Rabbit Box: Fatherland by Marci White
Thursday, June 11, 2015
In June we heard touching and terrific stories on the theme “Fatherland” at The Foundry. Guest MC Christopher Becerra was the charming and witty host.
Elise Stangle, the director of Rabbit Box, opened the night with her first story on stage, telling about a happy childhood interrupted when her father, Phil Stangle, began to suffer a slow deterioration from a degenerative disease, eventually dying when Elise was not quite 18. Her father is fondly remembered, among other things, for being the creator of The Taco Stand, a popular local Mexican eatery.
Paul Quick wanted to feel like he mattered to his larger-than-life minister dad, but they had a hard time understanding each other. He had to wait until one of the hardest years of his adult life to see that his dad cared for and supported him in unexpected ways.
In the tiny town of Empire, Michigan, Mark Evans‘ charismatic preacher father goes to bat for him after Mark experiences bullying from an overbearing coach.
Growing up in Florida in the 1960s with just her mom, Mary Miller had disturbing revelations after thinking her dad was dead, to finding he was not, to finding he was.
Ruta Abolins‘ name was chosen from the Crackerjack box, and she took the stage to tell us of her journey in search of her “fatherland,” the place her parents immigrated from: her luggage but found some things she was looking for.
Disney World was his dad’s favorite place, his grandfather’s favorite place, and, as a child, was woven throughout Matthew Epperson’s family life. As he grew older and Matthew’s love for Disney dimmed, he found that a distance had also grown between him and his dad.
Mel Cochran was largely raised by her “smaller big brother” and her “brother bear” after her mother (“The Glue”) was unable to care for her after her birth, and her mean Marine dad suffered a permanent brain injury. Her brothers “loved to torture” her but also just plain loved her.
Chuck Horne discovered a new kind of homeland when he spent 6 months living in Perth, Australia.
Naji Lyon was intimidated by his gruff strongman dad, the foreman at a rock quarry. When he was finally able to get his exhausted and exacting dad’s attention to help him make a car for a Boy Scout’s derby car race, the stakes are high for his car to win first place.
Rabbit Box: Mother Lode
By Melissa Harwood
Rabbit Box’s Motherlode stories brought tears and laughter to all of us in the audience. The stories told were in honor of the honorable mothers and mother-figures in the lives of our storytellers and for everyone listening in. Mary Whitehead was our lovely and spirited Master of Ceremonies.
Our first storyteller of the evening was Robin Whetstone, who discussed one of the major challenges of motherhood: making mom friends.
It’s difficult to let go of those mementos that remind us of our loved ones. After her mother passes, Mariel Blake has to confront all the precious items left behind and searches for something she’s lost.
Paul Guillebeau discusses the three women in his life he loved the most: his wife, his mother, and Mary Daily, his childhood caretaker.
On a trip to Yosemite in 1968, Kathleen Cason is awakened by her fashion-forward mother for a frantic late-night drive. Thinking back to that night, Kat realizes that all the life lessons her mother taught her have made her the person she is today.
Ship engineer Mony Abrol learns a hard lesson on just how precarious disrespecting your mama can be.
Wanda White, our crackerjack storyteller of the night, talked about the loving bond between her parents and their everlasting conversation with one another.
After deciding to move in with her elderly mother, Jan Turner tries to overcome the history of her rough childhood in order to mend the ravaged bond between mother and daughter.
After giving birth to her first child in a military hospital in Texas, Jennifer Bray decides that natural births closer to home bring more joy and intimacy to her family.
Rebecca McCarthy’s answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was always to be her fearless, beautiful, smart, and funny mother. This is the story of being strong even as life ebbs.
Debbie From teaches us that our children love us just the way we are, mustachioed or not.
Rabbit Box returns in June with Fatherland on Thursday, June 11th.
Thank you everyone who joined us for last night’s “Mother Lode!” With our crackerjack surprise storyteller we had 10 stories in all in tribute to our beloved mothers and grandmothers spanning cradle to grave and every laugh and tear in between. We hope you join us for next month’s “Fatherland” back @Foundry – we still need storytellers!
Thank you to all of our storytellers last night, our volunteers, Foundry staff and listeners. Remember we now have stickers on sale for $2, glossy vinyl, the high quality kind you can show off to friends and family. It’s a great way to say “I am part of the Rabbit Box community!”
