Recently, we traveled via Amtrak from Portland to Chicago. Our destination a small town in Tennessee by rental car.
Our grandson, Kory, graduated high school on May 18th and that ceremony was part of our reason for travelling. However, we have other family in the area we visited as well. More about that later.
What I want to write about here are the stories we heard and shared with total strangers, who became friends, as we travelled the journey mapped here.
The morning after our trip began on a Monday afternoon we met a mother and her young daughter, Evelyn, aged 3. Their trip was a surprise graduation gift for Evelyn’s aunt. Grandma was disappointed they couldn’t come, so bought their train tickets. Evelyn regaled us with her stories of the train trip so far.
Evelyn’s storytelling skills were amazing, her use of words astounding. Curiosity drove us to ask her mother how Evelyn had gained such a command of the language. Evelyn’s dad began reading to her as soon as she came home from the hospital, and as a family they share stories in the evening about their days. Kudos to this young family! I predict Evelyn may be a writer some day.
Among our travelling companions were three young adult women committed to the German Baptist Brethren faith. Each of them had been to a place of service in the Northwest, and now they were on their way to an annual camp meeting. Their peaceful and quiet conversation, coupled with their delight in sharing about their growing up and current lifestyle, made for pleasant company as we travelled. The photo here is not of these young women, but it is representative of their dress.
The storytelling skills these three shared were gifts passed down through generations. One of them was constantly writing in a journal. Yet more evidence of the importance of sharing our stories with our children, grandchildren, and others, and the benefit of recording in a journal to remember the stories we want to share.
Our interactions with Evelyn and our German Brethren friends grew short as the rails sped under and behind us. We reached Chicago not having met too many others on the train, at least who excited us with their storytelling quite like these already mentioned.
The trip to Chicago was about 48 hours and then we had another eight hours of driving.However, our arrival was in good time for graduation on the 18th. And we’re so proud of Kory, seen here with my husband, Bob, following his graduation ceremony.
Our first night together with our daughter Suzanne, her son Kory and Bob’s ex-wife, Linda, was a time of sharing stories and catching up. The storytelling had caught my attention on the train, and I wanted to spread that gift throughout our family.
Kory has done amazing things the past 12 years. Kory has completed his education in spite of ADHD and Asperger’s. Although he is still combating difficulties in some areas, Kory’s determination led him to apply to and receive acceptance from a local university in his home town. In fact, the white honor cord he is wearing is for achieving one of the highest ACT scores in his class, an accomplishment which has earned him a couple of scholarships.
I have much more to share with you about storytelling, family, the highs and lows of our journey and what I learned about people and their stories. Come back on Monday, June 3rd, for the next installment.