Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hunting and Gathering/Elders

According to Yashinsky ……whenever I hear that name I am reminded of a little town in eastern Montana across the state line from where I grew up. The town is Wibaux ( we-bow) in case you do not speak French. Pierre Wibaux was a rich businessman who came to the area to develop a cattle ranch in the early homesteading days…. But that’s another story. This town that is named after a French man has a “ski” celebration every July. The “ski” event is not literal, even in eastern Montana the temps. do not allow for snow in July. It is quite a big deal, attended every year by my step mother, whatever family members can make it, and hundreds of other Polish people whose name ends in ski or sky. It is a typical small town event…food, music and FUN! FUN!
…back to Yashinsky… he tells us that a storyteller is always collecting ideas, words, phrases, stories. Carmen Deedy told us the same thing. She even pulled her orange notebook out of her bag and showed it to us. I will have to resurrect mine. It might even have some memories that will “remind” me of a story I am now able to tell.

I have been immersed in Grandmother stories since coming here at the beginning of June. Maybe I am envious of the people who have Grandmother tales to tell. Both of my Grandmothers died when I was quite young. My children did not get to know their Grandmothers as neither of them are living. Maybe I am worried that I won’t be able to be the type of Grandmother to my grandchildren that gives the wonderful virtues told in the stories I have heard. Either way I do believe in the elder storyteller and the ideas presented by Yashinski. He offers the idea that a story that comes to you “directly via the oral tradition will set deep roots in your life and repertoire.” I don’t want to miss out, so I have adopted my own Grandparents wherever we have lived. They have enriched my life and given me many stories to tell, even if they are not about my background personally, they are about my era. When my stepmother died this spring, we sat as one family watching the video of her life and were able to laugh as we saw them wearing the same clothes we would have worn, our hair the the same, our lifestyles the same, very different personalities but there was the connection of living in the same era.


saundra said...


You created such lovely images in this post. I think I will remember them always.


Barnabus said...

Brenda, and all who have good glasses with which to read, I totally agree with Saundra. This was a very touching, informative, and inspiring blog. I also have few grandmother tales that I was told, but many that were were experienced rather than observed. I am so glad that Schank gave me the clue that stories are generated not only by what you hear, but also by what you see and experience. Finally, there is a lot to collect. Journaling is a daily task that may be the best way to record the stories we see.