I grew up in a sheltered southern environment, a fantasy land of Mardi Gras balls, where I sometimes felt like an outsider watching the royal procession. I was born in New Orleans, attended college there, remained there until I married after World War II. Then, with my chemist husband, we lived in many cities: Atlanta, Buffalo, Toledo, Ohio, and several New Jersey towns. When our four children were almost grown, I returned to school to become a professional, a social worker with a master’s degree, instead of perennial volunteer.
In 1982, I left my job as a clinical social worker and my husband took early retirement. Although we started a small business of selling antique American art pottery, and I had hobbies and volunteer work, I still missed professional life. One of my interests was genealogy — another, storytelling. Since my family had been in America from before the Civil War, some even before the Revolution, how fascinating it would be to write a family history, to be able to narrate family anecdotes.
Therefore I decided that I would like to take a writing course at a local university, Drew, in Madison, N.J. Although I had a master’s degree, I had to persuade the administration to allow me to register for an undergraduate course in non- fiction writing. I became a senior member in a class of fifteen undergraduates, each with her personal computer. At the college, I learned from a demanding curriculum, from a challenging teacher, and from my fellow students. They also learned from me. Thus began my writing career — I even became a published author.