healing

In this episode of the podcast, I chatted by phone with Arthur Weatherwax, a Native of the Blackfeet tribe, about his story, and the experience that he had telling it. Arthur has a traumatic brain injury, and listening to a guy who had to re-learn everything about life, I mean everything...it’s really something. His perspectives made me reflect on how I live, and reminded me to seek out joy, celebrate gratitude, and to laugh. I hope you’ll reflect some too, after listening to us chat.
In this podcast episode, you’ll hear stories about an unpleasant ear discovery in the middle of the night, an unlikely savior as our storyteller falls out of a tree, and the very first open adoption in the state of Montana.

Transcript : "Tipping Point" Part 1

00:00
welcome to tell us something
00:11
annabelle winnie who moved to montana
00:14
nine years ago
00:15
in part because allegedly she only lives
00:18
in states
00:19
that start with the letter m
00:22
previously she lived in maine
00:24
massachusetts
00:26
and new mexico she currently works as a
00:30
clinical social worker in private
00:32
practice
00:33
past jobs have included research
00:34
biologist
00:36
waitress and burrito roller please
00:39
welcome
00:39
annabel winnie
00:49
thank you okay
00:55
last august i was blissfully asleep
00:59
when i became aware of something
01:01
happening in my left
01:03
ear i rolled over
01:06
put my left ear down on the pillow and
01:09
waited for the water to drain out of my
01:11
ear
01:13
when i was growing up i spent a lot of
01:15
time in pools and the ocean and lakes
01:17
and i was always getting water in my ear
01:20
i sat up in bed when i realized that i
01:23
didn’t go to the river that day
01:25
and i don’t even think i took a shower
01:26
before i went to bed
01:28
and the sensation in my ear was
01:30
increasingly becoming
01:32
more agitating it was like i was a deep
01:36
sea
01:36
diver coming up from the bottom of the
01:39
ocean
01:40
as i became more and more awake and
01:42
realized that something really weird was
01:44
happening in my left ear
01:46
i sat up and tried to shake it out
01:51
i’m a very logical person and when the
01:54
sensations in my ear
01:56
didn’t match what i expected to happen
02:00
i got really agitated i shook again
02:03
i expected there to be water in my ear
02:05
and i thought it should
02:07
slosh up on the left side
02:11
but that didn’t happen it was
02:13
unpredictable and chaotic
02:14
and it burned a little bit and it was
02:16
really starting to freak me out
02:18
i wondered if maybe climate chaos was
02:20
affecting my left ear what if my brain
02:22
was melting and i might actually be
02:24
dying
02:26
and then it occurred to me i was alone
02:29
my family was away even the dog was gone
02:34
for the first time in almost 20 years i
02:36
was having a crisis in the middle of the
02:38
night and i was by myself
02:41
it flashed in my mind in my pajamas with
02:44
this insane chaos in my ear
02:46
i could get in my car and drive to the
02:47
emergency room no
02:49
i’m not gonna do that i got up walked
02:52
out of the bedroom to figure it out
02:55
but before i can tell you that story
02:58
i need to tell you this story
03:02
why did i do that i could have called an
03:05
ambulance i could have called 9-1-1
03:08
in moments like this when our field of
03:10
depth is so
03:11
thin we have our animal instincts
03:15
and we have those paths already laid
03:17
down in our brain
03:20
really i think i did what i did because
03:22
i’m from boston
03:23
yeah i’m from new england i’m a mass
03:25
hole oh yeah
03:27
oh yeah and you know we’re tough
03:30
you know
03:31
oh yeah that’s what i’m talking about
03:33
right we take care of
03:35
right because when i learned how to
03:38
drive
03:38
i learned how to drive in a city where
03:40
the pedestrians not only thought
03:42
they owned the sidewalk but also the
03:43
street
03:44
so i’m driving a stick shift the road’s
03:47
probably icy and somebody’s going to
03:49
step out in front of my car in any
03:50
moment
03:51
i am tough man you know the few times i
03:55
skied really i could have just brought
03:57
my ice skates
03:59
i could have gone to the top of the ski
04:01
hill laced them up and just skated down
04:03
the hill
04:04
because that was so icy you know
04:08
what you call snow out here
04:12
that’s styrofoam oh yeah
04:15
this at home right that’s like
04:18
cheesecake
04:19
because the ocean’s right there it’s
04:21
really dense right so when i was a kid
04:23
we get a big dump of snow
04:25
it’s like your car ensconced in two feet
04:28
of cheesecake
04:29
right by the time you shovel that
04:32
off your car
04:33
and you clear out the spot that is
