In her career as a yankee storyteller, Rebecca Rule has traveled throughout New England telling stories and gathering them. One story leads to another. At town halls, historical societies, churches, and senior centers, people have shared stories that connect them to this rocky old place we call home. They’ve shared stories of family, country living, adventures and misadventures, triumphs, and “what the heck just happened?”
This book is the capstone on a twenty-five year career; the best of the best of these stories are collected here. It is also a memoir of how she came to be a storyteller, why storytelling matters, and what she has learned about the craft in the hundreds of performances she has given.
It’s a book full of characters, insight, heart, and good humor. Careful where you read it because you will be laughing out loud!
About the Author
Rebecca Rule is a full-time writer, humorist, and storyteller. In the program that inspired this book, “That Reminds Me of a Story,” she tells some of the best (and funniest) stories she’s collected over the course of twenty-five years of spinning and gathering yarns at libraries, historical societies, rotaries, clubs, church groups, campgrounds, and charitable organizations. She says she likes collecting stories because “they’re free and you don’t have to dust them.” Whenever she performs, she invites audience members to tell stories of their own in the spirit of oral history, and she pledges to pass the stories on. Stories are our identity. They hold our history, our culture, our heart—and they live on in the telling. For ten years, she hosted the NH Authors Series on NHPTV. She currently hosts Our Hometown, also on NHPTV. She’s the author of a dozen books, including N is for NH, an ABC book with photographs by Scott Snyder. Other books include The Iciest Diciest Scariest Sled Ride Ever!, a picture book illustrated by Jennifer Thermes; Headin’ for the Rhubarb, a NH Dictionary (well, kinda); and The Best Revenge, named one of five “Essential NH Books” by New Hampshire magazine and “Outstanding Work of Fiction” by the NH Writers Project. Sixty Years of Cuttin’ the Cheese: Joel Sherburne and Calef’s Famous Country Store takes a look at the beloved institution of the general store through the eyes of an amazing (and very funny) man who’s worked in one for sixty years and counting. Moved and Seconded: NH Town Meeting focuses on the changes in town meeting over the years, the characters that make town meeting so fascinating, and why it’s such a unique and enduring institution. Awards and special recognition include an honorary doctorate of humane letters from New England College “for contributions to New Hampshire culture and literature,” and an award from NH Humanities for demonstrating “what it means to create, teach, lead, assist, and encourage human understanding.” In his list of 100 things to do in NH, Steve Taylor lists at #1: “Attend an evening program where writer and teacher Rebecca Rule tells stories that embody the best of rural New Hampshire humor and mirth.”
"Alan Lomax traveled the world collecting folk songs. Becky Rule is the Alan Lomax of New England humor, having traveled the region for years, collecting and retelling stories that are as old as Bunker Hill and as new as last week’s town meeting. More than just a compendium of funny stories, this is a memoir, lexicon, how-to manual and homage to the characters who live here, conveyed with charm, wit, and generosity. This is a book to get you through a long New England winter, sipping slowly like hot cider. To use a favorite word of Becky’s, it’s a cockah."
—Ken Sheldon, humorist and author of novels for adults and children
"Those of us who tell stories for a living wish that Becky Rule would stop giving away the secrets. For everyone else, this book is a treat—hilarious stories, how-to manual, Yankee lingo, and her own story, told by a real Yankee with solid maple credentials. It’s a book to get you through a long New England winter, sipping slowly like hot cider. To use one of her own favorite expressions, it’s a cockah!"
—Fred Marple, author of Welcome to Frost Heaves
"This is one of those books you put on the coffee table after you read it once, 'cause you know you're gonna wanna reread your favorite parts and then it ends up stayin' there, 'cause everyone wants to pick through it, too.
"It don't mattah if yah wanna be funny or just hold yah own, Becky's tale's like a old country signpost guidin' us around the bogs and prickah bushes of that dry New England humor.
"Her tale is the stories she tells and you'll find a bunch of 'em here for you to share, if you care. Yup! More tales than days in a year. And each one as shiny as the gems from our Crystal Hills. I picked out a couple of pretty pieces to add to my bag. I bet you will too."
—PapaJoe Gaudet, NH’s Itinerant Teller
"Becky Rule’s stories make you smile, chuckle and guffaw (no surprise, there) and her description of what makes a good story and how she goes about telling it is fascinating. I was unexpectedly touched by Becky’s account of being a storyteller and the power of stories to affect lives, including her own. (Don’t tell Becky. She’s a Yankee and it would make her uncomfortable.)"
—Susan Poulin, creator of Ida LeClair, “the funniest woman in Maine,” and author of Finding Your Inner Moose and The Sweet Life
"What a lovely book.
"You want to laugh? You will not be disappointed. This book is a hoot!
"But I also a was mazed to find that the lessons taken from this laughter run deep. There is a connection with Yankee life that emerges here that is (dare I say it?) profound (there, I said it).
"Rebecca Rule rules! I am a fan. Big time."
—Fritz Wetherbee, Writer/TV producer