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Old Man in Store

“Paper or Plastic?” Captured an Audience’s Attention

By Jean Storlie / August 2, 2018 / 0 Comments

My attention was jolted out of my pre-speech-giving trance when the speaker ahead of me started to tell a story about taking her 86-year-old father to the grocery store. She had let him wander the aisles with his own cart because he was persnickety about his independence. After finishing her shopping, she got into the…

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When Yellow Blooms

By Jean Storlie / July 9, 2018 / 1 Comment

“Yellow! You need yellow.” Relaxing with my friend, Astrid, in my new garden patio along with an intimate group of high-school girlfriends and their spouses, I had asked her “what other flowers should I plant?” As a novice gardener, I thought she could guide my horticultural efforts. Expecting a concrete answer about plant varieties or…

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Left-Handed in a Right Handed World

By Jean Storlie / June 5, 2018 / 0 Comments

After writing signatures with our non-dominant hands, we agreed that the action was clumsy, unnatural, inefficient—and our signatures turned out distorted. I was taking a certification course to become a facilitator in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) with a group who primarily represented the helping professions (social work, education, counseling). One of my innate, left-brain preferences came vividly…

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Grief Walk from New York to Wisconsin

By Jean Storlie / May 3, 2018 / 0 Comments

George Asa Sprague felt numb as he turned his back on his home where he had lived with his wife, Lydia, and baby son, Oscar, on the shores of Lake Skaneateles near Syracuse, New York. It was the summer of 1854, and his young family had been destroyed a few months earlier when Lydia and Oscar…

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Big Meadow in Norway

By Jean Storlie / April 6, 2018 / 1 Comment

As I set off for school with my older sister, Cindy, I heard the neighborhood kids shouting, “There’s Cindy Big Meadow!” and chanting, “Jean Big Meadow!” I shrunk away, confused and embarrassed, while Cindy went off to figure out what was up. She came back to explain that our neighbors’ Norwegian grandma was visiting, who…

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Miracle on Lazy M

By Jean Storlie / March 7, 2018 / 1 Comment

“Turn off the wind!” 4-year-old Jackson hollered as we paused a short way into our first run of our second family ski trip to Red Lodge, Montana. Everyone was excited to ski Lazy M again, a 2.5-mile cruising run with spectacular vistas. Abby, Jackson, and I were getting slapped by a howling wind as we…

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When You Want to Say “I Quit!”

By Jean Storlie / February 5, 2018 / 0 Comments

Shivering by the side of the pool, my seven-year-old-self did not want to jump into the water. The pool overwhelmed my senses; it was located in the cavernous basement of a 55-year-old YMCA (built in 1909). Kids’ voices echoed off the walls and the damp, rank air assaulted my nose. My sisters were already in…

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A Puzzling Family Gathering

By Jean Storlie / January 8, 2018 / 0 Comments

With sub-zero temperatures predicted for the holiday weekend, we decided to order a jigsaw puzzle and chose a picture of Santa’s Workshopthat was supposed to glow in the dark. On Christmas Eve day, we set up the 1,000-piece puzzle on a portable table in the center of our gathering space. An hour into the project, it…

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Dark Side of Holiday Humor

By Jean Storlie / December 2, 2017 / 0 Comments

After one of my storytelling workshops, a participant handed me his business card and invited me to call him because he wanted me to share his story. Anonymity is important to him, so let’s call him Mike.  Sixteen years earlier, Mike was a rising star as a design engineer. He was being groomed for advancement…

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Cat on a Scooter Frightens Pre-Tween Son

By Jean Storlie / November 8, 2017 / 0 Comments

Halloween Night of 2008, my 11-year-old son, Jackson, was the last of my kids to have friends over before trick-or-treating. His older sisters had moved on from the “childish” fantasies at our house to boy-girl parties and teenage antics. Jackson thought he and his friends should trick-or-treat alone, but his friends’ moms were not on…

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