04:35
yours
04:36
you own it for the whole winter
04:39
oh yeah god forbid you actually have to
04:42
get in your car and drive somewhere
04:44
it’s the land of the law you can put a
04:46
trash can
04:48
or a lawn chair in your spot it’s yours
04:54
i mean why else does anybody own a lawn
04:57
chair
05:00
right hey jimmy
05:03
you better go down to the hardware store
05:04
and get me a lawn chair winner’s coming
05:06
they’re going to sell out right
05:11
yeah my neighbor man when i grew up
05:15
one day i saw her somebody took a spot
05:19
she left the can there they moved it
05:21
they took her spot
05:22
oh she was so pissed when she got back i
05:25
watched her
05:26
she when that guy came to move his car
05:28
she stood out on the porch
05:30
she gave him the evil eye and then she
05:32
told him exactly what she
05:34
thought of him right to his face
05:35
right because that’s what happens in
05:37
boston people will tell you to your
05:39
face that they don’t like you
05:43
i’m not going to get in my car and drive
05:45
myself to the emergency room
05:47
no way the thing is though
05:50
we’re really more like m ms you know we
05:53
got this hard exterior
05:55
but inside it’s all soft chocolate
05:58
right so i’m gonna take care of this
06:01
on my own
06:02
but inside i am a mess i am so
06:05
panicked
06:08
i leave my room and i need my phone
06:11
right because it’s got my flashlight so
06:13
i get my phone go in the bathroom turn
06:15
on the light
06:16
flashlight nothing it’s just an ear i’m
06:19
freaking out
06:20
i’m really freaking out and it’s kind of
06:22
starting to hurt i take a picture
06:24
i expect to see blood or maybe like an
06:27
alien tentacle it’s nothing it’s just my
06:30
ear
06:31
oddly i get this strange picture like
06:35
it’s like the scream what am i going to
06:37
do jesus christ what’s going on
06:38
i got a little basket i got earplug i
06:41
don’t have earplugs i have nail clippers
06:43
and i have
06:44
tweezers and i start to go from my ear
06:46
thank god
06:48
for sanity no tweezers in eardrums not a
06:50
good idea what am i going to do what am
06:51
i going to do
06:52
and then i see the bottle thank god my
06:55
kids
06:56
had lice
06:59
thank god it was august because every
07:03
august
07:04
my kids get lice right
07:08
so there’s this bottle of rubbing
07:10
alcohol on the counter because my kids
07:11
have lice
07:13
why because it makes me feel better
07:16
rubbing alcohol does nothing for lice
07:19
nothing
07:20
it doesn’t stop them for a
07:22
second
07:25
so i got my paper towel but it makes me
07:27
feel better i got my paper towel i put
07:28
the rubbing alcohol and i
07:30
comb my kid’s hair for over and
07:33
then i clean it off
07:34
on the rubbing alcohol makes me feel
07:36
better and in my head i’m still like
07:37
water pool
07:38
water pool because i’m very logical
07:41
so when i was a child i always had my
07:43
little bottle half rubbing alcohol
07:46
half vinegar i put it in my ear and the
07:48
pool water would come out
07:49
right so i like get a cotton ball and
07:52
i’m squeezing then i just got the whole
07:54
goddamn bottle like
07:55
what the and i’m show i’m
07:58
shaking my head
08:01
oh my god it stops this insanity
08:05
in my ear it
08:06
stops i’m not gonna die
08:10
my children won’t be motherless
08:15
oh jesus christ i look in the sink and
08:18
it’s like crawling around it’s got like
08:20
a little
08:21
segmented body parts and it’s like
08:24
brown and reddish and it’s got these
08:26
08:27
pinchers on its head
08:49
it’s an
08:56
for christ’s sake so what do i do
09:01
booyah i kill it with my thumb
09:04
i smush it it’s dead
09:08
oh my god i do find some earplugs i’m
09:12
not playing
09:14
i get some cheap dime store earplugs and
09:16
you know like three hours later i fall
09:19
back asleep
09:24
it took that long
09:29
a couple weeks later early september i
09:30
go to two back-to-back shows
09:33
right here at the wilma so fun but you
09:36
know
09:37
i’m middle aged so i have my expensive
09:40
earplugs in my expensive rock concert
09:44
ear plugs in
09:45
so i go i have fun the day after the
09:47
second show
09:48
i take my earplugs out and i got a
09:50
little buzz in my ear you know that
09:51
happens whatever
09:54
a couple weeks later it’s still there
09:55
that’s kind of weird a month later
09:57
it’s still there and i’m like what is
10:00
going on and then it occurs to me
10:02
it’s that earwig
10:06
he up my ear damn
10:09
what am i gonna do i could go to a
10:10
specialist i could pay a lot of money
10:12
he’d look in my ear and say
10:13
yeah you had an earwig in your ear
10:18
your hearing’s damaged you know what let
