Take a read of two of the best personal narratives that came across my desk this year November '08! Congrats on great writing with lots of style!

A Forgotten Story
By G.G. Period 1
My blood ran cold when I happened to notice the door that I repeatedly pass going to and from school was unlocked. Besides from being unhinged, the door was opened ever so slightly. Nineteen years ago, an old woman named Mrs. Katter died in that house; it has been for sale ever since. There is a colorless Remax sign pounded into what was once a lawn, in front of the house. I squinted at the door, just to be positive that my imagination did not open it by itself. I suddenly smelled an odor of dead flesh, seeping through the crack of the door. The stench slowly drew me in. I cautiously stepped upon the cement stairs, onto the wooden deck. Creeeeak went the wood boards as I apprehensively paced upon them to get into the haunted house. The planks fought to regain their strength and move back into their correct position on the deck. Besides from the smell of flesh filling the air, there was an eerie sound coming from the eastside. Now, I know I shouldn’t be in Mrs. Katter’s home, but my curiosity took over my 13 year old body. I leisurely inched toward the bothersome noise, of what sounded like a person, an old person, crying for help.

“Help me. Help me,” was said in the most hushed and innocent voice. Not sure if I should run for my dear life, or conger up all my wits and see for myself what is making that irritable sound; I was going to risk it all. I was just about to sacrifice my life and examine the situation, when the thing came to me. The animated body sort of waddled over, ever so slowly, over to where I was positioned. The head was bent downwards, so I could not tell whom it was, but I could see the eyes of the creature. I noticed that besides from being unbelievable short, the person was missing her/his right eye. In the place where an eye used to be, was nothing more than a black hole. There was nothing going in or nothing coming out. It was simply empty space. There were very few clothes the human was wearing: a dark blue overcoat which had too many holes to count, measly sweat socks that had dirt covering them in every imaginable place, and an old Christmas hat which was black. He or she also possessed of extremely wrinkly skin, so crinkled that it was equivalent to an old raisin, to stiff to be picked from the vine. The arms were stretched out like a bald eagle’s wings, as if they were searching for something. The person was an alien. At the end of the arms, fingers were dancing in mid air, just as if playing a tune on the piano. The person came closer and I was able to tell who it was. It was Mrs. Katter. She spoke only a few words, but enough to scare me for life.

“Have you seen my eye?”

“M-m-m-mrs. K-k-k-kater?” I quivered, “i-i-i-i-is that you?”

“Have you seen my eye?” she repeated. I just stood there in complete shock. Standing as still as stone, I was paralyzed from my feet to my head. There was about ten minutes of silence before someone dared to speak.

“Are you the little girl who always passes by my house? I watch you. I watch the way you walk, the color of your clothes, the expression on your face,” she whispers.

“Mrs. Katter, I-I-I-I thought you were dead. I thought you died a couple of years ago in this house. I’ve been told, from rumors in school that you were a crazy woman, crazy enough to pluck out one of your eyes. People told me that you bled to death, you tortured yourself. Why would anyone do that to himself?” I questioned with disbelief.

“Little girl, I don’t know you, and you obviously do not know me, so let me explain this to you as best I can.” Those few words took Mrs. Katter as much energy as someone singing the “National Anthem”.

I waited for her story, shaking, shivering, chattering, not knowing what to expect, or where the story will go. Mrs. Katter finally began her memory.

“Twenty years ago Harold, my husband, died from a severe stroke. We loved each other very much. We first met at our high school prom, when he asked me to dance with him. We instantly fell in love, and got married a year after we both graduated. Before he died, Harold promised me that he would never leave my side. After I was living alone for a while, I thought he would have come back some how. Just to show me he was still there. Pretty foolish, huh?” she questioned me.

“No, I-I do not think that is foolish at all. It is sweet, actually,” I said in a surprised expression. To my shock, the story was not tedious at all. It was beautiful. My heart was immediately overflowing with love and passion.

“Well, Harold never did come back, so after awhile, I went to go look for Harold’s long lost soul. That’s why the door was opened this evening; I went to go search for it, but then I forgot to close the door. A long time ago, before I even considered of looking for Harold’s soul, I removed my right eye with a twist of my wrist.”

“Why would you ever do such a thing?” I did not mean to ask her such a personal question, but I was enjoying the story so much, that it just came blurting out.

“I was unhappy,” she answered. “If I could no longer see my beloved Harold, then I did not want to see anyone or anything ever again. I kept one eye, just so I could still be connected with the world. Hoping that maybe one day, a wonderful thing might happen to me. Your friends were right, about how crazy I was. I was so scared, so mad at myself for believing that someone could actually come back to me after being deceased.” Mrs. Katter spoke those words with tears in her eyes. Her teardrops slowly slithered down her crumpled cheek, and sank onto the avocado carpet.

