A traumatic experience at a first job. Caring for a parent in the final months of their life. The challenges going through the Quesnel public school system with autism.
This Saturday evening (April 27), the Chuck Mobley Theatre will feature each of those stories — and several more — in order to raise money for the breakfast programs in local schools. Our Tellings will feature 10 community members as they tell true, personal stories about their lives.
Dennis Hawkins-Bogle, the principal of Correlieu Secondary School, got the idea for Our Tellings after a friend of his put on a similar event in Vancouver.
He reached out to his contacts in the community — people he thought might have interesting stories to tell — and asked them to participate in the event.
The stories, which Hawkins-Bogle refers to as both heartfelt and powerful, are sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. Each story lasts 10 minutes, and there will be 10 speakers in total. There will be an intermission as well, between the sixth and seventh stories.
Wells resident Deborah McKay is one of the storytellers. A long-time friend of Hawkins-Bogle, McKay will be telling a story about her very first job.
When she was 16 years old, McKay moved from Edmonton, Alta., to Phoenix, Ariz. It was in Phoenix, in the age of President Nixon and his various scandals, that McKay went through an experience that made her believe her first job may well have been her last job.
“Even though it sounds really serious, I mean, it’s pretty funny, what happened to me. Although it wasn’t funny at all at the time,” says McKay.
Hesitant to give too much away, she says, “My story is called Kentucky Fried Stick-Up, so that’s probably a bit of a clue.”
She adds: “Someday, I’m hoping to write a book — My Book of Jobs — because in almost every job I’ve had, something highly dramatic or traumatic has happened. Or violent or — yeah, it’s really strange.”
When Hawkins-Bogle reached out to her for a story, Kentucky Friend Stick-Up was the first story to jump to mind. “Can it be funny?” She’d asked him.
“Yeah, of course,” he’d replied.
Even so, when Hawkins-Bogle first read the story, he had to verify if it was really true.
“Every word of it [is true],” says McKay, who moved back to Canada just a few years after the incident.
You can hear McKay’s story — and several others — at Correlieu Secondary School’s Chuck Mobley Theatre on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m.
Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to the breakfast programs throughout School District 28.