On-line homework assignments will be assigned on Tuesdays and will be due the following Tuesday.  Students will have one week to finish their homework assignments.  Homework can be accessed from any device that is connected to the Internet, i.e. cell phone, tablet, computer, etc. 

***NOTE***The reading selections can also be found on this web page if you have trouble accessing them through the Skyward page. 

Read the short passages,
"California as I Saw It" 
"A Woman's Kindness"

BEFORE you answer the questions 1-6


Read the short passages,
"After the Quake" 
"Waves of Earth"
BEFORE you answer the questions 7-12

 Due TUESDAY, September 25, 2018!!

“California as I Saw It”

A memoir by Luzena Stanley Wilson

            After two or three days in Sacramento, we sold our oxen and bought an interest in the hotel on what is now known as K Street.  The hotel we bought consisted of the kitchen, which was my special province, and the general living room. 

            It was a motley crowd that gathered every day at my table, but always at my coming the loud voices were hushed, the quarrels stopped, and deference and respect were tendered me as if I had been a queen.  I was a queen.  Any woman who spoke a kindly, sympathetic word to the lonely, homesick men, was a queen, and lacked no honor that a subject could bestow.  Women were scarce in those days.  I lived six months in Sacramento and saw only two.  There was no time for visiting or gossiping; it was hard work from daylight till dark, and sometimes long after.  It was a hand-to-hand fight with starvation at the first; later the “flush” times came, when the miners had brought all their gold to town, and everyone had money.

            Many a miserable unfortunate, stricken by fever, died in his lonely, deserted tent.  It has been a lifelong source of regret to me that I grew hardhearted like the rest.  I was hard-worked, hurried all day, and tired out, but I might have stopped for a minute to heed the moans from the canvas house next to me.  I knew a young man lived there, but I thought he had friends in the town.  When I heard his weak calls for water, I never thought but someone gave it.  One day the moans ceased, and, on looking in, I found him lying dead.  Many a time since have I wept for the sore heart of that poor boy’s mother and prayed that if ever want and sickness came to mine, some other woman would be more tender than I had been, and give them at least a glass of cold water. 



“A Woman’s Kindness”

            “Dreams of gold, hmph!” said Luzena to herself as she vigorously sliced a bread knife through her fresh-baked loaf of bread.  “Our whole life we gave up in the East to move out here, and for what? A hotel full of loud, hungry miners three times a day, work never ending, and hardly a moment’s rest, that’s what.”  She plunked the knife down, picked up the bread on the wooden cutting board, and carried it toward the main dining room of the hotel.  She paused a moment, just before pushing through the shutter doors, to smooth her skirts and hitch a smile onto her face.

            She could hear the shouts of the miners, telling another one of their rough jokes and guffawing loudly, but as she swept into the room, a hush fell over the table.  Though the miners hadn’t bothered to take off their caps, they touched their hands to them in a respectful salute.  “Many thanks, ma’am,” said one politely, as she placed the bread on the table next to a steaming tureen of soup.  She’d never seen him before, so he must have been working in the mines less than a week; some said those were the hardest of all days in the mine.  “It’s nice to have a woman’s kindness again.”

            Luzena smiled at him and went back into the kitchen thinking that miners were just happy to see any woman at all in Sacramento.  She herself had only seen one, perhaps two others since her own arrival.  If any place needed a woman’s feminine touch to soften things up, it was Sacramento, packed with forty-niners working day and night in pursuit of gold.  It was a grueling way to make a living.  She was pleased to be kind to them; it made her feel like a lady, like she had been before.

            The serving of lunch completed, she went straight outside to finish her family’s washing and hang the clothes on the line.  “Hardly a moment’s rest,” Luzena repeated to herself, but then she swallowed her complaint.  She knew better, after even a short time in Sacramento.  Everyone worked hard just to survive in this rough country, where there was no money to be had – only the promise of gold and the threat of hunger or disease.  Her own next door neighbor, though still a young man, had been moaning with fever three weeks so far, calling out for just a cup of cold water.  “But he has plenty of friends in town to help him,” Luzena thought.  “Not like me – with a family to feed and not one woman nearby to share the burden.”

            But glancing toward the canvas tent that the young man called home, she paused in her work.  It was quiet in the yard – too quiet.  “Surely he’s gotten well,” she told herself, “well enough to finally leave the tent.”  But she couldn’t be sure.  Trembling, afraid of what she might find, Luzena put down her basket of washing.  She walked slowly to the opening of the flap of the tent.  What she saw made her gently close the flap and turn away, tears in her eyes.  “A cup of cold water – such a small request,” she said to herself.  “Well, I’ve become as hard as the rest of them out here, I guess.  That miner was wrong – I’ve no ‘woman’s kindness’ left.  But I mean to help as many as I can, now.  It’s all I can do for that poor young man.”

