Monday, February 28, 2011

My Childhood Neighborhood Revisited

Without a doubt one of my favorite exercises so far while working through Bill Roorbach's book Writing Life Stories was the mapmaking exercise. 3 months ago I drew from memory my childhood neighborhood and randomly wrote about some of the physical attributes and memories created in that neighborhood. That map sparked so much stored way back in the forgotten corners of my mind. So many stories and memories came flooding back in surprising clarity. That was last November. In December I had the opportunity to visit with my siblings over coffee and we laughed and carried on about our different perspectives growing up in little ranch, on a corner lot, with a huge yard.

Most recently , as I continue to work through Roorbach's book, he suggested Google Mapping the neighborhood in which you lived. I did that today and I've been glued to the computer for well over an hour.  I am most amazed at how accurate I remembered the landscape of that northern suburb of St. Louis. Here, look for yourself:

potential stories to visit from the map: (interestingly they are all sparked from the church in our backyard)
riding roller skates down chapel hill and feeling so afraid
when my sister went missing and we found her in the church sanctuary
the Sunday I told my teacher my parents were splitting up
whipping Frankenburger because he wouldn't stop pestering me
the Haunted House in the intercom
the snow mounds from the parking lot
Julie Summers garden & Barbie collection
biking in the church's back parking lot and feeling like it was pure freedom
sign language class that landed me a spot on television
graduating from Brownies in the gymnasium @ church

Mapmaking has turned out to be a very productive memory evoker for me. This is good news as someone who has confessed in the journey blog that I fear many of my memories have been lost. My intention is to come back to this above list on days when I need a little inspiration.

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