Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “It’s the Little Things”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on December 15, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : It's the Little Things - Part 2

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tele Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss . We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is the first time. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is February 20th.

I look forward to hearing from you this week on the podcast,

Jim Harte: when we came into the Dark room, he had already had this projector and the roll up screen set. And as we sat there on our folding chairs, we started up the projector with that wonderful sound,

Abigail Gilbert: and she’s screaming, I’m looking around like, she, she can’t be screaming at me. I, uh, I just

Regina O’Brien: got here. I no longer felt the cold. There was no moon that night and there were so many stars. My mind went numb and the sky was so incredibly, absolutely unforgivably. Black.

Jeremy N. Smith: She says, what’s going on? And Josh says, he’s going around your desk a thousand times.

She’s like, okay, Einsteins this. I want to see

Marc Moss: four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme. It’s the little things. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of a sold out crowd on December 15th, 2020. At the Wilma in Missoula, Montana, our first storyteller is Jim Harte. Jim has always loved film ever since he was a boy.

When the distributors forget to send the second reel of Wild in the Streets, Jim gets creative in the way that he avoids giving refunds. Jim calls his story more than a movie. Thanks for listening.

Jim Harte: This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken to an audience in a movie theater, which the Wilma was. It’s the first time I’ve talked about talking about it in a movie theater

So before I moved to Missoula, the home of the Great Roxy Theater, I was film projectionist at George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theater, where I projected everything from silent movies to modern independence to flammable nitrate. And before every film, somebody walked up to a podium at the front of the sta uh, stage and gave an introduction to the film.

And when they were done, I slowly faded out their spotlight and started raising the curtain to the screen and slowly fading out the lights to the theater. And then I started the projector at just the right moment. So the movie hit the. When the curtain was up and the lights were down, and it was just one of the little things that movie theaters do to give more than a movie, and one time between Christmas and New Year, I had to introduce the film and project the film.

I told the audience this was because our fundraising goal had not reached its goal and we could only afford one person. There was still time to make a donation, so this doesn’t happen next year. ? Well, my first movie theater was our New Jersey living room. Dad was really serious about his home movies, how he filmed them, edited them, and presented them.

When we came into the Dark Room, he had already had this projector and the roll up screen set up, and as we sat there on our folding chair, He started up the projector with that wonderful sound. Oh, and his homemade title came up on the screen, ocean City, 1964, and we laughed as we saw ourselves dancing and splashing in the waves.

There were no mistakes. Dad cut that all out. These were real movies starring. Dad helped me make my first film, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I played the doctor, my brother and my friends played the other parts. Dad filmed it and did his wonderful narration. I showed it at the Boy Scout Hobby Show in the little room they gave me that I turned into my own movie theater and I won first prize.

Thanks, dad.

Our hometown movie theater was The Strand, like the Wilma movie Palace built in the twenties. It as a great theater, had really expensive popcorn . Now there’s an old saying in the movie business movies for Yucks, popcorn for Bucks, movies. Get the audience in the prophet. Is it the concession? So to avoid paying the high strand popcorn price, I walked down to the Woolworth store and bought a gigantic bag of popcorn for 10 cents and smuggled it in.

And I probably was responsible for the STR strand Closing 20 years later, . Now, back then, the only way to see a new movie was at a theater, and the only way to see an old movie was on tv. My mom and dad were really strict about what we were allowed to see, but fortunately there was the four 30 movie Monday through Friday.

Channel seven showed old films in series weeks. Science Fiction Week, monster Week, Western Week. and mom and dad figured what’s the problem? They’re old movies after school. Well, little did they know that they also had Crazy Lady Week with whatever happened to Baby Jane, which was definitely not a kid’s film and got an x-ray in England when it opened.

So I was learning about film and I was learning about life

And when I moved to New York City in the seventies to go to NYU film school, there were all these movie theaters that showed old films and they were called repertory theaters, and they were great. And after college, one of my first jobs was managing one of them, the Cinema Village, which is still. Down there in Greenwich Village and still owned by my boss, Nick Olou, the hero of independent theaters who is in the 2019 documentary, the Projectionist, which you should all see

It was a cash business. The customers paid their money, went through a turns style, and saw two films that changed every two days, and the beginning of one double feature on the first day. The first film was a 1968 film I’d seen on the four 30 movie Wild in the Streets. The plot was what would happen if 18 year olds got the vote, and what happened was a rockstar becomes president after his band dumps L s D into the Potomac River

And the Congress tripping their brains out passes a law that 14 year olds can vote, and the president sends all the old people over 30, including his parents, to concentration camps where they have to wear purple robes and drink acid and trip all day.

So about two thirds of the way into wildness streets. The projectionist calls me says, yeah, I thought you should know the film’s gonna end in 10 minutes. So I looked at the screen, I said, it’s supposed to end in 30 minutes. Goes, yeah, I know they didn’t send the last reel

Well, unlike today with digital projection where you press a button, it shows the movie straight beginning to end. With film projection, you had 20 minute reels, which you switched back and forth between two projectors to give the illusion of a continuing movie. So I told him, this is what I want you to do.

Before the reel runs out, close the lens to the projector so we don’t see white light on the screen, and mute the sound so we don’t hear snap, crackle. And raise the lights. I’m gonna talk to the audience. So I said, ladies and gentlemen, I’m Jim Harte, manager of the Cinema Village. I’m very sorry to tell you, they didn’t send us the end to the movie

So if you would like a refund, we’d be glad to give it to you as you exit the theater. If you like to find out how the film ends, you can stay, and I’ll tell you,

So they stayed and I told them the president stoned out of his mind as usual, is driving his Rolls Royce until he comes to a park and he gets out and he’s playing imagination games like a little boy until he comes to a pond with a small dock and he lies down on the dock and he sees a string going down into the water and he pulls the string.

There’s a crayfish on it. He holds it up to his face, and as he’s going to touch it, it bites him, , and he stands up and he stops on it. Three boys run up and say, what did you do? He was our friend, he was our pet. And the president scales down at them. It says, I killed it. What are you gonna do about it?

You’re not old enough to.

And as the president SAS off, one of the boys looks right in the camera and says, we’re gonna put everybody over 10 out of business. And the audience applauded and they were happy, and I was happy I had given them something more than a movie. Enjoy the show.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Jim. Jim Harte has worked in the film business for 45 years. He was raised in New Jersey and majored in drama at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York before moving to Manhattan where he received a BFA in film and television at New York. Jim lived in Manhattan in the 1970s and eighties before moving to Rochester, New York, where he was a filmed editor for Eastman Kodak Company and an archival projectionist at George Eastman Museum.

Since moving to Missoula, Montana in 2021, he has acted in several films produced in Montana. His favorite storyteller is Jean Shepherd. Next up is Abigail Gilbert. Abigail has to borrow a car when she’s traveling for her job in a super small town in Nebraska. She ends up accidentally stealing a car in the process.

Abigail calls her story, the Keys to success. Thanks for listening.

Abigail Gilbert: It’s the middle of March and I am in Sterling Nebraska, population 482. I am here because I am on tour with the Missoula Children’s Theater, and I have a wonderful tour partner named Michael. So our job as tour actor directors was to travel from town to town each week all across the country in a Ford F-150, and teach children a musical.

We would arrive in each town on Sunday, and on Monday we would cast the students in the musical Pinocchio. We would cast 52 60 of them. Then we would start rehearsal. We would teach them the show all week, and then by Friday or Saturday, they had a one hour long musical ready to perform for their community and their family and friends.

Michael and I would travel with all of the little pieces needed to put on this musical. In the back of our truck. We had the props, the set, the costumes, the lights, and then on Sunday we would pack it all up and drive to the next town and do it. This particular week in Sterling Nebraska, we were staying with a lovely woman named DeAnn who opened her home to us for the week.

It was Monday morning and we had a meeting at the school in town where we were going to meet the principal who was our point of contact for the week. Now, Michael and I had been on tour together at this point for about two months. So naturally I had already lost my set of. So to get into our Ford F-150, we would have to unlock the driver’s side door, and we didn’t have any automatic buttons to unlock or lock.

So we’d unlock the driver’s side door, reach across the cab, and then unlock the passenger door. So on this particular Monday morning, standing in deanne’s driveway, I decided that I was going to unlock the driver’s side door and throw the keys over the top of the car to. The moment the keys left my hands, I knew that they weren’t going to make it over the top of the truck.

Michael and I watched them fall between the cab and the topper, nowhere to be found. Uh, they didn’t fall through onto the ground. You couldn’t peer over the top of the car and see them. You couldn’t, uh, stick your hand in the grooves of the truck. They were lost. Deanne graciously offered for us to use her car to get into.

She drove a little black standard looking car with a push to start. Uh, so we headed into town and the town of Sterling was small. It was a restaurant, a few shops, the school we were working at for the week and a mechanic. Uh, we had just a little bit of time before our meeting, so I headed down to the mechanic to ask for help.

I walk in and the air is filled with smoke and there are two. Sitting in the back, dirty white tank tops, chain smoking. I walk in and I explain to them that I have stranded our truck in deanne’s driveway and can you help us? Uh, they said, oh, we know Deanne will head down there right now and get your car.

I thanked them profusely and headed back to the school. When Michael and I’s meeting concluded, I had a text on my phone from Deanne that said, Hey, they were able to rescue the keys. Is there any way that you can get my car back to me and come pick up your truck? She also shared with me that they were able to rescue the keys by laying on top of the truck and sticking a fishing line, uh, with a magnet on the end to get the keys.

Uh, I looked at the clock. I had just enough time to drive the 20 minutes back to Deanne’s house, get her her car back, get back in the truck, drive to the school, and be on time for the audition. So I told her I’d be on the way. I get out to the front of the school where we had left Dion’s car and I start driving back to her house.

When I arrive, I park in the garage. I meet her there, hand her her keys, she gives me the rescued truck keys, get in the truck, start my way back to the school, 20 minutes there and back. as I pull up back to the school, there is a woman standing on the sidewalk outside of the school and she is pointing at what appears to be me in my branded Missoula Children’s Theater, bright Red Truck.

And she’s screaming, I’m looking around like she’s, she can’t be screaming at me. I, uh, I just got here. I’m going through the list of everything I’ve ever done wrong in my entire life. And none of it involves Sterling Nebraska. I’ve only been here for 24 hours, , so I quickly parked the truck. I jump out and I, I can finally hear her and she’s screaming, you stole my car, stole my car.

And I’m still looking around. What does she mean? I stole her car? No, I drove deanne’s car here. And then I drove Deanne’s car back and DeAnn met me in her garage. I gave her the keys. She saw the car. What does she mean? I stole her car. I say, ma’am, I am so sorry, but I do not know what you are talking about.

And she said, my keys. My keys. They were in the cup holder and I have a push to start.

Mm-hmm. .

And then I realized that when I got into deanne’s little black Push to Start Car, I actually got into this woman. Janet’s pushed to start little black car parked in front of the school and drove it away. I stole her car,

I said, ma’am, um, if you just wait right here, I’m just gonna go get your car.

I race back to the truck race, back to Deanne’s house, 20 minutes, the longest 20 minutes of my entire life. I don’t cry very often in life, but when I say that I sobbed the entire way back to deanne’s house. I mean it, the Missoula Children’s Theater has been touring for 50 years. We’re celebrating our 50th year of touring.

Yes. Thank you. Across the world and the country. And the reason, one of the many reasons why people love to bring Missoula Children’s Theater back to their community over and over again year after year, is because of our incredible reputation.

And they hire tour actors who represent that image and represent that, uh, organization that’s bigger than themselves. Um, they hire people who are professional and kind and friendly and care about the mission of teaching life skills to children through the performing arts. Stealing a vehicle is not a part of that.

So I, uh, finally get back to Deanne’s house and I race into the garage and she meets me there cuz she hears me coming. And then she says, Abigail, why are you back here and why are you sobbing? I said, Dan and I pointed to the stolen car in the garage. I said, Deanne, this is not your car. And she took a long, hard look at the car and she said, you know what, Abigail?

Now that I take a closer look , that is not my vehicle, and Sweet Deanne, she put her arms out and I just melted into her, in, into her and, and she said, Abigail, I think you just need a hug. This woman that I just met 24 hours ago, just holding me in her garage next to a stolen car, . And I said, finally, I said, Deanne, I have to get this car back to the school.

I get in the stolen car, of course it pushes to start right away because sure enough, the keys are right in the cup holder drive back to the school. 20 minutes. I am white knuckling the entire way back because I’m in a stolen car and it’s icy and snowing Nebraska in March. Uh, when I finally arrive back at the school, Janet is sure enough waiting right where I left her and I hand her her keys and I said, I am so sorry that I stole your car.

And she said, I am so sorry that I yelled at you, and I am rethinking leaving my keys in the car . Now, at this point, I am very late for the audition that I’m supposed to be at. So, um, I at some point texted Michael who’s running the audition by himself because he’s amazing. Hey, uh, so I’ve had a little situation.

I’m okay. Everything’s fine. Uh, but I’m gonna be a little. I get back in Dion’s car, 20 minutes back to her house. I get back in the truck, 20 minutes back to the school. At this point, hours later, I have just barely stopped sobbing and uh, I get ready to go back in the school. I’ve got the truck, I’ve got the keys.

And I pace a smile on my face. And sure enough, I walk into the gym and Michael is perfectly beautifully running an audition with all of these children who are hoping to be a part of our cast of Pinocchio. And I look at Michael and I give him a nod that says, Hey, everything’s okay. Um, but wow. Do I have a great story for you later?

It’s the little things. Losing the keys. Throwing the keys, the push to start not recognizing the wrong car in the garage. Sometimes the little things have really big consequences. Thank you.

Thanks,

Marc Moss: Abigail. Abigail Gilbert is a professional actor, educator and director who originally hails from Duluth m. She is proud to work at the Missoula Children’s Theater as the tour marketing associate and social media specialist, and at Studio M as a teacher and vocal instructor on stage. She was most recently seen as Columbia in the Rocky Horror Picture Show and as Little Red Riding Hood in into the Woods at Missoula Community Theater.

She was recently voted Missoula’s. Best actor in the Mozillians. Best of Missoula, 2022 contest. Next up is Regina O’. Regina was unable to afford housing and was living in a tepe in the desert. Living in a tepe causes one to notice so many little things that others might miss. Regina calls her story.

Little things aren’t little. Thanks for listening.

Regina O’Brien: Thank you, . I lived in a Tepe for a year and a half in the Hammus Mountains in North Central New Mexico. . I had gotten a job in one of the little villages there, and housing was really tight and the tepee was a good alternative to nothing. and, uh, living a life like that, you’ll learn a few things now.

Most people know what a tepee looks like and what they know is the skin, and that is essentially a big umbrella. It keeps the rain off, but it’s really drafty. What makes it work is the canvas liner on the inside. It is connected to the tepee poles at about chest high, and it goes all the way to the ground.

This liner, basically, it keeps the draft from going into the living area and funnels it up to the smoke. It does not do a good job at keeping out the neighbors . The, you know, the, the ones who, who were there first? The mice, the rock squirrels. , the tarantulas , and knowing that I could have surprise visitors at any time, I learned to pay a lot of attention to my surroundings.

It’s one of the benefits of tarantulas, , tvb TVs have no windows, and I couldn’t look outside, and I found that, well, I don’t know if my senses became more acute or if I just paid more attention to. Or probably both, but I found that I could identify the birds flying overhead by the cadence and the sound of their wing beats.

I learned that the wind going through a pinon pine sound is different than the wind going through a ponderosa where a juniper. What I didn’t realize until I left the tepee was how integrated my senses were to my awareness. When I left the hammus and wound up in a real house, I felt safe. I had real walls.

I had windows I could look out of. I had a door I could lock, but when I went to bed that first night and I started going to sleep, , I had this strong sense that something was wrong, something something was wrong, something something was wrong. And I wound up going from room to room to room, trying to figure out what was wrong.

And I realized I was looking out of all of the windows. It was night, it was dark. I couldn’t see anything. And what was wrong was I didn’t know what was going on outside in the tepee, you have this constant flow of. Going through and that airflow let me know what the weather was doing. I could feel the temperature change, the, the moisture in the air.

I could smell the pinon pine. I could taste the dust. I could hear the coyotes in the cars from miles away and in the house. All of a sudden, my senses were confined to the inside of the house and I learned, I had to reassess what safety meant to.

When I first moved into the tepee, it was late summer, but I was at over 6,000 feet elevation, and I knew winter was coming pretty soon. So I went to talk to my landlady, Ariana, who lived like 50 yards away in a two room dirt floor shack. She was upscale. She had a wood stove, and I said, how much firewood do I need?

You know, how, how cold does it get? And she goes, you know, I got rid of my thermometer years ago. I, I did not need to know it was minus 20 inside my house.

Good to know. , I got some cinder blocks and I raised my sleeping platform. I had two rugs. My insulated, uh, sleeping pad, a winter weight sleeping bag, a queen size alpaca wool blanket folded in half on top of the sleeping bag, another blanket on top of that, and my coat, which doubled as my robe. My sleeping attire consisted of thermal under.

Heavy duty sweatpants and hoodie, at least one pair of socks, a knit cap and roll gloves, fingerless. So I could find and use the zipper in my sleeping bag in the long evening, hours between sunset and bed, I usually had a cup of tea On one particularly cold evening, I made the mistake of having two cups of tea,

And even though I used the chamber pot after I went to bed, nature called, and it was really nasty because I had to do more than Pee . I had to go outside and use the pit underneath my special tree.

The fire was out. It was dark, it was freaking cold, and I knew if I procrastinated, it would only get worse. So I unzipped my sleeping bag and I found my flashlight turned it on, and you have to bear in mind that this next part, I was trying to keep as much heat inside the sleeping bag as possible. So I pulled my coat up to myself, put it on, and I could feel my body heat going into the coat.

I checked my shoes to make sure that I was the only one in them . Got outta the sleeping bag, put my shoes on, and I could feel the cold seeping through my socks. I got up, picked up the, the flashlight, and was headed towards the door and something made me check my chamber pot and the clear fluid that was in it was now opaque and kind of slushy.

I realized that Ariana was right. There was some things you really did not need to know, . So I went to the door. I untied the Fong that kept the liner in front of the door, pulled that back, took a breath, ducked down because the opening was like this tall, pushed the drape outside, went outside, and I was transfixed.

I no longer felt the cold. There was no moon that night and there were so many stars. My mind went numb and the sky was so incredibly absolutely unforgivably black that it looked solid. The night sky. It was, it was. It didn’t just look, it was a black, solid dome, about 20 feet over my. The stars were not little orbs in the sky.

They were pinpricks. They were perforations in this solid black sky. And I remember thinking that if I had a ladder, I could climb up there and I would could push against the sky. And I, I was wondering what it would feel like.

I don’t know how long I stood there. I know that I visited my pits and made my tree happy, but I don’t remember doing that. And I remember beginning to shiver because even though I wasn’t aware of the cold, it was still affecting me and my brain kicked in and I know I needed to go back to my bag, but I don’t remember doing that either.

All I really remember is a phrase that I heard from a Celtic storyteller years ago, and at the time I didn’t understand it. He was describing something as having a terrible beauty. And when I looked at that sky, I was so intimidated and so amazed that sky it unfolded it like it. I was immersed in that sky.

I would just could just feel myself expand. And that sounds stupid even to me. I mean just, but all I could think of, I could feel that incredible beauty to my bones

later on. It was, it was my second, my second winter. It was February 1st, seven. I was doing my morning routine. The fire was burning well. My coffee was, was brewing. I was fixing breakfast and overhead. I heard this weird sound. It was a staccato, warbly, shrieky, mony, Rony sound. That lasted all of three seconds.

No idea what it was. I shrugged it off. Took care of my breakfast. I still had to make lunch and I’d get ready for. . And when I got to work a little while later, the ladies at the front desk were talking about the morning news and I said, that’s what that sound was. And they looked at me, they didn’t hear anything.

They were inside their house. And another woman who was standing there and goes, I heard it too. She was outside feeding her chickens. And that sound that I shrugged off so I wouldn’t burn my own meal was the sound of seven people dying. As the space shuttle Columbia broke up apart and its pieces and the bodies tumbled across the sky over my head

in a month and a half, that’ll be 20 years ago, and I can still hear that sound.

Little things that make a difference in your life. , the things that you ignore, you don’t acknowledge, uh, a piece of information you hear the, the movement of air against your cheek, a three second sound bite. Those kinds of things will change your perspective. Open your world, nail an instant to your heart for the rest of your life.

Those little things are not.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thanks, Regina.

Marc Moss: Regina O’Brien put herself through college, working a montage of odd jobs for 11 years. She graduated with two bachelor degrees and eventually got a career with a federal government. After years of seeing people staying in positions they hated so that they could have a secure retirement, having their security blood out by illness, death, or catastrophe, and feeling stressed out and ineffective in her own job, she quit.

She got rid of everything that did not fit into her mid-size pickup and started driving. Regina has been living around the edges of mainstream society ever since. Regina is a relative newcomer to Montana and currently lives in Potomac and works in Missoula as a massage therapist. Closing out this episode of the podcast, Jeremy and Smith in seventh grade, walks around his teacher’s desk all.

The lessons he learned that day have lasted 30 plus years. Jeremy, tell us his story 1000 times. Thanks for listening.

Jeremy N. Smith: 1990, mid-December middle school, it’s lunch period and my fellow nerd, Josh Engleman and I are hold up in our social studies. Teacher, Mrs. Fisher’s classroom, working on an extra credit project on if and where to locate a third airport for the city of Chicago. . The discussion is so intense I start pacing around Mrs.

Fisher’s wooden desk. Josh thinks this is funny, so he grabs a piece of chalk. And starts tallying my laps on the blackboard. 1, 2, 3, with a big X when I get to 10, because Josh thinks it’s funny. I think it’s funny, and I say, I’m gonna go around this desk 1000 times and 20 minutes later. When the bell rings lunch over, there’s already about a hundred marks on the board at this point.

Mrs. Fisher enters. She is a stern white-haired woman wearing her customary shapeless, sort of moomoo style polka dot print dress. I, we have never seen her smile, much less laugh, but she must have had a couple extra shots of something in the teacher’s lounge. retirement is on the horizon. It is winter break next week.

And so when she says What’s going on, and Josh says he’s going around your desk a thousand times, she’s like, okay, Einstein’s this. I want to see our classmates roll in. A few seconds after that, they say, what’s going on? And Mrs. Fisher points to Josh. Josh points to me, and he says he’s going around her desk a thousand times.

And they’re like, yeah. And so for the next 45 minutes, in 25, perfectly healthy, intelligent students. Instead of learning social studies, watch me go around in circles. 1 50, 200, 2 5300 times. And then the bell rings and people laugh and they clap and they leave. And we have science now. Josh and I, and I looked to him like, what are we going to do?

Right? We’re we’re extra credit kids. We don’t ditch class. We like stand at lunch to make an extra one . But then the next social studies class rolls in and they say, what’s going on? And Mrs. Fisher points at Josh and Josh points at me and he says he’s going around her desk 1000 times. And they laugh and they clap and they cheer and like I forget about the airport.

And extra credit. And for credit. And for the next 45 minutes, we ditch science and 25 more perfectly healthy, intelligent students. Instead of learning social studies, watch me go round a desk. 3 50, 400, 4 5500 times. Next is math class. Oh, well, we ditched that and then finally, fittingly, final period. We miss Jim

At this point, I have been walking with purpose for like two to three hours. I’m a chubby kid with glasses and my like ankles are, and calves are throbbing. My chest is hollowed out. My glasses are like coming off my sweaty head. I don’t know how this started like, but this is like, this isn’t just what I do.

This is like who I am now. Okay. I’m like, uh uh, like a marathon, desk circling machine and like the whole school knows about it. I’m legendary in progress, and I said that Josh was my fellow nerd, but. Josh actually doesn’t have glasses, and Josh is a relatively more athletic roller Blader and Josh has twice experienced something that I haven’t even dreamed of, which is having a girlfriend.

So this is it. This is my moment in the social spotlight. I can’t keep going, but I have to keep going and so I power on. I stumble forward and finally the whole class stands and they chant together the final steps of my journey. 9 97, 9 98. 9 99 a thousand just as the bell rings. Last class, last period, schools out.

I did it

and everyone’s the cheers, the applause. High fives louder than ever. And then, They shrug and they gather their stuff and they go , and then j Mrs. Fisher’s shrugs and gets her stuff, maybe goes back to the teacher’s lounge and goes, and then Josh shrugs and gets his stuff and goes to meet his girlfriend.