“Oh Mrs. Katter, I am sorry. I cannot imagine all of the pain and anger you must have gone through. And I cannot believe that I…I thought you were a dreadful woman from all the stories my friends told with me. I now know never to judge someone from their looks or even their stories. I first have to know that person as a human being, and understand them before I criticize them. Thank you, Mrs. Katter, for teaching me such a valuable lesson.”

“You are welcome, child,” Mrs. Katter said. She then was able to push back her tears in the wipe of her hand, and a quick sniff of her nose.

“Well, I better be heading home now, my parents must be worried sick.”

“Good bye now,” Mrs. Katter grinned. “Oh, and by the way, I am happy I did not remove both my eyes, because something wonderful did happen to me. It was you.”

I walked out of Mrs. Katter’s home with a smile on face. As I was stepping off of the porch, I had the sensation of an energy coming from above directed towards me. I slowly turned in that direction and my eyes came upon, what I believed to be a man’s silhouette. It appeared to be some sort of ghost. I could tell it was a benign soul, a solemn soul, a lost soul. But, before I could focus, the spirit faded into the house.

The Door
By M. L. period 1

I learned at a very young age that things can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye. My dad passed away when I was three, and my mom when I was nine, and I am now currently living with my uncle. I love my uncle more than anything, and getting to stay with him has lifted my spirits a little.
My room is at the end of this long, dark, creepy hallway. I try to avoid it as much as I can, but when I have to go up there, I always pass this big brown door. It is always locked. I didn’t even really notice it until my dog Tatum and I threw a ball near it by accident. The ball was small; one of those colorful tennis ball toys that you find in the dog and cat isle at the supermarket, so it went right under a small crack in the wood. Not knowing what to expect, I tried to open the door, and it opened!
Inside was a huge corridor, lined with dim candles. It had absolutely no furniture inside, but it did have a gorgeous tile floor. It had a peculiar look to it. Sitting on the far side of the corridor was the little tennis ball. After I picked it up, I noticed a small vault about eight inches from my astonished face. Curiously, I took a step closer. It was small and rusty, and looked like whatever was behind it was locked up tight. I stuck my hand out and ran it along the rough surface. Daringly, I grabbed the handle, and turned. The vault must have been very old because it leapt off the wall and on to the hard tile floor, revealing a long tunnel. I froze. I had no idea what I should do. I felt as if there was a devil and an angel on my shoulder, representing my conscience. The devil told me to go for it, even though the door itself had been locked, but the angel said to play it safe and let it be. There had to be a reason why there was a vault guarding it. My conscience was battling it out on my shoulder, but in the end, the devil won. I was now on my first adventure.
Before entering the tunnel, I snatched one of the candles off the wall. Then I took the bouncy-ball and threw it into the tunnel to see how long it was. After about six minutes of waiting, I knelt down on my hands and knees, and started crawling. The walls of the tunnel were carpeted with cobwebs. Sometimes I even had to stick the candle out to burn the webs when they became too dense to crawl through. After crawling for about forty-five minutes, I decided to stop and rest. As I sat down, I noticed that the trail of cobwebs had stopped. They had disappeared completely. Then I realized that everything had disappeared completely. I could no longer see the walls of the tunnel. I felt around and I couldn’t feel them either. I was petrified from head to toe. All except for my eyes, which wandered around curiously, until they spotted a small speck of light straight above me. Suddenly, a jolt of electricity ran through my body, freeing me from the immobile state. I started to crawl again, only this time, vertically, toward the light, or in my case, the hope of being freed from the treacherous blackness.
I pulled myself up into a bright white, empty land. It seemed to be deserted, nothing but a glossy white as far as the eye could see, which wasn’t very far because of a thick fog. It felt like being in the inside of a marshmallow-without the stickiness. Cautiously, I started slowly walking through this unknown world. Then, suddenly, I heard a crunching noise. I looked around only to realize that I had stepped on a leaf. A leaf! That means there has to be trees somewhere. I continued walking farther and farther, and the farther I walked, the more leaves I found. I soon stumbled upon what must have been a tree. It was so tall that I couldn’t tell whether it was a tree or a telephone pole. The branches and leaves about a hundred feet up sort-of gave it away. After staring blankly at the tree for a long while, I continued my journey through this mysterious place. I soon noticed that I was no longer surrounded by a blank white, but a setting that I came to recognize. There were trees off in the distance that lined the edge of a long stream. On the ground was a thick white blanket of snow. The scene was a humungous cupcake smeared evenly along the top with a vanilla cloud icing. I could see a small, animated house in the distance as well. Then it hit me. Hard. I was outside my old house; the one I used to live in with my mother and father until they passed away.
I sprinted toward the familiar little house as fast as I could. I peered in the window and saw my mother and father sitting by the fire, and me playing on the hard wood floor with the doll my mother gave me before she died. I felt tears running down my cheek as fast as a racecar on its final lap. The thought of my parents made me start to cry. I missed them, a lot. I just wished I could see them, one more time, and tell them that I love them. While in deep thought, the little girl-myself-must have seen me and ran out to say hello. My parents didn’t notice and went on with their conversation as my three-year-old self pushed open the empty door.
“I’m Mackenzie,” she said. “Who are you?”
“I’m you,” I tried to explain as lucidly and concise as I could, ”I don’t know how I got here, but I did, and I wanted to tell you to give your parents a big hug and tell them that you love them.”
“Okay!” she said with out question.
The girl opened up the big wooden door and made her way back inside. In the glow of the fire, I could see her jump on the couch and give each of her parents a hug. I saw her mouth the words “I love you” soon after.
“Very obedient.” I said out loud, and trudged back through the snow. Out of nowhere, a door appeared. I stuck my hand out onto the cold brass handle and turned without even giving it a second thought. I found myself standing outside that locked door. I stood there for a long time thinking about my parents, and how you never really appreciate something until it’s gone..

