Storytelling at Its Finest: High Dive and Other Things that Could Have Happened… by Bill Harley
Bill Harley tells wonderful stories about being a boy in Indiana, stories packed with humor and enhanced memories, much like revered American storyteller Jean Shepherd, who also spent his childhood in Indiana. The difference between the two, besides the obvious, is that Shepherd told his stories to adults who had similar experiences growing up, while Harley tells his stories to kids who are experiencing the very things he describes.
Harley’s new collection, High Dive and Other Things that Could Have Happened…, should not be limited to a young audience. When he tells a story that includes the results of drinking 256 ounces of grape soda at the public pool as he waited to use the diving board, we feel his pain. In fact, many of us will feel the need for a restroom. The CD includes a song, three stories, and two short musical interludes and the stories range in length from 11:50 to 32:35 (the story about the high dive is the shortest). They appeal to anyone who once was or one day will be nine years old.
The longest story, “Field Trip,” is terribly engaging, because in introducing the characters involved, Harley gives background on them and his relationship with them. As he tells all the stories that make up the tale, listeners are treated to some very funny memories that might just strike a chord. Harley and his friend Glenn (who is described by Bill’s mother as “A nice boy, but…”) enjoyed a friendship that often led them into highly-inventive trouble, and Harley shares some of their adventures. These stories are capped off by the fateful fourth-grade field trip where Harley learned something about himself he had never suspected.Continued on the next page