And it’s just me in the classroom with the blackboard with a thousand marks and the carpet I’ve worn circles in and like my great white whale of this desk. And I shrugged too and I get my stuff and I limp home. and I have had 20, no 32 years. To figure out what happened. and I’ve come up with these three lessons.

First, there is a reasonable debate people can have about whether 1000 of something is a little or a lot. It is more than 10 and a hundred. On the one hand, it is less than a million or a billion on the other. And I’m just here to tell you, I know , okay? I, I lived, I have the experience. If you do anything at all 1000 times, even walk around a desk, you will know that a thousand of anything is a lot

Number two, if you marry repetition to ambition, you can accomplish. Great things,

I have, uh, spent the last 20 years lurking as a writer. That means I’m basically professionally a desk. Circler. . And so I know intimately well that if you write one page in a day, that’s not very much. But if you write one page a day for a thousand days, wow. You have just written a whole book.

Third last, and most important, the reverse is true too. Even if you have done something a thousand times in a. Even if it’s how everybody knows you, for better or for worse, , if even if it’s not just what you do, it’s who you are. If it’s not serving you anymore, you can stop

I went to school the next day and I got a very stern talking to in science. I got a makeup test in math and limping, wincing. I was made to run laps for 45 minutes in gym, but before that, I went into social studies and there was the blackboard, fresh, clean, newly erased. There was the. Vacuumed carpet, not a trace in it.

And there was the desk eye, me saying, want to go again?

And I just shook my head and I stumbled forward and I went right to my seat, and it was just a little thing. But let me tell you something. So little has rarely.

So good.

Marc Moss: Thanks Jeremy. Jeremy N. Smith is a journalist, podcaster, and author. He has written for the Atlantic Discover Slate and the New York Times among other outlets, and he and his work have been featured by cnn, npr, R N NBC Nightly News, the Today Show and Wired. Jeremy is from Evanston, Illinois and has lived the last 20 years in Missoula, except for last year when he spent a family year abroad with his wife Chrissy and their daughter Raa in Puo, Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.

His latest interest is in skateboarding and he is looking for someone to help teach him how to Ali. Learn more and make [email protected] Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn [email protected] Thanks to our storyteller sponsor Viga Pizza. You can find them and place an [email protected]

And thanks to our accessibility sponsor, grizzly Grocery, learn more at grizzly grocery dot. Thank you to our media sponsors, Missoula events.net, Missoula Broadcasting Company, and Gecko Designs. Thanks as well to our in-kind sponsors, Joyce of Tile and Float Missoula. Remember that the next tell us something event is March 30th at the Denison Theater.

You can learn more about how to pitch your story on theme the first time and get your tickets at tellussomething.org.

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “It’s the Little Things”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of a sold-out crowd on December 15, 2022 at The Wilma in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : It's the Little Things - Part 1

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tele Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss . We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is the first time. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch. The pitch deadline is February 20th.

I look forward to hearing from you

this week on the podcast.

Ean M. Kessler: Do you love your mailman?

Do you love the guy who changes the oil in your car, the fella you hired to fix the dishwasher when it breaks?

Hannah Harvey: The first frog I ever met was at Park Lake. On a camping trip with my parents when I was 10 years old, my dad had scooped it out of the water and placed it in my little cupped hands, and then, and there I fell in love.

Lori Chase: It’s been the next few days getting my application together and I get the application in and then I keep calling. Is it accepted? Is it accepted? You know,

Marc Moss: when you were in grade school or middle school and high school and you lean back in your chair? Braced against the desk. That’s sometimes how tall something feels like.

We’re just about to fall over. Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme. It’s the little things. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of a sold out crowd on December 15th, 2022 at the Wilma in Missoula. Our first story comes to us from Ian Kessler. Ian Wrestles with himself and his relationship to his father, whom he barely knows.

Ian calls his story shaken ground. Thanks for listening.

Ean M. Kessler: One of my earliest memories is when the dishwasher broke and the guy my mom hired to come fix it. This big burly guy comes to the door. Uh, he’s got a t-shirt, work jeans. He smells like cigarettes and coffee. He lays out his wrenches and he gets started.

I’m like three or four and I’m standing in the kitchen doorway and I’m just transfixed. I mean, I cannot peel myself away. When I was a kid, I always liked watching men work. My parents, um, they were never. Uh, they both wanted a kid. They each need the other to do it. But I was raised by my mother on the East coast entirely.

Uh, that was always the deal. So the memories that I have of my father are really scanned, but really deeply imprinted. Um, when I was really little, he’d send me postcards from the Great Plains, the Black Hills. Uh, you know, this part of the world, he’s seen and hiked and camped the back country, uh, more than maybe I ever will.

I have them, those postcards in a, uh, old shoebox and they’re dull things. Pretty tame stuff like, um, hi Ian, how are you? Or, uh, happy birthday, or Tell your mother I said hello. and all of them are signed the same. Sincerely, your father . It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I’ve never not known how to spell that word sincerely.

It was like it got imprinted in the back of my mind when I was 10. I spoke to him on the phone for the first time and that was my choice. Uh, my mom made it really clear that I always. . It just had to be something that I wanted, and it’s gonna sound funny, but turning 10 really sorta spun me for a loop. Um, I didn’t, I didn’t feel like a little kid anymore.

You know, I felt like a kid, but it did feel like some part of my childhood had shifted. It wasn’t something I could hide behind, you know? Uh, I had to talk to this man. I had to handle this thing. So my mom calls him sets. Uh, I’m sitting in the dining room and the light’s coming in from the kitchen, and I got the phone pressed up to my ear, and my mom told me years later that it was really, really, really clear to her that I was really, really, really nervous.

But the truth is I don’t remember any of it. I couldn’t tell you what was said, what we talked about. What I do remember is hearing his voice on the other end of the line for the very first time. , I’ve always loved my father’s voice. It sounds carved, you know, cured. I’ve always coveted his voice. I’ve always wished it was mine.

When I was, uh, 14, I went out to spend time with him alone for the first time. Uh, that was his idea. He was remodeling a house out in shaman Nebraska. Uh, he said I could go up. Work for him. I’d learned a few skills. He’d pay me be a good deal all around. My mom was really anxious, of course. I mean, I’d never spent time with him alone before, but I jumped at the chance.

You know, I, I, I mean, I was 14 years old even then. I didn’t think something was gonna shift between us or change, but what you have to understand, Is that my father comes from a farm in rural Wisconsin, right? He comes from a time and a place where if you work like a man, you get treated like one. And this just felt like my shot, a chance to stand alongside him.

It was summertime and we worked outside and my father works without a shirt on and he is so brutally thin. I mean, this man does not eat. He’s so skinny. There’s something almost. It feels diseased to look at him. You know, I remember looking at him and I felt like I could see every line of bone, every vein, every ligament.

Like I could see the insides churning in his belly, you know, that kind of skinny. I’m standing there and I’m watching him work in the yard. You know, he’s tearing out drywall or puttering with the car, and I can see the line of his back where he’d broken it when he was 15 and fell out of a hay. Or his sternum that was chipped years and years ago were the veins that just poured down his forearms.

It was the first time I’d ever seen his body up close. Now the truth is I was not very good at the work that he gave me. I did not take to it. No, not at all. Uh, my father has a temper and he’s not a man with patience for children. So mostly I just learned to keep quiet. Two weeks came and two weeks went.

There was no big moment between us. When it was over, he drove me to the airport and he shook my hand and I went home. I didn’t know him any better. We hadn’t talked much. I just sort of seen him up close. now. It’s funny to me at least because uh, I’ve told that story to people. Lots of people, people that I know and love and people that I don’t know as well, and without a shadow of a doubt, they always say some version of the same thing.

Well, he’s your dad and he loves you, and I’m sure that you love him.

Do you love your mailman?

Do you love the guy who changes the oil in your car, the fella you hire to fix the dishwasher when it breaks you don’t love men that you don’t know? I wish there was more that I could say, uh, about it. I wish there was some sort of finality I could put to it, but the truth is, as I stand here on this stage today, I’m 34 and I’ve met that man face-to-face maybe 20 times, and there’s far too much there and just not enough all at.

And if I’m honest, I don’t really know what to make of all that. We still talk and we’re still not close. Man, that’s probably not gonna change. But the older I get, the deeper those similarities seem to run. Mm-hmm. ain’t that growing up for you? We’re both reserved men and, uh, we both worked really hard and we both got more pride than we know what to do with.

And looking back. To borrow a phrase, it really is it, it is those little things, those bits and pieces that you don’t realize, that you don’t know. You know, the sound of your father’s voice or the cursive of his handwriting, or the way that his body catches sunlight and shadow when he works in the yard.

And the thing that I’m starting to realize, that I didn’t know when I was little with the postcards or or 10 on the phone or 14 out in Chadron, Nebraska, is that slowly you turn into a man that you don’t know, and that is really scary. That feels like I’m walking on shaken ground because still the same question rattles in my head.

How do you love a man that you don’t know? And the answer is, is I’m not.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Ean. Ean Miles. Kessler is a playwright, theater artist and storyteller. Originally hailing from the East coast, a recent transplant to Montana. Ian relocated to Missoula to enroll in a Wild to Ride Academy, a Mustang ranch and equine program. Where he learned the process of Gling wild horses. He’s proud to be a Level six graduate of that program and thrilled to be sharing his story with you.

Currently Ian is working on a debut novel. Our next storyteller is Hannah Harvey. Hannah finds herself with more than she bargained for when she moves in with her then boyfriend and the rest of his family ends up moving in with them. A big storm washes an injured frog into the yard and everything begins to.

Hannah calls her story, ""Frog Rescue" . Thanks for listening.

Hannah Harvey: The first frog I ever met was at Park Lake on a camping trip with my parents. When I was 10 years old, my dad had scooped it out of the water and placed it in my little cupped hands, and then in there I fell in love. I loved its smooth, soft. I loved Its tiny hands with fingers that looked just like mine, and I loved that when you looked at its chest, its thin, white papery skin showed the tiny rapidly beating heart inside.

It was like a little hummingbird heart. I remember holding that frog and thinking about how nice it felt to take care of it. To hold it to care about it. I let the frog go and watched it swim away, and while I don’t condone handling frogs because it is not particularly safe for the frog or the human, I will say that that experience stuck with me for a very long time.

I remembered that frog again many years later. In 2019, when I was living in Virginia, the house that I lived in was right by a little salt water inlet, and there were lots of water, reeds and grass that frogs like to hide in. And when I was falling asleep at night, I would hear the chorus of frogs singing.

Some people who I met in Virginia said that they found this sound annoying, but I loved it. To me, it was like white noise, except it was frog noise, , and hearing all those little voices singing often made me feel less lonely as I was falling asleep. And loneliness was a feeling that I had a lot when I was living in Virginia.

I had lived in Montana my whole life until moving. And I, like many others, moved across the country with no rhyme or reason except for the fact that I was in love with a boy. I had met this boy in Missoula at college, and when he returned to live back in his home state of Virginia, I went with him. I was so excited because he had this little quaint house there.

I was going to move in. We had it all planned out. We were gonna have our lives together. We were gonna do all those fun things that couples do when they first move in together. We were gonna build our relationship. We were gonna get married and have kids. It was all planned out. It was perfect. And then his family decided to move in

his parents and his brother. , myself and my boyfriend were all packed into this tiny house, and I grew up with a very demure, quiet family. We do not talk about our problems because we were all raised Catholic, so no problems here, no problems here. But my boyfriend’s family, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in some cases, was not this way.

They were loud and rowdy and rambunctious. They took up a lot of space. They had fights at the dinner table, and I just could do nothing but sit there and watch, and I wanted to be the one calm presence in their lives. I dedicated myself to being the best girlfriend possible, to make them proud that their son had a partner like me.

I was quiet. I didn’t argue. My boyfriend’s mom even called me Mr. Rogers because I was so goddamn agreeable.

But the thing about being agreeable all the time is that you lose yourself, and I started to feel parts of myself slipping away. I stopped doing the things that I loved. I didn’t sing as loudly. I didn’t paint as large. I didn’t talk as much, and I slept all the time. When I wasn’t at work, when I was at home, the only things I wanted to wear were comfortable clothes, and the only comfortable clothes at my disposal were my boyfriend’s old pajamas from seventh grade.

I would put them on the sad plaid, ratty, tattered pants, and a shirt from an event that he participated in long before I came into the picture, and I would look in the mirror and see myself dressed as somebody else. My depression got worse and worse, and with it, so did the weather, the spring in Virginia.

Pretty tough. It rains a lot. It’s always dreary. And one night in particular, it poured, it was windy, it was rainy. There was thunder lightning. It was like a big storm from a movie. And in the morning while my boyfriend and I were sleeping in bed, his mother busts into our bedroom because that’s what happens when you live with your boyfriend’s family.

Family. Um, and she says, There is the biggest frog I have ever seen in our yard, and I don’t know what to do about it. That was the fastest I have ever gotten out of bed in my entire life. I put on my boyfriend’s crocs because of course, and I ran outside and I saw this giant frog by our dumpster. It was also the biggest frog I had ever seen about as large as my hand.

And I could tell immediately that it had a hurt leg and that it was missing one of its eyes. Perhaps it got caught up in the storm or got in a fight with a wayward cat, but the moment I saw that frog, something in my brain woke up, and that frog became my mission. I couldn’t care for myself. Some nights I couldn’t brush my teeth because I was so sad, but god damn it, this frog was worth saving.

when I would go to work in the day and when my boyfriend had the days off, he would be home, and the frog didn’t move. It was still alive. I could tell by that same tiny beating heart in its. , but it, it seemed just incapable of moving. It would look around with its eyes. It would shift slightly, but it didn’t move.

So when it was, when I was away at work, I would make my boyfriend water the frogs because I know that frogs need water. It’s kind of like oxygen to them in a way. It’s where they get all their nutrients, they breathe through their skin, and their skin needs to stay moist. So every day I made my boyfriend water the frog.

I would text him and say, okay, did you water the frog? And he’d say, yes, blah, blah. But after a few days of this, I tried feeding the frog. I tried doing everything, and it wouldn’t move. It was still alive, it was still breathing, still looking around, but it wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t move, wouldn’t do anything.

And finally, when I got home from work one day and I saw it sitting there, sadly, I went inside. I got a plastic salad container. I poked holes in it. I put a little bit of water in the. I put the frog in there, closed the lid. I called a wildlife rehabilitator and said, I have a frog. I’m bringing it to you,

She said, well, we don’t usually take frogs, but fine. And then I set off on my journey. The wildlife Rehabilitators place was in Chesapeake, which was about 45 mi minutes away from, um, where I lived. And it was another rainy night. It was stormy, it was pouring, it was thundering, it was lightning. And I am not a good driver, , but I put that frog in its little box in my passenger seat.

I buckled it in as tight as I. And then I just drove and I was driving like a maniac. It was insane. I felt like I was in fast and furious. I’ve never driven that fast. People were honking. I was doing stupid things probably. I was like, I don’t honk at me right now. This is an ambulance. There’s a baby in here.

I drove. I drove. I finally made it to the wildlife rehabilitated TA’s place. I unclipped the seatbelt. I picked up the box, I brought it into her. I said, here, here’s this rug. He has a herd eye. He has a broken leg. I named him Uno because he only has one eye. And I gave it to her and she went, okay.

And then I got in my car and I left. I asked her to text me to tell me what became of the frog, whether good or bad, but I never heard back from her. It’s possible that Uno just passed away. It’s also possible that the Rehabilitator gave him to one of her other creatures as food, which I guess either way somebody benefited from that.

So, but I moved away from Virginia shortly after that. I came back home. I had friends again. I had family again. I felt whole again. I was sad to end that relationship, but I was withering away in it. I like to think that Uno is out there. I like to think that he’s had lots of frog babies with lots of frog ladies

and I like to think that he’s happy now and that he’s better now. because I am.

Marc Moss: Thanks Hannah. Hannah Harvey is an artist and person living in Missoula, Montana, originally from Helena. Hannah is a University of Montana graduate. If you’ve ever visited the Missoula Art Museum, you may recognize her as the face behind the front desk. When she’s not at work, she can be found painting, drinking hot cocoa at.

And looking for creepy crawlies. In our next story, Lori Chase wins the housing lottery when she is selected as someone who can place an offer on a house. Now she has to navigate all of the twists and turns involving financing a house in Missoula, Montana. Lori calls her story Adventures in home buying.

Thanks for listening.

Lori Chase: In December of 2015, I moved out of the home that I owned with my husband and into the gold dust departments, a low income housing unit on Missoula’s North. The first night that I spent in that apartment, I had a mattress on the floor and it echoed, it was so empty. It was the first time in over 20 years that I’d actually lived alone.

I fell asleep that night to the sound of the train rumbling, clank. Whining and the sound of people honking their horns in the Orange Street underpass, please don’t do this. People live there,

In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of a huge boom that rattled the entire building. That I later found out was the coupling of the trains, and I wondered how I would ever get used to that sound, but I did get used to it. I also got used to the thin black layer of cold dust that settled on everything, the North side spice.

Then later my kids came to stay. We borrowed more furniture. We settled. . When the kids were with me, the place was crowded. It was a very small apartment, but when they went to their dad’s, I was lonely. I really wanted to have a pet. But there were all these rules there. No incense, no candles, no smoking, no noise.

After 10:00 PM no pets, no nails in the wall. So I got lots of plants and I named them all . Always knowing that eventually I was gonna buy my own house as soon as the divorce was final, but when the divorce was final in August of 2016, I went to a lender. Who told me that I couldn’t buy a house because my debt to income ratio due to my student loan.

That didn’t work out. And also, I didn’t have the longevity of employment because before this time, I had been a part-time yoga teacher and a full-time stay-at-home mom. So that didn’t really count. So I went home disappointed, visualizing a bigger apartment where I could get a. and three years went by.

The kids kept getting bigger and the apartment kept getting smaller, . And then one day I went into work to the office where I sh that I share with my boss Molly. And Molly was sitting at her desk working and I sat down and I started looking through some mail and out fell this flyer and it was all about this affordable housing.

That was going up, brand new town homes, and it was everything that we wanted. It was two bedrooms, two baths, a garage close to downtown, our own laundry. I could get a pet. I was super excited. It was perfect for me and I was perfect for it. And the application deadline was in two days, and I had to get pre-qualified for a loan.

I had to get all these little things. and I looked at Molly and I said, there’s no way I can do this in two days. I have all this work to do. And she said, no, you have to do this. Forget about the work. I know a lender and she starts like writing down names and like all this stuff, getting to work. Okay, fine.

So I do it and spend the next few days getting my application together and I get the application in and then I keep calling. Is it accepted? Is it accepted? Finally it’s accepted. And then they say, but you know, actually, out of all the people who pre-qualified and got accepted, it’s a lottery. And so we’re basically gonna pick names out of a hat to see who gets to buy one of these seven lucky people get to buy one.

And so I waited, I had to wait like two weeks. It felt like a really long time. and then I got the call. I won the lottery. I was able to buy this place. Yes, but wait, this was only the beginning. I was able to, I had the opportunity to buy this place for a hundred thousand dollars less than what it was worth.

Amazing. And so I started jumping through all the hoops, like I had to take some classes and go to a lawyer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I’m doing all the things. And then my lender calls me one day and she says, well, you know, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but we just found out, you know, we figured out the HOA fees and you just don’t have a big enough of a down payment.

And I had already tapped out all my resources. My mom, my dad, my friends, like everybody. And I said, well, how much is it? Maybe I can still come up with it. And she said, $10,000. And it was like $10,000 . Like, where am I gonna come up with $10,000? I don’t know. But I was, I was thinking about it. True story. I went to the mailbox and I got a check in the mail from my dad for 10,000.

And he knew what I was going through, but he didn’t know this particular thing. And he said, I just had a feeling that you might need some more money for, you know, closing costs and moving and that sort of thing. And I was like, whew. I’m back in the games. I called the lender and I said, I got the $10,000.

She’s like, A little skeptical like , where did you come up with $10,000? No, no, no. Seriously. My dad gave it to me and she said, okay, but still you cannot spend any money. Your debt can’t go up, your savings can’t go down. You can’t spend any money at all for the next few months. This was in January of 2019, and so I was like, fine, I’m just gonna work as much as possible and not spend any money.

So I’m doing it. I’m doing all the. And then she calls and she says, you know what, I’m sorry. I just, they just figured out the taxes and you actually just don’t make enough money. And it was like, I’m working as much as I can. I don’t know what I can do. And, and I was distraught. I had already done all the little things.

And so I went into the office to work that day and my boss, Molly was there and she, Hey, how you doing? And. You know when somebody asks you how you’re doing, I just broke down and I explained the whole thing to her and she said, well, would it make a difference if I gave you a raise? And I said, well, probably, I don’t know.

And she said, how much? So I called the lender, found out, and she said, I’m so sorry. I should have given you a raise years ago. I’ve been meaning to do it. I’m just gonna give you a raise for that amount and then you can buy. And so she did. And so I was back in the running for the place and I was holding my breath, just waiting for the day that I could sign the papers and just waiting for something else to go wrong.

And then finally the day came and I signed the papers, and I moved into my place. soon after I got a cat, and that was great. And soon after, another one of the places where I worked the yoga fitness center closed. And I was sad mostly because that’s where I practiced. Uh, and then more time went by and I found out a couple years later, Katie, who owned the yoga fitness center, passed away.

She had. . And it wasn’t until after that that I found out that they knew what I was going through to get my place, and they waited to close their business until I signed the papers on my home.

So this morning I woke up. In my home, greeted by my cats, um, feeling, oh, so grateful for my home and all the little things that came together so that I could buy my place, but also, and most especially, so thankful for my friends and my family and the community that believed in. And helped me to buy my home, so thank you.

Thank you, Missoula.

Marc Moss: Thanks Lori. Lori Chase has two almost adult children, two cats and two jobs. She teaches yoga and works for Gather Board, aka missoula events.net, the best community events calendar in Missoula and also a longtime sponsor of Tell Us Something In her free time. She likes to do all the outdoor things and dance.

Argentine Tango. I shared a story. Next, I am the executive director of Tell Us something, a 5 0 1 organization and the podcast that you’re currently listening to, I Call My Story Journey. Thanks for listening. I am gonna tell you a story tonight about my journey with Tell Us Something, and it’s more than that.

It’s also a story about gratitude and joy and depression and teamwork and beauty and community.

I was sitting in the dark at the top. listening to a woman on the stage tell the story of when she was a little girl going with her mom to Belt Montana and she wasn’t allowed to come into the house because her mom and her grandmother were going up to belt to, and she didn’t know this yet. Brush her great-grandmother’s hair.

And her great-grandmother lived in a, basically a, a, a shack. And one afternoon she had to go into the shack for whatever reason, and now she learns why her mom and grandmother are there, because her great-grandmother, Anna’s hair is so long that it pools on the floor. While they, they’re brushing her hair and it’s white and it’s August, which is important because the shack is occupied by a, a hive of honeybees and there are so many of them that the walls bleed honey in the heat and.

She’s describing all of this and I’m looking around the room and everyone is transfixed and she did such a beautiful job of honoring her ancestors and the care that four generations of women were taking care of one another. And I. So honored to be in that room with some of you who were there, I’m sure, and that she was, her voice was shaking and she was there to honor her family.

Later, I’m sitting in that same dark room at the top hat listening to a member of the Crow tribe. Describe leaving the reservation and what a r. That drew between him and his father, and he would go back to visit occasionally, but never leave, never come back, you know, for good until his father got sick and he moved back for two years and took care of his dad.

After his dad passed, one of his dad’s friends said, your dad wanted me to give you this war bonnet, which is one of the highest honors to bestow on his. And I was again, humbled and honored to be learning about this part of the culture, and I was just floored. I’m telling you all of this to show that I fell in love with the stories and the storytellers, and I’m sitting in this dark room and I’m listening to a woman share her story about.

Sexually assaulted the United States Marine Corps and surviving that. And now she’s an attorney in town and she provides justice for survivors. And a woman that I don’t know is standing out on the sidewalk, another, another, tell us something, and, and. The show was sold out and she asks, do you have any tickets?

I said, I, I don’t have any extra tickets. And she handed me two envelopes and said, give one of these to Victoria, the storyteller from the Marine Corps. And I said, I will. And the other one was addressed to me. It was seven o’clock, so I had to come in and start working. She ended up somehow getting a ticket, uh, and was there, but.

Um, after I introduced the first storyteller, I go backstage and I start crying reading this letter because the letter said that she had been so depressed for years that every time she went over the Clark, uh, over the bridge, she wanted to jerk the wheel into the Clark Fork. And she said when she heard Victoria’s story about surviving that in the Marine Corps, She went home and wrote in her journal and sobbed and had an emergency appointment with her psychologist the next day, and she says that, tell us something saved her life.

