This is a post I wrote on July 17, 2013 as we mourned Debby’s death and prepared to celebrate her life at a special program at the DeSoto Theater.
Debby Brown is very special to me.
She more than any other person I know has promoted the art of storytelling in our area during the last few years. And it was at her instigation that my own storytelling has moved outside my school building during the last several years. But for the “Big Fibber Contest” she nudged me to join I would not likely have gotten into the tall tales that have brought me such joy (and I HOPE some enjoyment to our audiences as well!).
And when she drug me to her Celtic/Cherokee Festival I had to go find some Scottish stories, and now “Donald the Seal Catcher” and “Assipattle” are two of my favorites — I’m seriously considering purchasing a kilt!
For her Old Ways festival I got to resurrect “Sody Saleratus” which I hadn’t told in ages but have had several opportunities to tell since. And I learned a Cherokee tale (“Possum’s Nekkid Tale”) for another of her Chieftains events.
It was at her events that I reconnected with fellow tellers like Christy Davis (my former elementary student and another storytelling promoter!) and Gary Greene, whose songs blow me away, and Bob Harris, Jane Cunningham, Mary Elena Kirk, and Barbara Reeves — and several new storytelling acquaintances as well.
And I loved Debby’s stories! Her version of “My Pet Catfish” is the best ever. I retold it to my fourth-graders the day after hearing her tell it — to their delight and mine.
We all feel her sudden loss deeply. She will always remain a part of this community though. Her two wonderful kids (Mollie and Quentin), her artwork, her stories, and the storytelling, interest in local history, community theatre that she boosted, and, I hope and believe, some of the events she started, will continue. When we observe those things we will remember the wonderful diminutive artistic photophobic interested-and-interesting ball-of-fire named Debby Brown.
I hope lots of folks will come for Debby’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Historic Desoto Theater on Friday evening at seven. There is no admission charge. There will be music, storytelling, and a little drama. Some wonderful examples of Debby Brown’s art will be sold in a live auction AND you can bid, in a “silent auction,” for some great items donated by Debby’s many friends for this fundraising event.
Entertainment (I’m told there may be some surprises as well!)
• Celtic Medley (Janet and Sam Baltzer and friends)
• Stories by the Seven Hills Tellers
• Gary Greene, songwriter and storyteller
• Mary Rose Ortwein (“Ruby”!!)
• The cast of Rome Little Theatre’s production of The Three Little Pigs and the Trial of the Big Bad Wolf
• Me (Terrell Shaw) singing (with accompaniment by James Willis)
… and more!
Well, I want all my friends to know of this opportunity. I hope lots of you will come. I hope many of you will also help spread the word. And please forgive me if I’ve gone a little overboard.
This event is a joint effort of many people from the Historic Desoto Theater Foundation, Rome Little Theater, the Seven Hills Tellers, and Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thank you to everyone involved (especially Debby’s friend and mine, Mary Elena Rivera Kirk ) for everything done to put this entertaining evening together. What a great way to remember our dear friend, Debby Brown.