I was born in Montreal, Canada, and lived there until I was twelve. I remember bright, cold winters when the snowplows would blow the snow into mountains on the front lawns. Some of the dads would dig tunnels in these mounds for us to chase each other through. What a blast! No wonder we called snow "cold gold!"
I always liked to make up stories. When I was eleven, we lived where there was a traffic light (no crossing guard) on the way to school. Moms of little kids would pay us big kids to get them there safely. I spun tales for my first-grader as we walked and soon had a lot more little kids tagging along! I liked to write stories, too. I still have some that I wrote in sixth grade.
When I turned thirteen, we moved to Toronto, another large Canadian city. There I discovered ballet -- at the library! I devoured Lorna Hill's novels
about girls at the Sadlers Wells school in London. This was the life I wanted! I spent my baby-sitting money on lessons and practiced like crazy to make up for my late start. Through stubborn determination, I advanced fairly far, but I couldn't take enough classes and work to pay for them at the same time. Eventually, I had to give up that dream, but I had some great adventures along the way. They'll probably show up in the
Like Tori's mom, I turned to teaching, which I loved. After I had taught kindergarten and first grade for a few years, I decided to open a primary school of my own so I could experiment with early reading. This dream turned out to be a great success!
One winter break, my husband and I, who now ran the school together, drove to Florida and fell in love with the climate. By spring break we were back in Orlando looking at property, and that summer we moved ourselves and the school to the sunny South. Before long we had a native Floridian daughter!
Ballet was my first love...but jazz is really fun!
In Florida I returned to dance classes, branching out to jazz and modern. I also did volunteer work for Southern Ballet Theatre, now Orlando Ballet, and gained an inside look at a professional company.
A violin duet in my living room
When I eventually stopped dancing, I filled my time first with a club
I started for kids and then with writing. I've also taught beginning ballet, and now I teach Suzuki violin and French. It's fun!
A fun French class in my dining room
First position at the barre, where it all begins
On a trip to Toronto, Canada, I visted my first ballet teacher,
Louise Goldsmith. We hadn't met since I was a teenager!
When I learned of a volunteer program that needed former teachers to work with preschoolers, helping them learn their letters before they start school, I jumped right in. I'd missed sitting on the floor with little kids to do learning games, so this was fun.
Hard to tell who's having more fun here!
Ready to ride in Orlando Fire Department's Tower 1.
Since September 11, I've taken some emergency training courses. In Citizen Fire Academy and CERT (Community Emergency Response Training), we learned to put out fires and to treat disaster victims. We learned how to do search and rescue, and we rappelled down the fire training tower! After graduation, I spent a day at a fire station and rode out on the trucks. Speeding through red lights, with siren screaming and air-horn blasting, was way cool! Now I volunteer as a receptionist at Orlando's Fire Station One. I see all the action!
In Citizen Police Academy we saw demos by the SWAT team, crisis intervention team, K-9 and mounted patrols, crime lab technicians, and lots more.We met airport security’s bomb-sniffing dogs and visited the Sheriff’s helicopter base. CPA graduates can fly along on "Chase One." I went on a night patrol--it was just like on TV!
Ready for takeoff in the six-seater "Chase One" helicopter.
If your city or county offers such programs, don't miss out! You get some terrific bonuses for learning how to help in your community. An exciting program for teens is Police Explorers. Members learn police skills so they can ride along on patrols and help the officers--I watched a lesson in handcuffing. The guys and girls here wear very cool uniforms and help the police at all kinds of events. Check out Explorers where you live!