[In 2004, Margaia Forcier-Call volunteered to be the Story Lady and continued for 9 years.]
I very much enjoyed being Story Lady with the children of the Jemez. Sitting on the floor with them, on our “story-time quilt” made by Donna Lea, was a time of many precious moments. Not only did I read books to them, re-enacted very short stories (with home-made “props”), but once a year, we went through an Alphabet Book — a few (perhaps 4) letters at a time. Also, we ended the last 5 or so minutes, with a “sticker book” in which they learned, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.
Five-year-old Nash brought [a book] to his mother saying, “Can I read you a story?” She smiled saying sure, but not knowing what to expect. He began reading from this book, and read the first 10 pages, to her astonishment. She asked, “Where did you learn how to read? Who taught you?” He answered, “I don’t know. I just know how to read this.” He brought the book to his last session at the library, and read for us. An incentive for the children present! He usually sat next to me, on the floor, and looked attentively at the book/pages I was reading. . . . When he started reading at school, the teacher told his mother that he changed his voice at every character he was reading about. I laughed. Apparently, he was mimicking me, since I did that when I read to the children. Each animal or human character had its own voice…
In my last years, I had a brother and sister team in the group. Henry was at least a year or two older than his little sister, Imogene (who joined the group when she was not quite 3 yet). During his last year with us (after he turned 5), Henry often commented on the story we were reading. (I welcomed the children’s participation.) He would politely say, “Miss Margaia…” then give his comment. One day, immediately after Henry’s comment, Imogene blurted out: “Miss Gaia, Miss Gaia…” and had her little say. I couldn’t help smiling.
My memories of these hours spent with the children of Jemez, are very fond ones.