And she gave me permission to tell you that when I first started tell us something. I had a job at a bank and when I worked at the bank, every minute I was spending there, I was thinking about how I. Make tell something better. And I got my first smartphone because I didn’t want to use bank equipment to do tell something work when I was on my breaks.

So I’m like doing like updating the website on this little Android phone.

And I’ve struggled with depression my entire life. So much to the point that I have a lot of coping strategies and I know when. See when an episode is coming and I can prepare for it and maybe shorten the duration of it. In 2015, I missed all the cues and I felt like a guy hit by a freight train with depression.

I couldn’t get out of bed. I was just feeling so sad, and I’m standing at the kitchen. in the kitchen at the stove with Joyce behind me, just bracing myself on the stove sobbing. I couldn’t stop crying and she was just, she didn’t say, it’s okay. She didn’t tell me to stop. And that night in the dark in bed, she said, what would make you happy?

And I said, Doing, tell us something full-time because it is a full-time job. And she said, then you should do that. And I said, what if it fails? And she said, what if it succeeds? And it was that little way to think about it that gave me the courage to quit my job. and I quit my job and I’ve been doing, tell us something full-time ever since.

And sometimes we hear stories like, I don’t know if anybody was in this room when Mike Colucci had told the story about sucking the crown up from his tooth up into his sinus cavity. It was a comedy, I mean, oh my. Or, or the guy who told the story, uh, about being the person who has to quarantine the losers from the amazing race

or the woman who just ran outta gas at Costco and how the community came together to help her. And you’ve been with me on this journey the entire time. You thank. , you have told your stories. You have come to support the storytellers, and for that, I am so grateful and full of joy. Tell us something. The entire thing is an act of trust.

I trust that when I put out in the call for stories, storytellers are gonna show up. I trust that when I put tickets on sale, y’all are gonna buy tickets and you’re trusting. To provide you with entertainment sadness, like ugly crying, and then huge laughter.

You are trusting the storytellers to share of themselves. Most of you know I don’t introduce the storytellers ahead of time because I want you to come together as a community and support one another as a community. You know when you were in grade school or middle school and high school and you leaned back in your.

braced against the desk. That’s sometimes how tall something feels like We’re just about to fall over and you, and you come and you support each other, and I’m just so grateful to you for that. It may seem like a little thing, but it to me is a big thing. The biggest part of the tell us something journey recently is that we became a nonprofit

and that is a big thing. I built out a board, I wrote the bylaws, I got an attorney, and he filed the paperwork in August of, of 2021, and we just got our nonprofit status in July of this.

I’m Mark Moss, executive director of Tele something, a 5 0 1 nonprofit organization. I live on Missoula’s historic North Side with my wife Joyce Gibbs, and our perpetual kitten, Ziggy.

Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Blackfoot Communications. Learn [email protected] Thanks to our storyteller sponsor Viga Pizza. You can find them and place an [email protected] And thanks to our accessibility sponsor, grizzly Grocery, learn more at grizzly grocery dot. Thank you to our media sponsors, Missoula events.net, Missoula Broadcasting Company, and Gecko Designs.

Thanks as well to our in-kind sponsors, joys of Tile and Float Missoula. Remember that the next tell us something event is March 30th at the Denison Theater. You can learn more about how to pitch your story on the theme the first time and get your tickets at tellussomething.org.

This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on July 8, 2010 at The PEAS Farm in Missoula, MT at an event that predates Tell Us Something. Missoula residents Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnick hosted the event, which they called “Eat our Words”. 5 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Leaving Home”. Jeremy Smith recently reached out to me because one of those storytellers recently passed away. John Engen has graced the Tell Us Something stage twice, and Jeremy suggested that it would be a nice way to honor him to share this story too.

Transcript : Eat Our Words - Leaving Home

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Mark Moss. This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on July 8th, 2010 at the Peace Farm in Missoula, Montana, at an event that predates Tell something. Missoula residents, Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnik hosted the event, which they called Eat Our Words.

Five Storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme. Leaving home Jeremy Smith recently reached out to me because one of those storytellers recently passed away. John Ein has graced the tele something stage twice, and Jeremy suggested that it would be a nice way to honor him to share this story too.

Eat Our Words was sponsored by Garden City Harvest. Garden City. Harvest plants seeds and grows together to create a healthy Missoula. On their over 20 neighborhood farms, schools, gardens, and community gardens. Learn [email protected] Remember to get your tickets for the next Tell us something storytelling event.

The theme is it’s the little things tickets and more information are [email protected]

John Engen: Thank you very much Jeremy. So. Caroline pretty much took my story,

So now I have to come up with something else. And then I didn’t really understand the directions. My thing, it was an email thing. It said 30 seconds Haiku for

So I feel kind of stupid right now. , I am 45 years. And if I understand the currents in the gene pool correctly, that puts me at middle age . My dad is 88, my mom is younger than that. And if I say that in a microphone where it can be recorded, I will be in trouble.

I’ve lived. At 7 34 South Second West, 7 75 Monroe Street, the Alpha East

nine 10 Stevens Avenue, seven 13 Kern 40 50 Field Zone cross. And tonight for the first time, I’m going to sleep at 40 18 Lincoln Road. That’s 45 years. I’ve learned something at each one of those places. 7 34 South. Second, I grew up with a brother who’s eight years older than I am, Norwegian parents and a Norwegian grand.

And I learned there that if you have a problem with somebody, make sure you never tell them about it.

you tell someone who has absolutely no ability to fix that problem for you, , and you tell ’em until they won’t listen anymore.

And eventually the problem goes away,

I also learned that you take care of each other, and so when your mother is in a nursing home in North Dakota and none of the other brothers and sisters have it in them to do anything about it, you go. You bring her home, you put her in the spare bedroom and you make it work somehow. You make it work.

7 75 Monroe. I lived with Eddie Burn, ed and I were in high school together. Hellgate High School Best eight years of my life.

Many of you have heard that line before, but I use it again and I will again and again.

Ed had just returned from serving in the United States Army. The army was not at war at that time, so Ed learned a lot of things about jumping out of airplanes. He had a shocking number. Really dirty rhymes,

and apparently his extensive training in the United States Army did not train him for the circumstance in which after a party wherein you serve something he called sangria, which is a product of a lot of wine, a cooler, and oranges . That the proper way of disposing of said oranges is not to flush them down the toilet in the downstairs bathroom at 7 75 Monroe because it does not help your deposit

I learned a lesson there as well. . I then lived at nine 10 Stevens where I learned. The smell of cat urine is very difficult to remove from carpets and basements.

I had never had a cat before. This was not my cat causing this problem at nine 10. It was the person who lived there before and his or her cat

It made it difficult to have people over, especially for dinner,

so I fell in love and started spending a lot of time at seven 13 Kern, and it wasn’t all about the cat odor in my house. Lovely woman. Next week we’ll have been married 21. Well, the applause for her. Believe me.

At seven 13 Kern, I learned what it’s like to live with a woman who is not your mother or your grandmother. It is much different, . The expectations are much different, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to. And somewhere along the line we made it work. Then we went to 40 50 Fieldstone Crossing, which for us was a brand new home and felt very grown up when I was 28 years old and it was there.

I learned how to fix stuff cuz I had to ignore other stuff cuz I. Fix it later because I got caught ignoring it.

and learned how to take time to look at some mountains, read a book, watch a dog,

listen to our own cat, make really odd cat noises,

and it was there. I learned to settle in a. Now we’re moving into a house that happens on one floor, and some of that could be about my knees, but I prefer to think that it’s about those parents. I learned from back at 7 34 and the fact that every once in a while I’d like to be able to have my old man up for dinner.

And have him be able to go to the bathroom. It starts to be simple stuff at some point in your world. So I’ve lived all those places. Last month I moved my parents out of 7 34, saw Second West where they’d been for nearly 45 years. They left home, they moved into a place called the Clark Fork Riverside.

They have a million dollar. Of our city from the ninth floor on the south side, and I think they’re settling in. But the other day my old man said to me, when are we going home?

I said, mom’s here, pop. You’re home.

And tonight I’m gonna lay my head on a king size. Okay. At 40 18 Lincoln Road and see what that’s about. See what I learned there. And that’s sort of the, the micro version of leaving home. But the fact of the matter is, there’s another macro version of all this, and it’s a really short story. I’m 45 years old.

I was born in Misso. And I have never left home, and I’m pretty happy about it. Thanks.

Marc Moss: John Ingen was born October 27th, 1964 in Missoula, Montana. During his 57 years on this planet, John touched the lives of many people as a journalist. Friend, businessman, mayor, and all around great human. He died August 15th, 2022, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

To hear more stories from John, visit tell us something. Dot org. Thank you to Jeremy N. Smith and Josh Slotnik for providing the audio for this episode of the Tele Something podcast. I remember this, our words event as the first time that I experienced true personal storytelling live in person as a performance.

The evening was special held outdoors at Missoula’s beautiful peace farm on a warm July evening among an intimate crowd sitting on hay bas and engaging with each other as community. I am grateful to Jeremy and Josh for the opportunity to share this story from Eat Our. Next week on the podcast, I sit down with Rick White author and tell us something storyteller to catch up about what he’s been up to since sharing his story.

And tell us something

Rick White: just way back there in the heart of the subway Bitter National Forest. So yeah, we were at the end of the road and. Um, off grid for, for three weeks, and it looked like me scribbling furiously in a, on a yellow legal pad and then transcribing onto a, uh, a hundred dollars typewriter that I sent at the anti Kamal beforehand.

So that I could translate it into print.

Marc Moss: Tune in for that wherever you get your podcasts or stream at. Tell us something. Dot org podcast production by me, Mark Moss. Remember to get your tickets for the next Tell us Something storytelling event. The theme is, It’s the little things tickets and more information are [email protected] to learn more about, tell us something.

Please visit, tell us something.org.

This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on August 31, 2022 in Black Rock City at Center Camp at the Burning Man event. 5 storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme “Waking Dreams”. Today we hear from three of those storytellers.

Transcript : Waking Dreams

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is, it’s the Little Things. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is November 7th. I look forward to hearing from you. This episode of the podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on August 31st, 2022 in Black Rock City at center. At the Burning Man

Jack Butler: event, the artist, the writers, the creatives, those were other people. That’s what other people did.

Marc Moss: Five storytellers shared their true personal story on the theme. "Waking Dreams"

Ranger Sasquatch: My wife and I had spent 42 grand in cash on in vitro. That didn’t work.

Marc Moss: Today we hear from three of those storytellers.

Katie Condon: And I wasn’t just surprised, I was shocked, like there wasn’t enough room in my body for the blood. It was amazing.

Marc Moss: Citizens of Black Rock City hold 10 principles to be true, including radical inclusion, radical self. Radical self-expression, civic responsibility, leaving no trace communal effort, Immediacy, and the three that I’m interested in today are participation, gifting, and decommodification. The storytellers participated in a magical night of deep vulnerability.

The listeners participated with their active listening. Gifting. The storytellers gifted us with their stories, and the event was also free to listeners, Decommodification. There were no sponsors. And so for this episode of the Tellus So podcast, there are no sponsors To thank, our first story comes to us from Jack Butler, who recounts the story of his first burn and how it inspired him to write a novel set in Black Rock City in a story that we call the Virgin.

Thanks for listen.

Jack Butler: So when I was about four years old, I had a reoccurring dream and I thought it was a nightmare. So we’re back in about 1977, So this is how the dream starts. I’m on a desert plane and it’s nighttime, and there’s this huge arch of earth. From the center of the arch growing back down towards the ground is this beautiful tree.

It’s inverted behind the arch and behind the tree, there’s something glowing in the sky. And so the dream starts to shift and this thing starts to rise in the sky and I become frightened. So I woke myself up and the next. . I went to sleep and I was again on this desert plane cracked earth, nighttime arch tree glowing thing in the sky, and it started to rise into the sky a little bit more, and I was frightened, so I woke myself up.

And I probably talked to my mom about it the morning, but you know, it’s the seventies. So put on your corduroy shirt, drink your tan, go to go to school. They’re not really big in, uh, getting self involved in there. So the next night I told myself, Well, I know I can wake myself up, so I’ll go ahead and see what what happens.

And cracked desert, plain arch tree rise in the sky. And what I saw was this glowing wolf. That just looked at me and it looked at me with just this kindness and intensity. And then the dream was over flash forward about 20 years, I like to go to new age conferences and learn about all different types of things.

And they had a, a break period where they said, Well, does anyone have any questions? And no one did. So I said, Well, I had this dream and I. And there were a lot of answers and things from people, but this one lady said, you know, shamans would meditate at the base of a tree, and then they would send their spirit down the roots of the tree to this lower level, this place of lower vibration to do whatever work they needed to do.

So with the tree inverted, it’s a pathway to a higher level of existence, a higher level of vibration.

2019 is my fourth year out here. We, we were finishing up building a theme camp and I was looking around and just. Taking it in and, you know, something fantastic just drove down the road and I just said out loud, it was like, someone should write a book to explain this place, why people come here. Why do you come to this hellish place, which nothing but heat and, and all the environmental stuff you have to deal with.

Of course, one of my friends was like, Yeah, you should do that. You should go ahead and you should write that book. So I went home and, and stared at a document and opened the word document. It’s like, well, what do you say about. Place. Well, you write a book to find out what you know not to tell what you know.

And so I thought about the first time I came here as a virgin and I’d heard about it and heard about it from friends and it was, it sounded fantastic. And I came out here and just worked to death for like three days cause I could know how to work. And then I ventured out on my bike and I went out to the Esplanade.

And there’s just madness and there’s sound, and there’s music, and there’s lights, and there’s art cars, and there’s people zooming by. And I could take that for about five or 10 minutes, and then I just need to go out to the trash fence. You’ll be by myself, and I’m sitting out there, my back to the trash fence watching all this stuff go on.

And I’m thinking about my emotional turmoil and my baggage and things I have, and one voice is saying, It’s time to go. You just gotta get outta here. This is too much. It’s too different. And the other side is like, Well, you’re here. You came here. It took a lot to get here. So why don’t we sit for just a minute, and when I looked out, I realized there were 70,000 people who didn’t care about my problems.

So maybe I should put ’em to the side for a minute. And then I thought about what else could I put in into a book I could put in the art out here. This is the largest art festival anywhere, and I’ve seen art that I couldn’t believe and I got to meet the artist. Because for me, in my background, the artist, the writers, the creatives, those were other people.

That’s what other people did. That’s not what I did. I couldn’t do that. I, I lived in a different world, but then I got to talk to them and they were just people, and that slowly became the theme of the book. People are just people. And this art will push you out here. The first art project that really kind of knocked me was the Barbie, uh, death camp.

And if you’ve never seen it, it’s, it’s an incredible offering. Been out here a long time, but it’s, it’s these Barbie dolls who are nude. Ken and Barbie dolls being marched into ovens by other Ken and Barbie dolls dressed as Nazi. And it’s, and it’s a very serious subject and it, it will knock you in your tracks and make you think, But that’s the what art out here does.

It makes you think, and it made me think, and when I started talking to these creatives and I realized they’re just people like me, then maybe I can create and maybe I can write a book. So I sat down. This is how you write a book. You sit down every day and you start typing words. If you write the first line, you can write the last time.

90% of the people who write a book do not finish it. So I started to writing and, and very much believe that there’s muses, there’s these creative energies that swirl around all over the place, and they’re just looking for a place to land. I did not write this book. This book wanted to be written. I know that because it just started to flow and characters come out of the woodwork and situations happen, and suddenly you’re telling a story and I want to read the story that I’m writing.

And people. Just started to define what Burning Man is through the little vignettes that we’ve all had, these little moments that we all have. And that’s the important part, is the little moments we have, no matter what else is happening, where we see kindness and we see love and we see hurt and heartache and struggle and we get through it.

So I wrote the book and it was finished and I found an editor, which every writer needs, which I found out you really need an. And it. And it got better. And it got better. And finally one day it was done and I needed a cover. So I thought, well, I’m gonna put the words into the dust, The Virgin of Burning Man’s story.

So I contacted the org and they were great. And they let me use the words Burning Man on the front covers, like, What do I put on there? A man? Do I put a burn? Do what do I put? And none, none of it felt right. So I just sat and I thought, and I thought, A dream I had when I was a little boy and it was an arch of earth and it was a tree growing upside down and it’s a path to a higher level of vibration existence.

And I commissioned an artist and the artist drew it, and it wasn’t till I saw the picture that I knew where I was in 1970. I was on the playa. This place has been here waiting for all of us. This place is a porter to our higher selves and our higher journey if we want to take that journey. Now you begin with the ending in mind.

But I didn’t know what the end would be. So I will end with the first line of the book. So you have to write the first line. And it’s Kamal you fractured souls. Society’s lost and discarded vessels. Lonely children in adult skins. Bring your art, your love, and your wonder. Find solace in the dust. And I like that ending.

But there was something more. I came out here to Renegade Burn, and I wrote a poem, and I’m gonna take just a little piece from that. That really resonated with me. I know that this body and this vessel will die, will pass on as my loved ones have died and passed on before me. And what will. Is my love and the memory of my love for each and every one of you.

We who are so blessed to have come to this place and to be able to raise ourselves up. We are the holders of the flame and we will guide the others home. We are the burn. Thank you.

Marc Moss: Thanks Jack. Jack Butler was raised in Kentucky and found the outdoors and forests to be a great playground. He developed a love of reading at an early age and would lose himself in the adventures and stories. Jack spent six years in the military after high school, and then another 25 years bouncing around the world as a merchant marine on ships.

Jack’s first burn was in 2016, and it began a process of opening his eyes to another world, a different life. To learn more about Jack and hear a sample from his book visit, tell us something.org. In our next story, after a long overnight shift, patrolling Black Rock. Ranger Sasquatch is tasked with delivering an exciting message in the days before cell service on the play Ranger.

Sasquatch must find his intended recipient the old fashioned way by interacting with his fellow citizens in a story that we call special delivery. Thanks for listening.

Ranger Sasquatch: As he said, I’m Ranger Sasquatch and I’ve been here a good long time. And, uh, there are some things that are constant burning. One of those things is the learning cliff.

You either fall off it when you encounter it, float to the ground, or you run into it like the coyote in a Warner Brothers cartoon. This is a story about how I ran into it like that coyote

back in 2005. The city was a different place. The term wifi, if it existed at all, was just circulating in technical magazines. It really hadn’t circulated to the general population. We didn’t have any contact out here with the greater world, not in any significant sense. Emergency messages for people here at Birdman.

Came into the Garlock office, were written down on a piece of paper, placed on a spindle, and picked up a couple times a day by an individual who then drove them into the. Where they were delivered to the ranger department for delivery to the individuals who they were intended for. In those days, Rangers worked eight hour shifts.

We had three shifts a day, and, uh, having a working brain, I worked the graveyard shift, midnight to eight in the morning, and, uh, In those days, there were less rangers, and in those days people really knew how to mess themselves up. So an eight hour shift could require that we ran from one scene of carnage to another on our bicycles, and I was a beautiful young squirrel who could really speed on my bicycle.

So I would do baby 25 miles in an eight hour shift here, just within the city.

Needless to say, at the end of one of those shifts, you are really ready to go back home to your. And get ready for your next shift, which was a mere 12 hours away, and at least one of those hours, maybe two of those hours, were you getting back to your camp, forcing down the carbohydrates and, and the water, and, and then finding a cool place to sleep while the day star crossed through the sky, you were ready to go home.

This particular. Coming off my graveyard shift khaki, which is what we call the shift leads for rangers on our radios, we’ll say khaki Sasquatch, and they’ll answer us and khaki our shift lead. The authority said Sasquatch, would you and your partner like to deliver an emergency message? And you know, I was really beat, you know, even though I was a energetic young squirrel with his natural hair.

I, uh, I said, Well, what, what is the message? You know, what’s the content of it? And, and Khaki said, The message is, Congratulations, daddy, you’re a father. I thought, Oh man, this is so my message to deliver because my, my wife and I had spent 42 grand in cash on, in vitro that didn’t work. In the previous three years and, and I thought to myself, Man, I want to be here to deliver this message.

I want to see this guy’s face. I want to share the joy of telling him that this had worked out for him, where it hadn’t for me.

Anyway, ,

Sorry. I’m

so sorry. Anyway. I said, I’ll take that message. And my partner, Mongo, I said, Mongoose, are you up for this? And Mongoose said, Sure thing. And I don’t know if any of you know Mongoose, but that particular year, 2005, he built this art project that scared the live shit outta me. It was a ladder, 300 feet tall that went nowhere.

And it was guide all along. It just all, all along, You know, the ladder was never going to fall, no matter how many people were on it, but it didn’t go anywhere. And people would go all the way to the top and go to the other side and, and then climb down. And I would sit on the ground and mentally shit myself,

So Mongos was a really particular fine individual and he said, I’m totally. So we got the name of the individual and we got the theme cap he was associated with. And we, in those days, again, people partied hard, burners, really knew how to hurt themselves. And, uh, at, at eight 30 in the morning, on a Thursday in 2005, the only people awake were folks streaming back from this cafe.

or going to the porta potty. And so we went to where we knew his actual art project was about 300 yards off of the 10 o’clock radio and it was a, uh, drive up. I’m changing this because I don’t want to expose personal details, so I’m going to say it was a drive up. Egg and cheese sandwich booth and it, it was closed when we got there and, and there was no one around but there was a box truck.

So Mongoose and I knocked on that box truck and, and a guy came out and he told us that they didn’t actually camp around there. And we knew that. And he said, We’re back at eight and f and it’s tense right there. It isn’t Marced, but all you need to do is ask around. We knew how that. So we hopped on our bicycles and we, we raced over to, uh, eight and f and, and, uh, we waited until somebody came out of a tent going to a porta potty, and we just pounced on ’em.

And after about three of those, we found where their camp was and, and where his tent was more, most importantly. Okay, so we get off our bikes and, and I go jam mon goose, and he’s standing there and, and I get down on my knees in front of the door and I say, Hello, hello. In there it’s Ranger Sasquatch with an emergency message and I hear some stirring.

And I, and, and I wait, and a, a fellow comes to the door, kind of grizzled, looking at the door of the tent and he unzips it and he sticks his face out and he’s got a few days growth of beard. And he’s, you know, looking frazzled. And he, and, and he says, What’s the message? And I say, the message reads, Congratulations daddy.

You’re a father. And then I waited and I watched his face because this was the moment, I mean, I’d modeled this in my mind. I was gonna cap some joy from this guy. And, and as I watched he scowled and his face darkened and I said, This isn’t a good thing. And he, he shook his head and he goes, She’s basically a stalker.

And I, it was like my mind. Was a bug running into a windshield. Just one. Nothing actually hit me, but there was an almost physical impact in here.

And I, uh, I, uh, I, uh, I, uh, I started trying and, uh,

before

I knew it, he’d crawl out his jet and he was patting me on

the back. Comforting me

and, uh, he was so kind and uh, And

I wanna tell a lot about how the chorus in my mind, there was like a voice and there really was, because that’s how my mind works and I internalize things and, and sometimes they’re the voices of friends. And when my mind, for instance, gets in a compulsive loop, which it does, I hear an old roommates go.

Say the thing he used to correct is German short-haired pointers. When they got into something he didn’t want them to, he would say, Leave it. And, and, and that, that’s something that my mind at society used to stop those loops. And, uh, but this time I hadn’t met that roommate yet, but this time another roommate, I could hear his voice and his, his voice said, Ha, you got fucking used.

You got used to attack this guy. Fucking preconceptions are garbage. And I, it just crushed me. I got a lot of comfort from him. And, but it was a lesson, you know, there’s good, there’s bad here, and it’s not bad to invest yourself in a thing. And it’s not bad to believe in a thing, but you gotta be careful.

You gotta be, you gotta be flexible like a willow. You gotta, you gotta know that. So, It’s gonna be really hard to handle what is presented.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Sasquatch. Ranger Sasquatch has been a ranger since 2000 and has seen and experienced so many singular things, events, and people in his life, which he thinks is the point of it. Sasquatch is also one of the DJs at Radio Electra 89.5 on your Dusty FM dial. Rounding out this edition of the Tele something podcast, Misso resident Katie Conan shares her psychic journey of love with us in a story that we call discovery.

Thanks for listening.

Katie Condon: When I was eight years old, I prayed to God to please take away my psychic powers. I would have these vivid dreams. I knew exactly what was gonna happen the next day, and it was fun for a while. People thought that I was smarter and Whittier than I actually am. I just had time to prepare for the conversation.