10:21
that go
10:24
so i do i keep going it’s only recently
10:27
that i even
10:28
thought to stop and listen
10:31
it’s still there i have a little funk in
10:33
my left ear
10:35
because i had an earwig in it but i got
10:38
it out
10:40
and now if you ever wake up in the
10:43
middle of the night
10:48
and you think you’re going crazy
10:52
you will know just what to do
10:57
thank you
11:12
thank you annabelle susan you’ll
11:16
appreciate this
11:17
um susan told me stop reading so much
11:21
so i tried not to and i forgot to say
11:23
something that would have made
11:24
annabelle’s story
11:26
better for you tell us something has
11:28
adult themes in adult language
11:36
forgot to say that earlier
11:40
sorry
11:45
feather sherman took art classes since
11:47
she was six years old
11:48
at maryland institute of art then
11:52
eventually for two years at schuler
11:54
school of fine art
11:56
she earned her bachelor’s of science in
11:58
art education from towson university in
12:00
maryland
12:01
and a masters of arts in fine arts from
12:03
the university of montana
12:05
she is passionate about peace art
12:09
music rainbow gatherings her five
12:12
awesome kids and her grandbaby ryden
12:15
blue
12:16
please welcome feather sherman
12:36
yes
12:44
from my vantage point just below the
12:48
crown of a good-sized ponderosa
12:51
on the wild side of the clearwater river
12:55
i looked out as beautiful dawn
12:59
amber dawn gradually lit the sky
13:04
and the landscape below it was
13:07
so beautiful
13:10
i thank great spirit
13:14
the life-giving force of the universe
13:17
for the miracle
13:18
of this new day i took a deep breath
13:23
butterscotch
13:26
and then my son was had gotten up and he
13:31
was starting to fix breakfast
13:33
so i started climbing down the tree to
13:35
help him
13:36
and when i got about 20 feet above the
13:38
ground
13:40
i paused ah
13:43
that first cup of coffee is going to
13:45
taste so good
13:48
just then an unknown force
13:52
kicked my left foot off the branch it
13:55
was on as hard as you kick a football
13:58
and it kicked my right it jerked my
14:01
right foot off and suddenly
14:02
i was hanging by my hands
14:06
20 feet above the ground in midair
14:10
i was wearing my work gloves that had no
14:13
buttons on them
14:15
and they were beginning to slip
14:18
well i knew i’d have to think of
14:20
something pretty quick so
14:22
i decided uh i’m strongest on my right
14:25
side so i’m gonna
14:26
hang on with my right hand and then i’ll
14:29
let go with my
14:30
left and i’ll wrap my arm around the
14:31
tree and then my other arm
14:33
and then i’ll shimmy down till i get on
14:35
some good limbs down below
14:37
i thought yeah that’s the best that’s
14:39
the best plan
14:40
so i said okay here it goes and
14:44
i let go with my left hand and as i went
14:47
to wrap
14:48
my arm around the tree my body swung out
14:51
just far enough i could just graze the
14:54
side of the tree
14:55
i could not grab the trunk
14:59
and i realized that i was going down
15:04
in a matter of seconds
15:08
my right arm my right hand slipped
15:12
and i began to fall i thought
15:16
wow 110 pounds falling 20 feet
15:20
i’m going to be going really fast when i
15:22
hit the ground
15:23
but i’m not going to know how i can lan
15:26
how how to land
15:27
until uh i discover if i’m going to get
15:29
knocked around by the limbs so
15:32
uh i’ll just count 1 1 000
15:35
to 1 000. okay i’m
15:38
almost to the ground now how am i going
15:41
to land
15:41
let’s see um i don’t want to land on my
15:44
left side because i might burst my heart
15:46
so i’m going to roll to my right a
15:47
little bit and
15:48
i’m going to want something to get
15:49
around on so i’m going to put my foot up
15:52
and uh something’s gonna have to hit
15:53
first i guess it’ll be the other one
15:56
and i’m gonna tuck up a little bit i’m
15:57
like okay
15:59
this is the best position and then a
16:02
millisecond above the ground i went oh
16:05
in this position i’m gonna break my
16:09
neck
16:11
but there’s nothing i can do
16:14
i’ll just have to do my best because
16:16
here’s the ground
16:18
and i hit my body landed on the top of
16:22
the ground
16:23
i felt absolutely no pain but all the
16:26
rest of me kept going in the same
16:28
trajectory
16:29
down down down i flew
16:32
into the earth and eventually it was
16:36
like being on a trampoline and my speed
16:38
slowed
16:39
and then i hit bottom and then boom
16:42
i was back up in my body and
16:46
then i felt the pain i’d broken my foot
16:50
and my back and actually several other
16:52
parts but those were the main injuries
16:55
and i was laying there and i thought
