The Power Of Storytelling

May 9, 2014

Sisters Susan Savage and Amy Jones reflect on their childhood growing up in Leeds, Utah and the power of friendships and story telling.

Credit StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Susan: We grew up in a little town. We're the children of the greatest generation.

Amy: We grew up in Leeds which is 14 miles north of St. George. When we were growing up we had no television and so we had a lot more acquaintance and rubbed shoulders daily with the people we lived close to. We had space around us and were able to have animals and closer relationships with neighbors. Children out playing ball in the streets, that sort of thing which was nice, which was wonderful. I loved that.

And I have seen a change as times gone on and I'm nostalgic for those old days. We were fortunate to have as our parents their personalities directing our lives because mom was such and outgoing person. But she was just so thrilled with everything around her and she conveyed that to us. Sometimes she was more thrilled than we were, don't you think? She used to say "make your eyes shine." And she always wanted us to speak to people even when we didn't feel like it. She arranged for us to pin curl the elderly ladies hair in town and we were just always relating with people around us.

Susan: Mom and dad they brought quite a variety of people. Kind-of outliers sometimes.

Amy: That's true.

Susan: They were not only tolerant but they welcomed differences. They relished that.

Amy: They did and I think mom was a leader in that just because dad was quieter. But he did have acquaintance with a variety of people with a variety of backgrounds. You know, I'm just thinking about that. Mom didn't turn anyone away, did she?

Susan: No she went out looking for them. She went out looking for hitch hikers.

Amy: We had to counsel her as she got older that the world was changing and she couldn't just stop and pick people up on the road because she was so trusting. But we always had our house full, didn't we?

Susan: We did. Do you remember people coming off the highway with car trouble. They were always overheating their cars as they drove across the desert. Do you remember any of those experiences?

Amy: I do. I remember they had car trouble and mom invited them in and they had to sleep on the living room floor. Weren't they medical students from the University of Utah?

Susan: They were. And years later when I was in a circle at a wedding reception people were introducing themselves and when I said my name he said "oh my word, we slept on your floor when we were going to medical school."

Amy: On our was a very pleasurable thing for her to have our house full of people. And we had such fun and always told stories and talked. We were always talking because there wasn't a television  to watch and we entertained each other. Remember what a wonderful storyteller dad was? My daughter has said "I would just get so anxious when grandpa would tell a story because he'd get right to the most exciting part and then he would take a bite and we'd have to wait for him to tell the rest of the story." So they developed an anticipation for the movement of a   story and how it was going to end.

Susan: And they are good storytellers.

Amy: They are good storytellers. Especially our boys. You have got to tell the story of the...out at  Anderson's Junction.

Susan: He would go out peddling. People peddled their fruit and as he would go to the ladies houses in the different communities. The ladies would come out and they'd say "oh, these peaches are so small." And he'd say "yes, ma'am they are very small but many of them weigh a pound." Interestingly enough, remember we never go tired of hearing these over and over again. We all laughed just as much.

Amy: Yes, and said "yes, tell it again."