I present to you – Bayou Barbie and the Gator Granny!

I’ve been teaching preschool since 1994, I think. My first job was only for four months. I told them when they hired me that I would only be there for four months because I had a gig at the Fresno Art Museum as Storyteller in Residence in February. That seemed to be OK with them. After the residency I went looking for another preschool job because I enjoyed the children. After annoying the director for several weeks, I was hired at Children’s Creative World and would be working with Karen Mattox in Pre-K. Sometimes the world just falls into place. …

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We are now entering the Land of Ghosties…

I was very pleased with last week’s storytelling workshop with Terrance Mc Arthur. It was well attended – not to many, not too few, just the right amount. Terrance was talking about family and personal stories, and one of his “story starters” was “Your first job.” Ah, I remember it well. 1969. I was 18 years old and fresh out of high school. I was a nurse’s aide at The Clovis Nursing Home. It was on Clovis Avenue in a beautiful old house called Wolfe Manor. Wolfe Manor, sadly, was torn down recently. Built off the back of the house …

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This is my Daddy: Part Two

This is Daddy in 1951, the year I was born. I had the honor of writing Daddy’s obituary in the newspaper: Claude J. Godfrey was born April 6, 1926 in Keota, OK and passed away January 14, 2011 in Madera at the age of 84. He was a resident of Madera for 80 years and graduated from Madera High School in 1945. He was retired from the CHP as a commercial vehicle inspector. He was preceded in death by father Alvie Godfrey, mother Ruth Godfrey, wife Ruth Gates Godfrey, brothers JR and Lee Godfrey, and son Kenneth Godfrey. He is …

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This Is My Daddy: Part One

That’s my Daddy and his bluegrass group, The Swept Wing Chicken Thieves. He’s the big-eared guy to the left of the guy with sunglasses. Daddy died just three months before his 85th birthday , January 14, 2011. But he’s still around in so many ways: The guitar he gave me (or, that I talked him out of) when I was thirteen is hanging on the wall of my office/studio. There is also a wooden collage of a fiddle player that I sent to him from Ireland. I also have an Aran Cardigan that I sent him from Ireland. I don’t wear it because …

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to friends and family around the world, and around the corner

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! This is a small painting I did a few years back. I also did an intricate embroidery of it. I did the painting for my friends Alberta and Gordon Herrick. As many of you know, I met my husband, Brian, when I was on vacation in Ireland in 1984. He ruined my whole vacation, so I had to marry him, to get even. He says I’m doing an excellent job. I lived with him there in Listowel, County Kerry for six years. It was an interesting time. I had the opportunity to participate in every-day …

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Adventures in Sibling Land

Anyone with a baby sister can probably relate to this story. We were living in Antioch, California, in the San Francisco Bay area. I was probably six or seven at the time. I was four when my baby sister, Kathy, was born. My brother, Kenny, was a year and a half older than me. We doted on that little baby girl. We spoiled her. But that, of course, didn’t stop us from doing the normal big brother and big sister things. Like telling her that she should catch bees and keep them as pets. Ouch! Yes. we loved her, but …

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Scrambled Eggs, Grasshoppers, and Other Memories

I loved visiting Grandma and Grandpa Gates when I was little. They lived in a tiny house about 10 miles west of Madera. It was just ‘down the road a piece’ from the little country store they would own many years later. The photo above is of my brother, Kenny, and me in the garden in front of the shower house. The shower was in a little building out back, with a slatted floor. I was afraid that there were snakes under the slats, but I loved it anyway. I knew there were lizards, but I was never afraid of …

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