My Life So Far
A few days ago, I got an email from Greg B., aka Froggy 213, asking me if I was up to accepting a nomination as hubber of the week. I'd joined his fan club, and have been deeply moved by his story and his personal writings. I felt this was a great honour to accept, so here is my story, as requested by Ryan.
I was born in March, 1942, in the small town of Golden, BC, Canada. My father was in Europe, with the Canadian Army, so I never met him until I was 4 years old. My mom coped with her 6 children, with a small farm, and also taught at the rural one room school near our farm during those war years. Mom was the stable influence in our family. She encouraged us all, taught us to be as much as we could be, and was the rock we depended on.
We had a pretty tough time growing up. I can still remember the cold winter night when Dad came home, and our lives changed. We had little money, a father who was never employed for more than a few months at a time, and who became violent and sexually abusive of us girls when drunk. I remember him threatening all of us with a gun on at least 2 occasions. When sober, he could be a charming, intelligent and social person, but the bad times, when you're a child affect you much more.
By 1949, we were a family of 8 children. We worked hard on the farm, milking cows and feeding the chickens before running a mile to catch the bus to school. We all helped with the huge garden, caring for the animals, the haying, and putting up wood for winter. I think because of this, we all grew up healthy, strong and not afraid of work.
We did have some great times. We all learned to ski at an early age, and we all were part of the local ski club. During the winter weekends, our farm was often the 'ski clubhouse', since we had a field with a good hill for skiing. Lots of fun, laughter, games, and hot chocolate. In summer, we enjoyed hiking and swimming in a channel of the river. In long summer evenings, we'd play hide and seek in the hayfield, and lie in the stacks, looking up at the stars, and dreaming of what might be up there.
Mom sent me off to school when I was still 4, since I could already read. At graduation in 1959, I was the class valedictorian, out of a grad class of 13. I had two scholarships, which gave me enough money to go to university. I couldn't wait to get away, and start living a real life!
What a shocker that was for me - from a small town that I'd rarely traveled more than 60 miles from, to the big city of Vancouver BC. I was terrified for the first few days. Luckily, I stayed in a women's dorm, and within a few weeks met a great group of girls, and began having a good time. We were the 'Terrible Seven' of Izzy Mac Hall.
Not enough funds to continue on after that first year, so I went to work, in a resort for the summer, and back home waitressing in the winter. I worked for a year in a plywood mill, and went back to school for another year, getting my ticket as an elementary school teacher. It seemed like a good, secure type of work, until I realized my monthly salary was less than I'd earned in the plywood mill.
The Middle Years
While teaching in Nelson, BC, I met my husband, Dennis. We married in September, 1967, moved to Edmonton, Alberta, and our first daughter was born the next April.
For the next 7 years, we both worked, me teaching and beginning to realize that teaching was not quite the right career for me. I was lucky enough to be offered a position as a teacher/librarian, and those were 3 of the best years of my career. I've always loved books and reading, and to help and encourage children to do the same was a dream come true.
When my second daughter was born, we were financially stable enough that I could stay at home with her, and I loved it. Being there for my children has always been important for me, and now I could have much more time with them.
I became a weaver, participating in the local guilds, weaving unique clothing and hangings for sale, and even taught beginner classes and special workshops locally. These were good years; we built a dream home, enjoyed dear friends, built a thriving photo business, and travelled with our two girls.
The Journey Continues
At the age of 80, my dad was diagnosed with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease attacked his speech centers, and he soon was unable to speak clearly. In visiting him, and seeing him struggle to communicate, I began to feel for the first time that I could forgive him, and the pain he'd visited on us. He struggled with the disease for two years, before passing away 4 weeks after his 82nd birthday.
It's a long journey, from insecure frightened child to fully functioning adult. I'm still on it. Right now, I'm blessed with good health, a dear husband of 41 years, two independent and entrepreneurial daughters, both happily married, two lovely granddaughters (and a grandson due in January).
I'm learning about internet marketing with my husband, writing blogs and setting up several affiliate marketing sites, and sharing our learning with a close group of like-minded people.
I'm a novice artist, learning to master watercolours, and enjoying photography. We love the idea of creating additional income streams that we can operate from anywhere in the world. Retirement is a foreign word - never stop learning, creating, and giving.