A Day in My Life, March 20, 2024 – National Storytelling Day

Mar 20, 2024 | Day in the Life, Life Experiences, Memoirs, Music, Remembrance, Uncategorized | 14 comments

I hang around with this terrific bunch of authors who are part of the Rave Reviews Book Club. They’re all storytellers, in one way or another. Even those who write non-fiction are telling a story, because they have to collect facts and organize them in a way that people can understand them.

Fiction, of course, is all storytelling.

The people I personally admire most are the ones who can create new worlds through fantasy, or those who can use research via historical fiction, and develop a wonderful, believable universe that fascinates the reader from page one until the end. It’s such a fine art, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I much I admire those people who develop new worlds or take existing facts and bring them to life.

My grandmother, Maude Puckett Adams, was a storyteller in the Appalachian tradition. She was also a quilt maker, and her quilts told stories in each square. She created patterns that drew people together through her careful stitching. She also used existing patterns, such as Turkey Tracks, Beggar’s Blocks, and Tree of Life. She was alive when both of our children were born, and she made baby quilts for each of them. Our daughter received a pink one with sun-bonneted dolls in the squares; our son received a blue one, sporting a variety of animals Gram chose.

She also told them stories she recorded into an old cassette tape recorder. I still have one of them. She made characters of mountain animals, such as possums, rattle snakes, bigger-than-possible mosquitoes, rabbits, mules–whatever she could think of, as she wove her tales. I often thought she could compete in the annual Storytelling Festival held every October in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I suggested that to her once; her response? “Oh, honey, I just tell these old tales from the mountains. Everyone knows them.”

Now, my father–her son–was a tall tale teller. He would make up outlandish stories and could make people blush when they discovered what he was rambling on about wasn’t true. “No, Dad, there aren’t pink-and-white zebras behind your mother’s house!” I would say. “How do you know”” he’d ask. “When’s the last time you were there?”

When he was young, our son fell into that tall tale tradition. He was an honorary member of the Adirondack Liars’ Club, a group comprised of mostly old men who’d had plenty of time to develop their craft about things that allegedly happened in New York’s Adirondack mountains. (Truth be told, though, our son was a solid Shakespearean actor in high school and college. He wasn’t bashful at all. This stood him in good stead when he was in law school and also as an attorney.)

My friend Chris Shaw tells many tales about his Uncle Walter and a fish he wants to catch, but the fish eludes capture time and time again. He names the fish “Walter” in his uncle’s honor. Chris is president emeritus of the Adirondack Liars’ Club.

Today, on National Storytellers’ Day, I hope you will try to think of the last time someone told you a story or made you smile. If you can’t remember anything specific, I suggest you look into the books RRBC members produce. They are stories, par excellence.


  1. Yvette M Calliero

    What a great post, Wanda! And thanks for highlight RRBC and all of its great storytellers! I love the memories you shared with us. What a gift your grandmother left you all!

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    • Wanda Fischer

      Yes, Yvette, she was quite a character. She lived in southwestern Virginia in a log cabin that didn’t have indoor plumbing until I was 16! She had ten siblings; she was the oldest girl. She only left her house “up the holler” once to travel to see us in Boston once–for the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. My father took her to Braintree, Massachusetts, to the John Adams house and asked the person at the admission desk if people with the last name of Adams got in free. My Gram didn’t have a license to prove her last name was Adams, but my father did. The admissions person let the both of them in free. Abigail Adams was born in a small house in my home town of Weymouth. My parents are both buried in the cemetery adjacent to the lot of that little house.

  2. Pat Garcia

    Hi Wanda,
    What a wonderful heritage left to you by your grandmother. Have you thought about putting her stories together in a book?

    I am a fan of John Adams and his wife, Abigail, and have read several books about them.
    It is nice to know your lineage.
    Have a lovely day.
    Shalom shalom

    • Wanda Fischer

      Hi Pat–No, I haven’t thought about putting her stories in a book. I don’t have enough of them. Only a couple of cassettes. I could use some as topics for short stories, though.

      I will send you a photo of my parents’ headstone with the Abigail Adams house in the background. I can’t seem to insert it here.

  3. Karl Morgan

    Storytelling has been in my blood most of my life. I remember writing tales when I was young. As a senior in high school, I switched to poetry. I still have all of them.

    While I was working, my tales were generally nonfiction and written for the company I worked with at the time. We wanted to expand our business into South America. I was tasked to create the business case for the deal. Most was 100% true, but when it comes to future projections, who knows?

    The deal went through and I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to Brazil. That was a storybook by itself. Those memories will never fade. Ah, good times.

    • Wanda Fischer

      I started story telling was I was young, too, Karl. I also wrote letters to the editor, starting when I was in the second grade. I remember writing a letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower when I was in the second grade. About ten years ago, National Public Radio did a story on how White House workers found boxes of letters that had been written during the Eisenhower Administration, and they were planning to publish them. Yikes! I was hoping mine would NOT be one of them. Fortunately, it wasn’t. Can you imagine, a letter from a second-grade Wanda? I would have been mortified. What does a second-grader say to the president, anyway? LOL

  4. Joy Gerken

    This so reminds me of my sister-in-law. Who made quilts for every baby born withing the family. There were many. All family members recall how clever she was with her quilting work. They were so beautiful. So sad that she is sick and now unable to weave her magic.

    • Wanda Fischer

      But what a great memory of her. Maybe it would be great to take some photos of those quilts and show them to her. I have the one my Gram made for us on the quilt rack in my bedroom. When I look at it, I think of her every day.

  5. john

    What a great remembrance! I could sit and listen to those stories all night long. In fact, while growing up, one of my friend’s mother used to tell us stories about Voodoo tales about the Barons and monsters. It was always difficult going home in the dark of night after listening to her for a few hours. We all loved her!

    • Wanda Fischer

      That sounds like such fun, John. You could make that into a short story, some time. Just sayin’…

      • john

        It’s already included in my “Running…” book.

  6. Patty Perrin

    Hi, Wanda!

    I was just-now-years-old when someone told a story that made me smile. In fact, she told more than one, and I smiled at all of them! How I enjoyed reading about your family and the stories they told. You have the storytelling gene in abundance.

    I agree with you about RRBC. Every member has entertained me with the stories they’ve written, and I’m delighted when they come up with a new one. I am blessed to be surrounded by such amazing storytellers!


    • Wanda Fischer

      Thank you so much. Aren’t we blessed to be in this group? I wish I could remember how I found RRBC. I only know that my life has been richer ever since!

  7. Karen Black

    Oh, Wanda, you need to search your memory and find that tape and include all those Appalachian stories in a book! I love the old tales passed down through the years and I know I would have loved your grandmother.


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