I knew what folks would say before they said it. I knew what I was getting for Christmas. I knew Santa wasn’t real. There was this Christmas Eve, my dad spent all night setting up a trampoline for us to enjoy on Christmas day, and I remember just kind of like bouncing along on the trampoline while my siblings around me were literally jumping for joy, and I was fighting back tears because I already knew it was gonna happen.

I think that’s when my mom kind of thought that I was depressed and she was right. I was. I was envious of kids who didn’t have to unwrap presence with forced curiosity and false excitement. This psychic power became a curse. And I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for God to take it away and it was gradual, but she did.

It was my ninth birthday. I received a bouquet of flowers from a secreted meer

and I wasn’t just surprised. I was shock. Like there wasn’t enough room in my body for the blood. It was amazing. And I knew I’d lost my powers. God had answered my prayers, and I spent the next decade and a half living this wildly unpredictable, incredible life. I. Wasn’t alone anymore. There was a weight that was lifted.

I took risks

until my late twenties. I was with the Man of My Dreams, Ryan Silsby. We met when we were 14 years old and we just click. I always felt like I met him too early, you know, like, I’m not, I’m not ready for this kind of feeling, this kind of commitment. So when we graduated high school, he was ready to just settle down, moving together, and his family had moved to the East coast and my son sent him there.

I needed to travel, I needed to do me, I, I wasn’t quite ready for. A couple months later, he hitchhiked all the way from DC to Montana. Surprised me. Then I had to tell him I wasn’t ready, and I sent him back to dc. Then a couple years later, he rode his bike all the way across the country to Montana.

Surprised me again, and it was hard. I had to tell him again, I’m not ready.

Couple years later, I became ready. I was fully available for him, and I called out to the universe and I sent a Facebook message. And this man was in my arms, in my bed, in my apartment as soon as he could get there, , and it was incredible. Our relationship was passionate and full of romance. We went to Paris for Christmas.

We read lonesome Dove out loud to each other. He did all of the character voices you. He was consistently surprising me, challenging me. He was tall, stringy, brown hair, bright eyes. We were pretty happy.

And then one day I couldn’t find him

after a bit of sleuthing thing. I discovered his car at the trailhead, uh, bla canyon outside of Missoula, Montana, and a bitter at National Forest. Within an hour there was a helicopter in the air search and rescue. After a couple days, his family and some of his friends had traveled from all over to come help find.

Police dogs, man trackers. I even spoke with a psychic,

and after a week, Ryan was found dead at the base of a cliff. It was a night.

And that’s when I got back on the telly with the Lord Almighty. I was convinced that if I didn’t get my psychic powers back, if I didn’t know what was gonna happen. That I would not survive. Another surprise like that. I needed to be prepared. I needed to know. I prayed away these powers and I needed them back.

A couple months after Ryan died, a friend asked me if I wanted to drive to Belize from Montana, and I accepted his invitation. I. If I put myself in this situation where I have no idea what’s gonna happen, if I open myself up enough, if I become vulnerable, then God will give me my powers back. And after six weeks on the road, four countries, countless stories for the campfire, my friend dropped me off at home and I was devastated.

It didn’t work. I still couldn’t see my future. There was no way to prepare for anything. I had to figure out how to keep living without knowing what was gonna happen

eight years ago today, exactly.

I started the search for Ryan eight years ago. Exactly. I found his car in that parking lot. My life changed eight years ago.

The man who found Ryan did not mean to. He stumbled upon the situation. He was probably one of the only people within a hundred mile radius who wasn’t actively searching for Ryan. He was on a rock climbing trip. He was from New York.

He ended the nightmare.

I had no idea that the surprises that I prayed for and the ones that traumatized me were actually preparing me for the man who found Ryan,

the man who found Ryan has become my best friend. My. We’re engaged to be married. We own a home together. We’re enjoying our first burn together.

The man who found Ryan, he and I share this life full of possibility and opportunity. I feel like the nine year old receiving that bouquet of flowers consistently, there’s not enough room in my body for the blood. I don’t know what I’m getting for Christmas. , I believe in Santa.

My name is Katie and I’m a recovering psychic. Thank you.

Marc Moss: Thanks Katie. Katie Conde is humanitarian at heart. She believes in the connection of all things. Katie is a lover of art and the simple, beautiful things this life has to offer. 2022 was her first visit to Black Rock City podcast production by me Marc Moss.

Next week on the Tele so podcast, we looked back at a story from an event that helped inspire, Tell us something,

John Engen: and it

was there. I learned how to fix stuff cuz I had to.

Ignore other stuff cuz I could

fix it later because I got caught ignoring it.

And learned how to take time. .

Marc Moss: Tune in for a special edition of the Tele Something podcast honoring John Ein longtime Missoula resident who has passed along from this moral coil. Tune in next week for that, and remember to subscribe to the Tele Something podcast. Remember to get your tickets for the next Tell us something storytelling event.

The theme is it’s the little Things Tickets and more information is available at tellussomething.org to learn more about, tell us something, please visit, tell us something.org.

 

Four storytellers share their stories on the theme "Letting Go". We hear stories about the love of timber framing, about working third shift at a copy shop, about mistaken identities and letting loose at a Russian ballet in NYC.

Transcript : Letting Go Part 2

Marc Moss: Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Marc Moss. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is, it’s the Little Things. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is November 7th. I look forward to hearing from you this week on the podcast.

Kate Wilburn: You would be also able to see, I think, how much I like the quality of things. It’s small and simple, this house, but everything is well done. She goes,

Marc Moss: Can we do it again? I was like, Yeah.

Amy McAllister: We meet Matthew, our mortician and Matthew.

Looks like or reminds me of Lurch from the Adams family.

Rachel Gooen: Bow ties and tuxedos and crushed velvet dresses, and we are in jeans and

Amy McAllister: t-shirts.

Marc Moss: Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme letting go. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of over 900 listeners on September 27th, 2020.

At the Denison in Missoula, Montana, we wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor The Good Food Store. We are so grateful to the team at the Good Food Store for their support. Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Tell us something acknowledges that we are on the Aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispell people.

You hear this at events all the time. What does it mean? Who cares? Right? . I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Why do we say it? Most of the time it’s white folks that are saying it. Are we trying to make ourselves feel better? What are we doing here? When I came to Montana, to the west from Ohio, which Ohio is the land of the Cas and Erie tribes, at least the part where I lived, I wore a Cleveland Indians hat.

Some of you know this former name of this baseball team and, uh, the mascot allegedly was to celebrate the native peoples. It’s pretty racist mascot if you haven’t seen it. And I was traveling out with a, a traveling companion who was admonishing me about my hat, and I dismissed her out of hand. I was wrong to do that, and I started thinking more about that as I started thinking about land acknowledgements.

And why I do them is not just to honor the people whose land we stole. Not us particularly, but everyone in here who’s white. Our ancestors stole the land. We can’t do anything about that, but we can admit it. Honor the people who live with us and work with us and recreate with us who are native to this land.

So again,

again, I say we are on Salish and Cooney. Let me take this moment to honor them and the stories that they share with us.

Our first story comes to us from Kate Wilburn. Kate loves wood and woodworking. She learned the craft of timber framing 40 years ago. Collected materials for a timber frame house, hauled them around for 30 years and is now ready to let them. Kate calls her story Dovetail a love story. Thanks for listening.

Kate Wilburn: Okay, so step into my kitchen with me on the cherry countertops. There are two jars of beans. Every morning I take a bean from the jar labeled 10 years. , 10 good years, days left, and I move it to the other jar labeled 10 good years. Days past. I’ve been doing this for three years with my friend Joseph. It’s an amazing thing to watch the days of one’s life.

Pass a bean at a time. Am.

Here we are in my small old house in Missoula. It was pretty sad until I remodeled it and now it’s cozy and beautiful looking around, you’ll see right away how much I love would the hemlock. fur trim, the raised panel fur doors, those cherry countertops, the maple kitchen cabinets, the old growth Douglas fur floor underneath that’s original and that I didn’t know was there until I unearthed it from layers and layers of goop.

So, You would be also able to see, I think, how much I like the quality of things. It’s small and simple, this house, but everything is well done. And if you looked out to the back side of my lot and saw the old ugly shed, you would wonder and be mystified. Why the heck has she let that thing stand? It’s a love story, not with the shed , but with the small timber frame that’s sheltering inside.

I learned the art of timber framing as a young woman, and I love it as much as I love wood, because it’s like creating a beautiful. , large piece of furniture that is going to become a home or another building. Timber frames use big, massive pieces of wood polished and carefully cut with strong joints that hold them together like dovetails.

you might have seen a dovetail if you’ve ever pulled the drawer out of an old well made dresser. The front is attached to the side with these amazing triangular joints. Those are the dovetails, and they’re not only beautiful, but they’re strong. So let’s go back to the shed and the tiny timber frame.

It’s the sixth one I’ve cut and designed in my life, and that was 30 years ago. Back then, I was married to an auctioneer and our home was pretty chaotic, so I imagined a quiet refuge back behind the house. Unfortunately, the marriage ended before I got the timber frame finished and standing. By then, not only had I invested, uh, cash and an incredible amount of careful painstaking work, but also a fair amount of fondness, and I chose to move it with me.

The next place that found us was a small home in North Carolina, and I thought it would be a perfect screen porch, unfortunately, the tiny timber frame. And I ran a mock of the HOA rules. . Oh, well the. When I became a nomad, I thought that was the perfect ending at last because it’s only eight feet by 12 feet, this tiny timber frame, and it fits really super well on a trailer to pull down the road.

The deal though is that the rafters are 14 feet. Uh, and that’s to make good overhangs on either side to shade the walls, but it’s way too wide for highway safety. It means that all this pile of lovely wood with intricate joints has been so far is a little building waiting to be a. , every time I moved, I, I checked in with myself.

Do I still have hopes for this little critter in me? Yeah, I do. So I’ve moved it from Idaho to Virginia to North Carolina, to California, to Idaho again, and finally to Montana. Is the year finally. Um, I’ve got the plans. I’ve got the permits. There’s some 220 volt electrical work involved, and it’s a little bit dangerous, but it’s simple.

And my friend Mike and I are going to do. Then he calls his master electrician Brother has a sudden emergency and he’s not going to be available in case something goes wrong. It’s a catalyst. It’s actually one of several, but I don’t have time to tell you the rest of them. So I ask myself, Is it time to throw in the towel on this?

I don’t want to. I can so clearly see it nestled in my backyard. These hand carved knee braces arching around windows where beautiful patchwork curtains hang. That mom and I stitched together

so many years ago, and I’ve saved them all this time for this building.

But other possibilities, whisper. There are other big dreams that I’ve held forever. I feel the preciousness of time and I know that when I get real, this project is at least a nine month project to bring to completion.

So, Here tonight with you. I’m gonna take a deep breath.

I might cry a little bit. . I think it’s time for me to stop building things. It’s time to leap into the unknown of these other dreams. It’s time to look for a new owner for this small building and for a different ending to the love story.

I don’t have any clue how. This will unfold, and I don’t have any idea how many beans of strong, healthy life remain to me. My friend Ruth just died,

so I’m ready to leap into the unknown. of other dreams and I’m letting this one go.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Kate. Kate Wilburn, church’s, wildland, and is keenly aware of legacy across Generat. Her life’s terrain is diverse from engineering and carpentry to single parenting, permacultural design and teaching. She’s found in Missoula, a place to show the beauty and practicality of living simply of creating an urban yard that is a vibrant ecosystem of perennial food for people, birds, bees, and other wild things all at the same time.

She seeks green wildness in a neighborhood like a village, even in the. You can see a photo of the jars of beans on Kate’s kitchen counter and learn more about [email protected] Our next storyteller is Marc Moss. Hi there. Working third shift at a late night coffee shop. I met all sorts of people.

I generally made a connection with most of them until a regular customer. Very grumpy, presented a challenge for me. I call my story third shift. Thanks for listening.

I learned how to drink coffee when I was 17, working midnight shift at a grocery store in Ohio, much like the Orange Street Food farm. Working third shift became something that I really enjoyed. The crew, I can’t, I don’t have the time to tell you how awesome they were and how weird they are still. But in those days, there were no 24 hour grocery stores.

And so at nine o’clock we’d all shuffle in, lock the doors, and they would put coffee on, and I would drink Coca-Cola or water because I hate the taste of coffee at 17. And eventually I got injured on the job and I, I had to start drinking coffee. That’s another story that I’m not telling you tonight.

tonight I’m telling you about my love affair. We’re third shift, and when I moved to Bozeman, Montana, I got another third shift job at a little coffee shop called Kinko’s. Kinko’s doesn’t exist anymore, right? I got bought out by some other company, so I can use the name. It’s not product placement. And third shift at the Bozeman.

Kinkos was great because like every Kinkos, it was located on or near a university campus. And when I was working there, I would meet all sorts of folks and the architecture students were like frantic, like outside chain smoking, waiting for their copies to be done, coming in, building these intricate models at a foam.

And, and I was like, You know, that’s gonna be really expensive. I’m thinking in my mind they come up and they, and they come to pay and the bill’s like 250 bucks. And I know that there’s students and I ask ’em like, Are you a student? And they’re like, Yeah, I’m great. And so like, ring ’em up for $75. And they’re like, What?

And I’m like, Student discount. And they’re like, Okay. Thank you.

When I worked third shift at the Kinkos in Akron, I met a lot of interesting folks also in the university campus. But the, the urban environment of the University of Akron was much different than the university or the, the Bozeman campus, whatever they’re called,

Go Grass, I guess. So, uh, I’d, I’d meet all kinds of folks, homeless folks coming in to stay out of the cold. There was a strip club about four blocks away, and so the, the strippers would come in and one of them would like sit up on the machine and copy her ass. And I’m like, Hey, that’s great. You know, clean the glass and if you break it, you bought it.

And she’s like, Don’t worry, honey. Big Wayne would show up and Big Wayne ran the strip club and he’d like make these little coupons to get in for free. So, you know, really interesting folks. But at the Bozeman Kinkos, the architecture students weren’t the only interesting folks coming in. There was a woman that came in all the time and she sort of shuffled in older woman in her fifties, Right.

Mousey looking woman, really grumpy. She’s like five foot two, sort of disheveled looking, super grumpy. And she’d come in. And in those days when you came into the, the copy shop, there was a like a little key counter. Remember those blue key counters and plug it in the machine and it counts off ICU nodding counts off how many cops?

And she’d make like four. She’d make like four copies and coming in to pay. And I did everything I could think of to try to reach her and like, and talk to her. And she was ignore. She would never say a word to me. And I’m, I’m trying to think of whatever I can think of to, to try to make a connection with her.

And I say, Hey, sweetheart, and I start flirting with her. She doesn’t want that. She doesn’t, nobody does

so then I’m mean to her, right? She like walks up to pay and I walk. Ignore her. She doesn’t care. She like slams that thing on the counter like

then I’m like overly nice to her. Is everything to your liking this evening? You know, nothing. When I was a kid, you know Michael was telling that story about penny learning to ride a bike. I remember learning to ride a bike at a blazing. A huffy with a little banana seat and you know, the lightning bolt down the side and his sissy bar in the back.

And I didn’t have the cool backpack that Penny has. And, uh, my dad would like hang onto the back and, and, you know, just like Michael let go without me knowing. And, and I wrecked a lot. And because like, who needs training wheels? Like I’m a boy and. But I also like to cry and scream and yell when I got hurt.

And you know, my dad was like, Boys don’t cry. Suck it up. You know? And I would cry louder. And my aunt, the cool aunt, was like, That really must hurt. And I’m like, Yeah, it does. But I would stop crying. And I was thinking of that moment when this woman came in. Again, super grum. And I said, You seem kind of grumpy.

She goes, What? I said, Are you grumpy? She starts looking around, She’s just hurting me. You know, the machines are buzzing and you know, like, so I’m like, I gotta let go of that work. And now I’m, I’m in it like I’m committed to this. And I start to think about the bike, you know, and my aunt validating me and like acknowledging like, that must suck.

And so I said, You know what I do when I’m grumpy? I copy my face. And she’s like, What? And I’ve never done that before. And so like, take a right of hand, uh, put your head on the glass, close your eyes. Don’t go blind.

And she’s like, Hey. And she like pulls the thing up, grabs it, and I’m like, and she starts laughing. I’m like, This is great. She goes, Can we do it again? I was like, Yeah. She goes, We should make a bigger one. So I changed the size 11 by 17. She’s like, You should have one too. So we make. She’s like, I’m gonna do this some more.

I’m like, Great. I gotta go back to work. The machines back there aren’t running anymore, and if the machines aren’t running, I’m gonna get in trouble. So knock yourself out. Um, I’ll see you in a few minutes. So she’s like there for five minutes. I’m making copies of her face, enlarging, making ’em really small, different sizes of paper.

She comes back, she comes to pay, and she’s laughing. And I’m like, What’s your name? And she goes, My name’s Ruby. I said, Ruby, I’m Marc. Why are you so grumpy? And, and the copies are on me. Like, Put your purse away. She worked at the airport, third shift, second shift I guess, cuz she would always come in around two or three.

This was before nine 11, so no tsa. So I don’t know what she did at the airport, but apparently whatever it was at the end of. Was pretty slow. And so she was writing letters to her son every night and he wasn’t returning her letters and he wasn’t returning her phone calls and there was no texting in 2000 and she’s grumpy.

And I said, That sounds really lonely. And she goes, It sucks.

And she stopped coming in. I don’t know why. And what I’m hoping is, oh, because she said I’m gonna use these face copies as stationary to send to my son

And I didn’t say this, but I thought, Are you Catholic? Cause that’s a classic guilt trip, . But I didn’t say that something my mom would pull. She didn’t come back in. And what I’m, what I’m hoping is the reason she didn’t come back in is because she was writing those letters to her son and he was seeing her and he was remembering her, and he called her and he wrote her back.

And that’s all we all, all of us want is to be seen and heard and validated.

Thanks me, I’m the executive director of the non-profit organization. Tell us something. I recently hosted a tell us something event at Burning Man, where I’ve literally walked through fire with my life partner Joyce. And the cool thing is you can search the Tellis something website for Burning Man and listen to that.

Without walking through the fire yourself. We live together on Missoula’s historic North Side with a perpetual kitten. Ziggy to see one of the face copies that I made with Ruby visit tell us something.org. In our next story, Amy McAllister’s Dad dies two weeks after her mother dies. Amy visits his body in the funeral home.

And the funeral director assures her that the body he has prepared for her is indeed her father’s in a story that we call, that’s not my dad. Thanks for listening.

Amy McAllister: Both my parents passed away about, um, a few years ago, and they were both 93 when they passed away and actually doing really well until they hit about 91. Um, my mom was still going to jazzer size classes and my dad was playing golf and meeting up with his friends. Um, but at 91 it seemed like everything kind of started to fall apart and my brother and sister and I all lived in Missoula and my parents lived in Billings and it seemed like every other week, um, one of us was going down there for something.

There was broken shoulder, broken ribs, sepsis. Uh, some minor surgeries, furnace going out. So we tried everything we could to get my parents to move to Missoula and they absolutely would not do it. They insisted on living in their own home and they wanted to stay there, so they converted their basement into a, um, apartment and hired a full-time caretaker.

And then they had, um, hospice and some other organizations. And so they were able to stay in their own home and pass away. So it was about mid-November of, um, 2018, and we got a call from the hospice nurse that my mom wasn’t doing very well, and they said, If you wanna see her before she passes away, you need to come down to Billings.

So it actually took about four days for all of us to get to Billings, but we did, and we were able to spend Wednesday with my mom and then that night she passed. So my dad at that time was doing pretty well. Um, we spent Thanksgiving with him and he actually came up to Missoula for Christmas. But um, I think when he, he got back to, um, Billings in January, he just was done.

And I think what happens a lot of time. People have been together, spouses have been together for so long. My parents were married for over 70 years. Um, when one passes away, the other one passes away soon after. So this was, um, the middle of January now, and we get the same call. It’s a Friday afternoon and we get the call from the hospice people that say, Your dad is not doing very well.

And if you wanna see him, you should. To Billings when you can. And they said, but his vitals are pretty good. So he should be okay for a few days. Well, this time my sister Jane and I decide we’re gonna go the next day. It’s Friday afternoon, we’re gonna leave on Saturday. My brother’s outta the country. Um, but that night about eight 30, we got a call and my dad had died.

So the next day we leave for billings and I am super upset why my mom had the whole family around when she passed away. My dad had nobody there. So we’re talking on the way down to Billings and I say, I just feel like I need to say goodbye to dad. And Jane. My sister says, I wanna remember him how he was at Christmas and I don’t wanna see him, but I said, I think I, at the funeral home, maybe I should go in and say, So we get to billings and go over to the funeral home, and the first we meet Matthew, our mortician, and Matthew looks like, or reminds me of Lurch from the Adams family.

He’s tall, thin, kind of gaunt looking, but as most distinctive attribute is that the way he talks like lurch real low and slow. So he leads us into the office and we go over all the cremation, um, arrangements. And I asked Matthew, I said, Matthew, where’s my dad now? And he goes, He’s in the back room. Do you want us.

See him and I said, Well, Matthew, I don’t know. I said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a body in a funeral home before. Is it gonna look like my dad? And he said, Oh yeah, he’ll be a little pale, and his cheeks will be a little sunken, but it’ll look like your dad. So I said, Okay, if you’re sure. He goes, Oh, it’ll, it’ll be fine.

It’ll look like your dad. So my sister leaves and Matthew says, Can you give me about 30 minutes to get him ready? So I go out into the lobby, the waiting room, and there’s, I’m upset, but there’s two things to distract you. There are two things to read. These big giant brochures that have funeral packages and caskets.

Or the Penny Saver . So I grab the penny saver cuz I want nothing to do with the funeral stuff. And I start reading the jokes and doing the trivia. You know who played Laura Petre on Dick Van Dyke show. Oh, I know that one. You know, and Matthew comes to get me and he takes me back to this big, long, dark, creepy hallway with these three giant doors about the size.

Like let’s make a deal. And he leads me into the, into the room and quietly backs out and closes the door and I go up. To the bed, and I freak out because this guy looks nothing like my dad, . And I run out and I say, Matthew, that’s not my dad. And he looks at me real sadly, and goes, That’s your dad. And I said, Well, it doesn’t look anything.

Look like my dad. And again, he goes, That’s your dad. So, Okay. My friends keep telling me how un observant I am, and so I go back into the room and I go up to the bed and nothing. Now I really start studying my dad. Now, this man is shorter than my dad. He’s thinner than my dad. He has different coloring, and now I’m doing 360 s around the bed trying to find something familiar, age spots I’ve never seen before, a bump in his nose.

And I go to the top of his head and my dad had a pretty full head of hair. And this guy has a couple strands of hair. I’m thinking, can you lose, uh, body, lose all its hair in 18 hours? So now I’m convinced and I go back out and I find Matthew and I say, Matthew, that is not my dad. And again, he looks at me real sad, That’s your dad.

And I said, You’re telling me that man in there is Bill McAllister? And I see him go, uh, just a second and he goes into the back room and he comes back out and he. Uh, That’s not your dad. I said, I know. That is what I’ve been trying to tell you. So I said, Can you give me about 20 more minutes? So I go back out in the lobby, finish I dream a genie and Dick Van Dyke trivia.

And he comes to get me and he says, I’m really sorry about this. This has never happened before. This is really your dad. I can prove it. There’s a tag on his toe. So I say, No, just let me in and go see my dad. So I went into the door number two for the third time, and I go up to the bed and there’s my dad.

He’s looking a little pale, and his cheeks are a little sunken, but it’s definitely my dad. So I say my goodbyes to him, how much I love him and appreciated everything he did for us. And I walk home from the funeral home and about halfway home, I just start burst out laughing, thinking this could only happen to me.

So I get home and my sister and some other relatives are there, and some friends of my dad’s and my sister Jane comes up to me and says, all concerned, Oh, how did it go? And I just start laughing and she goes, What happened? So I tell them all the story of what happened in the funeral home, and especially my dad’s friends were just livid.

And I said, Really? It’s okay. It brought a little levity to this really, really hard situation for me, and it’s okay. So the next morning I have the Billings Gazette, the morning paper, and I’m going through the paper and I open up to the obituaries and who’s in there? My other dad. So I yell for Jane. I go, Jane, come here.

This is the guy they were trying to pass off his dad. So she comes in and looks at his picture. We read all about him. His name I think was Mr. Santori. It sounded like he had a really nice life, really nice family, which we were happy to read about. So I’ve told this story multiple times to a lot of different people, and some people think it’s funny, some.

