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English Journal   Helen Coopers Past
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English Journal Helen Coopers Past

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  • 1. Savannah Block Pre-College English 10-29-08 Helen Cooper's Past My name is Helen Cooper. I grew up in Norfolk, Virgina, miles and miles away from the house where I was viciously murdered by my own daughter, Karen. Born to Martha and Todd Stanfordson on March 7th, 1928, my younger days consisted of watching and helping my mother cook and while attending an all girl catholic school (St. John's Elementary) During these years, I joined Girl Scouts, and I ranked 3rd highest for cookie boxes sold (it helped having so much family, and I'm very, very polite!!) Continuing with my favorite pastime, baking, I won a little competition in 2nd grade for best cookie! My mom was very proud of me; although my father was often gone to the office and didn't have much time to spend with me. I knew he did this to provide with me, but sometimes it's just nice to have your father around. Middle school was a little different. Being a stick from a young age, I was very...awkward when it came to my arms and legs. Many girls were jealous of me as a matter of fact. My dark black hair and soft, white skin made girls envious of my looks. I never thought anything of it (and the looks wasted away once I had a child anyways) I dated a bit in high school. My first kiss was under the moon during my freshman homecoming game. It was magical! Too bad we lost that one. Me and Frank lasted for about 1 year and 5 months, until he cheated on me with this chick from Hawthorne. It was heartbreaking, and I to this day remember me running, screaming, crying to my mother who held her arms open to me and stuck by my side. She was always there for me, and I thanked God every day that I could have been so blessed. College for me lasted a whole 4 years. Going to a state college, I didn't have to pay too too much, and being the resourceful one I am, I applied for many different schools. My grades were average, maybe a C here or there, but other than that, pretty spotless. It wasn't a fear of getting in, just if I could afford it! I worked a couple waitressing and babysitting jobs during my middle school and high school career, not to mention my parents made me put at least ten percent of all birthday/holiday money away in a savings fund. Classes, however, always came easy for me, and during my sophomore year of college, I tutored kids that had trouble in math and English (my two strongest courses.) I worked in an office for 12 years of my life, very mundane, run-of-the-mill office place. It was my third year there that I met Harry. Harry Cooper was every girl's fantasy. He was muscular, smooth-talking, but the man had a temper like no bodies business. One of my co-workers hooked us up; it was a blind date to tell you the truth! I almost left because I was so nervous! He was 3 years my senior, and honestly our chemistry didn't mesh as well as I hoped for. But we stayed together for a year until one day, in a very nice restaurant (that he let me pick...very unusual behavior coming from Harry) he got down on his knee and flipped open a ring holder with the most elegant (although I'm a fan of simple elegance) ring. It was nothing short of a fair tale. After the wining and dining and the newlywed feeling shook off, we were very much a married couple. He would come home from the office, I would come home from the office. Romance was pretty minimal, that is if there was any. It took continual nagging to get pregnant, and boy, was creating that a bundle a joy...a joy. Not exactly. To tell you the truth, I just wanted a child of my own, and after some problems with conceiving, we found out that Harry....couldn't have children. I was completely devastated. I imagined a little Harry and Helen running around perfectly in my mind and there was no way that I was never going to have children. We still tried, adhering the the doctor's advice (wearing boxers instead of briefs, eating certain kinds of foods,
  • 2. Block 2 still having sex) until I was fed up. I remember that Tuesday afternoon like it was yesterday. I pulled into the sperm bank and, well, got a child inside me! They didn't tell me if it was a boy or girl; it didn't bother me, I wanted to find out at birth (it's much more fun picking out two sets of names) Harry was more or less (probably less) happy about conceiving. No, I never told him about this day; it will follow me to my death bed! August 12, 1957 in Virgina Hospital Center, I gave birth to a 6 pound 2 oz baby girl! Names I liked were Janet, Karen, and Deborah. Harry picked Laura, but there was the snobbiest girl Laura in my Girl Scouts that I could not stand, and every time I heard that name, it was gut- wrenching. Karen was the name of my great great grandmother, and it was such a beautiful name...it actually means "pure." Karen Sue Cooper (Harry's mother's name is Sue) was the most darling thing the world could ever see, and I knew from the beginning she would be spoiled rotten. I decided to quit my job at the office,and we moved to Pittsburgh. Harry's firm had moved him from 20 minutes from my hometown to way out in the city of Pennsylvania for reasons unknown to me. I wasn't to happy, and I decided to move only if I could become a full time housewife/ mother. It was the best thing I ever could have imagined doing. Although some days I would be juggling laundry and the baby and shopping, I spent many days listening to the radio, sewing a new pink hat or pair of fuzzy socks for my little girl. Needlepoint was also a popular choice for me; I would spend so many hours living life the way it should be spent, relaxing. When she was old enough, I gave her my old tea set my mother gave to me. She was about 7 and was just delighted. The cutest thing was seeing her with her stuffed animals up in chairs, making them drink their "tea" and having just a blast with the lemon bars I would make her. She had had the same downfalls I had, the broken hearts during her 9th birthday party when her "friend that was a boy" was sick with the flu and couldn't attend the party. She wanted it canceled and moved to another day, but it being the day of the festivities, me nor her "father" would allow that to happen. I had hoped she would go onto college and find herself a nice man and get married. To tell you the truth, I'm a well-rounded woman. I would never watch my little girl graduate high school or even patch things up with my husband. But with that said, I did live a pretty amazing life, and I died in the coolest way known to man. Here I attempted to give Helen Cooper's character a little more dimension than shown in Lori Allen Ohm's play Night of the Living Dead. By giving her a past, and possibly a few secrets that her husband does not know about make this character much more realistic. From an actress's view point, it was much easier to climb into character with a well-rounded role than to embody a terrified middle-aged wife.

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