TBTs: Signs and more

Here is a political sign that strikes me very funny. Certainly a crystal ball could come in handy in Congress - know nothing about this VA Krystal Ball.

What was more perfect for Halloween than a talk about Witchcraft in Colonial Virginia at the Dewitt Museum?


Another day in Williamsburg

Three beautiful things:
1. Family time with our son and daughter-in-law Jimmy and Monica and their younger daugher, Alison, who is a Senior at William and Mary. We strolled the main drag - as we had when Alison was just a youngster, talked and caught up. Lovely.

2. Feeling the freedom of being putting the to-lists aside.

3. Attending an excellent storytelling program, Ghouls and Gore, at the Kimball Theater. Fine storytellers and new scary stories. Loved it.


Bits of Williamsburg, VA

I love the shop signs.
The image says it all.

We were just in time for the local elementary school Halloween parade.

The Fall foliage is beautiful

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Trellis.

I was not sure about this soup but it turned out to be delicious.
White bean soup with sausage and duck confit. A bit more spicy than I usually chose but - good all the same.


Surprise Blog Award

Online Masters

WOW - Lovely surprise. Ellouisestory just received this award - along with 19 other storytelling blogs.
So proud to among this LIST.


Three Beautiful Things: Stories, Hair, and Cashmere Sweaters

1. Grateful for the fun "haunts" storytelling tonight - for friends who came and I must say I was particularly touched to have my most admired painting professor and mentor there - discovering me in another role - and enjoying it.

2. Lucky in discovering a very talented hairdresser in Jim's favorite barbershop who has changed my hairstyle and who enjoys showing me a few of his tricks.

3. Jim's new beige cashmere sweater bridges today with the day I met him - he is still California gorgeous.


Halloween Special - Internet Radio

Friday - October 29, 2010
Halloween Special Program
Red River Blog Radio.
(Listen on your computer)
7-9 pm Eastern Standard Time

Proud to be in the line-up with nine other tellers from across the country -
on this marvelous virtual stage.
Starts at 6 pm Central Standard Time
Every ten minutes a new teller and story.
I will be telling at 8:10 PM EST.


Pushing Boundaries and A New Square

Redux - Pushing Boundaries

Telling Pushing Boundaries November 2 at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Someone said - "take it on the road - many should hear it." I would love to do just that! Anybody want to hear it?

The Square.
The man who developed Twitter has a new idea and its catching on.

The new meaning for "a Square" - Sign up for this square and it turns your smart phone into a credit card machine.
WOW! Technology.


Halloween Stories - October 27, 2010

"the spector came closer
and closer
and closer - - - "

oops. sorry, practicing for my ghost stories on Wednesday.
this is my 11th year of telling "haunts and stuff."
Friendship Village Community Center
Chevy Chase, MD
7:30 PM
Free to the Public

New Video: Mama's Ghost Story

Mama and Mary Alice from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

Do you have a personal ghost story - or ghosts in your family? Maybe, like my mother, one will come along.



Whirling, textile

Preparing for art show.
Working with my textiles.

Loving it.



things get a bit
until I figure it out.


New Video - Anthony Burcher Interview

Recent interview with storyteller Anthony Burcher for Stories in Focus - Channel 16, Montgomery County, MD.
The convesation ranges across Anthony's career, a wonderful Williamsburg, VA storytelling initiative, and tips. In addition Anthony tells you a favorite family story.

Stories in Focus: Interview with Anthony Burcher from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.


West Virginia connections

Stumbled across these pictures - and the many memories.

West Virginia Storytelling Festival, circa 2000
Jackson Mill, Jane Lew, WVA

First storytelling festival I ever attended.
Told ghost stories for the first time at the Open Mic in the barn. Introduced family ghost stories their that I still love ane tell.

11 year old Juliana told her first story at the Open Mic - she is now a Theater-Drama graduate taking steps into her acting career.

