Goodbye, blue skies and mild days! Wednesday, November 6th the temperature was falling. Snow too…But fans of live storytelling were un-deterred, filling Sugar Maple quickly. The third slam of Season 11 turned out to be the night of the newbie! All kinds of magic took place, thanks to brave tellers, and an anonymous supporter who issued a fundraising challenge to the crowd.
First up was Diane Jakubowski. At the time her father suffered an aortic aneurysm, it had been two years since he’d recognized his wife, Diane, or Diane’s daughter. Dementia had done that. At the hospital, Diane immediately accepted that this was where his unquestionably well-lived life ended, and told him she loved him.
However, when her brother called her a year later with late birthday greetings, it was a different story. He’d been in the hospital once again, struggling with the toll alcoholism had taken over his 50 years. He’d always had plans – to get clean and healthy – but his time ran out. When she told him, on their last call It’s OK, I’m here, she had to accept that, unlike their father, he really hadn’t lived.
Monica Thomas and her mom looked after a family friend, Kiyoko, whom they called K-san. K-san used to hold Buddhist chant meetings at her home. In time, she’d forget, and people would arrive at the appointed time to find her in her bathrobe. They teamed up to take care of her.
One day Monica arrived to visit K-San and found her mother already there…K-san had passed. Yet the first thing Monica’s mom said was she needs underwear! She didn’t have anything suitable for burial. It was a strange way to announce her passing, but Monica, her mom and K-san had always shared a wry sense of humor. Monica and her mom still laugh about it.
Sarah Beth Nelson had a different twist to goodbye. She described her bra-shopping life, from pre-teen to mother of two. Many – well most bras – were too big for her. After her second child was weaned, she headed to Target, hoping she’d grown into what was available. She found a bra she liked and ordered something like it online. It arrived – way too big. Nursing hadn’t permanently enlarged her, and she had to say goodbye to her dream of a bra that fit.
Rita Dragotta’s maternal grandpa was so vital that his death at the ripe age of 96 came as a surprise. She was close to him. She felt that most deeply when she went through his house. She had memories attached to his things – VHS tapes of movies they’d watched together, his odd clocks. Each of his things embodied him and their bond, so she said goodbye to all of them.
Jonelle Bowers met a woman online when she moved to Chicago. They went on a lovely date. Their relationship was great, except for the fact that Janelle felt no sexual attraction whatsoever. She couldn’t bring herself to be forthright about this. When her crappy job offered her a transfer to Boston she welcomed the out. However, she was shipped back to Chicago three months later, and finally had to come clean and end it.
Now, after the first two tellers, the hat was empty! The call went out. It’s a tribute to the atmosphere that several people who’d come without plans to share stories felt brave enough to step up. One of them was Meghan Ormsby – at her very first Ex Fabula slam.
Megan got up and knocked everyone back with a searing tale – also about what happens when dementia steals a loved one. Last year Megan lost a valued friend. This year, she lost her mother, her cat and her home. She described an unforgettable, un-erasable, moment, at 3:00 AM. Her mother looked at her with ice-blue eyes and asked Who are you?
This woman had adopted her and fought for her in the courts – saved her. She’d been a rock in Megan’s life. When she looked point blank at Megan and asked her who she was, Megan feels like she lost herself, and her purpose. It was the hardest goodbye of all.
Amy Ali was in a dense crowd at Summerfest, winding her way back to friends with a beer in hand. She was almost stuck when a guy “let her pass” but put his hand on her behind and squeezed. She was violated, and enraged. She turned and went off on him and she wasn’t alone. A group of five women she’d never met joined in! They collectively chased him out. Goodbye to the age of the silent bystander! Goodbye to dealing with it alone. She pressed charges. Goodbye to getting away with it.
Katherine Beal lost her mother unexpectedly last May. She didn’t really say goodbye. In fact she left the hospital abruptly. But now, special jokes she and her mother shared come back to her – things that cracked them up, phrases from Sixteen Candles they repeated together. Katherine mused that maybe there’ll never be a goodbye, because her mother stays with her this way.
The night’s final teller was Ex Fabula’s own Kennita Hickman. Breaking up is hard, even when you know without a doubt it’s the best thing to do. One night, her boyfriend was over. He’d brought food and they were settled in watching TV together. It was cozy, but something he said about a commercial made Kennita realize that his future plans for wealth and marriage didn’t include her; and she had no time to waste, knowing this.
Her mood soured, but it was six weeks before she found the courage to break it off. He made it easier by being nowhere around when she wanted to share her joy and pride on completing a project. She had to text him to break up! When Kennita announced a new job on LinkedIn, he reappeared, apologetic. She told him how he’d hurt her. His reaction, or lack thereof, convinced Kennita that her first thought was right – no future there. Goodbye.
Join us on November 17th for StorySlam: Food, an ALL AGES slam – so bring the entire family!