Some back story may be in order. I have had respiratory problems for the last three years or so because of allergies to smoke and fragrances. I’m doing well as long as I stay away from everything I’m allergic to. My husband, our siblings, my elderly mother, and my father, whose current drivers license expires on his 102nd birthday, also are doing nicely. Concerning myself, family opinions may vary. I have always (like my dream caterpillars) been out of step, even with myself.
I switched to English (jr. year) and philosophy (sr. year) from mathematics, instrumental music, and the physical sciences, which occupied my first two years of study toward a B.A. I’d found a lot that I wanted to think about. I switched my life’s goal from being the first person to set foot on Mars to reading all those marvelously interesting books that writers were putting out on every imaginable topic (and some, pretty much unimaginable).
Instrumental music: Brass (cornet, trumpet, french horn), 9 years of study; Piano, 11 years of study (still playing); self-taught: baroque recorder (soprano). Also sang in choirs (church, high school, music clinics) from first grade through 1994, and wrote calls to worship and a song for our contemporary worship music group.
After graduation, I landed a job as a computer programmer, so that I could buy books, pay off my student loans, and continue to eat. Later on, I moved into operations in the IT subsidiary of a regional (now national) financial corporation. Sixteen years is too long to spend in corporate environments, so I bailed during corporate restructuring (bless ’em!), taking advantage of a generous severance package that included professional training in how to look for a job, interview and write resumes and cover letters. Putting that together with my experience writing college papers, I started my own freelance business from which I finally have managed to retreat after 30 years. We (Al* and I) retired in 2012, but it took me two years to finish up with or hand off the remaining commitments. I specialized in academic style editing (Turabian and APA). About half my business was writing resumes and letters and guiding clients through the process, so they could do their own from then on. Once we got on the Internet, I started picking up clients in other countries. Word of mouth was good advertising. Since retirement, though, I now have much more time for reading and playing with my computers.
Quite a few years ago, a younger brother started writing stories about his life and our family on a free WordPress blog. I should go off and do that, too. Timothy’s taken early retirement and started his own consulting business, now. I did a little proofreading for him, last fall. I quote from one of his pages:
My parents are the only people I knew who had both a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Compton’s Encyclopaedia, and the full Great Books collection on their home bookshelf – other kids had to rely on the school library. My dad seemed to be reading his way through the Great Books during my high school years, and for my older sister, Elizabeth, the philosophers and Shakespeare seemed to provide the major attraction. I recall reading the Platonic Dialogues together, out loud – she always got to be Socrates and I was always the student, of course. When I got to college and took social studies I was the only person in my class to have already read the Dialogues, which is pretty funny when you think about it.
Reading is a great joy even today and the small Hawley library and wonderful, warm Verna Wefald, almost as much as my parents, were very influential in developing in me a love of language, a habit of inquiry, a desire to explore the world, and a respect for learning and understanding. [TimMinn.com]
That’s our roots. Where we came from. My first-grade soap carving was of a trilobite; my teacher insisted that there was no such thing, so I turned it into a coracle. When I was in second grade, my mother got called into the principal’s office because I refused to go outside for recess. Because I’d started with the A volume of the classroom encyclopedia with the intent to read it straight through. (Hence the Compton’s Encyclopedia set my brother mentioned.) I bet that high school administration was so happy when the last of the seven of us graduated and left town. We have had so much fun.
*Al and I dated briefly in the early 70s. In the early nineties, a former co-worker of Al’s, one of my job search clients, insisted, when he learned that I knew Al, that I call him. Which is how we ended up married to each other a year later. We promptly discontinued the cable TV service and sat down to read each other’s libraries. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
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