16:59
this is a miracle i didn’t break my neck
17:04
this is the absolute miracle and then
17:07
i saw sparkles of silver and gold in the
17:10
air
17:11
and i felt this spiritual being behind
17:14
me
17:15
supporting my head neck and shoulders
17:18
i felt like a baby eagle tucked in the
17:21
breast of my mother eagle
17:22
so safe and warm and then
17:26
the spiritual being very gently laid my
17:28
head on the ground
17:30
and i’d landed on dirt and bunch grass
17:33
no rocks
17:35
just then my son came running over the
17:37
tree and he says mom
17:38
are you okay and i said yes i’m alive
17:42
and i didn’t break my neck i’m great
17:44
look i can wield all this and he’s like
17:46
wow i said well we’re gonna have to call
17:49
the helicopter
17:50
and uh i did break my back i know that
17:54
for sure
17:55
so pretty soon they made it pretty quick
17:58
in about half an hour
18:00
and as the emts came running over the
18:02
tree
18:03
one of them looks over and he goes hey
18:05
we thought we’d find a 10 year old kid
18:07
under this tree not a 50 year old woman
18:12
i said thanks a lot you guys i’m 64.
18:21
and i’m i’m not in shock and my vitals
18:24
are normal
18:25
and they said wow that’s great how is
18:28
your head and neck
18:29
and i said they’re fine look and i
18:31
wiggled all over again to show them
18:34
and they said well we’re going to bundle
18:35
you up and take you into the hospital
18:38
so then we got to st pat’s hospital and
18:41
they
18:42
did a beautiful job stabilizing my leg
18:44
and
18:45
getting me ready to have a clamshell
18:46
brace and
18:48
about three days later the doctor came
18:50
into the
18:51
to my room and he says where are you
18:53
living right now
18:55
and i said well uh temporarily i’m in a
18:58
friend’s basement
18:59
17 steps down and
19:03
in actuality i was going through a very
19:05
difficult time in my life
19:08
and going through a very hard breakup
19:11
with my husband of 16 years
19:14
so that’s why i was down in the basement
19:16
and
19:18
and he says well you know you have a
19:21
broken back
19:22
you can’t use crutches you can’t you
19:24
can’t go there
19:25
and i said oh my friends will carry me
19:27
up and down and he’s like
19:29
no uh you’re gonna have to find another
19:32
place to stay
19:33
or we’re gonna put you in a nursing home
19:36
and i’m like oh please not that
19:38
so i called everybody i could think of
19:42
and
19:43
no one had room for me anywhere and
19:47
i fell asleep and when i woke up i felt
19:50
like i was in the bottom of this
19:52
deep dry well and i was all alone and
19:56
there was no light and no
19:57
sound and i had never felt so alone
20:01
and so helpless before in my whole life
20:07
but then i cheered up a little bit and i
20:09
said okay feather what do you need now
20:12
and i said i gotta talk to somebody who
20:14
understands what i’m going through
20:16
so i thought oh i’ll call david milgram
20:19
up in flagstaff
20:21
he’s a wonderful healer and we worked
20:23
together with grandfather david menonge
20:25
of the hopies for 10 years during the
20:27
80s
20:28
so i called up david and let him know
20:30
what had happened and he goes
20:32
oh feather you really did it this time
20:36
but here’s the good news you’re going to
20:38
recover completely
20:39
and i’ll help you i’m going to help you
20:41
with vitamins and minerals
20:43
and when we get off the phone i want you
20:46
to call this number it belongs
20:48
to a very powerful lakota medicine woman
20:51
named susan and she works behind the
20:54
scenes
20:55
she lives in colorado so give her a call
20:58
and so i did i thanked david very much
21:01
and i called susan up on the phone
21:04
and i explained to her that i was a
21:05
friend of davids and what had happened
21:07
and she goes oh wonderful
21:10
wonderful she goes i see you
21:13
you’re way up in the air and surrounded
21:16
by fire
21:18
well i was on the fourth floor st pat’s
21:20
hospital looking down at the helicopter
21:23
pad
21:23
and seven and a half years ago we were
21:26
having a really bad fire season with
21:28
idaho on fire in southern montana
21:30
and the valley was full of smoke so
21:33
i knew she saw me and then she said
21:37
i’m doing a ceremony for you right now
21:39
and you’re in the center
21:41
i’m calling in the four thunder beings
21:43
of the west because they’re the most
21:45
powerful protectorate spirits
21:47
and then seven male warrior spirits and
21:50
seven
21:51
female warrior spirits are around you
21:53
right now
21:54
and they’re going to protect you and
21:56
help you to heal
21:59
and i want you to give a spirit offering
22:01
for them before you have your food and i
