"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joanna Huffaker: My 3rd Story Buddy Found

This was a reunion picture of Joanna Huffaker and I while at the October 2008 meeting for the Utah Storytelling Guild Olympus chapter. After eight years since the BYU Storytelling Club, Joanna could still recognize me despite the costume.

Since there are three stories, I wanted three story buddies that I would meet at least on a weekly basis.

Until my opening story was found, you could say that I "reserved" for Joanna Huffaker to be my buddy.

I was thrilled when I learned she moved from the Idaho back to the Utah area. My joy was even more full when she came to the Salt Lake City area and attends the same chapter guild meeting for the Utah Storytelling Guild.

When I founded the Brigham Young University Storytelling Club in 1997, she was my Vice President for a couple years until she graduated.

Here are memories of my "first encounter" with Joanna:

At BYU we have an area known as "The Gauntlet". It is probably one of the most dangerous areas of BYU. The Gauntlet is about 150 feet in length. On one side are all the booths. The other side has a railing. The trick is to try to get through the Gauntlet without getting any fliers--at least as few as possible. A lucky day meant I only got 3 fliers instead of 50.

Since the only way across campus was through the Gauntlet, I got a lot of practice dodging people with fliers. It became an art. Of course, it helped that in high school I was on the Cross Country team--not that I sprinted across. I had an assistant coach who had the team cool down by speed walking. We had speed walking races back to the school. I was known as the Queen of Speed Walking.

But then my view of the Gauntlet changed when I realized I needed to become part of the Gauntlet. I had to tell everyone about the new storytelling club, which meant I had to have a booth. . .with fliers.

I had written the club charter and I had found advisers. Now it was time to recruit members.

I got the signs ready for the booth with all the information necessary. I armed myself with duct tape and signs and set-up the booth. I positioned myself in front of the booth--ready to talk to anyone who came within 30 feet of me. I chased after people the whole day. My legs and mouth were especially sore, but I didn't care. I had a whole week of booths.

Then one day, when I was a few inches from the booth, I heard "Thud!"

I looked to see where the sound had come from. A girl with long brown hair had dropped her backpack. Some of the contents spilled out, but she didn't seem to care. She furiously scribbled on a piece of paper.

I slowly approached her.

"Would you like to know about the Storytelling Club?" I asked.

The girl stopped her scribbling and looked at me. "That's what I'm writing down."

I introduced myself. "Hi, I am Rachel Parkinson and . . ."

"Oh! You're the one I'm supposed to contact for more info! Oh, wow! I'm Joanna Huffaker!"

At that moment, I knew Joanna was going to be a strong member. She came to the meetings with enthusiasm.

So now you know what I will look forward to her being my story buddy for the Irish story "The Changeling".

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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