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Once upon a time a princess(that would be me) was born.

The king...

and queen...

...were so happy with the princess, they decided she would be their only child.

To avoid the publicity of royalty and the paparazzi, they did not live in a castle, but chose a small house on Lost Lane in Salem Oregon.

The queen, that would be my mother, loved her so much she read stories to her every night before she went to bed, and often other members of the kingdom were allowed to listen to the stories as well. The king loved her so much he bought a tv...

...so she could watch Walt Disney and at night the king and his princess watched travel shows...

...and visited other countries all over the world.

Most importantly, the princess had time to daydream, and she used her imagination to tame the royal lion.

The princess (that would still be me) found that some of her best friends were in the books her mother read to her. She painted the town with THE COLOR KITTENS...

...visited the royal cookie shop with MARY POPPINS...

...and kept THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY by her side.

When it was time, she traveled to see the Sultan with KING OF THE WIND...

The princess soon learned to tell her own stories to entertain herself (and also to get out of trouble).

Soon the princess had an imagination that could see a city of books stacked up like skyscrapers...

with postage stamps for windows...

...and a carpet could be a royal garden or the fields where the food for the kingdom was grown.

The princess started writing her own stories on the queen’s royal typewriter...

...and while watching Walt Disney …she found that an artist could make a world of their own with colors, shapes, and characters that were fun to draw.

She learned what a storyboard looked like.

But the princess (that would still be me)...

...couldn’t wait to see the REAL world. In order to be of service to her kingdom ( and to have an audience for her imagination) she decided to be a teacher. So she went to the university.

And when she was grown she married a prince from another kingdom...(that would be my husband, Bob).

He was brave and full of adventure, and was also a teacher and a good storyteller. He could make things up and exaggerate as well as the princess. What a match!

They both said good bye to the people of their kingdoms and flew off to teach in the north.

They lived with the Yup’ik people in small villages that looked like they had been swallowed by a very big land. Far from home, they found a land full of beauty, kind people and wonderful stories.

There they traded their royal clothes for warmer clothing….mukluks, fur parka’s, snow pants, and the princess began to wear kuspuks and beads.

They stayed for many many years and started a family of their own.

They hunted and fished through the ice...

...and danced to the beat of Yup'ik drums.

This land had no roads, so they traveled by boat...

...dogsled and skis, but not by car.

...and by bush plane...

They quickly found that the only way to get a supply of food was to order a royal barge to deliver it to their dock once a year.

They found that except in the summer when mosquitos ruled, the ruler of the northern land was Weather, and all were subject to its long sun, dark cold, soft snows and churning break-ups.

During the long dark nights of winter they listened to stories from the village, read to their children (there was no tv)and the princess remembered how she liked to make stories of her own. The girls taught her to use a story knife.

She made stories up about the things she saw on the tundra, a woman weaving cranes into baskets...

...an ivory carver setting white animals down in the snow, a woman in the sky whose kuspuk was black with stars on it for night. She drew pictures for the stories. And when people in the north saw her pictures they asked her to draw pictures for their stories. She became an illustrator and her imagination was happy.

But one day after many years, the prince and princess knew it was time to return to their own kingdoms. They moved to Sebastopol, California...

...and by now had learned to hide their royalty well.

While the prince built many royal houses, the princess taught and worked on books while raising her family, which had now grown. The princess was happy to find out there were people who still wanted to hear her stories and happily sold them to publishers who came from far and near. While her children were in school, she surrounded herself with pastels, paints, colored pencils and picture books.

Her dreams have come true and now her children have their own stories to tell. Matt is a biologist and spends long days in nature fishing climbing mountains, exploring Alaska and playing his guitar.

Carrie travels the world, has her own graphic design business called Carrie Sloat Design in San Francisco...

and just married her Prince Charming (I mean Brian).

Becky is finishing her degree in photography telling stories and making art with photographs.

Once in a while you can find all the Sloat’s taking an outdoor adventure, playing soccer, or floating in the creek at their cabin in the Trinity mountains. And up until now, no one has discovered that they are royalty!

There are so many stories inside of all of us. Which one would you write about yourself today?


© Teri Sloat 2006