6/24/2015

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?



6/14/2015

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


5/31/2015

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.

5/30/2015

THE HELLO GIRLS Press Release

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





5/26/2015

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!!!!!





5/12/2015

The Choice is Mine



Jim's bread.

A few years before he died Jim tried some cooking - bread making and soup concoctions. He was good at both. Delicious soups and worthy bread.

I found these pictures the other day. Nice memory. I can almost smell that bread and I certainly remember how we enjoyed the taste of it.

Finding these pictures reminded me of Thorton Wilder's play Our Town - when in the third act the stage manager advises Emily, recently deceased, who wants to come back to life "just for a day", to chose an insignificant day to re-live.

I felt that advice like a hot blade because I have been working on a story about Jim and me and our young life together. In doing that I am reliving even the slightest moment I can remember and sifting for those that will make a story.

I am not saying that its easy to do that work. Its difficult to make choices. And, more, its difficult to wade through things you wish you could re-do. Having said that, I am not sorry to be tackling the memories. But, I have decided to delay the first telling of the story. Its not ready and I am not ready. I have not settled on the why of telling it outside our family.

Originally I planned to tell it in June for Jim's birthday.



Well, that's not happening. Its delayed until August and it might possibly be delayed until February for Valentine's. However I am a stubborn devil and when I want to work out a story I stick to it -  maybe beyond reason.

There will be other stories to tell on the scheduled dates if I keep delaying my "love story." Actually my storytelling dance card is doing okay - - local and out of town - - which feels good. Its my house work that is taking a beating.

The good news is that I can do whatever it is whenever I want to!

Isn't that a nice thing to grasp?

The choice is mine.

5/02/2015

Circling

Jim Schoettler










Working on my new story, Love Notes, keeps me focused on days in Baltimore when Jim and I met.
Not complaining. I love it.
Especially as it seems to be creating some serendipity connections between then and now.

When I boarded the train in Charlotte to head to Baltimore to enter Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing I was carrying a book that a nurse gave me "to read on your trip." I did read "Miss Susie Slagles" by Augusta Tucker as the train clipped off the miles toward Baltimore. By the time I reached the nurses home to check in my imagination was fired by Tucker's novel and her romanticized version of Hopkins in the early 1900s. I loved it.

I have been re-reading Tucker's novel as part of my "research" for my new story. It prompts many memories.

Yesterday my friend Kay called from Texas, "Do you want to go back to Hopkins in June?" Before I could say, "YES." she added. "lets stay where we did last year?" She read my mind. Those words were on my tongue. Last year we stayed in a renovated row-house on the street where Jim and I lived when we got married. Talk about walking back into the past - - it was great. "YES"  Now, the plans are underway and I am very excited to return to the old neighborhood.

I have also been reading a history of Hopkins as a teaching hospital.

Last night at family gathering a new acquaintance suggested I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" which is the story of a major breakthrough in research on cervical cancer which occurred in 1951. Jim came to JHH in 1952 and I arrived in 1954. I recognized the names of researchers. I was sure Jim would have known them. It would have been so great to talk about it with him.

That led me to call one of Jim's classmates. He is an OB-GYN - its his field. "Yes, I read the book - went to see the author speak. She was terrific. Several of the researchers had been professors at time we were there. You were right to recognize the names." He and is wife may be coming to the scientific meetings the same time Kay and I will be there. Maybe they will try to stay in the same area we are.  Yes, he would like to talk about the days he lived in a boarding house very like the one in Miss Susie Slagles. "I remember it well."

There are others I want to see and talk with and places I want to go. I know I will have to work hard to walk down memory lane because so much has been changed.

But  - - it will be worth the struggle.

I really love it when life moves in circles!