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PJ's Travel Notes

From: Papa Joe <papajoe@tiac.net>

To: Rebecca

Subject: Travelling in Maine

Date: Friday, March 14, 1997 12:34 PM



I'm up in Elsworth, Maine with my dog, Tasha Tripod. I'll be telling stories to the Kindergartners, first, and second graders. It's pretty cold this morning. Got down to -7 degrees last night. Good thing we had a heater in the Vardo or Tasha and I would have woken up as popsicles this morning. I'll add more to this post between shows and try to get it off to you this afternoon. Pax, Papa Joe

Too busy to write. Now it's evening and I've been lucky enough to find a friend's driveway to park in. The heater fan has been running all day, so it's nice to have a place to plug in and charge up the batteries. It is the coldest spell Maine has seen this Winter. That doesn't surprise me. The first March I came up here, they had a blizzard. But I won't let the weather stop me. The chance to share the stories with new children is much too important. This spring, I'm putting solar panels on the roof. Then all I'll need is a little sun to keep the batteries charged.

At the school today, I told the 'Old woman & the Pig', then 'Jack Frost' to the first group. There were three very special children and the teachers told me not to worry if the children didn't understand the stories. Weren't the teachers surprised when the children did. The magic of stories. Silly teachers. When will they learn it isn't the words that are important. Just the telling. If they spent more time telling stories, they'd be surprised how much more children would learn.

For the second group, I told 'Poccamandas' and 'The Ghost and the Apple Sauce'. In the afternoon the children need stories that are more active than in the morning. I met a boy with the most beautiful golden eyes. I told him I thought they were magnificent and he told me he was almost legally blind. "Not blind though," I said with a smile and held out my hand. He grinned and slapped me five.

When we left Elsworth, we went to my favorite library in Maine. There are a lot of wonderful libraries around here, but Hampden's is my favorite because they let Tasha come in. She always runs over to the hamster cage to visit her friends. The hamsters have been gone for a couple of years, but Tasha just sits by their empty cage as if they'll be back any time. The librarians are all friends. They don't even wait for me to get out of the Vardo. As soon as I pull into the driveway, they all come out to meet us.

Time for bed. Sweet dreams to you and your family. And a Happy Birthday to David.



Stopped in at a wonderful nursery school in Bangor called Winnie the Pooh. It's one of the few schools, I've ever been to where they have one adult for every two children. Linda is the director and a friend of ours. She's the one who lets us stay in her driveway whenever we're in this area. The school (of course) has very little money so I try to squeeze a visit in when I can. This year, they have three deaf children. I told 'Poccamandas' with ASL signs thrown in. I wish I could have stayed to tell more stories. They are wonderful listeners, but I had to get to Fruit Street School. They were the ones who invited me to Maine. I don't like to be late.

This must be the fifth year in a row that I've come to Fruit Street. The children vote on who to bring in and they've chosen me every year. Hard to turn down 600 children. I told "The three little Pigs and the Ogre'. I still have one more show to do after lunch for the other half of the school.

They are calling for a big snow storm this afternoon. I hope I get back to New Hampshire before it gets too bad. It's a six hour drive. They haven't closed the highway yet this year, so I think I'll make it home. If not, I have many friends along the way who will put me up until the roads are cleared. So funny. All winter there has been hardly a flurry here. Then I come and they have the coldest, windiest, and biggest storm of the year. My second year at Fruit Street there was such a storm that I had to stay in town for two extra days. Maybe next time they'll invite me to come near the end of December so they can have a white Christmas.

Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

Vardo on Tour, Maine, USA

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