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My Story

Grandpa Abe Grandpa Abe: The First Family Raconteur

Born in April 1941, in Brooklyn, New York, I just missed being a baby-boomer. My parents were radicals while the rest of the country tiptoed through the conservative 1950s; I grew up Jewish while everyone on TV celebrated Christmas. I was too young to be a beatnik and too old to be a hippie. It was my perch from the outside that made the world look like a story.

Me with my new stamp collection. Born to tell stories.

Mom and dad wanted me to be a doctor. But it was not to be. The world of stories beckoned! An M. A. in theater from NYU Drama School, a stint at Chicago's Second City Improvisational group, and comedy sketches for some forgotten TV shows finished my education. I even toured with my own comedy troupe, The Portable Radio Circus. In 1976, I settled into full-time writing, including collaboration on two books with folk singer and community-organizer Pete Seeger.

mystory_dad (8K) THIS IS NOT PETE SEEGER. It's my Dad!

The turn to storytelling came in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. Wandering around the square, I saw a hand-made "dream catcher" almost ten feet tall standing in front of a shop. Inside, the counter was covered with little clay figures of seated grandfathers and grandmothers with laps full of grandchildren; "storytellers" the proprietor called them. Then she told me how each winter, the elders come into homes with their stories. "Each day they sit with the family, close their eyes and dream the stories of long ago -- Stories of the sky and the earth and the spirits and the animals. The children grow quiet and listen; even the adults who have heard the stories listen." I ran outside and told my wife, "Sandy, when I grow old, I want to be a storyteller!" "Why wait until you are old?" she said - a sensible answer.

I began collecting stories; I began writing them. Finally I got up my courage and I began telling them, and fell in love with audiences as well. That was nine years ago. The love affair continues.

mystory_kids (10K)
My children Continue the tradition
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