Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Top Ten Things I Miss Most from the Greater Richmond, Virginia Area

(c)Linda Goodman 2013

In September of 1998, I was dragged kicking and screaming from Hudson, Massachusetts to Chesterfield, Virginia. I had discovered my passion (storytelling) and was making a decent living from it in New England. I was not happy about returning to my home state and having to re-launch my career.

At the end of December 2012, however, with a heavy heart I left the Greater Richmond area and relocated to Waxhaw, North Carolina. It took a long time for Chesterfield to feel like home. Now I am missing it dreadfully. In honor of my former home, I list the ten things I miss most about the Greater Richmond area:
        1. Chester Fitness: this small friendly gym was a great place to work out. The staff was friendly, the location was perfect, and the price was right.
            9. Maymont Park: a beautiful place to spend a spring or autumn afternoon (summer is too hot!). The Japanese and Italian Gardens are lovely. The zoo is awesome!
           8. The Tacky Lights displays: every year, just after Thanksgiving, houses all over the area were decorated with lights galore. I always looked forward to my December tour through Richmond and Chesterfield County to admire the participating homes. Tacky, yes, but magnetic and thrilling, just the same.
          7. D'Lish Bakery in Chester, VA: the best tuna fish salad on the planet. And the chocolate chip cookies are to die for! Storytelling friendly, too.
          6. The Richmond Folk Festival: for 3 days each October, nationally known   musicians and craftsmen gathered on Brown's Island to make us happy. ALL FREE OF CHARGE!
         5. The 48 Hour Film Festival: I finally got a starring role on the silver screen in an 8 minute film titled Ground in the Dirt. Check it out:
         4. Tell Tale Hearts: This storytelling theater group defined storytelling in the Richmond area. Wonderful people who lived and breathed story. I am proud to have been a member.
        3. Secretly Y'all: Richmond's first story slam is edgy, exciting, and downright addictive! A great way to learn to think on the run.
        2. Trinity United Methodist Church: Trinity became my home away from home. The best people I have ever known.
        1. The Lowery family: most of all, I miss the Lowery's. My niece Sandi, her husband Eric, and their children (Allen, James, Preston, Hazel, and Frances) made me felt important and, best of all, loved. I think about them every day.
So that's the list. Because I am a storyteller, I will be back to visit often. I have gigs in Chesterfield County through July. I hope to continue booking there. The travel can be monotonous, but it's worth it to get to visit my old and much loved stomping grounds.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter Dresses

(c)Linda Goodman 2013

When my family lived in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, we attended the Stone Mountain Primitive Baptist Church. As in most Christian churches, Easter was a special occasion. The service began at 10:00 a.m. with the Congregation singing resurrection hymns, such as He Lives and Up From the Grave He Arose. After the hymns, the preacher would preach a sermon about the empty tomb. Each year he would tell the story from a different perspective. At the sermon's end, individuals would be invited to “ give their testimonies.” That usually took a while. The service would end at around 12:30.

For the next half hour, while the ladies of the church put together the covered dishes that had been brought to church for our Easter dinner, we children hunted Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny laid colored eggs, so they were not hard to find.

We did not wear fancy Easter clothes at our church in the mountains. No one could afford them. We wore the same clothes we wore every day, making sure that they were clean and presentable.

When my family moved to the city, my parents stopped going to church. I, however, joined other neighborhood children in attending Asbury Methodist Church on Deep Creek Boulevard in Portsmouth, Virginia. This church had the convenience of being right across the street from my apartment building.

My first Easter at Asbury Methodist Church was one that I will long remember. When my best friend Lori Ann, whose family always included me as one of its own for church functions, saw me that fine April Sunday, she blurted out, “Linda, where is your Easter dress?”

Lori Ann was wearing a pink chiffon dress with a full skirt that ballooned over a thick, white crinoline Her black patent leather shoes had been replaced with white ones. That did not disturb me, as Lori Ann always wore fancy dresses.

That Easter day, however, I looked around the church and noticed that every little girl there was wearing a fancy dress over a crinoline and white patent leather shoes. Their mothers, I noticed, were all wearing pastel suits and high heels. Pinned to their suit collars were corsages of carnations, roses, or orchids.

I was wearing a plain, light blue dress and scuffed brown loafers. I had never felt embarrassed at Asbury before, but I did then.

“L - Lori Ann,” I stuttered, “I – I forgot it was Easter.” I could not tell her the truth; that I did not possess such finery to wear.

