Sunday, February 13, 2011

World Class Storyteller

By Obie Oakley

I’m not sure what I really thought about when I heard the term, Storyteller used. I think it was more along the lines of the guy sitting around the lodge after a day of hunting or fishing regaling his companions with “Stories”. He always had a captive audience and was definitely aided by copious consumption of adult beverages. Usually, they were short vignettes with a beginning, a main character, an almost believable story and an end. That was it.

Well, my impression of a storyteller took a dramatic one-eighty on Wednesday evening when I was privileged to hear our very own classmate, Ellouise, captivate her audience for a wonderful non-stop hour of entertaining STORYTELLING.

What made it different? It was never a discernable stand-alone short vignette that would begin and end before going on the tale. What Ellouise has is the magical ability to artistically weave one story or personal experience seamlessly into the next, causing you to not realize where one began and the other took up.

Since she was the invited guest of the Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society and since genealogy happens to be a passion of hers, our Master Storyteller held her audience spellbound with things that happened in our hometown when our great grandparents were just coming on the scene. Stories involving such widely topics as Chief, the elephant who killed his trainer in uptown Charlotte, how hard it is sometimes to get older folks to open up with personal experiences and even about her own trip back to Elizabeth School earlier that day telling 2nd and 3rd graders what it was like for her entering that very school for the first time
What a gift Ellouise has and how thankful we should be that she generously shares that gift with others.

Thank you Ellouise!
Your CHS ’54 Classmate / OO

PS, there was a wonderful article in today’s Sunday edition of The Charlotte Observer about her, complete with a large color photo.