A Gardinia and a Bit of WWI History.

Two surprises today.

The first is this  - -

The bud which had a tightly closed fist, ot showing any petals, for a few weeks, has bloomed.  Lovely soft white petals and a pungent sweet fragrance that brings back many memories.
But more - this feels like a hug from Jim - a gift for the mid-run performance tonight of The Hello Girls. A hug I have needed.

And the second -

received this selfie from my son Jim this morning. In Paris for a few days on business he took took the time to find the Hotel Petrograd on Rue des Naples - the YWCA hotel where the Hello Girls stayed on their first nights in France.

Tired they fell deeply asleep and were rudely awakened several hours later by the screaming air raid sirens. They spent the rest of the night in the air raid shelter in the basement. Next morning they saw a pile of rubble across the street which had been a building when they walked into their hotel.

The bombed building across the street was rebuilt in 1926.

Today when I tell The Hello Girls at the Capital Fringe I know have a real-time image of that time and place during WWI.

Thank you, Jimmy.

I am so grateful for these and all the other blessing in my life.


Keeping Busy

Is it really almost a month since I have written on this blog? Well, yes!

My apologies to anyone who has stopped by and found no one at home.

There was a time, only a year ago, when I was unsettled if I missed a day.
Its not that I don't have anything to say - its that I don't have anything to share. Does that happen sometimes in your own life? I am so focused on the Capital Fringe where I am performing The Hello Girls that think about anything but that .... and Jim.

Jim is rarely off my mind. I miss him and wish he was here!

I know he would love the Hello Girls story. I often want to turn and talk to him about it - - which then shakes me back to the real world. Jim is not here and what's more - he has never heard this story. Drat! Drat! Drat!

When grief washes me with tears and sets memories flowing it can be a good thing - and sometimes not  - - because it becomes a knife that cuts right through me.

I wish I were a writer like Anne Lamott who takes off on a topic, weaves in bits, and finishes up with insights that inspire and stay with her readers.

All right. All right. My life has a hole in it right now - but I also have so much to be grateful for.

My family: I am grateful they take time out of their busy lives to support me and my storytelling. Jim knew that I would need something when he died. The last five years before he died he was my other right hand to support the storytelling so that I would have something sure to build on after he left.

He was right  - - - storytelling. Believe me I know how lucky I am.

People often tease me about or jibe me a bit about being "too busy." Maybe I am. Its been my way as long as I can remember. Today "being busy" is my survival.

I have a show tomorrow evening - the 3rd of five in the run for the Hello Girls in the 2015 Capital Fringe. Today I am rehearsing with a video my son made last week and it is a tremendous help.

When something like the Fringe comes along my family steps up beside me. They are all excellent coaches. My daughter Robin lends her marketing advice, talent with words and social media to get the word out about the show. Daughter Karen works the shows, shares ideas about the story and continues to listen hours and hours. Jimmy listens and has feed-back for performances and run throughs. All that along with the support and advice from my sister Kathy who is close by even though she lives miles away. I call myself a solo-preneur - but I am not alone.

When a friend came to the show last week-end - she called us "Team Schoettler." I know Jim is somewhere loving that.

Ok, here you have it.  This is where I am and what I am doing.

"Keeping Busy!" 

I thank God for these gifts in my life!!!


The Power of Looking Back - VIDEO

For two years my eyes have been on WWI as I developed and began telling The Hello Girls. I am now preparing for another run of that show at the Capital Fringe - - - so as I always for I review all the first research and add anything new I have found. I step back into the story before I tell it.
There is always a "back-story" isn't there?


Hello Girls at the 2015 Capital Fringe

Looking forward to performing the Hello Girls at the 2015 Capital Fringe in Washington, DC  in July.
Opening performance July 10.
Five Performances.
Tickets go on sale June 22.
For more information: thehellogirls.net and/or capitalfringe.org


Looking ahead - Lists for Six Month will Help

I have to sneak up on the cat to catch a portrait of her doing what she excels at - sleeping. Often I see her curled up like this on a chair in the den - and I am jealous. Naps in the afternoon are such a luxury.

A nap is a luxury I cannot afford right now or for the next six months. I have entered a busy season for storytelling - and travel. Add in weeding out my house and all thatit takes to keep a house in order. Its all good - or I would not have agreed to do it - but making a six month calendar today brought it all together so I could really see what is ahead.

Plan. Plan. Plan.
Lists. Lists. Lists.

It works if you stay on the plan.

Once upon a time I learned how to do this as part of my professional job. I organized and managed a celebrity trip for the Equal Rights Amendment to two states which included speeches for the featured celeb, dinner and breakfast meetings, city to city and state to state. It was fun, the trip ran smoothly - well - -a few glitches -  and I was absolutely exhausted by the time I escorted the celebrity to her flight for Hollywood. So completely blitzed and tired out I tipped our limousine driver $700 - even though a tip had been built into the price. Nno wonder he waved as he left.  Next day I was on the phone begging him to return the money - "I could lose my job." Fortunately he did agree to return as I babbled fervent thanks. I did not lose my job and continued on honing the planning tricks that I was calling on this morning to plan my calendar.

Today's simple planning reminded me that I had survived more complicated set-ups so I am encouraged.

The travel schedule shows at least one trip or two shorter ones a month - mostly flights. From Baltimore this week to several weeks in California in late Nov. All good. This includes a week in Jonesborough as Storyteller in Residence and a five day visit in SC for a Festival. Details when announced. A storytelling day in Delaware - a sister's trip in NC and a week here with my sister Kathy. And all the usual storytelling commitments I have. All good. All good.