Lori Ann was incredulous. “How could you forget Easter? It's the second most important holiday fo the year!”

As I sat beside Lori Ann during Sunday School, my faced burned. I was so ashamed of my plain attire that I could not concentrate on the lesson that our teacher, Mrs. Hilton, was sharing with us that morning. All I could think of was that I was different, that I would never fit into city life. I decided that as soon as Sunday School was over, I would sneak out the back door of the church and go home. I could not bear to sit through the worship service as an object of pity in my plain dress.

As soon as class was over, I quickly ran out of the room and raced toward the church's back door. Before I could make it through to the outside, however, I heard someone calling my name. I knew the voice well. It belonged to Mrs. Wade, Lori Ann's mother.

“Linda, where are you off to?” she asked, catching up with me. “ I have something for you. It's an Easter corsage.”

She slipped an elastic band around my wrist. Attached to the band were three lavender orchids. The glorious flowers covered my arm almost to the elbow.

“Oh, my!” I sighed. “It's beautiful. I've never had anything like it, Mrs. Wade.”

“We match!” she announced, and she held up her arm so that I could see that she had the same corsage that I had.

I noticed something else, as well. Mrs. Wade, who usually wore the most beautiful suits in the entire congregation, was wearing a plain brown shift with a brown leather belt around her waist. On her feet were penny loafers.

She took me by the hand and we walked into the sanctuary, where we worshiped together. I no longer felt embarrassed or ashamed. I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

I was a teen before I realized the full extent of what Mrs. Wade had done for me that day. Thanks to her, I no long felt out of place. She had become my kindred spirit.

I never got to thank her. She died of breast cancer three years after that Easter. But I have thanked God for putting Mrs. Wade in my life. And I am sure that He has passed that on to her.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Storytelling Fun for the Entire Family

Compact Disc Review

Turning Point: Almost True Tales

Written and Performed by Janice Davin

Available directly from Janice Davin at .


$12.00, plus $2.00 shipping and handling.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

Janice Davin's CD of original stories is witty, unique and full of surprises. I cannot remember the last time that I had so much fun listening to a CD.

In Jeremy's Prayer, about a boy who lives in a neighborhood where he has only girls to play with, Jeremy prays that God will give him a playmate who enjoys wrestling, basketball, and dangerous tricks. Be careful what you pray for!

Hazard's Leash is a ghost tale about two boys who break into an old man's house in search of a mysterious leash and get much more than they bargain for. One must believe in order see, and what is explained away by one boy becomes truth to the other.

Reggie Baxter has a secret in Dare to Dance. Unfortunately, a mean spirited classmate shares Reggie's secret with his classmates. Does that stop Reggie? Of course not! There would not be a story if it did.

Set in Union County, North Carolina, where “friendly neighbors care about, look after, and occasionally spy on one another,” Henry Wilson's Fortune is a true gem. Henry's desire to give away a large sum of money leads to unexpected developments and sets two young people on the path to true love. In spite of the unexpected twists and turns, last wishes are fulfilled and Henry Wilson is doubly blessed. This story is expertly written and skillfully told.

If you enjoy fireworks, you will delight in hearing Red, White, and BOOM, a flight of fancy that had me laughing so hard I had to pull off to the side of the road (I listen to CDs in my car). Illegal fireworks lead to hilarious hijinks in this tale centered around a birthday celebration.

The sound on this tale is surprisingly good, considering that Janice's recording studio is in her closet. Truly, she is a woman of many talents. She also understands the hearts and minds of her listeners and knows how to incorporate those things into her stories in delightful ways.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2013 Storytelling World Award Winners

If you click on the link below, you will see all of the winners of the 2013 Storytelling World Awards.  Three stories from my CD Bobby Pins received "winner" awards: Nickels for Dimes in category 2 (Stories for Pre-adolescent Listeners); Pearl in category 3 (Stories for Adolescent Listeners); and Bobby Pins in category 4 (Stories for Adult Listeners).

I offfer my sincere thanks and gratitude to Kim Weitkamp and Treehouse Artists. Kim convinced me that I should make this CD, and then did a wonderful job as my CD midwife, guiding me though the process of creating an award-winning CD. Also thanks to all of you who purchased  the CD.  You also helped make it a success.

You can buy a copy of the CD on my website ( or at CD Baby. You can also order it directly through me by emailing

To watch a video of Nickels for Dimes, click on the link below:

Happy tales to you!