Monday, March 11, 2013

A Bit of History, Part II

I finished college, taught 3 years, got married, decorated cakes in a bakery, and became pregnant with my first child, and then yearned for more words. 

I took a Continuing Ed class at IU-PU Fort Wayne called Creative Writing.  Now I was able to write for myself, not as a set assignment.  I wrote about my childhood backyard, Mrs. Dremley (a friend of the family), roses, and just my stories.  I loved the class.  I remember I attended the class the first part of my pregnancy, but I became so sick, I didn't feel I could go on with the class.  My instructor sent my stories back to me with much encouragement.  I still have those stories. 

After leaving teaching to raise 3 sons who were in school by now, I ventured once again into writing.  I had the desire to see my name in print!!  By-lines were my goal.  The Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette published a Neighbors section for the 4 quadrants of the city.  I became a reporter for the northeast side where I lived.  I loved interviewing people and listening to their real stories.  I covered things like a family opening a new business to families who had experienced  home fires.   I was required to bring my copy in and type it on the newspaper computers.  At this time, computers weren't found anywhere I knew except for games of Pac-Man at home.   I did this for a season, then decided to take on a real job.  Teaching was out of the question for me right now. 

I ended up getting a great job at Lincoln National Life as a secretary which lead to a position in the training department.  I loved this job.  I worked with sales people, taught a class in business etiquette (Believe it or not!), and helped write manuals for the insurance field offices.  I wrote but did not understand anything I really wrote!!  I don't know how I did that to this day.

We moved, and I finally returned to teaching 7th graders for the next 19 years.  The last 10 years before I retired were the best.  I started to attend AllWrite meetings with Ruth at another school.  We left that first meeting not really knowing what we had just experienced, but we were hooked.

I enjoyed teaching more than I ever had when I incorporated Writing Workshop into my classroom.  I stumbled a lot those first couple of years but couldn't let the concept go.  I felt I was really teaching, connecting with kids, and writing for the first time with a community of young writers.  I learned along with my students and am still learning today.

Why do I still write?   

It's like reading a good book.  I write:

- to be comforted
- to be grounded
- to escape
- to enjoy
- to sort things out
- to be part of a writing community
- to tell my story                                                                                                   



  1. Wonderful thoughts on writing! Writer's Workshop is my favorite part of my teaching day too!

  2. I enjoyed hearing your story of your writing life. I especially enjoyed when your writing journey and teaching journey seemed to be running side by side. What a perfect list of the reasons we write. Isn't it funny there are so many reasons beyond just to share information. I think I'd add one, I write to remember. Sometimes I have just a hint of a memory and when I start to really try to put it on paper I tease out little details I thought I had forgotten.

    Happy writing,

  3. I also enjoyed reading your history. I found out so many new things about you! Didn't know about decorating cakes. I want to talk about that! so many interesting tidbits I want to ask you about!

  4. I went back to read Part I also, Tam, & loved the circuitous path you took to teaching, so many interesting jobs that probably made the teaching all the better. I'm glad you shared so many things!

  5. I can honestly say I never get tired of hearing your stories. I was so glad to see that you added part 2 of this piece.