Here I am up at 5 a.m. to do some writing. The 300 word biographies are due today. I finished Ian’s a couple of days ago. Mine is somewhat incomplete. The first half is o.k. but the 2nd half needs to be altered. Instead of writing about my work experience I want to write more my other interests.
Nice as life was in St. Lucia, there were lessons learned in how to keep one’s spirits up in a monotonous hot climate. When we were anticipating going to Fiji, I decided I wanted to learn to weave. In Nimble Fingers, a toy shop in Stillorgan in Dublin, I spotted a small children’s loom made by Spears. It was packaged in a small box – perfect to add to our packing for Fiji. Yes! Months later when we were finally settled in our house in Suva I unpacked that Spears box and I embarked on my weaving career. Weaving on that small loom soon lead to a wish for a bigger tableloom, which I could order from New Zealand. And months later I ordered a heavier floor loom from New Zealand. Finally I was set up to weave floor rugs. And I had sources in New Zealand for buying the necessary yarn and other supplies. I was becoming a real weaver.
The Fiji Arts Club, of which were members, had exhibitions several times a year. These were very popular events. I had joined this club partly because I attended a Tuesday morning outdoor painting group. An exhibition was coming up and for the first time they were going to include crafts. With fear and trepidation I submitted 5 rugs. Much to my surprise they sold like hot cakes! I was launched!! One person in particular was raving about my rugs. Jill was a popular artist and we became friends – a friendship which has lasted for many years. One of her paintings is hanging in our apartment here at Ida Culver.
to be continued
This is getting serious. An autobiography in 300 words is the assignment. I met someone who said she had written 330 words and the editor returned it to her. She gave it to her daughter to eliminate her excess words. Strictly 300 words or less is the rule/assignment.
So I will start again and eliminate all those random memories!
She came into this world in the final month of 1936. Born in Boston at New England Baptist Hospital, weight 5 lbs 11 oz. Taken home to Belmont in due course. A happy loving family – mother, father, an older brother and 2 older sisters; a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood. But when she was 12 years old her childhood changed abruptly. Out of the blue, her father died – it was a coronary thrombosis.
The family dynamic was changing. The 3 older siblings were now adults and were leaving to get married. The years passed and soon Janet left too. She went to Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating in 1958. She went on to Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois to earn a Master’s Degree in Urban Geography.
Her first job as a graduate was in Seattle. But it wasn’t too long before she returned to her native Boston to work for Arthur D. Little, a prominent management consulting firm. After 3 years, she transferred to the San Francisco Office. She could’t resist the lure of the University of California in Berkeley. She enrolled in 1964 to study economics. In 1966 she went to Kenya to do the research for her PhD thesis.
Shortly after arriving in Nairobi in August 1966, she met Ian, her husband-to-be. They married in 1968. From Kenya they moved to Dublin Ireland for Ian’s job with An Foras Forbatha, The National Institute for Planning and Construction Research. Three sons were born in quick succession.
This young family proceeded to roam the world because of Ian’s work. Two years in St. Lucia in the West Indies, 2 years in Fiji in the South Pacific, 5 years in Bangladesh, 2 years in Bhutan in the Himalayas, 1 year in Ghana in West Africa, and back to Kenya in East Africa for 5 years.
These 3 sons are now all married and we are blessed with 9 grandchildren.
That’s about 400 words and I haven’t written about my various jobs. Needs editing!
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.
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.
Nan and her sister Ruth on the Ile de France, about to sail to Europe for a 2 month adventure, April 1950
My sisters Ruth and Nan on the Ile de France in New York. They were about to sail. It was April 1950. I was 13 years old. They would be gone for 2 months. Oh how I missed them. But they had such adventures!
Mt. Auburn Street Watertown/Belmont Massachusetts. The way to Harvard Square and Boston in the olden days – early 1900’s.
Not as old as the 1630’s when the Massachusetts Bay settlers first came to the area.
From the Cote d’Azur – Colorful Cannes
A postcard from the Cote D’Azur
posted to a resident of Belmont Park, Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland. I suspect I found this at one of the Dublin City Bookfairs. I was probably attracted to the Belmont Park address – a flashback to my hometown address of Belmont Massachusetts. The world shrinks sometimes.