Never, ever, ever give up.
Take time to Dream
There is a saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And so with those words I can attest that my life is one of the strongest it could be because of the experiences that I have had. Growing up in New England as the youngest of three children, I learned from an early age that people are not always going to be there when you need them. When I was two years old, my father was hospitalized for almost one year with tuberculosis. At the time, which was near the end of the 1950's, my mother was raising three of us, and my oldest brother, then 16, had to work at a nearby farm to make money. My mother, who never learned how to drive, went to work cleaning peoples homes, and my middle brother, was constantly in trouble as a result of being left alone untended. He was about 12 at the time. A local meatcutter took our family under his wing and brought us cuts of meat so we would not starve, and the milk man let the milk bill pile up, as he knew of my father's situation. One day, dad simply walked out of the hospital and came home, still infected with TB and not very strong. He started painting signs in the basement and made a living doing that kind of work until he could return to work at the local hospital as an ex-ray technician. From these very first years of my life, I learned the importance of family, reading, travel and love. Dad and I shared a special bond that made life rich and worthy. Mom and I also had a loving relationship, but she also had many health concerns, both mental and physical that took her to electric shock therapy and operations that would consume her with worry and anxiety. I had a very good life, albeit one of modest means and hard work. I took my first job at 16, thus making this my 41st year of working in many varied job fields. I also have had hard financial times and difficult personal relationships. Through it all, my lesson has always been to work hard, work smart and to find passion in that which is my bliss. Another thing that brings me great joy is that I continue to learn something new each day that will make my life one rich in wisdom and knowledge.
At eighteen I attended college for the first time and was the first member of my immediate family to do so. Although my first experience was not an academic success in terms of grade point average, I possessed the ability to lead and to grow as a person through various clubs and organizations. I do not regret one moment in my undergraduate experience. Before graduating, I married my first husband and a year later we welcomed my eldest child, Katie. Although my marriage to this man did not last very long, I have acknowledged it was my destiny to have such a bright and beautiful young woman as my daughter. Marrying for a second time also was not a long relationship either, but my son was born from my union with my second husband and my son is a delightful comedic young man, full of brilliance as well. A third marriage lasted for 12 years and brought me to hell on earth: Houston, Texas. Having lived in other places, this was the most difficult of all places for me, as it was full of religious fervor and not aligned with my interests and beliefs. I survived seven years residing in this state and was able to leave it with a Master of Liberal Arts in my hand at age 44. It was then that I began my life as it was meant to be lived.
Teaching at the college level has made me more grounded, more open and brought me a passion I only hoped could exist in a job. Moving to the west, then back to the east, then eventually back to the Pacific Northwest, I have finally found my "home". Through trials, financial woes, setbacks, illnesses, loss, grief, and times of happiness sprinkled in between, I have made my way to a life that could only have been a circuitous route in order for me to be who I am today. Losing my parents in my thirties and my older brother in 2007, made for a difficult road, but with the love of my family and friends, I have realized that destiny is what happens when you let yourself be open to grow. What did not kill me, made me stronger. And it can happen to you as well, if you open your heart to a life that is waiting for you and you may just not realize it yet.