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Ex Fabula: Connected

Art Montes
George Affeldt up on stage.

Thanks to everyone who attended this past week’s Secret Fabula and/or the Community Conversations on Race in our Faith Communities. These community conversations continue to open communication across racial lines and give us hope that we can begin to end the segregation within this little, big city. Indeed, one of the best things about Milwaukee is that it’s a big city with a small town feel. It’s hard not to meet someone new who doesn’t know someone else in your extended social circle. The advent of social networking sites has made that abundantly clear. This week, Ex Fabula explores this idea of connectivity as our storytellers share their own versions of six degrees of separation.

Credit Art Montes
Jennifer Hoepner shares a story.

When Jennifer Hoepner moved to Milwaukee in 2003 she quickly discovered that her new neighborhood had a festive and colorful community. Walking around the neighborhood, she found herself in the middle of the Center Street Festival where she perused the vendor tables until she found a lovely African fertility doll. She bought the doll, not because she wanted to have a child but because she appreciated the craftsmanship. However the doll had other plans and soon after Jennifer gave birth to a daughter, she gifted the doll to her sister who was having fertility issues. Soon the sisters both had daughters with the middle name “Rose.” Seven years later while browsing through the vendors at Milwaukee’s African World Festival Jennifer found a different Rose and the discovery was more than sweet.

While Jennifer’s connection felt almost cosmic, George Affeldt’s “Degrees of Separation” was very, very earthly. George comes from a law family. Both his father and his brothers are lawyers. George, however, became a teacher instead. When it came time to divorce his second wife, the situation was amicable and the couple felt they could do it without lawyers. However after their third court appearance, the judge ordered both parties to seek counsel. That was when the six degrees of George began. When you’ve taught in the Waukesha school district and have a family of lawyers practicing in Waukesha it becomes increasingly difficult to find an attorney, or a judge, that does not have some connection to your family.

Well, we’ve made it through January. Spring is right around the corner. But first, we have a great February planned at Ex Fabula. In February we kick off El Proyecto Puente (the Puente Project), our first all-Spanish language storytelling project. We’re also bringing Panalure back on Feb. 13 for another pre-Valentine’s event, "Cabin Fever" and of course, our February StorySlam on “Fatherhood.” Check out Ex Fabula's website for all the details and find other collaborating community events throughout the city.

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