Spectacular Storytelling

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 1, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Over the next few days, Bryn Markert and her family will be leaving Suffolk for a while – they’re moving to Minnesota. On Thursday morning, however, Adrienne Smith, the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and its Spectacular Storytime program gave Bryn and her family a way to say a special goodbye to the city.

Smith, one of several storytellers participating in the series held from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. every Thursday until Aug. 19, told her audience the adventures of Winston the woodpecker, Wistol the Owl and Woody the wood duck.

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Winston was born in the nearby Dismal Swamp, and flew up to Suffolk as a young bird. After a quick stop in Whaleyville, he attempted to get a room at the Suffolk Hilton at the corner of Constance Road and Main Street, only to find that it was full. Eventually, he made his way back to the train station, where he still resides with all his friends. Smith and the kids imitated the sounds of the birds by rapping their hands and feet on the ground and tables.

Also birthed in the Swamp, Wistol found himself on a train to Nebraska, but managed to find his way back to the station. Every time the station’s whistle goes off, it might just be Wistol, welcoming the museum visitors.

Finally, it was Woody’s turn, and he was discovered injured in the swamp by a little girl, probably about Bryn’s age. The youngster put him in her pocket and brought him home, hiding him from her mother. Eventually, the mom discovered the hidden animal, and helped the girl nurse him back to health. Once Woody was healthy, they took him back to the Swamp, and reunited him with his family.

&uot;It was nothing I’ll ever forget,&uot; Bryn said of the stories. &uot;I liked listening to the duck quacks. I always like stories about animals. We had fun looking around the museum.&uot;

Ashley Parsons and her grandmother Kay Jernigan have been hearing the stories for years. &uot;I always want to hear the stories,&uot; says Ashley, 6. &uot;I’d like to be a little storyteller, but I’m kind of shy. I’d be so happy, because I’d get to tell people how to love each other and take care of each other.&uot;

&uot;She loves stories,&uot; Jernigan said. &uot;She has a great imagination. We talk about the stories later on. We just wanted to find something to do for the summer, and startedcoming here.&uot;

Smith and the rest of the program’s storytellers will gather at the station on the last day of performing as a finale for the event. &uot;I’ve been doing this about a year and a half,&uot; said Smith, who got her storytelling start as a teaching assistant at Robertson Elementary. &uot;I got to where I could make up my own stories.

&uot;I try to make sure every story I tell has something about nature, like the proper treatment of animals, how to feed them and keep them safe. Storytelling is one of the most wonderful things to happen to Suffolk, and I’d like to see more of it in the schools.&uot;

For more information about story time at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Museum, call 923-4750.