This blog owes so much to our revered storytellers. To those who kept. and still keep, our roots and memories alive. Every time we dip into the stories of our past we ensure once more that they keep going forward for our children and their children.
So, let's hear it for storytellers…shall we?
Just remembering stories in my own life:
Once we had a home with a partially opened staircase going up to the second floor. We had amassed many family photos, old and new, and displayed them all down the wall section of the stairs. The stairs were comfortably carpeted. Adults and children could be found there looking at the photographs and asking for the stories that went with them.
Every time we walked up those stairs we could touch the photos and remember.
I miss those stairs and that memory gallery. It was in reality a storyboard .
I live in a smaller home now. There is a short hall outside the studio where two large collaged framed pieces tell my story and my husband's story. Every day when I pass them, especialy early in the morning as I start my day, I remember those loved faces…known and unknown. Unlike an album or digital disc it is always there, speaking tour hearts.
Who does not love listening to a story? We never outgrow that sense of delight.
Pinterest photo from 1920
My husband and oldest grandson taken back in the 90's sharing a story.
A child in the womb gets used to its mother's voice as early as 30 weeks:
her inflections, her emotional tones. Later, as soon as a child can scoot
into your lap, cuddle close under your arm and come close to to your heart,
storytelling becomesa ritual carried out over and over and over.
Another of our grandson's created a ritual of his own, carefully thinking over
which book would be read that bedtime and solemnly presenting it .
We embraced the ritual each time we had the honor to preside.
This is he being read to by my mother
(note the under the arm and close to the heart position).
Storytelling teaches but most importantly, the person listening is the center of attention.
Listening to a favorite book being read a child will sail off to an imaginary land. But, also, the reader changes. Do you recall reading to your children and grandchildren? You became animated, you laugh or tear up. Reader and child read become enclosed
in a cocoon that wakes up in a new place just waiting to be explored.
That is what it has been like for me writing this blog, and it appears for our many readers all over the world listening to the story of the School Street Village. To go beyond my years growing up there to times that came before is such an experience that I often lose track of time.
The tales weave themselves around our hearts, our very souls reconnecting us to
generations long gone, or those just past.
Often that journey is facilitated by the voice of a very special historian.
It is my honor to introduce our
STORY TELLER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Storytellers and memory keepers are very special people.
In this post I wish to acknowledge the Village Storyteller and
Memory Keeper extraordinaire:
Arlene Rose Gouveia.
I mention and thank her so often in this blog, that it is time
to introduce this remarkable woman.
Listening to her tell a story of the Village, or of greater Taunton, is a gift I wish for everyone.
She herself enjoys the telling which is the mark of a great storyteller.
She brings it all to life, and it is as if you were there.
Many readers share with this blog, but Arlene I consider the lead contributor.
Arlene has storytelling in her DNA thanks to her parents: Joseph Rose and Mary Perry Rose
pictured above on their wedding day in 1929 at St. Anthony's (you may remember them from the posts on vintage Village weddings).
Joseph Rose told Village stories to his children.
His daughter remembered them and wrote them down.
Her mother Mary Rose took photographs and more photographs
and SAVED THEM ALL.
The family had a sense of the history they were living and whence they came.
They keep the flames lit in the hearts of their children,
especially their daughter Arlene
who let them grow and remain safe.
In due time, their daughter wrote her stories down and created, in her own handwriting, memoirs her father and others of his time had shared with her. Then she in turn shared them, beautiful handwritten pages ascribing each story to its teller.
Growing up in the Village when it was at it's greatest, she became a teacher and taught for 50 years in Taunton schools as well as long years of tutoring at home. Her students still speak of her enthusiasm for learning and love of history, how she inspired them to be the same way. How she believed who they could and would become and made them believe it, too.
Arlene reached out with those memories and photographs in such projects as the book for
St. Anthony's Church Centennial Celebration in 2003 and Olde Tyme Taunton.
I knew Arlene when I was growing up on School Street. I knew her parents. I never appreciated how precious they all were and are. They are part of the Village legacy and have done it proud.
When I began this blog, it was, I believe, a calling. A calling to keep this, our Village history,
safe in a format that would reach out to as many as possible. Once I began it took on a
life all its own.It did reach out and eventually it reached out to Arlene Gouveia.
Arlene's desire to keep that same history safe and mine merged.
A collaboration started and still continues.
What I have learned and shared has been amazing! Hearing her
enthusiastically narrating these stories is an experience I treasure.
We mentioned early in this post that a storyteller changes as the story is told.
That is so the case with Arlene Gouveia. Arlene has learned the lesson of passionate living.
All the wonderful photographs of so long ago one day spilled from my inbox thanks to her son, John. Each one sent me back to the Village. I have made copies, digital and otherwise,
so incredible are each of them. Such a treasure, such stories to savor and share, to remember.
Arlene jumped in wholeheartedly into this Blog project. She has shared so many photographs,
helped with so many posts, actually been the impetus for many of them.
Her enthusiasm and encouragement has kept me going, kept me researching.
Her laughter as we talk and share is a tonic for this blogger.
It seems also that our work together has wrought something incredible.
Look at these statistics:
The blog is up to over 35,500 page views. This is since its inception in September of 2012.
Look what Mrs. Gouveia has inspired just as she inspired her students:
This is a ClustrMap, part of the blog which tells us much about where and who,,,,
Each time the blog is viewed a small red dot pops up, if the dot is bigger it means 100 views, if it is yellow it denotes a new viewer. Blogspot statistics tell me how many viewed each post.
There are readers from 50 states and 73 countries! Highest rate of views from the U.S. are
Massachusetts, Florida, California, New Jersey, New York, Washington state and Rhode Island.
The countries are fascinating: top after the U.S. is RUSSIA: there is someone, or more than one, who checks in every new post from that far away place. After that comes Canada ( I know who), United Kingdom, Portugal, Australia, India, France, Italy and Spain.
Did you know there is a translator function on this blog?
People intrigued about the history of our little School Street Village in New England, and the city of Taunton. Perhaps it is the Sister City Taunton, England that checks in? The need to go back and sink again into a simpler time seems universal.
So what can I say, Arlene Rose Gouveia?
It is my pleasure and my honor
to work with you, to be inspired by you and to call you my friend.
May many, many years lie ahead for this collaboration of love.