You Don’t Have to be Shakespeare to Tell a Bedtime Story


Published:

"...and when it got dark on the mountaintop, all the animal children got into their sleeping bags," I said, lying in the darkness, each arm cozily around a daughter — Sally, 5, and Marie, 8.

Sally chimed in, "Sally the Squirrel had rainbows and flowers on her pajamas." She always supplies fashion details for her squirrel self, which annoys her big sister.

Marie sneered, "And little pink dancing people on her sleeping bag and tiny silver guitars on her underpants."

"Nice," I said. "So anyway, Sally the Squirrel was having a bad dream."

"No she wasn't," said Sally the Human. "No bad dream."

I was trying to get the squirrel stirred up so she'd go tumbling down the mountain. "OK," I said. "Sally the Squirrel was squirming around trying to get comfortable, and she wiggled onto Tommy the Tiger who pushed her away, and she went rolling down the trail."

"No she didn't!" Sally said.

"Don't worry," I told Sally, "She won't get hurt or scared."

"Dad!" Marie protested. "She rolls down a mountain and she doesn't get hurt or scared?" A typical bind; Sally was out to protect her namesake, and Marie wanted some excitement — especially if it would ruffle the fur of the fancy little squirrel girl.

"No," I said, "the sleeping bag cushioned the squirrel from the rocks and trees along the trail, and as she tumbled down the mountain she laughed because it was a fun ride."

"Well, what will happen next?" asked Sally, negotiating.

"How about if friendly bears take care of her?" I asked, putting my hand over Marie's mouth as she tried to suggest that the friendly bears eat her.
Sally liked my friendly bear scenario and we resumed.

Most of my stories revolved around one classroom full of animal children that seemed to have one of each species. My plots? I stole them from books, TV shows, movies and even, God help me, the Bible. Each story was like a captured ship, and like a pirate captain, I'd send a crew of my animal characters aboard to sail it.

Marie (well-behaved in real life) liked stories with conflict and trouble. But Sally (full of mischief by day) didn't like anything too bad to happen. And if the unthinkable did occur, such as when Hopper the Misguided Kangaroo Boy poured yogurt down the pants of Emily the Pony, Sally had her squirrel self immediately put things right. And because I leaned heavily on that kind of cheap comedy, Sally the Squirrel kept in her locker a change of costume for every creature in the class from Dave the Dinosaur (triple-colossal) down to Teddy the Tick (double-micro-petite — with expandable waistband). She also stocked cleansers, solvents, bandages, lifejackets, ropes and insect repellent (despite Michael the Mosquito's allergic reactions).

As a storyteller, I was more hard-working than talented. But I persisted because these stories, shared in the dark, provided instant intimacy as the kids and I played inside each other's minds. And although I fell asleep in mid-story a few times, the kids never did.

Maybe they enjoyed my company. Or maybe they hung on, night after night, hoping the quality would improve. The girls took to phoning me at work with story ideas. Once I had to break off a conversation with my boss to hear Marie say, "How 'bout if Hopper puts Super-glue on the toilet seats?"

Such a heavy-duty shenanigan would be hard to sell to Sally, so that night I prefaced the story by telling her about the hydraulic cutting and prying apparatus that rescue squads use to extricate people from wrecked cars. And when Hopper's cruel prank had claimed a row of wriggling, weeping victims, I sent Sally the Squirrel into the lavatory equipped with The Jaws of Life.

Looking back from across the years, I'd say that night's story could've been my personal best, although Marie doesn't remember it.
She's 24 now and a writer of stories that are chock-full of conflict and pain. Sally at 21 is a nanny with three little kids to manage and protect. And Hopper the Misguided Kangaroo Boy? He sleeps, restlessly awaiting my grandchildren.

Rick can be reached at RickEpstein@yahoo.com.

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-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Class Description One day event, July 1st, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm If you've never knit before or need a quick review of how to cast on, knit and cast off, this is the perfect class. We'll knit a...

Cost: $18

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Class Description Prior registration/payment required. One day workshop. In this class, we will learn one of the basic rhythms that defines flamenco dance: bulerias, a twelve-count beat. We will...

Cost: $12

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Drop in on a Wednesday evening between May 13 and July 1 (8-9:30 p.m.) for a supportive, inclusive, empowering virtual session for parents from prenatal through about 12 months. We'll facilitate a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zoom
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Area Parenting Support
Telephone: 984-464-1601
Contact Name: Leigh Greene
Website »

More information

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HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Sign your children up for a WILD adventure! North Carolina Zoo is excited to offer Online Summer Camps as a way for kids to learn about animals and their natural environment while staying socially...

Cost: $30 - $80

Where:
VIRTUAL
, NC


Sponsor: North Carolina Zoo
Telephone: 336-879-7700
Contact Name: North Carolina Zoo
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Have a child that misses seeing peers? Hard to keep him/her motivated and learning at home? If your child likes art, join our LIVE art class. Use any supplies available at home, and follow our...

Cost: 12/class

Where:
Zoom Online
RALEIGH, NC


Sponsor: KidzArt North Raleigh
Telephone: 919-271-0710
Contact Name: Chen Jiang
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Thursday evenings are for music and outdoor adventure at the USNWC, and the River Jam Run is a great way to enjoy both. Kick off the evening with 1.5 mile, 3 mile, or 6 mile group run through our...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Race Director
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

●      Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” ●      Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Avanti! Inspired by American dreams and legends, Dvořák created some of his greatest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Boone, NC  28608


Sponsor: An Appalachian Summer Festival
Telephone: 828-262-4046
Contact Name: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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