For five years we attended as a "family" - enjoying a week-end of stories surrounded by the beautiful colored foliage of the Fall.

Met wonderful storytellers there - people I sometimes tell with - Granny Sue being one very special connection from that time.

I still feel a special connection to the West Virginia Storytelling Festival.

We do also have some family conections to West Virginia.

Our many greats grandfather - on my mother's side, North Carolina pioneer, Tunis Hood was born in West Virginia. His father John Hoed, a surveyor from the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, came to West Va (before it was West Va) with a surveying party in the days of Indian Raids and was killed in one near Fort Frederick. After his death Tunis and other siblings moved on to Virginia and then to North Carolina. I keep meaning to go up to the Berkley Springs area and do more tracking to find out their stories - - That's the fun of genealogy - detective work and stories.


Three Beautful Things: Sunshine, TV Taping, Friendly Visit

many irons in the fire
keeps me on my toes

Three beautiful things.

1. Always grateful for a bright and sunny day.

2. Taped with Amy Saidman,Director, Speakeasydc, on Stories in Focus today. Very interesting conversation about her leadership in guiding Speakeasy to where it is today. Some speculating about the future of
storytelling. I will post in a couple of weeks.

3. Enjoyed a very pleasant visit over supper with ever-delightful storyteller Geraldine Buckley.


Balancing Act

living a balancing act

on a tighrope.




Jeanne Robertson has such a FUNNY take on life. I love her work! Try to watch this without laughing!!

New Video - Storyteller Bernadette Nason

Bernadette Nason from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

When Bernadette Nason was in DC this summer she was a guest storyteller on Stories in Focus where she talked about storytelling and her career path. She also told a story and gave a tip from her experience. We had FUN. I hope you will enjoy this visit with her.

A native of Winchester,England Bernadette now lives in Austin, Texas. From that base travels to tell stories across Texas and the US. In 2009 she appeared on the Exchange Place Stage at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN.

Bernadette's interview on Stories in Focus was aired on Montgomery Municipal Cable (Channel 16), Montgomery County, MD in September.


Switch the Paradigm

Stop, look and listen.
Not doing enough of that lately.

Three Beautiful Things:
1. Bright sunny days, warm enough to eat our sandwiches outside. These days will pass soon - so relishing them now.
2. Scratching things off my list - those lines through writing make me feel productive and a bit lighter. Yesterday we finally got over to the AT&T store to have Jim's Verizon number moved over to the AT&T account. Ahhhhhhh! It sounds like a small thing - but its been on the list for weeks. Does that happen to you? Something that started out as a grain of sand lingers until it weighs a ton.
3. Eureka - I figured out how to download and edit a movie from the video camera. For months I have been telling myself I couldn't -- today - like the little train - I decided to try and - voila--- I could. All in switching the paradigm. Isn't that always the way?


New Video - Aunt Annie's Baby: A family ghost story

Aunt Annie's Baby from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

This Story was recently broadcast on Montomgery Municipal Cable (Channel 16) as part of the weekly series, Stories in Time.


Parallel Realities

Our grand-daughter was home from college for a few days. We arranged to meet her and our son in Kensington for a
"catch-up" visit.

When Jim and I arrived in Kensington for lunch at the neighborhood "tea room" we found the street blocked off, yellow plastic police strips marking off a "crime scene" and people milling around looking toward the Amtrak tracks that parallel Howard Avenue. "What happened?"

"They found a body on the tracks."
Its shocking to walk into a tragic scene. Questions pile-up. Who, what, how - and no answers - until the next day.

What we finally learned. A despondent elderly man - a life-time community volunteer fire-man, came to the train tracks, evidently planned to throw himself in the path of an on-coming train but when the wait was too long - he shot himself.
In the face of someone's pain
A shadow falls across a bright, lovely Fall day.

The irony of life is how we live in parallel realities.

Jim and I settle near the table where my late friend Pat and I ate our favorite BLT sandwiches on Tuesdays for more than eight years.

