off from Penfield to Middlebury College in Vermont. I loved
being in the mountains, but the school was very conservative
and I had a hard time fitting in. I ended up studying literature
because I liked the insight into people that we gained by
trying to understand the writer’s point of view. In
my sophomore year I traveled to Yellowstone Park to work for
the summer and fell in love with the area and the West. Since
studying literature hadn’t prepared me to do much in
the business world, I applied to Columbia’s School of
Architecture and planned to go there next, but I never figured
out how to finance it. Instead I ended up getting married
to Jim, who I was dating at Yale, and I postponed going to
to New York and I became a computer programmer. I wasn’t
sure what that was, but the pay was much better than being
a secretary, my other option. Our first child died at birth
in 1970. What an eye-opener! We left NYC after that and moved
to the coast of Maine to be able to spend more time in the
mountains and at the beach, as being in the natural world
helped us cope with our loss. We were fortunate that my daughter
Sally was born a year later with no complications. She is
now married to a delightful man and working as a master mechanic
for BMW, no grandchildren yet, but I’m still hoping.
staying home for three years with Sally, I started teaching
skiing at Sugarloaf USA, where Sally could stay in the day
care center at the lodge while I worked. Jim and I divorced
at that point. I became friends with Michael, my second husband,
who was also teaching skiing at Sugarloaf and pro-racing around
New England. In the summers we went to South America to work
(their winters) in the Andes of Chile and Argentina. When
Sally started school, our traveling interfered with her school
year, so we took a trip west looking for a small ski area
with a long season, where we could work year round.
up moving to Mt. Bachelor, in Bend, Oregon, which was then
a beautiful small high-desert town in the Cascade Mountains.
I taught skiing for another five years and worked as a canoe
guide on day trips in the summer, with spring and fall at
home for Sally. I loved teaching skiing. I had started because
of the skiing, but found another unexpected benefit: I spent
every day for ten years out doors and found a profound connection
with the natural world.
and the ski area grew hugely and Michael and I eventually
quit working for the mountain and started an electronics company,
Time Tech, to make computerized ski race timers. My experience
as a computer programmer made me think I could design a computer,
and after some struggle, I did. If you have ever raced Nastar,
or in the New York Marathon or the Ironman, your time was
recorded by one of our race timers.
trying unsuccessfully to have more children, we tried to adopt
a 12-year-old boy, but as much as we loved him, it wasn’t
enough to keep him out of jail continually, and he eventually
got tough enough and old enough that the state returned him
to his natural mother. Those years were exhausting, and it
tore me and Michael apart and we divorced.
to Bellingham, Washington, for a few years to get a fresh
start. On a trip to Alaska, all that wilderness gave me a
fresh view of life, and I decided that it was now or never
if I was going to go to architecture school. At 54 I set off
to University of Oregon to get my masters. Walking in the
school door the first day was really frightening, but within
an hour, I was so involved that I knew I was in the right
place. I loved school, especially one term spent in Kyoto,
living in a Buddhist monastery.
graduating I moved to Portland to be near Sally, and I am
now a licensed architect here. I live downtown so I can walk
nearly everywhere, including to work. My work has been varied
and interesting. I worked on an office building in Dublin
and lived there for three months during its construction,
learned to drive on the wrong side of the road and drink Guinness
(not at the same time). I now have a resort hotel in West
Yellowstone that is nearing completion, giving me the opportunity
to make trips to that beautiful part of the world and check
that Old Faithful is still erupting on schedule. I am designing
a library here in Oregon, which I am excited about because
I still love to read and can remember the thrill of going
to the library in Brighton as a child.
the collaborative process of working on large projects –
teaming up with people to make something that an individual
couldn’t do alone. It’s really exciting to see
a building coming out of the ground in concrete form after
being something imaginary for months before. It’s gratifying
to turn an old building into something new and beautiful.
And it’s a pleasure to see how buildings impact the
lives of the people who use them
done some extreme sports in my youth – hang-gliding,
wind-surfing, white water canoeing. I learned to take off
and land a plane when I was 60. But now I am happy to be mellow
in my free time- swim, ride my mountain bike, hike, kayak
and cross-county ski.
mom lives on Cape Cod, where she and my dad moved in 1973.
I have not been back to Rochester since then, but go to the
Cape annually. I look forward to a future class get-together
wherever it is!