Life Beyond Somerset

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We've all taken so many paths in our lives.  It's interesting to read where we are now and how we got there.  While in college back east I was offered a summer job working for the National Park Service in Yellowstone. They were hiring women for the first time in the maintenance division.  I had never been west of West Virginia and jumped at the opportunity.  It may sound trite, but as soon as I landed in Montana I knew I had found my home - all the pieces just seemed to connect. After graduation I moved permanently to Montana, continuing to work seasonal jobs for the Park Service and then the Forest Service in Alaska and Montana. I became the first woman to work on backcountry trails, leading Young Adult Conservation Corps members for months' stays in remote areas of the park.  I saw some amazing sites that I may never get to again.  I met my husband working in Yellowstone and we settled in Paradise Valley north of the park where we still live this many years later. 

Our son and daughter were born here and then we moved to my parents home in Chevy Chase, renting out our Montana home, to assist in the care of my father who had developed Alzheimers.  Our son actually attended kindergarten at Somerset!  Returning to our home in the west I worked at the local rural K-8 school wearing many hats - PE teacher, librarian, classroom aide, and office manager.  18 years later it was time to return to my Yellowstone roots and I accepted a position with what was then called the Yellowstone Association, now Yellowstone Forever.  It is the official nonprofit education partner to the park and I managed our sustaining members.  Retirement blissfully arrived in 2020 just in time for the pandemic.

Each season brings something to enjoy in this amazing part of the west.  We cross country ski mostly these days, though occasionally still downhill ski; hike, fish, camp, float the river, raise hay in our fields, garden, and above and beyond all else spend time with our 6 grandchildren (best job I ever had!). I am looking forward to my husband retiring when he can sell his business, so we can continue some travels we have finally begun to do. 

This gives you a glimpse of where I've been.  Onward!
Desiree,  What great choices you made--adventurous and it paid off fabulously.  Kudos to you!
I’m technically inept and don’t know how to create a new post, so I’ll just reply to Desiree’s post.  I wish my story was as dramatic and upbeat as hers!

I got my undergraduate degree in math before returning to DC for law school.  Retired in 2015 after a rewarding career in international law, traveling all over Europe, Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East, Australia, you name it, even Myanmar and Cuba.  The last ten years were focused on sanctions, working closely with the U.S. State, Commerce and Defense Depts.  Helped negotiate “the Iran nuclear deal,” draft Russia sanctions, and develop a legal export regime in Ukraine just a few months before the Russian invasion.  Had to choose between visiting Chernobyl or driving a Russian tank.  (I chose Chernobyl.) 

I’m enjoying retirement in sunny Arizona, where I play pickleball and the piano almost daily.  Although my PE skills at Somerset were nonexistent, I started running in my 40’s and won a raquetball tournament.  Our house has become a local community hangout, with two pickleball courts, a bocce court, a ping pong room, and two outdoor fireplaces.

I’m a volunteer pianist at the Mayo Hospital, playing in the lobby every Wednesday. Other days, I play chamber music with other classical musicians, performing in a variety of venues.  I plan to be back in Maryland in mid-October; I see several other musicians from our Somerset days.  Please let me know if you’d like to get together for some informal music making, perhaps even just  sight reading.  

On the downside, my only child is paranoid schizophrenic and bi-polar.  She exists in her own reality.  She chooses to live on the streets, even though I bought her a very nice house.  I’m her legal guardian and I haven’t given up, but keeping her alive can be a full time job.

I’ll end this ramble by noting that, as much as I love living in Arizona, I miss the politics of Montgomery County MD.  I spend much of the summer up north in Prescott AZ where we actually have “flat earthers.”  Yup, for real.

If anyone gets out this way, please feel free to stop by.  My husband and I welcome visitors to our guest house and we offer free pickleball lessons!

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