POST: 'Folk Wandering' - We are all wandering souls

What it's about.

Folk Wandering is an original musical that centers on three time periods in America, one woman in each of those time periods, and three talismans that draw out the women's stories.

"In 1911, Rosealia dreams of a better life.
In 1933, Kai struggles to keep her daughter safe.
In 1955, Hannah finally fights for herself."

My experience.

My mother and I had our hands stamped lime green with the year 1933, and we were told to sit anywhere that had Kai's face on it.


The space was filled with the types of belongings that were valuable more because of the memories attached to them than how much money they were worth. I thought of all the junk I couldn't bear to part with...Journals, movie tickets, playbills, boarding passes, graded school assignments, letters, cards... I hardly looked at any of them, but I was comforted knowing they were there. And it bothered me to think that all of my little treasures would in all likelihood outlive me, existing without me there to give them meaning. Then they really would be just scraps of paper.


Well, maybe not quite. Because the stories connected to the objects people save still exist, whether or not anyone is around to remember them. Or at least that's what I like to believe. In any case, these objects can help others learn about the people they belonged to.


Rosealia had big dreams. She wanted to be a journalist, and even though she was only 13 and living in relative poverty with her parents and her older sister, she wasn't going to let that stop her - she was too focused on achieving her career goals. But she was turning 14 in a matter of days, at which point she would be expected to leave school to go to work in the factory with her mother and sister. 


Kai was desperate to protect her daughter. The two of them were struggling to make it through the desert, barely surviving, until a man they initially feared came to their rescue.


Hannah had a pattern with her handsome bandmate, and it was toxic. It started with him loving her and always, always ended with him leaving her, usually resulting in her chasing him, and the two of them somehow reconciling. 

I was surprised at how much I felt for these characters, particularly Rosealia. She reminded me of myself at 13 or 14. I too, wrote everything down, and wanted to be a journalist. In fact, I have filled journals cover to cover from the age of 12. That is over ten years worth of writing. It's amazing being able to look back and remember how I felt or what I believed at a particular time.

But Rosealia's life was *spoiler alert* tragically cut short, and she never got to grow up or become a professional journalist, or fall in love. It was so...just completely unfair, and I mourned for the life she would never get to live...all those years ahead of her needlessly gone. And what remained? Her writings, that she had tucked safely away in a box as she tried to hone her craft.

Would anyone realize their significance? That they had belonged to such a special, intelligent little girl?

Folk Wandering's final song contained a lyric that really stuck with me:

"All I need for my wandering soul are the things in life that I have already found."

It reminded me that the things I have collected over the years don't make me - it's what they represent that's important. And while I know that the internal, the intangible is more meaningful than any object, I still like to hold on to my little reminders. 

As my mother and I made our way out of the theatre, we were handed little heart-shaped wooden reminders of what we had just experienced.


I knew I didn't need it, but it was nice to have anyway. And so I stowed it away in my purse for luck. And now, whenever I reach into the little zippered compartment to close my fingers around its smooth surface, I can't help but smile and remember.

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