Short VersionGretchen Griffith is a former teacher with thirty years of experience from Head Start five year olds to college freshmen at Appalachian State University and Caldwell Community College. Her interest in international cultures began in high school when she was an exchange student in Lima, Peru and continues today through volunteer work with AFS, an intercultural program. She has worked to preserve western North Carolina stories through several oral history projects that she has published. She lives in Lenoir, North Carolina, with her husband, Van. They have two children, Jennifer and Allen, and two grandchildren, Gracie and Reagan.
Lightning VersionFamily oriented former teacher who catches life stories and shares them in print.
The Rest of the Story Version
The invitation:Come in, browse around, visit with self proclaimed Storycatcher, Gretchen Griffith, as she shares the ins and outs of her writing journey.
The words of wisdom:Don't be afraid of your own voice! Any powerful historical account has a narrator weaving through it, negotiating and bringing to life all kinds of personalities. A story catcher still has to extract the story to get it out of her net. From a wise sage who advised her, now passed along from Gretchen to you, her visitors
Gretchen Griffith’s writing reflects her interests and her experiences in a "Write what you know and what you don't know, research" kind of way. Her life story began at the end of the most exciting week in the history of Donora, Pennsylvania, the week of the infamous Killer Fog. She was born on the last day and missed it all, but she heard the story of the tragedy from day one, and plans to someday set it to print.Because of the economic downturn related to the Donora environmental incident, her parents moved south and raised Gretchen and her brother near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her interest in international cultures began in high school when she was an exchange student in Lima, Peru and continues today through volunteer work with AFS, an intercultural program.
Both her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, concentrating in Spanish, and her Masters in Education, concentrating in reading and world geography, are from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She taught students of every age imaginable from Head Start five year olds to college freshman at Appalachian State University and a ninety year old lady in adult basic education classes at Caldwell Community College. Her years teaching in the elementary school found her in fifth grade, eighth grade, remedial reading, third grade and then her all-time favorite, fourth grade. She began interviewing people in the community when her fourth grade classes were involved with the pilot program for the Community Music Curriculum through an NEA grant and the University of North Carolina. She was supervisor for the program in the western counties of the state and worked with teachers to develop their own Community Music Curriculum and teach their children to interview.Her role in her local community, Gamewell, has been with the town history committee where her interviews with citizens are on file in the town hall. She has gone beyond the boundaries of her town and worked to preserve local histories of western North Carolina through several oral history projects she has published.Over several years she journeyed across America (and Canada) in a quest with her husband to attend a baseball game in every Major League Ball Park. Mission accomplished, but repeat trips will be required, however, to Minnesota and Atlanta to visit new parks there.