December, 17, 2015

Recording Around the Hearth: The Montauk Storytelling Event

I became a member of the Montauk Club when I first moved to Brooklyn ten years ago. The Venetian Gothic architecture struck me first, the creative cocktails second.

When I heard that the Montauk Club was celebrating its 125th anniversary, I thought StoryKeep might be able to help the club put its rich history to work. What would happen if we showcased its community and traditions for current and prospective members?

Dino
Dino Veronese recalls Christmas at the Montauk Club.

I got in touch with Leslie McKinley of the club’s History Committee, and together we conceived “Growing Up at the Club,” an evening of storytelling in which members would share their memories of the club going back half a century. StoryKeep would facilitate a cozy storytelling evening, then turn the recordings into a short audio piece that Montauk would share on its website and through social media.

The event was held in mid-November on the ground floor of the Montauk’s clubhouse in Park Slope. We arranged three rows of chairs, a couch, a coffee table, a lamp and a rug to create a “living room” where people would be comfortable telling stories.

Allan Kramer tells his Montauk story.
Allan Kramer tells his Montauk story.

Three generations of members took turns coming up to the couch. Each reminisced about the past – the Easter-egg hunts, the birthday parties. Dino Veronese, a former club president who’s also its longest-standing member – he joined in 1960 – told one of the most memorable stories of the night. You can listen to it here:

The stories they told re-affirmed their sense of community, reminding old members of decades of shared experiences. Behind every rosy childhood memory, or the recollections of a parent or new member, was a “thank you” to the person, often someone in the audience, who made it possible. There was so much love in the room – we were simply blown away!

Thank you to Montauk, to everybody who attended, and to the History Committee – specifically Leslie McKinley – for helping to organize it.

We’re looking forward to doing more events like this one. Maybe your organization wants to capture its memories? Email us at info@storykeep.org or call 347-762-6575.

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