Jay O'Callhan's Workshop Stories
"I have a wonderful memory of the stormy weekend I spent at Alice's House. Walking along the stony beach, a powerful wind at my back, finding stones in the shape of hearts seemed prophetic of the whole experience. With Jay's inspirational direction I felt myself full of creative energies. Alice's House is perfectly situated to take advantage of the elements (water, wind, sky) and to enhance the whole experience of story telling. My best wishes, in hopes that Alice's House will be rebuilt."
Julia du Prey
"Moira passed along the request for special memories from Alice's house.
A couple items stick-out for me. My favorite was the time Mary, Christen,
Ed and I stayed there a night or two. It was a sad event that pulled us
there, Chip's funeral, but it was the first and only time since we all went our
own way that we four siblings were together without our respective families.
There were no kids or spouses and I couldn't help but think how special a
moment it was that we four were together again. It really shouldn't be
difficult for four siblings to get together and re-experience an earlier time in
life but, in actuality, it's a rare event. Our own lives pull us in different
directions. Alice's house for 1 or 2 days was one time that our lives
intersected in such a way that we four were together again as kids.
My other favorite time was when we stayed there with more family
representation for Laura's wedding. I recall Moira and I brought our 3 boys.
Christen, Scott, Ed & Allison, and Bob & Mary (but I think they flew out that
night). We stayed up late, talking on the beach in front of a fire. If I recall
correctly, you, Laura, and Linda popped over too. Of course, the whole fire
element may make this memory inappropriate!"
"I loved that night on the beach. Jay, you told a story about a time
when you were in the Navy that involved moving a Coke vending
machine. We were all entranced!"
"I made a friend in October of 2008 when I attended an Alice's House
storytelling workshop. I live in Oregon. This workshop was an enormous
event to me. I met a man the first day of the workshop. He introduced
himself as Deacon John. I had never heard anybody refer to themselves
by saying, "My name is Deacon John." I liked that. He was older than I. I
liked that too. I have always enjoyed visiting with people older than myself.
He was 79 and I was 60. He had been a deacon in the Catholic Church
for twenty-two years. I didn't know the Catholic Church even had deacons.
I loved visiting with Deacon John immediately. His voice, little sayings,
heart warming stories, and smile drew me in. We laughed at the same
things. As the days of the workshop progressed we became kindred
spirits. He mentioned to me one day that he gave a homily every Thursday
morning at 7:00 a.m. at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Raynham. "What's a
homily?" I said. He told me a homily (little flame) was a short simple two
minute sermon/story to light the path of the parishioners for that day. On
Saturday evening of the workshop, you (Jay) mentioned privately to me
that you felt a sore throat coming on. Deacon John and I quietly stepped
outside. We prayed that your sore throat would go away. It did! The
answer to that prayer solidified our friendship even more. Since 2008
Deacon John and I have written hundreds of e-mails, called each other,
and SKYPED a few times. I returned to Massachusetts in 2014 for another
workshop with you. I stayed in John's hometown to visit John and his
family a day before the workshop started. I got to hear John deliver his
weekly homily Thursday morning. I was so proud of him. Alice's House
gave Deacon John and I the gift of friendship. Alice's House changed my
Your Storytelling Friend,
"Alice’s House is where the idea was generated for one of my signature
stories, that later became a full-length concert and audio CD for families.
While sitting in that amazing space, looking out over the ocean, laughing
with fellow workshop participants, I felt free to play and create. It was a
luxury to then be able to walk along the shore and speak my story to the
waves, then come back into the house and share it with other participants.
I can’t wait to see this special place recreated, and hope to visit again in
the near future."
Homey Comfort of Yesteryear
Sally Rae Rogers
"I shared a wonderful weekend at Alice's house with the workshop group
with my mother who was in her late 80s. I had suggested it to her since she
was a wonderful storyteller and I thought it would be fun to do this
together. I had wanted to participate in one of your workshops for years,
after hearing your stories in Cambridge in the 80s and hearing about your
work from Sarah and Alan.
Mom and I had a wonderful time sharing stories about the group: I
the gum that got stuck under the table in the shape of the world map and
mom's experience just before the 1938 hurricane when she went in the
and nearly drowned. Since we both still love swimming in the ocean, we
in for a beautiful dip even though it was October.
"My time there with my friend Julie Busser was special. We both came a
long distance to come to this workshop by the sea we both learned a lot
and met great people. I am glad it is going to be rebuilt. Molly Symons in
Florence, South Carolina.
Though I have forgotten the year, sometime in the last ten years, I had the
privilege of attending one of Jay's Storytelling Workshops. The month was
October, for the weather was brisk, and we made a campfire on the beach
and sang songs as the waves gently lapped behind us as background
My story was of my late brother Jack, who died suddenly in the year 2000.
Jay thought the best way of telling the story was as an interview, Jay being
the Interviewer and I taking on the role of Jack. My theater background
came in handy as I approached the role of my brother, taking on his husky,
brusk voice and thick body movements. Jay asked searing personal
questions. As the story was coming to an end, suddenly the bell mounted
on the inside of the door rang, indicating that someone had come in the
house. In fact, there was no one there.......hmmmm.....
That is a memory I shall hold and treasure for the rest of my life. Thank
you for the opportunity of sharing it."
It's a lovely memory to keep in my heart."
With Jane Smith
"When I stayed there I remember getting a message through a dream from
your Mom. I do not remember the message but knew she was nearby and
making sense of things here from the other side. Connections with
ancestors would be my gift spending a weekend at Alice's house."
Pets & Petals/Animal Answers
"Story telling workshops at Alice's House were like one of Linda's soups, full of nurturing
ingredients. People connecting and stretching through story with sparks, lullabies,
dreams and artistry, all played to the rhythm of the tides.
So many wonderful people."
"Alice's house was a magical place. It was warm, inviting and open to all. I
felt accepted and comfortable the whole time I was there. The setting is
magnificent with the ocean waves making music while we worked and
slept. I only wished I could have gone more than twice. It was an
experience that touched me deep in my soul and heart."
"How I miss the wonderful gatherings at Alice’s House. I know MANY
groups benefitted from it, but I attended Jay O’Callahan’s workshops over
The simply beauty of this place at the beach, where we could gather and
laugh but also touch the sacred beauty of the sea and the rocks. I
basket of heart-shaped stones, and what it was like to gather and eat a
meal with all 16 of us when you counted Jay, his wife Linda, and maybe a
few extra visitors.
We went deep in our stories and images. We felt the depth of human
connection. It was a very special place. I’d be happy in my own small way
to help rebuild it!"
"Hi Jay, The storytelling workshop that I took at Alice's house was
so wonderfully amazing. I felt so taken care of in that beautiful
house by the sea, I remember being a bit shy and nervous upon
arriving because I really am uncomfortable speaking in front of
people... or being in the spotlight. But I had no need to worry. The
comfort and nurturing nature of Jay and Mindy(?) and the
perfect setting of Alice's house gave me the courage to get up
and tell a story and sing a song. (I had never done that before, in
front of anyone that is)) A long walk on the serene pebbled beach
gave me time to think about and practice my story. And the
parade about the house with instruments set our inhibitions free. I
remember singing one of the songs I had learned at Alice's house
as I drove all the way back to Cape Cod .....I was so happy.
Sitting about the table which accommodated us all, getting to
know one another, sharing the most delicious meals which were
made with so much TLC, Another warm memory. Thanks for the
memories.....I think I just may burst into song. Happy New Year."
To learn more about Alice’s House or to contribute, please reach out to Janet Gibson at 781-834-8993 or email AlicesHouse112@gmail.com.