It seems a lifetime ago. And maybe another world.

I was a young teacher helping out with a big staff development day. Buzzing around, checking to make sure everything was in place, I made my way to the kitchen to find more napkins.

In walked a black woman dressed in a simple mumu-like dress with flat sandals. “I don’t know why they directed me to the kitchen,” she said. “You’re Jackie Torrance, aren’t you? I asked. And I whisked her off to the conference room to prepare for her storytelling session.

I don’t think anyone expected that our speaker would not be dressed up as they expected befitting of someone of such import. Perhaps they did not expect her to be black.

I just know that she spun her stories so tightly that we were caught up in the magic of her voice.