Alive and Kicking
Lake Oswego storyteller Terry Jordan leads a life with stories as grand as the stories she often tells
Everyone should have the chance for Terry Jordan to tell them a story.
The Lake Oswego woman brings such verve, magnetism and skill to the art that she can mesmerize any audience, like she did at the first Lake Oswego Storytelling Festival last October.
Before the jammed-pack children's section of the public library, Jordan hopped, skipped, jumped and stretched out her arms and legs like she was doing the Freddie. While her body language was incredible, it was her words that really seized the audience.
When she concluded her presentation, it was like a great idea suddenly occurred to everyone at once: 'What a great new way to communicate - telling stories!'
Jordan impressed everybody. Even the librarians.
'We felt incredibly lucky to have such a knowledgeable, experienced storyteller living right here,' said reference librarian Alicia Yokoyama. 'Of all the decisions that we made in the development of our storytelling festival, asking Terry Jordan to join our team was the best decision we made.'
Jordan said she was overjoyed, even stunned, at her reception. But she has been turning people on to storytelling for a long time.
'I started storytelling when babysitting my little sister Carol, who is six years younger,' Jordan said. 'I made up all sorts of stories beginning when I was 9 years old.
'I still get to tell stories to children as well as adults. I am so lucky.'
Jordan's greatest story, though, may be her own story. She is so much more than a master storyteller. When you find out about her it seems impossible for a person to fit all she does into one life. Remember the famous old TV program 'I Led Three Lives?'
Jordan leads a lot more than that.
She is a school teacher (Little Villagers), black belt in the martial arts, instructor in Japanese healing methods, inspirational speaker, massage therapist for cancer patients, plus she is a wife and mother, which come first in her life.
Jordan is also a marathon runner and Iron Man competitor.
She qualifies this last achievement by saying, 'I'm really slow. I finish around midnight.'
Fortunately, Jordan is married to a man just like herself. Husband Bob is the former top FBI agent in Oregon. His idea of retirement is serving as police chief in Milwaukie. Jordan says of him, 'He's Superman.'
Still, the most remarkable thing about Jordan is that she does all of this despite her life being marked by great tragedy - the death of two of her children.
When you ask about her children, Jordan will answer, 'There's one on this earth.' The other two still live in her heart.
One of her sons died during childbirth. Then there was her daughter, Emily, who died of leukemia at age 5. It was Emily who helped turn her mother into a great storyteller. One time when Emily badly bumped her head by running into a table, Jordan got her tears to stop flowing by playfully scolding the table ('Bad table!') for hurting her, then telling her a story.
Emily loved it. 'Tell me a story of when you were a little girl, Mommy,' she said.
'A whole part of my life was inspired by Emily,' Jordan said. 'Bob and I don't feel sorry for ourselves or rail against God. We look upon our life with Emily as a gift. This miracle was this child.'
Emily has now inspired Jordan to take on another role in her life - author. She is writing a book titled 'Emily, Where Are You?' It will surely be a great help to grieving mothers and fathers.
'If anything happens to one of your family members, you don't have to lose your mind,' Jordan said. 'The key to sanity is gratitude. I notice more and more the goodness of life. I'm also doing things I love.
'I feel like I have a charmed life, although it hasn't always been easy. Inside, I feel very blessed. It's all about making a choice for happiness. I'm more conscious of the things that bring me joy, peace, harmony and gratitude.
'I want to live my life fully, not in a fetal position. Emily lived her life fully every single moment.'
Even more than being a great storyteller, Jordan is a great liver of life.
To find out more about Jordan, call 971-409-7635 or go to one of the following websites: