25 Years of Storytelling

Proclamation by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine, Florida

April 23, 2018

Proclamation by the Board of County Commissioners of  St. Johns County, Florida

April 17, 2018

Tellers making the news!

In the name of storytelling
Tuesday, November 13
Is hereby proclaimed to be
The Worldwide Event of Storytelling.

Across six continents
In 40 states
And nine countries
From Saint Augustine to Sacramento
Boise to Barcelona
West Virginia to West Indies
Albuquerque to Asheville
Over 300 audiences are gathered for
This spectacular storytelling event!

 Without further delay,
In joy and anticipation…

Let the stories begin!


The stories on the commemorative CD are performed by the following performers!
Copies of the CD are available by contacting Tale Tellers of St. Augustine

Buy your storytelling CD now!
Great for class education! Great for listening! Classic stories!

Buy the CD for $15.00 + 3.50 shipping and handling. Total value – $18.50 and a lifetime of memories.

     Please contact us by email if you prefer a USB FLASHDRIVE version of the CD content.
As technology changes, so shall we!
Contact news@taletellers.org for additional information.

Or call 904-540-0402


Tale Tellers of St. Augustine–Celebrating 25 Years

Disc One


The Cutting Edge (Original story written by Wayne and Jane Sims)

American legend and lore is filled with anecdotes and pranks connected to the “little house out back” whether it be coupled with Halloween tilting or unusual construction. The Cutting Edge is no different. Though based on scientific odds, fodder for this outhouse tale is found in the antics of a married couple and draws inspiration from historic possibility, humor and creative thinking.

Jane and Wayne Sims: The Storytelling Sims are humorists, historians and tandem tellers devoted to laughter and entertainment. Since 1994, they have performed hundreds of programs featuring tales drawn from tradition, legend, lore, literature and life from Florida’s River of Grass to Carolina’s Blue Ridge.

  1. MARGARET KALER (6:04)

The Sea Witch (Personal story; poem written by Geraldine Elliot Kaler)

The poem is based on an afternoon at Little Beach near the St. Augustine Lighthouse when they made a life size sea witch out of sand. Jerry’s imagination made life an adventure, and Margaret remembers this adventure with sweet nostalgia. 

Margaret Kaler grew up in St. Augustine going to the beach and the Little Theater with her mother and sister and listening to her mother tell stories. She studied theater, acted professionally in regional theater and has directed for Limelight Theatre and A Classic Theater in St. Augustine. She has been a featured Florida Teller at Florida Storytelling Festival in Mount Dora.


Florida Folk Festival Shenanigans (Story poem written by Sharon Sappington)

For over 20 years the Tale Tellers of St. Augustine have been honored to participate in the Florida Folk Festival, the longest continuously running music, story and craft festival in the United States. Sharon is the memory keeper of these events commemorated in an annual poem. The one chosen for this CD best exemplifies the versatility of this storytelling family—“A weekend of friends friending”.

Sharon Sappington was a school librarian in Alabama where she read and told stories for 18 years. As a Tale Teller, she has told stories of “quiet joy” for 20 years, but finds being a “story listener” to be equally rewarding. When asked to serve, Sharon has held the offices of President, vice-President and secretary. 

  1. RITA SAKER (6:03)

La Cucarachita (Original, bi-lingual adaptation of a Spanish folktale written by Rita Saker)

This original adaptation of a Spanish folktale concerns a little cockroach who believes she is ugly, only to be amazed at the outcome of her tale. Meet La Cucurachita Little Cockroach, Lobo Wolf, Gato Cat and Ratoncito Little Mouse. 

Rita Saker is a bilingual storyteller, retired public librarian and school media specialist. She has performed at the Florida Storytelling Festival and in schools, libraries and nursing homes. Her favorite stories are multi-cultural tales and fairy tales.


An Istachatta Methodist in St. Louis Cathedral (A personal story)

Like Hieronymus Bosch, I paint what I see. Or, in my case, tell it the way it happened. Although I usually prefer stories from history, I do tell a few personal tales. I still recommend a visit to St. Louis Cathedral. 

Drew Sappington is a Native Floridian (one of 138) and the author of Hidden History of St. Augustine. He has worked a variety of odd jobs—at least they seemed odd to him. These include college professor, pest control guy, ward administrator in a mental hospital, researcher, bouncer at a teenage nightclub, and clinical psychologist. He told stories on most of these jobs before joining Tale Tellers.

  1. KATHY KNIERY (6:00)

The Battery-Powered Baseball Game (Original story written by Kathy Kniery)

Baseball is America’s sport since it was born more than a hundred years ago. The spark that drives the team is provided by the battery – the combo of the catcher and pitcher. In this story we hear about the catcher and his exploits at the plate and the pitcher starting his first game.

Kathy Kniery had a 30 year career in education where she used storytelling as a teaching strategy. Now retired, she moved to Florida and joined the Tale Tellers. Kathy enjoys telling stories to all ages and uses voice and physical movement to relate an incident, to teach a lesson, or to entertain. She is a member of the Florida Storytelling Association and the National Storytelling Network.

  1. DAVID FUSSELL (6:15)

I’m Going Home (Story poem written by David Fussell)

 “I don’t sing, don’t dance, don’t preach long sermons, but what I can do is tell you stories and whittle a tune. Listen, I’ll do one for you now….”

David Fussell a fifth generation Florida Cracker and fifth generation Wiregrass Georgia Cracker, tells yarns and rhythms of Cracker life through personal experiences and learned lore of Florida’s past. Wit, wisdom, humor, and laughter makes the Cracker South comes alive with 50 years of storytelling from the front porch.


