Thanks to everyone who came out to the show Thursday. We had a great time and heard some wonderful stories. Big, extra special thanks to Halley, the Starbucks manager, who not only kept the store open for us even though they close that day at 6 pm, she also offered us free drip coffee and pastries. Without Halley and her fantastic staff, we don’t have a place to tell our stories so please consider stopping by when you’re in the Capitol Hill area and leaving a little something in their tip jar.

Before I get to the wrap-up, I want to let everyone know that the new 7 Stories show in Burien is coming up this Friday and they need more tellers. They have two themes to choose from that evening, Mothers and Gifts. Those are good broad themes so a lot of stories can fit them. Email them at 7stories at burienculturehub dot org for more info or to let them know you’d like to tell. 

We opened the show with Chris, one of our long-time tellers, who lost the coin flip to Gretchen 🙂  She told a story of how she begged her parents to let her have a pet mouse until they finally caved in and allowed her to get two. I guess mouse fertility isn’t traditionally taught in the Queens, NY elementary school system because by the end of the story Chris’s two original mice had populated most of the neighborhood with their offspring. Personally, I judge pets by how much I want them in my bed. Dogs and cats? Come on in. But if I find a mouse, fish, or bird under the covers I’m freaking out and sleeping on the couch.  

Our next teller was Mary in only her second time telling in front of a live, in-person audience. She told us about how she’d always wanted a train set as a child but her parents kept telling her that trains were for boys. Year after year she asked for a set of Lionel trains and every year she got the same answer. Finally, in 2019, thinking of all the times she’d watched trains pass by her house and listened for the whistles in the night, she booked a train trip for herself from Tacoma to Los Angeles. Next year she’s thinking of taking the train to Chicago. So many of us wait decades to live out a dream. I’m glad Mary is finally able to give that dream to herself.

Mary Anne then told us the story of how she outwitted her parents to finally sign up for the exclusive Columbia Record House Club. Does anyone remember the Columbia Record House? When I was a kid, you joined them by ordering 10 records for a penny and then buying six more at regular price. I’m pretty sure I still owe them money. For me, Mary Anne’s story wasn’t just about a little girl’s craving for music. It was also about the joy a kid feels by finding a loophole in a rule and getting one over on her parents. Yay for clever kids!

David then told our second train story of the night. Are all storytellers secret train enthusiasts? David didn’t wait years to live out his train fantasy. He hopped a freight in his early 20s from Spokane to Missoula. I remember being a little jealous as I listened to David’s story as I also wanted to hop a freight train when I was younger. But by the time I was old enough to hop a train, I had a toddler whose mother did not approve of midnight father-son runs in a Burlington Northern boxcar. Thank you David for inspiring me to put some old Woody Guthrie records on the turntable and sing along to some train songs.

Emily was next and we learned of her not-so-secret plan to move to Iceland by marrying an Icelander. She’s been going there for a number of years trying to find a nice Icelandic man to marry her for citizenship. Luckily for us, she hasn’t found the right guy yet. To all our Icelandic fans reading this, DO NOT MARRY THIS WOMAN! We very much want to keep her in Seattle. She’ll be doing her solo show at the Iceland Fringe Festival this summer and I suspect a lot of young men will fall in love with her afterward. We must not let this happen. I might have to go to Reykjavik a week early and spread rumors about her. I can’t think of anything negative about Emily so I guess I’ll have to make something up. If anyone knows what Icelanders can’t stand let me know so I can go there and tell them Emily loves it.

If you’d like to see one of the reasons we have to talk her out of moving to Iceland, go see her show this Thursday at the Fremont Abbey. I performed there with her last month and had a great time. 

https://do206.com/events/2022/5/26/locally-fameless-storytelling-show-fremont-abbey-tickets

Gretchen was our second-to-last teller and shared a sweet story about what it’s like to grow up a nomad and then realize the importance of having a home and staying in one place. One of my favorite things about the kind of storytelling we do at FGS is how we slowly get to know people over the course of several stories. Even though I’ve only seen Gretchen once in a non-story setting I feel like our connection gets stronger every time I see her tell. That’s what honest, vulnerable storytelling does. It makes us feel a little less alone.

Becky was our final teller and someone I asked to tell a specific story that night. It was the story she told on the Moth Mainstage the night before. Becky worked for the FBI for many years and one of the cases she worked on was the hunt for Sister Peng, a human trafficker who worked in China and New York City. The story was wonderfully framed, comparing her family’s journey to America and the journey that Sister Peng’s clients experienced. Many Chinese in China and the US still consider Sister Peng a hero for giving people access to the American dream. For those people, America is worth not only the dangerous trip and exorbitant cost, but also the beatings and murders that happen when those clients can’t pay Sister Peng what they owe her. Becky’s story is one I’ll be thinking about for a long time because it made me think about something in a different way. Thank you, Becky.

If you’d like to read more about Sister Peng, click on the links below.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/requiem-for-a-snakehead

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/04/29/307770316/ringleader-of-human-smuggling-ring-dies-leaving-a-complex-legacy

Our next show is June 16. The theme is, “First Times”. I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.

Don’t forget our next online workshop is Sunday, June 5. It’s free and a great way to get feedback on a story you’re working on. It’s also a great way to meet other tellers 🙂

Take care, everyone. 

See you on the 16th!

Paul

freshgroundstories@gmail.com