E: [email protected]
Are you planning an event, a meeting, a series, and would like to entertain your people with enthralling history, tell stories of the Eastern Shore, perhaps augmented with visuals, presented by a witty and knowledgeable speaker, historian and storyteller? You just found the ideal person! See why he is so popular, then call or email Gary Crawford.
Gary Crawford has been guest speaker at the Easton Free Library, the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center “Winter Wednesday” program series, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Easton Club East, Tilghman on Chesapeake, and the Retired Civil Servants Association, among other venues and events. His narrated slide show on the history of Tilghman’s Island is a popular presentation, as are the video slide-shows “The 75-Ton Catch” and “A Conversation with Sam Cummings.”
My wife Susan and I live on Tilghman’s Island, where we bought a home in 1980. We have been operating a unique and curious bookstore, the Book Bank, since 1993.
Being located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at the tip of a long peninsula, does not put us in the highest retail traffic area. (I like to remind people, however, that our store is located directly above the center of the Earth.) Nevertheless, we meet all kinds of folks in the store and enjoy answering their questions about the area. Local residents sometimes drop in, too. It has been my good fortune to have learned a lot from them.
Over time, my interest in the island and the people who built this wonderful community encouraged others to bring things into the store—photos, and documents, which I copy and return. But mostly stories. Chatting about the old days and people now gone is a common pastime hereabouts and one I enjoy immensely. Consequently, I have acquired a fund of information and images related to our area. Basically stories, bits and pieces, tales. I didn’t grow up here, you understand, and have never claimed to be an authority on anything or anyone. What I have done, however, is respect the information I have been given—and passed it on.
Because learning is so enjoyable to me, I derive great pleasure from helping others learn. It’s a passion for sharing what I have learned and passing it along to others, young and old. It is gratifying to watch the eyes light up as a new piece falls into place, to see the satisfaction as some new idea is grasped, and to hear the chortle when an unexpected twist causes surprise or amusement.
And this is what, finally, drew me away from the field of electrical engineering into a career in education. Since the 1960s, I’ve worked with quite a range of students -- first-graders in the far reaches of the Pacific, Peace Corps volunteers in training for service (in Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, and a myriad of Pacific islands), brigadier-generals picking up a foreign language so they can be the military attaché in an American embassy overseas. The last twenty years of my professional career were at the Foreign Service Institute, the State Department’s schoolhouse, where Americans are trained there for overseas assignments. I retired as Associate Dean of the FSI School of Language Studies which offered training in sixty-six foreign language, from Albanian to Uzbek.
Upon retirement, we took up selling books. Then, in 2000, I began self-publishing a bi-monthly newsletter for our adopted village, called the “Fairbank Gazette.” It went on for seven years, over 80 issues.
A more ambitious project was the “Island Flyer.” This one-page two-sided “newspaper” was devoted to all Tilghman's Island (did you know it includes three villages?) events past, current, and upcoming; it appeared in 300 copies every Friday morning for over five years. People volunteered donations to help with the cost of materials. I managed 283 weekly issues before calling it a day.
For the past four years, I have been writing a monthly article for the Tidewater Times, a local magazine with a long and distinguished history. Some sixty pieces have been published so far, on a range of subjects. (See sidebar article.)
I like telling stories that amaze, that inform, and that make people laugh. To that end I have written several booklets on various aspects of our area. Each of them translates into an entertaining story. Later, I became interested in the combining of words with pictures, language with graphic images. I have created several slideshows, some presented with live commentary, some with recorded sound, and a few as DVDs.
So, if you have a program that needs a speaker, a gathering that needs a bit of offbeat entertainment, or a group that wishes to learn something I may know about, why not get in touch? We may be able to work something out.
Call 410-886-2418 or Email: [email protected]
SOOK; and Ye Shall Find
Bridges of Tilghman's Island
Tilghman United Methodist Church
Tilghman Island--An Exploration
Tilghman's Island Albums No.s 1 - 7
We specialize in books about water—yachting, tall ships, naval, maritime history, pirates, wrecks, and so on. If it’s a watery book, we may have it. We also carry books about the Eastern Shore and our little portion of it, some I have written myself.
Special Web Page-Only Offer through December 31: Receive a FREE original humorous holiday card with each book or pamphlet purchased AT the Book Bank. You must identify yourself as being from CIA (Chesapeake International Arts) to qualify. Ask to see the vault!
Eastern Shore, Maryland
E: [email protected]
(Also see Publications as they make excellent presentations.)
Gary is a contributing writer to this quality monthly publication - one that is quite possibly on a coffee table or nightstand in 9 out of 10 Eastern Shore homes. Selected articles by Gary include:
You are just two clicks away from reading these, or any of the complete works of Gary Crawford in the Tidewater Times since October, 2010, in the online archives, here.
he can also tell jokes so awful you have to laugh. He has published a collection of some of his worst in a booklet called “SOOK, and Ye Shall Find,” about a dysfunctional waterman Jimmy Sook, his wife Shirlene, their boy Oswald, their hapless cousin Arly, and their Uncle Hurlock.
The St. Michaels policeman couldn't believe his eyes. The woman who just drove past him on Route 33 was busily knitting!
Quickly he started his patrol car and pulled out. When he caught up with her, he pulled alongside and rolled down his window. "Pull over!" he shouted, pointing to the side of the road.
"No," yelled back the woman, with a cheerful smile. "Scarf!