RAISE A VOICE: Emily C’s “Serious”


826LA’s annual Young Authors’ Book Project engages students at one high school in every aspect of writing, editing, and publishing. In Through the Same Halls: Journeys of Elders Born and Raised in South Central and Beyond, students from the 826LA Writers’ Room at Manual Arts High School interviewed and wrote about people who paved the way.


“She would ask how school went and would make sure I was always safe”

– from “Serious” by Emily C.

Her name is Elvira, and she’s sixty-one years old. She is about five feet, six and she always seems serious. Whenever I try laughing with her, she doesn’t laugh back. The only time I see her smile or laugh is when she watches this show called El Chavo, or when I tell her I love her. Then she smiles and hugs me.

Elvira was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and she has been in California for about thirty years. When she came to Los Angeles, she didn’t really face challenges because at that time it wasn’t strict compared to now….

A memory I have with my grandma is of her always taking care of me when I was little. She raised me because my mom was always working, and I didn’t get to spend time with her. From kindergarten until the fifth grade, my grandma would drop me off and pick me up from school until I was old enough to go alone. When my grandma picked me up, she would wait for me in front of the school. I really felt her love and felt that she really cared for me because she would ask how school went and would make sure I was always safe.

She would also take me to eat wherever I wanted and then take me to the park. My favorite place to eat at was McDonald’s, and I still remember the way we walked there, down Budlong, making a right turn on to Slauson, and continuing until we arrived. I would order one McDouble with everything except pickles, a McChicken, and a Coke. My grandma would order a McChicken and a Diet Coke. We would share a large order of fries. After eating, we would go to the park, I would get on the slides, the swings, run around, or play tag with other kids while my grandma always kept me in eyesight. Back home, she made sure I did my homework, ready to turn it in the next day.

One thing that has been passed down through my family’s generations is the struggle of finding a job, keeping the family stable with a place to live, and saving money in order to provide for our needs. My family has been through a rough time lately, trying to find a stable place. We work hard and often work over-time. Through the years, we try not to get side-tracked from having a good family and providing what we need.

About the Author

Emily C. likes writing, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. She looks up to her mom because she is independent, strong, and hardworking, and hopes to be just like her. Emily believes in having happiness within herself, no matter what the situation.

The views expressed in this book are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of 826LA. We support student publishing and are thrilled you are reading this text. Purchase Through the Same Halls in stores and online at the Time Travel Mart here.

Help students like Martel gain the tools they need to write their futures: Support 826LA’s free writing and tutoring programs for students in under-resourced communities. Donate today, and amplify the voices of tomorrow.

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