I enter the last quarter of my first century in much the same way as I entered the first with no overdue library books and a lot to learn. What a trip so far! Here are some highlights I can remember.
The first quarter:
I think I was two or three. I remember living with my two grandmothers, my mother, and my great grandmother on 12th Street in Des Moines, Iowa. My father was in the Army and stationed in Europe during WWII. We lived in the boarding house my grandmother and her mother had run. My grandfather died when my mother was 6. My grandmother got a job as a clerk in an office and ran a boarding house with help from her mother in order to support her four children. My mother had grown up there. It had an icebox cooled by two giant blocks of ice delivered each week in the alley behind the house by an ice wagon driven by two horses. My great-grandmother was sick and was in a bedroom on the first floor. I remember having to be very quiet.
After the War, when my father returned, we had a new house on 41st Street in Des Moines. There we all lived–my parents, my two grandmothers, a great aunt, and me. Grandma Williams, my father’s mother, (widowed when my father was 6) had raised him by teaching in one-room schools in Iowa. She taught me to read before I went to school. I was spoiled and probably a brat when I got there.
We lived in Des Moines until I was 12. My brother was born when I was six. This is where I saw my first television–a small green screen on which we watched test patterns and eventually Captain Video and the Video Rangers.
Here I am with my brother by the big oak tree in front of the house the year before we moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa.
I was in Junior High and he was in First Grade when we moved to Cedar Falls, which did not have a Junior High. I had to attend 8th grade in the same school as my little brother. How devastating!
I went to college in Cedar Falls at what was then Iowa State Teachers College. It is now the University of Northern Iowa.
After college I taught 8th grade in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After a year of teaching, I married a guy I had dated in high school and college. We both taught another year in Cedar Rapids and then moved back to Cedar Falls where we both attended graduate school.
Thus ended the first quarter of my first century.
The second quarter:
After graduate school we moved to California where my husband attended graduate school at Stanford. I taught high school in Sunnyvale and Cupertino. Eventually we parted and went our separate ways.
We moved to “our” mountain shortly after we were married and continue to live there–one of the most beautiful spots on earth.
We both taught high school for a while but our interest in good food and cooking led us to eventually open a restaurant in Saratoga in a beautiful spot overlooking the creek. After five years we sold the restaurant, and I went on to managing hotels.
The third quarter:
By 1989 I decided I needed to move on from the hospitality business and started seeking a position that I could feel passionate about. After a year of searching I happened upon an opportunity to work for the Youth Science Institute, a non-profit that provided science and environmental education for many young people in the county. It was a perfect fit, and for the next fourteen years I spent much of my time there. I still am involved as a volunteer at their special events.
Since I have “retired”, I have been involved–and still am–with a number of nonprofits.These have included Grail Family Services, YWCA Silicon Valley, Young Dreamers, Peninsula Endowment and SeniorNet. I am not willing to quit now. And so on to —-
The fourth quarter:
Begins today. Still a lot to learn. I hope not to have any overdue library books and that the refrigerator continues to run since the ice man no longer makes the rounds.