“After the Quake”

by Alejandra Hernandez


Dear Tia(1) Luz,

     I am writing first of all to reassure you that we are safe!  So many around us have lost everything, and I cannot even bear to describe the devastation in Mexico City.  Here in Mitla, we are a hundred miles from Mexico City, but we still felt an earthquake so powerful that we will never forget it for the rest of our lives.

     It began just a couple of days ago, on Thursday morning.  The milk started sloshing in my cereal bowl, and the palm trees were swaying outside – even though there wasn’t any wind.  Aida and I knew then that it was an earthquake, and we ran outside as quickly as we could.

     But once we exited outside, we couldn’t even stand; the ground was actually heaving so much that it looked like a lake, rippling with waves.  We didn’t know how bad it was then, so we thought it was fun to jump over the waves as they came to us across the ground.  I should have known, once I saw the sidewalk crack, that it was more serious than I had ever dreamed.

     Don’t worry; our house is still standing, although we will have many repairs to the sidewalk and one crack to fix in one of the walls.  What has happened to us is nothing compared to what happened to thousands of others in Mexico City.  Their buildings collapsed; many people are missing, and perhaps a hundred thousand are homeless now.  

     Tia, you would have been so proud of Papi.(2)  He radioed other helicopter pilots closer to Mexico City, and together they made a plan for how to help get people the food and medical aid they needed.  He had been gone for the past few days, helping with the relief effort, and I was so worried.  But now he is home safe, and we are all here together.  We are thinking of you and wishing you well.





  1. Tia Spanish word for “aunt”
  2. Papi Spanish word for “dad”


“Waves of Earth”

     “Ale,” called Aida from the living room, “can you help me finish constructing my model for science class?”

     “When I’m done with breakfast,” replied her twin sister Alejandra, “but, Aida, I’m not even sure I can see straight this morning.”  Alejandra trailed off, staring into her cereal bowl.  Was she imagining things – or had she nodded off right at the breakfast table?  It looked like the milk in her bowl was sloshing from side to side.

     She called to her sister, but Aida was standing at the living room window, looking in horror at the palm trees.  “Ale,” she called, sounding scared, “there’s no breeze at all, but the palm trees are swaying until they almost touch the ground, as if there was a hurricane.”

     Alejandra, always the braver one, darted to the window.  “Aida,” she yelled, “this has to be an earthquake – hurry, let’s go outside and see what’s happening!”

     “I’m not sure, Ale, it doesn’t sound safe,” Aida protested, but she allowed Alejandra to lead her out the door.

     “See?” said Alejandra, “it’s perfectly – “but she stopped as both of them lost their balance, the earth itself swaying beneath them.  Aids looked petrified, but Alejandra pointed in amazement and asked, “Aida, have you ever seen anything like that?”

     The twins could hardly believe their eyes:  incredibly, a swell of earth was approaching like an ocean wave moving through the water.  As they stood on the sidewalk, they could see the concrete slabs farther down begin to buckle.  They both leaped over the wave as it passed under them, then turned back anxiously as it continued under the house – but miraculously the house stayed standing.

     “Wow, I’ve never done that before,” said Alejandra, laughing nervously.  But as another wave, and another, passed beneath them, the swells of earth became too high for them to do anything besides try to somehow keep their balance.

     “Ale,” said Aida in a small voice, as the vibrations shook the ground, “how much longer will it go on?”

     But just as she finished speaking, the quake stopped as suddenly as it had started.  The twins swayed, their balance uncertain on the strangely still earth.  A few minutes later, they heard the welcome sound of their father’s truck rumbling up the street; when he pulled into the driveway and climbed out, they ran to him like small children.

     “I came home as soon as I could, mis hijas” (1), he told them.  “The roads were moving up and down so much that people could hardly drive.  But I’, so glad you’re safe.”

     With the quake only a memory and her father nearby, Alejandra had regained some of her natural confidence.  “It was an adventure, Papi!” she said, smiling.

     But her father did not return the smile.  “Ale,” he said seriously, “I wish it had been only an adventure.  I’ve been on the radio at work, talking to other helicopter pilots closer to Mexico City.  We’ve had a terrible quake here, but they got the worst of it, by far; buildings have collapsed, many in the city have lost their homes, and no one knows how many people are missing.”

     He squeezed the twins’ shoulders reassuringly and continued, “I don’t want you to worry, but I need to help in the city.  I will call your abuela (2) – I hope she is safe – who will come to stay with you for a few days.  I’ve got to see what I can do to help.  There will be people who need medical aid, food, and maybe even rescue.”

     Seeing his daughters’ concern, he hugged them again and said, “You’ve got to be brave for only a few days, mis hijas.  By Sunday, I promise we will all be together, safe and sound.”

     Aida and Alejandra nodded solemnly.  It was typical of their father, swooping in to help people in time of need.  They glanced at each other, agreeing silently to be brave until Sunday. 


  1. Mis hijas  Spanish phrase for “my daughters”
  2. Abuela Spanish word for “grandmother”


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