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WHAT THEY SAW AT THE REVOLUTION: Coming of Age in the 50s and 60s Through the Eyes of "Three Boomer Broads"

BY JUDE TREDER-WOLFF, LCSW, RMT, CGP
After decades-long careers in teaching and the arts, professional storytellers (left to right) Lynn Wing, Sara Slayton, and Terry Visger vaulted their skills, years of friendship and common history into writing and performing full-length shows which opened to standing room only crowds at the Pump House Regional Arts Center in their home town of LaCrosse Wisconsin. Their first production, “Three Boomer Broads: Remembering While We Still Can,” billed as “the sights, sounds and stories of the 1950 and 1960s as told by three women who lived through them” explored what it was like to come of age during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary periods of American life.

     Using music and images to enhance exploration of their theme “the loss of innocence,” “the stories reflected the historic social transformations in which our own personal metamorphoses occurred,” writes Ms. Slayton in an article published in The Northlands Storytelling Network Journal. “Lynn’s story spoke about the loss of innocence of a child learning to ride a two-wheel bike and striking her own balance in her world. Terry’s story took the audience to her grandmother’s southern Illinois restaurant on the day that the first black man came in to be served. And my story recalled my teen years in Madison during the anti-war protests and the bombing of the Math building at the University there.”
     A teacher for over 35 years, Ms. Visger channels the unique potential of storytelling to “make learning fun, make it ‘stick’ and make kids want to learn more. Story is the best way to learn information and use that information. It is how our brains evolved--how we have always learned best,” she explains. But not only kids crave and benefit from its full-throttle engagement with our brain and imagination. Storytelling techniques are integral to her teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate students at a private university, her work with businesses and a wide range of organizations.
     Also a career teacher, Ms. Slayton speaks to groups ranging from classrooms to conventions on storytelling and the arts in education and is active in her roles as co-founder of the Bluff Country Tale Spinners storytelling guild, chair of the La Crosse Storytelling Festival, and Wisconsin State Liaison to the National Storytelling Network. She also speaks about her personal journey through cancer and facilitates the healing-focused workshops “Writing as Therapy During Illness,” and “The Healing Power of Fairy Tales.”
     Ms. Wing, whose standout piece in the current show"What Our Mothers Never Told Us" describes her experience of caretaking her dementia-afflicted father, has developed a cache of traditional and original fictitonal tales as well as personal stories in her 15 years as a storyteller. Her 25-year writing career, which began in advertising and progressed to documentaries, articles, and podcasts continues to evolve and currently includes a novel (her second) and a memoir which are currently works in progress.
    In our automated, press-one-to-speak-to-an-actual-person age, the popularity of true storytelling may be a kind of cultural testimony to our need and regard for aliveness and authenticity. Audiences respond to what Ms. Slayton describes as “the warm, conversational tone, humor and pathos” of this show, but also because the stories “Three Boomer Broads” have lived to tell connect us to our own.  
Their show  “What Our Mothers Never Told Us,” returns to the Pump House November 11 and 12, 2010.
To find out more about or book Sara Slayton go to http:// www.slaytline.com
To find our more about or book Terry Visger go to http://www.talesbyterry.com/

Jude Treder-Wolff is the author of Possible Futures: Creative Thinking For The Speed of Life, about creative ways to keep up with the pace of change in the age of technology.

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