Friday, April 10, 2015

H = History Alive: A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015: History Stories and the Telling of Them

Quick Performance Update (next two weeks):
    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)
    Apr. 13, 28 - Performances for Worldstrides, Inc. Student Tour Groups in Williamsburg, VA. 
    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
    Mon., Apr. 20 - Performances for Rancho Solano School Student Tour Groups in Herndon, VA, 7:30 – 8:30 pm
    Thurs., Apr. 23 – Bobbitt Apartments, Norfolk, VA, 2 – 3 pm (General Adult Storytelling)
    Fri., Apr. 24 – “Audience Management” Professional Development Workshop for Young Audiences of Virginia, Inc. Artists and others, Norfolk, VA; 10 am – 12 pm

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

This was another one of those letters that I had a hard time deciding what to share about.  First, I listed “Holocaust” and the stories that I have heard from various media and how that has emotionally affected me.  Secondly, I thought, “How come?”, which, again, is about how things emotionally affect us, and, as many students do after some of my more difficult stories, we ask the question, “How come?”  Then I thought about the two items together and I remembered the first time I really heard about the Holocaust and started asking, “How Come?” and when history came alive.  Join me on Day 8 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge….

H = History Alive!
Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom is the Dutch Christian author of The Hiding Place, and who helped many Jewish people escape the Nazi Holocaust, and eventually was imprisoned for these actions.  You know, I got to meet her.  Okay, let me say that again:  “You know, I got to meet her.”  You can’t see me, so you don’t see that look of awe that still is on my face for an event that happened when I was in 7th grade, but it’s there because “I met her.”  (Just learned from her biography that I met her shortly before her two strokes later that year that left her unable to speak and in paralysis.  From

Comics When we lived in Newport, Rhode Island, Ms. Ten Boom came to our church and spoke.  Up to that point I really hadn’t known much about the Holocaust, but I did know about Corrie Ten Boom.  You see, there were some Christian comic books (by Spire Christian Comics, that had come out which were about real life stories.  There was one about a man who had been a POW in Vietnam and had returned home.  There was another about Tom Landry, who was the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years and led them to VI and X11 Super Bowl championship titles.  Then there was one about Corrie Ten Boom.  I loved them all equally…..until SHE came to my church and was in flesh and blood. 

History became wide open and real to me more than it ever had before.  The things I had learned through that comic book were just the beginning and they paled considerably as she spoke to us.  Okay, here’s a truth, I don’t remember a thing she said.  I just remember looking at her in awe – History Alive!  She spoke to the entire church congregation during service and then to our youth group.  Her spirit, as I remember it, was sweet and kind, yet confident and determined and committed.  She began my journey to learn more and more about the Holocaust.  Later, in high school, that journey led me to the Civil Rights Movement and American slavery, which I often compared to Holocaust in the abuse and genocide of people. 

Then, while preparing my Daisy Bates Historic Character Presentation, I had the opportunity to meet Minniejean Brown (now Minniejean Brown-Trickey).  I even did my preview of the Presentation with her and 4 others.  *Gulp*  She was wonderful and gave great advice, along with instructions of what I must make sure students knew about the Little Rock Nine.  I’ve met a few “famous” people in my life, but it’s those history makers – people who have overcome astonishing odds and left a legacy to follow – that make my heart skip an extra beat and smile.  They make me ask the other “how come?”, the positive one.  For instance, “How come she had so much strength to survive?”, “How come she was chosen to walk into a segregated school?”, “How come he decided to use his extraordinary jail time on an island to help him be ready to be a President of a country?”, “How come they married and had children, even though the law said slaves were prohibited from marriage, and they knew families might be separated?”  “How come and how can I learn from them?”  
Daisy Bates Historic Character Presentation by me!
Note:  I look nothing like Daisy Bates.  :) 

It doesn’t bother me at all when a person says to me, “How come?” and they are focused on all the negativity, usually, “How come people treat other people like that?”  I love that question because I know the person is really grappling with human nature, and making a resolution to not be a person who mistreats others.  It also usually means that person will do more research on their own; I have piqued their interest.

But the other “How come?” is even more enjoyable.  It’s when a student who is in the midst of a crossroads, is looking at who I presented and wondering if they can make better decisions.  It’s the kid who hated education until they realized how special that education would have been for their ancestors.  It’s the adult who says that they really didn't think much about a person in history and now they want to take a second look.  It’s the adult who cries when hearing a story, recognizing their own mistreatment of others in their past, and realizing they can be forgiven or they can forgive.  History coming alive can bring all of the above and even more. 

By the way… Corrie Ten Boom…..I met her!  

Today’s Blog Question – Couldn’t figure out one.  What question would you ask?  Or what question would like to answer?

P.S.  Check out some other wonderful Historic Character Presenters and Storytellers:  Darci Tucker ( and Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti (  Of course, for some of the best “History Alive” you can have, visit Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA  (

What am I reading?  Currently reading “Passionate God” by Bishop Kenneth C Ulmer, Ph. D (my evening reading) & “Revolution in World Missions” by K. P. Yohannan & “Angels Make Their Hope Here” by Breena Clarke.  Line from “Angels” that I had to share:  “If your women are not brave, it will not matter that your men are.  For your children will not live long and your People will perish.” – Russell Sitton, 1780 (quote at beginning of the book)

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