Poignance and surprises at Story Share

At the premiere of Story Share, organized by We the People Warwick, people of different ages and persuasions described pivotal experiences.

| 08 Jun 2022 | 10:11

An enthusiastic audience of 80-some local residents were treated to a dazzling variety of personal, 5-minute “story nuggets” told by other community members at the Manor House at Wickham Woodlands last week. They were gathered for the premiere of Warwick Story Share, a community event created and sponsored by We the People Warwick (WtPW).

Mary Makofske, a member of the audience, summed up what many were feeling, when she said, “For me, this was a real, feelgood evening. The stories themselves, the people’s responses, the whole positive vibe ... great! My only question is, ‘When is the next one?’ ”

Community story telling is not a new thing, not even in Warwick. Led by Martin Dominguez Ball and his wife Joan, Stories at the Barn had the same premise and ran regularly for four years. Ball, who presided as Master of Ceremonies at the Story Share event, said, “I was happy to see such a large, enthusiastic turnout and to see story-telling take root again in Warwick.”

Variety was everywhere. Storytellers ranged in age from their 20’s to almost 100, telling stories of family, war, work, unlikely friendships, even encounters with aliens.

WtPW’s founder and leader, Beverly Braxton, has long been an advocate of story-telling as a way for people to connect, for community bonds to strengthen. Her reaction summed up the evening.

“As I sat there and listened to the stories, the audience reactions, especially the animated mingling that followed the stories, I could almost feel the connections taking place. That was a good feeling,” she said.

Plans are already being made for a second Story Share in the fall, with many members of the initial audience indicating that they have stories that they’d like to tell.

Mary Makofske provided some story snippets:

Jodie--or was her name Jenny?—tries to help Snuffy the injured cat, but the owner is resistant. These women were on totally different ends of the political spectrum, but both can agree with the slogan, “Snuffy for President!” Snuffy doesn’t make it, but the relationship between the women does.

Warren McFarland, 97 year old World War II veteran, rescued a boy from a mine field. The next day a whole group of women showed up at his camp to express their gratitude.

Tom Brennan, a Vietnam veteran, described his encounter with another vet in a rest area. They exchanged only a few words, but a handshake and silent commiseration uplifted both.

Mary Collura told of her role as emergency babysitter for the neighborhood.

Nancy moved her family to Hawaii to give her children an amazing experience, which involved more negatives than she expected--two-inch cockroaches, poisonous centipedes, living in the tsunami capital of the world. But a visit to a volcano did wow the children

Diane told of a brief visit to South Korea and a Pilates class that turned what she thought was a kind gesture to a challenge.

Paul recalled an encounter with Yoga Rose, who had been in his graduating class. This turned into a yoga practice, a joint business, and more.

Nicole said, “My husband and I don’t have the skill set for three children.” What happens when the backpack your husband mistakenly takes to your kindergartener’s class contains three warm beers? She recapped the tale.

Dawn followed and tried to catch up with Uncle Jimmy’s red pickup truck, an adventure that turns into an embarrassing but hilarious moment

Tom McGovern, former Warwick police chief, with second job as green market worker, told of a surprising encounter with a longtime customer

Andrea talked about losing a property to eminent domain.

The evening was filled with “moving stories, humorous stories, inspiring stories of courtship, war, parenting, embarrassing moments and unexpected connections,” Makofske said.