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Do Tell Story Summaries – April 2019

April evening brought many story lovers and story tellers together. Here are summaries of the tales told:

Mary Turner started the evening with a hilarious liars’ contest story about a cottonmouth snake who would do anything – travel any distance – for a shot of Jack Daniels.

Rosemary Hayes kept us laughing with a true incident of a mother riding with a misbehaving child wearing a paper bag over his head on a city bus. When Rosemary’s grandmother questioned the mother about her rambunctious child, the mother said that the boy had started the day by putting a bean up his nose. Unable to dislodge the bean, the boy had to be taken to the doctor. Shortly after arriving home, he put his potty chair on his head and it stuck there. The hapless mom was on her way to the emergency room for the second time that day!

Clair Morris told a tender story about a couple preparing for Easter with special candles, wine, challah bread, and the legend of the Queen of Easter.The husband was a peddler who sold the creations his wife produced, but they never had much money, and the coins in the jar were nearly gone. The wife gave her last coin to the school teacher, whose books had been ruined by rain. Then she had no money for flour, so she replaced the bread under the cloth with stones. The husband had invited an old woman to their home. They prayed over the candles and over the wine, but when it came time to pray over the bread, the old woman was transformed before their eyes. To their joy and amazement, she was the subject of legend, the Queen of Easter.

Anne Marie Cheney told a true story – embellished around the edges – about a shirttail relative, one of her “kinfolk,” named Harvey. A friendly, generous man, he had retired from business and worked as a limousine driver. He always knew a guy who knew a guy to solve any problem. Waiting for a client, Kim Taylor, he sat with her husband and noticed he played the guitar. He told Mr. Taylor that he knew a guy who worked in the music business and might be able to help him get in. When the wife came out ready to go, she said, “I hope you didn’t mind waiting with my husband, James.”

Laurie Reaume entertained us with tales of her trials with a dysfunctional washing machine. She titled her story, “It’s a Wash,” and told of a door that wouldn’t close, only to be replaced with another that wouldn’t open. She ended by telling us that she was “all washed up”

Elishiva Hart celebrated the anniversary of 109 years since her mother’s birth by telling a family story about her grandparents, who married at the turn of the 20th century. The couple didn’t have much money, but her grandfather was a handyman, and made all of their furniture himself, in the mission style. He worked at a factory in East Lansing, Michigan. Sure he could do better, he dressed up and went for an interview with Henry Ford. It would mean moving to Detroit, but when Ford hired him, he felt he had made the right decision. When he returned home, a community member offered him a local job, but he was already committed to Ford, and had to say, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Olds.” He went on to become the chief pattern maker at Ford.

Max Fenson told a fascinating true story about a community’s development. In a small town in upstate New York, the clay soil was good for bricks, and an area had been dug out collecting clay for the local brick factory. Over time, as the hole filled with spring water, it became a pond everyone enjoyed. As fewer bricks were needed, war was coming on. Rubber was needed for combat boots, and the pond was filled in to make room for a rubber factory. As the war ended and foreign competition increased, the rubber factory closed. Eventually a Wal-Mart took the place of the downtown factory, and a giant parking lot covered the area where the pond had been. As the parking lot filled with rain water, the beloved bricking pond returned – sort of.

Robin Whealdon recounted an Irish folktale about Brian O’Branaghan, a basket maker who wandered into a fairy glen in search of strong stems for his baskets. Lost in the fog, he came upon a home where an old man and woman demanded a story from him. When he said he had none, they told him to go fetch water instead. When he went to fetch the water, he got lost again and wandered until he found a second house where a wake was in progress. After some strange adventures there, he returned to the first house – this time with stories to tell!

Sharon Elwell told a personal story about selling all-occasion cards to help her school when she was nine years old. The prize she won for her sales efforts – a big red dictionary – stayed with her long after all of her other possessions had faded away or been lost.

Nicoline Leseigneur told a touching story about her parents suffering from poverty after World War II. Then we learned that this very day was her birthday. It provided an opportunity to end her story by singing “Happy birthday” to her accompanied nicely by Laurie Reaume on the piano.

