Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Riverwinds Storytellers

If you didn't come to the Tellabration on November 18th, you missed a wonderful time. This was written by Marilyn Kinsella, a Riverwinds Storyteller, about the event.

This year the Riverwind Storyteller held Tellabration 2006 at a new venue - the Blum House. It is an old Victorian next to and belonging to the Collinsville Library. I truly felt like I had stepped back in time. The huge white house had a wrap-around front porch. Inside the foyer was a crystal chandelier with lighted sconces on every wall. It gave the rooms an elegant, old-fashioned feel. The large windows reflected the muted lighting giving the rooms even more atmosphere. At times, I felt like Mark Twain himself was going to make an appearance and ask to tell a story.
Forty chairs were set up in the front parlor. In another room - probably, at one time, the dining room, the Collinsville Library provided the luscious food - cheesecake, vege platter, cookies and coffee. A table in another side room held the attendance prizes.
At first we were concerned that no one was coming. Then one by one, couple by couple they filtered in. We had a donation basket ($86.00 for the local food pantry) at the door and slips for attendance prizes (and our mailing list). It was wonderful to see the variety of people the event attracted - St. Louis, Collinsville, past attendees, young (in their 20's) and (ahem) my age. Close to 40 in attendance!
Ron Adams, our president, read the proclamation, and we were off. I emceed the event segueing from one teller to the next with short storytelling quotes from Storytell's Patti Christensen that I found on Sean's site. (don't you just love Storytell and Sean!). Here are the storytellers and the stories they shared:
Warren Wyman warmed up the crowd with short, anecdotal stories with either a punch line that made us laugh or a poignancy that made us think.
Marion Nichols - (The Snowflake Lady for the City Museum) told a true story about hearing and following the sound of the loons early one foggy fall morning. She witnessed "the loon dance". It wasn't until 30 years later that a National Geographic special verified that indeed she did see this miracle of nature.
Mary Lu Bretsch told Jane Yolen's "The Hundredth Dove." This hauntingly beautiful, image-rich story reminded us that "servos"..."I serve" can have its consequences.
Marilyn Kinsella launched her new story "SS Admiral, I Salute You." The audience was mostly of just the right age for this story. One young man came up to tell me that his grandmother, who recently passed away worked on the ship for about 20 years and she had a boat-load of memories about the "Mistress of the Mississippi."
Ron Adams told "My Father's Hands" – a wonderful reminder of the gifts our fathers pass on. In this story his father cannot read, and it held him back in so many ways, and yet it never kept him from becoming an expert in his own endeavors.
We took a short break and hungrily attacked the refreshments. We received so many compliments I can’t even begin. Only one guest left – and she excused herself due to a prior commitment. There was even a "young" man who expressed interest in storytelling and possibly coming to our meetings!! Ya-hoo!!
The second half:
Mary Lu told a Native American myth about a great challenge between bear and frog to decide the length of day and night.
Warren told an old favorite, traditional story about two bowls of water – one that held sorrow and the other happiness. The young man that could tell the difference was married to the king’s daughter.
Marilyn told another Jane Yolen favorite – Once a Good Man. (besides, Larry was in the audience and that’s his favorite)
Ron finished with a myth from Babylonia – Why the Mulberry Tree Bears Red Berries. Yet another reminder to build bridges not walls!
I blew out the candle and thanked everyone. Tellabration sparkled, not only with the lights but with the stories.
"Once a beautiful old home lay vacant on the streets of the village. The last person to live in that house had no family. She put in her will that whoever could fill the house would inherit the Victorian Lady. For years the house remained empty for no one knew how to fill it. Then one day, the library decided to try to fill the house. So, they added chandeliers and sconces to fill the house with light. They brought in food and the house was filled with the delicious aroma of coffee and cookies. They brought in storytellers who filled the house to the rafters with stories and songs full laughter and tears." (Adaptation from an old story about "filling the house" .)
That house – The Blum House - exists today on Main Street in Collinsville, Illinois. It stands next door to the new landowners – The Collinsville Memorial Library. The Victorian Lady once again brought back to life.

Marilyn Kinsella Taleypo the Storyteller

The Collinsville Library was so fortunate to have this Tellabration and we are hoping to host them again next year. So mark your calendars for the 3rd Saturday in November of 2007.