Category Archives: children's stories

Family History: What’s Your First Memory?

cats in boxMost people remember events tied to a strong emotion, smell, or some other sensual detail. That’s especially true of first memories. Mine is a box of kittens my father brought home. I was two and a half, maybe three-years-old. I don’t remember why he had a box of kittens, where they came from, or whether we kept them. What I remember are the sensations–the fur, the claws, the smells, the sounds, and how they squirmed when I reached in to touch them. I remember laughing.

My whole life I thought I was a cat person. Dogs annoyed me. A cat purred and snuggled. Dogs jumped up on you with dirty paws and needed to be taken outside regularly. Unfortunately, I married a dog person. He grew up with dogs, loved dogs, always wanted one. I delayed and delayed, but that only works so long. Eventually he got his dog, which quickly turned into two dogs, both Great Danes. When people ask how that happened, I tell them I made him wait too long–the dogs grew larger and multiplied. You know, like unattended problems.

Turns out I’m a dog person. The bed is never empty. The house is never lonely. Bring on the slobber and the face-licks.

Question is: Would I have been a dog person earlier if my first memory was a puppy? That’s not an idle thought. We shape our sense of self from the stories we tell about the things we remember.

great dane dogs

Want more examples of first memories. Check out, a blog featuring videos of people telling their first memories. Interesting project.



Filed under children's stories, Family history, Family Stories, Memories, Why Stories?

Once Upon A Time . . .

Don’t be fooled. The little folk of fairytale and fable are the keepers of the wisdom. What’s more, they’re not stuffy about it. Worldwide, no matter the tradition, folk tales challenge the norm, encourage creative problem-solving, even question who you are in order for you to grow into someone else.

We need these stories. Proof is in the fact that if our families don’t provide, we will look elsewhere for them. I have a Native American friend who lives near Taos Pueblo in New Mexico who will not tell a story of the Corn Mother unless her listener also shares a story from his or her tradition. She worries that there are not enough storytellers. She believes that when we forget our stories, we forget everything.

Ireland, of course, is known for its storytellers, as this little video advertises . . .


Filed under Animal Stories, children's stories, fairytale, Fantasy, Old Storytelling Traditions, Storytelling, Uncategorized

Still Love Tiger Lilies!

First time I saw tiger lilies, I was visiting an elderly friend of my mother’s who had a row of them blooming along her driveway.Tiger LilyThey were so bright and colorful they took my breath away; I remember feeling stunned at such beauty. I wanted my mother to notice, but she was busy, doing adult things, I don’t remember what. I was six-years-old, and might as well have lived in a different universe. However, the lady noticed. She made my mother wait while she put some bulbs in a box. I kept the bulbs for years, tucked in a safe place, believing they were precious, but not knowing how to turn them into flowers.

Saw tiger lilies in a bouquet yesterday. Stops me, every time, with that remembered sense of wonder.


Filed under children's stories, Memories, stories, Story pegs, Uncategorized

Woolgathering Really?

sheep“Woolgathering?” my granddaughter asked.

I grew up on a sheep ranch in Idaho. She’s currently living in a high-rise apartment in Toronto.

Woolgathering n. Absent-minded indulgence in fanciful daydreams–adj. Indulging in fancies; absent-minded.

sheepThe American Heritage Dictionary that resides on my desk doesn’t even include a definition for the real-life activity that gave its name to dreams.

Poor people used to wander through pastures and fields, gathering the wool left behind, on fences, trees and prickly bushes, when sheep rubbed against them. If they were lucky, they’d find enough to make a sweater for the winter.

sheepI did it for fun when I was walking the back roads of Ireland. In fact I still have a handful of that Irish wool. It sits on a shelf below the dictionary. Of course, in a world were “time is money” no one gathers wool any more, daydreaming is absent-minded, and stories are for children. Really?

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Filed under children's stories, History, Old Storytelling Traditions, stories, Uncategorized