I could say that I know Sandra MacLees from watching her tell stories in Hawaii. She is sometimes an historical re-enactor playing the part of Isabel Maydwell -- who worked with the vulcanologist Thomas Jagger in 1912 -- at Volcano National Park on the Big Island.
But, I actually know Sandra from many years before. Sandra and I founding members of Storywheel, a storytelling cooperative in San Franciso, back in the 1980s. More on Sandra soon..
Here is a photo of Sandra at a Honolulu storytelling festival...
But let me tell you the story of how I first met Sandra "in disguise" as a sharp-tongued lass from the Highlands. It was in Berkeley, California where I gave an evening storytelling. Two ladies were in the audience, one an American storyteller and the other -- I thought -- a storyteller from Scotland.
We had a grand time talking away, and this Scottish lass had a fine rich and sharp "scots burr" to every phrase she spoke. We talked a good long time and then the ladies went there way.
Well, it was a number of weeks later when I met that Scots lass once again, but this time without her thick and lush accent. Why, she was no Scots lassie but an "all-American girl next door."
Such has always been the magic that Sandra could weave with her voice and her stories.
Together with three other San Francisco Bay Area storytellers we formed a storytelling cooperative, Storywheel. We had a long run, telling tales together in coffee houses and other art venues. Then we went our own ways. I moved to Seattle and later to Washington DC.
Sandra and her husband Dean eventually moved to the Volcano area of the Big Island. They built their house themselves, with the help of their son, down another one of those dirt roads that lace the Big Island.
Returning to the Big Island in the winter, one of my first destinations is up the Volcano to visit Sandra and Dean. And, if the show is on at the Volcano House, it is always great fun to take the grand tour of 1912 with Isabel, the Volcano Lady.