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5.3.2: Narration Activity- Roots

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    If prompted, could you recall the names of your second-great grandfather and grandmother? I'm referring to great-great, not just great-grandparents. Although there is no doubt we are all scions of such couplings, it is with difficulty many of us can even name these individuals of familial ancestry. No family tree is without roots, though, and they run deep. The ancients exchanged knowledge and skills before the written word by sharing stories, and we all have one or two that we heard retold around the hearth from time to time by an animated aunt or uncle, maybe. It could be that you refused to eat anything but apple pie for several days or weeks as a child, or that story your grandmother tells about the dream she had the night before her husband's passing. Whatever the nature of the story that struck you most, it is worth writing down.


    1. Brainstorm about your ancestors. Recall the names of the most interesting, animated, and/or obscure people in your family, and think of all the stories they've told you or ones you've heard from other people about them.
    2. Choose a story that has been passed down in your family and write it in paragraph form. Make sure you stick with only one story. If several versions of the same story are told, you can indicate as much in the writing.

    Sample Response

    My mom tells a story about her childhood that makes me rigid with fear. She was about eight years old at the time, and she was alone in her grandma's living room, a room kept meticulously clean that had antique lamps and other expensive items. There were two windows, large, near the opposite side of the room from the sitting area. The two curtains that covered these windows did not reach the floor, hanging about a half a foot above the ground at their endpoints. My mother was bored and looking for trinkets in a cupboard that was usually closed in the room, but she knew she probably shouldn't have been. At one point, she thought she heard her mom coming, so she went and sat on the couch as if doing nothing at all. At this time, she noticed an oddity across the room: two bare feet extended from the left curtain as if someone was standing behind the fabric. Shaking, she ran from the room to get her mom. When they returned to the room to investigate, there was no one there, but when they approached the curtains, there were two wet footprints on the hardwood floor right in front of the window.