Storytelling – A Family Tradition

This post has been sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company. I received product and compensation, but all opinions are my own.

Both my grandfathers were storytellers. The stories I heard them tell have stayed in my heart long after both of them have gone. Both Grandpas (Grandpa Bell and Grandpa Layne) were farmers and hunters and provided for their families with things they grew on the farm and animals they hunted in the woods or fished for in ponds and streams. Many of their stories revolved around events that happened while working on the farm.

Thanksgiving and other holidays always included a big meal at both grandparents’ houses complete with tons of home cooked recipes that were passed down through the generations. My Grandma Layne was a wonderful cook and her stuffing balls recipe is legendary. One thing both sets of grandparents had in common was that after the meal the adults always lingered over dessert and swapped stories while sipping coffee, and my cousins and I were always within listening distance.

Oh, how I wish I had recorded those dinner table conversations!

Record It Now!

While I can’t go back and record them now, I have learned the value of storytelling and spending time with loved ones.

Two years ago I lost my BFF and cousin, Martha Temple Todd, to breast cancer. We were best friends practically from the moment we were born.

Last year in October the women in our family came from 4 different states to meet and share stories about Martha. There was lots of coffee, storytelling, tears and laughter.

One of Martha’s favorite quotes was, “Every day may not be good but there is good in every day,” and so Martha’s girls had t-shirts made that said, “Believe there is good in the world,” on the front and on the back it said “In honor of Martha Temple Todd.”

Storytelling

Thanksgiving Memories

Then in November all 3 of Martha’s daughters brought their families to my house for Thanksgiving weekend. Again, there was lots more coffee, storytelling, tears and laughter.

We worked on making memories and telling stories to the next generation.

Martha’s girls made a holiday craft with all the children and they shared fun “cousin times” just like Martha and I once did when we were young.

Storytelling

The Great Thanksgiving Listen program

This holiday season, Folgers® is partnering with StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen program to encourage families to share their memories, traditions and stories and reconnect over a cup of coffee. Besides the fact that sharing stories and recording them is a wonderful legacy for your children and grandchildren you might also win a real-life reunion with a loved one. To learn more about the Share a Coffee Contest and the official rules visit, Folgers©.

Interviewing someone and recording a story is not as difficult as you might think. Here are a couple of tips to help.

It’s easy to put off interviewing a parent or grandparent because life is busy—especially during the holidays. But don’t wait – take one hour this year to sit down with someone you care about over a cup of coffee and ask about their life. Consider recording your partner, use StoryCorps’ Great Questions list to plan your questions, or write your own. If you can, share the questions with your partner in advance. This simple preparation will help you get the most out of your time together.

Avoid questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, use language like “Tell me about…” or “What was is like when…” This lets the storyteller steer you toward what is most important to them.

Relax and have fun!

Storytelling

The two adorable little girls in this picture are my Grandma Layne (on the left) and her sister, Ruth, on the right. Grandma lived to be 89 and we shared lots of stories over a cup of coffee in the mornings.

You can connect with family, too. All it takes is a loved one to share your stories and memories with, and a cup of Folgers® to bring families together this holiday, one cup at a time.

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