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Since our yard had no grass, I played in the mud. I made little bowls of “milk” for my cat.  I loved peeking through the wooden fence to catch a glimpse of the strange man (strange to me at the time) who talked to himself.  I practiced mumbling like he did. 

My little brother, Norm, enjoyed rides in my doll carriage.  Often my mother would give me a few pennies to spend at the grocery store across the street.  Big glass jars of penny candy lined the shelves.  I’d give the grocer my mother’s shopping list and watch as he took “logs” of provolone and salami  from hooks on the ceiling and chatter to me in Italian as he sliced. The grocer also sold live chickens there and often I would see one butchered.  Life was raw and real on Gordon Park!  But, in contrast, my parents took me and my brother to parks, museums, and libraries.   We had Sunday gatherings and picnics with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.  
We moved to Harvard Street when I was six years old. I loved my doll, Suzie, and my Dale Evans holster set.  I protected “my baby” at all costs.  I went to school at Blessed Sacrament from 1st grade through 8th grade, walking the four blocks with groups of friends. There were no leash laws then, so dogs came along and went back home on their own.  I loved school, especially  participating in the yearly operettas. Magnolia trees lined the median on the divided street by our school.  Some teachers would take us outdoors to read stories and poetry. The aroma of magnolias scented the poetic words.  Poetry has remained one of my favorite avenues of personal expression. 

My mother was so excited to have a huge yard where she planted a vegetable garden.  She filled the built in bookcases with books (my mother loved to read).  I liked to read the encyclopedia. It was more interesting than Dick and Jane.  My Dad had an art room (he had taken courses in drawing and painting).  He let me paint on his huge drafting table.  My brothers and I had a playroom with one wall painted black so we could chalk to our heart’s content.  I had pet turtles and hunted down live flies for them to eat. 
I took dance lessons from an early age and had a ballet bar in my bedroom.  I also wore my tap shoes outdoors to tap on our cement patio. My dad took me to many ballets at the Eastman Theater.  I saw great performances by the leading dancers of the time.  And afterwards he’d take me to the soda shop.

Some neighbor’s spoke different languages and shared their customs and folk tales. My best friend’s mom told me stories about leprechauns and the pot of gold. History was learned first hand from neighbors who had escaped the bombing raids in England, the final solution in Germany,  and the segregated schools in the South.

Along with my brother and friends, I had a lot of freedom to explore the neighborhood, bike for miles away, and play to dusk without supervision.  Kids of all ages played together. We wrote plays, had talent shows, played kickball and tag, skated on the bumpy sidewalks with the skate key around our neck.  We often biked to the science museum to imagine that we tlived in the Iroquois longhouse displayed there. We didn’t have television, cell phones, computers, Wii’s, malls, designer clothes or many store-bought toys.  We created our own fun and games.

When I was in sixth grade, my brother, Bob, was born. I couldn’t wait to get home from school to play with him.  It seems that I have been enjoying teaching and caring about children all my life!

The attic in our house was one of my favorite places.  If I felt like being alone that’s where I would go.  I loved peeking out the small window at the world below.  One of 
the books I loved was “The Secret Garden,” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  The attic was my secret garden.  It was totally empty of things.  I could plant anything in my head that I wanted.  I rescued a sickly baby bird as a child and cared for it in the attic for weeks and weeks until it healed.  When I released him, the birds in the yard went wild with song.  The baby bird chirped so loud, I’m sure, for finally being with it’s own kind rather than a silly human imitating flying.  Since then I have been intrigued by birds. Interestingly, my debut book is about a bird!
High School Years

















When I was thirteen I became a member of 
the Mercury Ballet Company and became 
committed to dance. Most of my after school 
time was devoted to dance lessons and  
rehearsals.  My first role was a snowflake in the Nutcracker.  I enjoyed the freer expression of the dances we did at our Spring concerts. I danced to Aaron Copland, LeRoy Anderson, Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, and George Gershwin.  In later years I danced with modern dance groups.  I was also very interested in theater and was chosen to perform with The Rochester Community Players Youth Drama Group for a summer.  I transfered from St. Agnes to Penfield High for my Senior year.  I was involved in Yearbook, Drama Club and Chorus.  I played a Russian Opera singer (unconvincingly) in the Senior Play.  It was a consolation role since I almost got the lead.  I had a ball and more so in the musical, Brigadoon.

College Years 











A dance injury forced me to choose a new career direction. I gave up the toe shoes for a paint brush. I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and received an A.A.S. degree in Art and Design.  
I transferred to Kent State in Ohio and received a B.F.A. in Fine Art. I met my future husband, who also was an art major, at Kent State. I wrote a children’s picture book while in college. I was so clueless  that I sent it to Seventeen Magazine!  The magazine editor actually sent me a wonderful “rejection” letter.  

I didn’t give up dance entirely.  I took modern dance classes.  Ah, I could dance barefoot!

We took family vacations throughout my childhood to national parks, historical sites and lakes. Once we took a train cross country through the rockies to California with my Grandma. I don’t remember her. Like most families we experienced struggle, sorrow, loss, disappointment, conflict, and illness.  We learned to be resilient.

