Do Tell Story Swap
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Do Tell Story Summaries
 January 2023

Meg Brown started a winter’s evening with a story of traveling through a white out snow storm in Minnesota. All of us put on another sweater and got a warm cup of tea.

Beth Wakelee in Hawaii took us to the other extreme, telling a story of Pele, the fire goddess. An arrogant young man treated an older woman disrespectfully when she asked to race him on a slide down the lava. Pele is still angry today, sending out fire from Mauna Loa and Kileaua. It is best to treat elders with deference!

Sharon Elwell told a Chinese folk tale curated by Cathryn Fairlee. A spoiled young girl, Xian-Ling, learns to care for others through difficult experiences.

Beverly Schwarz shared a story about a WWII survivor of the Nazi concentration camps who discovers her real identity many years later through a preserved family necklace and pendant.

Kenneth Foster, in Ephraim, Utah, told of a Christmas when his father taught him that the real joy of the season comes in giving, as he took his young son to help an impoverished family.

Vicky Ness ended the evening with a story contrasting Abner, who found jewels in pomegranate seeds and broken bottles, with his acquisitive neighbors, whose greed and anger destroyed their home. 
A great night of stories!

Do Tell Story Summaries 
December 2023

When Beverly Schwarz was challenged to make up a story about something she saw in a museum, she was drawn to photos of Albany, New York, where her grandparents lived. She had photos like those in the museum, and together they made a picture of the Albany of 1923, a place she remembered. Her grandfather’s tailor shop had two signs, one that said, “No trust,” and another that said, “Not responsible for clothes left after 30 days.” There were always clothes in the back room that had been left, and her grandmother would invite immigrants and newcomers to come and try on that clothing for free. Her grandmother started a family tradition of feeding newcomers and those in need, citing what became their family motto: “There is always room for one more.”

Beth Wakelee charmed us with a creation story from 4th grade curriculum. Coyote and his friend hawk find a way to hang balls of light in the sky. The moon is dimmer, and gradually disappears during the month, which is why Coyote’s descendants howl when they see it leaving.

Sharon Elwell told a Christmas story about a German family during the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century. How can those who are prosperous be of help to those who are not?

Genevieve Franklin recounted a sweet incident where Our Lady of Guadalupe helped bring together those who see her in different ways.

Katy Mangan told a magical, mysterious story of a parallel world where She Who Cannot Be Named” changes with the seasons, becoming most powerful at the Winter Solstice.

Vicky Ness finished the evening with a story about Edith, the town “nut case,” who saw miracles all around her with the changing of the days and made the townspeople aware of them as well. When she died, she did not need to ascend to heaven. She had lived in heaven all of her life. 

Tellabration! 2022
Do Tell Story Swap
8 November, 2022

What a great evening of storytelling for our 13th annual Tellabration! Our guest tellers, the husband and wife team of Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo, called Eth-No-Tec, dazzled us with timeless stories that relate directly to the politics of today. “Monkey Moon” is a Tibetan story of monkeys who obeyed their king, trying to bring him the moon reflected in a pool below them. Their second story, “The Bird of Happiness,” was a Chinese tale, and they ended with a short, impactful story demonstrating the surprising difference between Heaven and Hell.

Our host, Brandon Spars, wove vignettes about his father-in-law through the evening, telling how frightening the older man had been to his young son-in-law, and how he learned over time and through varied experiences, to understand and appreciate the man that others saw as noble and great.

Brandon’s high school student, Mira Bruce Low, entertained us with a story of running out of gas on a dark and foggy night. Her GPS had betrayed her. Whom could she trust to guide her safely home?

Vicky Ness told the delightful story of Wilmer, a small-time executive who learned how to be the richest man in the world. 

Sharon Elwell shared an old folk tale about a peddler who teaches a town of grumpy people how to live happily.

Genevieve Navarre Franklin told a three-part story describing different times in her relationship with her beloved husband, Don Franklin. 

Thank you to all those who participated either telling a story or being one of our listeners. And thank you to SAC, for their organization and support of Tellabration! across California. We could not do this without you! Join us in December for more stories, friendship and fun!

Do Tell Story Swap Summaries

October 2022
Fall is here with Winter not far behind. Our stories this month celebrated the change of seasons and the fun of upcoming All Hallows Eve. 

Vicky Ness kicked off a remarkable evening of storytelling with a glimpse into a frozen midwinter night where the grumpy spirits who remember wars and lovers from many years past come up against the graceful spirits who have yet to live and are constructing visions of the future. A monster interrupts them – a 13-year-old girl who is a cyclone of emotions. The past and future must bow in respect to the present.

Sharon Elwell recounted the day when she learned as a child that telling is half of living. It wasn’t until she was able to relate to her mother the complicated happenings of an eventful day that she knew for herself what she had experienced.

Katy Mangan took us into a beautiful pastoral of “sad, sweet autumn,” in which Edwardo and his friend Madge share the joys of fall fruits, colors, and activities. 

Genevieve Franklin gave a taste of her future story, “There’s No Place Like Ohm,” in which she traveled to India and learned about herself in an ashram.

Tekla Hamilton joined the group for the first time and delighted us with a story about Father Time and ghosts who can reflect on their mortal experience now that they are “only thinking and not doing.” One of the opinions was that sunset is the best time; Dad’s on the way home and Mom is making the kitchen smell good. Another says, “We must be in different sunsets.” 

Do Tell Story Swap Summaries

September 2022

Our line up of story tellers outdid themselves on September 13th with stories that were classic, imaginative and a joy to hear! 

Beth Wakelee let us walk those dreamlike and dark forests that can only exist in classic folk tales, with three brothers and a conniving witch as your guide. “… that hot breath at their backs…” No spoiler alert here, you’ll have to check it out!

Vicky Ness told a tale within a tale involving the everyday lives of those living in a small town in the 1950’s. Escape from daily dramas comes courtesy of a sheik and sexy princess who usher the townspeople to exotic lands and long ago times via the magic of a drive-in movie screen.

Laurie Reaume, a gardener, proves that growing compassion, generosity and neighborhood connections are some of the most important things to tend in the garden. Giving gifts of ourselves, along with strawberries, flowers and herbs, nurtures us all.

Katy Mangan tells of a young girl who takes a journey into the powerful. mystical and magical spirit of the natural world around us. Walled gardens, rich forestlands and shimmering waterways speak to her through the touch of the earth on her bare feet, the visual beauty of a heron and the lyrical soul of song.

Genevieve Franklin offers some pre-Halloween goosebumps in a personal story of a scary night vision, the claustrophobic world of secrets not shared and the sinister echoes of the past. It all gets tied up in the end, not with a comforting “happily ever after,” but with a shocking twist.

Brandon Spars lets us relive, at a safe distance, the humorous and utterly horrible first date of a 16 year old boy. It just keeps getting worse. And funnier. And even worse. And, believe it or not, even funnier. You have to hop in the car with this particular teenager and go along for the ride to understand. 

Laurie Reaume closed the session with another garden story that reminded us again of the life giving effects that generosity in the garden, casual kindness and a little effort can make in another person’s life. 

2023 Virtual Story Swap via Zoom sponsored by the Storytelling Association of California (SAC). 
Our host Brandon Spars