"Hometown Storytellers" return to the Manchester Community Library


MANCHESTER &mdash ;Bob Stannard doesn't let Terry Tyler get a word in when they're together, and with David Quesnel, they rarely behave. They also don't understand why people like them so much.

They are well-known in the northshire and all have written books about living in Vermont. Quesnel was born and raised here with no intention of vacating. Tyler hails from New Jersey, but claims it was a birth defect, and Stannard was born in Bennington and lured his wife from Massachusetts. Vermont pride runs deep in the "Hometown Storytellers'" blood and they'll return to the Manchester Community Library on June 30 for another night of jokes, readings and memorable stories.

"To be honest I had no idea how this started, I was just asked to be here," Stannard said.

All are unique in their own way. Quesnel aims to bike to every town in Vermont and acknowledges the identity of each one. Stannard spends his time chasing grandchildren around and catching more fish than his pal John Goldsmith while Tyler serves on two historical societies and museum boards.

They hadn't formally met at one point in time, but their lives had crossed paths through jobs and family members. Stannard's father was good friends with Tyler and they met during Stannard's first encounter with the law, right after he got his license.

"I spent the rest of my life in Manchester looking over my shoulder," Stannard chuckled. "Yes we do know each other."

The men got their stories from experiences and relationships with others as well as living during a time when television, internet and phone weren't a priority.

"We're known for telling too many stories," Quesnel said. "Cindy's biggest concern was restricting us to 20 minutes each."

Despite having a good memory, there's more to telling a story than just recollection.

"There's a beginning, middle and an end," Stannard said. "But not necessarily in that order."

"You gotta keep it interesting, simple as that," Quesnel said. "I think whether you write something or tell a story...If people are off looking in the distance, looking around, or looking at their watch, you're not getting the job done. You have to deliver your product."

"So this is a job?" Stannard said.

Tyler is the oldest and the most prepared for the upcoming event. He plans to share stories from his trilogy of books, "Don't Scratch Too Deep! The Profane History of a Vermont Valley," illustrated by A.D. (Sandy) Read. It talks about folks Tyler worked with and locals he met.

Quesnel wrote about a special little girl in his life and will share that from his recent work "Grandpaw's Memoirs: Growing Up on a Dirt Road." His acquaintance Philip Jordan advised him to write a short story every week because there can't be 50 bad ones.

"Oh this will be a three hour show," Stannard said. "David and I don't let Terry speak. We let him go last so the people who can't stand it can leave."

Stannard recently published "How to Survive the Recovery-A Vermont Perspective" which follows "How to Survive the Recession-A Vermont Perspective," but he has a few memories to share instead, one involved Tyler and Stannard's father wreaking havoc with wildlife in their teens. He wrote the first while working and the second while retired and it contains a lot of profanity.

"It doesn't matter if it's true or not. There has to be an element of truth to it. You did blow up beavers," he told Tyler.

"Well yeah," Tyler said.

"So that's the element of truth."

"Well that's the funniest part of it," Tyler said.

Last year the three men spoke and didn't expect the outcome, but said everyone who attended knew at least one of them.

"We figured maybe we'd get 20 to 30 people, and 160 people showed up in that room," Tyler said.

"We would have been flattered if 20 people showed up," Quesnel said.

"Hometown Storytellers" will start at 7 p.m. at the Manchester Community Library at 138 Cemetery Avenue. To benefit the library and Manchester Historical Society, a donation of $5 to $10 is suggested. For more information visit events@mclvt.org.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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