22:03
said yes i’ll be happy to do that i’ve
22:05
been taught that
22:07
by black elk’s great-grandson
22:10
and then she says feel free to call me
22:12
anytime
22:14
and just before she hung out the phone
22:16
she goes oh by the way
22:18
do you know who saved your life and i
22:21
said
22:21
i have a hunch and she goes you’re right
22:24
it was your father and he’s here with me
22:26
right now
22:27
and he’s laughing and he is so
22:31
happy that he was able to help and he’s
22:34
calling you gidget gidget
22:38
i completely forgot that when i was a
22:41
little girl
22:42
my dad called me gidget because i loved
22:44
the gidget goes hawaiian
22:46
and kitchen goes to summer camp movies
22:49
and i thanked her so much and hung up
22:51
the phone and then
22:53
my dad’s spirit came right into the
22:55
hospital room
22:57
and i raised up and we hugged each other
22:59
in a beautiful golden ball
23:01
of light and love and i was able to
23:04
thank him with
23:05
all my heart
23:28
thanks feather
23:34
how we all doing yeah
23:41
greg monroe of missoula is the father of
23:44
two adopted daughters who are now adults
23:47
with children of their own
23:50
in a long career as a trial lawyer
23:52
lawyer
23:53
including 30 years as a law professor at
23:55
the university of montana
23:57
he has made storytelling the core of his
23:59
advocacy
24:00
and is awed by this ancient and
24:02
beautiful communication
24:03
please welcome greg monroe
24:18
1983 was a time of great anxiety for
24:22
me and my wife we couldn’t get pregnant
24:26
we had tried everything she had told me
24:28
a couple years earlier that her clock
24:30
was running and
24:31
if we wanted to have children we had to
24:32
get at it
24:35
and the months were tough
24:38
we were making love according to formula
24:40
it was governed by
24:41
temperatures and the time of the month
24:45
each month was started with hope and
24:48
ended in despair
24:49
ultimately our doctors said why don’t
24:52
you consider adopting
24:54
so we went to the oldest adoption agency
24:56
of the oldest of the five institutional
24:58
adoption agencies in montana
25:00
in helena chodera that was part of
25:03
chodera children’s hospital
25:05
and started with them we met a wonderful
25:08
social worker there named becky jones
25:11
and we knew what to expect we’d seen the
25:14
movies and heard the stories and we knew
25:16
that
25:16
in infant adoptions through uh
25:20
institutional adoption agencies were
25:22
totally secret
25:23
the mother gave up her child to the
25:25
agency the agency picked the parents
25:28
place the baby and she would never know
25:30
what happened to the child
25:31
and the child as the child grew up would
25:33
never know what happened or who
25:35
where she came from or who her natural
25:38
parents were
25:39
some of the agencies at that time were
25:41
helping adult children
25:43
find their birth parents if the birth
25:45
parents consented
25:48
so becky took us through a
25:51
course in adoption and to prepare us and
25:54
then
25:55
and confirmed that this was all to be
25:57
completely secret
25:59
and then told us that okay you’re
26:01
expecting
26:03
i got the call in the middle of the
26:05
afternoon in january
26:08
from becky she said your baby’s here
26:11
i was ecstatic and then she said
26:14
something ominous she said
26:16
but there’s problems i thought oh my god
26:20
is the baby blind does she have a cleft
26:22
palate
26:24
uh are there legal problems
26:28
and becky went on and told me what had
26:29
occurred
26:31
they had gone to she and the doctor i
26:33
think went to
26:35
corey’s room cory was the birth mother
26:38
she was 15 years old
26:41
and becky said to this 15 year old
26:45
you were released you’re discharged you
26:47
can go back to the florence crittenden
26:49
home
26:50
now the florence crittenden home was a
26:52
home for unwed mothers
26:54
in helena and that’s a place where
26:57
when a young woman or a girl
27:01
was starting to show that she was
27:02
pregnant could go there
27:04
and stay for months and then have her
27:06
baby and then go back to school
27:08
and make up a story about where she’d
27:10
been
27:11
so becky said you can go back to the
27:14
florence kitten home then back to your
27:15
hometown
27:16
and corey said and you’re going to place
27:20
the baby today right
27:21
and she said no we’re not going to do
27:23
that and she said well when will you
27:25
place her and she said well two or three
27:26
weeks from now
27:28
and corey said what and she said with
27:30
two or three weeks from now
27:32
and corey said no no you gotta place her
27:34
today and she said no we don’t do that
