Sunday, 3 March 2013

Storytelling Sunday Three: Pick Your Precious



Storytelling Sunday Three? There is no excuse for not joining in with this one - everyone can do it! Pick Your Precious is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you  love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things.

Ready to begin

James the Falorie Man

The beginning of March: it always appears as a surprise! St. Patrick's day right in the middle, too; that gave me an idea. I decided to look for a precious that was Irish: something that would help me give a special wave to my storytelling friends who are on scrapping retreats across the sea from me this weekend. I know there are a few! Wait, did I say something? I meant someone. He has been in our family for, oh maybe close to fifty years now, he's certainly precious to us - and when I lifted him from his box this week, I had no idea of the path he would set me on. Meet James the Falorie Man

James the Falorie Man

What do you mean, you've never met a Falorie Man before? No, he's not a Leprechaun: he's from the North of Ireland, for a start, he features in an old street song and his name isn't actually Irish at all. There is some thought that it comes from the English "forlorn", which round here can also mean "mysterious". But enough of the learnin'..

..there aren't too many of them around; and James may well be the only one with his very own story, written by my Grandpa for my aunt when she was a little girl. So, here was my plan: I would go to my Mum's, fetch James, give him a bath and take his picture - and then pull out the manuscript and give you the best bits. I thought of telling you how James lived in a lush, little green glen which can still be found round here if you know where to look, and how he loved to take his boots off and paddle in the stream, all the while talking to his friend Sally the Seagull. How those boots fell into the water and got swallowed by a fish, and how Sally rescued them  and how, to thank her, James prepared a feast: the very first ever meal of fish and chips, cut from good Irish potatoes and eaten to the strains of flutes and fiddles and joyous celebration.

But I couldn't find it. I couldn't put my hand on the copy I was sure I had, on that best blue Basildon Bond paper my Grandpa used for his writing. It wasn't in any of my special-things-places...and I knew that that meant only one thing. Something I hadn't been planning on. The tape.

Because when Grandpa passed on his story to me, well over thirty years ago now, he also gave me a cassette tape. A recording he had made of his reading of the tale; and I hadn't listened to it in all that time: not since he died, probably. I hadn't been planning on listening to it now; but I wanted the details and I thought I could do it; and, so, on a bright, sunny afternoon this week, I slide the tape into its slot and pressed play. The only machine able to do it sits beside my scrapbooking table, and maybe that was what made it right, because Grandpa would most definitely approved of scrapbooking. 

I heard him retell the story he called The First Supper; and then those teenagers of mine appeared and they heard him too; and, as they listened to the voice of a man born before Titanic sailed, they realise, maybe for the first time, how rooted they are in this fine city of shipyards and red brick. That was good. They lifted James from his new seat on the shelf and pulled up his socks and straightened his coat, and reached back, way into the last century and before. For Falorie Men have been around a long time and more besides, and ours isn't planning on leaving any time soon.

Maybe you'll here from him again. If I work out a way of letting you listen, I'll do it. If I finish up transcribing the story, you'll be the first to know. But, for today, that's all there is. My story is done.

How's yours coming? Show us some pictures, tell us the story behind whatever you choose: it's all good. Write your post, with an introduction linking back to Storytelling Sunday (so your readers get the idea, the more the merrier!) and come link us up. I'm looking forward to reading about your treasures..

..More information can be found on the Storytelling Sunday page. And, don't forget, any story will be welcomed. It doesn't have to be precious in any way at all! Whatever you have in your head will be just fine: small or tall, we'll read them all. And if you are reading in a Reader, click through now to join in...



40 comments:

Amy said...

I am here Sian, it's too far for me to make the bloggers weekend away and I am enjoying your tale of James.
Irish folklore is so bewitching and your story today is filled with so much more, I can tell.

So far this year, I am realising that I don't mave many 'things' which are making it to my precious list ... I am going to have to dig deeper I think!

Chipper said...

