|MJM as newspaper reporter 1960s|
Since I was a child growing up in the small community of Chapleau in northern Ontario, story has been central to me whether I was playing in the living room or creating my own plays for the Junior Red Cross Society performances in Grade at Chapleau Public School.
Thanks to my mother, Muriel E (Hunt) Morris, who instilled a love of reading in me before I could hardly walk, and gave me the freedom to explore all the great children's literature of my time, story has been the place where I have lived.
Little did I realize that my experience as the Chapleau High School reporter (with Joy Evans) for the long gone Mid North News, and a television program on CHAP TV in 1958 (with Phyllis Chrusoskie,and others) would lead to a lifetime spent telling stories and talking about the stories of others in classrooms in Ontario and British Columbia. And people even hired me to write stories about people and events in daily newspapers, for television, in magazines and the internet and books.
I worked as a reporter and/or editor at several daily newspapers including the Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon), Kingston Whig-Standard, Timmins Daily Press, Chatham Daily News, Brampton Times and was northern Ontario correspondent for the Toronto Star.
And yes, as any of my students will tell you, I loved to tell stories. Not all were necessarily appreciated of course and I was once criticized in student evaluations when I was at College of the Rockies for talking too much about my beloved cat Buckwheat. A student wrote that he/she got nothing from my course because "All he ever did was tell stories about his cat Buckwheat." Yes, for sure at times I got carried away on my favourite topics, like hockey when I was in Chapleau.
When I mentioned to one of my former students in a talk on Facebook that I was also into Chapleau politics, she replied, "Yes, I know, but really you did hockey." And yes, to any of my students who may read this, I know that Monday was hockey story day if we won, and no comment when we lost!
|MJM 2016 a Michael Pelzer Photo|
Today I am learning to listen to the voices of so many former students who are taking time to share part of their stories with me on Facebook, and telling stories about me too. Thank you so much.
I agree with Reynolds Price, the writer, that to "tell and hear stories is essential" -- and he argues it comes second after nourishment and before love and shelter. "Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day's events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths."
In my life for sure, in the brightest and darkest moments, the sound of story is the dominant sound. Think about it. For example today there is nothing I enjoy better than hearing from my great friend Mike, who shares stories from his life with me and makes my day.
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