Kristin Wevill

Steven Marx

English 134

January 3, 2005

Montclair, the Bubble of Oak Town

      

            Oak Town, California, more commonly known as Oakland, has given Melanie Matzorkis experiences she will never forget. Before moving to San Luis Obispo, Melanie lived hidden from the big city in a small community called Montclair in the Oakland Hills.

            Melanie’s favorite place in Oakland was her high school, Holy Names. Unlike the public high schools in Oakland, Holy Names is a private catholic all girls’ school where everyday Melanie wore her school issued red, white, and navy colored uniform. Holy Names was like a small town for Melanie. All of the students know each others names as well as the entire faculty. Holy Names school is comprised of only one building. There are three floors in which one can run from one end of the hall to another in under thirty seconds. Holy Names is a dream come true school[SM1]  for a kid who grows up in Oakland.

All Melanie has to do however, is to take a step outside the gates surrounding her school and be in the real Oakland, where instead of uniforms, kids pick their attire based on which gang they are in. The [SM2] classrooms at Oakland High are so crowded that the faculty can’t know everyone’s name; they don’t even notice the students snorting lines in the back of the room. A person could get lost for hours at Oakland High, zigzagging in and out of the make shift classrooms and deteriorating buildings[SM3] . 

After school, Melanie would drive her Toyota Camry to her school sponsored soccer practice while passing other kids walking no where in particular along the liquor store littered streets. Even if the students wanted to participate in school sponsored activities, the funding is not adequate enough to buy supplies or build decent fields. There is one single field at Oakland high which is in the shape of a hexagon and serves purpose[SM4]  for all sports, not to mention that at the slightest sprinkle the field floods and is out of commission for an entire week.

Driving on the streets in Montclair is very different than driving on the streets in downtown Oakland. Montclair is surrounded by tall and beautiful eucalyptus trees. The houses all blend and fit together perfectly like a puzzle. As you drive by the houses you can see children playing in the front yards and neighbors swapping friendly hellos and goodbyes. When driving in downtown Oakland you almost always can hear sirens in the distance and see lonely men picking up hookers. Instead of the beautiful Victorian houses with beautiful cars parked outside, you see mis-matched, lime green and faded peach colored houses which are barred up and covered in graffiti. Out side of these houses are old cars which all have missing paint, windows, and tires[SM5] . Even Montclair can’t escape the crime and corruption of the city. Melanie’s car has been broken into multiple times, her neighbors tires have been stolen, and a computer has been stolen out of her neighbor’s car as well. [SM6] 

Melanie often[SM7]  has to travel twenty minutes to shop at the nearest mall. Crime in Oakland is far too high for any department store to open up and be successful. In fact, because Melanie is white she often feels uncomfortable and unsafe in Oakland. She feels that she is a target for crime and is often intimidated. Downtown [SM8] Oakland is Melanie’s least favorite place in all of Oakland. It is dangerous to be out late at night, it is dangerous to be alone, and it is even dangerous if you accidentally give someone the wrong look at the wrong time. It is easy to become the target of some ones built up anger in Oakland. Recently homicide and crime rates have increased but fortunately there is a new mayor trying to improve living conditions. For example, the mayor has already put a lot of money into improving the aesthetics of downtown Oakland by having it landscaped. Green grass and flowers composed of all colors of the rainbow now line the streets. The light poles now have flags saying “Welcome to Oakland” and overall, downtown has a more comfortable and friendly atmosphere. In Melanie’s words, “It feels more organized and clean[SM9] .”

Melanie misses home because her family and friends are there, but San Luis Obispo has provided a new sense of security and safety which has helped Melanie ease into college life[SM10] .

 

 

 


Page: 1
 [SM1]Vague and repeats first sentence of paragraph

Page: 1
 [SM2]nice contrast

Page: 1
 [SM3]good visual contrast to previous hallways

Page: 2
 [SM4]delete

Page: 2
 [SM5]good descriptive contrasts

Page: 2
 [SM6]doesn’t fit in this paragraph, but could be integrated into the next as a transition

Page: 2
 [SM7]why this word?

Page: 2
 [SM8]An incident would be appropriate here

Page: 3
 [SM9]good description, but this should be two paragraphs

Page: 3
 [SM10]Making progress, but one more revision would be worthwhile.     B-