27:36
the agencies keep the baby for two or
27:38
three weeks
27:39
where will you keep the baby well in a
27:41
crib here or
27:42
we’ll put her in foster care for two or
27:43
three weeks why would you do that
27:46
well it’s a cooling off period in case
27:48
you change your mind
27:49
i’m not going to change my mind look
27:52
you’ve got to place this baby with a
27:53
mother today
27:55
and if you don’t i’m going to take her
27:56
out here and parent her myself and i
27:58
don’t want to do that
28:01
becky said corey there’s something i
28:03
haven’t told you my mother died in north
28:05
dakota today
28:07
and my father is elderly and needs me
28:10
how about if i go to north dakota and i
28:12
take care of things with the family
28:14
and take care of him and i’ll come back
28:15
next week and we’ll place the baby
28:18
no you have to place the baby right now
28:21
it’s got to be placed today
28:25
and she was in a jam becky was
28:29
she said listen i’m going to have to go
28:31
talk to others in the adoption agency
28:33
here we’ll decide what to do we’ve never
28:35
been faced with this before
28:37
and corey said yes do that and while
28:41
you’re at it
28:42
i want to meet the parents i want to see
28:44
this baby
28:45
into the parent’s arms and
28:48
and i want it today and she said becky
28:52
said
28:52
we don’t do that no adoption agency does
28:54
that
28:55
you can’t meet the parents and she said
28:57
listen i’m going to take the baby out of
28:59
here.
29:00
so the agency had no choice she met with
29:03
them and they decided
29:04
they’d never been faced with this before
29:07
and
29:08
they decided that the only thing to do
29:10
was call us
29:11
so on the phone becky had two questions
29:13
of me one
29:15
can you come to helena right now and get
29:17
your baby
29:18
and two will you meet the birth mother
29:23
instantly i said you bet we’ll do both
29:24
and you to talk to my wife
29:26
and i hung the phone up called frontier
29:30
airlines
29:31
and as luck would have it they had a
29:32
flight leaving immediately
29:34
i picked the phone up to call my wife
29:36
and all the power and central billings
29:38
went out
29:39
and i couldn’t call her on our set so i
29:42
jumped in the car raced to her office
29:43
she was a cpa clear across town
29:46
ran in and said our baby’s here
29:50
and we we hugged we tried and uh
29:54
they were raised up to the hospital and
29:58
saint vincent hospital gave or
30:01
lent babies infant seats to
30:04
parents who were taking children out of
30:05
the hospital because that was back in
30:07
the days when people still drove around
30:09
in cars
30:10
carrying babies in their arms
30:13
so we flew to helena and we met uh
30:16
we went to the restaurant we’d agreed to
30:17
meet up near the airport
30:19
and becky was there and the
30:22
little girl corey was there cory was
30:25
carrying a
30:27
stuffed panda bear and in his arms
30:30
with a with a baby stuffed panda bear
30:35
and she and she handed it to us
30:38
and said this is for your baby
30:41
and we had a wonderful dinner i don’t
30:44
know how i got to dinner as you might
30:46
yes i’m very emotional
30:50
but corey was very engaging
30:53
self-confident we loved her it was
30:54
really great
30:55
and we had a very good time with her and
30:58
we uh
30:59
and the funny thing we asked her about
31:00
her interest and she said
31:02
i love riding horses and we said
31:05
well do you have a horse of your own she
31:06
said no i go to fairmont all the time so
31:08
we knew she was from anaconda
31:10
and so we agreed
31:14
to go where the baby was and take
31:16
pictures all together
31:17
and then we take her back to the
31:18
florence crittenden home which we did it
31:20
was really fun taking pictures
31:22
we went back to the floor and
31:23
straightened them home had left
31:26
corey went into the home and you can
31:28
imagine what you had to say
31:30
and the word spread like wildfire what
31:33
this 15 year old had done
31:37
skipping ahead we there were there were
31:39
legal problems as a matter of fact
31:41
corey had exercised her right of privacy
31:44
and refused to identify the father
31:46
frankly she told a story that was pretty
31:48
bogus
31:50
and so
31:54
about a year less than a year
31:58
after these events
32:01
corey wrote a letter to the agency to
32:03
becky
32:04
and penciled out this letter saying i
32:07
was just wondering
32:10
i need to see the baby and the parents
32:12
one more time to make sure
32:16
that she’s safe and secure so
32:20
and she said i know this might not be
32:22
possible and it’s okay if it isn’t
32:25
but if we can i’d really like to do it
32:27
around her first birthday
