Tag Archives: mommy’s piggy tales

A Good Story — YOUR Story

Technically, I never knew my grandma. But oh! The stories I know about her! I know that towards the end of her last pregnancy, she sat down in a chair and it broke. How her children laughed! And then subsequently were scolded by their father. Soon after, expecting one baby to be born, she delivered two bouncing baby boys! One was eight pounds, and the other nine. No wonder that poor chair broke…Grandma was carrying seventeen pounds of baby!

While I was never blessed to know my dear Grandma, I was blessed with a father (one of those bouncing baby boys), aunts and uncles who told many, many stories about their mom. And so, while I never met my grandma, I feel as though I know her.

As many of you know, my own mom died over a year ago. She fought desperately to stay here, to watch her precious granddaughters grow up. I am determined that my daughters will remember her and know her as they are growing up. Soon, I will be writing “Stories My Mother Told Me” at Mommy’s Piggy Tales, Janna Antenorcruz’s blog dedicated to storytelling.

Like me, Janna believes in the power of storytelling, and she describes why you should share your story in her new ebook, Share With Me: Someone NEEDS to Hear Your Story. Janna also gives practical advice on how to go about telling your story.

Janna speaks from the heart about why telling your stories IS important! Click here to view more details about Janna’s ebook. In Share With Me, Janna also includes stories from participants in her writing project “Mommy’s Piggy Tales.” (One of my stories, “Caught in a Blizzard,” is on page 17!) Janna is asking for a donation of $5 to $10 for her ebook, and included in the amount is the opportunity to tell your story during the next Mommy’s Piggy Tales session, starting February 3.

I’d love to read your stories, whether they are about you or your loved ones. Visit Mommy’s Piggy TALES to find out more!

Disclosure: If you buy Janna’s ebook by clicking one of the links above, as an affiliate of Janna’s I will receive a 50% commission.

Becoming a Teacher

I am guest hosting “My Young Adult Years,” a project to record my youth, over at Mommy’s Piggy Tales today. This is the post I wrote about My Dreams and Aspirations. Please visit Mommy’s Piggy Tales to link up your own story of Your Young Adult Years!

My dream begins early

I don’t remember the moment when I decided to become a teacher. I always loved working with children. When I was in junior high school, I took a babysitting clinic at our public library. I started to babysit a lot. When I babysat, I didn’t page through a magazine or do homework, like some of the babysitters I had as a kid. I played with the kids I babysat. We would run around outside or build towers with Legos. I remember having a dance competition when I babysat a little girl; it was the days when the movie Flashdance was all the rage. She’s a maniac, maniac, on the floor…and she’s dancing like she’s never danced before!

As I got older, I continued babysitting, but I was also asked to tutor a little girl in reading. Since I enjoyed that experience so much, I seriously began to think I should become a teacher.

What’s your major?

I went to a small, private university in Indiana, and I declared my major as soon as I started. I couldn’t wait to get all the general requirements and electives out of the way so that I could start working towards my main objective: Elementary Education. One of those requirements was a basic biology class. The professor liked me, and he offered me a lab assistant job. My job was to prep for labs and assist the students during labs. I was a lab aide for three years, and during that time I became intimate with the innards of a fetal pig, learned the secrets of photosynthesis, and set up hands-on quizzes for biology students. When it was time to watch the movie of a child being born, I had to check on the students who were looking as if they might faint. While I never earned much more than pocket money, this job reinforced my dream of becoming a teacher.

My roommate catches me in the act of writing a paper.
Notice the deep thinking I am doing!

A sacrifice is made

As I began to take education classes, I decided I wanted to study more than just elementary education. I also wanted to become knowledgeable in teaching children with special needs. I began to work toward an endorsement in learning disabilities. As part of my endorsement, I would have to take special education classes and then student teach in both a regular classroom and a special education classroom. Taking those extra classes would push my student teaching to the second semester of my senior year.

