Tell us a little bit about you.
I was born in Kansas City, MO and grew up in Raytown, MO. The elementary school I attended was a two-room brick structure built in the 1920s. The first and second grade students shared one room and the third, fourth, and fifth grade occupied the other room. I attended Raytown High School and Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University) where I earned a BS in elementary education in 1966. Our family of four included my mother, my father, my older brother and me. I taught for twenty-two years. I have been published in Missouri Life, Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, and Instructor Magazine. I was an actress in numerous community and church theater productions. I have six children and seven grandchildren.
What is your interest in storytelling? How did it begin?
I grew up with my mother reading me and my brother stories in the “story hour chair.” She would read the classics to us. Grimm and Anderson fairy tales were my favorite books to read. Every Saturday morning, I would listen to the radio show, “Let’s Pretend,” which dramatized fairy tales. As a teacher, Iwould read and dramatize stories to my class using different voices as a means of instilling a love of reading.
What tellers have been influential in your life?
Papa and Jackie Wright, Bobby and Sherry Norfolk, Lynn Rubright, Sharon Thompson, Donna Washington, Linda Gorham, Mary Jo Huff, Annette Harrison
What is a favorite story?
I have many favorite stories, such as “The Ghost on Saturday Night” by Sid Fleischman; My favorite movie is the A&E’s 1995 version of “Pride and Prejudice”; I have many favorite songs, such as “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from the musical “State Fair”
My favorite vacation was a trip to California to visit my Uncle Bud and Aunt Versa. My grandmother, Minnie Pearl Dillard Swope Ream, whom we affectionately called “Ma,” was afraid of flying, so we all crowded into our air-conditioned Dodge Rambler station wagon. My brother and I sat in the back with Ma. All the way to California, Ma talked about the buff wrestlers she watched on late-night television. To her delight, Uncle Bud had purchased tickets to see a wrestling match. At the arena, my straight- laced, demure grandmother jumped out of her seat as Wild Red Berry, her favorite wrestler, entered the ring and tossed Wild Red candy to the crowd. Ma yelled, “Kill him, Wild Red! Kill him!” I was so -o-o embarrassed, shocked, and a little bit amused.
Why I became a member of MO-TELL:
MO-TELL is a statewide organization that promotes storytelling. To improve I believe that MO-TELL should strive to reach the younger generation through classic fairy tales, folktales, and fables that everyone should know.