Letting Go

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.

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.


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


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


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.


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


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,


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.


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].


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].

Hey, this is Gabe from

Geco Designs. We’re proud to sponsor. Tell us something. Learn [email protected]

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


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.


ties and tuxedos

and crushed velvet dresses


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