What a wonderful story! You are so lucky to have your Grandpa's voice recorded for posterity. I have gotten up early to try and get a few photos in daylight for my story today before I head to work. All going well it won't end up too late but it is a long weekend over here so we shall see.

One of the things I miss about living in Ireland is St Patrick's Day. Our local parade was such fun with dressing up and the kids deciding which group they would march with. Guessing whether the weather would be kind or FREEZING cold! The band set up on a tractor trailer just off main street providing atmosphere and a place for the dignitaries to view the parade. Oh what FUN!

Cheri said...

The more you post, the more interesting "stuff" we learn you have! Wherever do you keep it all? James sounds like quite the character and I'd love to hear more about his escapades some day!

S said...

Pleased to meet you, James. I look forward to hearing more of your tales!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Sian,
This story touched me so deeply. I never knew my grandfathers, but I miss my dad (who was quite the storyteller). Although I can hear his voice in my heart, I wish I had his voice on tape. I love the image of your kids having the a-ha moment of how deeply rooted they are and recognizing the importance of those roots. I wrote a story today of Irish heirloom jewelry (and one piece that's not). I hope that someday my kids realize why these pieces are so important to me.
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to make note of these things!
Hugs,
Rinda

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Such a wonderful story! I so wish I had some recordings of my grandmother and her stories. She told such great ones. They often seemed to involve malfunctioning appliances, like overflowing washing machines and mangles that tangled up drapes.

Becky said...

How wonderful to have a tape recording of your grandfather telling the story - that truly is precious xx

Ruth said...

I felt my heart squeeze when you said that the teenagers came to listen to their grandfather's voice ~ wonderful!
I love the look of James ~ he knows many things, I can just tell!

Ladkyis said...

oh thank heaven for modern technology! I have my Dad my mum and my grandfather on reel to reel tape, and I have the machine that will play it. Now I am determined to get these recordings transferred to CD. A project because of your James! tell him I said thank you

debs14 said...

How lovely that you have that tape - and the means on which to play it! Now make sure you somehow get a recording of the tape playing on some other modern item phone/ipod/laptop so that it will be around forever.
And don't tell James I said this but when I first saw him ... I thought he was a gnome (hangs head in shame)!

Jennie Hart said...

Magical, magical, magical. I just love James the Falorie Man and especially the fact you have your grandfather's voice recorded teeling tales. How fabulous. I must record my Mum for the future and me for that matter!

Yes please do share if you can I would be very interested.

I thought you lived in Scotland, I thought you were Irish but I somehow got it into my head that you were Scottish! I don't know how. I am picturing you in the right part of the country now!

Jennie said...

Oh I am so very pleased to meet James! And I know just how wonderful it is to have your grandfathers voice taped - as my mum has a tiny snippet of my grandad speaking on a reel to r reel tape. I love your story and would love to hear your grandfather telling it. Thanks so much - not only for sharing this story - but for Storytelling Sunday! J xx

Karen said...

Like Rinda, I wish I had tapes of my parents' voices, to say nothing of my grandparents. I have so little from them, but interestingly, my story today tells about one of them. James has such a fabulous story, and your photo of him is priceless! Your children are so blessed to have your storytelling!

Sheena said...

Wow x I'd love to be able to listen to my Grandparents again. What an amazing precious the tape is & for your children to listen to the story too - priceless xxx

Irene said...

Such a glorious precious. The hairs literally did stand up on the back of my neck as I thought how you must feel hearing that beloved voice again. I do hope that there may be an opportunity for us to hear it too? And James must have loved spending time with your family and working his magic on them. x

Elizabeth said...

I loved hearing about the Falorie Man and look forward to hearing more of his story. You know, most families have a story teller in it. Your grandfather was one, now you have taken over for him.

Jane said...

he looks quite a character!

Sandra said...

How amazing to have a tape of your grandfathers voice, so precious, but I also hope you find the written story too :)

favouriteworkofart said...

Sian, this is so beautiful. Sitting here with tears streaming down my face. So so beautiful.

Mel said...

