Story Telling

Teresa Carey Words 13 Comments

This is an update added on Nov. 24, 2009: StoryCorps has started a National Day of Listening, and I think everyone should check it out and participate. Please share your stories on their website. I’m going to, and I’ll tell you about it in a later post. Let me know how it goes! Sincerely, Teresa 

How often does today’s generation sit around a campfire listening to stories of our elders?

And what about story telling, simple living, and sailing?

When I’m cooped in my cave-like boat, under a dark winter cover, I daydream about the summery nights at anchor. I envision a few friends or family are there with me. We might share hot tea or chips and salsa or a game of scrabble, but that doesn’t matter. What matters will be the stories that well tell.

I remember the stories my father told me while I was growing up. They were always the same, but never dull.

The Moose Head

The Broom Stick Story

The Choir Boy

…to name a few.

I often try to retell the stories to my friends. I start off strong, a little background information, and then build to the meager culmination of me trailing off and arriving upon the conclusion that, “you just have to come over and hear it for yourself.”

But they only happen at certain times of the year. Always at the same time, in the same context, and the same story. Yet, each time with a new sense of mystery, suspense, and surprise.

Grandpa is the same way. He knows how to spin a merry yarn. And a creative one too! It is from Grandpa that I learned that I come from a line of circus ancestry, that if it weren’t for love at first sight then I wouldn’t exist, and that he was the war hero who saved everybody by single handedly driving out the “bad guys.” “They found out Grandpa was coming and they fled.”

I am sure that my affinity for the water stems from Grandpa’s journey across the West Fork. The boat he was in tipped over and spilled him into the river. He struggled to stay afloat in the turbulent water, swallowing buckets of water and flailing about as he gasped for air. His salvation came when he hollered to a man on the shore for help. “Stand up,” the man replied. And Grandpa did. And the water came just past his ankles.

Perhaps you might dub these stories as Tall Tales, but in some ways they are my true history. But Tall Tale or not, if you are a non-believer in “love at first sight” just by turning your attention for one day to Grandpa and Grandma, you’ll change your mind.

How wonderful it would be if everyone had an oral history as colorful as I do, and how wonderful it would be they could also pass along their stories to the next generation. So much of the best parts of our history are learned through the tradition of story telling.

And so, tonight I’m introducing to you a non-profit that I just discovered called StoryCorps. Please visit their website, listen to the stories, and request their services in your community. And, if they ever go to Michigan, please let me know. It would be a wonderful gift to my family and this generation to hear the stories of my grandparents.

This is a brief description taken directly from StoryCorps’ website:

“Since 2003, over 35,000 everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends in our StoryBooths. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.”

Comments 13

  1. Douglas

    Oral histories are wonderful,,,,, wish that they were available, when we wanted or needed them ! I am glad to hear that you listen to your past, and will share that with us, out here, already !

    Your own story, has started, and there is already a circle of your friends, listening .

    One day, you will be story telling to your nieces and nephews, maybe your own kids, too .

    These are the days, that you will be telling them about, but wait, your story is just unfolding, there is soooo much more to come,,,, enjoy the “trip” .

    We , too , are listening ,,,, thanks for sharing .

  2. Katie

    This brought back memories. I used to listen to the stories on NPR. I would arrive home in my driveway and wait until the story finished. My husband would come out and check on me because I was just sitting in my parked car. I would be laughing or crying and sometimes both.
    StoryCorps is a wonderful gift. Thank you for reminding me.

  3. JJ

    Hi Teresa!
    Enjoyed your whole blog/site!

    I also love a “good story”. I think its cultual; I am Southern and of Native American/Irish heritage- ha ha!

    I live on a Pacific Seacraft 27 Orion, DOVE, in SWFL, having “run away” from my life in the city as a corporate lawyer about 9 years ago. (I am still young).

    I found the first year very difficult living on my DOVE, but after I learned to slow way, way down, get free of my many possessions- which possessed me, throw TV overboard, and enjoy voyaging to warm sunny spots; life became fresh and exciting again.

    The boat-life transition takes time; don’t pay any attention to the nay-nays; they don’t “get it” and never will. I just smile at the nay-nays, and move along my way enjoying the water and my simple path.

    Hang in there- and drop south in those nasty Winters! (I’ll be the sandy blond guy with the black lab named McDuff waving at you in the Bahamas.)
    Fair winds,
    S/V DOVE PSC27

  4. Cosal Johnny


    I’ve sporadically read various blogs of yours & I wish to say thank you for sharing your adventures. You inspire me to ultimately find my own happiness. To be straight-forward I’m not happy. It’s tough living & working in the Washington DC area. It’s our God given right to be in pursuant of our own happiness; however, I feel enslaved by traffic, dead end jobs, cubicles, & expensive rent. I believe you are controlling your destiny & happiness on your terms. While the rest of us are slaves to something or another like bills, work, mortgage, etc, etc. I truly want to know how that feels to be so free. Reading your blogs gives me some sense. It’s give me hope to someday be free & happy.

    I’ve learned a lot from reading. Like the raw foods diet, I have eczema I know that diet may possibly cure me from the inside out. I learned of your bravery. In this male shovanistic world women are indoctrinated to believe they can’t achieve the same aspirations as men. What you’re doing is such a paradigm shift. I hope you will consider writing a children’s story book of your adventures to inspire young girls to achieve whatever their hearts desire. Your blogs introduced me to simple living. I’ve learned to collect things & get the bigger/better material things to feel complete/happy. Those ideals clearly don’t make you happy. Lastly, thanks for mentioning STORYCORPS. My mother has for years been eager to express her life’s story through some form of media. She wants to tell the world of her trials & tribulations as a young woman during the Genocide of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the mists of the Vietnam War. She wants to talk about the CIA’s involvement in Cambodia, her missions, & a great deal more. Overall, thank you. You’ve open my eyes because you’re a real person not some made up TV personality. I can truly say I believe you’re genuine. God Bless.

  5. Post

    @ Soundbounder
    Thanks, Soundbounder. The cover came off last weekend and the mast went up a few days ago! I’ll be off the dock on Wednesday! I’ve been busy with that and now working two jobs, but I’ll write more about that later.

  6. angelina hart

    just found your blog and am loving it! i always find people who hit the seas solo to be the most courageous of all! there’s something to me about land that always feels safe…but the ocean! wow. i’m impressed!

  7. Pingback: National Day of Listening

  8. Dan

    That was a very nice read. I will be checking out Story Corps as it si something I think my nearly 80 year old father should drop some yarns on. If only all this was around when my grand parents were still alive.

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