That is the question and the reason I have begun blogging. To rediscover who I am in this present chapter of my life. So much of who I have always been has changed or shifted in the last decade that it feels in someways that I am having an identity crisis, in my late 50s! Just when I should be finally fairly certain of myself. I welcome you in my quest to redefine me.
Here are a few of the various versions of me along my life’s path to this point.
I was a chubby baby, 8 pounds, 13 ounces, born in a snowstorm in Buffalo, New York on an Easter Sunday morning in April 1958. The bunny brought me. Have loved egg-shaped chocolate from day one. My baby sister Valerie was born two years later, and then two years after that, when I was four, we moved to Boston. Our baby brother Kevin came along in 1966. My parents were both very intelligent. My dad was in cancer research with a PhD in pharmacology. My mother was a chemist. Our family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1968 in the midst of the garbage workers strike after the shooting death of Martin Luther King, Jr., downtown. My father worked at St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital until he retired about 25 years later. Here’s a picture of my daughters, my parents, brother and sister taken in Colorado, one of our favorite summer vacation spots.
My sweet mom cut my hair and made many of my clothes. I didn’t shave my legs until eighth grade, which was my second year as a cheerleader. I looked like Yeti that first year. Not sure why no one noticed that my hair was forever longer on one side than the other or that my bangs were almost invisible, they were so short.
I was the kinda kid who either did really well at things or not so well at all. Especially in high school and then college. I thought I wanted to be a doctor – loved the idea of opening a pediatric practice in the Appalachian Mountains and helping the poor children there. But after struggling to pass freshman biology at a small liberal arts college Southwestern at Memphis/SWAM (now Rhodes College), I decided maybe I would rather become an artist (graphic art or medical illustration) and maybe just marry a doctor instead. My one real success at SWAM was being selected as the Best Pledge for Delta Delta Delta sorority. I wound up graduating with a degree in Art Education and more than a minor in Library Science. While I have been married more than my fair share, more than I care to admit, I never married a doctor. But I am kind of over all of that now.
I was a mommy for many years, and still am, but in a different capacity now that my nest is empty. Brennyn Alexis was born in 1984, two years and one day later, Lauren Allegra was born. There is no love like that of a mother for her children. For much of the girls’ childhood I was a single mother and we were three girls together on the boom-boom.
Here we are on Lauren’s wedding day and at Brennyn’s recent bridal shower, as my nest emptied.
I am a Mimi (granddaughter Cady’s name for me) and a Gabba (Lucia’s name for me). Among the best titles and jobs in the world. But bittersweet because neither of my grandbabies live close to me. Kind of like a double whammy in the empty-nest department. My daughters are hundreds of miles away and so are my granddaughters, Cady, the 7 year-old and Lucia, my 2 year-old. I often imagine what it would be like to have sleep-overs and lunch dates regularly with my littles.
That’s Cady on the left and Lucia on the right. And below, Cady on the right and Lucia on the left.
I wish I could be more a part of their day-to-day lives.
Pet Owner Me
I have been a responsible and loving pet owner since 1981, when I “adopted” my first kitten. Many kittens and pups have crossed my path since. I have had as many as ten Siberian Huskies at one time and a dozen stray kittens. These two characters below were the pets I had and loved the longest. Cici, shaggy gray and Cheyenne, soft beige. They were with me through thick and thin for close to fifteen years each. Their passing, just a year apart, left two more holes in my heart.
Somehow I think I was always supposed to be a librarian just had to stumble around until I could figure that out for myself. And even then, I didn’t really figure it out…it just happened. The El Paso school district needed a librarian and I needed a job. The rest is history.
I loved almost every minute of my 25 years as a librarian. I worked in two high schools and two elementary schools full-time during my career but at a great number of elementary, middle and high campuses for summer school.
In the fall of 1995, the school district decided to create a televised reading show and held auditions for the host of the show. Guess who auditioned? Oh, yeah, moi! I wore a scarecrow outfit and read several fall-ish books for my videotaped try-out. I was selected for the position and wound up creating over 100 “Come Read With Me” shows in ten years time. For each one I wrote a lesson plan, drew a backdrop, created a craft activity, read two books before a live audience of El Paso children. My own daughters even sang the show theme song.
In the photo on the left, I am being “miked” by the studio’s director Ashton Graham. The center photo is of me in costume for my audition. In the photo on the right, you can see some of the children attending the taping, Ashton giving me a few last minute directions, and Brennyn in green stripes, my mom in white and Lauren in hot pink.
The spring of 1996, I was recognized as the school district employee of the month. In the winter of 1997, I was chosen campus Teacher of the Year, then one of five finalists for the El Paso Independent School District Elementary Teacher of the Year.
To my complete and utter amazement, I was selected the EPISD Elementary Teacher of the Year in May 1997. I was so touched.
Although, my married name was different at that time, that’s the same me…just a much younger version by almost 20 years. When this beloved if accidental career of my lifetime ended in December 2013, another giant emptiness was left in my heart where so many wonderful books, and sweet students and dedicated teachers had lived for so long. I took this picture on my last day of work before turning out the lights in the library and on my career.
We met in 2003, dated for five years before taking the plunge into marriage. We sold our individual houses to move into a lovely home built just for us. Kind of ironic that when my daughters were living at home, we had a cozy cottage of a house. Now that it’s just the two of us, PC and I have a palace by comparison. Of course, Lauren and PC’s son Matt and three pups did live with us in our ‘castle’ for a couple of years so we haven’t rattled around here alone the whole time. It’s just been us and Purrsnickitty and Purrsimmony for about three years or so now.
And that’s about it, in a nutshell or an About ME page. I am trying on new experiences in hopes of rediscovering and redefining myself. I am hoping that through blogging, I will finally find the courage to work on the children’s book I have always imagined myself writing. In my free time, I continue to work on my health and fitness, dabble in arts and crafts, fashion, photography.
Despite the changes in my life, I remain a wife, mother, grand-mimi, (retired, sub) librarian, daughter, sister, …in-law, and responsible pet owner. But now, more than ever, I am ME!
You can follow along on my adventure here and through these other social media outlets.
Pinterest (my personal fav), here.
Instagram (like it a lot, too), here.
And Twitter, which is still much a mystery to me, here.
My sister and I also have a Teachers Pay Teachers store, here.
Thank you for taking time to get to know me.
Hugs and kisses~