And today - we add a new, happy memory of a delightful visit with Jimmy and Alison - - talking of her job search as she nears graduation and her other plans for the future.

We live in layers.



e. schoettler

life is a balancing act!


Winding up Jonesborough with a quilt and a basket-maker

A Bit of History

Doc McConnell's Medicine Show Wagon was given to the International Storytelling Center this year. Jim snapped this picture Monday morning as it was being moved to storage until next October. Now it is a precious relic. I am glad I had a chance to see it Alive - when people were crowded around fascinated by the late Doc McConnell and his stories.

A Story Quilt

Have you noticed the quilt in the hall at the International Storytelling Center? This year I heard a bit of "back-story" about it.

Someone told us that early-on at the end of the festival each year Jimmy Neil Smith's (he's the festival founder) grandmother used the left-over cloth swatches to make a quilt which was raffled off at the next festival. When I passed this quilt which is displayed in the hall at the Center - I stopped and looked at it carefully. Could those smaller patches be swatches? There is no signage telling the story so I asked a woman working in the shop and she asked someone else and the answer is YES! The quilt was probably the last quilt his grandmother made - in the 1980s - it is from Mr. Smith's personal collection. It is simple and lovely and means much more now that I know the story.

For those who might not know - your "ticket" to enter the festival tents is a swatch of fabric - or swatches - as the fabric is different for a full-week-end, or a one day, or a two day ticket.

Many people who attend frequently wear all their patches - pinned on hats, sewn on jackets or otherwise displayed. They walk around in their history with the Festival.

A Basket Case

Back to the fire. (I have written several times about a Main Street fire in Jonesborough last Sunday. It was not huge, took no lives, and was quickly settled - but it gathered a crowd and two fire engines.)
This woman scurried out of the building next door to the fire holding a half-done basket she was weaving.

"No one told me about the fire." She propped her basked on a large trash can near April and me.
When we admired her apron she burst out laughing. "my daughter gave it to me - its true." She had a wonderful hearty laugh and was a lot of fun to talk to.

Watching firemen at work takes a bit of time. April and I stayed because we were snapping pictures. Diane (that's the basket-maker's name) was getting a bit frustrated because she needed to finish her basket. Finally she sat down on a bench near-by and began working on it.

After a bit April and I moved over to continue our three-way conversation.
I don't remember how it came up but Diane began telling us about her cars and her passion for drag-racing. Now that was a surprise and it took my full attention. She showed us her car - an Oldsmobile 1970s Ralley E - her eyes lit up as she talked about it - and about the thrill of feeling rocks spewing out under your wheels as you pull off for a race. "You know what I mean!" She looked at me. Truly I don't but I could see how thrilling it was for her by the way she talked about it and told the stories of her races.

"Are these what they call Muscle Cars."

"You bet."

"Diane, do you tell these stories?"

"No, I am not a storyteller."

"Oh, no, that's not right. You are a natural storyteller. When you talk about your cars its pure story. I hope you will talk to somebody about them. I'd like to hear you telling them!"

And wouldn't she be a surprise - a basket-making, drag-racing grandma????? and I hope she wears her apron!

I said it before - so why not again - there are surprises and stories everywhere you turn in Jonesborough, TN - especially at Festival Time.


More about the Jonesborough Fire.

Last week I wrote about the Sunday fire in Jonesborough.
Yesterday I received this email from April Sanborn the woman I met while we snapped pictures of the excitement. She filled in more details of the story. And kindly gave me permission to share it.

The email from April Sandborn
"Hi. We met during the fire at an apartment building last Sunday. We also met the nice woman "basket case" on the street corner and had a good conversation.