A great story of family history. His face reminds me of a troll - I used to collect trolls and wish I still had them. They were such ugly things, but cute at the same time!

Sabrina S. said...

Wow, what an interesting story. How did you feel listening to your Grandpa after all this time? Thanks for sharing this character with us, I had never heard of him.
Cheers from France

Missus Wookie said...

Oh Sian - you were missed this weekend I assure you :)

Hellow and very-nice-to-meet-you to James. What a lovely surprise to find the tape and it still worked. Listening to stories in the original voices is wonderful, I have one told by my Grantie and retold by my Dad - wish we had Grantie's telling too.

Louise said...

Oh Sian, how I wish i could hear my Grandad's voice again and for the boys to hear him too. Such a lovely story, would love to hear more xx

Sandie said...

That is such a lovely story Sian, and all the more precious because of your grandfather telling it. Do hope you find of way of sharing it one day :)

Valerie said...

Thank you for such a delightful story! I was drawn into it and swept away from New England for a few minutes. I hope to hear more of the tale of James (and Grandpa) in the future.

Barbara Eads said...

James does look like a leprechaun. Considering his age, he looks pretty good! I hope you find your grandfather's story.

PS I somehow managed to link last month's story. I linked this month's story, but don't know how to delete the other one. Can you do it? Sorry!

Jimjams said...

How wonderful that you still have the cassette - and that it still plays! Looking forward to part 2 of this sweet tale.

Alison said...

How special to have found that cassette...and a cassette player! I shall get my story linked to you soon
Alison xx

Kirsty.a said...

Oh he's wonderful. Never heard that story of the First Fish Supper before. I would love my children to hear their great-grandad's voice, but sadly that won't ever be possible

Karen said...

I think he is lovely and what a fantastic story he has to tell.

Melissa said...

What a lovely treausure & how wonderful that you have the recording. I have a cassette tape my Grandma sent me with a new cassette player years ago - I need to take that tape to Daddy so he can burn it to a CD for me.

Gail said...

Oh how special that you have your Grandfather on cassette telling you the story. James is looking very well for his age and I love the little peeks you gave us into what I hope is your Grandpa's story you'll tell us.

Jo said...

He is just gorgeous and you can't help smiling when you look at his face! I think it's amazing that your grandad made a tape of the stories and I do hope we get to hear them x

alexa said...

I am very moved by your story, Sian. I cannot imagine wha it must be like to be able to hear his voice from so long ago. Precious indeed. Beyond precious …

Miriam said...

Hi Sian, I just loved this tale so much. Like Alexa I can't imagine what it would be like either. Although I have just remembered something! Oooh I wonder....

Jennifer Grace said...

What a great story, and he has so much character! x

Carmen said...

Oh my Sian. I still haven't gone through my Mums photos or watched a DVD I have.The DVD was made on her last ever outing. She had asked me to go and all my other sisters went. Trouble was I didn't know it would be her last outing... And we had deliveries to do. I put work first. It's guilt and burning regret that stops me watching that DVD. I don't think I'll ever stop.

Oh wow. Where did that come from. Sorry Sian, just wanted you to know how this story touched me so x

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

This is wonderful, Sian. I loved reading your story, and hearing about you and your children listening to your Grandfather's voice. I got goose bumps!

My mom recorded her voice in a book for each of her grandchildren for Christmas the year before she died. Those books will always be treasured. I'm almost glad you couldn't find the written paper because it meant you got to hear his voice! xo

Nathalie said...

You always come up with the best Precious and you have such a rich family history! I loved reading about the Falorie Man and the connection to your grandfather! How amazing that you have a recording of him telling the story! That's beyond precious!

Ginger said...

That, Sian is very precious! To be able to hear his voice after all these years... I would love to hear my grandpa's voice again. This story brought tears to my eyes :)

BTW - speaking of Ireland, I don't know if you are on Twitter (I don't tweet but like it for the information), Commander Chris Hadfield shared some incredible photos of Ireland yesterday, I was thinking of you :)

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