Here are some strong paragraphs written already this year (September). The prompt was about an invention that has made an impact.
Per 4/5 L.E.

If you have to call 9-11 because you crashed your car into a tree, it might be a good idea to have a cell phone on you. If you call from your cell phone and you don’t know here you are, a police officer might be able to trace you down using your cell phone number. What if your son started to have a seizure in the back seat of the car and there was no pay phone around? You would have to drive until you found a hospital, but if you had a cell phone, you could have gotten your son to the hospital faster o have an emergency worker talk you through what to do. Emergencies are bound to happen, but that cell phone will assure that you are in touch with someone who can help as fast as you can dial a phone number.
If you are trying to persuade a reader, a SCENERIO is a good way to present a real-life reason to support your point. This paragraph above presents two different scenerios which adds more support.

Per 4/5 M.G.

The first good example to make the television seem like a good invention is because it serves as a great source of daily information. It is extremely helpful in how you prepare for your day. For instance, everyone needs to plan what he/she is going to wear. If it going to be cold that day, a person can check the weather channel to see how cold it will be. Then a person could pick long pants and maybe a sweatshirt to keep warm. Also if there is a car accident on the highway, you will take a different route. That is just one of the helpful channels that just helped you decide to take a different way to work so you are not late.
This gives two SPECIFIC examples of why the television impacts us: weather and traffic. VERY strong topic sentence leads the reader in clearly.

Per 4/5 E.J.

For years, Americans and people all over the world have brought computers, iPods, and cell phones into their daily lives. They are great items, but is America spending too much time with electronics? A recent video stated that the text messages sent daily exceed the world’s population. Also, the use of light bulbs for are great for seeing things, but people constantly leaving lights on wastes energy and affects our global warming. The last negative side to electronic is how it is affecting our minds. Kids spend too much time playing video games and watching television, and their grades begin to go down. Electricity and electronics are good to use, but bad at the same time. What kind of compromise cold the world make to fix this?
Impressive to include a specific STATISTIC! It’s hard to do this without notes and time to research, but this is a great way to improve content.

Per 1 A.K.

Before there were cars or transportation, people walked or took horse and buggy around. Now in that time, the world was smaller and there were less dangers. Today, it would take awhile to get to Doylestown by foot unless you lived nearby. There’s nothing wrong with walking to town, but there are dangers out there. Someone could take you or you could get lost, so you should have a buddy with you. But cars are safer because you’re sure to be with someone you know.
Clever, in terms of building content, to address what came before. In content we call that adding PERSPECTIVE. If you tell where we came from, it makes your point of how it has impacted us that much strong.

Per 1 M.G.

Now with light bulbs, light is no longer a safety hazard. It can’t hurt anyone in any way. One example is that it is not an open flame waiting for someone to be burned or to catch on fire. Also since light bulbs give off a great amount of light, people no longer trip on objects in their house. This may not be a big caution for most people, but for elderly people it can be. Older people are weaker and a serious fall could injure them permanently and change their life drastically. Maybe an elderly person has fallen because of the poor light source he/her was using and is not able to get up. With any light source except the light bulb, that fall could be life threatening.
Again, this writer uses PERSPECTIVE to improve the point; we also see a SPECIFIC scenario.

Per 2/3 D.O.

Check out this grabber zinger combo. Notice there is no repetition, but clearly both are about the same topic:
Grabber: Everyday, millions of people ride in cars. Where we realize it or not, cars are a part of our daily lives.
Zinger: If we continue on this path, not only will we be suffer with unclean air but so will the arctic.

Period 2/3 T.F.

Without light bulbs, we can’t make televisions, computers, iPods, or cell phones to communicate and entertain ourselves because the screen wouldn’t have light or visions. America and the world highly depend on these inventions. There would not be overheads either. We would be left writing every word down on the blackboard which would take time away from learning. Light bulbs impact the world great by the part they play in other inventions.
Two specific example WITH EXPLANATION for each. Very strong topic sentence that states specifics. The conclusion sentence also clarifies without repeating—it is really the main idea of the paragraph.