And now Ann answers the Five Big Questions. And Question No. 6: How does she find the time and energy?
UU liFE: Where were you raised, and how?
Ann: As an Army Brat, I grew up in many locations. My life began in Milton, Massachusetts just outside of Boston. This was the home of my mother’s family whose lineage goes back to the Mayflower passengers. My next home was Detroit, Michigan my father’s hometown. He called himself a fresh water alien, as his family moved from Walkerville, Ontario, across the Detroit River. His Canadian relatives were Irish, English, and Scottish.
When I was born my father had left the army following World War II and was working as a shipping clerk. It wasn’t long before he returned to the military police corps and was stationed at Fort Benning, GA, so off we went to the South. His next assignment took us to Frankfurt, Germany and a year later to Stuttgart, Germany. While we were in Germany, our family had a live-in housekeeper named Lotte with whom we spent a lot of time and who taught us to speak German. My mother used to take us with her to do shopping around Stuttgart so we could communicate with the shop keepers.
I liked attending the military dependents’ school with American children, but also playing with German neighbor children. After wearing lederhosen, we changed into warm weather clothing, jodhpurs and riding boots when we moved to South Carolina, horse country, Aiken, SC.
My sister, Holly, and I learned to ride and were preparing to ride in the fox hunt, when we traded in our jodhpurs for saris, as we transitioned to life in Pakistan. Now, that was different! Instead of horses, we rode camels on the beach near the port of Karachi. Unlike the other dependents’ schools where all of the students were American, we attended the Karachi American School that provided education to the children of state department, CARE, US AID, workers, engineers, and diplomats from many countries. Most everyone felt like strangers in a “strange” land. I remember the “cool” Christmas pageant with all the appropriate animals familiar to us from the Bible. We saw camels, donkeys, water buffalo, goats, sheep, and a few elephants along the road every day.
The remainder of my growing up years were more typical American, living in northern New Jersey for high school and college. As I finished college, my parents lived in Panama, my father’s final assignment in the Army. I visited my parents in Panama during vacations from graduate school and met, Jack, my husband there. He grew up in Berlin, MD.
How have you made your living?
I earned a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Syracuse University and spent 30 years in that profession. First I worked in the public schools in northern Delaware. The last 15 years was in private practice serving children with speech articulation, voice, stuttering, and language development difficulties in private schools. It was a very fulfilling career which I would recommend to any young person who thinks they would like a combination of medicine and education, science and art.
What’s the most remarkable thing you’ve done?
This may sound like braggadocio, but I think the most remarkable thing any parent can do is to raise children who are responsible, considerate contributors to society. Jack and I have raised two daughters, now in their forties, who are good people. Neither one is particularly financially successful – in fact, just the opposite. But they have good values and care about other people. They are content in their work and contributing to the welfare of children. One is an art teacher in Cambridge. The other is a teaching assistant in special education in the Downingtown, PA school system.
What’s the Next Big Thing for you?
The next big thing is making a plan for completing our lives. Right now, there are more questions than answers, nothing is really settled. Staying in the Easton area, shall we stay in our house with help to manage the yard and house? Or sell the house and move to a “retirement community?” What home/yard improvements will we make to create a more saleable home, whether in the near term or further down the road? How do we want to occupy our time? What contributions can we still make to our world?
How did UUFE and you find each other?
After being a member at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek in Newark, DE for 17 years, I knew that one of the most important criteria for selecting a retirement home was the presence of a UU congregation. Being a member of a liberal faith community added so much to my life. I knew that I needed that element in the life I made for myself wherever Jack and I retired.
How do you serve UUFE, and why?
In the nine years I have been a member of UUFE, I have taken many roles: Member Services committee member, Denominational Connections representative, Caring Circles Chair, Committee on Congregational Ministry member, Board member, Board President, Bazaar Consignment clothing collector, RE teacher, and gardener.
I have a fair amount of energy and I like to use it in ways that support the congregation of people who are very important to me. I reap many benefits by being part of this community. I believe it’s important to do my part to sustain this institution.
[ UU liFE note: Want to know more about the shoes? Revisit Ann’s blog post, I’m Thinking of Moving to the Netherlands.]