Sunday, April 5, 2015

D = Dad Loves History: A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015: History Stories and the Telling of Them

Quick Performance Update (next two weeks):
    Apr. 6, 7 & 13 - Performances for Worldstrides, Inc. Student Tour Groups in Williamsburg, VA. 
    Sat., Apr. 11 - Lancaster Court Days, @Mary Washington Library and Museum, Lancaster, VA; 10 am – 4 pm (Oney Judge Historic Character Presentation, Ol’ Bess Historic Character Presentation, General Storytelling)
    Wed., Apr. 15 – Dana Middle School, AM, Hawthorne, CA (Betsy Costner Historic Character Presentation)
   Thurs., Apr. 16 – Anza Elementary School, AM & PM & Evening, Hawothrne, CA  (Oney Judge Historic Character Presentation; General Storytelling Program & “Words of Excitement” Evening Program for Parents)
    Sat., Apr. 18 – Stone Soup Storytelling Festival New Voices Showcase, Woodruff, SC; 11:30 am – 1 pm

     Other Apr. performances:   Oregon (Corvallis); Virginia (Herndon, Portsmouth, Williamsburg)
     Upcoming May performances:  California (Fresno); New York (Westchester County); VA (Norfolk, Williamsburg), West Virginia (Shepherdstown)

I’m a day late with day 4 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, but I’m going to assume no one blogs on Sundays because that is the catch-up day (at least it will be mine).  I’ll be back on track tomorrow.
My theme is “History Stories and the telling of them.”  My desire is to share some history facts and the stories I think are intriguing around them, along with some ways I’ve told history stories and techniques of researching and telling historical stories.  Finally, Day 4….

D = Dad Loves History

My Dad loves reading about and learning about history, and he has been my greatest influence in regards to wanting to learn history.  He particularly loves biographies and military history, although, if it’s good, he’s read just about any type of historical non-fiction book.
My Daddy - Wallace C. Arnold
One of my strong memory fragments from when I was in my “tween” years was my Dad having to read History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.  This was a paperback book with over 600 pages and I can even remember the cover of a warrior in a chariot in orange with a black background.  Today I asked my Dad about that book and he nodded his head as I spoke, and then relayed more of the story (as always). 
Dad was the commander of a Armstrong Army Barracks, Büdingen, Germany when he was honored by being asked to leave his post early and be a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.  Two months before he was to leave Büdingen, in the middle of packing a house and transitioning the command leadership, he received the book with instructions to have it read before he started at the College.  Dad shared how the book took a lot of time to read; time he did not have.  My mother became involved in this “book reading” because Dad had to write a paper and my mother was the typist and there was much back and forth about the paper.  Dad learned later that this book, which is also a primary source document, was the basis of modern warfare strategies and tactics, and laid the foundation for everything else they would learn.  I’m certain I remember the emotional angst about that book because Dad usually loved books on history. However, in spite of its infamous place in family history, the book still sits on Dad’s bookshelf in his office.

My father is also a great public speaker.  He’s so good in fact, that I love to hear his presentations.  One of the things I admire about his talks is that he does his research.  He doesn’t just present facts, figures and events, he tells the stories and searches until he finds the right story to tell.  His love of history strengthens his resolve to make history interesting and engaging.

I remember the first time my father saw one of my Historic Character Presentations.  I was at a church that he had often attended when he was young and I was there to present Oney Judge, the personal maidservant of Martha Washington.  He was thrilled about the amount of research I had completed and was able to share, about the level of reality in my presentation as an elderly woman, and delighted that I was HIS child (the beaming smile gave him away).

Over the last few Christmases, Dad has informed his family what books he would like to have as gifts.  We, like his faithful soldiers, have succumbed to his directions.  He returns the favor by buying books of his liking for me.  A year ago he purchased me Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly – a wonderful historical read and I was delighted with all the information I learned and the storytelling way it was presented.  Last Christmas my father received Unbroken by Laura Hillinbrand; 41, A Portrait of my Father by of George W.Bush, and a couple of fictional books by his favorite authors.  As I went searching as directing for his requested book, I ran across another one that I thought would be perfect.  I wrapped it carefully.  As Dad opens each book, he looks at the giver and says, “That was well done.”  When he opened the second book I gave him, The Black Panthers: A Story by Race, War and Courage by Gina  M Dinicolo, his eyebrows raised and with surprise said, “Well, I have never heard of them.  This is new to me.  Can’t wait to read it!”
History Lover

I love that my Daddy still gets excited about learning “new” history….and maybe, one day, he will BE “new” history when he writes his own autobiography.

If you are a history lover, was there someone that helped foster that love and how did they do that?  If you are not adverse to history, but not a great lover of it, then check out one of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing history series – the writing is great and suddenly history has life.  If you don’t like history, what made you dislike it?  After answering, jump over to my website [] and hire me to come and do one of my Historic Character Presentations for a home concert, or at your organization, library or school.  [Yes, that was a shameless pitch!]

What am I reading?  Yesterday I read, “At the Zoo” by David M. Schwartz (children’s book).  Most recent thing I learned from this little book:  “Camels with one hump are from Africa.  Camels with two humps are from Asia.” [didn’t know that]  Currently reading “Passionate God” by Bishop Kenneth C Ulmer, Ph. D (my evening reading) & “Revolution in World Missions” by K. P. Yohannan.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I am also a historical impersonator (of "fascinating women history forgot") and I feel exactly the same way! It is amazing what one uncovers/discovers doing research for our historical characters and how, when you get to know their individual stories, you learn so much more about the big picture around them. -- Carol Simon Levin,

    1. Carol, thank you for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said, and want to add that you wrote it well also. Well done! Keep reading and remember (as you say in your website) to always TELL your story! Peace,