I’ve always been extremely jealous of a person who can tell a good story. You know, those people who use every inch of their body and tell a story like it’s a passionate, secret love affair? Yeah, them. A person who can take me to a far-off memory, a place I have never been and make me feel like I was a part of it. It never feels like “you had to be there” kind of thing. Personally, my storytelling skills could use some work. I tend to ramble and forget what I am even trying to say at least five times during the story’s duration.

Recently, I have been spending a lot of my time with my grandma. I’ve been away at the University of Utah (Go Utes!) and truthfully, I have always been a little green-eyed monster when it comes to the relationship my grandma has with my cousins. Moving back to Vegas this past year, I decided I wanted to build and strengthen relationships with my family.

Now you may be thinking, a 22-year-old in Las Vegas, hanging out with her grandma? How is this possible? Let me tell you, I would spend every day with my grandma if I could. I get excited to walk up to her doorway because every time, I enter a whole new world (que the Aladdin soundtrack.) Some days, I’m in Las Vegas circa 1950, another day, I’m in my grandma’s kitchen in 1980 cooking for her four children with her.

My grandma loves her parents. Unfortunately, I never got to meet them, but I feel such a bond with them because of the way my grandma tells stories. There is not a day that goes by I don’t think of them and the wonderful life they created together. If my grandma has taught me anything, it is the art of storytelling. I’m going to let you in on a few of Grandma Francie’s storytelling rules- some have learned, few have mastered this art.

There is no such thing as too much detail- Tell as many details as possible. I swear to you my grandma’s house really is a portal for time-traveling. I can smell my great-grandparents roses in front of their cute little home they raised seven children in, in Downtown Las Vegas. I can visualize my dad as a young boy, hanging upside down from a tree while my grandma snickers and grabs the camera from inside their home. I can taste my great-grandma’s famous meatloaf. The secret ingredient? A sliced pickle in the middle, baked to perfection.

Memories are the only thing we have forever- A sad truth I have learned far too early is not all our favorite people are going to be around forever, so don’t be afraid to truly indulge in a moment, memories can’t be relived but the stories of them can. Remember the small stuff, the big stuff and everything in between. Write it down, keep it in a box in the back of your mind and don’t be afraid to re-visit it.

Visual aid is just as important as the oral story- Spending time with my grandma means spending hours reminiscing through old photos. Grandma has given me bags full of old photos and they are my most prized possessions. Each photo shows something so incredibly special to her, and what is important to her, is important to me. Sometimes, you just can’t tell a story to its entirety without a visual representation. Don’t be afraid to take 28624926795 photos, no matter how silly or insignificant the moment may seem.

Don’t live a life wasted- Grandma Francie could never say anything bad about anyone or anything, although she does low-key roast people in the family group text. Don’t live a life wasted otherwise people won’t remember you, and no one will have stories to tell about you other than they really didn’t truly live their life. As hard as being an adult is, I hope one day people have so many stories (hopefully funny/good/not about the time I peed my pants in the second grade) about me that my legacy lives on forever.

And there you have it. The Art of Storytelling. I hope you all have learned something, and you give Grandma Francie’s rules a try. Who knows, maybe you can take someone to a far-away place and make them feel like they are there.

Thank you, Grandma for allowing me to eat all your fruit snacks and drink an obscene amount of Ginger Ale every time I come over. I love you and cherish every moment we have together. I hope one day I can tell all your stories, your parent’s stories and my dad’s stories as well as you do.

~Submitted by Madeline Fitzgerald