Wopila, a Give-Away

Story Musings

Wopila, a Give-Away

Dovie Thomason titled one of her storytelling tapes “Wopila, a Give-Away” but asked us not to take that literally and just take the tapes, as she did need to make a living.

Wopila is a lovely custom, and fits my preference for giving things away rather than selling them.

I have happily given away dozens of “apple” and “blueberry” baby hats, including one finished in my dentist’s waiting room for his baby boy.

(He donated a checkup to the Y auction, so he understands Wopila, too).
I always seem to finish one just as a new baby comes into view.

Once, a teaching colleague’s baby came early and had to spend a week in the neonatal unit.  I hurried to finish a hat for him by Friday’s “going home” date, and on Friday showed the finished hat to my students.  One healthy, beautiful young lady said that she had been exactly that small and fragile at birth. We sent her to deliver the hat and, even more important, the message of hope!  These are gifts of love.

Knitting lessons available as well . . .   








I was happy that my friend, who wanted to ride with her children, could use the bicycle I hadn’t ridden in years.

When a student told me that she was hoping her father would be able to afford a typewriter for her for Christmas, I remembered my own longing for a typewriter when I was her age.  I dusted my once “state of the art” electric typewriter, set aside when I learned computer word processing, and made her a very happy girl!

When I was preparing to retire from teaching I announced a Wopila to my students and fellow teachers.  Some were reluctant to take things, but not after the custom was explained.  Those items could continue to make a difference in our school, and other schools, even after I left.  Jim and Deb Wallen took books and bookshelves for their grandchildren’s school in Kansas City.  That school closed, and they gave the books to a school that had lost its library to a tornado.

Last May in Ohio for the O.O.P.S. conference, Dovie added the explanation that Wopila is not just giving away what you don’t want anymore.  Sometimes Wopila means giving away favorite things so that others can have a turn enjoying them.

I saw my friend Maria’s silver card case and realized that it matched a silver flask sitting in my curio cabinet.  I had thought before that the flask would be a good addition to Maria’s Swords and Roses pirate garb, so I presented it to her.  She will also be using it in a “Roaring 20’s” show . . . carrying my good wishes as she does so.










My great-niece Moriah loves green, and this lovely necklace, a gift from a student, suits her perfectly.  It was time to let her enjoy it.    








My young friend Hannah helped me with my move from the condo to my little eco-home.  She took home many “treasures” including the hand-made heavy leather briefcase I had used when I sold insurance (not sure how she could even carry it).  She also spotted and coveted my Shel Silverstein books, and rather than have them just stay on a shelf at my house, I happily passed them on to one who would appreciate them more.

Brendan at Borders remarked that his son has become fascinated by Turkish things.  I had an inexpensive top purchased from a young street vendor in Istanbul.  I never managed to make it work; perhaps his son can . . .

My friend Stephen Hollen wrote a wonderful story “Memories of Lone” about the ongoing trick he played with his mother’s NOEL elves.  I had a NOEL train, which I sent to my adopted cousin so he can continue making his special LONE Christmas magic.

Sometimes I give stories.   Next week  I’ll be telling to the cub scouts whose leader bid highest at the Y auction.

Last year  I told at Hannah’s class’s Christmas party.  I often give copies of my storytelling CDs to children I meet as I go on my merry way, including at rest stops on long trips, when the miles challenge the patience of even the best of children, and their parents.  The smiles and enthusiasm of young listeners is reward enough for that gift.

When we hold onto something, we lose the use of our hands, and letting go leaves room for the new to come into our lives.

I have also received, so many wonderful lovely gifts, tangible and in-
. . .  Jessica gave me a Wide Mouth Frog pin after my first public telling of that story, on an ETSU cruise.  It reminds me of the fun and friendship  each time I see it.  After my frog, Prince, moved into my home, many people gave me frog gifts in his honor, and as consolation after I let him return to the wild.









My niece Jillian made me a lovely storytelling logo.    

and Holly made a dream card, some of which has already come to pass . . .

Toni McGee Causey gave a gift card, which I used to buy copies of her books (it seemed the fair thing to do).

Better Life sent some of their wonderful cleaning products, half of which I gave to the Y auction.

Suzanne Beecher of the on-line book club just sent a vintage apron.

Comfort Suites gave us the use of their pool for our “Wet and Mild”  Aqua-aerobics!

Even the flask I gave Maria had been a gift, which I enjoyed for three decades . . . long enough, time for it to move on and be useful . . .

I had been thinking about this blog for a while, mulling it over (and procrastinating) but this seems the right season to reflect on giving . . . and receiving, which is just as important; both are part of the graceful sharing of the loveliness of our world . . .

May you give and receive in great joy!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Room(s) of Requirement  | storytellermary
  2. Trackback: Umbrella/De-Icer/Scraper/WD-40 / Tales Out of School | storytellermary

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