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Alex Boyd English 1101 19 January 2012

Home My family: Mother, Father, two older brothers, and a younger sister I was raised in predominately middle to upper middle class neighborhoods My father is a retired Navy Commander P3 pilot and two time astronaut finalist. My mother is a professional piano player and teacher. I come from a strong Christian family with heavy emphasis on the bible. Foul language was never tolerated in my house My mother raised us on classical music and show tunes. Rock music was not allowed until later in life. Reading was always encouraged but not mandatory unless for school We would sometimes have family bible studies but never read together. As a child it was common for my mother to read to me at night while scratching my back. My father started writing novels later in life and is now a published author. This love of writing is not shared throughout the family.

Work
Little Rosies Mexican Cantina: I worked

here in high school; I picked up on some basic Spanish from dealing with the illegal immigrant cooks. The menu selection became like a 2nd language to me. Taking orders wasnt scripted but was always in a very similar fashion. I had to learn how to deal with confused and sometimes angry customers. It was an extremely popular restaurant and dealt with lots of people.

United States Marine Corps: Recon Marine Learned the phonetic alphabet. Had to learn military commands for every thing from marching to Call for Fire techniques. Much of the lingo was traditional naval talk; many words were contrary to normal language. Ink stick for a pen, bulkhead for a wall, scuttlebutt for gossip and of course military time. Best Buy Home theater: post military, pre college job. Some of the skills I had from the restaurant came into play when talking to customers. They have a set way of selling a TV, from how you introduce yourself with small talk to closing the sale. I learned many new technical terms regarding high-end audio and video equipment.

School
Kindergarten- 3rd grade: Fredericksburg

Neighborhood / Community / Peers Fredericksburg Virginia: Birth till 9. Video games were just beginning to emerge but spent most of my time outside with friends, which helped develop strong social skills. Mostly white middle class. Va is considered the south, but being a D.C. suburb it was a melting pot of people from around the nation. I picked up more of a northern dialog than southern; I never say yall or aint. Huntsville Alabama: 9-18 Being a large defense industry and engineering town it was another large mix of people and not as heavy a southern influence as you would think. Hippie music has a huge influence there, i.e. Phish, Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead. This influenced my appreciation of music and art greatly. Outdoors activities were very popular there and my love of nature grew from that. You pull for Alabama or Auburn. Period. And most people went to one of these schools. I felt that academia was not as much my thing and enlisted in the military. Military Career 18-22: San Diego CA, Beaufort SC, Wilmington NC, Nowzad Afghanistan, Wilmington NC (in no particular order) I was around everyone from people from Boston to Puerto Rico to Russia. Depending on who I was hanging out with could influence the words I used to the accent I spoke with.

Christian School, Fredericksburg VA Much of my early development was at a private Christian school. Phonics was the primary form of teaching to read. Heavy emphasis on the bible. The teachers were good and gave me the tools to learn quickly. Fourth and fifth grade: Hampton Cove elementary, Huntsville Al Teaching style was much different in public school. More visual influence and handheld slower learning. Moving to Alabama I had to pick on new dialect. The accelerated reader program introduced to get you to read, and take tests on the books on the computer. Basic math and grammar games were played on the computers in the library. Middle School: Huntsville Middle School. The school was a mixture of upper middle class white kids and kids from the projects. Nothing in-between. I learned a lot of new foul language starting middle school as most probably do. Writing essays began to be introduced more heavily as well as poetry. Puberty definitely put a damper on the learning process. Not the best teaching staff, many students began their path to failure there. High school: Huntsville High School Same socioeconomic classes Learning was difficult with the heavy

influence of drugs and girls. I left high school with zero study skills as the curriculum was in no way challenging. Reading was required; many classical literature pieces were studied. I did many research essays and very little free form creative writing.

1. Home: Its hard to say how my family influenced my reading and writing, the way I

operate is much different than much of my family. They were motivating and tried to get me to perform to the best of my ability but for some reason I always resisted anything academic. I would say probably the best thing they did was pushed my creativity in other aspects such as building things. My father was always teaching me how to create things like catapults, bow and arrows out of trees, which spawned my interest in engineering. That capacity for creativity can spill over to my writing. So I guess in a way the indirectly greatly influenced my writing :/
2. Work: If work did one thing through the years, it taught me to understand different

cultural dialects. People in California talk much differently than people from Massachusetts. That said Mexicans talk totally different that Afghans. Marines I worked with from Puerto Rico were some of the hardest. Not everyone that enlists from there speaks great English, and when your commanding officer speaks broken English life can be difficult. Learning other languages was never something I was good at but I still remember some Spanish and Arabic words that I encountered at work often.
3. School: School has a large impact on everyones literacy, probably more so than anything

else. You spend the majority of your adolescence at school; you will get rubbed off on. Im sure the way I speak and present myself is a consequence of where I went to school, even if I dont see it. The biggest thing for me would be my taste in music; jam bands were a huge part of my high school. To this day I think people in that high school would kill themselves if Phish told them too. I chose to be different than the people I graduated with which looking back was a fantastic decision. Not one of my friends graduated college, most never tried. Now I have a far different outlook on learning, I need it, and thanks to the Huntsville school system I have some catching up to do.

4: Neighborhood, Community, and Peers: My adolescence was primarily spent in white, middle class neighborhoods. This shaped my vocabulary more than anything; I never picked up one heavy accent. My Marine Corps career was very influential though, If I didnt have friends from California when I moved out there I probably wouldnt have know what hella meant. My Midwestern friends taught me what cheese curds are in Wisconsin, and my New England friends taught me how to properly use the word wicked if Im in Boston.