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Everyone has a story to tell

When I would hear the word “tale-tellin” it would leave a bad taste in my mouth, making make me think about a tale of horror or a bad occurrence. However, Oct. 14 changed all of that for me.

Dressed in a white polka-dotted oversized shirt that looked similar to a hoop skirt, overalls and a large pink flower that adorned her fiery-red hair, Appalachian-born and bred storyteller Anndrena Belcher, told her story of growing up with her “me-ma” and “pa-pah” in the mountains of Kentucky to third and fourth graders at Byrd Elementary.

Currently living in the mountains of north Virginia, Belcher recalled how her grandfather at the age of 13, would work in the coal mines for food and how his wife would show Belcher and her sister how to dig water from a nearby well and heat it on the family’s cast iron stove.

Her vivid words and down-to-earth personality pulled the children in as they mimicked her character voices, animal sounds and exaggerated movements. Byrd students laughed out loud and were tickled at the storyteller’s account of her life — a story that highlighted her “mountain drawl,” quirkiness and simple life.

“Every bird has a story, the wind and trees, the sound of water coming out of the mountain … every creature has a story,” Belcher said, her eyes widening at every new movement, and her voice slightly above a whisper. “Treat others as you would want to be treated … no one is better than any other.”

Through her silly impressions and wild gestures, Belcher reminded the crowd that we were all the same and that we all had a very important story to tell.

Despite our backgrounds, our family, our sex or gender, or the color of our skin, we are no different. We all want to be successful and live a happy life. We all want the best for our children, our parents and our entire family.

Belcher reminded us that every person has a downfall, a shortcoming or a quirk and because of that, no one should be singled out for seeming to be different from the norm.

All of our stories are unique and they bind us together. Thanks Ms. Belcher for changing my mind.