Brand building through storytelling

A moment of grace in cyberspace

A marvelous thing happened this morning. I sat down at my computer to find a message from Jeanette McCaskill. I didn’t know her name and may never meet her, yet how can I call this woman a stranger, when a corner of her history intersects with mine?

Maynard Fredelle Child (2)Last weekend Jeanette went to visit her mother-in-law, who is almost 91 and can barely remember what she had for lunch or what she talked about a few minutes ago. But she vividly remembers the town where she was raised—my mother’s home town, Birch Hills, Saskatchewan.My mother’s classic memoir, Raisins and Almonds, is in part a homage to the lost Birch Hills of the Depression, when the locals traveled by horse and buggy and entertainment consisted of the rag-tag road show known as Chautauqua. Jeanette had brought a copy of Raisins and Almonds,and she began to read it aloud. Her mother-in-law lit up, vividly recalling my mother (pictured) and her family. Jeanette wrote, “The story of the Chautauqua brought the most animation of all with the Cha Cha Cha Cha, Ta Ta Ta, Qua Qua Qua Chautauqua yell!” Thank you, Jeanette.

A book holds the power to reach people who can’t be reached in any other way. But that’s not the only reason why I’m touched by Jeanette’s story. There’s something else at play, a happy result of the times we live in.

You never know who’ll walk into your life online, or what you stand to discover through these chance connections, one leading to another in ways you can’t begin to predict. A while ago I encountered Kerry Clare when she reviewed my memoir in her blog. I’ve never met Kerry in the 3-D world, but that’s just a detail these days. Kerry got curious about my mother’s book, and then she talked about it with her friend Jeanette. And so here we are, exchanging an unexpected gift on a gray Thursday morning in November.

Posted by Rona

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