32:29
and she signed it and then across the
32:30
bottom of the letter she wrote
32:32
big letters please
32:37
and i said to the agency how would we
32:40
ever say no to that
32:42
so we drove to helena on a saturday
32:45
and we had all agreed to meet at show
32:47
there and we drove up to the curb and
32:49
there was only one car parked there
32:51
and that was from anaconda of course and
32:53
we went in and we met corey she looked
32:55
wonderful
32:56
and she was just great and she had
33:00
a boyfriend with her and he was blonde
33:04
he had a broad nose just like the
33:06
adorable nose my daughter had
33:09
and frankly i took one look at him and
33:11
thought this is the father of this baby
33:14
we had a wonderful meeting with him and
33:17
i suspected that we might hear more from
33:19
corey and by the way
33:21
we were advised before dinner and before
33:24
this meeting
33:26
that we wouldn’t identify use no last
33:28
names and would not talk about where we
33:30
were from
33:31
and because we had to maintain the
33:33
secrecy
33:36
so on that saturday
33:39
we met took pictures and all that and
33:42
then we did something
33:43
that was not scripted and i don’t know
33:47
to this day how
33:48
the agency felt about it but we agreed
33:51
with corey that we wouldn’t get together
33:54
again
33:55
and have no contact until andrea was old
33:58
enough
33:59
to ask questions and that the day that
34:01
she asked to meet her birth mother we’d
34:03
get back in touch with the agency we get
34:05
together
34:06
and that’s exactly what happened and i
34:07
think it was when andrew was about five
34:09
and a half years old
34:10
and we got together with her and both of
34:13
our daughters
34:14
had grown up knowing their birth mothers
34:17
and having
34:18
whatever contact they wanted to have
34:19
with them and
34:21
uh the word spread so fast
34:25
that all of the agencies were forced to
34:28
change
34:30
and today in montana adoption within
34:33
just a couple of years
34:34
it became policy that if you wouldn’t
34:36
meet the birth parents you went to the
34:38
bottom of the priority pile
34:39
or you didn’t get a baby at all and i
34:42
think that we’ve all learned
34:44
in the meantime that it is so much more
34:47
human
34:48
to have open adoptions and for all the
34:50
ups and downs it’s better to see the
34:52
road map
34:53
and better for children’s identity thank
35:00
you
35:17
thank you john
35:21
thank you to all of our storytellers so
35:22
far tonight
35:24
uh thank you to our american sign
35:26
language interpreters as well bonnie
35:27
curian and denise may
35:35
thank you to our title sponsor the good
35:37
food store and thank you to
35:38
all of our sponsors logjam presents the
35:41
wilma
35:42
cabinetparts.com missoula broadcasting
35:45
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filthy design and missoula bone and
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joint when you frequent these businesses
35:58
please thank them for their support of
36:00
tell us something and of live
36:02
storytelling in missoula and thank you
36:04
for being here tonight without you
36:07
tell us something can’t happen without
36:09
your loves
36:10
your open hearts and your open ears if
36:13
you are interested in potentially
36:14
joining tell us something
36:16
as a board member be in touch you can
36:18
contact us
36:19
via the website at telesumming.org
36:22
finally
36:25
the next tell us something event is
36:26
march 25th
36:28
the theme is lost and found we are to
36:32
yeah
36:34
we are taking story pitches for that
36:35
right now to pick your story go to tell
36:38
us something.org and click tell a story
36:40
you’ll get all the information you need
36:42
right now right there
36:44
we’re going to take a 10-minute
36:45
intermission grab a drink stretch your
36:46
legs
36:47
come back in 10 minutes for audience
36:49
participation thank you so much
36:58
welcome back
37:04
i would like to introduce you to my two
37:06
friends
37:08
lauren and ryder who are going to walk
37:09
us through the audience participation
37:11
portion of the evening
37:13
does one of you want to step over here
37:14
so i can get the mic
37:17
down right
37:20
got it angle you
37:24
all right so this is the first audience
37:26
participation story
37:29
tipping point or tipping over i woke up
37:31
in shivers after a night of drinking
37:33
tequila and eating masculine
37:36
i shook off a layer of frost and found
37:38
that i was chained to my motorcycle
37:40
what the i walked to the bar and
37:43
grill in
37:43
alberton and ordered breakfast the guy
37:46
behind the bar slid
37:47
slid my coffee down the bar soon
