Writing was not my first love, but it's long since been where I found my soul.
As a cutting edge baby boomer growing up with a school teacher mom and principal/superintendent dad in small-town Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Frisco City, Greenville, Phenix City), I thought the world of education was where I was supposed to be. After four years of teaching high school in New Orleans, I moved back to Alabama and followed in my dad's footsteps, going for a doctorate in school administration. This was in the early 1970s when women superintendents - even secondary level principals - were rare. But I believed that quality public education really should be for everyone, with nobody left out, as my parents thought, and I wasn't seeing any national leadership in that direction. But after five frustrating years in the administrative arena, I left the field of education for other pursuits.
Armed with a graduate level minor in planning and systems analysis, I went to work in 1980 for the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation, which later reverted back to being called the Department of Corrections (the name says a lot about the mission), as a planner. I thought this may be the place I could make the difference it seemed I had been searching for all of my life. I worked mainly with the Probation Division, studying the sentencing practices in the state and the probation department's diversion programs, which were fairly progressive at the time. In addition to a number of studies and reports, I wrote a comprehensive master plan on keeping non-violent offenders out of the prison system. I found I actually enjoyed the process of putting thoughts into words in a way that others could understand. On a personal level, I worked with the Southeast Atlanta Neighborhood Association to foster diversity and development in the area, and got my first taste of journalism when I helped put together its monthly newspaper.
I later went to work for the Macon Telegraph as an entry level editorial copy writer for the neighbors sections. I diversified by writing book reviews and travel articles in my spare time and soon was promoted to assistant features editor. I started writing a weekly column reflecting a feminist's point of view and later created a religion section to respond to the traditional Bible Belt congregations as well as new spiritual expressions to represent our readers more fully (we were in the heart of the Bible Belt, after all). I took on the total responsibility of editing and writing for that section. I found it quite useful in my own personal search for meaning in the world..
And somewhere in there, I wrote a book about Werner Erhard, which was published in 1992.
In 1998, after my mother died and my son (only child) left home for the Army, I moved from Macon to Tuscaloosa, AL., with the intention of writing a book about my family, but instead became features editor for The Tuscaloosa News the following spring. For several years, I wrote a personal column for the paper and occasional feature stories. Then in 2005, I started writing weekly profiles on Alabama's fallen warriors since the war on terror started. I left The Tuscaloosa News in September 2007 to work on what I had intended to start nine years earlier and had been talking about for 20 years - the book about my family. I continued to write the fallen warriors stories for The News through May 2009.
In late July, 2009, I reconnected with my first husband after 37 years. We decided to give our relationship a second chance. I moved to Mobile in November that year. After nearly 3 years of exploration, we parted much better friends than when we had started. But I had a new mission.
My first grandson, Eli, was born in January 2012. When my daughter-in-law had to return to her teaching job in August, I moved to Athens, Ga., to help take care of Eli. It's been an amazing experience thus far and no doubt, the right decision.