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 over 100 years ago – perfect! Geneology can be a treasure to a storyteller! Now that I had a place to begin, the search narrowed to a singular branch in the family tree that was vibrant in the times when our nation was struggling through the Civil War. It is part Connecticut history as well since Uncle George was born and raised in New Haven. The son of a sea Captain, George was raised on the docks of New Haven with the world at his front door. Early on he was allowed the benefit of the old sea salts stories as they gathered evenings in the store near a crackling wood stove. He had fishing pole, a small sailboat of his own, and free range of a world class harbor town. This boy, began his own life adventure when at 16 he set out to become his own man. Thrust from a carefree childhood into the need to make and pay his own way he began his story wandering the streets of New Haven in search of the inspiration that would seize his imagination and provide apprenticeship and keep. George lived a story that came down through time and left behind reminders of his talent and his determination. Like the lives of characters in books his father brought from ports all over the world he crafted a life worth remembering and sharing. I am working on several short pieces from his childhood right now. Preliminary tellings to try out a surprise entrance and a twist at the end which I love to add to my storytelling have been done and the tweaking of George’s story continues. Research continues of New Haven in his lifetime, and a comparative to today where Starbucks marks the corner of Church and Chapel street where his life was forever changed. My stories have a goal performance, the first is the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival with storytelling stage. I plan to share these Connecticut gems on that stage June 10 between 12 and 4.
Mystic Seaport is working in collaboration with the Connecticut Storytelling Center.
They have come together to bring a number of tellers to a two day story stage at the annual event. I am excited to introduce these tales as part of the event. I share the stage with several storytellers, all with sea story repertoires. I believe Uncle George would be delighted that his story is still being told and in a venue like Mystic Seaport that honors the heritage of Connecticut maritime history. Parts of this performance will also be shared June 3 at Mansfield Historical Society opening day Rte 195 Storrs, CT. and at Scotland ( CT.) library July 12 at 6 p.m.Sea Stories and Sea Chanteys. I might even practice a piece at VoiceMail open mic storytelling on Tues ( special day) May 29, at Mansfield General Store in Mansfield Center.
Now I just have to tell you the final reason I was drawn to share a bit of Uncle George, and invite you to come hear the rest of the story. It is his name, George Story!