Or appalled, but I really do believe that the person that would’ve gotten the biggest kick out of this story and would’ve laughed the hardest would’ve been my dad.

Marc Moss: Thanks Amy. Amy McAllister comes from a strong and loving family and has lived in Missoula for 45. She loves the variety of events offered in Missoula and was a school teacher for 32 years. To see a photo of Amy’s dad visit, tell us something. Dot org bringing us home in this episode of the Tell Us Something Podcast.

Rachel Goen on a trip to New York City with her family. And some of their international friends visits a fancy ballet at the Met after eating pizza. Rachel calls her story when letting go. Stops the show. Thanks for listening.

Great.

Rachel Gooen: All right, so it’s in 1983. I’m 13 years old and my family has a lot of international friends, and I’m not gonna get into how we have these international friends, but we do. So we have three Israeli boys staying with us and another family. Persian friends who just came from Iran. It was 1983. There was a lot of escaping from the ia.

Tolo. Coman. So my mom decides we are gonna hit New York City. And so the ages of the three Israeli boys are 10 to 16, and of this lovely Iranian family, it’s nine to 16 with their lovely mother Mary, and I’m going, and my sister Jane, who is 16, and my mom. So we hit New York City. And New York City for my mom is all about shopping.

Yeah. And so we go and we like, we’re down on the Lower East side going to all the really funky, cool places, and then we hit Midtown. We of course go to like Bloomingdale’s and FAO Schwartz, and that was kind of around when the movie Big came out and they had like the piano on the floor. So we’re all playing on the piano was super, super.

and um, we go to this amazing store called Fuchs, which back then was like the bomb in New York City. And we are like shopping bag and shopping bag and shopping bag. And my mom decides for some reason what would really top this day is if we go to a ballet at Lincoln Center. So we go in, it’s Saturday night.

She goes in and she gets tickets, and the only seats that are left are in the ninth row in Lincoln Center in the orchestra. So I don’t know if any of you have been to Lincoln Center and where the ballet is. It’s actually kind of like this. Except instead of 900 people, it has 2,500 people and it has six layers of balconies all around red velvet seated super fancy, super plush.

And so the woman looks at us, you know, and she says, Well, okay, well there are these ninth row seats if you want them. Yeah, sure. Cuz you know cash is cash. So my mom says they’re our. We decide to go across the street to a restaurant is the coolest restaurant ever. It was really known in New York City because all the waiters and waitresses roller skate.

So for us kids, it was awesome to like have them rollers skating by and have their pizza coming, and it was very, very cool. Now, this is about the time when I think I started realizing that I couldn’t eat certain foods. And I think pizza was one of them. And so we, you know, finished with our meal and we go back into Lincoln Center and, um, the lobby is just filled with.

Lovely, lovely people dripping with pearls and diamonds and Chanel is over there and Eve St. Loran is over there and Gucci is there. I mean there is bow ties and tuxedos and crushed velvet dresses and we are in jeans and t-shirts with big brown bag and FAO shorts bag and there’s 10 of us and we are just like this ragtag bunch kind of coming.

and uh, we go to the, you know, top of the theater and the usher looks at us as if like, we must be going to the wrong seats. And he says, uh, yes you are in the ninth row orchestra. So he walks us in and we like really fumble to get into all our seats cuz we have bags and people around us are just like, hmm.

Hmm. You know, looking and, you know, we’re kids and whatever. So we start to, we kind of fumble all and get in there and I start to feel this grumbling in my stomach and I’m like, , I really gotta go to the bathroom. And, uh, so you gotta remember it, 1983 in New York City. It was not a safe town, uh, at all. My mother had the fear of God.

Put into us whenever we went into New York City, you did not wear jewelry, you looked straight ahead. She marched really, really fast. And we traced after that Mama duck, as if we were all little baby ducks, afraid to get lost. And so, you know, I start whispering down the seats, you know, Um, Hey, anyone have to go to the bathroom?

um, anyone wanna go to the bathroom and no one wants to go to the bathroom with me. The line is really, really long. And, but remember, my mother, we weren’t allowed to go in elevators alone. You weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom alone, You weren’t allowed to do anything alone in New York City. And why we would go in to this glorious place to be scared shitless was always a mystery.

So, you know, I’m sitting there and I’m like, Okay, we’re not gonna be able to go to the bathroom. And you know, the Israeli boys are sitting next to me, saw Meet Elda Tie, and then on this side is Rachel, Roy, Rebecca, and Mary are Persian friends. And then my mother and my sister Jane. So, um, you know, we got Hebrew over here, we got Farsi over here, and all of a sudden, Mary and Roy and Rachel are like talking about the person in front of them and they’re like speaking in Farsi, and all of a sudden the man turns around and says in Farsi, you know, if you’re gonna talk about someone in front of them, you really should make sure they don’t know your language.

And what they were saying was, Ooh, look at the egghead in front of you. His head is so perfectly round and you know, here we come in this ragtag bunch and so we’re insulting the other patrons and everything. So the um, you know, the place that play the ballet starts and. . I, of course, more and more have to go to the bathroom.

Like I am grumbling. There’s grumbling and I’m like, Oh God, okay. I’m just gonna sit here. Just gonna sit here. It’s gonna be okay. The ballet starts. This ballet, by the way, it was not just any Saturday night, it was, um, George Bellen Sheen, who was the father of American Ballet. He had passed in April of 1983, and this was his big production, um, Bug Goku, which was a Japanese ballet, not just any Japanese ballet.

It was so perfect for a bunch of pre pubescent children to be seeing because it was an erotic sexual fantasy

So as if we weren’t really at a place already, um, the curtain rises and on either side of the stage are these big sumu wrestler men in diapers playing these flutes, which were kind of like didy dues, but they weren’t. They were just these big flutes. And the ballet is a very atonal ballet. Very uncomfortable sounding.

But what was even more uncomfortable is they started blowing the, the flutes and their cheeks would shake in their boobs, would shake in their bellies, shook in their legs, shook. And boy, we just ripped out with laughter. I mean, this was just too much for like pre pubescent or pu, you know, puberty full children, right?

The next thing that happens, Okay. It’s an erotic fantasy. I just want you to remember that with which, you know, the, um, costumes were minimal. And the next thing that happens is, is like, you know, the ballerina comes out and the first scene is about like the man and the woman meeting each other. And you know, yeah, we’ve seen female figures.

We’re used to that in America culture, no big deal. Um, but then the man comes out. And he has no shirt on and he has these really tight white tights and you can see his perfectly firm buttocks and his male package. And we just start like absolutely laughing hysterically, like ridiculously hysterical and people.

Poking my mother saying, Can you please control your children? Can you please control your children? This is not appropriate. And so we’re laughing so hard that a meet sitting next to me. Lets out a little toot. And I started laughing hysterical, and I slipped down in my seat and I let out the biggest fart ever.

This was like a base tube of fart. It was so loud. If you can imagine that when I let this fart out, every seat in Lincoln Center, all six rows, the balcony. Leaned forward like this sound lit went who? And everybody is looking and they’re like looking at me. And not only that, the conductor went like this

and I shrink into my seat and I am like, You did it in your sleep. You did it in your sleep, you did it in your sleep. And people are like, I think it was the little girl that bared . I think it was the little girl that bared. And I am just melting. I’m 13 years old, you just don’t even wanna be seen when you’re 13 and here.

2,500 people in Lincoln Center heard me. The conductor goes on. He continues with the ballet. Um, I’m not quite sure any ballet in Lincoln Center has ever been stopped by a fart before. So it’s intermission and. You know, kind of are walking out with all our bags, and I’m telling you, everyone is like, Yeah, it was definitely the little girl.

That little girl, that little girl fared. And we, we roll out the pathway of the auditorium and we are dying. And I’m dying. And we just collapse in the lobby. All of us with our bags laughing hysterically. And my sister Jane, who’s very mature, 16 years old, comes up to me and she says, If you’re gonna make it in high school,

she really said this, If you’re gonna make it in high school, you are gonna have to learn how to squeeze your buttocks tighter.

That’s what happens when you let it go at Lincoln Center

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel. Rachel, go Inhales from a gorgeous, lush state of New Jersey in a county where there were more cows than people. This is perhaps why it took her so long to learn the art of being cultured. She’s lived in Missoula for 25 years and loves playing in the mountains and rivers of Montana with her partner Jeremy and their pups, along with all of her dear friends in Missoula, she socializes for a living because she is a social worker.

Next week, tune in for Tell Us Something. Live from BlackRock City in 2022.

Jack Butler: The artist, the writers, the creatives, those were other people. That’s what other people did.

Sasquatch: My wife and I had spent 42 grand in cash on in vitro. That didn’t work.

Katie Condon: And

I wasn’t

just surprised.

I was

shocked.

Like there wasn’t enough room in

Kate Wilburn: my body for the blood.

It was amazing.

Tune in for those stories. On the next tell us something. Podcast.

Taylor Burbey: Hi

everyone. My name is Taylor Beby. I’m a tell us something volunteer. And I’m here to thank our sponsors. Thanks again to our title sponsor The Good Food Store. Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Missoula Electric Cooperative.

The Tell Us Something stewardship program gives away free tickets to people who. For whatever reason, not have otherwise been able to attend the event. Learn more about the Missoula Electric co-op and see if you qualify to join [email protected] Thanks to our story teller sponsor Clear Water Credit Union.

Because of them, we were able to pay the storytellers and Clear Water. Credit Union is where, Tell us something. Trust them with all of our financial needs. Learn more about Clear Water Credit [email protected] And thanks to our accessibility sponsor Garden mother, because of their generosity, we can provide ASL interpreters for our friends in the deaf c.

Learn more about Garden mother Garden mother.com. Thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula events dot. Sushi Hana the first best sushi bar in the last best place. Find out more and have a look at the [email protected] Missoula Broadcasting company, including the family of ESPN Radio, the Trail 1 0 3 0.3, Jack FM and Missoula.

Source for modern hits, U 1 0 4 0.5. Learn [email protected] True Food. Missoula Farm to table food delivery. Check them [email protected] Thanks to our Inkind sponsors, Float Missoula. Learn [email protected]

Gabriel Silverman: Thanks, Taylor. Hey, this is Gabe from Geco Designs. We’re proud to sponsor. Tell us something.

Learn [email protected]

Joyce Gibbs: Hi, it’s Joyce from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations. Learn more and see some examples of my [email protected]

Marc Moss: Thanks to Cash for Junkers who provided the music for the podcast. Find them at cash for junkers band.com.

To learn more about, tell us something, please visit tell us something.org.

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme “Letting Go”. Their stories were recorded live in-person in front of over 900 listeners on September 27, 2022 at The Dennison in Missoula, MT.

Transcript : Letting Go Part 1

Welcome to the Tell Something podcast. I’m Mark Moss. We are currently looking for storytellers for the next tell us something storytelling event. The theme is, it’s the Little Things. If you’d like to pitch your story for consideration, please call 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. You have three minutes to leave your pitch.

The pitch deadline is November 7th. I look forward to hearing from you this week on the podcast.

And then she stopped and looked at me and said, Would you like to see them?

I had vertigo. My skull was like a swarm of bees.

I’m being judged cuz my kid doesn’t wanna bike. I get

it. And we’re about to step into the light.

And our mom, she runs out of the house.

Four storytellers share their true personal story on the theme, letting. Their stories were recorded. Live in person in front of over 900 listeners on September 27th, 2022 at the Denison in Missoula, Montana. We wouldn’t have been able to produce this event without the help of our title sponsor The Good Food Store.

We are so grateful to the team at the Good Food Store for their support. Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Our first story comes to us from Susan Shan. A chance meeting with a stranger in a car wash waiting room leads to a consensual ogling of breasts, a feeling up and much needed information for Susan on her journey of deciding about breast reconstruction after surviving breast cancer.

Susan calls her story. Deconstruction. Thanks for listening.

In the spring of 2009, I am sitting in the waiting room of a full service car wash as I’m chomping on my complimentary popcorn. An attractive, well dressed woman walks in and sits down. We strike up a conversation and it’s not long before that conversation turns to. It is clear by looking at me that I am not well.

I have a head scarf, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, that ashy moon face. I’m in treatment for stage three breast cancer. I’ve had the removal of my right breast and all the lymph nodes under my arm. Um, I’ve had six months of chemo and I’m heading into radiation. And as we chat, the woman reveals that she is a breast cancer survivor who’s had a double mast.

And she asked me whether I’ve made a decision yet about what to do about the right breast, and I said I hadn’t. The doctors have been talking about reconstruction, but I really hadn’t made any solid decisions. She became very enthusiastic and animated. She said she had had reconstruction and she was thrilled with the results.

She talked some about the surgery, and then she stopped and looked at me. Would you like to

see them?

And I went, Um, oh, okay. So we go into the bathroom

at the car wash

where she pulls up her blouse and her bra and reveals these beautiful breast. They are round, it’s symmetrical. The skin has been pulled to look like nipples.

They, they have expert tattooing. They’re works of art. She shows me the scarring. She talks a little bit more about the reconstruction, and then she looked at me and she said, Would you like to touch them? And I. Oh, okay. So I touched them. They felt very normal. I guess. We wrapped up our conversation and got in our separate clean cars, drove away.

I never knew her name, so I said driving off. It like hits me like, Oh my God, I’m an educator and a mother of two. What if somebody walked in? And then my next thought, How incredibly generous. Um, I’d have doctors talking at me about what comes next, but I didn’t really have a sense about what that meant or what it could be.

And then it dawned on me, Oh, wait a minute. I could actually get bigger, better breast out of this deal. I never even considered that before. So I was excited. I called the surgeon, go in for a meeting, enthusiastically start talking about what I want and what I’d seen, and he’s nodding. Well we could do that.

Let’s talk about what it would mean for you. He said, first of all, you’ve had almost all your tissue removed from your right side. So any kind of reconstruction is gonna involve moving tissue from some other part of your body, um, and also an implant. And he said, We don’t really have enough in your stomach or hips.

So we’d be talking about moving tissue around from your back to build out the breast. And I’m nodding, And he said, and also, You would have to wait till after radiation, uh, and your skin heals. And then skin’s not very elastic. So there is these series of procedures to stretch the skin, and by this time my jaws dropped and I am feeling, no pun intended, deflated.

Um, he talks about, um, the fact that I would lose quite a bit of mobility in my right arm as well. So I leave that appointment and give it a deep thought. Yeah, talk it over with my. Husband, my friends, my family, and come to the decision not to have, um, the reconstructive surgery. So that left option two, which is a prosthetic breast.

So I go to the store in the cancer center, which kind of has the ambiance of a upscale lingerie shop, and the woman is very, she’s lovely, and she takes home my measurements and brings out the prosthetic breast, which I start to refer to as my fae breast and the accompanying. Now this bra is industrial strength.

It’s big, big, wide strap, sturdy, and all of that serves a purpose, right? It keeps the faux breasts firmly place. So I take all that stuff home and I try it on with my clothes, and I’m immediately frustrated because some part of that bra is hanging out with no matter what I put on. So I sit there and I think about it.

I think, You know what? I’m a small breasted woman. This is what I’m gonna. I’m gonna just get my old bra and I’m gonna use that. I’ll just pop the faux breast in, pull the little strap type. It’s gonna be great. Fast forward member of months later. I’m a principal at an elementary school and it’s pajama day.

I am in my tasteful two piece red flannel pajamas. It’s that Friday before the winter break. The building’s buzz with parents and parties, and I’m flitting around the classroom. and I walked by the fifth grade hallway and as I look in a group of kids getting ready to start a game of Twister.

So , Miss Sheer, Miss

Sheer.

Will you come play Twister with? Yeah, I’m game. Let’s do it. So we have a rollicking game of Twister. It’s great. Leave the classroom, finish out the day. Um, buses pull away and I see the fifth grade teacher, she’s a first year teacher, usually pretty direct and enthusiastic in her communication approaching me, and she could not look me in the eye.

And she’s hemming and she’s hawing, and she says, Um, Ms. Shinker, um, I think I have something that belongs to you. . She reaches into her coat pocket, pulls out my faux breast, which apparently had plopped on the twister mat somewhere between left hand red and right foot green or whatever. Luckily no kids were harmed in any of this

Um, I was mort. I was mortified, but I wasn’t totally surprised cuz that same food breast had popped outta my bathing suit in a hot tub in Santa Fe on a romantic getaway with my husband. It just sort of percolated on top. . He grabbed it quickly before anyone could see, so I, I decided that the, this was the, uh, the stars were aligning and I just had to be a big girl and wear the big bra and get on.

And I did that for many, many years. Um, and then in 2009, teen, we retired here to Missoula and quickly settled into the relaxed outdoor lifestyle and all that good stuff. And I felt over time I was rarely using the bra or the breast. Um, most of the time I was either in a sports bra or pajamas and. during, during 2020 who wore a bra ever.

Anyway, so just kind of got out of the habit and, um, and not long ago, I, I was cleaning out my closet and I tossed them. And it wasn’t some like big gesture or big, I don’t know, symbolic move. It was just a logical step in a process. And when I think about that process of going from magical thinking of bigger, better breast to embracing my one breast fitness, um, certainly having, um, a loving spouse and family, um, it’s certainly a sense of humor has been pretty critical.

But what I’ve had most of all is time. I’ve had a good long. Almost 14 years. And,

but as a long term survivor, I am painfully aware that not everybody gets this time and so does enough to stand here as a one breasted woman.

Thanks Susan. Susan Schenker is originally from Houston and as a retired educator. She and her husband Mark have three adult children, one grandson, and one very spoiled puppy now living happily ever after. In Miss. Susan enjoys hiking, trail running yoga, and surprisingly long winter evenings. Our next storyteller is Margie Kates.

Margie, in her own words, it tells us that her story is about that transition between burning with ambition and discovering that the thing you needed has always been inside you. No flames required. Maybe some tears. Margie calls her story. The body keeps the score, and boy is she pissed. Thanks for listening.

I was living in New Orleans, a place where music is a living, breathing thing. The city is wild and alive. There are little s of despair around every corner. Trumpet sound blooms in the night. My friends and I were wild and broken and beautiful, and we didn’t care. We rolled ourselves in glitter. Went out dancing in the streets, hung from balconies and made art, and we all knew how to hustle.

The poor bastards who came to our fair city, uh, we adorned ourselves in feathers and veils. But after five years I was struggling. I kept fainting and no one knew why. Uh, I had vertigo. My skull was like a swarm of bees. Pain would come hot in the middle of the night. I had muscle cramps and I couldn’t eat, so I went to doctors.

I waited months to see specialists of brain and heart and pain, and no one knew what was wrong with me, so I came home. To Missoula, Montana in the winter of 2020 to live with my parents, and see doctors. Um, I was on this terrible diet. I was like, Well, I couldn’t have caffeine or carbs or dairy. It was horrible.

I was cat cowing myself in and out of pain. Every morning I was seeing doctors, I was seeing therapists. I had no chance, like I just had to heal. Um, I was diagnosed with ptsd d.

Post Traumatic stress Disorder. Um, the body keeps the score and boy is she pissed. Oh yeah. Some of you read the book. Cool. . Um, and I was also diagnosed with autism. I know you’re confused. I’m a girl. I can talk. I’m not holding a Rubik’s cube. It’s backstage. we’re funny too. Uh, but the thing about trauma is that it’s defined as anything that’s too much, too fast or too little in too much time, essentially.

And that kind of describes my experience at Good Food Store at any given time, 6:00 PM

uh, but really this thing with trauma, my body. Had spent its whole life finding ways to numb and dissociate and, and the, the fainting was my body screaming at me. Um, and if you don’t know what dissociation means, it means, it’s like when you’re in a car with someone who talks too much and you like, kind of float out of your body so you don’t have to be there anymore.

Yeah. And uh, and that’s dissociation. See, we’ve all done. It’s very healthy until you do it for 12 years,

Um, my trauma happened to me in Missoula, Montana in my college dorm. It happened in recording studios over and over again, and it happened to me in New Orleans in my house. This story is not about those men. This is my story.

A chronic pain doctor told me my nervous system was turned up too high, that my body was sending ambulances and fire trucks to places that were no longer on fire. He said, Until you learn how to feel safe in your body, you will always be in pain. And I said, Safe. I’m a woman. Don’t tell me to feel safe.

But that’s called being triggered. And uh, yeah, it felt like a death sentence. When I was in New Orleans, I was gigging constantly. I was always hustling, I was always going. And this thing happens to musicians. You could call it depression, but it’s more of like an emptiness where you only feel whole when you’re on stage and you only feel.

Like a person when the audience is reflecting something back at you. And so the audience applauds and you’re overflowing. I mean, you kind of feel like a phony cuz you don’t believe in love, but you keep singing about it. Um, . Um, but you’re overflowing. And then you come home to your cat shit apartment, uh, with stale cigarette smoke in your hair, and there’s cocaine on the table that your roommate left out again.

and you feel emptier than ever before. But I kept hustling. I kept gigging. I kept trying, thinking that the next gig, the next song would take away that feeling. I was home, stuck in my body with no gigs, a broken body, and nothing left to give. So I waited. In the darkness. I was still, I cried, I slept. I talked to my mom and I thought, It doesn’t matter if I ever perform again.

It doesn’t matter if I ever sing again. I let go and something amazing happened. Music came back to me. Like, it started with poems at first, like ones I had to write and ones I had to read. And then I started listening to gospel music and I, uh, Jesus is great. He’s fine. Um, he’s a very nice man, , but I something about these songs, they’re about being helpless and humble and surrendering, so I surrendered.

And I found myself singing while doing the dishes and harmonizing while getting up in the morning, and I realized I wanted to die, but my voice didn’t. I. And so I waited and I let go more in that darkness. Little shoots of green came up and the more I let go. I rebuilt my relationship with my body through EMDR therapy and polyvagal therapy, and I found a space inside myself that was pure and open and loving.

And I had to let go of expectations of what someone who doesn’t have autism, how they live. I let go of dreams that had kept me afloat for years, and the fainting stopped. The muscle spasms abated, my stomach moved. It was a miracle. Okay, . It really felt like a miracle. And, uh, but more than that, I found a place where my voice could be in my body again, and my body was safe, my body was my home.

And now whenever I sing, it comes from that sacred space, whether it’s on a big stage with a band or just for my dog in the backyard. And I want you to know that if you have been hurt, you are not broken. They didn’t destroy you. It’s all still inside of you. You just have to open the door and feel all the grief and rage and terror because it is terrifying to be embodied, but it’s the key to community.

It’s the key to vulnerability, and it’s the key to. Joy and joy is our birthright. Many is the time I’ve been mistaken and many times confused. Yes. Enough often feel for and soon

more. Right. From weary to my bones, still one can expect to be Brian and Bon vivant so far away from home, so far away from home, and I don’t know a soul that’s not been battered. Don’t have a friend who feels at ease. I don’t know, a dream that’s not been shattered.

Can’t.

Still, tomorrow’s gonna be another working day and I’m trying to get some rest. I’m just trying to get some

rest.

Thanks, Margie. Missoula, born and raised. Margie Kates is a singer writer, and come. She has appeared on stages Oliver Missoula, as well as in New Orleans where she lived and worked for five years. You can find her riding her bike around town practicing Whitney Houston riffs. For links to all of Margie’s social media channels, visit tell us something.org.

In our next story, Michael Le Point, let’s go of his daughter’s bike when he’s teaching her to ride. He figures out that this is a metaphor for allowing his daughter Penny to grow up and become her own individual person. He, in turn, begins letting go of his ego and embracing his daughter’s humanity in a new light with a story that he calls.

I got this. Dad. Thanks for listening,

buddy. You got it.

Whew. All right. Um, if you could have been at, uh, camp T Y M C a summer camp in 1996, boy, you would’ve been blown away cuz I was the youngest camp counselor ever given his own cabin. I’m a big deal and I was pretty good at it. Turns out I had a thing for communicating with younger people and wrangling and getting people moving the right direction and I, I took those skills and in high school, um, I taught little kids how to swim.

You know, uh, blow bubbles in the pool. Kick talk to the fish. Listen to the fish, get the parents involved. And I took those skills. And when I moved to New York City, uh, I taught, uh, celebrity kids athletics. It was a weird gig. Made a lot of money doing it, and, uh, never met the parents. Um, a lot of really badass nannies doing a kick ass job raising these kids.

But that was a non-disciplinary program. You weren’t allowed to, to, to, certainly you weren’t allowed to yell, but you weren’t allowed. There were no timeouts. There was the word no. What was not allowed with this audience. So when I finally made my way to Missoula, I swore that’s it. I am not working with children anymore.

