STORYTELLING

(Atlantic Highlands Elementary School is on our main street here in town and each time I pass I think of the wonderful foundation this little school with less that 300 students gave my children  when beginning their lives and still continues to do so with the children here in our Atlantic Highlands Borough. After attending a concert this weekend in New York where my son, Emerson, and the boys of Grammy nominated Tonic performed, I am remembered of the days when I waited in line to pick up my children and hearing of their adventures big and small within the rooms of The Atlantic Highlands Elementary School. I am moved to repost this blog written almost a ;year ago)

This Sunday morning on the CBS morning show, they had an interesting segment on storytelling and the resurgence of live storytelling with not only the baby boomers, but also the younger generation. More are are putting aside Facebook and other social networks to listen and create in real time.

Interesting how the universe kind of puts things in order in front of you when perhaps those things have been recently on your mind. Last week, at my son’s wedding I had been thinking about his life, the lives of my two daughters and the paths that they have walked. Whether it has been a curse or a blessing, my three children and I are creative beings, destined to create or dry up and blow away.

Sometimes, unless you get lucky, one’s creative life moves to the back shelf as an avocation instead of a vocation. Of the three of my gifted children, only my son has been lucky enough to use his creativity as his vocation.

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All of this takes me back to when he was in kindergarten. During my first conference with his teacher, I was stunned by her blunt revelation. My son was telling tall tales in school. Creating stories that were,to her, obviously untrue. I could feel the crimson creeping up my neck toward my face as I sat with my knees almost touching my chin in the kindergarten chair. It wasn’t until she continued that I became both intrigued and relieved.

“I decided that since Lee has such a creative imagination, I have given him the task of being the class storyteller. Each week I have set aside time for storytelling. He has never failed to entertain us,” she said with a smile.

Thirty-eight years have passed since that conference night. I now, so wish I could remember her name, because that was a great teacher. Instead of making my little son feel ashamed, she turned his childhood creativity and imagination into something special. And I can honestly say she was possibly responsible for the beginning of his confidence in his creativity and love of words to express his thoughts and feelings.

That young kindergartener has since grown up to be a twice Grammy nominated, Billboard Awarded, ASCAP honored singer/songwriter. A multi-platinum recording artist, movie and television theme songwriter and has been featured on over 40 recorded albums other than his own.

His genetic childhood love of storytelling grew into truths from his heart that have been embraced by millions of music fans.

This was the story I was thinking about sharing during the toast at his wedding last week, but I thought better of it. This was his bride’s day and her family’s. So I sat quietly with my heart filled with joy for all of them with my silent thoughts within my mother’s heart about that little kindergartener of mine with his entertaining imagination.

(Editors note: My oldest got into New York University through her creative writing. Brett has the special ability to write with a humorist edge and has also designed all of my book covers. Alison has written for equine magazines and is a wonderful writer and photographer.. Both are using their creative talents as avocations.)

New Jersey Myth Buster

Henry Hudson fresh springs where in 1609 entered in his diary that he and his crew drank from the water on his way up toward what is now Manhattan.

I always knew how beautiful Princeton was from my college years, but beyond that, when I thought of New Jersey, I pictured industry, smoke stacks and just plain urban industrial blight. So years ago it was with great reluctance that I gave up my career to follow my husband to New Jersey.

Well, that was forty years ago, and you will have to drag me kicking and screaming away from this Garden State. We have beautiful beaches, extensive rich farm land, horse farms, mountains for skiing and thousands of acres of trails for hiking and horseback riding. In other words, it is a hidden paradise just a few miles away from the Big Apple and all of the culture that it affords.

We live in a town that overlooks where the Atlantic Ocean and Raritan Bay meet at Sandy Hook and its hills mark the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. south of Maine.

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants were the Lenape, who lived in and along the cliffs and creeks of Atlantic Highlands. Henry Hudson and his crew drank from our springs and the Lenape traded with the Europeans and sold a group of English settlers an area that covered the entire peninsula, making them the first European residents of our present day borough. From that our borough grew into a 1.2 square mile paradise of church tent camps and eventually picturesque Victorian homes nestled among the rolling bucolic hills.

Today, from its hills and bayside, the Manhattan skyline can been seen. Out from its harbor, which is the largest on the East Coast, sail pleasure, fishing and commuter boats.

So, let those Jersey Shore kids who are not from New Jersey at all, try to give us a black eye in the land of reality television. We who live here in paradise know better.