Terry Lynch's teenage children groan when they
visit a historical site while traveling with their dad. A recent
visit to the St. Louis arch resulted in yet another "Oh no, not
again," from the two teens as their dad waxed eloquent on the
history they were lucky enough to experience. Even worse, at times
their history-obsessed dad walks around in Ben Franklin's
tri-cornered hat or talks like Teddy Roosevelt.
Lynch, an Orland Park dad who is a historical portrayer,
spends his time appearing as such famous figures as George
Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson. An improv actor who
wanted a job better suited to family life, Lynch started performing
for school groups nine years ago and has never looked
"As an actor I was working late at night," he says. "This
lets me schedule around family and be there for important family
And in spite of the groans of protest, Lynch's whole
family is part of his business: Histories for Kids Inc. His wife,
Laura, is an educator who helps research the historical figures and
creates study guides and lesson plans for the schools they visit.
His son helps with videotaping and his daughter is the illustrator
for their most recent book, Nicholas Comes to America, the story of
St. Nick and how he became Santa Claus.
And he has realized that performing, especially for kids,
isn't much different from his improv days. "If I don't get them at
the beginning of the show, I've lost them," he says. "They're so
honest, they're very blunt, so you've gotta be on your toes with
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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