300 Words for a Biography

IMG_0001  Graduation from Middlebury College, Middlebury Vermont, June 1958Aunt Libby, Cousin Betsy, Jan, my mother, Lil my sister-in-law

Janet was born on December 7, 1936 in Boston Massachusetts, daughter of the late Joseph Buckingham Miller and Dorothy Friend Miller.  She grew up in Belmont, MA and after graduating from Belmont High School she went on to Middlebury College in Vermont to study French and Geography and to ski, her favorite sport among many.  At Middlebury she scored out the “et” -on her name badge and from then on she was known as Jan.

From Middlebury she went on to Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois to obtain a Master’s Degree in Geography.  In the summer following graduation she took a 2 month trip to Europe.  She flew Tiger Airlines.  It took 14 hours with stops in Halifax Nova Scotia, Gander Newfoundland, Shannon in Ireland, and finally London.  And then she spent a month cycling and staying in Youth Hostels in England, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.  Along with 2 other girls, Betty and Miriam, she then traveled by train to Geneva Switzerland where Betty picked up a brand new Volkswagen.  The 3 girls spent a month driving in southern France and Spain and western France to reach Paris and fly home to New York in August.

Her travels were not over.  She then rode in another VW with her Middlebury friend Lucy  to go to Chicago/Evanston to attend a mutual friend’s wedding.  Middlebury classmates, Ginny and John,  She missed the wedding.  She  met a Northwestern classmate/friend who was driving to California.  He was leaving almost immediately and had room in his car.  Off she went on Route 66 with Mohammed, Bob, and Helene.   Next stop Palm Springs California.  Followed by a camping trip to a lake in the mountains east of San Francisco.

Still footloose and fancy free she traveled by bus from San Francisco to Seattle, again to visit another Middlebury friend, Rachel.

The above Middlebury friends are still close over 60 years later.

I think I’ve exceeded my allotted 300 words.  To be continued.

 

Second Thoughts

I’m having 2nd thoughts on “WrIting my biography in 300 words”.  That’s the assignment for the residents here at Ida Culver House Broadview (ICHB).  I think this is like writing one’s obituary – which would be helpful for the family left behind.  My sister Nan passed away at the end of January this year and I have a copy of the obituary here before me as I write.  And a nice picture.  Nancy Richardson of Middlebury, Connecticut, April 18, 1927 – February 1, 2020.  “Loving mother, sister, grandmother and great grandmother.  The obituary was beautifully written……  I don’t know when and by whom.  I’ve counted the words and actually in about 300 the essence of her life is there for all to read.  So here’s my example of how to write my 300 words.  Thank you Nan or her sons – probably her sons.  Somehow I don’t think Nan would have written this.  More likely her 4 sons clubbed together to produce the finished piece.

my sisters on the Ile de France Nan and her sister Ruth on the Ile de France, about to sail to Europe for a 2 month adventure, April 1950