Cap’s Off to You! – Anne Thomas (Posthumously) and Celebrating Story

Featuring: Anne Thomas

Hilarious Friend, Motivational Speaker, Advocacy Storyteller

Anne Thomas came to my attention because of Jessica Robinson of Better Said Than Done. Jessica put together a 9-video playlist due to all the times that Anne took the stage for her organization. That first video? Blew me away. Made me ponder and appreciate life and consider the humor…with death. I could see why Jessica chose to put that one first in the playlist. Then, I had to hear more. Stories of importance. Stories that Anne chose to share with us.

I know that her childhood would have had many adventures. Yet, she typically talks of her transformative experience when she hitchhiked Europe by herself as an 18-year-old. During one of those hitchhiking times, she woke up in a car and could not move. Her spinal chord was broken.

Her spirit was not broken. She learned to maneuver with a wheel chair. What could have made others filled with anger, she took in stride. Even when, later in 2008, she was diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Only two years to live, so the doctors said. Anne surpassed that by 11 years.

Meanwhile, she stood up for those who had been traumatized from terrible behaviors in the workplace to assisting in disability visibility projects. So many times she helped.

Then, her natural speaking meant storytelling and sharing these inspiring stories. And through it all, her humor shines. Remarkable beyond measure.

And with humor, I learn how to be a better human being. Through Anne.

If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing info@storycrossroads.org or commenting on this blog post.

You can see more details on Anne Thomas with the Story Artists Memorial.

The video below is the first in that 9-video playlist put together by Jessica Robinson.

Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form. 

I appreciate Anne Thomas for sharing the humor in heartbreaking or even traumatic moments. She brings a perspective that can be celebrated always.

Anne still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.

Cap’s Off to You! – Pat Mendoza (Posthumously) and Celebrating Story

Featuring: Pat Mendoza

Mesmerizing Musician, Self-proclaimed “Lepricano,” Ever-Ready Storyteller

Pat Mendoza traveled to tell his stories and strove to learn many instruments from the Celtic and Native American flutes, guitar (6-string and 12-string). People were drawn to him when he played, whether in a concert hall or in a hallway. He told many types of stories though often honored many Indigenous tribes, especially as he was adopted by the Cheyenne and honored by the Lakota people. He served in the military and even had a black belt in both Kung Fu and Taw Kwando. He had a special place in his heart for those who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder like himself.

One time, a person spat in Pat’s face and called him a “baby-killer” because he served in the Vietnam War. Pat took that traumatic moment and transformed it into a a musical called “Both Sides Now: The War at Home and the War in Vietnam.” This musical premiered at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts in May 1990. It later became an award-winning show performed by high school students in 1992.

He could see many perspectives at the same time beyond that moment. He delighted in adapting to the audience before him and gathered several stories wherever he happened to travel. Though, he laughed when he called himself a “Lepricano” due to her maternal grandparents being Native American and Irish as well as a father from Cuba. His home roots tended to be Florida and Colorado…although he did not stop him from gaining stories such as “La Llorona” from Mexico for whaling chanteys from Fiji. 

I loved best his moment with Norma Livo, a professor from University of Colorado Denver. Norma was coordinating a storytelling conference. Pat came to her office and asked if he could be part of the line-up. She realized that Pat was needed despite never hearing him. That was the cue Pat needed. He picked up his guitar (that he, of course, had at the moment) and sang. People were drawn to her university office space as if it was a concert hall. Everyone applauded when he was done. Pat became part of that line-up.

If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing info@storycrossroads.org or commenting on this blog post.

You can see more details on Pat Mendoza with the Story Artists Memorial.

Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form. 

I appreciate Pat Mendoza for sharing his way to celebrate all around him while giving attention to perspectives that could otherwise be forgotten or ignored. We can all have such a view and be better for it.

Pat still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.

Cap’s Off to You! – Susi Wolf (Posthumously) and Celebrating Story

Featuring: Susi Wolf

Persevering Performer, One-Woman Show Extraordinaire, Loving Friend

No matter what her body told her, Susi Wolf’s spirit was always ready to perform and teach. She made her journey with many friends, knowing the different procedures or developments to happen. Still, she shared such stories such as “Storytelling for Women: A Feminine Celebration” or one-woman shows such as portraying Diamond Bessie, an infamous prostitute-actress who was murdered by her lover Abe Rothchild in Jefferson, TX on January 21, 1877.

As for Diamond Bessie, Susi brought special attention to Diamond’s death anniversary and felt a connection that now can be complete. She has traveled from her time in Albuquerque, New Mexico to the spirit world beyond.

She told a story as part of the “Stories for Healing” series put on by Jim Brule’. Interestingly, it is a story of a wolf that is weak and sick. The wolf asked the man to ask God why he is so weak and sick. Knowing her own struggles, this story means more than it used to for me.

If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing info@storycrossroads.org or commenting on this blog post.

You can see more details on Susi Wolf with the Story Artists Memorial.

Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form. 

I appreciate Susi Wolf for sharing her ways of healing the soul with all of us. We can know that there are answers all around us.

Susi still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.