And after three months of unemployment, I was like, Look it. That actually sounds pretty good. . So I got a job working at this little school here called Spirit at. Uh, it’s incredible. It’s an incredible place and, and, uh, my daughter just graduated from there, Penn. She’s in kindergarten now, but my son Teddy, he now goes to spirit at play.

And, uh, moving here and, and getting that job, I felt like I had this thing, like I would, I would help kids figure out, How to exist in the world, how to engage in the world in a way that was meaningful and made the place, made the world a better place. And uh, and I, I know some of those kids now, I manage a restaurant.

I’ve hired seven of them and I’m like, I know you when you were five and you pick up trash . So, but the thing about all these gigs is at the end of the day, they weren’t my. I just send them along and, you know, it’s, um, it’s a reflection of some other parent. It’s not me. I do the best that I can, but whoever they turn out to be, however they are in the world, it’s not me, it’s them and it’s their parents.

and now I have my own kids and my daughter, Penny, she decides what she can and can’t do. And, and I want to be there saying, No, you, you can’t touch that. It’s hot and I don’t wanna see you get burned. And so don’t do it. And trust me, I’ve burned myself and, and she says, um, I, she knows how to ride a bike. I already know how to ride a bike.

And I’m like, You do not know how to ride a bike, kid. But we sign up for this, uh, class, the, uh, DERAILERS program, and we show up the little strider bike and she throws a fit. And, and I love biking, so I’m like, I’m not, I’m not gonna push her into this thing that she doesn’t like. So I pick her up and we get outta there.

You don’t wanna bike? Let’s not bike today. I’ll just try it again next week. But throwing that fit works. So next week it’s an even bigger. And I’m like, Yeah, let’s not do this again. And I, I’m carrying her out and I see this other parent who I, I hope’s not here tonight. Cause I don’t mean to, but it, it mattered to me.

This other parent, he goes, Oh, looks like Penny’s got two,

Michael’s got zero

Like it

could, I’m being judged cuz my kid doesn’t wanna bike. I get it. So winter comes along and uh, and we’re gonna go to discovery ski area. The only thing I love more than biking is skiing that. Where I’m at my most free. I love skiing. And boy, if my kids could ski, that would be incredible. And so

Penny and I were biking down, we’re biking, we’re driving down to discovery, and she’s in the back going, I already know how to ski. Like kid, you don’t. You don’t know how to ski and it’s gonna be rough cuz we’ve been through this. And lo and behold, we get to the parking lot and that same family from Derailers, they also go to Discovery

And so we get up to the thing, we put her in her boots and um, um, a good friend of mine told me, just keep plugging your kid with gummies all day long. So just feeding her. And we get up to the top, well not the top, we get up to the bunny hill and she can actually do it. She stands up, she points her toes, she can ski.

She can’t stop, but she can go and like, like pizza. And I, uh, I could cry thinking of it now. Cause we get back on the chairlift. I’m like so proud. And did all those other parents see what my kid just did? I’m like holding her like, You’re right, you can do it. But also in the back of my mind, I’m like, wait, now she thinks that she can just do stuff.

Like, I didn’t need that as a, like a barometer for her abilities. So skiing’s a success. We come back to Missoula. She still doesn’t bike. She’s at this wonderful preschool and I get a video from one of her teachers, and it’s her, uh, riding another kid’s bike at school. It’s Eleanor’s bike. Penny wanted me to make sure that I tell everybody she rode Eleanor’s bike with no training wheels, no one holding her.

I wasn’t there. And uh, and I got to see this video and I’m like, Maybe she does. She can do it. And I bring her bike to school that. Uh, do you want a bike home? I was like, Yeah. So put her helmet on and I got this little ski backpack that has a harness on it so I can hold her upright and we’re, we’re coming down towards our house and, uh, she’s got it.

Um, and as she’s going, I, I just like, I let go of her and she maybe gets like 15 feet in front of me and she yells, Let go, Dad. I was like, I already have kid and she crashes cuz she’s a five year old who doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Ugh. But in that moment, I was like, I, I’m not a reflection of this kid.

She is her own person. I don’t, it’s not a house plant, you know, She lives in this house with me too. And she’s gonna tell me what she can do, and she’s gonna learn that the stove is hot. You know, I gotta make sure she keeps her eyes or do my best,

but

I, I don’t get to decide what she’s capable of. I gotta let go. I gotta let her be her own person, and I wanna see what person she becomes. She can tell me, you, you tell me what you can do and who you are. That’s, that’s

what I got.

Thanks Michael. Michael La. Point is a regular guy trying to make it in an increasingly complicated world. He finds himself at 40 with dogs, kids, a wife and a mortgage. Not exactly sure how he arrived. Or where he’s going next. He believes that wherever you go, whatever you do, whenever you leave, leave it better than you found it.

Rounding out this episode of the Tele Something podcast is Hazel Wright. Along with her brother Hazel builds an awesome sledding jump and proceeds to unintentionally flip a 180 after landing, leading to a confused recovery. Hazel calls her story sledding catastrophe. Thanks for listening.

I opened my eyes and I’m staring at this lilac colored ceiling of my bedroom, and I’m just thinking, should I get up? Should I just lay here? Should I pretend I’m. So I can get 20 seconds more of valuable rest. And I just lay there. And then my mom barges in and she’s like, Hazel, you need to get up now. I’m sorry.

And she comes and she pokes my head and she goes, Hazel, I’m sorry. And then she goes, But it’s a snow day. And for snow days, that was. Amazing because we got to stay home and play in the snow and just have fun and we didn’t have to make up schoolwork. So I jump out of bed with my ducky pajamas on and get a bowl of cereal and a MunchOn cereal, and.

My younger brother, Xander, he comes down the hallway and he goes, Hazel, we should go to the sledding hill. And we have a sledding hill that’s maybe six blocks from our house. It’s not the biggest sledding hill, but to us it was the world. So I’m like, Yeah, I’m in. We get our, we start getting our snow stuff on.

I’m getting all my purple snow pans and Xanders just putting on whatever he thinks is necessary.

It’s not much.

And we are standing in our garage waiting for the door to open with our little metal saucers by our sides, and we’re about to step into the light. And our mom, she runs out of the house and she goes, Guys, guys, you forgot your helmets. And she plops my white little ski helmet on my head in Xander’s green ski helmet on his, And then she’s like, Okay, you’re, you’re good to.

And so we start walking to the sledding hill. We’re just trudging through the new snow. It’s like, and our mom, she’s somewhere behind us. And then sledding hill, it’s at the end of a cul-de-sac, and this cul-de-sac is, There’s a couple houses inside of it. There’s usually cars parked around them, but all the cars they move.

They don’t wanna have kids sliding and hitting the cars. So we’re hiking up this hill and we get to the midway point and the midway point is leveled off a little more, and we start, Xander turns to me and he goes, Hazel, it’s the day we’re gonna build that sledding jump, and. . He grabs a saucer full of snow and he dumps it at my feed and he goes, Hazel, start building

And I’m like, Okay. And I start making this cheese wedge of a jump facing the cul-de-sac. That’s about to my eight year old height and knees. And we’re almost done with this jump. Just one more salsa full of snow and it’s done. And we turn around and start walking up the hill and I turn around and look at this beautiful jump and this kid can’t be more than three years old, comes and sits on it.

That beautiful jump that we just spent a good five minutes making

it’s gone. And so we walked back our three steps down to where the jump used to be Quick. Rest in peace. And then we start to build another jump, and this one is bigger and better. It’s about to my eight year old tall waist, and we’re finishing up this jump. We’ve fenced off the area with some snow and our saucers and Xander, he turns to me and he goes, Hazel, we’re ready.

And so he hikes to the top of the hill. And he yells Geronimo and he jumps onto his knees and rockets down the hill and he hits the jump and he flies and he is soaring. And then he hits the snow and he looks back at me and tumbles off full on face plant. And he turns back and he looks at me double thumbs up.

Hazel, I’m okay. And I’m like, Okay, working up the courage. I gotta, I’m okay. I can do this. And I jump on my little red saucer butt down and zoom down the hill and I hit the jump and I’m flying. And it’s so amazing for all the people that jump. S like skis or bikes, it is just amazing. And then I hit the snow and I’m okay.

But so I start to turn and so now I’m facing the jump and I’m fine though, but I’m fine. Xander’s somewhere off to my now left and I’m just thinking that was pretty fun. I’ll do it again. But then just clonk and it all goes black and I open my eyes, or I think they’re open, blink a couple times and I’m like, Okay, I don’t know what happened, but I think I’m okay.

And I hear my mom and she goes, Hazel, Hazel, Hazel, Hazel. Are you okay? Are you alive? Are you not decapitated? And I’m like mumbling a little bit and I kind of try to pull my way, the direction I came from. And then I see it, the light. The first thought I have is, um, did I die? Is this heaven? But now it can’t be because it smells awful.

And I crawl into the light and I stand up and I just brush myself off. And I look to my mom and she grabs my cheek and she’s expect inspecting me. And she goes, Hey, Zza, are you okay? Are you okay? And I’m like, Yeah, mom, I’m okay. And she. She’s like, Okay, okay. Heart attack of the day, got that over with. And she’s like, Okay, I think we should go now.

It’s okay. And I turned to her and I go, But I don’t, I don’t wanna go. That was amazing. I wanna do it again. And she turns to me and she goes, Hazel, you just got taco folded in half under the side of a pickup truck. And I turn around and sure enough this big gray diesel pickup truck is just chilling there.

Like it totally didn’t just get in the way of this beautiful moment. That was very rude.

And so I’m like, fine. Eight year old attitude and we start trudging back home. Xander’s, he’s throwing a fit because he didn’t do anything wrong. He wants to keep sledding and we’re walking home, dragging my sauce. Or I’m just arms, one arm crossed. My mom goes, Okay. Um, that was a bit too close. I don’t think we’re gonna go back.

Hazel. Um, I, I look at her dead in the eyes with sadness and anger and I’m like, Why? Why’d you have to do this to me? I thought this was, this was the best idea ever and you just had to ruin it. How could. . And so we walk home, I open the door, greet my dogs, and start taking off all my gear, like purple snow pants, blue jacket, white helmet.

And I look at the back of this white helmet that I’ve had since I started skiing. And on the back of it, there is a giant deep gash. Where I split under the truck where my brains would have spilled out if I didn’t listen to my mother. So thank you, Mom. I’m alive today now.

Thanks Hazel. Hazel is a 12 year old who lives in Missoula. She has a younger brother and a. She enjoys mountain biking, skateboarding, and playing ice hockey. She’s attending Washington Middle School as a seventh grader. In her free time, she has curled up with a good book or watching Grey’s Anatomy with her mom.

Pretty great stories, right? I’ll bet you have a story to share. I’ll bet you do, and I’ll bet that you have a story to share on the theme. It’s the little things. The next tell us something. Live event is scheduled for December 15th at the Wilma in Missoula. Why not participate? Pitch your story on the theme.

It’s the little things by calling 4 0 6 2 0 3 4 6 8 3. The pitch deadline is November 7th. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’ll call you as soon as I get your pitch.

Hi

everyone. My name is Taylor Beby. I’m a Tellis Something volunteer, and I’m here to thank our sponsors. Thanks again to our title sponsor, The Good Food Store.

Learn more about the Good Food [email protected] Thank you to our stewardship sponsor, Missoula Electric Cooperative. The Tell Us Something stewardship program gives away free tickets to people who may. For whatever reason, not have otherwise been able to attend the event. Learn more about the Missoula Electric co-op and see if you qualify to join [email protected]

Thanks to our storyteller sponsor, Clearwater Credit Union. Because of them, we were able to pay the storytellers. And Clearwater Credit Union is where, Tell us something. Trust them with all of our financial needs. Learn more about Clearwater Credit [email protected] And thanks to our accessibility sponsor Garden mother, because of their generosity, we can provide ASL interpreters for our friends and the deaf community.

Learn more about Garden mother Garden mother.com. Thanks to our media sponsors, Missoula events.net Sushi Hana the first best sushi bar in the last best place. Find out more and have a look at the [email protected] Missoula Broadcasting company, including the family of ESPN Radio, the Trail, 1 0 3 0.3, Jack FM and Missoula source for modern.

You 1 0 4 0.5. Learn [email protected] True food, Missoula Farm to table food delivery. Check them [email protected] Thanks to our Inkind sponsors, Float Missoula. Learn [email protected]

Thanks,

Taylor. Hi, it’s Joyce

from Joyce of Tile. If you need tile work done, give me a shout. I specialize in custom tile installations.

Learn more and see some examples of my [email protected]

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Next week, join us for the concluding stories from the Letting Go Live storytelling.

You

would be also

able to see, I think, how much I like the quality of things.

It’s small

and simple, this house, but everything is well done.

She goes, Can we do it again? I was like, Yeah.

We meet Matthew, our mortician, and Matthew looks like, or reminds me of Lurch from the Adams family.

Bow

ties and tuxedos

and crushed velvet dresses

and.

We are in jeans and t-shirts.

Tune in for those stories.

On the next tell us something. Podcast. Thanks to Cash. For Junkers who provided the music for the podcast, find them at cash for junkers band.com. To learn more about, tell us something, please visit, tell us something.org

Joseph Grady talks about Native spaces, acting, art and storytelling.

Transcript : Meet the Board - Joseph Grady

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Marc Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Marc Moss: Get your [email protected] We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected] The next, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

Marc Moss: You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra Ty Brownley interviewed the Tellum board for her podcast. Impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what [00:01:00] you may already accept.

Marc Moss: This week. Sierra sits down with tell us something board share Joseph Grady. Let’s listen.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Welcome back to impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley, where I chat with a new guest each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I want to thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I’m joined by Joseph Grady, current academic advisor at the university of Montana in Missoula, Montana.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: And tell us something board member Joseph. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Joseph Grady: oh, yeah. It’s absolutely my pleasure.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Thank you. I think we should just hop right in and if you’d be willing to share your impactful experience, I’d love to hear.

Joseph Grady: Yeah, absolutely. Um, again, thank you [00:02:00] for inviting me and, um, been thinking about this, um, impactful experience and, um, there’s so much in life to choose from.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. Of this kind of question. So it really was racking my brain about like, you know, what’s important enough or what’s cool enough, or what have you. And I decided to just kind of let it flow if, if you will. Mm-hmm um, the, what, the thing that, uh, has come to mind, I think most recently is for me as, um, not just an academic, but as a creative.

Joseph Grady: An artist, um, creative, an actor mm-hmm writer, um, painter, um, outside of the workplace. Uh, there’s a lot that I think goes on with, um, my advising position where there’s lots of amazing stories with students and so forth, but I’m not sure entirely if that’s appropriate to tell in this space. Um, but that said, I honed in.

Joseph Grady: Uh, a story with, [00:03:00] um, a recent acting opportunity that I had. Um, and I, you know, I applied for a lot of, uh, small roles, uh, a lot of walk on stuff here in Montana, and it gives me a lot of experience to, uh, do film acting, um, in a way, and kind of in a way that’s very fulfilling, but also, um, helps me, you know, with the creative expression.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm . Things. Um, and it’s very informative and I learned quite a lot from the process and so forth, but that’s it. Um, essentially I had applied recently for an acting gig, um, for, that was calling for a native American role mm-hmm um, and. Reached out for it and got a, a, a call back if you will. Um, from the casting director who reached out to me and, um, indicated at that time that it was, it was actually for local, they were making a local call for [00:04:00] actors and the gig was in Los Angeles, California mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: And, um, I was like, oh, well, I’m in Missoula, Montana kind of negates that one. Yeah. And then had just a, sort of a brief follow up and sort of conversation. And, um, you know, she expressed some, um, like, oh, you know, darn it because you’d be perfect for the role kind of a thing. And. Um, you know, I was apologetic that I didn’t really notice that it was in LA.

Joseph Grady: I hope I didn’t waste your time kind of a thing, you know, in that setting it’s I really, really wanna make sure that I’m, you know, keeping it on the professional level. And, um, that point was just like, okay, so, you know, no big deal, but then about two weeks later, um, got a call back from the same casting director, um, who reached out.

Joseph Grady: Um, asked me if I wanted the gig, um, which was to fly down to Los Angeles and, and do about three days of shooting mm-hmm in [00:05:00] various locations. And, um, that kind of, sort of tip things off. And I was like, uh, much was running through my head. You know, there’s a lot of planning that had to happen. It was a very sort of short turnaround time between actually getting the gig and getting to LA I think it was about a week and I.

Joseph Grady: uh, turnaround. And so, you know, just sort of that preparation and then what is even the job, right? Yeah. But then that was a lot of excitement and it turned out to be like a really amazing experience. And I, you know, I learned a lot and had a lot of fun and so forth and, um, it, um, you know, added of course to my resume and my credentials and, um, expanded my opportunities, at least in terms of like getting into unions and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Uh, but I think the, the actual experience of getting on set and working with other native American actors in those kinds of professional spaces was really sort of the, the real hook for me. Mm-hmm but, uh, overall that’s kind of [00:06:00] the, the gist of what was happening. Um, and it was, it’s probably one of the more significant sort of things to happen in, in the last year.

Joseph Grady: Um, and so that was, um, That was really cool. I really, really had a, a really good time with that one.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. I know you had mentioned this to me, um, around when it was happening or a little before. And so I think that’s very exciting and I’m glad that, um, it seems things went well and you really enjoyed your time.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: So, what about this experience, um, made you choose it kind of getting at, how has it either changed you or impacted you since?

Joseph Grady: Hmm. Um, it’s. I working here in Montana as an actor, just speaking from the acting, um, space alone. Yeah. Um, there’s, I’ve had a, I think a real opportunity in the last, probably [00:07:00] five to 10 years where I’ve this.

Joseph Grady: Um, I guess you wanna say, I don’t wanna say movement necessarily, but a shift is happening in the television to film. Okay. Where, um, the call for native American actors is, um, becoming more. Of a qualified type position. Um, and it’s one that is for me as an actor created all of this access, right? While at the same time, eliminating a whole bunch of competition for roles that was previously, you know, sharing the same space.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. You had a lot of, um, what, what you’ll hear calls for and sort of acting resumes and on acting calls, looking for ethnic ambiguity, right? Mm-hmm so that, you know, if you are classified as ethnically, uh, [00:08:00] ambiguous, you can fulfill many. Right as, um, Latinx, um, middle Eastern, um, you know, sort of Arabic identities to, um, to any of the Pacific is or Asian.

Joseph Grady: Classifications, if you will. And historically, I think particularly, um, in film and TV, back in the old days, it was like if you had black hair and any sort of a complexion, they would slap a little makeup on you and you were it, that was, you know, you were this role. Um, and so the, you know, the scope for ethnically ambiguous was even wider.

Joseph Grady: I think back then, mm-hmm and nowadays it’s a lot more. Arrow, um, to even like more recently where you have calls for specific ethnic identities to, you know, fulfill roles. And, um, that’s quite a, a, a big shift in, in an industry that is so fast paced. And [00:09:00] so like, concerned with anything in production other than getting.

Joseph Grady: Cultural humility pieces, um, on point or correct all the time. Um, and so that for me, I think was kind of the big takeaway more recently is the work that I’ve been doing as an actor has allowed me to work with entities, people, and productions, where that. Um, attention to cultural authenticity has been really out front.

Joseph Grady: Um, and so as an indigenous actor, that’s refreshing, uh, because what it says is these roles are for you mm-hmm and for like, for you, not just alone, but, um, people who also identify as, as indigenous and so forth or come from native communities. Yeah. And so it creates opportunity, um, as well. Allow the stories to be more authentic, I think, um, from where they’re coming from, [00:10:00] um, with that with people sort of thinking about that stuff automatically, what you get in those spaces are people who actually start to kind of ask questions and really express.

Joseph Grady: Their humility. Um, there are certainly incidents of that that were on this last job, as well as like other like projects that I’ve worked on. I think, um, probably the first, well, one of the first like major acting gigs that I ever got was winner in the blood and. Um, the directors actually, we had a, a night where we went out and had Oros at Scotty’s table and we sat around with, uh, a whole bunch of our in native actors from the film mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: Um, and we were able to have a conversation of really sort of candid conversation with the directors who were like we’re too white dudes. And. We don’t know the first thing about being native American or what that’s like and so forth. So you need to help us please help us understand, uh, what those are like so that we can like really sort of give this very accurate [00:11:00] portrayal and invited us to give feedback and sort of, um, you know, scan the, the script and so forth.

Joseph Grady: And Hey, this is kind of how we would say it kind of a thing. Um, and that information. Like onboarded with that process in a way that was very respectful and mindful. Um, and I, I wanna say very sort of forward thinking if you will. Um, where I was very impressed at that moment with the directors was like, well, I’m, I’m in with the right gig.

Joseph Grady: I mean, this is like I had a feeling I would walk in here and be like, you know, here’s how you be native American, Mr. Um, and, uh, you know, I kind of roll the eyes and you, you jump into the role and do the gig. As an actor, that’s kind of what it is really. I mean, I’m an instrument. I mean, actors, theater people, we are sort of the paint on the canvas.

Joseph Grady: And so it really is, you know, we it’s, we’re trained to follow directing, um, and that’s not always like fulfilling if you will. Yeah. Um, in, in those kinds of ways, [00:12:00] Especially when it comes to cultural and racial identity. Um, and so I’ve seen a big shift in, in the more recent years where you have more of that presence of mind on set and in the conversation.

Joseph Grady: And even in the invite where those people will be very respectful out front acknowledging culture and identity and their own humility in that space where they’re actually looking to you to be the expert on that experience. While also sort of like infusing this whole dialogue and role into the process.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm is like kind of some new stuff. I mean, at least for me, it is, um, and this experience in Los Angeles was, was very much the same.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. That’s exciting and great to hear. So would you say you do believe you’ve been experiencing, or you do think there are changes in the industry?

Joseph Grady: Yeah. I mean the, the, the little that I experience that I do have with film, um, or television has just.

Joseph Grady: [00:13:00] Historically been either as an observer or as a learner in the classroom space, um, you know, learning about critique and, and understanding stories. Um, and you know, there were there, I think various examples along the way. I don’t really want to draw attention to too much. Yeah. But I think prior to, to my experience, what you would get is kind of what I would describe, uh, the actor would show up, they would dress you up.

Joseph Grady: Here’s how you play Indian and then sort of onto the film. And then you do your best to sort of infuse your own personal characteristic and into the, into the storyline and, and into the setting. Um, but there’s not a lot of like, um, collaboration between director and the creative production and the actor themselves, as the, say the indigenous person mm-hmm

Joseph Grady: And that goes all the way back to the, um, you know, to. The the Oscar incident with, um, I’m just forgetting Marlon Brando, um, and the young, [00:14:00] uh, native woman who accepted the award for him, you know, from that point, you know, you, even prior to that, you had indigenous people like calling for greater respect in these spaces.

Joseph Grady: And, you know, here it is, um, you know, in, into the 2000 and twenties, um, and into the two thousands, and you’re starting to kind of get this recognition and. I think there was a hesitancy along the way to mm-hmm for that, because maybe people just didn’t know how to communicate that. I, I don’t want to like sound like I understand where that was coming from necessarily where the hesitancy was coming from.

Joseph Grady: Um, but in terms of like the outcomes, um, you know, with television shows like. Reservation dogs and, and some of the others that are, are now out on, um, various outlets, like FX and so forth. Um, you, what you have is our native American voices and creativity actually driving the ship mm-hmm and it turns out that it’s it’s it’s really.

Joseph Grady: Funny. There’s a [00:15:00] lot of crossover. Uh, it communicates, well, no matter which culture you’re coming from, it’s just an indigenous perspective. Um, and that’s really refreshing. And I think that that for when we start talking about storytelling and, and being part of the story, Yeah, we as indigenous people tend to thrive because, um, that’s, and not just indigenous people, but many, many stories, but indigenous people as continent, um, storytelling has been deeply infused into who we are as people mm-hmm, our process, how we learn together, the way we built community, uh, et cetera, was, was very much like stories under the stars.

Joseph Grady: And so that’s, that’s how we identify largely. And so when we get, you know, opportunities to be in these creative spaces, we thrive as storytellers. And so I think that that’s, for me watching that happen throughout my lifetime, I mean, I’m 51 years old and. When reservation dogs [00:16:00] dropped the first episode dropped, I was able to watch it.

Joseph Grady: I remember thinking, man, I’ve been waiting like 50 years for this TV show. Um, you know, sort of speak my, speak, my language, and represent, Hey, that’s me on the screen. And identifying in those kinds of ways where we’re not just backdrop characters, we are the foreground and we are the interest of the narrative.

