I had the good fortune to be born in rural New Hampshire, where growing up meant never being scared of much because there wasn’t much to be scared of. Main Street had one traffic signal that blinked yellow on one side and blinked yellow on the other, and the biggest event of the year was when Santa Claus came to town riding in a fire truck. When I was 11 years old, my favorite TV show was The Mickey Mouse Club, but as a teenager, I watched General Hospital and became a soap opera addict. My parents sent me to Camp Wabunaki in Maine for eight summers, and later to Gould Academy, a boarding school, where I lived in a girls’ dorm with three different roommates in four years, and tried learning to live with other kids my own age. Falling in love and getting married at 19 was not a wise decision, but moving to California at 22 was, although my starter husband was the one who got me here. It took some time before I stopped calling myself a hick, but I’ve never called myself a city slicker either. I worked for the same employer for 38 years, but changed professions when I discovered that my true calling was fundraising. Although I didn’t have any experience, I had the skills, but most of all I had knowledge of the product, which, combined with what some call chutzpah, turned out to be key.
Despite big changes, like two divorces in forty years, life was pretty good back then, but now it’s fantastic! I’m living a life of dreams, which started when I met Bruce on a dating website in 1999. Even at your age? people ask. We tied the knot two years later because we were in love, and it seemed right. I read his ad before he read mine. Certified by Four Women as a Good Catch. They were his mother and three daughters. I’m looking for someone to treat like a queen. Who wouldn’t fall for that, and he’s been true to his word ever since. The circumstances of our meeting and falling gaga over each other have reinforced my mantra that Things happen for a reason.
We both expressed a love of travel, but his desire was based on experience while mine was just an idea I carried in my head. Our first trip proved we were good together— enjoyed similar things — ethnic food, movies, shared politics and living a healthy lifestyle. He gave me family, and I gave him friends and for the last 18 years Bruce has shown me the world. The travel ideas I had in my head have come to fruition. I’ve been to places I didn’t know existed when I lived in the sticks of New Hampshire. Until I traveled there in 2008 I thought Timbunktu was just an expression, not a place on the edge of the Sahara Desert with history going back thousands of years. In a relatively short time, I’ve traveled the world and filled three passports and I wish Mom and Dad could see me now. I try very hard not take my extraordinary life for granted. When I was in Southeast Asia, I saw families living in tents and cardboard shacks. In India crippled people sat on the streets and begged for money or some food to eat. There are many women and children in Africa who walk for miles to find one-day’s worth of water. In Antarctica King Penguins and their young are standing in tall green grass where thick ice used to be, and in the Arctic where the climate is rapidly changing, polar bears will starve because ice flows are melting. What I hope to convey is that I know how fortunate I am. Not only fortunate but lucky. I live where there is plenty of clean water, flush toilets and food on my table. My bed has soft sheets, and my car has leather seats. I travel the world, write, and take pictures, and finally, I have my own website. Whether it’s luck or not, I’m not certain, but I am truly grateful for all that I have.
Life is about enjoying the ride!