By Anne McKee / Guest Columnist
The Meridian Star
I never hear this term that I don’t think of our Cousin June, or Junsie, as we family members have always voiced her name – voiced with terms of endearment. You see the name June is not a popular name for babies these days – at least not a name preferred by today’s new mothers. But during the 1960/70s, there were many little girls named June, and our cousin, June McKee Gibson, was a perfect example. She wore the name, and continues to wear the name, with grace, giggles, and smiles.
As you know, June is a happy month with joyful events – weddings, graduations, vacations, family reunions, and it is all good. When we think of the month June, we smile a double smile, because we are also thinking of Cousin June. There was just one thing (and I smile about this, too) … years ago, as a tease, especially the boys, would sing that little song, “June is busting out all over.” Yes, the boys enjoyed greeting Cousin June with this little ditty, whenever possible, especially in a crowd. Oh, it always worked; Cousin June would turn beet-red and run in the opposite direction. What a great family story.
Oh, the carefree and innocent days of our youth. Are they really gone forever? Indeed, no! We can revisit those happy times whenever we want and I encourage you to visit them often. Then, retell the stories for your grandchildren, even if they seem uninterested, I can assure you the kids will remember and one day retell the stories for their grand’s – making one big, happy circle of family memories.
Storytelling, the oral-telling-tradition, is alive and well. The art has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity during the last decade. There is a large group of tellers located in Mississippi, and I’m just saying, our rich heritage and soul-searing emotions make a perfect climate here in Mississippi for the best of stories.
Recently I visited my grandson, Jordan’s, school. I was invited to tell stories, which I did with great enthusiasm. As I walked the halls that day with Jordan, one of the teachers commented, “Jordan, now I know why you can tell great stories – your grandmother is a teller.” Ah, what a proud moment – to know that perhaps a tiny bit of storytelling has taken root in the grandson’s heart.
Let that be an encouragement for you to tell your stories. Make a record of them before they are forgotten. Let it begin – begin this summer. It is never too late to tell a story.
I admit I am very fortunate to have grandchildren who enjoy my stories – even ask for them, but I’ve just gotta tell you. Even if not asked, I am prone to tell stories. Of course, I enjoy visuals as well with my stories, therefore when possible; we’ll take impromptu drives into my childhood neighborhoods, the neighborhoods of my grandparents and great grandparents as well.
As we drive and walk the streets and pathways of those bygone days, the stories come alive. We see the same sights, breathe the same air, and take a trip back into a simpler time – most important to share with this next generation.
So, what stories should you pass along? Each family has their own set of stories – some you might not want to tell, but there are plenty of good ones, too. Let those little ones know – they will love you for it, especially in time to come.
June is busting out all over!
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her web site: annemckee.net.