37:49
followed by eggs and bacon
37:53
how rude i thought i tossed in my money
37:56
and walked out
37:57
the ride home was freezing so when i got
37:59
home i curled up in bed until late
38:00
afternoon
38:02
upon rising i went to the bathroom after
38:04
peeing
38:05
i looked in the mirror it was shocked to
38:06
see that i had burrito puke in my bushy
38:08
beard
38:10
i no longer drink tequila
38:18
one day my husband said to me if you
38:20
can’t be passionate about me
38:22
and this life then you should leave
38:25
today
38:26
that was 20 years ago and i’ve never
38:28
seen him since
38:38
all right it was mid-august i was in a
38:40
large faded orange
38:42
orange colored raft from the 1970s named
38:44
marge
38:45
about to voyage down tumbleweed a rapid
38:48
in the alberton gorge
38:49
i forgot to mention it was my first time
38:51
rowing ever
38:53
i will let the pictures say the rest
38:59
i spent three years living in
39:00
minneapolis where it’s so cold in the
39:02
winter it hurts your face
39:04
my commute to work was about 45 minutes
39:07
in start and stop traffic
39:09
it was my third winter there and i was
39:11
driving home in the freezing snow
39:13
i called my boyfriend and told him i had
39:15
to make a change
39:16
i couldn’t do another winter there he
39:18
was on board we made a list of cities we
39:20
would want to move to
39:22
and started applying for jobs we both
39:24
got jobs in missoula within a week of
39:26
each other
39:27
having have lived here together for the
39:29
past two years and we’re getting married
39:31
here this summer
39:39
well i’m not comfortable sharing this
39:41
story on social media i do think it’s a
39:43
story that needs to be told
39:48
as a wayward but well-intentioned 17
39:50
year old i brought my girlfriend
39:52
now wife of 41 years home a half hour
39:55
later than
39:56
her curfew her father put her luggage on
39:58
the front porch
40:00
even i an obtuse rider of the
40:02
testosterone tsunami
40:04
figured out the message instead of
40:06
slinking however my wife and i went
40:08
in woke up my new in-laws and had it out
40:11
with
40:12
uh headed out with them regarding my
40:13
intentions
40:16
this month our nine and five-year-old
40:18
granddaughters will
40:20
join us at my father-in-law’s house for
40:22
christmas and i am attending tonight’s
40:24
tell us something with my daughter who
40:25
remains a golden light of my life
40:28
thanks
40:35
it was the eve of my birthday as i
40:38
tipped into my 30s i found myself
40:40
14 000 feet in the air strapped to a
40:43
heavily tattooed stranger
40:46
it was then that i realized that i had
40:48
passed the point of no return
40:50
this was my tipping point
41:01
seems more like a tip than a story but
41:04
moving the decimal one place to the left
41:06
that’s ten percent
41:08
double it for nice gratuity that’s my
41:10
tipping point
41:27
november 8 2016.
41:43
in high school my daughter used to put
41:44
her clothes in the dryer to warm her
41:46
clothes up
41:47
every morning i finally snapped and
41:49
started turning off the dryer breaker
41:57
i had forty dollars in my pocket and i
41:59
had not yet made my destination
42:01
having traveled from missoula to zurich
42:04
switzerland
42:05
it was 10 pm i was 19 and still had
42:08
miles to go
42:10
would i make it where would i sleep
42:20
when i had nothing more i could give you
42:22
and you couldn’t even give me the time
42:24
that was my tipping point
42:28
thanks guys
42:56
do
43:15
you

In the summer of 2019, Tell Us Something hosted a storytelling summer camp for youth at Zootown Arts Community Center. Seven young women worked together with Tell Us Something director Marc Moss for a week during the summer of 2019 to learn about how to decide what story to share, stage presence, story structure, elements of a story, keeping ourselves, our audience, and the characters in a story safe as well as making an emotional connection with the audience.
In this week’s podcast you’ll hear stories about a traffic stop that goes sideways on a road trip in Mississippi, the unexpected healing grace of a destructive hailstorm, a quadrepalegic who does the work required, to make a full recovery, and a bear tramping through a campground at night making things scary for our storyteller.
In this week’s podcast you’ll hear about a young woman’s journey to find her birth parents and the complications that result from that discovery, you will take a drunken ride in a car on homecoming night on a fateful drive near Browning, MT, you’ll buy a car in the heat of a Tennessee summer and finally, you will learn how to cook a the signature dish of a beloved chef, veal scaloppine alla marsala.