I have an abiding love for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although I was born in Washington, DC, both sides of my family were from the hills of Western North Carolina. During the Great Depression, my grandparents moved their families to Washington, seeking work. My parents met and married there. My home life centered around family gatherings, where I heard stories of my Scots-Irish ancestors and other Blue Ridge tales.
My paternal grandmother, Thetus (aka “Mama Pete”) worked for the Baltimore-Ohio Railroad and got to travel free. Each summer from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, she would take me to “Carolina” to visit relatives. I stayed at my great-grandmother’s cabin, sleeping in a feather bed and using the outhouse in the backyard. That was quite an adjustment for this city boy. When asked why she didn’t have an indoor toilet, she said she wouldn’t have one of those stinky things in her house.
I helped G-Grandma collect eggs each morning and work in the garden. We ate a lot of biscuits and cornbread, chicken, grits, and whatever came out of the garden. A new treat for me (it tasted good, but I had no idea what it was) was chitterlings (chitlins). When it came to hogs, mountain families used “everything but the oink.” Nothing went to waste.
It was a great way to grow up. My wife, Jill, and I raised our family in Maryland. We owned and operated a piano shop in Annapolis. When I retired, we moved to Southwest Virginia, and we now reside in Galax, the “World Capital of Old-Time Mountain Music.” We are here for the duration. We love it here.
Some Photos Of My Blue Ridge Mountain Ancestors
“Wayne is a very dynamic person with exceptional speaking skills. He conveys his message well, captivates the audience, and provides interesting and relevant research data to support his topics. He would make an excellent presenter/speaker on any subject he chooses to research and speak on. On a personal level, he is very candid, forthcoming and is extremely willing to help at a moment’s notice. His ability to win multiple speaking awards at Toastmasters speaks for itself. Allen Tsang, Negotiation Coach
About Wayne Jordan’s Storytelling
Amusing. Comical. Witty. Chucklesome. Chucklesome? Yes, that word, too, has been used to describe my stories. Over the years, I’ve learned to craft stories with humor, insight, and surprises. I strive to capture the imaginations of my listeners and readers, engage their curiosity, and leave them smiling.
I’ve spent most of my life entertaining audiences as a musician, actor, radio disc jockey, auctioneer, and Toastmaster. I make my living as a writer and editor. Taken together, these activities might indicate that I can’t keep a job. Or that I have lots of stories to tell.
I am no stranger to audiences. In fact, my stories are built with audiences in mind: Who will attend the event (read the story, listen to the podcast)? What are their interests, aspirations, and backgrounds? Why are they here? How should they feel when they leave? Entertained? Informed? Inspired?
If you would like to discuss your project or event, drop me an email, and we will discuss your needs. No commitment, just conversation. If we aren’t on the same page, we will agree to part ways, no harm, no foul. Otherwise, we will get the job done.
A Glimpse of Wayne Jordan’s Storytelling Activities
A clip from my story at the Rex Theater in Galax, VA on Dec 9, 2023. A reimagining of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol titled Scrooge’s Christmas Ghost Train. The story places Ebenezer Scrooge’s great-grandnephew Ben in Southwest Virginia between 1859 and 1924. Ben, like his uncle Ebenezer, has become an embittered old moneylender and must learn the same lessons Ebenezer did. Rather than visits from three Christmas ghosts, Ben rides the Ghost Train. This is the “Patch Town” scene.
Wayne tells a personal story at the Blue Ridge Story Space at the June Bug Center in Floyd, VA.