Functions, Occupations, and Activities>Storyteller, baker
"My first-hand experience with formal story-telling came through visits to school classrooms to teach students about cake decorating. After the hands-on presentation, I would relate short 'cuentos,' or stories, to them and discovered that those accounts became as important, if not more important, than the originally intended activity planned for them. I discovered that this type of activity was no longer such a common occurrence as it used to be long ago. Because I felt that the younger generations were somehow lacking in something so important and rewarding in their lives, I decided to start volunteering those story-telling services throughout the schools." [source: Artist's resume, submitted ca. 1988]
Paulette Atencio grew up in Penasco, New Mexico, where she learned the art of storytelling from her mother during intimate family gatherings around the evening fire. After moving to Chama, New Mexico, she began working as a babysitter; to entertain the children under her care, Paulette would often bake with them, which led to some of the parents purchasing the resulting baked goods. This eventually became a profitable business that allowed her to continue working from her home. Paulette discovered the importance of storytelling while teaching cake decorating classes, after which she would recite short stories to her pupils. She later began volunteering her storytelling services to various elementary schools in northern New Mexico.