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  • Writer's pictureSue Hinkel

MO-TELL Memories

by Sue Hinkel

I was on the MO-TELL board from the very beginning, my first office was secretary, I have at one time, or another done them all, and loved every one of them, except treasurer. MO-TELL does not have monthly or weekly meetings, thank goodness, but we have events. I think MO-TELL, s first event was Tellabration, a dinner with Storytelling, and an Auction. The next big event was fall “STORYTELLING WEEKEND IN MISSOURI STATE PARKS” a brilliant idea of Perrin Stifel, “EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR” at the time. He worked very hard with the State Parks Department, and we would be the last people to occupy the cabins before winter.

Information went out well in advance to all MO-TELL members and those interested in Storytelling. Reservation came in with $75.00 (I think) checks, for the weekend. All attendees were to bring bedding (sleeping bag, electric blanket, and sheets), towels, clothes, flashlight, and a story. Attendees would be assigned a cabin, the cabins had beds frames with a mattress, bathroom with a shower, and electricity. The cabins had hot and cold running water, BUT NO HEAT!

The Festivities began Friday afternoon, as people started to arrive. Everyone came to the dining hall, signed in, got a name tag, and began to meet and greet. Dinner was served by our special cooks Carol Potter and Violet Beaver. Introductions and announcements were made. File folders with writing material, park rules and schedules were given out. I am sure stories started being told that night. Everyone went to their cabins with flashlights, made their beds, unpacked, and went to bed. Yes, and went to sleep in the deep dark forest with all of natures’ creatures, and sounds.

Saturday started with a fantastic breakfast, more people came, signed in, and got prepared for the day. The day started with a workshop given by an outstanding renowned Storyteller, picked by the MO-TELL board. Some of those storytellers where, Pleasant DeSpain, Micheal Parent, Jackie Torrance (my favorite), Ed Stivender, and others I don’t recall.

Next LUNCH, afterward some time to yourself and then a Storytelling Swapping Ground, your time to share a story or ask questions. A warm welcoming place, friendly, nonjudgmental. After dinner, the park arranged a suitable place in the park for a MO-TELL Storytelling Performance by the guest storyteller. The free performance was advertised to the communities surrounding the park, to come to the free performance. After the performance the event attendees went back to the parks’ dining hall, to tell ghost stories, while enjoying Amish sugar cookies made by Carol and Violet the cooks. Sunday, after cleaning the cabin and enjoying a wonderful breakfast, all attendees gather in a circle, singing, “May the Circle be Unbroken.” Each State Park weekend was different, but always wonderful and memorable!!!

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