Joseph Grady: Um, and. The kind of moving forward more recently having that access point is I think in part even largely as to why I’ve had any kind of success as an actor, uh, because most of the roles that I step into are have a, you know, a call for a native American, um, of my bearing mm-hmm. Um, it’s not like, um, you know, some person who’s not native American who slaps on a wig and a little bit of sort of brown makeup can then step in there and be like, oh, you know, [00:17:00] it’s like, did you know you called for a native American, uh, to walk through the door and, you know, show up at the audition.

Joseph Grady: And so, um, it, and I think along with that, what I am seeing are when I do go to these auditions, at least when they were held in person. Yeah, you would see a lot of like young, sexy native people, like hanging out, you know, good looking like mm-hmm of all walks and looks, right. Native people showing up to say, Hey, I’m gonna take a swing at this thing, uh, and try this acting gig.

Joseph Grady: And you know, maybe they did a little high school or whatever, you know, sort of goofed around, you know, nowadays you it’s, most of it’s like on the social media, you can film little, um, skits and so forth. do those, uh, sort of have an audience without like having the actual audience and so forth. Yeah, yeah.

Joseph Grady: That I’d be, I think that’s really cool. And, um, the, you know, I think there’s more to say about LA, um, in more in greater [00:18:00] detail, but I mean, in terms of the overall experience for me, the, you know, the, the access point for other indigenous actors, not just myself is probably, I think a huge turnaround mm-hmm

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. So you’ve talked about kind of being a little bit in the industry and acting a fair amount. And I was curious to kind of see how that ties into, um, you also like working at the university and if this has changed, maybe would you hope to pursue, or do you enjoy having that balance? Because it does seem like you are doing, like you said, many different.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Artistic ventures as well. Yeah.

Joseph Grady: Yeah. I think that’s a great question. And I, I, that was actually one that I was really sort of reflecting on as I was doing this because, um, it is, it is a concern for me, you know, being, you know, in an academic professional setting, um, you know, fulfilling a role within that space.[00:19:00]

Joseph Grady: Um, and having a. You know, sort of set objective and, and goal for, for that position. Um, and then going out and doing like professional acting along with it, how is that going to be accepted? Is it going to be accepted? Is it going to be one of those things where it’s, you know, um, someone doesn’t like the idea of that maybe.

Joseph Grady: And mm-hmm um, so trying to like, just be mindful about those factors. Um, and fortunately the, um, I think the, the team that I work with and, um, and you know, my supervisor who’s absolutely amazing has been nothing but support. In that space. Yeah. And so I think that I’m really sort of kicking this around and like, you know, oh my gosh.

Joseph Grady: And how do I find that balance point? Right. Um, where it’s, it’s not only, um, fulfilling, uh, an objective for me, but also, you know, keeping me fair and in tuned [00:20:00] in with my students, you know, because I also, um, that, that is a very realistic consideration for. That said, um, balance to this point hasn’t been terribly difficult.

Joseph Grady: Um, you know, realistically, um, you know, you get the work done and so forth, but that said looking forward, I think the way that I’ve, I’ve thought about this, and I think the way that I’ve always thought about this, like with photography or with writing, um, any of the script writing that I do any of. Like the illustration or, or art that I do a graphic novel that I’m working on.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, any of the, like the acting they’re in all of that stuff is like creating opportunity if opportunity is needed. Um, Kind of fallbacks, if you will even. Um, I mean, let’s face it. We live in some pretty uncertain times. Mm-hmm , um, there’s a lot out there that is just putting to question even some of [00:21:00] the old standards that we’re used to just having around, you know, like education.

Joseph Grady: It was, I think at one point it was just like one of those things. Thought never would be it, it just was always going to be the way it was, you know, teacher in the classroom, attitude from the student that doesn’t look the same anymore. I mean, people are talking about arming teachers. The guns and so forth.

Joseph Grady: And so the it’s a very different sort of world right now. Mm-hmm, uh, than what I had grown up in as a kid. And so like, as I look to the future, I wanna make sure that I have, um, I think a lot of experience under my belt. if at some point something a shift needs to be made, um, that certainly is an objective or a goal of mine right now.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm, , I’m pretty stoked about the life that I have. Yeah. You know, with, um, the, even the roles that I fulfill in my professional life, um, you know, there’s tell us something which serving on [00:22:00] the board and the committee there, you know, has its, has it. Peace in my life. And then there’s the artistic thing in all, its sort of various forms with the writing mm-hmm uh, to, to create right now it’s like a lot of focus on photography.

Joseph Grady: Um, and then there’s, there’s also the work thing, right? Yeah. Um, I wanna make sure that I’m building my own experience and resume along the way, um, because you never really know what’s what the future holds. I wanna. Or that I’m, I’m prepared enough in a way. So if something does happen where change is like, oh, um, here’s how tomorrow’s going to look.

Joseph Grady: And it’s not like it was yesterday. I have the kind of footing and I think, um, world experience where I can go out and, and make a pivot or a shift if I need to mm-hmm . And, you know, like right now with the acting thing, kinda like what we’ve been talking about, [00:23:00] part of that is building that opportunity to look towards maybe getting an agent.

Joseph Grady: Now, do I join the unions? Is that something that is, is going to be equitable? Um, for me as a professional. Yeah. Um, and right now, um, where I am, um, making advances is in the workplace, um, at the university, um, and we’ve been making considerable strides and that’s on the backs of a lot of work and a lot of focus and a lot of effort and a lot of teamwork as well.

Joseph Grady: I mean, as a, as an entity, our Montana 10 has had a lot of success. If you will. Um, and we just want to continue to grow that, um, so that we can, you know, our work with other entities yeah. In university campus settings, um, is kind of a full package if you will. Mm-hmm because right now it seems to be working for students.

Joseph Grady: Uh, works for me. I love it. I, I find it [00:24:00] very, very fulfilling. Um, and so. Both are kind of on this trajectory of their own, if you will. Yeah. Um, and if anything, I, what I’ve learned in my life is that, um, just to be present for the ride, um, and, you know, make those big choices when they have to be made. Um, but for the rest of the time, just really, really try and make the most of it.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, this has been a, a pretty tough. You know, there’s, um, things that happen with family and, and, you know, there’s things that happened with students. I mean, this is, this last two years has been incredibly heavy. Um, yeah. In terms of people getting sick to, um, people. Struggling with mental health mm-hmm and in my work position and my job position, that’s, that’s very much at the forefront of what we do is, is working with students sort of navigating that stuff.

Joseph Grady: And, you know, it’s like you [00:25:00] need mental health services. Here’s where to go for that. And sort of just taking a lot of time to listen and so forth. Mm-hmm and it’s been a waity year. I mean, a lot of people are struggling with a lot of like really dark. Um, and I think the isolation and the uncertainty about future, especially now more than ever, um, you know, sort of this eruption of just violence in the way that we are, I’m not used to necessarily experiencing.

Joseph Grady: In what is this country is supposed to be mm-hmm um, I think is leaving a lot of uncertainty in terms of one sense of their own safety. Just going out into the world for, to go shopping or to go to school, you know, places where once that was like, those were the safest places to be. Um, and so the, you know, the students that I’m working with right now are, are kind of reflecting, I think, on a lot of that stuff and, and, you know, living through it while also trying to be students and in very [00:26:00] similar ways, think about their own futures.

Joseph Grady: What’s gonna come next. What am I gonna invested in? What’s gonna create opportunity. Um, what is my life and family going to look like moving forward and so forth? Yeah, definitely. There’s so much diversity in that realm that, um, right now the, the position that I find myself in, I kind of feel like roles like this are needed.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm um, and so, uh, for the moment, um, the university gig is, is the main focus. Whereas the creative sort of electric forces in my life are the things that allow me to kind of process that stuff and find a different kind of fulfill. Yeah, um, in life and I don’t know, maybe it’s just sort of come to that where I’m like really sort of seeking those additional bits of, of input.

Joseph Grady: And I’m also getting older. I mean, you know, I’m not getting any younger right now and, and, you know, I don’t wanna be, I, I, I’ve always sort of, I, [00:27:00] um, worried about that time in life, where you’d get to a place where it’s like, I wish I had done that, you know, Um, I, I wonder what would’ve happened if I ever ever made a go of that acting gig right.

Joseph Grady: Or putting some of those skills to use, um, along the way. And I, I don’t know if I necessarily wanna find myself there. So maybe even subconsciously I’m kind of like pushing myself in directions where I can kind of spread out into those areas, get that experience. Yeah. You know, dinner in the blood. That first movie role was like a bucket list moment.

Joseph Grady: And I remember just not only landing the role, but going and doing the gig and then coming home and then seeing the film at the end and taking part in the whole process for me was like, that’s kind of it. I mean, I was a native, I played a native role, so I was a native actor, a black feet character in a story written by a black feet, man.

Joseph Grady: I think I’ve done it. I think of. [00:28:00] Accomplished all I wanted to do. Mm-hmm but then moved on to like these other sort of roles and so forth because it just it’s it’s really great work.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. Okay. Um, kind of slightly related, but is there any maybe form of art that you really hope to start doing or to take part in?

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Um,

Joseph Grady: I think that, I mean, for me, the, the, something that is less fulfilled is the writing. Mm. Um, that’s where I think I’m, I’m really trying to tie a bunch of things up, so to speak. Um, I have a couple of different scripts that I’ve been writing. Um, I’ve got a story for graphic novel that I’m trying to round out.

Joseph Grady: Um, and all of it is like sort of indigenous influenced. Um, so I guess you would wanna say more contemporary type work or even into like science fiction. Okay. Um, that’s the sort of the area that I’m going. And then something that is, [00:29:00] has always been a natural fit for me is comedy. Um, When I was like in my early twenties, used to do comedy open mics.

Joseph Grady: I used to go out and do sets and get up on stage and try and exercise some of that theater experience as well as the, like the creative writing side of things always loved comedy as an outlet and trying to do it creatively as a, as a native. Uh, person trying to reach the audience in a way, um, with that aspect of my identity, um, has been infused into that.

Joseph Grady: And so the, the writing piece for me right now is something that, um, I really wanna see kind of, you know, bubble to the surface next. Um, yeah, like I said, there’s a lot more outlets these days. Mm-hmm for a lot more. Call for native writers, actors, creative types, even production people. And I mean, I’m talking to the production people out there, the young folks who are like going into the, into, into, you know, either [00:30:00] theater or film or TV, if you’re a native American and you’re on the.

Joseph Grady: and you’re on the production side. You’re on the postproduction you’re behind the camera. You’re in this sort of creative force behind the scenes. Um, that’s that part is like, I think really, really significant and important. Yeah. And I’d like to, I’d like to break into that a little bit. I’d like to see some writing represented and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm because we need the, the turnaround for that is creating opportunity for the next native writer or indigenous actor down the

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: road. Yeah. All right. Well, I think that we will start wrapping this up, but thank you once again. Um, and as my final question, what is the best piece of life advice you’ve been given?

Joseph Grady: Oh, man. Um, Well there’s one and I can’t say it here. Um, because it’s, it’s, I think three quarters of the phrase is cursing. Um,

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: [00:31:00] okay. I mean, whatever you wanna share, you can share

Joseph Grady: let me, let me dig for something else, maybe. Okay. Um, basically I think in the, some of the greatest. Perspective I’ve I’ve learned in life or, um, come from the, the people that I know in life who got sober, um, you know, the people who struggled with addiction and, and alcoholism I’m, I’m one of them, you know, I’m one of those people who’s thankfully, you know, recovered from alcoholism or, or is recovery.

Joseph Grady: You’re always in recovery. Um, but one of the things that has just made life, particularly for me, way more doable and has made all of the rest of this stuff, like really accessible is just to keep it simple. Um, I have this real capacity to overthink. Um, I think that that’s present in my photography and my, in my acting and my writing and my creativity and my [00:32:00] painting and my process and all of that stuff.

Joseph Grady: And, um, I, I think the one thing I’ve learned in my life is that, um, the, the biggest thing that is standing in my way, ways of me, uh, and it always has been, it’s always been this, this sort of internal dialogue that has been happening and has been informed of course, by. Influences and factors and other voices and so forth.

Joseph Grady: Mm-hmm but I think that keep it simple thing was just a way for me to learn, to just sort of get out of my own way.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah, no, I like it. I think that’s a great piece of advice. Okay, well, Joseph, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

Joseph Grady: Awesome Sierra. This is really cool. Um, good job on your podcast and I, I really appreciate the opportunity to come on and, and share my experience.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Of course. Thank you for sharing and thank you guys for listening and take

Joseph Grady: care.[00:33:00]

Marc Moss: Thanks, Joseph and Sierra. Joseph Grady is a professional actor and artist with roles in films like winter in the blood, Jimmy P and slant streets. He has been painting and selling art for more than 30 years throughout the Northwest. Joseph graduated from the university of Montana with a degree in social work and a focus in native American studies and lives in his community.

Marc Moss: As a change agent addressing social justice. And anti-racism action. Joseph serves on the Missoula food bank anti-racism task force. And is the chair for tell us something’s board of directors, Sierra Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice.

Marc Moss: To sitting down to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty brownie Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast, [00:34:00] wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to her. Inkind sponsors, Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company.

Marc Moss: Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast. Remember to get your ticket to the next. September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go more information and tickets are [email protected]

Rachel Bemis shares her impactful experience of finally deciding to become a teacher after a fulfilling career in other sectors.

Transcript : Meet the Board - Rachel Bemis

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Marc Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Marc Moss: Get your [email protected] We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected] The next, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

Marc Moss: You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra Ty Brownley interviewed the Tellum board for her podcast. Impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what you [00:01:00] may already accept.

Marc Moss: This week. Sierra sits down with tell us something board treasurer, Rachel Beas let’s

Sarah FitzGerald: listen.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Welcome back to impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley, where I chat with a new guest each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I want to thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I am joined by Rachel Beas elementary teacher in Western Montana.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: And tell us something board member, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast

Sarah FitzGerald: today. Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Me too. And of course, so let’s just hop right in and if you’d be willing, could you tell us a little bit about your impactful experience?

Sarah FitzGerald: Sure. Um, you know, when I was asked to do this podcast, I think like many people, I thought about [00:02:00] several different things that have impacted me the most, but I think really my journey, um, to be, and my detours, um, to becoming a teacher is probably the most, um, impactful experience for.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: I’d love to dive a little bit into that. And if you could share kind of what your journey has been to becoming

Sarah FitzGerald: a teacher. Sure. I was one of those little girls sitting in second grade with Mrs. Roach, knowing that I was meant to be a teacher. I knew it. from second grade. And so, you know, all through elementary, middle school, high school, you read my yearbook.

Sarah FitzGerald: Everything is about me being a teacher mm-hmm . And I decided before I started community college, that I would start working with kids. I was an aunt, I had three, uh, I had two nephews and a niece by the time I was 20 and had baby. Yeah. And had babysat, uh, a ton starting at age 11, 12 years old. And, and.

Sarah FitzGerald: Really comfortable around [00:03:00] kids, but I wanted to make sure that translated into education mm-hmm . Um, and so when I was in high school, I, um, did some volunteering in a first grade classroom and I loved it. And then it was time to graduate and time to go to college. Yeah. One of the jobs that I got was as a summer camp counselor, And I hated it.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, wow. And , and for whatever reason, I convinced myself that that was teaching mm-hmm and I was like, this is not a good fit. Like I, this is I like, yeah. I don’t know what the problem is this whole time. For years and years and years, I had a plan in place. This is what I was going to do and was like, absolutely not.

Sarah FitzGerald: I need to do something else. so fast forward, like 12 years mm-hmm and I was a real estate lender in town, um, [00:04:00] and really enjoyed it. And then I reached a point where I stopped enjoying it. Mm-hmm and I was about 31 years. I was 30, 30, 31 years old. Mm-hmm . and I just started feeling like I needed a change and I, I didn’t know what that was.

Sarah FitzGerald: I didn’t know if it was a career change. I didn’t know if it was just switching companies. Yeah. You know, I wasn’t sure. So those feelings were kind of stirring in my brain. And, and so, as I mentioned, I always knew, and everyone knew around me, my whole childhood, my high school years, that I was gonna be a teacher.

Sarah FitzGerald: There was no other option. I didn’t even think about anything else. Mm-hmm . And so when these, these uncertain feelings were starting to stir around. I randomly had a phone conversation with my first love from high school. Mm-hmm Roland. And I hadn’t seen him or talked to him since I was 17 years old. Yeah.

Sarah FitzGerald: And [00:05:00] I only knew him when I was 17 years old, so I only knew him for a year of my life. Okay. And we had this lovely conversation. Ironically I was at work. He was a real estate lender. And one of the first questions he asked me was, are you a teacher? And I was really taken aback because I kind of forgot that that was my path.

Sarah FitzGerald: And that’s the only thing that he had in mind. So when he had reflected on our time together, just me as a person, that’s what he focused on. Mm-hmm like, of course she’s a teacher, right? I’m talking to her 14 years later. Of course she’s a teacher. And I was like, no, actually I went, took a different path and you know, and I was very successful in my career.

Sarah FitzGerald: I had purchased my own home by myself and mm-hmm , you know, I legitimately had a career, but I had this nagging feeling that it was. Time for a change. Yeah. And so when he made that comment to me, it really affected me, um, to the point [00:06:00] that I got off the phone with him and sobbed in the bathroom at work.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, I know. And I was like, okay, well, I don’t know what that means, but you know, it, it almost felt like I was a failure. Like I hadn’t done what I set out to do, even though I was living a great life. Yeah. So fast forward a little bit, again, still stirring feelings. And I had a realtor friend that invited me to a networking event.

Sarah FitzGerald: It was this monthly, like women’s group that met and talked about business ideas and tried to do business together. Mm-hmm and we were sitting around the table. and, um, it was like a hundred people in a conference room, 10 people to have tabled one of which I knew and had become friends with, but everyone else was pretty much strangers.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And we’re sitting at this table of 10 people and the keynote speaker comes on the microphone and she said, before we, you know, have lunch and [00:07:00] before we chat, I want you to talk to your table about what would you do as an icebreaker question? What would you do if you couldn’t fail? And I, of course, maybe not.

Sarah FitzGerald: Of course my, maybe this is shocking. uh, I started crying immediately, um, at this table full of strangers mm-hmm and I said, I’ll go first. I’ll go first. Okay. And I said, I would quit my job and I would go back to school and I would become a teacher. Mm. and it just hit me that that’s what I was supposed to do and why I allowed my 18 year old self to convince myself that summer camp was teaching and let go of my dream.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. You know, we, we learn. Right. Um, so now I was this career woman that owned a house and had responsibilities. But I knew I needed to leave. I knew it immediately. I, I [00:08:00] never looked back Sierra ever. The next day I took the day off of work. Mm-hmm I went to the local university of Montana, Missoula mm-hmm I enrolled, I reviewed my finances that weekend.

Sarah FitzGerald: and on Monday I gave my two week notice. Wow. Yeah. And I left that job 11 years ago. Mm-hmm I started taking classes that summer. I didn’t even wait till the fall. I started that may. And I got my teaching degree and a minor in reading in three years, mind you, I had a lot of responsibilities and had to figure out how am I going to do this?

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And there was times where I had seven little part-time jobs, little. Oh my gosh. I know. Like, it might have been like one day a week. I worked at this daycare and uh, the other day of the week I passed out these pamphlets and it was all these little, [00:09:00] little jobs. Mm. Um, but I did it to make it work and I never, ever, ever looked back.

Sarah FitzGerald: And, um, I’m now going to be entering my ninth year of teaching.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Wow. Okay. Really? What a journey. And

Sarah FitzGerald: it was, yeah, quite a journey, some detours along the way. But once I made the decision, I knew that this was going to impact my life. Mm-hmm .

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. And now that you have been teaching. Um, or like you said, nine years, do you see yourself staying in teaching or potentially moving in the future?

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: You

Sarah FitzGerald: know, I am really into embracing side hustles. Um, that’s my, that’s my new thing. So. You know, my passion is my day to day teaching mm-hmm . Um, I have looked into the past just based on my past experience and leadership qualities. Would I wanna be an administrator? Would I want to go in a different direction?

Sarah FitzGerald: Would I [00:10:00] wanna use education to work at a museum or whatever it might be? um, for me, I’m good. Like I am beyond satisfied. Mm-hmm I, um, I went back to school in 2019 and I earned my master’s. Last year. Okay. Yeah. So I have that. And so that was really a great professional development opportunity for a few years, um, to continue to learn more, um, I’ve focused on integrating arts in the classroom.

Sarah FitzGerald: So that has challenged me as an educator. As well. So for me, I think I’m good. I really would, you know, it took me a while to get here. Mm-hmm and I’m, I’m very, very grateful. And, um, beyond satisfied, I feel extremely fulfilled. Now I will, I will say I am the type of person. That’s always pursuing other things, but that doesn’t, that that has nothing to do with my career and my passion mm-hmm so that.[00:11:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: that would be like, for example, you know, I would love to teach, um, as an adjunct professor and maybe get my foot in the door at a university mm-hmm maybe that’s something that could transition into teaching a summer class, or maybe after retirement potentially being something, um, a mentor for educators.

Sarah FitzGerald: Things like that. So I’ve definitely looked into that. Um, I was a TA this summer mm-hmm , um, at the university for my old master’s program. So just kind of dipping my toe into different things, um, has been fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Very nice. And did you know kind of what grade or age of students you wanted to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, because of Mrs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Roach, my second grade teacher, I always felt like that was the right grade level for me. Yeah. Um, and then it was kind of a joke because I’m, I’m on the petite side. Um, so I was like, I don’t want them to be taller than me [00:12:00] and I just always really liked that age group. And so ironically, when I. Did my student teaching, um, I student taught in second grade mm-hmm and then I ended up getting hired from that same school in first grade.

Sarah FitzGerald: So I taught first grade for five years. Mm-hmm then I taught second grade for a year. Um, and then I was ready to make a move to a different school district for a variety of reasons. And the position that was available. Was at the district that I wanted, that I’m currently at was fourth grade remote, fully remote for the full year.

Sarah FitzGerald: And the remote thing of course, you know, is a little scary in general. Mm-hmm um, and then fourth grade was really scary for me. That felt like a huge jump from first. Yeah. Um, and to be honest, I felt like it would be a good foot in the door. And then I would kind of get a feel for if there’s other grades that open up and ironically a second grade position did actually open up and I [00:13:00] had zero interest and okay.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. So this will be my third year teaching fourth grade. I love it. And I would say about seven of the kids last year were taller than me. wow. Okay. So I prepared for that now every year. Yes. Um, but I absolutely love it and I, I don’t know. This might be the perfect grade for me. Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Interesting. Um, and then.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think maybe what skills do you think helped you go into teaching or maybe had you learned before you went into teaching? Um, yeah. That you think are really applicable,

Sarah FitzGerald: you know, for me, I think some potentially non-traditional things have really prepared me to be successful. I think that, you know, I did my student, I did part of my student teaching in, um, Guang, China in 2014.[00:14:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: And I was expecting to enter an environment that was very rigid. and that I really need, and I love that I was really excited cause I’m kind of type a and I really like things very structured. And so I was like, okay, great. Like I’m gonna have a set schedule. I’m gonna know exactly what’s happening, what grades I’m teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it was the opposite because of the dynamics of the country. Um, that certainly trickled down into how the schools were run, how the students behaved. The relationship between the teacher and the student. And I was blindsided at how flexible I needed to be. Mm-hmm and that was very challenging for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, I didn’t have a choice I had to be. Um, and because of that, that is one of the biggest things that has translated into my teaching life here in the United States. And it sounds really silly. but the idea of covering someone’s recess [00:15:00] duty for them spontaneously, and the idea of, you know, a student having an issue and you needing to stop a lesson and do something else.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm , those are skills that are really important and they build community. Um, and so those were things that I really brought into. My career that I wasn’t expecting. Mm-hmm I think, I think also, you know, sometimes I joke like, oh my gosh, if I would’ve just gone to college, when I was supposed to go to college, then I would be retiring in five years or whatever it might be, or, you know, different things like that.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, or I would be making more money cause I would have more experience, but, but honestly, I don’t know that I would be where I am today. If I. Gone on that path that I had expected. When I went back to college a little older at 31, I took it very seriously and I had a mortgage to pay. I have [00:16:00] responsibilities that I wouldn’t have had when I was 18 years old.

Sarah FitzGerald: And so I was very focused, not only on actually getting good grades and learning, but also getting it done quickly so that I could start making. Money, even if it was even if it was a teacher’s salary, at least it wasn’t seven part-time jobs. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I think those are the things that I was not expecting to bring in and to learn that I, that I have.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: So you think that if you had gone into teaching, um, I guess right after school, do you think you would still be in teaching or. I don’t know what

Sarah FitzGerald: happened. I mean, I really don’t know. I would say that my advice, if I was talking to my younger self or someone else, mm-hmm , um, you know, my advice would be to always pursue what you feel your passion is, but don’t just go straight to college.

