My roots are deeply planted in New England where I was born, raised, and worked for the first seventy-three years of my life. Most of my core beliefs and values are shaped by this experience. My bi-lingual mother, a native Cuban, came to the United States in 1930. My father spent his childhood in rural up-state New York. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and spent my formative years enjoying an idyllic, free-range childhood in my hometown of Marshfield, Massachusetts. Summers meant long days on expansive beaches where I learned to brave the bone-numbing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I developed my love of snowy winters and downhill skiing on forays to Northern New England, especially the Pinkham Notch area. From both parents, I learned to celebrate diversity and root for the underdog.
After graduating in 1962 from Syracuse University with a major in Sociology, I married and began what would become a thirty-five-year career as a public school educator, beginning with a three-year stint in an inner–city school (read mostly African-American) in Syracuse, New York. I loved those kids!
Next, I became a stay-at-home-mom as I birthed three sons in three and a half years – each with his own unique personality and gifts. Busy? Exhausted? Missing my job and the stimulation of adults? Yup, to all three.
By the mid-70s I was back on the job full-time, primarily in middle school classrooms, first on Long Island, New York and then in northern New Hampshire. I also earned my Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling. I continued my educational career as a building principal in two Vermont K-8 schools – the first with a population of close to 800 students. The second enrolled just over 100. I concluded my career at an interstate high school (Vermont and New Hampshire) where I served as the school librarian. While I acknowledge the need for continuous refinement, I remain a passionate supporter of public school education.
Once retired, my wife and I moved 3,000 miles to Bellingham, Washington, to be closer to family. Here, I discovered my passion for writing and in 2013 returned to the classroom – this time as a student – when I enrolled in a memoir writing class taught by published novelist Laura Kalpakian. This nine-month experience proved transformative, and I now spend most days drinking lattes and writing at my favorite coffee houses where the baristas know me by name. I value Bellingham’s vibrant and supportive community of writers, and am a member of two critique groups, along with Red Wheelbarrow Writers, “a loose affiliation of working writers who produce independently, and who join together to support, encourage and sustain one another.” My essays have appeared in Adirondack Epiphanies, Ra Press; Memory into Memoir, and So Much Depends On…Penchant Press; and several editions of Whatcom Writes.
I love spending time with my two grandchildren – Piper and Maxwell. In addition to writing, I enjoy walking on local trails and hiking in the nearby Chuckanut and Cascade Mountains. A longtime devotee of downhill skiing, I volunteer as a coach for a local ski and snowboarding team comprised of children and adults with developmental disabilities. I look for every opportunity to spend time on an ocean beach, my go-to place for solace, inspiration and rebooting. My To-Be-Read pile is ever-growing, due in some measure to my close proximity to one of the country’s most incredible independent book stores, Village Books. Non-fiction, especially memoir is my favorite genre, sprinkled with a liberal dose of fiction. I am looking forward to holding a copy of my very first published book, Heart of This Family: Lessons in Down Syndrome and Love, in August 2020, soon after I turn eighty!