One special date is a four day trip with my son to Kansas City, MO to the WWI Museum.
Since I can't make it to the NSN Conference in Kansas City I decided to head out with my son to spend several days immersed in WWI History. My son Jim, a retired Army Colonel and a lawyer who teaches a course "The Law of War" at Georgetown U. is a history enthusiast especially of the military. We will have a good time diving into the history of "The Great War."  I can't wait. After all, for two years I have been digging into that history as it touched The Hello Girls.

It begins for me this week. I am spending four days in Baltimore on a sentimental journey where I will be gathering stories and visiting with old friends while attending the Biennial Medical Meetings at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  Widowed spouses are invited and welcomed which is a lovely gesture.

There will be what Jim used to call the "old guys" lunch and an informal dinner with members of Jim's Class. My friend and former nursing school classmate and I are sharing a house in the neighborhood  through the McElderry Street B and B. When we were first married we both lived in apartments in this neighborhood a block from the modern main entrance to the hospital. As expected the neighborhood is significantly changed - old houses torn down for new skyscraper hospital buildings but there is enough left to fuel the memory into high gear. The houses where we each lived are still there and looking trim and their Baltimore front stoops are gleaming. That's nice.

Also looking forward to a coffee with storyteller Jon Spelman who lives in a near-by neighborhood almost in the shadow of Hopkins Hospital.  That's convenient.

Jim and Jimmy - circa 1957
This will be my first visit back without Jim when his classmates are there. Last year Kay and I spent a few days but there were no meetings. That was a bit easier. I know there will be a few tears for me but I am also looking forward to  touching base with the sweet and lovely happy memories of our falling in love days, the first year and a half we were married - and ofcourse the birth of our son.

It all started at Hopkins for me and Jim.

That's special.



F O R   I M M E D I A T E   R E L E A S E   
Contact:  Ellouise Schoettler  301-367-9323

THE HELLO GIRLS:  A Surprising WWI Story

Storyteller Ellouise Schoettler presents a One-Woman show
            as part of the 10th Annual Capital Fringe Festival  July 10-26, 2015

In 1918 war-torn France they answered calls from the Front with a familiar “Hello” so the US troops dubbed them – The Hello Girls.

“These gutsy women stepped up to serve their country at war and their story captures your heart,” says storyteller Ellouise Schoettler.

American women telephone operators, answering our country’s call to service in France during WWI, were key in winning Allied victories, only to return home unacknowledged and nearly forgotten … until now. This summer, at Cap Fringe 2014, you can meet them through their stories.

FIVE PERFORMANCES:    Brookland Artspace Lofts Studio
                                                  3305 8th Street NE  Washington, DC 20004

                           Friday,              July 10,  6:15 p.m.
                           Sunday,             July 12,  3:30 p.m.
                           Saturday,          July 18,  5:45 p.m.
                           Tuesday,            July 21,  6;15 p.m.
                           Sunday,             July 26,  12:15 p.m.
        Air-Conditioned Venue    Handicapped Access    Limited Seating
For Tickets & Passes:  capitalfringe.org or by calling 866-811-4111

About The Show:
The Hello Girls is the story of the “plucky” telephone operators who served with the US Army Signal Corps in France during WWI.  Using portable switchboards these American women worked near the battlefields and played a key role in wining Allied victories.  But, their story did not end with the war. Like many veterans today, they faced another battle on the “home front.”
 For more:  TheHelloGirls.net

Ellouise Schoettler is a Cap Fringe 5 Star performer returning for her 6th year. “When I learned about the Hello Girls I knew it was a story I had to tell.  Its not typical Fringe fare but my programs are usually the hidden gem every year. Audiences are consistently surprised by the power of storytelling.”

79-year-old professional storyteller Ellouise Schoettler is known for telling stories with heart and humor as well as for her support of women’s issues.
Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, she performs nationwide and is featured on 2 MMCTV local cable shows.  She was a speaker for the 2013 TEDx Bethesda Women Special.  In September 2015 she will be an invited week-long Storyteller-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Theater in Jonesborough, TN. For more on her:  ellouiseschoettler.com


Catching up

Catching up with myself.

Two storytellings last week which kept me busy with the preparation. As much as I love and enjoy storytelling I am tired and need a break.  And it is on the way - not a sit down with you feet up and eating bon-bons but no performing and no short-term deadlines until July and the Capital Fringe. Hooray!

Memorial Day - May 25, 2015

The Memorial Day remembrances began for me Friday when I went to Arlington to visit Jim. Going early was a way of avoiding the traffic jams that are stalling everything right now. Because the family went to Arlington on Memorial Day several years ago and experienced the world headed there and stopped on roadways I am sure I am right, especially as it is a beautiful day, warm and sunny.

Some days I write on Facebook because it is faster - that's what I did Friday afternoon - so I am posting this picture to introduce Doctor Duck, a cute souvenir someone gave me when I was at Walter Reed Hospital Thursday to tell stories.

That was an interesting day. Snafu with the performing space so we made a dash to a different building - but no one knew we had moved. The people in the new location were surprised but those that could stayed and enjoyed the stories.

The real snafu came as I went back to my car and it was all my doing. I was parked in a seven level parking building thinking I had parked on level 3. I hadn't .  Searched for 40 minutes to find my car until I realized I kept overlooking floor 1. You got it! There it was in the exact spot I thought it would be - just on a different level. Later when I told my sister about the mess-up she told me a great tip. "Use your phone. Take a picture of where you park it next time." Good advice!!!!!