Hal McCown told of his cousin Lynn, who is mentally challenged and lives in a group home where they make products to sell in their little store. She asked, “Cuz, can you send ‘those people’ to our store.” She was talking about a display team who do what we today call visual merchandizing. When the group home sold all of their Christmas merchandise by November 10, thanks to the help of the team, people began to volunteer other kinds of help. The department store sent products for them to sell, and the community contributed products. Soon there were lines out the door waiting for them to open each day, and they sold out a second time early in December.

Gerry Runz ended the evening with quick stories about two animals: her brother’s boa constrictor and a visiting capuchin monkey who walked in her back door one day. The boa constrictor quit eating and had to have its nose scratched with an emery board to help it begin to shed its skin. The monkey was rescued after an appeal Gerry made on the radio station. The announcement shocked her husband, who was listening to the radio at the time, and didn’t know they had acquired a monkey!

Join us for more stories and friendship on May 14th. We'd love to see you!
Submitted by Sharon Elwell


 Do Tell Story Swap - ​March 12, 2019  

29 cheerful folks gathered, many wearing green this month of St Patrick’s Day, and with hopes for springtime’s arrival soon, to tell and listen to heartwarming stories from folklore, families, fun and fond memories.

Our guest storyteller, Liz Nichols, had us enthralled with her stories about Jewish mothers, weaving her own family experiences with a folk legend. Following her performance, we had Q&A about the parable she told, and recognized that many “mother sayings” to their children seem to be universal, such as “I’m cold; go put on a sweater.”

Evelyn described with great animation the angst she felt as a mother of a determined three-year old girl during a “gotta have Cheetos” meltdown at the airport. Now, decades later, Evelyn wishes she could have replayed that incident. 

Laurie shared how she found herself offering spontaneous hugs at the grocery store one rainy gray winter evening. We felt her joy in the restorative effect of hugging she and other shoppers had, plus the surprise awaiting Laurie upon reaching the checkout stand!

Gerry delivered a funny episode about a double mix-up while trying to drive behind her friend’s car, following her to the same destination. They each ended up tailing other look-alike cars, but somehow found each other again after much confusion.

Clare told us of a dream she had, where a surgeon was about to perform an operation on her, but first required her password! Sounds like a nightmare, given the too-many passwords we all seem to need in today’s on-line world.

Rosemary told a folk tale from West Africa about a traveler who asked wherever he went, “Who owns this…flock of sheep, fleet of ships, block of city buildings?” and received the same answer each time: “Minu”. The traveler was in awe of how wealthy a man this Minu seemed to be. When he later came upon a lavish funeral and asked who it was for, the answer again was Minu. He never did learn that “Minu” was the word for “I don’t understand you” uttered by everyone he met, who did not speak his language.

Hal unfolded a happily anticipatory tale from his youth about something his parents promised their household would be the first in the neighborhood to get, in 1950. He excitedly began to guess: a dog? new bicycle? Nope; other neighbors had those things. It was…a huge piece of furniture with speakers, and a tiny 5” green screen…one of the first television sets on the market. Given its small grainy black and white image, and receiving just one local station, Hal figured he’d stick with radio for his beloved action adventure programs, and to which he could use his imagination to picture his heroes. 


Cathryn told the 19th-century epic Finnish story, Kalevala, with humor and lovely singing, about a man who wanted to win the hand of the Maid of the North, and whose rival was a blacksmith younger than he.


Meg had us laughing and cringing at the arrival of a new tiny nun as her second-grade teacher, who quickly impressed upon the class, by squeezing an apple into mush with one hand, that she was not to be underestimated! 


Katy warmed our hearts about a recent interaction she had with our dear Cal Johnson, a longtime participant at Do Tell Story Swap. At age 90, he is in frail health and has not been able to attend the Swap since December 2017. Cal misses sharing and listening to stories, sends his good wishes to us all, and hopes to feel sturdy enough to return in coming months.

Elaine in her whimsical style recited a rhyming story about The Most Beautiful Flower, a touching reminder to use all of our senses to appreciate life.







Cathryn Fairlee
Clare weaving her story.

      Cal tells one of his great stories in 2018.
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