Stories for my Grandchildren

CD booklet image

Introduction

When my children were young, I used to lie on the floor in their darkened bedrooms and tell them bedtime stories. I made these stories up as I told them, and as time went on, my children started asking me to tell them the same stories again and again. I was always afraid of getting something wrong in the retelling, but they always corrected me and helped me remember the important details.

These stories have become part of our family tradition. I have retold them in my children's classrooms, to their college roommates, around countless campfires, and most recently, to their own children. It's fun to watch my children sneak into my grandchildren's bedrooms to listen in on the storytelling.

Now I have the chance to share them with you. I hope that you and your children enjoy them as much as my children, and their children, have enjoyed them.

About the Stories

My (grown) children and I have counted about 30 bedtime stories in my repertoire. That's enough for three CDs. I have chosen some of the oldest, and also the favorites, for this first CD.

Each story is approximately ten minutes long. It's funny that they all worked out that way. Ten minutes is long enough for an enjoyable bedtime story.

Burtlehurp

Burtlehurp may be the first story I told. It's funny and it's silly. It also has more than a touch of political incorrectness in it. I'm not afraid of the story corrupting young minds. Little kids are smart enough to figure things out. Burtlehurp wasn't intended to be a "message" story, or a story with a moral, but it certainly worked out that way.

The name of the "handsome dude" in the story changes according to the circumstances when the story is told. In the original story he was John Branam, one of our family friends in Corvallis, Oregon, where this story was created. When I retold the story in Kellie Jo's classroom, the "handsome dude" became Matt Detar, one of her classmates and a rather good-looking boy, if you were a first-grade girl. In this version of the story, the "handsome dude" is Nick Stockton, one of my grandchildren's uncles. Why Uncle Nick? I dunno; it just seemed to fit.

The most fun I had with Burtlehurp was when Lori Dawn was attending the University of Northern Colorado. One night, when I was out walking the dog, she and her roommates phoned me. They asked if I would tell them Burtlehurp for a bedtime story. So while I was walking the dog, I told a bedtime story to four college coeds, who were curled up in their blankets and pillows around a speakerphone. And they loved it.

The Old Man and the Dragon

The Old Man and the Dragon is a story in three parts. The first part was a standalone story, but one night my kids asked to hear more about the old man and his dragon. So I told the story that became the second part. They liked that so much that they asked for yet another story about them. I obliged, and now you have the three-parter.

The Redwood Forest

When we lived in Santa Rosa, California, we made frequent visits to nearby Armstrong Redwoods State Park (now Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve) in nearby Guerneville. We also took a family vacation to Humboldt Redwoods State Park near Eureka. I took my Boy Scouts backpacking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and camping at Camp Masonite Navarro, which was situated in the remains of a logged-out old-growth redwood forest, with tree stumps the size of houses.

Our family found the redwood forests to be both peaceful and awe-inspiring, and we wondered what it would be like to live in one. One night a few years later, on the floor of my daughters' bedroom, that wondering became the basis for one of their favorite stories.

The Lonely Princess

I think that my daughters might tell you that this was their favorite story. It was an idea that had been rattling around in my head for a while. It was fun to create it as a bedtime story, because at critical junctures in the story, I would stop and ask my daughters what came next. Or I would ask them for advice about specific details of the story.

I didn't realize, until I sat down to record it, just how long the story was. It took over half an hour to tell it, from beginning to end. So for the purposes of this recording, I cut it up into three pieces.

Mount Shasta

I have always loved the mountains. I can remember standing at a highway rest stop in eastern Oregon or Washington, looking far to the west and seeing the huge, snowcapped stratovolcanoes (like Mount Hood, for example) standing high above the darker hills of the Cascade Range and, even at distance, being awestruck by their grandeur.

I would like to think that I had something to do with the creation of the mountains. Maybe that's why geology has been a lifelong hobby of mine.

This is the first story I told that was not about a person, but about a place. One year, on a family trip between Oregon and California, we drove through the Mount Shasta area on Interstate Highway 5. I was paying close attention to the volcanic features of the landscape, and the kids asked me how those volcanic features were created. I didn't have a ready answer for them in the car. But that night, I told them the story of how Mount Shasta, Shastina, Black Butte and those funny little hills along the side of the road came to be.

I did some fact-checking before I published this CD, and it turns out that my story was pretty accurate. I had to change the description of the creation of Black Butte, because in my original story it was a symmetrical cinder cone, and in reality it is "a cluster of overlapping dacite lava domes in a butte". I'm sure that's more than you wanted to know.

Coming Soon: Ebooks, Audiobooks, Real Books - and More Stories

In a few months, you will be able to purchase each story as an ebook or as an audiobook. The stories will not be illustrated, because they are meant to be recited in the dark while the audience is lying in bed, and also because illustrators don't work for free and I can't afford an illustrator right now.

There will be more stories as well. These are just the first batch.

If you send an email to rdxpxw57@msn.com (but first replace the "x" with "e" in that email address, so it says "rdepew57"), I will send you an email when the ebook and audiobook are released.

What about iTunes?

I hope to make this album available on iTunes as well. We'll see.

How to Order Copies of This CD

The first run of this CD was just 25 copies.

In Christmas 2015, I was unemployed and we knew we could not afford to give traditional gifts to our children and grandchildren. So Valerie and I hit upon the idea of recording some of my stories onto a CD and getting it professionally duplicated, then sewing matching pajama pants for each family. My son-in-law, Josh Murphy, assembled a recording studio and served as the recording engineer. Josh and his sweet wife, Sandy, edited the audio masters for me. Alpine Productions, in Boulder Colorado, duplicated the CDs for me, and I created the artwork for the disk label and the jewel case covers.

Copies of this CD may be ordered for $19.95 each. (I'll eventually have online ordering set up. For now, just send me an email - rdepew57@msn.com.) Alpine Productions uses professional-quality CD-R blanks for the copies, so they should last 30 to 40 years without degrading. By then, scientists will have found a way to permanently engrave the audio recordings on the inside of your skull for less than a buck.

Dedications and Acknowledgements

This CD, the jewel case artwork, and the stories, are all dedicated to my beloved grandchildren. The back of the jewel case has an image of the first printed version of The Old Man and the Dragon, from around 1986, and a cassette tape of stories that I made for Kellie Jo in May 1991. The booklet, such as it is, is decorated with pictures of my five children as toddlers. My children will recognize the background of the booklet as the "checkered quilt" that their mother made.

Thanks go to my children, my first audience, who told me years ago that I should publish these stories, and to my sweet wife, who agreed with them and encouraged me repeatedly to actually do it. I should also thank my children for asking me to repeat the stories as they lay in their beds, and for correcting me when I got the details wrong in the retelling.

Thanks also go to my childhood friend, Jodi DeLong, who actually heard some of the first stories I ever told (remember "How to Catch a Star"?), and to my almost-childhood friend and professional colleague, Felice Rebol, who joined with my wife and kids in encouraging me to publish these stories. Felice believed in me so completely that she insisted she wanted a copy of the books when they finally came out. I hope that this CD is a reasonable substitute - until the books come along, that is. And I'm sorry that the CD is too late for her own children, now in college, to enjoy while they were growing up.

And finally, I tip my hat to Ray Bradbury, the greatest storyteller I've ever known and a role model to thousands of would-be storytellers.

Legal Stuff

The audio recordings are ℗ 2015 Ray Depew, published 2015 Ray Depew.
The CDs and the written versions of the stories are © 2015 Ray Depew, copyright 2015 Ray Depew.


Created by Ray Depew, 1 Dec 2015
Last edited by Ray Depew, 2 Dec 2015
Edited by VIM