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Storytelling – “My Mothers of Pearl” by Jane Jenkins Herlong
Patricia Fripp - Persuasive Presentation Expert Patricia Fripp - Persuasive Presentation Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Friday, May 9, 2014

Author, Speaker, Humorist and Singer, Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP

Author, Speaker, and Humorist, Jane Jenkins Herlong

My friend, humorist, author, and speaker, Jane Jenkins Herlong is a born storyteller. Everybody loves a good story. No matter what our culture, we grow up knowing that a story is a reward. In business and sales presentations, stories are the best way to explain the complex, create emotional connection, inspire, motivate, and persuade. As an executive speech coach, people ask me, ?What on earth do I talk about? Where do I find examples to illustrate my key points?” Wonderful, engaging, and instructive stories are most often found in our daily lives. I share this example from Jane?s book, Bury Me With My PearlsEnjoy!

My Mothers of Pearl
by Jane Jenkins Herlong

Grandmother McElveen had two suitcases packed: one for a possible hospital stay and the other for her funeral. ?Eleanor, bury me with my pearls,? she said one day to my mother.

?Oh, Mother!? exclaimed my mother. Then Grandmother McElveen glanced at Tootsie, my second momma, who worked for my family for almost fifty years. ?Eleanor doesn?t want to listen, Tootsie. Please make sure I?m buried with my pearls.?
My mother told me that story during one of her many stays at Roper Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Please make sure I?m buried with my pearls. The sentence looped through my mind all night. What a great title for a book.
?Jane, I want you to remember how I want to be buried.? I didn?t want to discuss the topic. But my mother continued, ?For my music, I want my favorite song, ?Please Release Me,? by Engelbert Humperdinck.? Momma always made me laugh; it was one of her pearls.
The beginning of the formation of pearls ? and in the South we do love those gems ? is the nacre, the inner shell of an oyster (which also forms the outer layer of a pearl). Nacre is the mother-of-pearl. Its iridescent beauty is considered a treasure. It is crucial to the formation of the pearl. Mother-of-pearl is strong and resilient.
Just like Momma and Tootsie.
Friends called them all kinds of names: Maude and Florida, smoke and fire, Bert and Ernie, or Lucy and Ethel. Momma and Tootsie were an amazing team. I?ve seen them beat wayward lizards to death with brooms, leap on the kitchen table when they spotted a mouse, and put out fires with aprons. I?ve seen Tootsie drop to her knees laughing after my mother said something funny, and I?ve seen them embrace in tears.
Momma, Tootsie, and I were a superglue trio until I started first grade. I thought my heart was going to explode when I sat in that cage-like wooden school desk. All I could think of was how much fun I was missing. No more watching ?I love Lucy? with Tootsie at 10:00 a.m. No more running around the house as Momma and Tootsie tried to brush my honey-colored ringlets that Momma called knots. No more flour fights with Tootsie when she made her delicious biscuits. And no more clothesline tents; the family?s bed linens would just be white sheets hanging lifeless on a wire.
Once Tootsie gave me a good tongue-lashing after I had fallen off a ladder and torn a ligament in my foot. ?Girl, I done told you not to git yo?self up on no ladder! Dat is man?s work,? exclaimed Tootsie in her Gullah brogue.
Then Momma grabbed the phone, ?How many times have I told you that your uterus will fall out on the floor if you climb a ladder??
No kidding. If Tootsie and Momma were shopping in Wal-Mart and saw a woman on a ladder, they would always whisper, ?She gonna be sorry. Her uterus is going to fall out on the floor.?
Can?t you just hear the Wal-Mart folks on the loud speaker? ?We need some help. We have a uterus on aisle four . . . ?
After both my mother and Tootsie passed away, I was speaking in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My driver was an older gentleman with a unique accent. ?Tom, you aren?t from around here, are you?? I asked.
?Oh, no ma?am. I?m from Beaumont, Texas.?
?Do you go home much??
?Oh, yeah. I go see my Mama.?
Now this guy was no spring chick so I quizzed him again. ?Is your Mama in pretty good health??
?She?s okay but we most lost her about three months ago.?
?Really, what happened??
?Well,? said Tom with a stammer, ?her uterus just fell out.?
I knew in the pit of my soul that Momma and Tootsie were still sending me that uterus speech. They were also reminding me of our many moments of laughter. That?s what this book is all about; laughter and living well with faith in the center of your strand of pearls.
Momma and Tootsie are the women, my mother-of-pearls, who shaped me into the woman I am today. They made me laugh. Many times they made me snort in a non-Southern Belle fashion. They also held me when I cried. They encouraged me. They?re the backbone of my character, a constant reminder of the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. They also popped me on the bottom when I did wrong. They taught me to live well, to love others, and to do the right thing regardless of how you felt. Their lessons stuck with me just like a Charleston Rice spoon-size helping of Tootsie?s steaming hot grits.
Mother-of-pearl is a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable, and valuable. We should all aspire to share the legacy of our deeds as we develop our talents. Just like a mother passes down her pearls to her daughter so should we proudly and courageously leave the next generation valuable lessons.
Sometimes our mothers shared ?words of wisdom? we thought were hilarious, but eventually we realized those ?rhinestones? were priceless gems. For example, right before my wedding Momma said to me, ?You know, somewhere in the Bible it says to keep your husband happy. I don?t know the exact verse, but it?s something like, ?For every headache you have, there?s a woman out there somewhere with an aspirin in her purse…?? (Book of Eleanor, chapter one, verse one).
Bury Me with My Pearls by Jane Jenkins HerlongWho are the people you look to, lean on, and learn from? Find the mother-of-pearl in your life and pray for that protective shell. Seek out someone who provides safety and beauty at the same time. Seek someone who will tell you the truth in love, a person you trust and respect. Find that person or persons who have journeyed through life well and have accumulated a beautiful, eclectic strand of valuable pearls. Then model that person.
Aspire to inspire before you expire.
Humorist, Amazon ?Best-Selling? author, speaker, and professional singer, Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP finds the funny in dysfunction. Jane helps audiences confront negativity with grace and humor to increase performance and productivity as she did overcoming being labeled Dyslexic and other challenges. From the tomato fields of Johns Island, South Carolina to a Miss America runway and beyond, Jane?s funny original, Southern stories and award-winning singing helps audiences learn life-skills and the healing power of laughter when dealing with stressful issues thrown at their field of dreams. You will love this farm-girl?s Southern-style recipe for balancing your own personal journey with a sense of humor, hope and heaping helping of folksy wisdom. For more information visit: http://www.janeherlong.com
Thank you Jane!

Pixar?s 22 Rules of Storytelling,” “Do You Tell Your Own Stories? Why and How to Create Original Stories,” and “Your Presentation ? Remember the Three S?s of Dynamic Stories” are just a few of the complimentary resources on Fripp.com to help you improve your storytelling.
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