I later met the owner of the building. He had rented the apartment to a lady for Storytelling weekend. Saturday night she had gotten chilly and turned on the furnace. Apparently, something went wrong and a fire started in the furnace closet. Since this is an historic building, he said the firefighters took great care to do as little damage as possible- even putting tarps down to limit water damage to the building. I thought that was neat. And the woman had actually rescued the owner's cat. I think that was nice.
It was nice meeting you.
April Sanborn"

More from Ellouise:
Maybe you are wondering why I keep on with this small story. Its personal. Aren't all stories? I was saved from a fire when I was about eighteen months old by John Sanders, a man who was mowing the grass for my grandmother. When the fire engines roared up and the firemen pulled out the hoses he ran over, "There is a baby in the back apartment." And he ran in and brought me out of a smoke filled room. Do I really remember standing in my crib crying? Or, is it because I remember being told the story often. I do remember John Sanders with his wide smile, milk chocolate colored skin and blue eyes. He continued to work for my grandparents until I was a teen-ager.

Ofcourse I remember him. John Sanders is the man who saved my life.


Moments in Jonesborough

Driving home yesterday.

Thinking over some tid-bits of the week-end

1. Monday Jim and I stopped to talk with a man from Ohio on Main Street. He told us he first came through Jonesborough on Friday (the first day of the storytelling festival) but "there was not even space to park a mo-ped so we drove on through. We are back today to see the town." Eek.
Jim and I spent ten minutes selling the Festival and recommending he return next year. After all that the man said, " I come from Elizabethon, a town near here, and we have plenty of stories over there." I felt like he had thought of a few to tell so I nodded. He continued.

" You know there were not just Confederates in Elizabethon. There were northern sympathizers too. People think that the end of the War settled those feuds. Not so. In 1946 when my mother fell in love with my dad her family had a fit, telling her she could not marry "one of those Yankees." Obviously she did. Think about it - 81 years after the end of the War they still held the grudge."

A family story with a bit of unknown history.

2. Lunch at The Bistro on Main Street. I could not resist the "fried green tomatoes" - Look at this, crisp and browned, served on a gorgeous blue plate. Delicious. When I eat these I think of Kathy Bates in the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes" screaming the freedom call TOWANDA as she knocks down a wall in her house! So loved that.

3. Met a woman from NYC whose name is also Elouise
Spelled with one "l" not two "ll"
She is also named for two grandmothers -
We chatted and enjoyed the coincidence.


Winding Up - Another Story

Here it is
The national storytelling festival is over for another year
But Jim and I are still here
We are in Jonesborough.

Y ou know something
I am ready to go home.

We came on Thursday
Not knowing that Jim was incubating some powerful bugs
By Thursday night they attacked
and his temperature suddenly spiked.

IV antibiotics is what you need
to take care of those things
he was admitted to the Johnson City Medical Center
and here he has been ever since.

Jim got well
But he did not get to the festival
I bounced back and forth between the story tents and Room 2316

This year we have both come to know this area in a new way
through a different kind of stories.
We have been surrounded by soft, familiar southern accents
which wrap me in feelings of being at home and hugged by memories.

Storytellers are indigenous here
Every one working in this hospital has the story-gene
History of the area,
Family stories,
Ghost stories,
Personal experiences

Life is the STUFF of their stories

Jim is almost well now - and that's what is the most important thing to me
In his getting well
we have both been nourished by the story telling culture I come from.


Sunday - Small fire in Jonesborough

A fire truck arrived. Volunteer fire fighters wearing all their protective gear jumped out and headed into the building.

Some one had noticed wisps of smoke from the second floor window and called in the alarm. At first I could not see the smoke - then as it got larger I spotted it - it continued to grow as smoke filled the room

On-lookers gathered. People passing by stopped and joined the crowd. A woman emerged from the building cradling her cat.

When two firemen reached the apartment upstairs they broke in the door, raised the windows to let some of the smoke out and extinguished the fire. At one point the firemen set up a large hose which could pull the smoke from the building.

A fireman emerged from the building. He was carrying a second cat. The cat squirmed free, jumped the brick-walk walk and ran up the alley. The fireman pursued the cat. When he returned with the cat firmly in his grasp the crowd applauded.

It was a moment.