Me, age 2 and 68 Before and After


I was born in 1946 in Indiana, U.S.A. My father was in the Army during WWII, and met and married my mom in Paris.

At age 5 my parents divorced. My younger brother and I lived with my paternal grandmother for 3 years and then with my father, his new wife and her four sons. When I was 8 the wife had a baby girl and we were now seven children. I played mostly with boys, chemistry set, building transistor radio, romping in the woods, riding bike, softball–that sort of thing.

I was an average student until 6th grade when I had that teacher that changes things. I got turned on to math and reading. It was magic! That continued through high school and I went on to one semester of college while still living at home. Home life had never been good and I decided that college was not going well. I looked for a way out and chose the Army where I could bide my time until my current boyfriend finished with the Navy, we could marry and then live happily ever after. My dad approved of the Army (not immediate marriage) so he signed for me to join up at age 18. I got my grades shortly after and found I had done a lot better than I thought in that first semester. Too late to change my mind.

Army, college, and more army

Going in I thought I was going to be an X-ray tech, but instead I was a corpsman. That turned out to be good–assigned to patient care in a small hospital on Governor’s Island, NY (just off the tip of Manhattan). What a place to be 18! A year later the base was given over to the Coast Guard and I worked with them for a few months during their transition. When their nurse arrived I got to choose what I wanted and I picked Lab school. After school I worked in Chemistry at a big hospital at Ft. Sam Houston–(burn center during Viet Nam War). So ended my 3-year enlistment.

I traveled and then settled in Arizona where I finished a 4-year degree in Medical Technology and worked in Microbiology for a couple years. For crazy reasons I went back into the Army for 9 more years. The jobs went downhill as the rank went uphill. First hospital lab, then drug-testing lab (pee), and finally combat support hospital (fatigues, boots, and other wonderful things). Not wanting to see the next level, I got out. Main upside to those years was time in Germany where I got to travel in my little VW.

Late thirties and over the craziness

Next step after the Army was going to West Berlin. After a couple months there I found work, two jobs on the same day, in fact. Both were with American colleges there for soldiers and their families. The first was part-time as a computer lab manager. I’d taken my first computer course complete with FORTRAN and loved it. A replacement was needed for the current lab manager and I was offered the job. I continued to take courses and work on weekends and some evenings. The other job was full-time office work with another school. The full-time work was with a basic skills program in math, reading, and English. After a few years I was invited to teach a few of the basic math classes. I quit the other part-time job and taught part-time along with my office work. During these years in Germany I rode a bicycle, having no car. I did quite a bit of travelling by train–duty train out of West Berlin and bus or train once outside.

Forties and more change

I came back to the U.S. in 1989 prior to the fall of the Wall. My aim was to do some volunteer work. I applied a few places and landed on a year-long program with the Pallottines. This was with some sisters at their motherhouse in NY State. The short of this is that the year was great and spiritually immersive. I asked to join them and they agreed. I was there for a complete cycle of formation, 7 years, including temporary vows for 4 years.

Midlife and beyond

The year before I left the convent I got a job at an archives for a group of priests and brothers. It began as an assistant to the archivist. Things happened and I was the lone person in charge of myself. I worked there 12 years. Toward the end of that time the historian of this group took charge. I retired at age 62 and moved in with my mother in sunny Florida. That’s been a another wonderful chapter in a life I’ve found rich and rewarding.