The America (Historical story written by Frank and Mary Lee Sweet)

The America was a 19th-century racing yacht and winner of the first international sailing trophy. She was built to show off American technology at the first industrial world’s fair–the Great Exhibition in London 1851. In the American Civil War, America served as a Confederate blockade runner (1861), and a Union blockader (1862). After the war, America became a training vessel at Annapolis.

Frank and Mary Lee Sweet as Backintyme perform stories and songs from the nineteenth century. Enjoy impeccably researched accounts of heroes and villains, boats and trains, soldiers and sailors. Meet authors, musicians, poets, engineers, doctors, and storytellers. Discover facts, rumors, lies, folktales and legends.

Disc Two

  1. DAVID PITTS (3:17)

Cracking the Whip (Personal story written by David Pitts)

I was born on the backside of Jacksonville, Florida. Talleyrand Avenue. The Saint Johns River. The good part was, it was a very mixed community as far as ethnicity. Whites, blacks, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Italians…The Mexican woman would often give us kids each a bowl of black beans. The Italian lady was always standing on her back porch nursing a baby.  It was a rare experience to get out into “cow country”.

David Pitts, born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida graduated from the University of Florida and went on to a 30 year career in writing television commercials in Chicago and then on to teach college for a decade.  He retired to the St. Augustine area where he writes and publishes mainly poetry and short stories and tells, of course, tells some of them with the Tale Tellers.

  1. BETTY FELL (5:43)

A Little Knowledge Can Be A Very Dangerous Thing (Personal story written by Betty Fell)

This is a cautionary tale for parents. Be careful what you say to your children because fertile young minds come to unexpected conclusions, as Betty found out in third grade.

Betty Fell is a Charter Member and Past President of Tale Tellers. In 2018, she received the Annette J. Bruce Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Storytelling Association and the ROWITA Awad (Recognizing Outstanding Women In The Arts) from the St. Johns County Cultural Council. She likes to write and perform personal stories, but also enjoys telling folk and fairy tales.

  1. MARIANNE STEIN (7:41)

The Song (Personal story written by Marianne Stein)

This story has been on my mind to write for a long time; my dilemma was in is far too common to be overlooked. The event was an important happening in a young child’s life. The fact that it also brings in some Swedish history during WWII adds more reality. The war years were a memorable time even for Swedes, even though they did not experience it in their own backyards. The radio became the only source for news from other countries.

Marianne Stein was born in Sweden and spent 20 years establishing libraries in Brussels, Belgium and Madrid, Spain. She immigrated to the United States in 1958 and told stories to children, ages six months to 12 years at the Mahwah Public Library in Mahwah, NY for 18 years. Marianne was President of Beaches League of Storytellers for six years learning to tell stories to adults and has been a member of the Tale Tellers for 15 years.

  1. KATHLEEN DUFFY (7:23)

Balls (Personal story written by Kathleen Duffy)

Growing up can be difficult. If you are an adult who spends a great deal of time around children, remember that they will repeat anything you say at the most inopportune times.

Kathleen Duffy has been telling stories since the 1990s on both the east and west coasts to audiences both young and old; she is a five-year member of Tale Tellers and a member of the National Storytelling Network.


Flowered Couches (Personal story written by Natalie Beltrami)

This is my personal story, but it is not just my story. I believe that it captures the feeling of that awkward, often terribly painful time in our youth when we try to figure out who we are as we carefully navigate through the minefield of early social interaction. Sometimes the most painful moments in our lives become the “seeds” for the best and, strangely enough, the funniest stories.  Telling the story constitutes a kind of healing release from the pain and a recognition that we are all players in the human comedy we call “life”.

Natalie Beltrami went to eight grade schools in D.C. and Detroit, two high schools (one in Spain), and Mills College before graduating from UC Berkeley in the turbulent 1960s…setting her on most an unconventional path!  She has taught English, worked in television and radio, helped deliver boats, edited a parenting magazine, and once barbequed the best whole hog in Florida!  A Tale Teller of St. Augustine since 1996, she is also a published writer, an award-winning artist and actress.

  1. CHRIS KASTLE (7:39)

A Very Bad Boy (Original story written by Chris Kastle)

I had the honor and wonder of performing at the Shanties Festival in Krakow during the Februarys of 1991 and 1993; the Poland of that time is the backdrop for this piece of historical fiction. I made many friends; bits of their lives are reflected in this story. It was a time for the people to openly embrace “Western” influences and culture, grow dizzy with change and simmer in a cauldron of mixed emotions. It is a Christmas tale. 

Chris Kastle is an award-winning singer, storyteller, songsmith, author, artist and educator; an internationally touring performer and seasoned traveler offering insight into a lifetime of adventure. She has been a member of Tale Tellers since 2008 where she has served on the Board in several capacities; she has also served as President of the Florida Storytelling Association. In 2015 she was presented with the Annette J. Bruce Lifetime Achievement Award.

  1. JOYCE SABATO (6:53) Fair Winds, Willie

(Fictional story inspired by a historic event, written by Joyce Sabato; recorded live at the Limelight Theatre, January 30, 2018)

The first documented Ghost Ship was in the 1850s off the coast of Rhode Island. The ship was the Seabird and it was captained by John Durham.  The townspeople saw it lodged on the rocks and went to help. When they arrived, they discovered that the skiff was still in the chocks. There was water boiling in a pot on a cast iron wood stove; there were live animals on board; fresh fish in the hold and the table was set for supper. There was no sign of the captain or the crew.  That night there was an early spring storm. In the morning there was no sign of the ship.

Joyce Sabato is a seasoned storyteller, experienced educator and a musician.  She served as President of the Tale Tellers of St. Augustine and on the Board of the Florida Storytelling Association. Since moving back up North, she has been featured at a number of venues and is a member of New England Story Telling Association and Vice President of the New Hampshire Storytelling Alliance and also Chair of their IT Committee­­­.