The Story of SUUSI 1999

Click here to view my memories of SUUSI 1998

For the last time this millennium, the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SUUSI) was held on 1999 July 25-31. I decided to make this SUUSI the one where I Tell the Story. I took two storytelling workshops, How to Tell the Tale and Folk Tales to Recreate our Lives.

This SUUSI started like others, with an ingathering, in which some of us displayed our banners. After we got all our luggage into our rooms at the Muse Hall skyscraper and other dorms, we went to a hall to see SUUSI start with a rousing cheer.

Each day we got up and ate at the cafeteria. The cafeteria provided us with food and drink, as well as some appropriate accompanying music from SUUSI's all male choir, the SUUSIBOYZ, who sang "Now let us eat, eat, eat...".

Then it is off to the theme service. At 9 o'clock, both AM and PM, theme and worship services are held. This year featured many good speakers, including one who conducted a UU revival and one by a group "Reach for Tomorrow" whose music was dramatic and touching.

We all went to workshops and nature trips. My SUUSI last year was mostly nature trips. This year, I took two workshops on telling stories, wrote six stories, and told three of them, including "The Fountain". In addition, I photographed a tree which in some sense resembles me - some injury in the past but basically sound and well-formed.

I gave three workshops of my own. This "Starboss", made in "Weaving Paper Polyhedra" by Nancy Greene, makes an attractive top to a Yuletide Tree. I told stories of the constellations based on Native American, Oriental, and Australian legends, as well as our familiar Greek and Roman. And I told the people attending "UUs Online" how to get anything UU on the Net. After a successful end to that workshop, I got soaking wet walking and running to the Theme Talk in a torrential thunderstorm.

If you did not like workshops, there was opportunity to do your own thing just outside Muse hall at Community Time.

At night were concerts, more workshops, and on Friday Night UU Teens presented their stellar performance "Return of the UUs", featuring a sword fight between two UU Knights.

After this came the nightlife. A welcome change was the Underground Cafe, where I watched my "How to Tell the Tale" leader, George Crafts, tell some stories of his own to the smell and taste of a variety of kinds of coffee. I saw some great acts in Cabaret, and went dancing at Serendipity five of the six nights. The dancing was fun, especially the LaBamba conga dance which occurs faithfully at midnight each night.

It all had to end, though. We got together to say goodbye at the closing circle on Saturday. After that we went home, to return in the next millennium to SUUSI 2000!

Jim Blowers
1999 August 11

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