Personal Narrative: Seeing Into The Life Of A Place

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Warm Up

Looking at the expansive gray sky, feeling the crisp cold air blowing in my face, and watching the snow forming on the ground, reminds me why I left here in my teens. The summers are great, usually light wind, warm temperatures, and the fresh smell of a pending storm. Coming back for a visit, has shown me I made the right decision, when I went to California to study architecture, and stayed after college. Looking over at the vintage houses, probably built during the early 1900’s, I cannot imagine a strip mall or high-rise settling nearby. Studying Mr. Jones’s repair shop, it’s almost like god placed it here when he created the earth. Some things do not seem to change.

Exercise 1: Seeing into the life of a Place

Stopping to gaze at
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Nevertheless, I am sure Sue would see the irony of her being compared to this small mid-western town.

Exercise 2: Landscape and time

Where fields of corn and barley once sat, it is now a four-lane highway. Looking over to the guardrail, I can almost see the single room log cabin that was built before the Southern Mansion and the American Civil War took its toll. It was here the family history began in the early 16-hundereds when common criminals were offered a chance to settle along the banks of the Chesapeake Bay. Next to the yellow mansion with its tall white columns, sat the slave quarters, a dark spot in our history, even though the slaves had been treated like equals.

Although, I tried to locate the history of the property before it defaulted to the state, I was unable to tell how many generations lived on the farm; my family did not keep any records or oral history. I suspect many families have passed through the farm, along with the untold number of cars passing along the freeway.

Nevertheless, one day when the state resurfaces the road, they will find the minor time capsule I buried many years ago. A few pet rocks, a rusted fishing hook, a pocketknife with a broken blade, and a note from my eight-grade teacher wondering where my homework was
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