I was born in Decatur, a central Illinois farm-factory town. That’s where I lived until graduating from Milliken, the local college, with a degree in Elementary Education. I had some challenges as a kid—we all do if we are currently drawing breath on this planet. Living in a chaotic household, laced with perpetual conflict, I spent the duration of my developmental years attempting to cope with various combinations of anxiety and depression.
In my adolescent efforts for relief, I turned my focus to boys in hopes that the fairytale-make-believe stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty would manifest in my own life. I dressed-up for those boys, lived and breathed for them (completely under-functioning in school and elsewhere), and thought of little else.
Of course, I was repeatedly disappointed—mostly in myself. When I was 16, my mother and I moved to the Decatur Holiday Inn, a real doozy of a place. Later, we stayed with friends when she finally had the courage to leave my dad—after enduring 25 years of an abusive marriage. Following my parent’s divorce, I amped-up my mission to find “the right guy,” until eventually, years later in life, I realized that what I really needed was to find myself.
Following my own divorce, I had a wake-up call. I was a single mom of two little boys, who were looking to me to be their main mentor and support. Unless I got it together, we were all headed for a nose-dive. I had never pursued a career. Instead, I always chose to “stand by my man,” who I’d hoped would provide me with home ‘n hearth.