Work Experience and Interests

















My first job after college was a science illustrator for educational materials. I was the “fruit fly lady.” I painted hundreds of bugs. They were done on acetate: ink work on the front, paint on the reverse. Many illustrations were tediously rendered on coloraid. One butterfly might take eight hours.  No computers then! I loved the job. But, photography illustration phased out the painting department. The year I got married my husband was drafted. We lucked out during the Vietnam War years; my husband was sent to a mapping unit in Hawaii. I joined him in a few months. Our daughter was born there.  Once back in Rochester, I taught dance, was in a modern dance company, and worked as a freelance artist.  When my children were older, I worked full time in an ad agency. I later got my teaching degree and Master’s in art education.  Before my teaching years, I also performed in musicals with Stage III and choreographed for high school, regional theater, and semi-professional companies, 
including Blackfriars.

















                                              What we loved doing most as a family was nature 
                                              hikes, skiing, and playing with our dogs.  I loved reading to my kids.  My son showed an early interest in architecture and my daughter in drawing and painting.  They went into those fields after college. My husband and I now have three grandchildren, enjoy our cabin on the lake, gardening, nature walks , antique shops, and taking wing to the south for a few months in the winter.  I substitute teach in all subject 
areas K-12.



















Today, I am an author/illustrator and involved  with SCBWI, RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators), and two critique groups. I love going to writing conferences and art shows. I believe that it is vitally important to read, read, read and listen to the experience of others. 





Here are a few quotes that are my writing mantras:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.   
-Thomas Jefferson

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
-Rita Mae Brown
  
Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best 
you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
-Neil Gaiman



Work Experience and Interests

















My first job after college was a science illustrator for educational materials. I was the “fruit fly lady. I painted hundreds of bugs. They were done on acetate: ink work on the front, paint on the reverse. Many illustrations were tediously rendered on coloraid. One butterfly might take eight hours.  No computers then! I loved the job. But, photography illustration phased out the painting department. The year I got married my husband was drafted. We lucked out during the Vietnam War years; my husband was sent to a mapping unit in Hawaii. I joined him in a few months. Our daughter was born there.  Once back in Rochester, I taught dance, was in a modern dance company and worked as a free lance artist.  When my children were older, I worked full time in an ad agency. I later got my teaching degree and Master’s in art education.  Before my teaching years, I also performed in musicals with Stage III and choreographed for high school, regional theater and semi-professional companies, 
including Blackfriars.

















                                              What we loved doing most as a family was nature 
                                              hikes, skiing and playing with our dogs.  I loved reading to my kids.  My son showed an early interest in architecture and my daughter in drawing and painting.  They went into those fields after college. My husband and I now have three grandchildren, enjoy our cabin on the lake, gardening, nature walks , antique shops, and taking wing to the south for a few months in the winter.  I substitute teach in all subject 
areas K-12.

















Today, I am an author/illustrator and involved  with SCBWI, RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators) and two critique groups. I love going to writing conferences and art shows. I believe that it is vitally important to read, read, read and listen to the experience of others. 







Here are a few quotes that are my writing mantras:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.   
-Thomas Jefferson

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
-Rita Mae Brown
  
Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best 
you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
-Neil Gaiman



Work Experience and Interests

















My first job after college was a science illustrator for educational materials.I was the “fruit fly lady. I painted hundreds of bugs. They were done on acetate: ink work on the front, paint on the reverse. Many illustrations were tendiously rendered on coloraid. One butterfly might take eight hours.  No computers then! I loved the job. But, photography illustration phased out the painting department. The year I got married my husband was drafted. We lucked out during the Vietnam War years; my husband was sent to a mapping unit in Hawaii. I joined him in a few months. Our daughter was born there.  Once back in Rochester, I taught dance, was in a modern dance company and worked as a free lance artist.  When my children were older, I worked full time in an ad agency. I later got my teaching degree and Master’s in art education.  Before my teaching years, I also performed in musicals with Stage III and choreographed for high school, regional theater and semi-professional companies, including Blackfriars.

















                                              What we loved doing most as a family was nature 
                                              hikes, skiing and playing with our dogs.  I loved reading to my kids.  My son showed an early interest in architecture and my daughter in drawing and painting.  They went into those fields after college. My husband and I now have three grandchildren, enjoy our cabin on the lake, gardening, nature walks , antique shops, and taking wing to the south for a few months in the winter.  I substitute teach in all subject 
areas K-12.

















Today, I am an author/illustrator and involved  with SCBWI, RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators) and two critique groups. I love going to writing conferences and art shows. I believe that it is vitally important to read, read, read and listen to the experience of others. 







Here are a few quotes that are my writing mantras:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.   
-Thomas Jefferson

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
-Rita Mae Brown
  
Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best 
you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
-Neil Gaiman




Karen, myself, Jennifer

(critique group)  

Syracuse writer's conference 2010

My illustrator's group:  

Top Row: Donna, Karen, Roxane,

Bottom Row: Stephanie, Lori, myself

(missing-McNevein and David)

Cynthia, Linda Sue Park

(keynote speaker), myself at

Poughkeepsie writer's conference

2009

Rosalie and Deb, newest members of my critique group

Dawn Jeffers (editor), myself, Elizabeth O. Dulemba meeting in Atlanta 2008

Carmen, myself at R.I.T. illustrator's show 2009

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