If you listen, you will hear Alice’s House tell you that life is like a hundred years on the beach. You pick through the debris and ruin of every storm. You save what is to be saved. You bless and release the rest. Then in a quiet dawn, you welcome the waves again across the sand.
“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.”
“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 life.
“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.”
“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.”
“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 and 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 remember the 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!”
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.
“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.”
“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.”