The Storytellers

The Storytellers, whether through words, music, or images, share things they’ve seen, heard, or experienced.  That’s what storytellers do.


I realized I was a storyteller way back in the 5th grade.  There’s something about figuring out how to tell a compelling story with just the right words (or images, or music) that fascinates me. 


As a filmmaker and writer, I guess I’m kind of a professional observer.  I see things and I wonder.  I wonder what has been, and I wonder what might be.


Sometimes I look at something or someone and think about all the parts of the story I don’t know. 

I saw this sweater the other day when I visited one of our CEO classes (thanks, Bailey, for sending photos).  Sixty-eight years ago, this sweater mattered.  Maybe it mattered a lot.  Now it’s a fashion accessory. 


When I see something like this, it makes me think.  Who owned it originally?  Was the day they received it the absolute best day of their life?  Did they say to themselves, “Life will never be better than it is this minute!”? 

I wonder when the sweater left his hands.  Was his life so successful he didn’t require evidence of his high school prowess?   Was he the kind of person who felt it wasn’t necessary to wear badges of achievement on his arm? Did he go to college and feel that it wasn’t such a big deal any more?


Did he have children?  Did he pull the sweater out and tell his kids how important the sweater was to him?


Or did he never talk about it?  Did his children come across it after his death and give it away, not realizing its significance?


How many people see this particular sweater and find themselves transported back across the years, to the moment when they received their own letter sweater?  Does the sweater evoke a memory of some big man on campus who was kind to them at an important moment?  Does it evoke a memory of the same type of guy, but thoughts of bullying and being mean?


Isn’t it interesting how a “thing” can occupy a place of such importance, but only for one person?  Isn’t it interesting how many memories and feelings can be attached to a “thing”, so meaningful to one and completely without meaning to another?


We’ll never know all of what is woven into the yarn of this particular bit of history.  We’ll probably never know whose it was, or what it meant to them.  We can wonder, though.