However, I had a conflict. Since I would be student teaching during the second semester, I would have to teach during the university’s spring break. Throughout my years in college, I sang with the Concert Choir, which, as the name says, gave concerts. During spring break, Concert Choir would travel and tour different areas of the country to perform. If I student taught second semester, I would be unable to tour. And if I was unable to tour, I couldn’t be in Concert Choir. I had to make a choice.

While singing was very important to me, I felt like my chosen career was more important. I had to give up Concert Choir. I was very unhappy that I had to give up choir that year.

Challenges arise

I did not have a car. Somehow, I had to find my way to schools for observations and student teaching. While not having a car made me very nervous, the education department did a great job of matching students without cars with students who did have cars. I met one of my best friends while carpooling to school for student teaching. After graduation, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and many years later, she brought her husband and their twins to my wedding.

When I was student teaching, I had three roommates who were not education majors. This caused some stress for me during my last semester. One of my roommates would constantly snack on my lunch supplies. I told her over and over again, “This is for my lunch at school! I can’t run out and buy a lunch!” (There was a field of white, woolly sheep next to the school I taught in. They weren’t about to share their clover.)

College students keep late hours, but I had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to get to school on time. After a full day of teaching, I wanted to be in bed by 10:00 p.m., but my roommates had a hard time understanding why I needed to go to bed so early. One of my roommates spent the night talking on the phone to her boyfriend. She would sequester herself in our bedroom so she could have privacy, and then get mad when I wanted to go to bed. There were no cell phones and no cordless phones. She would sit out in the hallway, the door cracked to let the phone cord out, and I would lie in bed trying to get to sleep.

I reach my goal

Despite it all, I loved student teaching. I loved getting to know the third grade students I taught. When I started teaching in a learning disabilities resource room for sixth grade, I loved the small groups I led. Student teaching was over way too soon for me; I wanted to stay in those classrooms until the end of the year to send those students on to the next grade.

However, it was also my turn to go on to the next step. I was on my way to becoming a real teacher. I graduated in 1991 with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Learning Disabilities. The true challenges were still ahead of me, and I had much to learn.

Write Your Stories Down!

Last June, Janna of Mommy’s Piggy Tales began a project to share our youth with our children. Every Thursday, I told a story about my childhood as if I were sharing it with my children. I’m happy to say that I finished the project, and now I have a collection of stories about my childhood for my children to keep, and hopefully treasure.

But my stories aren’t finished yet. The telling of Mommy’s Piggy Tales ended with the topic “After High School.” Many of the participants of Mommy’s Piggy Tales wrote in that last post that they couldn’t possible tell all that happened after high school in just one post!

So I was thrilled when Janna asked me to continue the storytelling! Every Monday, I will be guest hosting “My Young Adult Years” on Mommy’s Piggy Tales. Today, I wrote a preview about what’s to come with that project. Please click over to read more about “My Young Adult Years,” and join me in writing your stories down! You can also email me at lemondroppie(at)gmail(dot)com to sign up.

If you didn’t participate in Mommy’s Piggy Tales over the summer, now is your chance to join! Janna will begin a new session this Thursday, October 7. If you would like to record the stories of your childhood, read Getting Started for more information and to sign up.

I can’t wait to read your stories!

Tales of Southern Minnesota: The Power of Storytelling

It was evening. We were in a hotel room in Minnesota, my daughters tucked into bed after a long day. My husband settled in for the night. I quietly opened the door and left the room, heading for the lobby where I knew I would find some other members of my family. There were my aunts, uncles and my dad, seated around a table. I quietly joined them. Words swirled around me; cadences rose and fell, soft laughter filled the air. I soaked in tales of Southern Minnesota; listened to the challenges of life without running water. Like Jack and Jill, my uncles and aunts walked up the hill to the relatives’ house to fetch drinking water. Cistern water was used to wash dishes and to bathe. Words continued to flow and the current changed. Stories of schoolhouse bullies emerged and flying snowballs filled the room; the twins banded together to defeat those who picked on them. Storytelling continued late into the night, and I sat, listening.

