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“Tellabration 2!” ™

November 3, 2017

From…        Muskegon, Michigan  and  Mt. Airy, North Carolina

Texas – Waco, Houston, and Austin

New York – Schenectady, Shrub Oak, Rochester, and New York City

California – San Diego, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto 

Pennsylvania – Bethlehem and Philadelphia

and Kaysville (Utah), Bradenton (Florida), Washington DC, Belleville (Illinois), Columbus (Ohio), Arden (Delaware), Chicago, Delta (Alabama), and Sharpsburg (Maryland)…

PLUS our own Pacific Northwest region: Seattle, Olympia, and Tacoma, Washington and Portland, Oregon…

comes our annual celebration of storytelling: around the country and around the world- “TELLABRATION!” ™. An activity sponsored by the National Storytelling Network, our national storytelling organization

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brings together storytellers and story listeners all across the globe.

Come to Seattle and share music and story with us on this very special occasion!!

“Tellabration!” (tm)  2017    November 18  7 – 9 PM
The Seattle Storytellers Guild Presents
An Evening of Tales and Music With Pint and Dale

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William Pint and Felicia Dale travel throughout the US and abroad with their unique blend of traditional and modern maritime music.

The Baltuck-Garrard Family Storytellers

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A family of world travelers and storytellers, Naomi Baltuck, her husband, Thom, and their children, Bea and Eli, have collected tales and experiences to share with us.

University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Avenue NE in Seattle.

Suggested Donation $15, $10 for SSG Members – No one turned away for lack of funds!

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“TELLABRATION!”(tm)

October 3, 2017

Twenty eight years ago, a storyteller named J.G. (Paw Paw) Pinkerton thought it would be a good idea to have a designated day when storytellers gathered folks they knew around them and introduced them to the art. The Connecticut Storytelling Center agreed – and, that year, they created six events throughout the state. “Tellabration!” became a trademarked activity of the National Storytelling Network (NSN) and, now, every year in November, there are “Tellabration!” events on every continent – except Antarctica.

This year, the Seattle Storytelling Guild will hold it’s “Tellabration!” event at a new venue. The concert, on November 18th from 7 – 9 PM (a social hour will precede it at 6:30), will be held at the Nathan Johnson Hall at University Unitarian Church at 6556 35th Avenue NE in Seattle (206-454-7710) and will feature two groups of seasoned performers.

PintnDale (or William Pint and Felicia Dale) are nationally known singers and musicians who specialize in traditional and modern maritime music. They have performed all over the US and abroad: “They deliver dynamic vocals and instrumental fireworks…heart-wrenching to downright silly, with powerful harmonies and dramatic instrumental work on guitar, hurdy-gurdy, octave mandolin, penny whistle, and fiddle” Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival  – UK

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The Baltuck-Garrard Family – Naomi, Thom, Bea, and Eli – are a well known and much  beloved storytelling family here in the Pacific Northwest. This seasoned troupe (Bea and Eli have been performing with their parents since they were little) has performed in festivals, libraries, and concert halls throughout the area. Naomi is also an author of award-winning books: fiction and books on storytelling. She has received the Parent Choice Gold Award, three Storytelling World Awards, and an Anne Izard Storyteller Choice Award.

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The concert will also feature exhibits, recording and book sales, door prizes and refreshments. The church has ample parking,  is close to three different bus routes, and is handicap- accessible. Come – and share this exciting and dynamic program with us! For more information, please call 360-221-0326 or email at: story@whidbey.com.

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“Tellabration!” is a trademark of the National Storytelling Network (NSN)

Grand-daughter

August 7, 2017

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What does it mean to have a thirteen year old in the house? Such a kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions…. pulling me back to being a parent… an adolescent…pushing me forward into the new world young people now inhabit.

It means doing morning exercises at volume 25 with Lady Gaga. WOW! Does that get you going !! What fun to dance around the room while your grand-daughter looks on with a horrified look on her face…. The music was raucous, but well orchestrated, and the album title- “The Fame Monster”- so apt. I’ll bet that lady with the outlandish costumes knows a thing or two about fame and it’s price….

It means remembering that young teenagers never finish ANY task. There is always one sock left on the floor, or the garage door left open, or the kitchen towel scrunched in a heap on the counter.  None of this is done with malice or forethought – just that
vacant look that lets you know… they were thinking of something else.

It means being exasperated at their wooly-headedness one minute – and astounded at their skill and acuity the next. I remember watching, stunned, as she manoeuvred her way through a training session as my assistant with poise and enthusiasm. She took non-verbal cues from me and adjusted to time changes like a pro!

