Jane O. Cunningham is engaging, enchanting and enlightening when she tell stories.
Many audiences who have heard her stories in school, libraries, churches and for special events call her “miss jane”.
Where are you from?
Georgia has been my home for the past 40 years but, if I am asked, “Where are you from?” I will answer Mississippi. That is where I was born and raised, and that is where I heard stories. Some nights I sat with my Daddy in his big red lounge chair in the living room. He would tell me stories. My favorite was Slimy and Little Slimy, names his grown-up friends called us. Long Sunday afternoon rides “to see how the cotton was doing,” always ended with my head in my mama’s lap. I was spellbound by stories she would weave just for me.
Summer nights when I was in bed with all the windows up in the house and the attic fan whirring, I was lulled to sleep by stories that drifted into my room from the living room. Stories of remembrances and everyday life told by the grownups.My big sister, Linda Kay, and I told stories dressed in Mama’s old clothes from the dress-up box in her closet. We performed shows in the living room. Linda Kay loved to read poetry and I told the fairy tales Linda Kay had read to me at bedtime. Sometimes we would dance to the music of a 78 record. “Dance, Ballerina, Dance”was one of our favorites.
After our show we listened to Our Miss Brooks and Corlis Archer on the radio.
We are sending you to college to get a job to support yourself.
When I graduated from high school, I received a scholarship to a summer theater workshop at the University of Mississippi. Awe and excitement filled the summer at “Ole Miss!” I fell in love with the magic of the theater, but a small voice inside me said, “This is not your magic.” The voices of my parents said, “We are sending you to college to get a job to support yourself.” Respect for both voices led me to earn a BS degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi State College for Women and a Master ‘s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Berry College in Georgia.