternoon days when my brother had recently learned to walk. We usually went on weekends at that point because I had started pre-school, but these visits were always looked forward to.

Walking back around the street corner to our house one time, clutching with both hands a cookie that felt bigger than my head, I tripped over a sidewalk crack and scraped my nose. I guess I had decided to fall on my face rather than drop my prize. But even as tears began to well, the hint of a grin still lingered below the spot a scab would form.

I realize now that we went to places like these because we were poor. The “delicacies” we were treated to were, in actuality, all we could afford. And yet I used to feel so wealthy; wealthier than I have since I’ve had my own jobs and made such multitudes more than we were given back then. Disguised as this reality was by my mother, however, it was the last thing I would have guessed. She used to also take my brother and me to our local dollar-store, where she would implement a similar approach. Not understanding completely how money worked at the time, our eyes grew wide when she would hand us each a dollar to spend. “You’re rich!” she would inform us, “You can buy any one thing in this entire store!” Of course we would then deliberate for thirty minutes at least over which item to decide on. Some favorites of mine were sticker packs, coloring books, and these multicolored pill-shaped capsules that when dropped into water would expand into little animal-shaped sponges. My brother usually opted for foam swords and other toy weapons.

The fact that we could buy any one thing at the Dollar Tree wasn’t a lie at all, but she often would tell us like this of our “wealth” and “richness,” both in this context and in that of our visits to the shop down the street. I know now that this couldn’t be true–at times we barely scraped up the cash for ramen-noodle dinners. Her lies were nothing but benevolent though, born of the kind of care that simply wished us never to be in want.

Now passing by this half-consumed office on University, I wonder if its owners or the people that do business there ever had money trouble; if they ever knew how to tell a lie to a child in the best of ways and to make riches out of spare change. I wonder if this building has ever shifted its form to take on new, less bankrupt, owners. And most of all I wonder if it too will one day fade into vacant space as the corner-shop from my childhood did, even though for some people it must seem so essential now.

I turn the corner onto Main Street, toward my future apartment. This flash of memory has come as a welcome reminder about the spaces we come to occupy–most are temporary, but much like the milestones of our lives, all are necessary. We pass through these places at varying degrees of swiftness, and with little regard for their impermanence. But looking back, a sense of distant fondness is always playing at the edges. Even memories of hardship tend to be tinged with a sweetness, and knowing this puts me at ease. I’m ready to take the next step.


lily cropped

Lily Codera studies English at SUNY Geneseo and is originally from Rochester, NY. She started writing/telling stories as a toddler and hopes to one day make a few dollars similarly throwing words around. In her free time, Lily has been known to buy way too many pairs of socks and cry at movies such as Terminator 2.

Copper Beech



On the first full day that I was at college, I went on a walk with one of my friends through the Arboretum. I was feeling uneasy. The transition from home to school had not been as smooth as I had hoped. Even though my home was only thirty minutes’ drive away, it might as well have been on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I felt completely disconnected from my family, the people who I knew loved me unconditionally. I was trying to find anything that reminded me of home. So off me and my friend went into the Arboretum, with me hoping to find something familiar to cling onto. I found it in the shape of a wooden bench and the tree behind it.

The bench was completely unextraordinary in every way. It was just a plain wooden bench with a fairly fresh coat of rust-colored paint. My attention was drawn more to the tree. By the color of its bark and leaves, I knew immediately that it was a copper beech. My grandparents had a massive copper beech in the backyard of their old house. It had a gray trunk and leaves the color of, well, copper. When I was younger, I could almost not comprehend how massive this tree was. The word tree was almost too small for the copper beech; it was a colossus.

My family would always gather at my grandparents’ pale blue house for any holiday, whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. I loved the holidays so much partially because of these family gatherings. In particular, I loved to play with my cousins in my grandparents’ backyard. In the fall it was leaf-pile hide and seek, where the seeker is buried in a pile of leaves so that they couldn’t peek while the rest of us hid. Once they were done counting, they would burst from the pile, scattering leaves everywhere, which would have to be gathered up again for the next pile. In the winter, it was of course snowball fights, sometimes with the addition of makeshift snow forts built hastily. The spring meant tag, either normal or freeze, and plain old hide-and-seek, which was never as fun as the leaf pile version. The one constant through all these activities was that they were done under the shade of the copper beech tree.

I developed a fondness for the copper beech over the years. Its leaves were like an umbrella that enveloped our family gatherings. It created our own little bubble, a happy and serene place separate from the rest of the world.

When I was thirteen my grandparents moved out of that house and into a retirement community. At the time, it was like losing the last great bastion of my childhood, the last place I had felt the carelessness of childhood. I grew to love their new home, but there was never any replacement for the copper beech. The warm feeling was still there at family gatherings, but our bubble had been punctured. Last summer, my grandmother passed away after fighting various forms of cancer for 20 years. The bubble had been well and truly popped.

I’ve driven by my grandparents’ old house with my mom recently. A new family moved in and made the place their own. They have a trampoline and a basketball hoop as well as a treehouse built behind the copper beech. Up until that point, I had always felt a strong sense of nostalgia and sadness when I thought about the copper beech. There were times when I wished I could return to that bubble. But when I saw that another family had made their mark at my grandparents’ old house, I realized that the bubble belonged to them now and that I didn’t need it anymore.

All of this came back to me gradually as I walked through the Arboretum. I realized that just being in a different place didn’t mean that I had left my family behind. They don’t just exist in a bubble; they’re anywhere I am. I couldn’t escape them if I tried.



Patrick 1Patrick Ruehle is an English major currently attending SUNY Geneseo. His inspiration for this piece came from his grandparents, Joe and Patricia Hammele. He currently lives in Rochester, New York with his family.


Morning Walk to Class



September twenty-second

Eight a.m.


The brisk morning
r e f r e s h i n g
as I walk out
of my
white house.
What a beautiful morning.


Bang, bang.
The power tools
My ears
have been
r i n g i n g
for weeks.
I walk down the hill.
Headphones on,
ignoring the sounds
that surround me.


I make a left turn,
see students scurry to their
I slowly make a right turn.
It’s relatively quiet,
I am one of five people
w a l k i n g.


I have time to pass,
I walk even slower.
G l i d i n g
on the black pavement.
I pause.


It is eight twenty.
Something is different.
Dead in my tracks,
I look around.


The buildings have not had
work done,
the morning dew aroma
is more present
then usual,
that is not it.


Eight twenty-two.
The Greek tree.
white, and
Not a greek letter
to be found.
Blue paint with
white writing,
Geneseo College


A club on campus that
discusses political parties,
current events
during their weekly meetings.
It says democrats, but that’s not so.


They are welcoming,
allow all kinds of views
and opinions
to be discussed.
They work on the
and national level.
They even have
an end of the year
What an impressive feat
for a college club.


P o l i t i c s.
A word that is religiously
thrown around these days.
I remember my first
major encounter with
the word.


I told my parents
I had casted a vote,
what a sophisticated
elementary student
I was.


I asked my mom her party,
she was puzzled
what a taboo statement.
Of course,
I had fewer teeth back then.


With her sparkling green eyes,
she said,
“the only thing that matters
is what
y o u
believe in.”


Sophie deFreitas is currently a junior at SUNY Geneseo; she is an Early Childhood/Childhood Major with a concentration in History. She is a member of SUNY Geneseo’s Women’s Swimming and Diving Team. Her favorite book is The Great Gatsby.