On the Air: Power of Story

Story Power author Kate Farrell has written a new blog post on her KSVY 91.3 FM radio interview, take a look.

Join me for an engaging radio Interview on the Power of Story!
“Aspire with Osha” KSVY 91.3 FM, Sonoma Valley Community Radio: http://ksvy.org/
The show will air Thursday, Sept. 17th, 3 – 4 PM, PDT.
Look for a replay link soon.

It’s an honor to be interviewed by the amazing Osha Hayden on the back story of my book, Story Power, and how storytelling can be an agent for change.

Osha Hayden

The host, Osha Hayden, is passionate about empowering people to overcome challenges, plug directly into their own wisdom and brilliance and take positive steps to create the changes they desire. Her extensive experience in psychotherapy, mind-body healing, health education, and mediation informs her work as a Trainer, Creative Strategist, Speaker and Radio Host. Osha began her journey as a healer in Santa Barbara, learning therapeutic techniques from a variety of extraordinary healers including Dr. Kathryn Jacobson, Dr. Valerie Girard, Dr. Barbara Brennan, Dr. Jean Houston, Dr. David Cheek, M.D.  http://blogblogging.net/osha/about/

In my far-ranging interview with Osha, I told a brief version of a personal story of challenge.

I have always learned from challenges in my life; many of them continue to inspire me years later. It’s not only that trials take the measure of us—they often determine the direction of our lives.

Cupertino Canning Shed, 1960

“Starting up!” The beefy guy on the high platform yelled loud enough for every worker in the barn-sized workhouse to hear. He turned on the conveyor belt with a clank and a lurch and dumped the first crate of apricots through an array of sprinklers—fresh off the orchard trees just outside the canning shed doors.

As a jumbled heap of apricots rolled towards me, the first station on the belt, I clenched my paring knife in one hand and used the other to sort through the fruit. Scanning the mess, I grabbed twigs, leaves, green ‘cots, and other debris that went into a bucket on my left side; looked for rotten fruit that went into a bucket on my right side, along with any brown or bruised spots I trimmed with my knife.

That first day on the job, there were about fifteen workers stationed along the catwalk on either side of the belt. Bent to the never-ending blur of ‘cots with a steady focus, I still noticed a tall, dark man with a pencil thin mustache, wearing well-pressed khakis, slink behind us on the narrow ledge.

The second day, there were only seven of us. Unknown to me, a rookie at seasonal canning jobs, the foreman and floor lady had watched for speed and accuracy and kept the fastest workers. At the morning break, I learned about that drill from my fellow Latinas.

The only Anglo on the belt, and the only English speaker, I was proud I’d passed the test against more experienced help. I retied my splattered, plastic bib apron, ready to prove my worth again, and earn the much-needed tuition for my sophomore year in college.

The third day, I woke with every muscle aching and rashes on my arms from the acidic fruit.The thought of facing that endless stream of apricots was almost unbearable.

My mother stood in the bedroom door, knowing it was past time for me to rise. “It’ll be harder to get up tomorrow,” she said, in a flat tone.

Not needing another prompt, I raced to get ready; grabbed my cleaned, plastic apron, and began the mile-long walk to the canning shed. I crossed Stevens Creek Road, and soon I was running down the gravel lane through the orchards, breathless. When the corrugated aluminum shed appeared through the leafy groves, I saw the floor lady outside the barn doors, waiting for me.

“I wondered if you’d come today,” she said smiling, and handed me my timecard to clock in.

The fourth day, I was on the catwalk on time, ready to work. Just before the conveyor belt started up, I saw a Portuguese woman next to me make the sign of the cross. She told me that her work was a prayer. Humbled, I was never late again to the canning shed that summer.

One day, during our half-hour lunch taken just outside the open barn doors, the Portuguese woman came to me. We were all sitting on old crate boxes under the corrugated overhang, in a jumbled group, eating our homemade sandwiches. Over the weeks, my basic Spanish and Portuguese had improved, and the woman and I had worked side by side daily.

She stood over me, bent slightly and placed her hand on my shoulder. Looking directly into my eyes, she said in Portuguese, “Quando você se senta, Deus se senta com você.” (When you sit down, God sits down with you.)

It was a blessing, and touched me deeply. I was not used to such kindness. She gave a new meaning to my work, and to me.

When the last apricot crate was picked and canned, the job was over.

The ladies on the line asked me, “¿Vas a Libby’s?

I would’ve liked to work the tomato crop at Libby’s Cannery in Sunnyvale, but it was too far from Cupertino. My heart swelled with pride because they’d asked me, included me as a comadre in the harsh cycle of seasonal canning. I’d made rank and earned my tuition.        

The apricot orchards in Cupertino are long gone; where the canning shed stood is now Apple Park, world headquarters of Apple, Inc., computers and microchips, a different kind of fruit. But those long, summer days on the conveyor belt gave me more than an excellent hourly wage: I learned the sustaining power of hard work—and that I could trust myself to do it—with spirit.


Story Power by Kate Farrell

Story power

Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories

Stories are everywhere. The art of storytelling has been around as long as humans have. And in today’s noisy, techy, automated world, storytelling is not only prevalent—it’s vital. Whether you’re interested in enlivening conversation, building your business brand, sharing family wisdom, or performing on stage, Story Power will show you how to make use of a good story.