Some of these stories I had heard before, some were new to me. I had emerged from my hotel room expecting to join my elders and hear tales that would transport me to their youth. That day, the day we buried my mother, was full of pain and sorrow. Listening to their stories soothed my body and soul.

 The field behind our hotel in Minnesota
If one of those oxen was blue, would you look for Paul Bunyan?

Long, long ago, this is how stories were told. Can’t you picture a fire in the middle of a tipi, with Native Americans gathered around to listen to their elders? Or a log cabin, fireplace burning, stories spinning around the room to while the evening away?

Oral traditions have preserved wonderful stories. Without them, Disney would have no material to draw on. Mother Goose would have no rhymes to lull babes to sleep. Our past would seem dull and uninviting without these stories to share. We laud the efforts of the brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and others who recorded those stories for us. Even now authors retell those favorite tales from long ago.

In the age of information and technology, we still love to tell and to listen to stories. My sisters and I will tell each other about the exciting or irritating things that happen to us. My daughters demand both stories that are ancient, such as The Three Little Pigs, and newer stories from my own past, like the one where I was stung by a bee when I was three. My husband tells stories about “Little Squirrel,” and my specialty is telling “Little Goose” stories. We all tell each other about our day. When do we find the time? A few minutes here and a few minutes there. On walks to the park, or when we are stuck in traffic. During dinner time, and right before bed time.

What is the last story you told? Tell me!

Record the stories of your own youth; visit Mommy’s Piggy Tales to find out how!

What was probably only a couple of hours seemed like an eternity

When I was in sixth grade, my parents found a slip of paper in the weekly circular that was delivered to our door. It said, “Paperboy Wanted.” And so Mom and Dad, in the interest of teaching my sister and me the value of hard work, got us hired for our first job.

My eleven year old sister and I were now required to take a stack of advertising fliers, roll each up into a cylinder, slip on a rubber band, and deliver these papers door-to-door in our small town of eight hundred. My sister walked one half of town, and I walked the other. Fortunately, instead of getting up at the break of dawn to deliver these papers, we were able to deliver them after school. I also thanked my lucky stars that since these were advertisements, I didn’t have to go door-to-door asking for payment. Unfortunately, every house got a paper and the time it took delivering a circular to each and every house seemed endless. Once a week, my sister and I walked home from school to start rolling papers for a strenuous job that paid very little.

One day, as I was trudging along the main street to deliver my load of tightly bound cylinders, the wind began to pick up. I looked up at the trees. Branches were waving back and forth, and the leaves were twirling around in the air. The sky was turning dark. A dog at the next house started barking. I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I wanted to turn back and go home; my house was only a couple of blocks away. But no, the lesson of working hard had already stuck. I kept on, looping rubber bands around doorknobs. It started to sprinkle. Big, fat drops hit the sidewalk. Then, the storm hit. Rain began pouring out of the sky.

Dad pulled up next to me in the car. He had come out searching for me on one side of town and my sister on the other. He helped us finish our route. In the drenching rain, we dashed out of the car to hang the paper from people’s doors, since that was what we were paid to do.

What a relief when our bags were empty and the papers were all delivered! Dad took us home. Mom placed two drenched, shivering girls into a warm bath and fed us dinner. I’ll never forget that feeling of coziness and comfort of finally being home and being taken care of.

To this day, if the wind starts whipping tree branches around, I feel uneasy. When I hear the sound of leaves rustling wildly in the trees, I shiver a little bit, even on a warm day.

Mama's Losin' It



Even though this session of Mommy’s Piggy Tales is over, I’m still writing about my growing up years! If you are interesting in writing about your youth, another session of Mommy’s Piggy TALES is beginning on Thursday, October 7. Don’t want to remember that far back? I’ll be guest hosting “My Young Adult Years” at Mommy’s Piggy TALES starting Monday, October 11. I hope you’ll join us!

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