All my relatives told me I’d be a nurse. There was a popular nurses doll at the time. I put my fingers in my ears and hummed when anyone called me “Nancy Nurse.” I didn’t ever like dolls. But, I did want a talking doll like my sister’s. Chatty Cathy had a string that when pulled activated a recorded voice that I wanted to get at. To take it apart and see how it worked. As a young scientist, I was a disassembler, an engineer and devoted naturalist. And sometimes I did tape a toothpick to a broken bird’s leg before placing a lid on a temporary shoe box hospital. I never thought of myself as a caretaker though. I was too self-absorbed. Escaping whenever possible to the hills above my tract home in East San Jose (below Alum Rock Park). I liked to be alone, write poems, and follow animal tracks to underground burrows. A third-generation native Californian, I have never lived anywhere but here.
Eventually I earned a Bachelor’s in English, and a teaching credential, with a plan to use my innate spirit of inquiry and curiosity in working with children. Teaching allowed me to share my days with some of my favorite kind of people: teachers and children. I moved to Santa Cruz, during a time when communities had a glut of new teachers and took a job at Lucy and Doug’s nursery school, Creative Preschool, housed in a little room out back of their house. After a sweet little affair with early childhood education, I took a position to teach first grade. For my last professional work, I taught at our local community college, getting back to my roots in early childhood education and after retirement worked as a consultant with the department of education.
I expect I’ll spend the rest of my life in Santa Cruz in the forest, in these mountains, above the breathtaking coastline next to my son and grandchildren. Maintaining this place, this home for all four sons and all six grandchildren to always consider their second home. Today it’s the four of us, two grandchildren, their grandpa (my husband), me and our dog. We hike and explore close to home, checking the level of the creek, the old asphaltum road and sometimes wander across state lines to dig for dinosaurs or to drop a fishing line into a snow melt river with budding young fishermen. We have a good life, a privileged one.
I write to transform what I feel and wonder about; to remember and re-invent. A story is a journey, sometimes through a mirror, shining a light in the darkness or may take the long way around. I hope to reveal, deepen and better understand life’s experiences, and that my stories are generously woven with insight and hope. I’ve forgiven those who took me off course; embraced them and myself for we are truly fully human.