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16.7 Techniques for Writing: Using Transitional Expressions

The following is the original version of Ms. Cruz's essay.

Some people think that children are interested only in material things, and that adults invent symbols to make life complicated, but I think that symbols start in childhood. For example, I remember learning about one symbol before I could even read. A door was one of my first symbols.

I was four years old when I faced that door, the door of a kindergarten in a small elementary school in Patillas, Puerto Rico. The door was big, and it was painted a bone white color. When I saw it, I felt defenseless because I knew that beyond it, someone would take away my freedom to do the things I wanted. Besides, I was scared because the other children were bigger than I was, and the teacher wasn't my mother. I started to cry. Then my mother lost her patience and began to yell at me. At the same time, the teacher pulled me towards the door. I just saw the room on the other side and I could not see any light, any fun. I cried because I wanted to go with my mother, and I couldn't understand why she was leaving me by this door. I felt miserable and angry as she walked away.

However, everything changed when I decided to go through that door. The teacher closed it in back of me and I had to stay. First I was quiet and watched. Then I began to understand about routines. For instance, there was a time for everything: a time to play, a time to eat, a time to sleep, and the time that I liked most, a time to go home. I tried to survive. Soon I began to make friends and to behave the way the other children did. Meanwhile, I learned to make arrangements with myself to adapt to an environment full of new rules and methods. I learned to color figures, to complete puzzles, and to walk instead of run. Finally, I walked in and out of that door freely every day.

Now, looking back, I can see that the door that made me afraid and confused yesterday opened the way to my present life. In addition it opened the way to other doors, more complicated, surrounded with decisions, and leading to events that have been sometimes good and sometimes bad. There are others waiting for me, and they all offer me different choices. In fact, though, they all look a little bit like that big white door I first decided to go through when I was very small.

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