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It means being plunged back into the angst of the age. As I assisted with a humanities essay, feelings surfaced about a relationship with a classmate. As hurt and anger came bubbling to the surface, I flashed back to my thirteen year old self – full of anxiety and fear – and, at the same time, felt the compassion and worry of the parent I had once been. We so easily forget the intensity of these experiences – until we once again come face to face with them.

It means listening to a saxophone rehearsal (as she whips through two or three different “Star Wars” tunes) and remembering – a year and a half ago – “Hot Cross Buns” with lots of hesitations and squeaks and sighs.

It means trying to adjust to a new conservatism in food choices; no, she won’t eat kale or chard, but a little broccoli is OK. But we both LOVE fresh peaches… with the juice dribbling down our fingers.

It means that shopping for clothes is a test of adult patience. Her range of dislikes – is almost unlimited. In one way, I approve; she has rejected the fashion band-wagon, the slavish following of trends. But her range of likes is so narrow… now I know why her mother has given up trying!

It means such contentment as we munch popcorn and watch a movie that we both love.

It means wondering if she will like an outing you have planned and worrying about her occasional silences and trying to remember how I felt when I was with my grand-mother all those years ago.

It means being extraordinarily proud as she successfully completes her first adult interview and spends afternoons shadowing at a vet clinic. What a source of satisfaction to be able to give this child – who has wanted to be a vet since she was six – her first exposure to the career.

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“Rebecca” – a repeat performance

June 8, 2017

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The story of “Rebecca” began as many stories do – by accident. I was rummaging around the Island County Historical Museum Library when I stumbled upon a pioneer diary. It was written by Rebecca Ebey, wife of well known Washington pioneer, Isaac Ebey. (Note: the photograph above is not Rebecca…merely my image of her….)The Ebeys were part of the first group of homesteaders on Whidbey Island, my home.  In my research, I have read many frontier diaries. But this one was special….  I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Five years later, in 2012, “Rebecca: the story of Rebecca Ebey” premiered at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley. Since then, the show has received national recognition and been performed all over Washington State – and in other states as well. This month, “Rebecca” is coming back to Whidbey Island… to the Day Use Area at Camp Casey State Park in Coupeville on June 23rd at 7:00 pm. The story traces Rebecca’s journey from Missouri to the Oregon Territory in 1851; in the second part of the show,   the diary is brought back to life as Rebecca describes the joys and sorrows of being a homesteader. The performance, sponsored  by the Sound Water Stewarts and the Park, is free.

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Memorial Day 2017

May 31, 2017

 

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The day was cool. Rain clouds loomed at the edge of the cemetery as people parked their cars, pulling portable chairs out of trunks, and then walked slowly down the cemetery lane, past pine and oak trees toward the podium. Despite the weather, it was a good- sized crowd. The Boy Scout color guard twisted impatiently in formation waiting for their cue. As the mayor of Marine, Minnesota greeted us, the wind whipped across his microphone, creating what sounded like a muffled drum beat. After the greeting, came announcements. There would be no garbage collection on Monday…the crowd chuckled. We heard about the upcoming Fourth celebration (which would actually be on the 3rd) and the Art Sale to benefit the Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Team. The appropriate people were acknowledged and thanked.

Over sixty-five years ago – as a child – I was in this little town on Memorial Day – with my parents and two younger brothers. My father, great-grandfather, and my Dede, his second wife are buried in this place. Today I set my canvas chair down beside my youngest brother and his wife who have lived here for forty years. Over those years, Marine has seen many changes. But, for a lot of reasons, the town’s size (689 residents) and spirit have remained pretty much the same.

As the color guard advanced with the flags, there was a respectful silence – and a slight sprinkling from above. Hoods were pulled up and umbrellas appeared, but no-one ducked for cover. As a state senator gave a short speech and the fifth graders read the names of all the Marine citizens who died in service to their country, and taps was blown, rain periodically spit down on us. Nobody moved then either.

As I stood and sang the appropriate songs, there were moments when I began to tear up. There is something about these ceremonies which is both fragile and enduring. There is something enduring (and endearing) about watching a little girl in a sun-dress solemnly read the names of soldiers she does not know – and then sprint back to her place in line. There is something infinitely fragile that brought us all here today to share in this ritual. We remember those who gave their lives in service. But let us also remember that fragile spirit which united us here – and resolve to do everything we can to preserve it.

