Storyteller Amy Ammons Garza tells tales of growing up in the mountains in a house with no electricity or plumbing. As a child she sat at the foot of her grandfather and listened to tales of how her ancestors, seven generations past, were a part of those who traveled to Western North Carolina in the 1700s and settled the isolated mountains. His stories intrigued her, and so she stored them away in her heart until she grew up and began to write about them. Now she has eleven books, three of which are a trilogy of her family's heritage in the NC mountains. "Our family struggled to make a living," says Amy. "They did as others... gardened, picked wild berries, cut timber, worked on the railroad, made corn liquor...anything to put food on the table and shoes on their feet. And in among it all, they had love stories, fun stories, faith stories, how to 'made do,' and how to 'keep on keeping on! '" Amy is now turning her storytelling into audio "slices of life" which you can listen to within this website .
From the very beginning, stories surrounded me; in fact, I believe they were bred into me. I was told since I was the eldest grandchild on both sides of my family I must carry on the tradition of storytelling. Early on, Grandpa encouraged me to never forget our family’s heritage…to always remember the stories.
For 30 years, the Ammons Sisters have performed mountain storytelling with spontaneous art for the general
public and in school settings. As Amy tells the stories, Doreyl spontaneously illustrates them on two large 4' x 6' easels, bringing the stories alive before the eyes of the audience. "All the stories are based on true experiences of our family," says Amy. "My sister and I are carriers of our heritage, hoping to instill in our audience the
knowledge that we are all different, yet wonderful in our own way; that 'story' is a way to preserve and honor our past to help us know that we are each a link to the future of the family of mankind!"
The Ammons Sisters are cofounders of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization —winner of the 2013 mountain heritage award—located in Western North Carolina. The sisters and a board of 20 members have worked for more than 30 years to save the heritage of their region. The work has consisted of Mountain Storytelling with Spontaneous Art with The Ammons Sisters • Stories of Mountain Folk Radio/Online Programs •
Scholarships for Appalachian Studies • Mountain Youth Talent Shows • Publishing Local Writers • Traditional Heritage Walks •
Teaching Creative Writing, Visual Art and Storytelling.
(Doreyl & husband also founded The Appalachian Mural Trail)
Through all endeavors, the members of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia cherishes the natural environment and creativity, which encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally in our region.
To learn more about Amy, the Ammons Sisters, and Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, click below....