January 2018 summary of stories
The Swap kicked off the new year with a lively exchange of stories. We also had fun in our sharing circle describing and hearing others tell of snow storms they’ve experienced. It was about half and half, folks who grew up in snow country (Midwest, Utah, Switzerland) and had humdinger recollections, and others native to California, many who’d never seen or been in snow until adulthood.
1. Cal told a story of the small Mormon town where he was raised, and what unfolded when his tea-totaling mother, under direction of her doctor, needed to acquire whiskey to take medicinally. Cal’s father sure took a lot of ribbing from the townsfolk when he made the purchase.
2. Mary brought us a Scottish tale about a selkie, said to live as a seal in the sea but shed its skin to become human on land. Magic ensued when a lonely lighthouse operator, upon being injured, discovered that a baby seal he’d adopted when it washed up on shore, had become his human nursemaid. She never admitted it but the truth was clear when he saw that the seal and the woman both arranged his slippers in the same odd way.
3. Sharon had us laughing at a story about being in high school, and the various ways girls wore their headscarves to indicate their flirting styles. A 20-year reunion had many of her classmates surprised at how one girl in particular had “turned out.”
4. Laurie told of her encounter while cashiering at the library book sale in a story called Duet. A patron was delighted to find and buy the piano accompaniment to a flute solo she long had been wanting both parts for. When Laurie mentioned being a pianist, the customer jotted her name and phone number on the music, handed it to Laurie, said “Call me” and left. Did they meet again? Did they learn the music and play duets? Stay tuned, and come hear more stories on the second Tues monthly starting at 7pm.
5. Clare introduced dramatic intrigue by beginning her story with all the lights off, in true darkness. Her story was about how a spider caught sparks from the sun’s rays, returned to earth, and built a fire. Hence light was first born.
6. Rosemary shared an old Jewish tale about Alexander the Great of Macedon. Hungry for power and conquering all he could, Alexander set off by mule in search of the garden of Eden. Upon arriving, he was turned away and became furious, finding that greed is a heavy burden. He learned that the eye of man will never be satisfied until dead.
7. Stephen described having rotgut coffee and Its It ice cream sandwiches for breakfast at the general store in Villa Grande, a tiny non-town on the Russian River southwest of Guerneville. He’d go kayaking in search of sturgeon, having heard about some huge specimens in that area. One full-moon night as he kayaked, something big went THUD against his craft. Was that the Big One? he wondered. Upon getting back to shore, he learned an earthquake was the cause of his bumpy ride.
8. Laurie returned to the stage with another musical story. She had played piano background music for a party and was about done when someone approached and said, Play more. Eager to be on her way but wanting to oblige, she asked if there were a particular song he'd like to hear. Again, he said Play more. Hmm. And so it went. Finally, he clarified, Play the song titled More. Ah! “More,” theme song from the film Mondo Cane. Fortunately, Laurie had learned it back in the 1960s when the radio aired the song often. She was able to pull enough of it from memory to play it to his satisfaction. They both departed smiling, having had more than enough.
9. Clare delighted us with two very short episodes from when she’d ride the San Francisco Muni bus with her guide dog, Leticia. One day, as Clare boarded the full bus, a passenger in the front seat bellowed out, “Hello, Pooch!” To which Clare responded, “Ruff!” In an instant, everyone on the bus joyfully began barking, woofing, yipping to greet Clare and her dog, speaking only canine.
Another time, an Asian woman holding a live chicken in her arms, began to board the bus. The driver forbid it. “You can’t bring that on the bus!” She explained the chicken was to be her dinner and she needed to transport it home and prepare it. The driver wouldn’t budge. The woman stepped down, gave the chicken a decisive WHACK against the bus, then returned with the now-dead chicken. The driver allowed her to board.
10. Elaine told her favorite tall tale, which has won various “liar’s contests”, called One Bullet Left. She combined elements of her own life as a young woman setting out to live in remote Virginia, with far-fetched ideas of just how many ways a bullet can fetch a person dinner.
Come hear more fetching stories each month at Do Tell Story Swap! We are a friendly, supportive group encouraging anyone who wishes to tell a story of 5-7 minutes in length. It’s non-competitive and open to all from teens and up. Some of our tellers are in their 90s, especially experienced and entertaining. Let’s spread the word and invite more teens and people younger than 40 to join us. Stories are for everyone!
We are a fragrance free environment.
Do Tell Story Swap Summary - December 2017
December’s Do Tell Story Swap ended the year with stories from near and far. In the dark days of winter, who doesn’t want to hear and share stories?
