I remember at a very young age when ever I went to family reunions, I would hear various stories about my family. Stories about my grandfather and grandmother were very memorable. This elevated my curiosity about life and it’s meaning. It also contributed to my imagination. At 4 years old, I saw a ghost in my father’s funeral home. I saw people walking around one day, and in a few days later it seemed they were ghosts haunting me and making me wet the bed.
As I grew, I continued to hear stories, laughters, legends, and gossip in my mother’s beauty salon. Most of the women, were thoughtful and cared about me. They would give me food, advice, money and would tell me how cute I was. I really felt like my home town was my community. Later, I found that I belonged to the largest black family in Hannibal, Missouri.
At the age of nineteen, I received an incredible opportunity to apprentice under Master storyteller Dr. Gladys Caines-Coggswell through the Missouri Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. We competed for that position and were selected two years in a row by a community of our peers. Through the Missouri Folk Arts Program, I also received training to become an Artist as Teacher, a Community Scholar, and a skillful storyteller.
Today, I receive many invitations from around the United States to tell stories to others. I have witnessed a change of attitude from negative to positive in people who’ve heard my stories. Children of all ages have asked me to tell to them over and over again. It is an amazing feeling. I believe I can give back for this wonderful gift of storytelling that I have received. I want to make the world a better place to live in.
I have obtained a degree in Elementary Education from Harris-Stowe State University (St. Louis) and went on to receive a certificate in Cross Category K-12 Special Education. I am currently using those tools to teach students with Exceptional Education Skills. I believe stories serve and improves many functions in our day-to-day lives. Stories are the key to raise the ability for people to think more positively about themselves and others.