FOR SENIORS; ALSO, HOLIDAY STORIES FOR SENIORS
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure
to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material
is not in the public domain)
found sing-alongs to be very popular with seniors. I had 2 songs
in my St. Patrick's Day program this year at a senior center.
Next year I'll include more.
2) I always tell Life Savings by
Ahlman. It's great.
3) You could tell my version of Master of All Masters -- see
I've added an Xmas tree to the story -- I just couldn't believe
that a cat's tail, catching on fire, could cause a whole farm
to burn down.
4) Your seniors might like these two stories in two picture books:
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
by Susan Wojciechowski (Scholastic/Candlewick 1995) and The
Night Tree by Eve Bunting (Harcourt 1991). In The
Night Tree, a family at Christmastime treks through snowy
woods to decorate a pine tree with food for the wild animals.
In The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey,
a widow and her son struggle to befriend a lonely woodcarver.
5) You might try to tell Christmas Crabapples.
You may remember our previous discussion of Rubezahl, the mountain
spirit from German folklore.
6) AWhat came to mind was the Kate Dudding story of The
Red Sweater that the mother or grandmother knit and like
the tailor it keeps getting smaller and smaller until it's a Xmas
ornament but it still reminds her of her mother and she still
has a story to tell about all the things she made with the red
yarn and the red hearts. I found it truly a story to tell all
ages. I wouldn't tell Queen with Cold Heart
to seniors but I would tell and I have told Mrs.
Mondry in Joining In. It's
so funny how they shout out the answers, especially the cigar
and a lovely closing story. Another one I like to tell to this
age group is about a lady who saves her favorite days in little
boxes so she can relive them at an older age and after she relives
them she dies and her friends find one unopened box and it filters
into them and it's when she was 4 1/2 .She saved one half hour
and it's still floating around out there infecting others who
begin to act like 4 year olds.. Life Savings
Comment: That is by the late Alan
Ahlberg. It was published in his collection called The
Clothes Horse and is sometimes known as The
Woman Who Saved Time.
Further Comment: Allan seems not
to be 'the late.' His wife and writing partner, Janet Ahlberg,
died in 1994.
7) At my Quilts and Stories session at the Alzheimer's unit last
week, I built my program around the themes of winter and gift
giving. Being an agnostic of Jewish background, I don't feel comfortable
doing religious stories, and, by temperament, I'm not drawn to
the very sentimental stories. So, I combined personal experiences
of growing up in Detroit and earning money for presents by shoveling
snow. Two of the stories I told in this context might work for
you: The Gifts of Wali Dad (or Story
of Wali Dad the Simple-Hearted, both of which are available
on the web) and the ice fishing story about Keeping
the Worms Warm.
Keeping the Worms Warm
It was a cold winter day. An old man walked out onto a frozen lake, cut a hole in the ice, dropped in his fishing line, and waited patiently for a bite. He was there for almost an hour, without even a nibble, when a young boy walked out onto the ice, cut a hole in the ice not next to him. The young boy dropped his fishing line and minutes later he hooked a Largemouth Bass.
The old man couldn't believe his eyes but chalked it up to plain luck. But, shortly thereafter, the young boy pulled in another large catch.
The young boy kept catching fish after fish. Finally, the old man couldn't take it any longer. "Son, I've been here for over an hour without even a nibble. You've been here only a few minutes and have caught a half dozen fish! How do you do it?"
The boy responded, "Roo raf roo reep ra rums rrarm."
"What was that?" the old man asked.
Again the boy responded, "Roo raf roo reep ra rums rarrm."
"Look," said the old man, "I can't understand a word you're saying."
The boy spit the bait into his hand and said, "You have to keep the worms warm!"
Another one I told at a Hanukkah party
two weeks ago might also work - that's the story about Filling
the Barn, the outline of which was posted on Storytell
some years ago. Another thought about gift giving is the series
of short takes on Marketplace - a
public radio show about economics. Each day last week they featured
a person talking about the best gift he or she ever received.
The three I remember hearing were: The gift of Life by a young
man whose mother got pregnant out of wedlock in wartime. The gift
of a large-key calculator given to a first year special ed teacher
by one of her students, of whom she thinks every time she uses
it. The gift of a drum sent to a young woman by her boyfriend, "who always knows what I want -- but of course, I'm always
telling him, too!"
Added comment: I used this with at a mixed age luncheon of neighbors and friends, found that I could personalize it to the group. For example: I used the version that mentioned both light and song as filling the barn. Since we had a birthday member at our luncheon, and we'd just sung "Happy Birthday," I mentioned that today the house was filled with light, song - and even more valuable - friendship or love.
8) O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi is a great senior story that they all know and love. I have found
that The Polar Express is also great
for this audience.
9) For those of you who wanted a copy of Remember When?...This
is the basis for my chapter in The Healing
Heart ~ Communities. Copies ARE for sale . . .
The best stories are those which happened to each of us! Remember
when you used to walk three miles to school . . . Up hill both
ways . . . With snow drifts over your head . . . Barefoot . .
Well, sometimes our memories are better that way! Lets go
back in our memories and pick up some of those stories of events
that made us what we are today!
Where Were You and what were you doing...
How did your celebrate...
Toys and things...
Courtship and Marriage...
(This web page updated 5/9/04)