Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

We All Have Stories to Tell

What’s Yours?

“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” – Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center

“I’ll tell you a secret. Old storytellers never die. They disappear into their own story.” –Vera Nazarian, author


A Carson & Barnes Circus Memory. Barbara recalls one of the most memorable circus performances she ever saw. A colorful excerpt from her memoir, The Drummer Drives! Everyone Else Rides. With an update on today’s new circuses without animals.

“Imagine nineteen elephants trotting past you, their trunks swaying as the tassels on their colorful robes bounce against their hide; and then the big cats, as they come rushing through the chute into the cage in the center ring. I was close enough to see the texture of their fur as they streaked past me.” – Barbara

A Few Choice Words: The Fine Art of Talking to People Who Don’t Speak Your Language. A collection of humorous anecdotes and short stories from Barbara’s journal while traveling with Harry to several foreign countries and capital cities of the world. This was in connection with his work as producer of the International Crafts Exposition at Busch Gardens Theme Park in Williamsburg, VA. [A Kindle book, $1.99.]

NEW: Chicago’s Great “Killer Snowstorm” of 1967. A reflective look-back at the worst snowstorm in Chicago’s history; how it shut down the city and affected everyone in the area, including Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians. An excerpt from The Drummer Drives! memoir.

“People had not yet begun to shovel sidewalks yet, and the alley we waded through had drifts as high as a car. But Harry just jumped into them like a Bohemian jackrabbit and I jumped in after him and we laughed ourselves silly in the process.” – Barbara

NEW: How I Was Conned into Adoption by a Fluffy-tailed Tabby  [PDF]. How Barbara selected and rescued a cat at the Humane Society and the big surprise she got after bringing it home.

NEW: Drumming with the Chuck Foster Orchestra in the Forties. Harry Brabec’s remembrances of working with this band and its members, with a link to the amusing, last-surviving 1940s video soundie of the Chuck Foster Orchestra on YouTube.

Harry Brabec, Humorist. “Anything for a laugh” could have been Harry’s motto. Get your laugh for the day in this excerpt from The Drummer Drives! book, with four “silly Harry” photos and stories guaranteed to bring a chuckle.

•  Life is Like a Baseball Game. Which Inning Are You in Now? This article reflects on Barbara’s father’s love for baseball and the Chicago White Sox. Includes stats of their World Series wins and related stories and photos. 

Life Wisdom from Yogi Berra. Wondrous things can happen each time you take a step in a new direction.

My Father’s Garage. Barbara remembers the legacy of her father, a farmer-turned-mechanic in the fifties, and his entrepreneurial spirit in building a home and business in the small farming community of Buckley, Illinois. Includes five photos.

 Reflections on Covid-19: My Story of Adaptation, Change, and Acceptance. Adapted from Barbara’s Brabec Bulletin in August 2020.

NEW: A Rescue Cat for Christmas. Barbara’s story of adopting a gray cat she named Liza. Found under someone’s porch after giving birth to three kittens, she was rescued and taken to a local animal clinic. Barbara found her there two months after she had to put her beloved Charlee down in November 2019.

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. “ – Robertson Davies

Small Cowboys and Reflections of the Heart. A nostalgic short story of one of the author’s special days—a day that sparked the memory of another special day in her youth when she did something on the spur of the moment that was so adventurous and so against her calm and practical nature that she was astonished to find she’d actually survived the experience unscathed. [A Kindle book, $.99).]

The Stray Cat That Came to Stay, by Susan Young. The sweet story of Peaches, a faithful companion who loved being free to roam out-of-doors, wanting nothing to do with the inside of a house. Includes poetry by Susan.

Ten Photos with Anecdotes [PDF]. Barbara shares some of her photos and related anecdotal stories and quotes about cats, hummingbirds, kaleidoscopic art, paper cuttings, flower gardening, and more.

“Life is full of surprises when you approach it with a mind open to the possibilities.” – Barbara

NEW: Three Short Stories—Barb’s Mystery Illness, Great Western Movie Stars and TV Series of the 50s and 60s, and “Tribute to the Dog.”

My Testimony for Christ [PDF]. The story of how Barbara came to learn life’s greatest secret so late in life and how this dramatic experience changed her life forever. (Download to read later and/or share with others.)

NEW: What Real Life is All About. “The Old Dodge Truck” and “A Bed’s Storied Life”—two short stories that may prompt sweet memories of your growing-up years.

Yellowstone National Park in 1959 [PDF]. A historical, pictorial look back at the Park in 1959, with Barbara’s photos and comments on things that have changed since then.

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” –  Graham Greene, novelist and author (1904-1991)

“I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.” – Lena Waithe, screenwriter for Bones and Master of None

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