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Rain

May 5, 2017

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Yesterday’s rainstorm was atypical. After a gloriously sunny day, grey clouds began to roll in. The air was warm and moist and smelled of the coming storm. Then came the thunder…thirty minutes of it as the sky continued to darken. I remembered Minnesota childhood days: watching dark clouds roll in, feeling the breeze pick up, smelling the changes in the air – and then racing across the yard towards the house as the first raindrops began to fall. The thunder and the sky, the smells and the sounds were taking me back… to different times and places….

I was six, sitting on my Uncle’s lap on the front porch of the cabin in a thunderstorm. Rain was pounding on the stones outside; we could feel the moisture through the screens. Suddenly, the lightening would flash, there would be a cascading series of thunder “cracks” – and then BOOM! – the big one. I burrowed into his chest, hiding my face in his shirt, and started to cry. He did not comfort me; instead, he told me a story – about the elves and their game of ninepins up in the sky. I listened, fascinated, imagining little men – like the dwarfs in “Snow White” – rolling bowling balls across the sky.

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In Manila, it was raining. At our tiny little house in San Andres Bukid district, we watched the street fill up and then closed the door and stuffed rolled newspapers under it. Fortunately, the bedrooms were upstairs, so the baby was safe and we could sleep. The next morning there was ankle-deep water on the first floor and the refrigerator had shorted out. The jeepneys were still running and I had to go to the market for food. Later, grocery bags full, I started across a main street to catch a ride home. “HWAG NA!” A man shouted at me from across the street. He was waving his arms and pointing to a spot on the street in front of me. I had almost stepped into an open manhole….

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It was 4:15 am in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon in Central West Africa. I had been awakened by a loud rattling sound coming from the metal roof of our home. Could it be? I jumped out of bed, turned off the air conditioner, and threw open the windows. Yes, it was true… the rains had finally come.

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As I stood there, drinking in the cool, fresh air, rain drummed on the roof, falling in sheets on the ground tiles below. The leaves glistened with wetness.  I imagined the dust on the street outside running in red rivulets into the ditch…all over the city, running from hills, streets, cracks in the earth, carrying away the dusty refuse of this dry season.

Whole districts of the city had been without water for weeks. As the sun shone fiercely day after day, everywhere people had been looking up… asking, “when will it come?” Like tens of thousands of others, I had given up trying to keep things clean. I was beginning to wonder if the smell of dust, the faint reddish haze on everything, would ever go away.

The next morning, my brown yard would look clean. The respiratory problems which come every year at the end of the dry season would begin to recede. People would smile as they walked around or stepped over puddles. The thunder rumbled gently in the background as the wind and rain slackened.  And, standing at that window, I began to understand – in my gut – what the threat of drought in Africa means.

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Spring: Flowers and Baseball

April 7, 2017

I keep stumbling into things. Preparing for my monthly visit to an assisted living center, I decided on a Spring theme. The month before, I had asked them what the word “Spring” conjured up for them. There were two strong responses: flowers and baseball. So – why not do a program on both? Voila!

I already had a great Ojibwe folktale describing how the great Nanabozho created first – the colors of the flowers and second – a rainbow. During my research for this tale, I discovered that there were many First Nation stories about flowers: ex. the Ottawa story about their tribal flower: the trailing arbutus.

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But I had no stories – or knowledge – about baseball. There were dim memories of my first year of teaching at Silverado Junior High in Napa, California. Our principal, deans, and many teachers were fervid baseball fans. Therefore, the World Series was broadcast over the school loudspeaker system – much to the chagrin of un-informed and illiterate teachers like me. Then I remembered a book written by a prominent historian, a memoire of her childhood –  including her love affair with the Brooklyn Dodgers. I found the book in the library.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Wait Till Next Year” is a delight. With a deft and unsentimental touch, she brings back memories of growing up in suburban New York in the 40’s and 50’s. Her love of baseball began early:

“When I was six, my father gave me a bright-red scorebook that opened my heart to the game of baseball. After dinner on long summer nights, he would sit beside me in our small enclosed porch to hear my account of that day’s Brooklyn Dodgers game. Night after night he taught me the odd collection of symbols, numbers, aned letters that enable a baseball lover to record every action of the game.”

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Doris had the great good luck to fall in love with baseball at the beginning of a grand era for New York fans. Between 1949 – 1957, all three New York teams: the Giants, the Yankees, and her beloved Dodgers competed in the World Series. She describes her first actual game at Ebbets Field:

“I reached over instinctively to hold my father’s hand as we wended our way to seats between home plate and first base, which like thousands of seats in this tiny, comfortable park, were so close to the playing field that we could hear what the ballplayers said to one another….I was witness to a splendid game… the Dodgers won 4 – 3.”

What a wonderful resource… it brings back an era my audience will remember and a sport that many of them followed as avidly as Doris. Play ball!

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