and Jim Duignan started the senior lunch time writing program that led to the publishing of a collection of stories.
Their inaugural "container" of remarkable real-life accounts and pictures was co-produced by the Stockyard Institute, an arts and pedagogical initiative in Chicago, and the volunteerism of two Oak Parkers, Celeste Duignan, manager of the Senior Lunch Program for Oak Park Township, and her spouse, Jim Duignan, founder and director of DePaul University's Stockyard Institute.
On board with them for this "Senior Writing Project" were two writing interns, Samantha Phelan and Mary Grace Detmer of Oak Park and River Forest High School
, who meticulously transcribed each oral history from spoken word to printed page - verbatim, Celeste
So it is not a Jim or Celeste Duignan
project but rather a collective process we could facilitate, because we had the means to put together an anthology of stories.
And that is really all we wanted to do - just for the people who walk into this lunch program."
Spreading the words
The genesis of SPREAD occurred at the Duignan home when Celeste
began sharing the highlights of her work day with Jim.
"But I wanted to go back and get the stories that Celeste
was talking about, like 'my aunt was a little girl who sat on Jane Addams' lap in that historic photo of Hull House.' I never had a grandfather, so listening to these guys go back and talk about things that happened in the early 20th century was great."
is still taken aback by some of the stories the lunch crowd shares with her
One of the guests described Civil War vets coming into their kindergarten class, which just amazed Celeste
"Wrap your head around that," she
For a free copy of SPREAD, contact Celeste
at 708-383-8005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.