Hydock brings a little Yankee flavor to Storytelling Festival

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Alabama storyteller Dolores Hydock talks with her hands, her elbows, her shoulders. And, when she speaks, she’s literally irrepressible.

That’s the way the Birmingham Weekly describes the storyteller who came to Alabama from Yale University to do research on folklore, fell in love with the people of Chandler Mountain and stayed.

“Those people took a shine to me,” Hydock said. “Hazel and Miss Dory took a 22-year-old Yankee into their midst from January to April of 1974 and taught me about quilting and growing tomatoes, making bonnets and feeding chickens.”

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Hydock said those gracious ladies and their kin invited her to supper, shared recipes and home remedies. They took her to church where the pianist played bouncy hymns and folks sang four-part gospel.

The people of Chandler Mountain didn’t quite understand the interest the Pennsylvania “girl” had in all their goings-on but if she wanted to talk about local superstitions and such, they could talk her ears off.

Hydock talks lovingly and candidly about her experiences on Chandler Mountain during that winter term and of all the times she spent back on the mountain over the following years. Her stories are said to be roller coaster rides for the heart – stories that tickle your funny bone and others that tug at your heartstrings.

She will share her stories of Chandler Mountain and stories of growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, the home of the Reading Railroad and Luden’s Cough Drops, at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival Saturday at the We Piddle Around Theater and the Trojan Center Theater.

Hydock said that she has been telling stories since she was five years old. That’s when she won a blue ribbon in a storytelling contest.

“I was convinced that the gold lettering on the ribbon meant there was a fortune in storytelling,” she said.

Whether or not that’s true, Hydock is convinced that a well-told story is worth its weight in gold.

Hydock’s stories at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival will be well told.

This will be Hydock’s first appearance at the annual storytelling festival but she is not new to the area. She is a familiar face at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge, having performed at the Brundidge Historical Society’s June Buggin’ event and the Chili Country Christmas.

“Dolores was our June Buggin’ storyteller and she was wonderful,” said Mernette Bray, a member of storytelling committee. “We decided before she left the theater that we wanted her back for our Chili County Christmas. Her performance was one of the best Christmas shows we’ve had and we’ve had great ones. We are excited to have her at this year’s festival.”

Concert times for the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival at the Trojan Center Theater on Saturday are 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ($10 each) and 6:30 p.m. ($15). The Friday night concert is sold out.

All concerts feature pre-show music 30 minutes prior to the storytelling concerts and stories by all four tellers. Different stories are told at each concert.

Tickets are available at studio 116 on Main Street in downtown Brundidge and The Messenger in Troy or by calling 334-735-3125 or 334-670-6302 or 334-685-5524.

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival is sponsored by the Brundidge Historical Society with support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.