From the first time I picked up a pencil I was in heaven. Among my favorite childhood memories are playing with cousins and going off to sleep-away camp, where I spent twelve wonderful summers. It was there I first started keeping journals of my adventures.
Raised in New Jersey and Massachusetts, I eventually attended Smith College where I happily landed the job of cartoonist for the school paper. In addition, I worked as a photographer, gaining a press pass that I often used to great advantage. For example, it allowed me to photograph John F. Kennedy when he visited Amherst College, which I did not long before he was assassinated.
Next, I earned an MFA in Theater Design from Columbia University in New York City, where I met my future –and still – husband, John. After graduation, I worked as a fashion illustrator in Manhattan’s famous “garment district.” But soon enough we moved on, and in Washington, D. C., John and I worked together, producing the sound and lights for rock concerts at the Alexandria (Virginia) Roller Rink. Our shows included such groups as Blood, Sweat & Tears, B.B. King, The Jeff Beck Group and Jethro Tull. It was an exciting time!
A friend introduced me to an editor at Simon & Schuster and soon I was under contract to write “The Yarn Animal Book.” With a creative project to keep my juices flowing, it seemed like a perfect time to move, so off we went to a farm in Canada, three hours north of Toronto. There we raised vegetables, chickens, pigs, hay, cattle and one milk cow. We sold or traded meat and milk for eggs and whatever else we didn't raise ourselves. Our heavy cream was famous for miles around but we never parted with our homemade butter, yogurt, crème fraiche, sour cream and cheese. Instead we kept those as special treats for guests who spent weekends or weeks at our farm to go cross-country skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
Happily for us, people trekked from far and wide to our farm out in “the middle of nowhere.” Our favorite guest was a priest who insisted on doing absolutely everything with us. Working on “The Yarn Animal Book” included meeting wonderful people from the surrounding area who volunteered to test my patterns for the book. It was during this busy period of my life when, besides cooking for guests, taking care of the vegetable garden and running the surveyor's shop in town, I gave birth to our first child, Eli.
We returned to the D.C. area to renovate houses and raise our kids. Our daughter, Timothy, was born at home. Between home-schooling the children I also taught classes to kids of all ages at the National Zoo and at several local colleges offering summer programs for children.
Over the years I have enjoyed other activities, including nature walks with our border collie, volunteering as a teacher-naturalist for the National Wildlife Federation, working as an assistant teacher in a Smithsonian Institution taxidermy class and measuring bat skulls! All the while, John and I ran a home office where we worked as mortgage brokers for 28 years.
As I mentioned at the outset, from the first time I picked up a pencil I was in heaven. I have spent a lifetime working on illustrated journals of nature observations, children’s stories and arts and crafts. Now I've come back to my beginnings, spending my so-called “retirement years” doing all of those things, all of the time. These days I have my grandchildren to share them with. You are cordially invited to join our adventures!