My writing career began in earnest when I published an essay about my teenage son in a national newspaper. I was surprised to learn there was an editor out there who liked my humorous outlook on parenthood. This propelled me to keep writing and learn more about the craft.
Up until then, art had been my passion. From my hometown of St. Louis, I went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to study painting under the well-known regional artist, Marvin Cone. After I married and became a military wife, and later a mother and teacher, my love of art grew as did my diaries and journals.
Aside from the classic novels I absorbed, I began to read biographies and memoirs, and was enlightened by the revelations I found. I was inspired to learn how others found the power within themselves to overcome the vicissitudes and tragedies of life. I thought of how my parents had survived adversities, and decided to revisit the piles of memorabilia my mother left me. What gems I discovered! I knew I had a family memoir in the making.
In 2012, I published The Melody Lingers On, the story of my Nolan grandparents and my mother, Patty, the youngest of eight sisters. I was excited to write them onto center stage, to show them off to my family and friends, who were delighted with their performance.
My life was a story, too, adventurous and unpredictable, and I wanted to tell it in order to make sense of it all. My Pilot: A Story of War, Love and ALS, is a tribute to my husband, Bernard, who flew the F4 Phantom fighter in Vietnam and later flew for Pan Am, Delta and the Air National Guard. My Pilot: A Story of War, Love, and ALS has won 3 awards: The Independent Press Award, The Military Writers Society of America’s Silver Metal Award, and the NYC Big Book Award. Writing about my life with Bernie was a long and satisfying journey that has mitigated my grief, and tempered it with a large dose of gratitude.
The great artist and teacher at the Art Students’ League of NY, Robert Henri (1865-1929) told his students to find out what they really liked, find out what was really important to them. “Then sing your song,” he said.
And I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I am doing.
My essays have appeared in The New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor and my devotionals in several books, including, Love is a Verb. I showed my paintings at different venues on Long Island such as Gallery East of East Hampton, New York. At age 42, I became a teacher of reading and writing in the Riverhead School District in Riverhead, New York, where I taught for 23 years. I live in West Caldwell, New Jersey and have two children, seven grandchildren and one great-grand daughter.