Lev Ropes

Grandbear the Storyteller

Posted 2/21/17
About me I just turned 82. I’ve lived in quite a few places around the country and had many different occupations. I was born in Helena, Montana. I’ve lived here in Golden since 1985, and before that, Lakewood since 1967. My wife Linda and …

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Lev Ropes

Grandbear the Storyteller

Posted
About me I just turned 82. I’ve lived in quite a few places around the country and had many different occupations. I was born in Helena, Montana. I’ve lived here in Golden since 1985, and before that, Lakewood since 1967. My wife Linda and I have been married for 27 years. We met in the choir of the Jefferson Unitarian Church. I started out as an auto mechanic when I was 15. I went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in earth science and a master’s degree in limnology, which is the study of fresh water bodies. I ended up in Jefferson County through a requested transfer with my job as a groundwater hydrologist. For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to draw and was drawn to visual media from painting to animation and sculpture. Eventually, I opened a graphics business specializing in science technology and litigation. I made a living for 30 years creating communication graphics from hand-drawn to digital. I retired in 2000. Grandbear the Storyteller Marymae Seamen recommended that I take the training and become a Spellbinder, which is an organization of volunteer storytellers in public schools. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. I go to Mitchell and Shelton in Golden and Compass Montessori in Wheat Ridge. This year, I have 250 kids — primarily third-graders. The kids call me Grandbear. I enjoy the connection and interaction with the kids. Their attention, reactions and responses are delightful. Storytelling stirs the kids’ imagination. I tell them, “The pictures you hopefully see in your head are better than any movie or television image because they are your own.” At the end of the session, I allow time for questions. They often ask very thoughtful and interesting questions. I tell a variety of stories, including many of my own. Some of them are about my cousin’s ranch in Montana. It’s a magical place. In 2003, I published a book and CD about the ranch called “Tales from the Blue Heron Ranch.” The best medicine I’ve been involved with the Golden Fine Arts Festival for more than a dozen years. I’m also on the board for WestSide Live! Presents, which is an eclectic performing arts series. The performing arts entertain and enrich people’s lives. I grew up listening to, and enjoying, a wide variety of music. It’s just in my bones. When storytelling at the schools, I tell the kids that I’m an old guy that takes a lot of medicines, but you are my best medicine. It is truly therapeutic for the teller.

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