Until next time, keep on tellin’.
Rabbit Box: Sink or Swim
By Melissa Harward
In the cool breeze of Thursday night an eager audience spilled over the sand on the edge of Lake Chapman at Sandy Creek Park for Rabbit Box’s evening of stories around the theme of Sink or Swim. Alex White, our emcee of the evening, had asked the storytellers about their favorite body of water, an appropriate theme for the evening’s beautiful setting. As the sun dipped down, the Rabbit Box audience listened to stories of determination, independence, and survival.
In the first story of the night, life-long swimmer Craig Page explained that water is just like life: If you fight against it, it will most certainly fight back. After a long period in his life when he was just treading water, he found joy again in swimming.
Navigating the world’s most populous city alone at night with a language barrier and a dead phone can be daunting. Fortunately for Tara Stuart, life lessons usually reveal themselves only when you’re lost.
The night before her first triathlon, Sayge Medlin receives harrowing news about an old friend. This is a story of deep ties, regrets, and pushing forward.
A photograph Alan Black took in Abu Dhabi lands him in prison, where he is shackled, hooded, and at the mercy of strangers while people around the world worked for his release.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the evening was Blair White, who described her battle with depression. After an eye-opening incident with her neighbor, she learns we are never really alone with our struggles.
If you want to take a drive into the deep end, Ansley Hayes’ grandmother knows how to make it a party. Ansley regales us with a story of a trip to the beach with her family and her water-loving Nana.
Former mayoral candidate Tim Denson’s adventures in his hometown in south Florida usually involved jumping off things into water. Luckily he lived to tell the tale of a near-miss with an oncoming ship.
Aaron Joslin recalls a midnight swim in Costa Rica when he fought to save someone — and himself — as time slowed to a crawl.
Lizzie Payne echoes T.S. Elliot with her sentiment that April may be the cruelest month. When her battle with depression takes a turn for the worse, some ludicrous advice from a therapist opens up a new world of support.
Thank you to Mark Woods for the wonderful lighting set-up, to Kip Connor for the live sound and recording, and to the staff and volunteers at Sandy Creek Park for a perfect evening. Rabbit Box will continue into the summer with Mother Lode in May and Fatherland in June.
Rabbit Box’s “Game Day!”
By Melissa Harward
Game. Set. Story.
Last week, Rabbit Box fielded a strong team of storytellers who entertained the crowd with musings on “Game Day”: competition, family ties, celebrations, and more. (Good old fashioned hate was a play on the UGA/GT rivalry)
Mary Whitehead was our lovely emcee of the evening.
Our first storyteller, Paige Howell, admitted that she never did learn to speak Spanish well despite years of studying the language. Paige brought us a tale of a typical Ecuadorian fútbol game full of team spirit, good hamburgers, rowdy crowds — and tear gas.
Rabbit Box veteran Ivan Sumner criticized the militaristic brutality of American football. In watching his sons play the game, however, his view softened.
Community Connection Executive Director Fenwick Broyard explained how the sports he played as a young man have shaped his decision-making, his relationship with his father and his management style today.
Hunt Brumby’s important and beautiful considerations about legacy and mortality rang out in his story about attending a baseball game with his father.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the night was Claire Coenen, who reminded us that miracles can happen even at our most embarrassing moments.
Librarian Tanya Hudson’s fortitude in battling UGA game-day traffic and parking nightmares is an inspiration to us all. She fights traffic and some precarious stairs to save the day for a friend in need.
Stevie King spoke of the magical relationship between baseball and his son, Seaver (better known as #2), giving us the story of great sportsmanship and an unexpected win.
As you might imagine, UGA Chief of Police Jimmy Williamson has seen quite his share of game-day drunks and disasters. This particular story of a football fan turns out to be surprisingly dirty.
Football and alcohol go hand-in-hand, except when indulgence outweighs common sense. In the aftermath of a great game, be careful about your celebrations. You might just end up sleeping on a stranger’s porch, and if you’re lucky, you’ll land on the doormat of the kind and exceptionally patient Rachel Bailey.
Rabbit Box returns April 9th to Sandy Creek Park for stories on “Sink or Swim.”