July 5, 2008

HELP: Tell Me a Story!

Hello SHU community and Beyond... I need everybody's help (students, professors, doctors, etc. ALL ages, it doesn't matter)... most of you know that I'm a graduate student studying Chidlren's Folklore... I have a project to do and it involves collecting stories...

My project is not due until Dec. 2008 and right now I'm just doing pre-liminary research... Here's how YOU can help... "STORIES" is a pretty BROAD term, and I'm trying to narrow my focus and find an angle...

I'm trying to narrow my focus by asking you to share a childhood story that's so memorable to you... the stories I collect here will hopefully give me a focus and an angle to PREPARE this fall when I start officially collecting them in a methodical manner with proper documentation etc.... I won't use your stories other than to get a "feeling" and if I do use your story, I'll send you an individual email asking for permission (you can refuse or accept- no hard feelings)...

I talked to one of my advisers, and she reminded me that "stories" is broad and to make things complicated a child's sense of story is even vague (depending on the age and other exposures/factors- a child might associate jokes, riddles, fairy tales etc. as stories-- the other tricky thing is that I'm asking YOU [people of all AGES] with different backgrounds/concepts/perspective to SHARE with me... I'll never know what I'll find unless I ask ... so PLEASE PARTICIPATE (you can ask all my teachers: St. Matthias, Arch. John Carroll HS, SHU, USU, that I have good academic integrity so I won't abuse the information you share with me)

so If you're interested in participating just comment on this entry and tell me your story in the comment section (pass the word and tell everybody you know, who'd like to participate)...

here are some guidelines:

1. Think back when you were 10 years old (or close to that age), Tell me a story (it doesn't matter what genre- I'm being vague here on purpose because I'm trying to find out something) that you remember telling your peers? What story(s) was popular in your group? What did you tell each other? I'm looking for Personal stories not Private stories and REMEMBER to SHOW a lot (with details) instead of to TELL.

Thanks for participating and helping me! Once my focus is narrowed and I find an angle, I would know how to analyze whatever data I get; and I would have a better idea on how to approach this project this Fall, so thanks in advance!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at July 5, 2008 7:35 PM

This is difficult because the stories we told at ten in school seemed to be gossip, or at least pertaining to our immediate environments, or to ourselves as a group.
Stories we made up about us inevitably turned into play, like all of us being different characters from Charlie Brown. I was the little Redhead girl for about a year. My best friend Nicole was Charlie Brown.
There was one story I was repeatedly told and never understood because I was the late-comer to the group. I joined the class in the middle of third grade. They had Sister in first grade. In fact, they were her first class at that school. I was still at that other school, so I don't know what she was like as a teacher. All I know is my impression of her. Although she played the guitar at mass, she was rather frightening. At least I was afraid of her. And so was my mom. Not someone you would want to cross, or to come across, if you could at all avoid it. After she rang the bell for school to begin, you would just turn around and go home if you were late. For whom the bell tolls and all that jazz.
Anyway, the children who had her told stories
about how great she was, how kind. Maybe they had nothing to compare it to or something. I still don't know. They specifically retold how they were taught the alphabet frontwards and backwards. Most of them can still recite it backwards to this day. And some song she sung and made them learn to remember some point of grammar (prepositions?).
Although I enjoyed sitting on the ground when the first through fourth graders would practice singing church music in her classroom because her room was so vibrant and exquisitely decorated, I was always terrified of her. Even when a boy kicked my lunch across the room in her presence. Even then she seemed too severe on him. One mom actually named her youngest daughter after her. It was a following I never was a part of.
She died when we were in seventh grade after being sick for a year. After she was gone, people literally wanted to make her a saint, And still might want to. I never understood her popularity. So I just remained quiet.

Most stories we told then were actually about siblings. And parents. And classmates. And teachers. What happened daily became the stories we told.
And when we get together now, we relive all these stories.

Posted by: lauren-elise at July 6, 2008 1:56 AM
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