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Real-Life Mother Goose / Nick Ehrhardt

Real-Life Mother Goose

Lynn Shenefield (Orlando Sentinel)Lynn "MotherGoose" Shenefield was a professional storyteller who waddled around Florida for over 24 years telling stories, singing songs, and imparting gentle life lessons to children and adults, according to the obit her family placed in the Orlando Sentinel.

Her eclectic style was evident in her colorful, elegant costumes and her amazing sense of humor and whimsy. She proudly worked for the Orange County Library System where she encouraged learning language and literacy while she created a fun atmosphere for children to learn listening and social skills.

Mother Goose, a.k.a. Shenefield, who died of complications from breast cancer Jan. 24 at age 62, suggested this as her final epitaph: “Tell them that the Goose has been cooked.”

The obituary ends with: Her friends and family love and miss her and even though her earthly chapter has ended we know a new one has begun. To be continued......

Orlando Sentinel reporter Ludmila Lelis expanded Shenefield’s story in the form of a news obituary and explained how the former massage therapist became Central Florida’s Mother Goose.

In 1988, she was injured in a terrible car accident and stopped working as a massage therapist, Lelis wrote. While recovering, she attended a storytelling event at the Oviedo library and was entranced.

She became a professional storyteller and fulfilled a lifelong desire to travel and meet people.

Children came to know her as the real Mother Goose and she had 36 costumes to play up her flamboyant persona. "She'd walked into the room, with these great hats, big hoop skirt and big earrings and necklaces," her daughter said. "She was very striking, very colorful."


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.