My Short Story
Between writing and taking care of myself, I run a top-rated plus eBay business specializing in vintage books, buttons, and linens such as hankies, tea towels, tablecloths, napkins, and runners as well as anything “feline”. My pleasures include collecting vintage brooches, shopping thrift stores, going to estate sales, photographing cats, entering writing contests, and vacationing at Missouri family farm. I am 73-years old and had bilateral deep brain stimulation surgery in 2022. My intent is to deal with and heal Parkinson’s daily and to live life my way since 2014 diagnosis.
My Long Story
I am a 73-year-old woman finding her way while living with the twists and turns of Parkinson’s disease. I grew up in rural Missouri surrounded by corn fields, cows, dogs and cats. The seeds of my life work were planted on that 200-acre farm and surrounding supportive community. I took long walks on the country roads and knew what was around each curve. To my mother’s chagrin, I waded through mud puddles barefooted with my sister and two brothers. My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Cole, hooked me on chocolate when she rewarded a Hershey’s chocolate bar after I correctly recited the ABCs.
My maternal and paternal grandparents lived within two miles of us. I visited them often. Sunday school, piano lessons, 4-H, Make-It-With-Wool contests, studying and county fair entries, along with playing with animals, growing flowers, and collecting novelty salt and pepper shakers were my major interests as a youth. Going to my brothers’ Little League and Pony League games and watching my dad coach occupied many a summer evening. Going to the Sever Library on Saturday morning was heaven to me.
After graduating salutatorian of my CCR-1 High School class, I earned a B.S. in Home Economics from University of Missouri, M.S. in Clothing and Textiles from Purdue University, and MBA from Nova-Southeastern University. I studied under presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco at Omega Institute in 2016 and Mississippi state poet laureate Beth Ann Fennelly at Palm Beach Poetry Festival in 2018. I completed The Oxford Experience at Christ Church studying Country Houses in 2017.
My varied career has revolved around being an educator, author and entrepreneur. I credit my mother for my love of words, research and learning and my father for my competitive and persistent spirit. My career at Iowa State University as instructor in the textiles and clothing department in 1973 was a stepping-stone to thirty-five-year academic career with Northwood University in Florida and Michigan. I served in a variety of roles including career services director, adult degree director, associate professor of management, and interim academic dean. I semi-retired in 2013 and continued working remotely for Northwood University Michigan until I retired in 2023.
I was co-founder of the first pet-care business in Palm Beach County offering evening hours and one-stop shopping for medical, boarding, supply and grooming services from 1977 to 1989. I witnessed how a pet parent’s devotion could help an animal overcome insurmountable medical odds. This knowledge helped me persevere through Tatianna’s chronic kidney failure and inspired me to tell her story to help others. The memoir, Tatianna–Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend, won the 2008 Merial human- animal bond award, plus six other awards.
My sister and I were co-owners of RoundAbout Antiques in Iowa and Florida for 36 years. My eBay business was launched right before my Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2014. I earned Top Rated Seller Plus in 2015 and enjoy preserving vintage collectibles by connecting new owners around the world.
My poetry, essays and Catnip Connection blog have received Cat Writers’ Muse Medallions and Pen Women awards. Essays and poems are in twelve anthologies, including Thin Threads—Women and Friendship and The Light Between Us, The Light Within and Angels on Duty.
As a proud member of Daughters of the American Revolution, I served as treasurer, librarian, vice regent, assistant treasurer and board director as well as women’s issues chair and DAR school chair for Seminole Chapter in West Palm Beach. Nathaniel Thurber, my great, great, great, great grandfather served in the Revolutionary War. I attended the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 and participated in Insight into PD Summit in 2018. I am a member of Cat Writers’ Association and National League of American Pen Women.
In between writing, eBaying, and taking care pf myself, I collect vintage brooches among many other things! My fur babies Chauncey, Grace, and Maggie Mae make me laugh every day. A longtime resident of North Palm Beach, I now happily live in the historic Central West End of Saint Louis and am only three hours from my siblings and the country! The city views of the Basilica Cathedral and the Arch from the 17th floor of my home office are awe inspiring. My life partner Joe is my rock. I had bilateral deep brain stimulation surgery in 2022.
I visited the Missouri family farm several times this past year with camera in hand for cuteness overload and inspiration from resident kitties. The country where I grew up and where my ancestors walked is balm for my soul. With renewed spirit, I deal with and heal Parkinson’s daily.