Thomas Doty – Storyteller


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Grandma Maude

For me, storytelling began with my grandmother. Grandma Maude was our family storyteller. She gathered us children around the pot-bellied stove and told us stories ... stories from ancestors with a family connection to Takelma and Shasta Indians from where I live in southern Oregon, stories from our Irish and English ancestors who settled in the Rogue Valley in the 1800s, and stories from this amazing landscape we have called home for a long, long time.

Grandma Maude was a large woman. She didn't move around much. But she had a wonderfully rich voice, and different voices for animals and characters in the stories. And her hands were so expressive that they invited stories into the room. Those stories became our good friends.

Though Grandma journeyed into the next world when I was young -- I was only nine years old -- I have never forgotten her stories. And I hear her voices, all of them, inside my own stories.