“Everyone likes to hear a good story,” believes Stephen Sobel, a retired New York City stage manager and dentist.
In 2008, when Sobel retired from his second career as a dentist, he settled in LA and came across a group that called themselves Story Salon. The group met on a regular basis, and people would come and tell stories. The stories varied in theme, from funny anecdotes to tales of hardship.
“It was a great concept,” said Sobel. “People just came to hear the stories. No one was there to be judgmental or criticize anyone’s stories. Anyone who wanted to could get up and tell a story. It just had to be told in a short period of time to give others the same opportunity. There was always a good size group that came, including myself. After a while, I even began telling stories too!”
When Sobel was planning his move back to East Hampton, he said, “I knew I was really going to miss Story Salon.” Once back on the East End, Sobel decided that he would start a similar group.
He contacted the originators of Story Salon in LA to see if they would object to him starting a similar group in East Hampton. “They gave me their blessing and I told them I wanted to call it Story Salon East,” said Sobel.
Sobel’s first challenge was finding a good meeting spot. The East Hampton Library offered meeting space but could only accommodate the group at 11 AM on Saturday mornings. Sobel tried it for a while, but the time was not convenient and attendance was sporadic. Sobel continued to look for a better venue that could guarantee him a permanent meeting space. When Ashawagh Hall in Springs agreed, Sobel began his Story Salon East on a weekly basis.
This past Wednesday, on April 25, during the torrential rainstorm that hit the East End, Story Salon East still had more than 20 people of all ages who braved the storm to hear and tell stories.
Geoff Kuzara started the evening with a humorous story about his first job interview with a retired physician who had a glass eye. He was followed by Bob Marshall and Russ Calemmo, who entertained the group with their own stories.
Story Salon East meets at 6 PM on Wednesdays at Ashawagh Hall in Springs. It maintains the same guidelines as its California cousin. “Everyone is welcome to come. No one will be judgmental or criticize anyone’s story. You can come and just listen, or you can tell a story. Just be ready to enjoy yourself!” said Sobel with a smile.
For more information, contact Stephen Sobel at N327WT@optimum.net.