Make A Joyful Noise ……..

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

Tied In Knots

An analogy with knitting. WordPress has introduced a new Editor and it has me even more confused than usual. My finished posts and/or drafts can unexpectedly disappear without any hope of recovery. And I don’t have Word to make writing so much easier.

I think of an analogy with knitting – a series of knots tied together.

My 300 Word Biography Continued

In my previous entry I got as far as Seattle in my travels at age 22.

While in Seattle she visited the Geography Department at the University of Washington.  She had applied there to do her Masters Degree but she never heard back from them.  She had also applied to the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University.   The University of Washington was her first choice.  Northwestern was her 3rd choice but they offered her a tutoring position and that was attractive financially plus giving her some valuable teaching experience.   Hence Northwestern.

She asked the Head of Department at U Washington what had happened to her application – he had mislaid it!!  On such action her life path hinged.  One wonders what would have happened if …………..

He asked what she was doing then  and she  explained that she was just traveling and looking for a job.  He suggested she contact John Nordmark at Puget Planners.  And that’s what she did.  She was offered a position.  She can’t remember the title – Research Planner?  Anyhow when she queried her salary she was told that despite her qualifications she would be paid the same as the female secretary.   Those were the times…….

She accepted the conditions and it was agreed that she would start in 3 weeks time, after she had gone back East to collect her belongings.  It was exciting to have the prospect of a job doing urban planning research in Seattle!

Her friend Rachel helped her find accommodation.  Rachel knew of 2 teachers living in Magnolia looking for a third.  She was interviewed and accepted to live with Jody and Mary Ann.  She could travel by bus to work at Puget Planners on Dexter.

She boarded a Greyhound bus to travel back to Boston.  It helped to make her realize just how big this country is.  And this was before the Interstates.  By the time she finally reached Boston she was beginning to regret the plan.  Did she really want to return to Seattle?

to be continued

 

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