Elisheva started out with a funny origin story about a celestial cow creating the order or the universe and nurturing the emerging creatures. Between squirting milk from her udder and gas from her digestive system, this was an amusing story for all.
Rosemary’s repertoire of Japanese stories are always welcome. This story about a Samari who loved his wife but because they were very poor, he left her to find work far away. He even married another due to financial distress but always loved his first wife. Finally, able to return to her, the Samari returns only to find everything devastated but his wife still at home to talk to him and serve him dinner. But after a night of love, he awoke to find only her bones.
Cal’s Santa story was full of the childish curiosity and joy that surrounds the jolly old soul. This story was about finding the “real” Santa.
Steven’s personal story of time spent at a jazz camp reflected the growth of his understanding of cooperation and friendship. Reflections about the emergence of the “real” world and the place of everything in it caused him to give acceptance of the good and bad (even head lice).
Clare’s encounter with an angel at the Ashland Shakespeare festival provided her with comforting warmth during a cold night time performance. A stranger gave her his coat and hat and then left. Fortunately, he came back to claim his clothing so Clare was able to thank him for his kindness.
Sharon worked as a receptionist at the hospital and her story was about a homeless man who helped her when she was ill in a case of “pay it forward”. Sometimes the most welcome help comes from an unexpected provider.
Laurie told three post office stories: First, the “flash mob” singing of Christmas carols she instigated last year in the line at the P.O. Second, posting a letter and finding the clerk was Cal’s son and third, the feelings she had about closing her P.O. box after many years.
Brandon told his rollicking story about riding on an overloaded ferry in Indonesia. Too many people led to a sewage overflow and ensuing panic by the passengers. Told with his usual verve, we were all laughing by the end of this story.
Katy told about a Christmas experience of ice, friendship, warmth and horses. The tone and subject brought to mind the old Christmas feeling many of us share from our memories.
Elaine told about living in England as a child and going to a private school where she learned important lessons about how the world works. Taking responsibility for an infraction of the rules sometimes leads to rewards, sometimes it doesn’t. Elaine’s telling is always expressive and fun – great story.
Katy’s second story reflected the understanding that sorrow and loss happen and you end up where you never expected. But with the faith and trust in the true angels of our nature, life comes back in focus as the joyful thing it is.
Do Tell Story Swap breaks into 2018 on January 9th. Join us to welcome the new year with great stories!
Do Tell Story Swap Summary – November 2017
Memories of our lives inform our stories in a very rich way, help us see things from a different perspective and help us find healing, humor and love in the things we have experienced. Many of the stories this November reflected this.
We’d like to thank guest teller Garth Gilchrist for sharing three stories with us. His life long interest in nature and ecology is the inspiration for his storytelling. His first story describes his fascination with trees as a young person and achieving his goal of climbing the highest tree on his home property and what that meant to him. Garth also “channels” John Muir, telling a tale of an encounter with a bear. And finally, Garth recited Stephen Vincent Benet’s “The Mountain Whippoorwill”, an Appalachian story of a fiddle contest. Truly a delightful telling!
Katy opened her story with a quote from “The Tempest”, laying the groundwork for a strong story of her experience with the fire that has ravaged Sonoma County. It was a story of how loss, sadness and trauma were transformed by wisdom to reflect renewal and cleansing. It was an awesome telling of a very personal experience.
Brandon’s lively telling of his wedding in Bali was full of drama and laughs Recounting the conflict between his wife’s grandmother and her father due to the differing cultures and traditions of Brandon’s soon to be new family, the story resolves in chaos when a pig and a priest come face to face.
Krishma’s fond remembrance of a 90 year old woman who had been her mother’s partner was of a life and the home shared for a lifetime. It was the kind of story we all can hear murmurs of our own family experiences. Uplifting and hopeful, the story surely touched a lot of listeners.
Robin tells stories that interconnect myth and real life and the two stories she told were wonderfully reflective of each other. First was a story of tragic love in the image of Romeo and Juliette – this one magical and strange. The second story of love beneath a mulberry tree mirrored the first, bringing the magic to this world.
Elaine finished the evening with a recitation of “Little Boy Blue” by Eugene Field. The values of love, loyalty and loss make this a story that touches everyone who hears it.
Next month is December, the end of the year, the month of the winter solstice, Chanukah and Christmas. Come and hear and share your stories of the season!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
"Full fathom five thy father lies,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
For he hath suffered a sea change,
Into something rich and strange."