Bundle hosted the second installment of the Middlebury Underground storytelling series on Friday, Jan. 24, where students, professors and locals shared short, Moth-style stories. The subject of these stories was love, chosen by organizers Lisa Mitchell, Matt Laux and Kelly Hickey.
“The theme of love is special because it takes so many forms,” said Mitchell. “[It includes everything from] more classic romantic interpretation to the unconditional love for a child to the adoration of a personal obsession.” Mitchell said that organizers chose to punctuate the title of the series “Love, Really.?!” to allow for different interpretations of the term.
Organizers anticipated that the event would differ from the first storytelling function hosted in November. For example, organizers arranged to have an emcee, Judd Markowski, play an accordion between speakers.
The food, camaraderie and stories attracted people from all corners of the Middlebury community. “I love the Moth and have always wanted to attend a live storytelling event on a larger scale,” said Asa Waterworth, an admissions counselor at Middlebury College. “Plus, they have bread and brie.”
The event encouraged many modes of artistic expression, from literal storytelling to musical performances. As the night progressed, storytellers and artists touched on themes of personal reflection, enduring bonds, courageous risk-taking, and spontaneous adventures.
“There is a magical quality to bringing this community together in an intimate setting and hearing people’s unique voices and candid stories,” Mitchell said. “The honesty and vulnerability of the presenters is powerful. We’re always awestruck by the quality and variety of the storytelling.”
Storyteller Kelly Hickey revealed her hilarious, somewhat embarrassing obsession with Peeps candy, describing how both neighbors and friends expressed love by gifting them to her — she even likened the abundance of candy being shared to the frenzy of “zucchini season.” David Engel also discussed his love of food, offering a comedic story detailing his fondness for the Middlebury Co-op. He emphasized the love that it fosters in the community — which, in tandem with absurd products such as “male llama cheese” — has sustained him through trying times.
Betty and Victor Nuovo spoke about their 66 years of marriage, saying that “[their] favorite part of the day is lying next to each other, enjoying the feeling of ‘togetherness.’” Dave Hohenschau described how he met his current wife in the basement of their Christian Fundamentalist Church. Hee resolved to walk the Appalachian Trail for months — traveling from Maine to Vermont — in order to visit her at home. The two are now happily married.
Lianna Merrill offered an account of a failed hiking date: After her meticulously organized plan of drinking beers and watching the sun set procured little enthusiasm from her counterpart, she was left a bit “gun shy” when it came to dating in the following months. Soon after, however, she met a man who took her on a special hike, and they’ve been together ever since.
“I love the magical feeling that comes when the room fills with our community for the purpose of listening to each other’s stories,” said Laux after all of the stories had been shared. Hickey added, “these are some of the most creative and heartwarming events I’ve ever been involved with.”
Mitchell, Laux, and Hickey established these Moth-style storytelling programs as a quarterly series at Bundle. Upcoming themes may include art, creativity, and travel. The team has already begun planning events for both the spring and summer. News regarding the selected theme for the spring installment is expected soon.