I have been a teacher all my life. First, it was with stuffed animals and my chalkboard in the basement, then young neighborhood kids. At four years old, I announced to my parents that I planned to be a teacher like mom (but if dad felt bad, I could be a pharmacist at night!).
After finishing college, I taught first, third, and fourth grades, as well as Title I Reading classes first through seventh grades. All that time, there was a desire, a dream to write stories for children. Life’s ups and downs seemed to keep pushing that dream away. In 2006, I decided the time for classroom teaching was done. Retirement could bring different teaching opportunities.
The time had come to write those stories.
Service to others and keeping a sense of humor were important life lessons in my family. You can handle any of life’s challenges if you keep your sense of humor, and helping others feels good inside and gives life purpose. One or both of these find their way into my writing.
One of the challenges life threw my way was losing my sight due to a degenerative retinal disease. My 20s, 30s, and 40s were manageable but huge changes in my 50s and 60s have tested my mettle – giving up driving, learning to use a white cane, and needing a guide dog for assistance.
A partnership with a dog seems fun, right? Not if you’ve been afraid of dogs all your life. I overcame my fear in order to apply for a guide dog. Humor helped me through the 3 week boot camp, better known as guide school training. You can read my journal at http://writenowtrustthedog.blogspot.com
Living with a guide dog is, I think, similar to having a baby/child. Going anywhere means taking stuff with you, especially when it involves airports and planes. Also having an intelligent dog, like a gifted or precocious child, means staying at the top of your game, using negotiating skills, and knowing that sometimes, you have to be the “alpha dog!”
And yeah, just as in teaching, you have to think 2 steps ahead and be ready for the unexpected. And sometimes it involves poop bags.
??? Yet to be determined…