Sarah FitzGerald: And what I mean by that is like, I still [00:17:00] would. I still, I think looking back, I would’ve just pursued teaching more while I was getting my. So I would’ve thrown myself more into the classroom. I would’ve volunteered more. I would not, I would’ve spoken with more educators about their experience and versus telling myself that summer camp was the same as teaching mm-hmm or like saying babysitting children is the same as teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: It’s not at all. Like, my job is. Relationships with parents. My job is about relationships with other people and those other teachers and those interpersonal connections. It’s not just like, oh, I get along with kids and I like learning about math. It’s so much more than that. So I think it’s about, if you have something in mind, take that time to volunteer.

Sarah FitzGerald: You know, if you wanna be a veterinarian, don’t just go straight to vet school for the next eight years. Like. Get your high into a vet clinic, you know, like [00:18:00] those kind of, those kind of things. Mm-hmm okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. And do you have kind of a favorite aspect of teaching? Because like you just mentioned, there are many different things that you do and it’s not only.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Working with the students.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. I mean, I would say because of the grade level that I teach in fourth grade, there is so much room for not only creativity, but also for them to choose different ways to learn. So I think for me, it’s great to be able to expose my students to a variety of ways to learn, uh, specific skill.

Sarah FitzGerald: And then for them to be able to have the, uh, confidence to be able to choose which one works best for them. So I think that that is, that is something that we have the luxury of doing now. I, you know, it wasn’t like that when I was growing up even, um, that we were just taught one way to do it, and this was the only way to do it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And now there’s, there’s so many different ways to express your, um, skill level. And so [00:19:00] that, that exposure is, is really fun. And to be able to see students take ownership of their learning

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: mm-hmm okay, cool. Cool. I think that’s an interesting topic. Um, kind of thinking about different learning and also education changing over time.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think has changed or maybe what are some differences that you’ve seen even from when you were student to now, or just throughout your past years teaching?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, a couple things. I mean, I grew up going to a private school. There was 40 students in my class mm-hmm um, and which is enormous. and you learned one way to learn things and that was it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it didn’t matter what you were necessarily going through emotionally, or if you were struggling academically, we were pushing along. And so that’s one thing that I take pride in is being able to assess my student and where they’re at. And if we are having [00:20:00] an emotional breakdown, if we are having students, you know, like this year we had students that were upset, they were having just conflict with it, with, you know, like friendship issues.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. They’re not able to learn. They’re not. And you know, if you certainly, if you have support of a school counselor or anything like that, that’s fabulous. But sometimes we don’t have that. And I had multiple occasions this past year where I just stopped teaching and we just got in a circle and talked and kind of problem solved some things.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, and that was a game changer because then I was able to get back to teaching and they were able to absorb it and care about it. Yeah. Um, because I was able to make that modification. So I think being able to have that flexibility is huge. I think. You know, dealing with COVID and so many different things going on that administration certainly recognizes how important it is to meet students needs of their social, emotional [00:21:00] needs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm first, before you can teach them anything. And so it comes back to that flexibility and, you know, being able to modify things like that. Mm-hmm

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: definitely okay. Um, kind of going back to knowing which grade you wanted to teach. Is there a grade you really don’t wanna teach or like you would never want to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, well, that’s funny. You’d say that when I was student teaching in second grade, We had a teacher that was in the middle school that got ill. And my principal said, can you please just step in just for a couple hours in seventh and eighth grade? Yeah. And it was fine. It was fun. But I came back and I was like, this is not a good fit for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Like I, I, yeah, I am an elementary teacher period. I. I could be a middle school teacher. I could be a high school teacher [00:22:00] for an hour if I needed to. I I’m joking, but more than. But it would not, it would, I would not be my best self. My best self is in elementary education where I can reach the whole student in a variety of ways, social, emotional, academic, um, that mix of love, but loving but firm, um, you know, clear expectations with a hug.

Sarah FitzGerald: That’s that’s who I am. Mm.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Okay. Alrighty. Well, I think that we’ll start wrapping things up here, but okay. As always, my last question is Rachel, what’s the best piece of life advice you’ve been given.

Sarah FitzGerald: It is the most random and simple phrase and it is leave it alone. And I will tell you that my friend’s husband brought this phrase to me about 15 years ago.

Sarah FitzGerald: And to her, yeah, it’s really about picking your [00:23:00] battles, deciding when it’s appropriate to speak and not speak. Deciding when there’s certain things that you just need to leave it alone. And I used to not leave anything alone ever. I used to pick everything and I don’t mean nitpicky. I just mean that I felt like I was an advocate for myself and for everybody around me, even if they didn’t advocate for themselves.

Sarah FitzGerald: And I’ve learned with experience that it’s really important. Just like we’ve learned with tell us something it’s, it’s, it’s almost more important to listen than it is to talk. Mm. And the leave it alone thing has trickled into all aspects of my life, whether it is a student behavior that is just annoying, not dangerous.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm leave it alone. Right? Ignore it. Leave it. Whether it’s a personal situation where someone has said something, do I really need to comment on that? [00:24:00] Leave it alone. So this leave it alone. Thing has been a pattern for me. And it sounds really silly, but it actually has been like super profound for me.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I never ever had that piece of advice, but thank you. you’re welcome. Okay. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really

Sarah FitzGerald: appreciate. Thank you so much for having me. That was fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Of course. And thank you guys for listening.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel and Sierra. Rachel is an elementary school teacher in Western Montana. Rachel has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in reading and earned her master of arts in integrated art and education all from the university of Montana. Miss. Rachel served at the local nonprofit north Missoula community development corporation as board chair and secretary in Missoula for 10 years, where she led [00:25:00] fundraising efforts, board retreats, and attended various conferences in and out of state.

Marc Moss: When Rachel is not working, she can be found with her St. Bernard Laura lie on logging, walks with friends, reading her next book for her monthly book club, grabbing a Quatro formage or pizza from Beka pizza. And planning her next road trip Sierra Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never-ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice to sitting down, to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley.

Marc Moss: Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our inkind sponsors, Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company. Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast.

Marc Moss: Remember to get your ticket to the next event. [00:26:00] September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme. Letting go more information and tickets are [email protected]

Tell Us Something Board Secretary Sarah FitzGerald reflects on the impactful experience of volunteering for a Jesuit organization in St. Louis, Missouri.

Transcript : Meet the Board - Sarah FitzGerald

Marc Moss: [00:00:00] Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Marc Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Marc Moss: Get your [email protected] We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected] The next, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

Marc Moss: You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra Ty Brownley interviewed the Tellum board for her podcast. Impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what you [00:01:00] may already accept.

Marc Moss: This week. Sierra sits down with tell us something board treasurer, Rachel Beas let’s

Sarah FitzGerald: listen.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Welcome back to impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley, where I chat with a new guest each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I want to thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I am joined by Rachel Beas elementary teacher in Western Montana.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: And tell us something board member, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast

Sarah FitzGerald: today. Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Me too. And of course, so let’s just hop right in and if you’d be willing, could you tell us a little bit about your impactful experience?

Sarah FitzGerald: Sure. Um, you know, when I was asked to do this podcast, I think like many people, I thought about [00:02:00] several different things that have impacted me the most, but I think really my journey, um, to be, and my detours, um, to becoming a teacher is probably the most, um, impactful experience for.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: I’d love to dive a little bit into that. And if you could share kind of what your journey has been to becoming

Sarah FitzGerald: a teacher. Sure. I was one of those little girls sitting in second grade with Mrs. Roach, knowing that I was meant to be a teacher. I knew it. from second grade. And so, you know, all through elementary, middle school, high school, you read my yearbook.

Sarah FitzGerald: Everything is about me being a teacher mm-hmm . And I decided before I started community college, that I would start working with kids. I was an aunt, I had three, uh, I had two nephews and a niece by the time I was 20 and had baby. Yeah. And had babysat, uh, a ton starting at age 11, 12 years old. And, and.

Sarah FitzGerald: Really comfortable around [00:03:00] kids, but I wanted to make sure that translated into education mm-hmm . Um, and so when I was in high school, I, um, did some volunteering in a first grade classroom and I loved it. And then it was time to graduate and time to go to college. Yeah. One of the jobs that I got was as a summer camp counselor, And I hated it.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, wow. And , and for whatever reason, I convinced myself that that was teaching mm-hmm and I was like, this is not a good fit. Like I, this is I like, yeah. I don’t know what the problem is this whole time. For years and years and years, I had a plan in place. This is what I was going to do and was like, absolutely not.

Sarah FitzGerald: I need to do something else. so fast forward, like 12 years mm-hmm and I was a real estate lender in town, um, [00:04:00] and really enjoyed it. And then I reached a point where I stopped enjoying it. Mm-hmm and I was about 31 years. I was 30, 30, 31 years old. Mm-hmm . and I just started feeling like I needed a change and I, I didn’t know what that was.

Sarah FitzGerald: I didn’t know if it was a career change. I didn’t know if it was just switching companies. Yeah. You know, I wasn’t sure. So those feelings were kind of stirring in my brain. And, and so, as I mentioned, I always knew, and everyone knew around me, my whole childhood, my high school years, that I was gonna be a teacher.

Sarah FitzGerald: There was no other option. I didn’t even think about anything else. Mm-hmm . And so when these, these uncertain feelings were starting to stir around. I randomly had a phone conversation with my first love from high school. Mm-hmm Roland. And I hadn’t seen him or talked to him since I was 17 years old. Yeah.

Sarah FitzGerald: And [00:05:00] I only knew him when I was 17 years old, so I only knew him for a year of my life. Okay. And we had this lovely conversation. Ironically I was at work. He was a real estate lender. And one of the first questions he asked me was, are you a teacher? And I was really taken aback because I kind of forgot that that was my path.

Sarah FitzGerald: And that’s the only thing that he had in mind. So when he had reflected on our time together, just me as a person, that’s what he focused on. Mm-hmm like, of course she’s a teacher, right? I’m talking to her 14 years later. Of course she’s a teacher. And I was like, no, actually I went, took a different path and you know, and I was very successful in my career.

Sarah FitzGerald: I had purchased my own home by myself and mm-hmm , you know, I legitimately had a career, but I had this nagging feeling that it was. Time for a change. Yeah. And so when he made that comment to me, it really affected me, um, to the point [00:06:00] that I got off the phone with him and sobbed in the bathroom at work.

Sarah FitzGerald: Oh, I know. And I was like, okay, well, I don’t know what that means, but you know, it, it almost felt like I was a failure. Like I hadn’t done what I set out to do, even though I was living a great life. Yeah. So fast forward a little bit, again, still stirring feelings. And I had a realtor friend that invited me to a networking event.

Sarah FitzGerald: It was this monthly, like women’s group that met and talked about business ideas and tried to do business together. Mm-hmm and we were sitting around the table. and, um, it was like a hundred people in a conference room, 10 people to have tabled one of which I knew and had become friends with, but everyone else was pretty much strangers.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And we’re sitting at this table of 10 people and the keynote speaker comes on the microphone and she said, before we, you know, have lunch and [00:07:00] before we chat, I want you to talk to your table about what would you do as an icebreaker question? What would you do if you couldn’t fail? And I, of course, maybe not.

Sarah FitzGerald: Of course my, maybe this is shocking. uh, I started crying immediately, um, at this table full of strangers mm-hmm and I said, I’ll go first. I’ll go first. Okay. And I said, I would quit my job and I would go back to school and I would become a teacher. Mm. and it just hit me that that’s what I was supposed to do and why I allowed my 18 year old self to convince myself that summer camp was teaching and let go of my dream.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. You know, we, we learn. Right. Um, so now I was this career woman that owned a house and had responsibilities. But I knew I needed to leave. I knew it immediately. I, I [00:08:00] never looked back Sierra ever. The next day I took the day off of work. Mm-hmm I went to the local university of Montana, Missoula mm-hmm I enrolled, I reviewed my finances that weekend.

Sarah FitzGerald: and on Monday I gave my two week notice. Wow. Yeah. And I left that job 11 years ago. Mm-hmm I started taking classes that summer. I didn’t even wait till the fall. I started that may. And I got my teaching degree and a minor in reading in three years, mind you, I had a lot of responsibilities and had to figure out how am I going to do this?

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. And there was times where I had seven little part-time jobs, little. Oh my gosh. I know. Like, it might have been like one day a week. I worked at this daycare and uh, the other day of the week I passed out these pamphlets and it was all these little, [00:09:00] little jobs. Mm. Um, but I did it to make it work and I never, ever, ever looked back.

Sarah FitzGerald: And, um, I’m now going to be entering my ninth year of teaching.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Wow. Okay. Really? What a journey. And

Sarah FitzGerald: it was, yeah, quite a journey, some detours along the way. But once I made the decision, I knew that this was going to impact my life. Mm-hmm .

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. And now that you have been teaching. Um, or like you said, nine years, do you see yourself staying in teaching or potentially moving in the future?

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: You

Sarah FitzGerald: know, I am really into embracing side hustles. Um, that’s my, that’s my new thing. So. You know, my passion is my day to day teaching mm-hmm . Um, I have looked into the past just based on my past experience and leadership qualities. Would I wanna be an administrator? Would I want to go in a different direction?

Sarah FitzGerald: Would I [00:10:00] wanna use education to work at a museum or whatever it might be? um, for me, I’m good. Like I am beyond satisfied. Mm-hmm I, um, I went back to school in 2019 and I earned my master’s. Last year. Okay. Yeah. So I have that. And so that was really a great professional development opportunity for a few years, um, to continue to learn more, um, I’ve focused on integrating arts in the classroom.

Sarah FitzGerald: So that has challenged me as an educator. As well. So for me, I think I’m good. I really would, you know, it took me a while to get here. Mm-hmm and I’m, I’m very, very grateful. And, um, beyond satisfied, I feel extremely fulfilled. Now I will, I will say I am the type of person. That’s always pursuing other things, but that doesn’t, that that has nothing to do with my career and my passion mm-hmm so that.[00:11:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: that would be like, for example, you know, I would love to teach, um, as an adjunct professor and maybe get my foot in the door at a university mm-hmm maybe that’s something that could transition into teaching a summer class, or maybe after retirement potentially being something, um, a mentor for educators.

Sarah FitzGerald: Things like that. So I’ve definitely looked into that. Um, I was a TA this summer mm-hmm , um, at the university for my old master’s program. So just kind of dipping my toe into different things, um, has been fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Very nice. And did you know kind of what grade or age of students you wanted to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, because of Mrs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Roach, my second grade teacher, I always felt like that was the right grade level for me. Yeah. Um, and then it was kind of a joke because I’m, I’m on the petite side. Um, so I was like, I don’t want them to be taller than me [00:12:00] and I just always really liked that age group. And so ironically, when I. Did my student teaching, um, I student taught in second grade mm-hmm and then I ended up getting hired from that same school in first grade.

Sarah FitzGerald: So I taught first grade for five years. Mm-hmm then I taught second grade for a year. Um, and then I was ready to make a move to a different school district for a variety of reasons. And the position that was available. Was at the district that I wanted, that I’m currently at was fourth grade remote, fully remote for the full year.

Sarah FitzGerald: And the remote thing of course, you know, is a little scary in general. Mm-hmm um, and then fourth grade was really scary for me. That felt like a huge jump from first. Yeah. Um, and to be honest, I felt like it would be a good foot in the door. And then I would kind of get a feel for if there’s other grades that open up and ironically a second grade position did actually open up and I [00:13:00] had zero interest and okay.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. So this will be my third year teaching fourth grade. I love it. And I would say about seven of the kids last year were taller than me. wow. Okay. So I prepared for that now every year. Yes. Um, but I absolutely love it and I, I don’t know. This might be the perfect grade for me. Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Interesting. Um, and then.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think maybe what skills do you think helped you go into teaching or maybe had you learned before you went into teaching? Um, yeah. That you think are really applicable,

Sarah FitzGerald: you know, for me, I think some potentially non-traditional things have really prepared me to be successful. I think that, you know, I did my student, I did part of my student teaching in, um, Guang, China in 2014.[00:14:00]

Sarah FitzGerald: And I was expecting to enter an environment that was very rigid. and that I really need, and I love that I was really excited cause I’m kind of type a and I really like things very structured. And so I was like, okay, great. Like I’m gonna have a set schedule. I’m gonna know exactly what’s happening, what grades I’m teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it was the opposite because of the dynamics of the country. Um, that certainly trickled down into how the schools were run, how the students behaved. The relationship between the teacher and the student. And I was blindsided at how flexible I needed to be. Mm-hmm and that was very challenging for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, I didn’t have a choice I had to be. Um, and because of that, that is one of the biggest things that has translated into my teaching life here in the United States. And it sounds really silly. but the idea of covering someone’s recess [00:15:00] duty for them spontaneously, and the idea of, you know, a student having an issue and you needing to stop a lesson and do something else.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm , those are skills that are really important and they build community. Um, and so those were things that I really brought into. My career that I wasn’t expecting. Mm-hmm I think, I think also, you know, sometimes I joke like, oh my gosh, if I would’ve just gone to college, when I was supposed to go to college, then I would be retiring in five years or whatever it might be, or, you know, different things like that.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, or I would be making more money cause I would have more experience, but, but honestly, I don’t know that I would be where I am today. If I. Gone on that path that I had expected. When I went back to college a little older at 31, I took it very seriously and I had a mortgage to pay. I have [00:16:00] responsibilities that I wouldn’t have had when I was 18 years old.

Sarah FitzGerald: And so I was very focused, not only on actually getting good grades and learning, but also getting it done quickly so that I could start making. Money, even if it was even if it was a teacher’s salary, at least it wasn’t seven part-time jobs. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I think those are the things that I was not expecting to bring in and to learn that I, that I have.

Sarah FitzGerald: Okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: So you think that if you had gone into teaching, um, I guess right after school, do you think you would still be in teaching or. I don’t know what

Sarah FitzGerald: happened. I mean, I really don’t know. I would say that my advice, if I was talking to my younger self or someone else, mm-hmm , um, you know, my advice would be to always pursue what you feel your passion is, but don’t just go straight to college.

Sarah FitzGerald: And what I mean by that is like, I still [00:17:00] would. I still, I think looking back, I would’ve just pursued teaching more while I was getting my. So I would’ve thrown myself more into the classroom. I would’ve volunteered more. I would not, I would’ve spoken with more educators about their experience and versus telling myself that summer camp was the same as teaching mm-hmm or like saying babysitting children is the same as teaching.

Sarah FitzGerald: It’s not at all. Like, my job is. Relationships with parents. My job is about relationships with other people and those other teachers and those interpersonal connections. It’s not just like, oh, I get along with kids and I like learning about math. It’s so much more than that. So I think it’s about, if you have something in mind, take that time to volunteer.

Sarah FitzGerald: You know, if you wanna be a veterinarian, don’t just go straight to vet school for the next eight years. Like. Get your high into a vet clinic, you know, like [00:18:00] those kind of, those kind of things. Mm-hmm okay.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Yeah. And do you have kind of a favorite aspect of teaching? Because like you just mentioned, there are many different things that you do and it’s not only.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Working with the students.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. I mean, I would say because of the grade level that I teach in fourth grade, there is so much room for not only creativity, but also for them to choose different ways to learn. So I think for me, it’s great to be able to expose my students to a variety of ways to learn, uh, specific skill.

Sarah FitzGerald: And then for them to be able to have the, uh, confidence to be able to choose which one works best for them. So I think that that is, that is something that we have the luxury of doing now. I, you know, it wasn’t like that when I was growing up even, um, that we were just taught one way to do it, and this was the only way to do it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And now there’s, there’s so many different ways to express your, um, skill level. And so [00:19:00] that, that exposure is, is really fun. And to be able to see students take ownership of their learning

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: mm-hmm okay, cool. Cool. I think that’s an interesting topic. Um, kind of thinking about different learning and also education changing over time.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: What do you think has changed or maybe what are some differences that you’ve seen even from when you were student to now, or just throughout your past years teaching?

Sarah FitzGerald: Well, a couple things. I mean, I grew up going to a private school. There was 40 students in my class mm-hmm um, and which is enormous. and you learned one way to learn things and that was it.

Sarah FitzGerald: And it didn’t matter what you were necessarily going through emotionally, or if you were struggling academically, we were pushing along. And so that’s one thing that I take pride in is being able to assess my student and where they’re at. And if we are having [00:20:00] an emotional breakdown, if we are having students, you know, like this year we had students that were upset, they were having just conflict with it, with, you know, like friendship issues.

Sarah FitzGerald: Yeah. They’re not able to learn. They’re not. And you know, if you certainly, if you have support of a school counselor or anything like that, that’s fabulous. But sometimes we don’t have that. And I had multiple occasions this past year where I just stopped teaching and we just got in a circle and talked and kind of problem solved some things.

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, and that was a game changer because then I was able to get back to teaching and they were able to absorb it and care about it. Yeah. Um, because I was able to make that modification. So I think being able to have that flexibility is huge. I think. You know, dealing with COVID and so many different things going on that administration certainly recognizes how important it is to meet students needs of their social, emotional [00:21:00] needs.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm first, before you can teach them anything. And so it comes back to that flexibility and, you know, being able to modify things like that. Mm-hmm

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: definitely okay. Um, kind of going back to knowing which grade you wanted to teach. Is there a grade you really don’t wanna teach or like you would never want to teach?

Sarah FitzGerald: Um, well, that’s funny. You’d say that when I was student teaching in second grade, We had a teacher that was in the middle school that got ill. And my principal said, can you please just step in just for a couple hours in seventh and eighth grade? Yeah. And it was fine. It was fun. But I came back and I was like, this is not a good fit for me.

Sarah FitzGerald: Like I, I, yeah, I am an elementary teacher period. I. I could be a middle school teacher. I could be a high school teacher [00:22:00] for an hour if I needed to. I I’m joking, but more than. But it would not, it would, I would not be my best self. My best self is in elementary education where I can reach the whole student in a variety of ways, social, emotional, academic, um, that mix of love, but loving but firm, um, you know, clear expectations with a hug.

Sarah FitzGerald: That’s that’s who I am. Mm.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Okay. Alrighty. Well, I think that we’ll start wrapping things up here, but okay. As always, my last question is Rachel, what’s the best piece of life advice you’ve been given.

Sarah FitzGerald: It is the most random and simple phrase and it is leave it alone. And I will tell you that my friend’s husband brought this phrase to me about 15 years ago.

Sarah FitzGerald: And to her, yeah, it’s really about picking your [00:23:00] battles, deciding when it’s appropriate to speak and not speak. Deciding when there’s certain things that you just need to leave it alone. And I used to not leave anything alone ever. I used to pick everything and I don’t mean nitpicky. I just mean that I felt like I was an advocate for myself and for everybody around me, even if they didn’t advocate for themselves.

Sarah FitzGerald: And I’ve learned with experience that it’s really important. Just like we’ve learned with tell us something it’s, it’s, it’s almost more important to listen than it is to talk. Mm. And the leave it alone thing has trickled into all aspects of my life, whether it is a student behavior that is just annoying, not dangerous.

Sarah FitzGerald: Mm-hmm leave it alone. Right? Ignore it. Leave it. Whether it’s a personal situation where someone has said something, do I really need to comment on that? [00:24:00] Leave it alone. So this leave it alone. Thing has been a pattern for me. And it sounds really silly, but it actually has been like super profound for me.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I never ever had that piece of advice, but thank you. you’re welcome. Okay. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really

Sarah FitzGerald: appreciate. Thank you so much for having me. That was fun.

Sierra Tai-Brownlee: Of course. And thank you guys for listening.

Marc Moss: Thanks, Rachel and Sierra. Rachel is an elementary school teacher in Western Montana. Rachel has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in reading and earned her master of arts in integrated art and education all from the university of Montana. Miss. Rachel served at the local nonprofit north Missoula community development corporation as board chair and secretary in Missoula for 10 years, where she led [00:25:00] fundraising efforts, board retreats, and attended various conferences in and out of state.

Marc Moss: When Rachel is not working, she can be found with her St. Bernard Laura lie on logging, walks with friends, reading her next book for her monthly book club, grabbing a Quatro formage or pizza from Beka pizza. And planning her next road trip Sierra Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never-ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice to sitting down, to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty Brownley.

Marc Moss: Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our inkind sponsors, Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company. Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast.

Marc Moss: Remember to get your ticket to the next event. [00:26:00] September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme. Letting go more information and tickets are [email protected]