May, 2012


In March 2008, I found myself sitting by the bedside of my mother at the Dekalb Medical. It was about a week before she passed away. Just two weeks earlier, Mama was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Our visits were reduced to sitting by her bed while she slept. One such evening, I stood to leave. The chair made a little noise and Mama opened her eyes startled. She lifted her head and glared at me.

“Mama it’s me. Oh Mama, don’t you know me?”

She relaxed and laughed, “Of course I know you! You’re that little Diane Storyteller!” She chuckled, then closed her eyes, and fell back into her deep sleep.

I sat back down in that chair. I found a piece of paper and scribbled down details of the day I was first called Diane Storyteller back in 1955. I thought about how I ran away from the first grade at Tucker Elementary School all the way home to my mother’s arms. When she saw me, Mama threw down her daffodil bulbs and held me tightly. I called that story, “Diane Storyteller.” In the following lonely months when I could no longer talk to Mama, I found a new way to communicate.

I recalled the “old days of Tucker” she so loved to talk about, I wrote it down. I called it “Tucker History According to Mama” and “Semi-Centennial.” When I recalled the love and pride she had for her children, I wrote “Three Kittens and a Tucker Tiger.” When I remembered how she cared for her Aunt Annie on Old Norcross who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I wrote “Poor Side of Tucker.” When I recalled how much she respected Tucker historian, Roy Hutchens, I wrote “Tucker Historical Society.” I remembered the gleam in Mama’s eyes when she told me how she met my father, Tom Story, while roller skating. I wrote “They Paved Old Norcross.” When I thought about young Helen “Polly” Voyles graduating from the seventh grade at Tucker, I wrote “Ms. Herndon.”

When I was four years old I was pulled out of Clarke’s Hill Lake unconscious. When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was Mama’s face. I wrote about that day and called it “The Chariot.” When my spirit reached an all time low, I thought about how Mama coped with the death of loved ones. I wrote “The Forgotten Valentine,” “A Christmas Snowflake,” “Passed in Love,” and “Gwinnett’s Finest.” When I recalled how Mama cared for me when I was an invalid, I wrote “Snake Doctor.”

Every time I am tempted to advise my sons on how to live, I hear Mama tell me for the ten-thousandth time, “Diane, sweep around your own back door. Pull your own little red wagon.” I wrote “Law of Nature.”  When my mind replayed the moment Mama’s spirit left her body, I wrote “Angel Band.”

When the “five story” house sold on Morgan Road, I let the house do the talking in “Treasure Chest.” In all I have written over fifty such stories and entitled the collection, All Roads Lead to Tucker Georgia. I dedicated the book to my mother, Annie Helen Voyles-Story.

I think often of Mama’s dedication to her family and community. I think of her every day, but now with a smile rather than tears. And yes, sometimes I just have to sit down and drop my mother a line or two.

March 6, 2012

Dear Mama,

It is springtime again and the daffodils are in bloom. They are lovely. And just last night, four years after losing you, I found my place at the Tucker Elementary School once again, after all these years. I was nervous about being there. When my name was called, I knew it was time to kick the ball. I gave it my best shot. I stood there in Ms. Purcell’s seventh grade classroom with my back to the kick ball field. I peered out at friendly faces consisting of family, dear friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. And I was honored to tell the Tucker Historical Society about you.

Ever yours,

Diane Storyteller

P.S. Mama, I didn’t look up to see if you were there sharing my joy. I didn’t have to. I knew you were there.

Author’s Note:

Tucker Elementary is now known as Tucker Recreation.

All Roads Lead to Tucker Georgia (c) copyright 2012  by H. D. Story All Rights Reserved