Category Archives: Mystic Seaport

5 Ways to Preserve Family Stories

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The teen sat on the park bench, hungry, tired, jobless, a boy of New Haven, Connecticut. He wondered what the world would hold for him. He sat staring into space, after awhile his focus landed on a beautiful girl across the street, near the corner of Church and Chapel Streets. She was made of wood! It was this girl that led him to climb the stairs to the third floor ship carvers shop of Mr. Northrop.

 at Mystic Seaport - Sea Music Festival 2013
at Mystic Seaport – Sea Music Festival 2013

Telling the family stories at Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival 2013

opening with a little Harmonica music in the figurehead gallery

I can almost envision him sitting there today, a gangly teen of 14, with that hungry look in his eyes. The year would have been about 1849.  I sat there, one day, for half an hour and felt the 150 years between us slip away. It was as if I sat beside his ghost. Like he was re-living the day in New Haven when his career launched and he found his path into the world. Not haunted, but living, this bench in New Haven has seen thousands of hungry sitters. How many were destined to one day sit in the White House?

George Henry Story, crossed the street, mounted the steps to the ship carvers shop on the third floor. Soon he had a position as an apprentice. He would carve wood figureheads for ships and tail boards with ships names and port of origin. Amazing, I can sit and look up at those windows, I almost hear the lost voices. A century and a half have not erased the moment. The hungry boy had found a position, and his next meal.

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George Henry Story – The Man Who Painted Lincoln

Young George started his journey from that humble park bench. Luckily he wrote an account of his experience. This is my treasure as a family stories enthusiast. I hope people look carefully to preserving their family treasures, journals, diaries and writings! Letters are also key to many family stories, even if they need further research to develop.

George went on to become apprentice to a painter and  began a painting career two years later. At age 26 he sat in the White House for three days in the office of President Abraham Lincoln. He made preliminary sketches and took copious notes of the events that transpired in the office during his visits. He then painted the White House portrait of President Lincoln, that is now hanging in the Presidential office.

Top 5 Ways To Preserve Family Stories

Save your family letters from past generations, dry, acid free, temperature and humidity stabilized

Digitize the content of fragile documents

Share documents with those motivated to make use of them

Assemble family photos with their corresponding writers – label photos

Tell the stories, repeatedly, to the younger generation

I used the writings of my Great Uncle, George Henry Story to create an award winning CD. I have only used seven of his stories from those writings. I am developing more of his content for future release.

I hope that people interested in art will find the stories of the painter equally interesting.

George Henry Story - The man Who Painted Lincoln

The CD is available on my website, I’ve shared copies with many in the family.

http://www.carolynstearnsstoryteller.com/george-story.html

you can also download the stories from CD Baby

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/carolynstearnsstorytelle

 

 

What will you do with your family treasure? This week, make a point to share a family story. Your story does not have to end at the White House, it can be as simple as the day you found your lost dog, just tell it! Write your stories down, 150 years from now, someone may sit where you once did and feel they know you and your world, because you cared, and shared.

Where do Fish Stories Come From?

Where do Fish Stories Come From?

         Where do fish stories come from? How do we find the vehicle to tell a story and make it compelling for the listening experience.  I am a performance storyteller for all ages, my current project is for a curriculum guided school based program. Whose voice should the story represent and what message do I need… Continue Reading

Launch of a Great Ship- The Charles W. Morgan

Launch of a Great Ship- The Charles W. Morgan

        The Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship of a bygone era went back into the water on July 21,2013. Her maiden launch was on July 21, 1841 at New Bedford, Ma. Through the talents of countless craftsman and steadfast fundraisers the iconic ship was carefully restored and readied for a launch. Towering over… Continue Reading

A CT. Maritime Story from Geneology

A CT. Maritime Story from Geneology

Digging through the reams of family tree material for a perfect story could be a needle in a haystack, but is more like a diamond in the rough.  From the start I had an idea that Uncle George would have a story to tell. He was eccentric – maybe, artistic – for certain, and lived… Continue Reading

Nautical Storytelling and Sea Chantey Music

Sea Chantey Demonstration at Mystic Seaport     I have immersed myself in nautical research for a forth coming nautical epic storytelling. I willingly signed on to Mystic Seaport’s Sea Chantey class. www.mysticseaport.org  Four weeks of singing sea chanteys and learning about the music of the sea and the work it was created to support. It is… Continue Reading

Chasing a Story Up Hill and Out to Sea

Chasing a Story Up Hill and Out to Sea

     I never have quite enough time between work hours to chase all the stories that tempt me. It may be a photo, a headline or a book that entices me and tells me, read more there is a story here to tell. In chasing a story you become the investigator, looking for clues to… Continue Reading

5 Unusual Gifts

5 Unusual Gifts

I don’t want to give what everyone else is giving, but where do we find the unusual gift?In our imaginations!5th place in my list of unusual gifts to give:  A tire and a rope for hours of fun! ( rocker not included; some assembly required!) 4th Place The Wheelbarrow Fill this gift with fertilizer, trowel,… Continue Reading