4 Mapping Your Childhood

  1. Start with a childhood home you remember well.   It doesn’t have to be your first home but rather one that is clear in your memory.
  2. Before going any farther, draw a line down the left margin of the page about two inches from the edge.  We’re going to use that space later, so keep it blank for now.
  3. Draw a square on the page representing your house.  Now add details about your yard, neighbors, places around the home that have significance to you.  Examples, a favorite tree, a barn, a dead end street, etc.
  4. Add your school and connect it to the house. Do you remember the streets you took to get there?  Add neighbors homes, major streets that are close by, the local store.
  5. Where did you go after school?  put those  places on the page.  How did you get to the closest major population center?  Any natural landmarks that stand out?
  6. Put in some major streets/roads that connect some of these places.

Now in that left margin we set aside, we are going to put in 27 things to think about.

  1. Where did something tragic happen?
  2. A time when you couldn’t stop laughing.
  3. Something happened that you regret.
  4. A sound or sounds you remember.
  5. A time you lied.
  6. A time you were lied to.
  7. A time you couldn’t stop crying.
  8. Something you lost.
  9. Where is the neighborhood gathering place?
  10. Where did someone teach you something?
  11. Who was/were the neighborhood character(s).
  12. Something that made your stomach turn.
  13. When did you teach someone else something?
  14. Something you found.
  15. A  prevalent smell.
  16. When/where  you wished to older/bigger.
  17. When/where you became aware of the inevitability of death
  18. A physical hurt.
  19. A time you hated your mother.
  20. A time you remember dancing.
  21. An instance of betrayal by you and/or against you.
  22. When/where you wished to be younger/smaller.
  23. Remember something you tasted.
  24. A time you hated your father.
  25. A place to stay away from.
  26. A time you disobeyed
  27. Where you went on Sundays.

Now think about this list.  Read through them until something grabs a hold of you and on a separate page write down that story.  (20 minutes free writing time.).

Check in with everyone, ask how this is working for the group.  Are there other items they would like to add to the list?  Ask if they have any examples.

Do another 20 minute free write.

Re-convene and ask if anyone wants to share any of their stories.  Give everyone ample time to offer their writing to the group.

Check in to see if they think the map/listing is fairly complete in their mind.

Optional:  Give them a chance to recopy a neater version onto another page.  Then take turns getting the pages laminated and hole punched so they can keep them in a binder for future use.

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