This I Believe. . .by Barbara Lipke, Storyteller and Story Listener

Barbara - Massachusetts
Entered on April 3, 2009
Age Group: 65+

This I Believe . . .

I believe that this life is the life we have. Life is full of its ups and downs.

I have been enormously lucky. I am not young. . . rising eighty-four years. My childhood years seemed (at the time) to go by v-e-r-y s-l-lo-w-l-y. My teenage years and thirty-five and a half years of marriage much too fast.

My four children- now all in their fifties- have grown up to be a credit to me and to their (late) father.

My husband was a scientist- an entomologist (bug man)/nutritionist who studied the digestive systems of cockroaches. The animal rights people gave him no trouble! He was born with itchy feet and I “caught” them. and so we traveled a lot.

He studied and taught and did research in many areas of the world, and while he was doing his research and teaching, I got myself a small grant and traveled with him collecting tales and teaching storytelling to students and teachers. I believe that children remember stories they are told and tell.

I believe that telling stories is a powerful way to teach content- including Mathematics and Science! When students tell stories they remember everything in those stories!

When my husband died- much too young- I realized that if I were to go on living I would have to do something with my life- something meaningful to me.

I applied for- and got a small grant- to teach teachers and students to tell stories in the Brookline Public Schools. (The grant money came from fees charged to residents to collect their garbage!)

I was a member of L.A.N.E.S. (The League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling) and I joined the National Storytelling Network NSN. I also jointed the national organizations for English, Social Studies, Math and Science teachers. I traveled to math and science conferences and got myself on their programs as a presenter.

Very early one morning, the day before Easter, in L A., the last day of the conference, I arrived at the room where I was going to do my presentation, to find two people eating bagels. I had my suitcase with me, and I hoped to make it to the airport in time to catch the flight that would get me home in time to cook Easter dinner for my extended family. By the time the session was scheduled to start, there were twenty-five people in the room- most of them with suitcases and warm coats! At the end of my presentation a fifteen year old girl approached me. “Oh,” I thought, “I’ll never make my flight!”

“I’m an acquisitions editor from Heinemann,” she said.

“I’m in a hurry,” I said.

She thrust her card at me. “I really am. Call me when you get home,” she insisted.

Figures, Facts, and Fables, Telling Tales in Science Math has gone through six editions and I am still collecting enough in royalties to buy myself an occasional ice cream cone!