The Story of Sam Sweet

Sam Sweet grew up wanting to be an artist in the early 1900s. His father believed that being an artist was no career for a gentleman. He wanted his son to have a profession. Sam found a way to please himself and his father by becoming a professional interior decorator.

When Sam retired – reluctantly – at the age of 86, he sought volunteersam involvement that would bring him the same sort of satisfaction that his decorating career had. He found one in a most unlikely place – at a safe house for abused women in Denver. He signed on to spend two days a week caring for the children who accompanied their mothers there.

Sam knew he couldn’t change these children’s sad home situations but he thought he could brighten their world by filling their heads with wonderful stories. Simply reading what was on the page in a book was not enough for Sam. He wanted a more personal contact with them. He wanted to be their storyteller.

When Sam took his first Spellbinders Training Workshop at 87 he found an avid, late-life avocation. He spent hours in his local library, reading children’s books, and finding ideas to create new stories for the children he was telling to. As a Spellbinder he began telling stories to kindergarteners at his local school; before long the teachers had to pass a rule requiring children to line up before he came in. That way they wouldn’t knock him over!

Sam continued to tell stories at the safe house and at his local school until, at the age of 93, he fell and shattered his ankle. He was confined to a wheel chair and spent the last year of his life in a convalescent home. But even there, storytelling continued to be a big part of Sam’s life. He began a storytelling group for patients, and he adorned the walls of his hospital room with illustrations children sent him depicting stories they’d heard him tell.

In Sam’s long life, he used his artistic talent to decorate and beautify many things and places… but in the end, he decorated souls with stories.