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Who is CherylK?

Updated on March 26, 2015

Mini-biography of CherylK

I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the end of World War II to an Irish mother and a Yankee father.

This picture of me was taken when I was a toddler. My mean old American cousins called me "pie face"...hrumpf!

There are so many stories I could tell about my mother's life growing up in Ireland and my father's life growing up in a small town in North Dakota.

As time goes by I'll add a tale or two to this lens.

Lillian - My Beautiful Mother

A Wild Irish Rose

My mother was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She had one sister and three brothers and they lived in a brownstone-type row house on Roosevelt Street. My grandfather was a brass fitter and worked on ships being built in Belfast. In fact, he actually worked on the Titantic!

This is a photograph of my mother (on the left) and her sister in their WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service) uniforms. They both enlisted in the Royal Navy during World War II.

Mom worked down in the lower levels of Belfast Castle where the tickertapes clacked along documenting the progress of the battles. She was about to be assigned to a ship headed for Africa where she was going to be in communications working in some capacity with flag signals.

As luck would have it, Mom met my father, fell in love, and less than a month later were married! Mom always said she wasn't a "War Bride" but technically I think she was.

Keith - My Yankee Father

My father was born and raised in a very small town in North Dakota. He was a very small boy, for his age, and when he started school they had to make a desk to fit him! By the time he grew up, he was of average height.

While my father was still a teenager, he developed a passion for airplanes and earned a private pilot's license. It wasn't long before he had earned an instructor's certificate, as well.

I'm told that during one disastrous flood in North Dakota he managed to fly supplies to residents who were stranded because of the flood waters.

Eventually Dad left North Dakota and traveled to California to seek his fortune. He was hired to work for Lockheed Corporation and traveled to Ireland with Lockheed Overseas after the United States entered the war.

That's where he met my mother. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My Childhood

I have two sisters. I'm the eldest. I'm in the center in this picture which was taken on my twelfth birthday in Belfast in front of my grandparents' brownstone. That was the last time I was in Ireland although my middle sister has been back several times.

It was in the midst of "the troubles" in Ireland but sadly most of the trouble was caused by radical people and involved many mercenaries. On Roosevelt Street where my grandparents lived and my mother grew up, we were friends with Protestant children and Catholic children and there was never a distinction made between us. We were just children. We were taught to "love our neighbors" regardless of religion or race.

But I mostly grew up in a small town in North Dakota. I had a fairly uneventful childhood. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. We had very little money but I wasn't aware of it until I grew up. My mom sewed nearly every stitch we wore and was brilliant when it came to repurposing old winter coats into snowsuits for my sisters and me. We each received a new pair of shoes at Christmas and Easter and sturdy shoes at the beginning of the school year.

My favorite pastimes were reading and designing clothes for my paper dolls. My favorite books were The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, anything by Louisa May Alcott, all of the Bobbsey Twins books and the Nancy Drew mystery series.

I loved art. Still do.

My father's Airplane - That's me on the far left.

My father's Airplane - That's me on the far left.
My father's Airplane - That's me on the far left.

Fast forward to the present...

I have four children and eight grandchildren. I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer a little more than two years ago. We had been married for nearly 40 years and he was my best friend.

My interests include anything-related-to-the-computer, cooking, reading, gardening, sewing, art, and photography.

A "Jack-of-all-trades and a master of none" is probably right on the mark.

  • I was a real estate agent.
  • I was a top-notch administrative assistant with four Federal agencies.
  • I ended that career when I purchased my own business - a secretarial service in one state that evolved into a free-lance business when Jack's career moved us to another state.
  • I've studied handwriting analysis and am a certified graphoanalyst.
  • I've studied interior design and am an Accredited Staging Professional, staging homes to prepare them for resale.
  • I've bought and sold antiques and collectibles on Ebay and in an antique mall.
  • I have repurposed old furniture (mostly children's furniture) by painting whimsical designs and selling them...several of my rocking horses were sold at charity auctions for tidy little profits. Very satisfying work. Not exactly profitable for me but extremely gratifying, nonetheless.
  • After Jack retired, we bought a small concessions business blending and selling fresh fruit smoothies at art fairs in the summer. Tons of fun and quite lucrative, actually.
  • I've been married, divorced (a single parent), and married again (to Jack), a step-parent. I was a supportive wife and mother all the while trying to maintain my own identity.
  • I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.

Who is Razzmatazlady?

I had an business some years ago and I called it Razzmataz. Razzmatazlady was part of my email address.

I restored and repurposed old or used furniture and other objects into fun new pieces that I sold, along with antiques and collectibles, at an antique mall near my home.

Faux painting and murals are also wedged in there somewhere. This is a photo of part of a mural I did in the nursery of my twin grandchildren. I painted it before they were born and we knew there were twins so I put two little eggs in the nest.

It was just a blast and I loved it but there came a time when there was so much else going on in our lives that I decided to retire Razzmataz for the time being.

I still use Razzmatazlady for Twitter. And I still paint.

Housesitting and Petsitting

Our scheme to escape winter...

Jack and I have been housesitting for more than five years. It's a wonderful way for us to leave the cold Minnesota winters for a few months.

We house & pet sit in the winter and only travel to places that are warmer than Minnesota. Since we have a lake home and summers are beautiful in Minnesota (well, except for the mosquitoes) this arrangement makes perfect sense.

You can read a little more about our adventures on my Housesitting and Petsitting page.

I do appreciate your feedback.

Thanks for visiting... - Please leave a calling card.

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    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 6 years ago

      It is nice to know you.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 6 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Excellent herstory of Cheryl lens. :D

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 7 years ago from Minnesota

      @the777group lm: Thanks, Andrew! I'm not planning to grow up any time soon :-)

    • profile image

      the777group lm 7 years ago

      I thumbs-up-ed and favorited this lens - you tell a good story!

      I'm also "still not sure what I want to be when I grow up".

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Cheryl I am so glad I found this lens through MiMi's post on SquidBlog. It is lovely to read about you and I love the photos. This English Angel has various connections with Belfast and people who either live there or come from there.

      It's great to get to know you better - thank you for sharing and SquidAngel Blessings for you!

    • SherryHolderHunt profile image

      SherryHolderHunt 8 years ago

      Pie Face, I don't think so, they must have been jealous. "Sunset On Our Lake" is gorgeous. Wonderful lens! 5*s

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love your story! Great to hear about someone doing what they enjoy not just all about the money. And housesitting sounds like a great idea to see more places on the kind of budget we can afford these days. Thanks for sharing your life so far. And if you grow up and find out what you want to be, let the rest of us know!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Nice Lens! House sitting sounds fun! Nice to meet your Cheryl! :)

    • profile image

      CassandraRichmond123 8 years ago

      Nice lens! It was a pleasure to get to know you!

    • profile image

      robertkoger123 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story.


    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Ah, I didn't know you were born in Ireland! And, "I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up." I hear ya!

    • Snozzle profile image

      Snozzle 9 years ago

      Interesting to read about you and see the photos.


    • kerbev profile image

      kab 9 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I love the old photos!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice lens! It was a pleasure to get to know you!